No matter what type of bicycle you buy or how you intend to use it, the frame is by far the single most important component of the machine.
When it comes to choosing a road bike frame a range of construction materials are available, each with its own unique properties and attributes. By understanding your own personal riding style, you can then work out exactly which material suits you best and falls within your budget.
A steel road bike frame is by far the most common and by far the cheapest, but it is also comparatively heavy and more prone to corrosion that other materials. Steel frames are usually made from round tubes which therefore offer little in the way of aerodynamic advantage for time trial riders.
Aluminium road bike frames are lighter than steel but are also much stiffer, which can make for a less comfortable ride. Unlike steel, aluminium frames can be made into shapes that increase the aerodynamics of the bike, helping to shave vital seconds off a race. A titanium road bike frame will offer the best of all worlds with lightness, stiffness and great durability, though it is the most expensive of the metal frames.
If you intend to compete at the highest possible level, a carbon road bike frame is really the only way to go. Carbon fibre is the lightest and stiffest material that can be used to manufacture bike frames. The material also offers superb aerodynamics. The only downside is that all these advantages come with a hefty price tag attached.