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Road bikes are designed for the rigors of fast-paced cycling on paved surfaces and are built to be lighter, faster and more aerodynamic.
They usually have thin tires with a narrow width, fast rims and lightweight frame construction to minimize wind resistance.
They’re also characterized by a long wheelbase (the distance between the front and rear wheels) that gives excellent stability at high speeds.
The downside is that they’re not well-suited for riding on dirt or gravel trails or unpaved roads. The smooth tires lack the traction needed for these surfaces, and the lightweight frames are susceptible to damage from potholes and other road hazards.
With a road bike, you’ll get a more comfortable seat and easier gearing than with other types of bicycles.
When you’re shopping for one, you’ll see a variety of different wheel sizes. The most common are 700c, which are measured from the center of the wheel to the center of the rim; 650b, a relatively new option that is gaining popularity; and 26-inch (aka “26er”).
Rim size makes no difference in how a bike rides or handles — it’s all about personal preference. The best way to determine what feels best is to spend some time on several bikes with different wheel sizes.