A road bike is a good start for all cyclists, be it pro, hobby, or casual riders. It has a lot of advantages and is more well-rounded than the specialized types for certain types of surfaces. Pavement or mountainous road, a road bike can easily help you to conquer it.
Nonetheless, the hunt for your true road bike can be challengings, with all the advertisements from different manufacturers. To make the right decision, you should have basic knowledge of this special type of bike, and also get the introduction to one of the top stars in the road bike line: the Z15.
What exactly is a road bike?
Everyone knows that it is a type of bike, but what makes it different from its fellows? The term “road bike” can be understood with a different interpretation. Some may refer to road bikes as racing bikes, but it is typically known as the bike for speed traveling on paved surfaces. Besides, it can be used to indicate the type of bikes that have high endurance and more gear combination.
The first and most basic definition of a road bike is the type of bikes intended to be used on roads and other relatively flat surfaces. This type of bike has appeared long before and got modified through the ages, but the fundamental silhouettes still stay unchanged now.
However, road bikes often have distinctive features that mark their types. For example, the tires of road bikes are often narrow, high-pressure, and smooth, which help to reduce rolling resistance. The popular choice for the road bike handlebar is the dropped bar, which allows the riders to position themselves forward and downward to decrease air resistance.
The majority of road bikes will have derailleur gears, but single-speed and fixed-gear type can also be seen. For the braking system, either disc brakes or rim brakes are fine. In addition, road bikes are quite lightweight in general, so they suit various types of riding easily.
Some variations of road bikes
Road bikes are a loosely used term, and you can be confused when a lot of bikes, regardless of differences in features, are all called road bikes. There are more than a few variations of road bikes, but in general, they are all better to ride on paved roads rather than off-road.
Touring bikes are one of the most famous variations. They are strong, reliable, robust, and have good capacity. Touring bikes are best used for long-distance journeys and bicycle touring.
Another popular one is hybrid bikes. They can either be used for utility or recreational purposes and run smoothly on whichever relatively flat surfaces.
For people who highly value utility, a utility bicycle is a good choice. It is the traditional type, which is frequently used for commuting, running errands, and shopping.
Meanwhile, for decoration and collection purposes, vintage road bikes are favored. This one often has steel tubings and lugs and is considered to be timeless and efficient in any case. However, the price range for this type of road bike can be quite high, depending on the manufacturer’s date and name.
One new variation of road bikes are warmly welcomed by all cyclists is a fitness bike, a type of flat handlebar one. The most prominent characteristic of this road bike is the flat bar of course, but it also has MTB-styled shifters and brake levers. This gives a lightweight, speedy performance and an upright riding position.
What makes a good road bike for you?
Even the most subtle changes in the component of a road bike can make great differences. Although road bike models may look similar to each other, there are subtle but important differences in the frame design. The frame geometry can either be sport or performance geometries, depending on your utility.
Sport geometry is for recreational purposes, with a more upright riding position and relaxed steering. Meanwhile, performance geometry aims at races, with better aerodynamics and more responsive steering input.
For the materials, several choices are available. For a smooth ride and reasonable price range, aluminum frames are recommended. If your most concern is vibration absorbing ability and comfort, you can choose a carbon-fiber one.
The key components also contribute largely to the performance and endurance of a road bike. For the crankset, triple, double, or compact ones are often used. Wheels of road bikes decide the weight of the bike, acceleration speed, bike aerodynamics, and resistance. Therefore, getting a high-quality wheelset is a worthy investment.
For cassette, there are lots of options for the road bike. Good cassettes will promote better-pedaling speed, thus boost performance. Typically, 11 or 12 sprockets or 11- or 12-speed ones are decent for the use of racers and leisure road bike riders. However, the range for cassette can vary from 11-28t to 11-30t
Rear derailleurs are often attached at the rear dropout of the frame, helping to change the gear and activating the chain under the control of shifters. Even though some road bikes have solo gearing, having front and rear derailleurs are far more popular.
Z15 – True power for all the ride
The Z-series bikes are not FELT’s first line of the racing road bike, but it is definitely different. Inheriting the strongest point from F-series bikes, which is the sturdy frame materials, the Z15 is far more superior and meant for another type of race.
The design of Z15 is inspired by the classic European bikes, the most popular ones in the 70s and 80s. This bike can conquer the highest mountains, participate in the Grand Tour and tirelessly ride through further miles.
This model has a longer trail, wheelbase, and head tube, so handling the bike is much smoother and calmer, even cornering with Z15 is gentle and effortless. In the Z series, the intention is to provide you with the best enjoyment. The saddle is soft and supporting, the design is best used as a century bike.
The geometry of Z15 is indeed wonderful and compact. The top tube is sloping, offering better standover height and stiffness, at the same time reducing the weight.
The fit of this model is no less, it can accommodate the riders for a short ride, long journey, or even several day tours. A longer head tube gives the cyclists more flexibility and optimizes a higher handlebar position.
The balance of stiffness and flexibility is what creates a good road bike. The combination of the stiffness of racing bikes and comfort of century level is well blended in the Z-series bikes. The secret of this godly manufacturer is the same recipe of principles of the classic bike of the Golden Age.
The Z15 has a slack head tube angle, pushing the fork ahead and using longer chainstays, as well as longer tubing to cushion all the shock and vibration from the ride. Moreover, the compact frame’s sloping top tube not only enhances the stiffness but also helps to dampen the vibration.
The compact frame design is truly what makes Z-series bikes stand out. It providing better stiffness without any sacrifice of other aspects of performance, improve the comfort with seat post flex and take out a bit of weight from the tubing works.
Not many bikes can handle 45mm of rake, but FELT successfully employed forks with 50mm of rake for all the Z-series bikes. As a result, the bike handling level is just like a dream, the steering is exceptionally responsive and swift.
For a more classic choice for road bike handling, slacker head tube and longer fork’s rake are featured for both better steering and ability of vibration absorbing. Therefore, riding on a Z15 is like riding on the cloud, but giving the most earnest and true-to-feeling response from every corner and turning.
The frame materials are largely carbon fiber of the highest quality. Each layer of carbon fiber in the frame is unified, giving the even experience of the flex pattern. Not only the frame, the front fork, and the seat post are from carbon fiber too, proving that the Z15 is a trustworthy investment for anyone aiming for quality.
The handlebars are from black aluminum, with carbon fiber Campagnolo shifters of the same colors. The main theme of the Z15 is black, but the silver lines coating complimenting the frame perfectly, giving it a strong yet elegant look.
The size of the tubes is something unusual with 61cm, 10cm better than the normal specifications for a road bike. The stiffness of each size is hence adjusted, so it would resonate better with the whole frame. This means that with each bike size, riders of different weights can have the same top-notch experience with stiffness.
Some other specifications worth mentioning of the Z15 are the drivetrain, wheelset, and components. The Shimano Dura-Ace 20-speed Shifters and Derailleurs Shimano Ultegra 11.25 cassette work well on multiple types of surfaces, offering the best balance and control on the ride.
The wheelset is also Shimano, with carbon clincher and Vittoria Diamante Pro Light tires. The handlebar is the Felt custom-designed Monocoque 1.1 185 gram carbon, and also the anatomic saddle with white carbon fiber cover. All components look neat and comfortable, promising the best experience with Z15.
The total weight of this model is also on the lightweight side. Without cages and pedals, Z15 barely reaches 15 pounds, a good number for a road bike. Even with full accessories and components, it only adds 1 more pound at most.
The experience with Z15
Retailing at a reasonable mid-end price, the majority of riders who chose Z15 as their companion show high satisfaction. The ride now becomes smooth and effortless, no bumpy feeling can be detected. For going uphill and downhill, the bike is stiff and solid, speeding up through terrain easily.
The achievable top speed of Z15 is around 59 mph, a good figure that not every road bike can reach. On the other hand, the components of the bike are great at keeping both stabilizing and accelerating under control.
Even for riders who are familiar with aggressive riding position, the relaxing geometry poses no problem. Making a fit or pulling down all the spacers to customize the riding position and you are good to go.
The look of this model is quite radical, from the sloping top tube combining with the huge down tube to the relaxed geometry. Nevertheless, though it looks like a bike for recreational purposes, the stiffness and endurance are on the same level as racing bikes.
For all types of riders, this one has the perfect balance between comfort and performance. It is easy to get familiar with, controlling is a piece of cake, and accelerating or braking is no major problem. The flexibility of the bike is also praised by all the riders, and so loved by the Garmin-Chipotle team.
In general, FELT Z15 is a lightweight, smooth-riding, comfortable and well-forged model that strives well in both performance and recreational departments. The sleek and mysterious look contributes more to the popularity of this model, making it one of the best road bikes available now.