Why Don't We Do It in the Road?

Gear up withe year's fasted bikes for the buck

May 1, 2002
Outside Magazine

Make no mistake, the road bike is back in the limelight. Why? One word: Lance. But there's more to this skinny-tire renaissance. Like it or not, pavement is everywhere and mountain-bike trails aren't. Even if your passion is mud, when you have a scant hour or two after work, nothing beats the convenience of a road bike. Road rides, after all, leave right from your front door no matter where you live. There's also nothing quite like barreling down pavement at 35 miles per hour in a 20-rider peloton.

Like the rest of Western civilization, however, the road bike has benefited from its fat-tire brothers. Most road rigs now offer (or have as an option) a wide range of gears that let even adherents of the Dunkin' Donuts fitness plan conquer steep hills. Other smart off-road borrowings include zero-maintenance sealed bearings and standard combination brake-shift levers that let you change gears with your hands firmly planted on the handlebars—which is nice when you're drafting an 18-wheeler in traffic.

We rounded up and tested six of this year's best bikes, along with a tasty smorgasbord of accessories that make an ancient rig ride like new. From entry-level to sky's-the-limit, here are road bikes for all.