Road bikes, as the name implies, are bikes that are built for maintaining decent to high speeds while you’re riding on paved roads and asphalt. These are sometimes referred to as racing bikes because the type is often used on racing circuits.
While many manufacturers will group racing bikes in with road bikes, there are a few that have distinct racing bikes and keep road bikes separate.
You can easily tell the difference, though, because a pure racing bike will be built for speed, with foot locks on the pedals, forward leaning handlebars and high, skinny seats with extremely lightweight wheels and skinny tires.
Road bikes still have forward facing handlebars, but they’re not positioned as aggressive as a racing bike, and the wheels tend to be thinner with less tire to help accommodate a wide range of riders.
The tires on road bikes are filled to higher pressures, and are nearly smooth to help decrease your rolling resistance and increase your riding speed. Most road bikes are also multiple gears, front and rear, and feature extremely lightweight frames.
The term road bike also refers to quite a few different sub-categories, ranging from touring, utility, recumbent, and flat bar road bikes. The sub-category you choose has a lot to do with the type of riding you’ll be doing, and the frame style you want to ride.