Many cyclists who have been partaking in the sport for a little time may eventually feel that they are confident enough in their skills to invest in a racing bike. These kind of bikes offer their users high speeds and high performance and are built to the same set of specifications as the bikes used by professional cyclists at events like the world-famous Tour de France. Any riders who are looking to improve their fitness and their cycling skills should certainly look at buying a racing bike, but there are obviously a lot of questions that need answering first.
What makes a good racing bike? How much does a racing bike cost? What’s the best way to find the right racing bike? This eBay guide will attempt to answer all these questions, as well as handing out a few top tips on how to find the perfect bike at a perfect price for a beginner by using eBay.
What are the Main Features of a Racing Bike?
Like every different type of bicycle, racing bikes have a number of identifiable features that they can be classified easily by. Below is a list of the most prominent features by which it is easy to determine whether or not a bike is a racing bike.
One of the most recognisable features of a racing bike is the drop handlebars that are featured on practically every model. Unlike a standard pair of mountain bike handlebars, drop handlebars curve outwards towards the front of the bike and then back on themselves, to for a “C” shape when viewed from the side.
There are two reasons in particular that racing bikes are fitted with this type of handlebars. Firstly, it’s because the shape means that the rider must lean over them with their body, adopting this position means that riders in turn gain more leverage on the pedals.
Secondly, it simply provides a greater surface area, to allow a cyclist to adopt a number of different hand grips on long journeys.
Racing wheels are much different to the wheels that are usually fitted to the standard mountain or touring bicycle.
The profile of the tire is much slimmer and there is a very good reason for this; the smaller surface area with which the tyre makes with contact with the ground provides less friction and therefore greater speeds.
Most racing wheels will also come with slick tyres; although having no tread on a set of tyres will affect its grip, this also boosts the speed of the bike.
Looking at this information, it should be instantly clear to cyclists that racing wheels are built to achieve the highest speeds possible.
The seat on a racing bike is strategically positioned to be significantly higher than the handlebars.
This is for the same reason that racing bikes are fitted with drop handlebars; the raised seat position allows riders to achieve more purchase on the pedals.
The seat itself is likely to be extremely lightweight and many will not incorporate any kind of padding as a result.
This ingenious invention allows riders to both break and change gear without having to move their hands, meaning they have more control over the bike.
Gears and breaks are operated via the two levers on the front of the handlebars, usually there will be some kind of system where the rider can pull a lever towards them to break or flick it left or right to shift between gears.
Cycling experts will all agree that shifters can offer unrivalled levels of performance for riders.
What Materials Make a Good Racing Bike Frame?
Those looking to buy a racing bike will find that most models are constructed using one of four materials, steel, titanium, aluminium or carbon fibre. Each of these materials has positive and negative aspects that cyclists should weigh up before making a decision on what kind of frame they would like their new bike to have.
The most common type of steel that is used for making bike frames is an alloy called Nivachrome. The best thing about this metal is that it was specifically developed for the purpose of constructing bike frames.
Due to this, it’s noticeably stronger than a lot of other similar alloys, meaning that the lifespan of any bike built from Nivachrome is likely to be good.
This structural strength comes at a price however; many Nivachrome bikes are considerably heavier than models made from alternative materials. Although they may be good bikes for an amateur, they are not fit for use in high-level competition.
Any rider who is looking for a bike that will deliver a good, all-round performance should certainly think about a titanium frame.
Titanium is not as heavy as steel, but it certainly isn’t as light as the two options listed below either.
This is why riders will often see it as a “happy medium” material that whilst may not be the lightest available, but provides a toughness that many other bicycle frames would find hard to beat.
Although this quality is favoured by many recreational riders, titanium frames are reasonably rare and this fact means that cyclists often find that these kind of bikes are a little more expensive than average.
Bikes with aluminium frames have been widely available since the 1970’s and it certainly seems that they have withstood the test of time.
The earliest bikes that were built with aluminium frames were a source of contention amongst cyclists, with some enjoying the lightness of these bikes, whilst others claimed the materials used were too “soft” and they offered a poor ride quality as a result.
Things have changed for the aluminium bike however; modern technology has meant that bike builders have found a much better balance between weight and durability.
Aluminium bikes are good for use in every level of cycling, apart from perhaps use by top professionals in global competitions.
Carbon fibre bikes are known for their ultra-light properties and are the most commonly used bike at the professional level of competition.
Not only are these bikes probably the lightest available to the ordinary consumer, carbon fibre is also surprisingly hardwearing.
Whilst initially many riders treated carbon fibre with suspicion due to a number of reports that it could shatter easily upon impact, there have been many advances in technology in the years since these bikes first emerged and the structure of carbon fibre bicycles is now as tough as any metal on this list.
Of course, for a bike that is strong and light enough to be used in professional competition is going to have a rather large price tag. However, riders with a larger budget should take note that carbon fibre bikes cannot be beaten for performance.
How to Buy a Beginners Racing Bike Using eBay
There are a number of different in-built features on the eBay site that can help cyclists who are looking for a new racing bike. Below are some useful tips for cyclists to bear in mind when searching for a racing bike using eBay, to ensure that they find the best possible deal for themselves:
There are often thousands of racing bikes listed on eBay at any one time, it’s unlikely that any rider will want to manually browse through these thousands of bikes to find models that are of interest to them.
For this reason, eBay has a series of in-built search filters that give users the opportunity to narrow down their search by choosing the characteristics they are looking for in their new racing bike, meaning that they only have to browse through bikes that are likely to be of interest to them.
A good place to start is simply by typing, “racing bicycle” into the search bar at the top of the page, this will bring back thousands of results, which can be narrowed down using the search filters.
eBay’s search filters are specially tailored to hundreds of different product areas, for example, users searching for racing bikes will be able to browse bikes by gender, condition, price, frame size, frame material, brand and even colour. This ensures that they only see bikes that fit their initial requirements.
Many cyclists find that eBay is the perfect place to get a great deal on a racing bike, just remember the helpful advice in this guide and finding a racing bike on the site should be easy. Learn to identify the different features that are present on a racing bike to avoid the disappointment of purchasing a model that doesn’t meet with race specifications. Take some time to consider what frame material will work best; all have different properties, price points and performance levels.
Finally, cyclists should take advantage of the wonderful features on eBay to search for a new bike that matches their every requirement. Use search filters to eliminate bikes that will not be of interest, whilst all the time narrowing down the options until only bikes that fit the exact requirements of the buyer are left.