DROP BAR ROAD BIKESA drop bar road bike which can vary in weight from around 7 kg to 13 kg depending on the material used to make the bike and it's components. A carbon road bike typically will weigh in at around 7 kg. Road bikes can fall into several categories, including flat bar, touring, racing and endurance. They have drop-down handlebars and more recent models often have disc brakes. However, some manufacturers are persisting with calliper brakes on their road bikes, but the number seems to be reducing every month. Road bikes typically don't have mudguards, racks, panniers or mountain bike type suspension. Endurance bikes are designed for riders travelling long distances or riding on very bumpy surfaces such as paving. These bikes may have some form of shock absorber within the frame and or the seat pillar, but they are usually fixed devices and cannot be adjusted, but again this seems to be changing with the most recent models from some manufacturers.
Unlike hybrid bikes that have three chain rings up front and up to ten gear wheels at the rear providing up to 30 gear settings, a road bike will normally have two chain rings at the front and 11 gear wheels at the rear, providing 22 gear settings. Rather than using handlebar based levers, road bikes use dual control levers more commonly known as paddles. Each paddle provides a combination of braking and gear changing functions. To apply the brakes you pull the main lever towards you, where as to change rear gears you move the right hand paddle (in Australia and other countries that ride on the left side of the road) sideways to change gears up or down, and on the left side to change between the little and big cogs.
Over the last few years more and more cycle touring companies have either added road bikes to their range of rental bikes or have started up specifically aimed at road touring on road bikes. An example of the latter is Road Bike Tours Italy which offers a number of road tours across Italy using Giant TSR road bikes. Below is an example of the Willier road bike.
In addition to disc brakes, the other major change that has occurred with road bikes has been the addition of electronic gears. The Shimano and Shram electronic gear systems replace the paddles with small electronic pads that operate similar to operating a computer mouse. The Shimano Di2 shown below has two small plastic pads beside each other and the rider simply clicks the up or down pad to change gears or cogs up or down.