What do you need to look for when buying your first road bike? With a wealth of information out there it is a difficult task to find out exactly what you should be considering when taking your first foray into cycling on tarmac. Let's simplify what you should be looking at: Frame material, groupset, style, and of course price.
However, unless you're in the enviable position of having a nice disposable income and can afford to splash out on a carbon, deep sectioned, Zipp wheeled road bike, then your decision is always going to be governed by price. The other points are still important, but they are more often than not, dictated by the price point.
The chances are that your budget will be limited to around, or just under the £1000 price mark and whilst it's not going to get you the equivalent of a cycling Ferrari, you will be pleasantly surprised by what you can get for your hard-earned money.
Cube Peloton Race
Could a Cube fit the bill? Well, Cube are a young company who have been making giant waves in the bicycle manufacture industry - by supplying well specified bikes for an extremely competitive asking price. It's fair to say that Cube bikes are often head and shoulders above their contemporaries in terms of the equipment they carry and the performance they provide.
Let's take a look at one of their 2015 models, the Cube Peloton race. It's priced at £899.99, so there's some change in your pocket from a grand, which will get you a decent helmet to keep your noggin safe. So, the price is good, what about the rest.
Firstly, let's address the frame material. All of Cube's aluminium frames are designed in-house and feature technology, such as mechanically formed top and down tubes and smooth weld - the Peloton frame even has internal cabling giving it that cleaner look. What does that mean for the ride? It certainly means that you get a well-executed geometry that will never give you a back ache - like those super speedy models - and on the flip side won't feel sluggish neither. It's a great balance between performance and compliance, ideal for a beginner who wants to try fast pace training blasts at the same time as grinding out a 100 mile sportive.
Groupset-wise, for a start it's a full Shimano 105, 11 speed groupset. I know, at last a bike at this price doesn't settle for a Tiagra cassette or the bog-standard FSA chainset. It's full 105. Compare this to similar models from Specialized, Giant and Scott and that's a big selling point, as all the others fall some way short in the groupset department. The Fulcrum wheels are a nice touch too, as you so often see cheap branded wheels on bikes at this price-point.
Style? Well as stereotypical as it sounds you never tend to associate a German firm with outlandish design choices. To be fair to Cube though, some of their ranges feature some bolder colour choices, but the Peloton Race is classically understated. The black paint-job with a touch of red and white colour scheme works on this bike. A classic reliable design with some bright features that really stand out on closer inspection.
The real test of a new bike is how long you hang on to it. The Peloton race is definitely a bike that will ride with you as the miles start to build and you'll probably be riding it long after that too. That carbon fibre Di2 bike awaits sometime in the future, but even then a bike shed without a sturdy, 105-equipped reliable alloy ride is no bike shed at all.