If you’ve been daydreaming about getting out more and are thinking about getting a bicycle, you’re not alone. Many seniors enjoy cycling because it’s healthy for your heart and protects the joints in your legs.
But which type of bike should you choose? Read on to learn more about road bikes and take a look at our picks for the best road bikes for seniors!
What is a Road Bike?
Road bikes, in their purest form, are highly specialized machines designed to be used in serious road races. If you’ve ever caught the Tour de France on TV while flipping channels, you saw hundreds of road bikes.
Road bikes are built with very light materials, ultra-narrow tires, and handlebars that require you to lean forward to ride effectively. They’re built for speed and longevity, helping riders pedal for hours on end, for days at a time. These bikes usually require you to wear cycling shoes, specialized footwear that clips onto the pedals.
The term “road bike” can also refer to any bicycle that’s designed with a light frame and pavement-only tires. Non-racing road bikes are a bit less intense and are more comfortable to ride as well as being more affordable. Road bikes built for racing can cost thousands of dollars; casual road bikes can be found in the upper hundreds.
Pros and Cons of Road Bikes for Seniors
Best Brands of Road Bikes
For all the talk about “true” road bikes, not every senior is looking to win the Tour de France. Trek, one of the most popular cycling brands in the world, makes road bikes that are world-class, but they also make road bikes for the average person. If you’re interested in a road bike but want something more comfortable and casual, Trek is the way to go.
These bikes are made to be the best of the best. If you’re in good shape and you enjoy riding fast and far, get yourself a Bianchi. But, you should be cautious before buying- they’re among the world’s most expensive bikes. While you certainly get what you pay for (a world-class bike for a world-class price), not every senior needs a bicycle of this caliber.
The Best Road Bikes for Seniors in 2021
1. Best Road Bike for Seniors (Overall): Bianchi Infinito CV
The Infinito is a Bianchi, which means it’s top-of-the-line, but it’s got a more casual design that lends itself well to use by seniors. It’s an “endurance” road bike, which means it’s built for long hours of riding.
If you want to get a great workout on a road bike without becoming a world-class athlete, this is the best way to do it! It’s still very expensive, which means some seniors may need to look elsewhere. If you’ve got the budget, though, this road bike is sure to satisfy both serious and casual cyclists alike!
2. Best Recumbent Road Bike for Seniors: Performer JC-70
If you want the best of the best in your recumbent road bike, this is the way to go. It’s expensive, but that’s because it’s built for speed and performance. It has 27 different gears and uses carbon wheels to keep you moving quickly and efficiently.
Recumbent bicycles are excellent for people who have mild disabilities or back/hip problems that make riding a traditional bicycle painful. If you can’t use a traditional bike but still want to engage in high-speed, intense cycling, this is the bike for you!
3. Best Serious Road Bike for Seniors: Bianchi Specialissima
The best bike from the best road bike manufacturer, the Specialissima is built for competition. If you’re still in good shape and are dedicated to fitness, this is the bike for you. You’ll have to pay more than $8,500 for it, but it’s worth it for the right senior.
If you want to compete in road races in a senior’s division, or just have a taste for the finest things, this is the bike for you. It’s extremely light, nimble, and capable of tackling the most intense road cycling scenarios on the planet!
4. Best Road Bike for a Fit Senior Rider: Trek Emonda SL 6
This bike, while not intended for the same caliber of racing as the Bianchis we’ve looked at so far, is still race-ready in every way. If you’re in good shape and looking to take it up a notch or just maintain your current level of fitness, this (slightly more affordable) road bike is ideal for you.
The carbon frame combines elements of an aero frame with standard racing frames to make you lighter, quicker, and more efficient with every pedal. For a senior with serious fitness goals and a moderately-sized budget, the Emonda SL 6 is the ideal road bike to own!
5. Most Comfortable Road Bike for Senior: HeartsBio Carbon Frame Road Bike, 18 Speed
Weighing less than 19 pounds, this ultralight carbon road bike is more comfortable than it may seem at first. It’s still not as comfy as a cruiser or hybrid bike; that’s just the nature of road bikes. However, this bike has a seat that aims to reduce soreness and discomfort on long rides, something that anyone can appreciate.
If you’re a casual rider, this road bike gives you an unrivaled bang for the buck. All of the bikes we’ve looked at thus far cost at least $3,000; this bike can be yours for half that price. If you want to get into road biking but aren’t sure you want to spend several thousand dollars, this comfortable carbon bike is the way to go!
6. Best Road bike for an Elderly Woman: Trek Domane AL 2
With a slightly smaller frame ideal for most women, the Trek Domane is ready to be ridden- but you won’t have to pay through the nose to get it. This bike is also available in larger sizes and is intended to be unisex, which means that although it’s perfect for senior women, men can use it, too.
For less than $1,000, you get a true road bike that will perform just as well as models that cost 3-4 times as much! For a first road bike that fits senior women, the Domane AL 2 is nearly impossible to beat. You can ride it as casually or as seriously as you like- it’s ready to be there with you at every mile, no matter what the road looks like.
7. Best Tandem Road Bike for a Senior Couple: Northwoods Dual Drive Tandem Bicycle
Tandem bikes are a lot of fun, but they aren’t usually built for performance. The Dual Drive from Northwoods is a rare exception: a tandem bike that has a lighter frame and 21 speeds to choose from. While you won’t be winning any prize money from races with this bike, you’re sure to outpace any other couple on a tandem bike you happen to run across!
The bike weighs less than 70 pounds, making it a tandem bike that weighs the same as a single-person electric bike! It also comes at an incredible value- you can have the best-performing tandem bike on the market for less than $1,000!
FAQs: Road Bikes
How to Improve Balance on a Road Bike Seniors
Focus Your Eyes
By looking ahead, not down at the ground in front of you, you can better adjust to what is coming down the road. This means that, instead of adjusting your balance ad hoc (and risking a crash), you can smoothly adjust your balance as you ride.
As you can see in this video, you can build balance on your bike by forcing yourself to. Ride very slowly and you won’t have as much forward momentum to keep you upright. This forces you to work at balancing much harder, which makes balancing as you ride normal speeds much easier.
Road Bike Training for Elderly Beginners
If you haven’t ridden a bike in a long time, prepare to take your training very slowly. Give yourself time to get reacquainted with your bike and ride just a couple of miles at a time. Then, when you feel more confident riding, slowly increase the duration of your rides to 30 minutes.
30-Minute rides, a few times per week (recommended by experts), are ideal for most seniors and are a good stopping point for seniors who are getting back into shape. Once you’ve gotten into shape, you can start riding for longer amounts of time. The key is to know your limits and take things at a snail’s pace until your joints and muscles strengthen.
YouTube Videos for Training
Most training videos are intended for general audiences, so use your best judgment when applying the training techniques you learn to your own circumstances!
Buying Guide: Seniors and Road Bikes
What to Look for in a Road Bike for Seniors
How to Find the Best Price on a Road Bike for Seniors
Road bikes, though they may be too intense for some seniors, are still a great way to stay in shape. They’re a lot of fun to ride, and they’re ideal for seniors who want to maintain a high level of fitness as they age. Which road bike on our list was your favorite? Do you have any questions about road bikes? We’d love to see your thoughts below!