The road bike designed for energy-saving fast riding
Riding at speed on 23 mm wide or similarly narrow tyres, alone or in a group with sportsmanlike ambition – that describes the racing bike, a classic among bicycle types. A frame in typical diamond shape, a spartan-looking, elongated saddle and curved, deep-set handlebars that remind us of sheep horns, that's the picture we have in mind. Next to it, a wiry rider in tight-fitting kit with helmet and gloves. Road cycling is both a leisure activity and a profession.
Less is more on a racing bike: all comfort features such as suspension, luggage racks, mudguards and lighting systems are taboo on racing bikes for weight reasons alone. Due to the sensitive rims, perhaps also because it is simply impractical, they hardly ever dominate the cityscape and are rarely seen on cycle-friendly paths outside towns, but on country roads, alone or in a bunch. Nonetheless, where a cycle path "in proper condition" exists, it must be used according to the StVO, even by racing cyclists.
Low weight whilst maintaining the highest possible stiffness is what counts, and the resulting technology drives up road bikes prices. Carbon frames and other high-tech materials such as titanium and scandium have their price, as do high-quality derailleurs and brakes. Only the obligatory water bottle cage is hopefully less expensive.
Since the bicycle industry is extremely creative, there are now also so-called gravel bikes with 32 mm and wider tyres that make racing fun even on unpaved roads. Other variants are cyclocross bikes and fitness/speed bikes with straight handlebars. For the purists: electrification is only allowed for the gears. No racing cyclist worthy of the name wants to be deprived of the thrill of riding fast without the help of a motor and showing pedelecs their – non-existent – rear light. That there are now racing bikes with motors is another story