The best entry-level road bikes

We take a look at entry-level road bikes for beginners. We also provide the best options available at a great price.

Man riding a road bike on a country road: the best entry-level road bikes

by Chris Williams |

Aren’t bikes brilliant? They get us from A to B with the side effect of improving our mental wellbeing, fitness levels and being kinder and more friendly to the environment. Many of us take up riding a bike for many different reasons, but whatever that reason is, we’re here to help you make the right choice when it comes to picking an entry-level road bike.

If you are interested in taking your commuting game to the next level or just riding your bike more readily on the road, you may be looking for a road bike that will enable you to do so for under £1,000. Happily, as we get used to seeing more and more technology crammed into the top-end road bikes, this trickles down to the lower price points. This means that bikes below the £1,000 price point often have a smattering of carbon fibre, disc brakes, and even internal cabling is becoming more common around this price.

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Here are some things to look out for.

Disc brakes Vs Rim Brakes

Many people swear by rim brakes as the best; they will argue that a correctly set up rim brake is the best way to slow and stop your bike and that disc brakes are just a way of manufacturers making money.

While yes, rim brakes are excellent, their stopping power isn’t as great as disc brakes; this tends to make bikes with discs more expensive, but as we see them becoming more commonplace in cycling, their price is reducing as manufacturers look to offer the consumer the best possible bike.

Most disc brakes below £1,000 will likely be cable operated, but some may be hydraulic. This means there is a fluid inside the cabling which operates the brake, just like the brake lines on your car. These are said to give a better feel and a more modulated response, with less wear than a cable, but still require servicing and can be challenging to do yourself.

Our opinion is that disc brakes are better than rim brakes, but this is your personal choice for feel through the brake lever and response.

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Carbon fibre is the best, right?

Well, it all depends on what you’re going for. There are many different grades of carbon fibre, and just because you see a road bike made from carbon fibre for under £1,000, it’ll be better than an aluminium frame with carbon forks, which are much more common around this price.

Carbon fibre bikes around the £1,000 mark may bring you the lightness you desire, but they won’t have the same flex as more expensive carbon fibre frames, meaning fractures or breaks are much more likely on the brittle frames.

Aluminium bikes around this price point offer fantastic value and sometimes a better ride than similarly priced carbon fibre models.

Other things to consider

Yes, they may all look the same, but you may want to note the subtle differences in road bikes. Road bikes come in different categories; those to be raced on will have short wheelbases and more aggressive geometry that may not be so comfortable for everyday riding. On the contrary touring road bikes will have longer wheelbases and be more comfortable for long days in the saddle. It’s all about thinking about what you’re going to do, and we would always err on the side of comfort when first starting road cycling or picking it back up again after a long time. As you get more into it, you can always purchase upgrades or even a bike to suit your new riding style once you’ve figured out what that is.

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Buying a bike online.

This can be a very cheap and easy way to buy a bike, but it does come with some difficulties – you don’t get to see what the bike feels like before you buy it, being one.

Our advice would be to get a much better deal online as some manufacturers ship straight to the customer, and large retailers such as Wiggle offer great information on sizing. Sigma Sports has the exact sizing information level, and bikes can be returned for a small returns fee.

The best entry-level road bikes for women

Some manufacturers make bikes, especially for women, such as Liv, some make women’s versions of their road bikes, and some lump men’s and women’s bikes into one. Is there a difference? Well, yes. Geometry for a woman’s bike and a man’s bike can be different, and the differences can make you more or less comfortable on the bike.

Consider your body type, arm and leg lengths, and if you’re buying your bike online – talk to the retailer or check all the measurements.

The Razor W features a sporty aluminium frame and carbon fork with comfortable geometry, and it is equipped with superb components and a stylish finishing kit. Vitus fitted it with a Shimano Claris 2x8-Speed groupset, powerful dual-pivot calliper rim brakes, and it rolls upon alloy Vitus wheels wrapped in high-grip Kenda Kwick Roller Sport tyres. Ideal for road racing, long-distance endurance events and general fitness cycling, the Razor W is dependable and fun.

Whether stepping over your first road bike or pulling away from lights on a regular commute, the Vitus Razor W delivers that same sensation of speed and freedom. And it never gets old.

Comfortable for the long haul, lively on the climbs, and confident on the descents, the Liv Avail 2 is a versatile endurance road bike which will help you cover miles with ease. Avail features the latest endurance frame geometry and an Advanced-grade composite fork with the OverDrive steerer for precision steering and to keep you fresh for more miles. The Cartridge bottom bracket transfers power directly from each pedal stroke into the road for superb pedalling efficiency.

Decathlon’s all-female design team developed this women's bike and tested it by numerous women. It's the perfect ally on both flat and hilly rides. Every aspect of this bike has been entirely designed for women. Thanks to its aluminium frame, comfortable geometry, and carbon fork, it offers comfort and precision.

Decathlon’s own brand, Triban, has been producing great entry-level bikes for some time, and this one is no different; at an excellent price, you get a bike you will be able to cover many miles on and get a feel of road riding.

For the women’s version of the Cannondale Synapse, you’ll pay an extra £100, so here’s a cheat code if you’re a little bit taller and able to, buy the unisex model and dip under the £1,000 mark! You get an awful lot of bikes for your money here, too.

The Cannondale Synapse Aluminium Sora Disc Road Bike is stiff, light and versatile - perfect for commuting, challenging sportives or the weekly club run. The endurance geometry is upright enough to feel comfortable but is still low enough to promote speed and efficiency. A full carbon fork takes the edge off road buzz, reducing the onset of fatigue so that you can comfortably tackle long rides.

Cables are routed internally to clear from water and dirt, keeping maintenance low, and the Shimano Sora groupset is durable enough to withstand the rigours of frequent riding. Cable actuated disc brakes are easy to maintain or adjust and inspire confidence in poor weather or when riding technical roads. The frame will accommodate up to a 32mm tyre to further enhance comfort and handling.

Van Rysel’s new women's aluminium endurance bike offers a subtle balance between handling and comfort for your more energetic rides.

This light, comfortable bike has a feminine geometry and is made for speed. Aluminium frame, carbon/aluminium fork, Shimano 105 drivetrain, Fulcrum Racing 900 wheels. Accessible performance!

The Best Entry-Level Road Bikes For Men

The Flat bars of this Cube SL may help those who don’t like the feeling of drop handlebars or for riding around a city. Taking the DNA of their racing bikes Cube have offered something a little more comfortable for someone who want’s a racy bike but comfortable feel.

The SL Road features an Aluminium Lite Trekking frame, which Cube has kitted out with excellent components to ensure you get the most from every ride. It has a flat handlebar and a full-carbon fork that combine to ensure you have agile and vibration-reducing performance over rough terrains. A Shimano Claris 2x8-Speed gear transmission gives you a versatile gear range for climbing steep hills and fast acceleration while powerful hydraulic disc brakes ensure you have reliable all-weather stopping power at your fingertips. Plus, it rolls fast and stable upon Cube RA 1.9 cyclocross (CX) wheels wrapped in high-grip Schwalbe Little Big Ben tyres.

With the Specialized Allez Sport Road Bike you get both great aesthetics and reliable performance. The aluminium frame and carbon fork bring strength, stiffness and stable handling. Maintenance is kept to a minimum with Shimano's reliable Sora gearing, and shifting across the 9-speed cassette is crisp and smooth, while the Axis brakes work well in all conditions, offering powerful yet modulated stopping. Axis Sport clincher wheels are built to last and roll well over rough roads.

Bringing together a responsive, stable ride feel with reliable components, the Trek Domane AL 2 Disc Road Bike is a great entry point into the world of road cycling. Endurance Geometry focuses on comfort without compromising performance. The bike is designed to suit long hours in the saddle, to get the miles in without any aches and pains, and the carbon fork incorporates IsoSpeed bump-smoothing technology, slowing the onset of fatigue caused by harsh road surfaces.

There's space for wide 38mm tyres and mounts for mudguards, so you can set the Domane up for longer adventures in all conditions on mixed terrains. Claris and Sora may be Shimano's more entry-level components, however, they're still reliable - shifting is smooth and braking powerful even in the wet. Robust tubeless-ready Bontrager wheels are a solid choice, built to last and roll fast, and they're ready to be set up tubeless if you prefer.

Just like in the Women’s road bike we can’t look past the Triban RC120 Disc – you get a lot of bike for this money and it’s a fantastic option for an entry-level bike. Designed to make it easy for riders to make progress. Its versatility and selection of speeds will allow you to explore any kind of road.

Ok – alright it’s £99 over the £1,000 bench mark and that’s not because we couldn’t find another bike to put in here but quite the opposite. There are plenty of decent bikes under the £1,000 marl but take note of this one by Ribble made in the Ribble Valley in the UK this is one heck of a bike for £1,099.

Light, agile, and comfortable, the Endurance AL Disc is an aluminium endurance road bike that lends itself superbly to fast-paced rides short or long. It comes equipped for everyday rides with the reliable and capable gear shifting of Shimano's Tiagra 2x10 speed series drivetrain complete with an FSA Omega chainset, the all-weather braking performance of mechanical disc brakes and a dependable wheel combination for year-round road rides in Mavic Aksium wheels fitted with Continental Ultra Sport tyres.

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