2020’s Best Road Bikes For Every Budget – Entry level to Mid-range

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If the idea of cruising down the highway as fast as you can possibly pedal appeals to you, a perfect aerodynamic silhouette going across the horizon, then a road bike is exactly what your adventurous spirit needs.

There are different types of road bikes, whether you’re looking to go for speed, long distance and endurance, or something else. There are some for beginners, and then some very high-end options that are unbelievably light due to expensive and advanced materials.

Road bikes will take you further, and have you riding faster, than if you were to spend the same amount of energy riding a mountain bike. The thin tires are inflated very high, which means you’ll have a closer connection to the road, and you’ll feel every crack in the sidewalk.

Keep reading to learn more about how we’ve managed to sort through the very best road bikes, so that you can find one that’s exactly what you need.

In a hurry? The test winner after 18 hours of research:

editors pick
Kestrel Talon Road Shimano 105 Bicycle


Why is it better?

  • Aero style bike
  • Adequate stopping power
  • Fully carbon frame

our score

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Last Updated: [todaysdate format="F 1, Y"]

By Max Shumpert: This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information regarding road bicycles available for those who are interested in fast paced biking. The best 6 available have changed, and information has been added to assist individuals in finding the best road bike currently available on the market. The FAQ has also been updated.

Rating: 89/100 View Latest Deal →Read Full Review
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Best Cheap Road Bike

We start this list off for those of you shopping on a budget, hoping to get a solid yet affordable road bike.

These are our the two cheapest road bikes we can vouch for in the road bike category.


  • Performance Hybrid road bike with components and 700c wheels
  • Hydroformed Alloy Performance Hybrid Frame and Fork
  • Disc Brakes for Great Stopping Power

The Vilano Diverse 3.0 offers you the best of both worlds as far as everyday commuting and riding in the countryside is concerned. It combines the sheer power of a mountain bike and the simplicity of a road bike to deliver a high-performance hybrid bike for the ideal cycling experience.

The Vilano Diverse 3.0 comes in only two frame sizes: 53 and 57 centimeters, which can accommodate riders between the heights 5’5” and 6’4”. The frame is made of 6160 aluminum, which provides a balance between durability and agility. The fork fits 700cc tires and helps to reduce the trapping of dirt or mud.

There is no hassle when it comes to stopping the Vilano Diverse 3.0. This is thanks to the Shimano mechanical disks that come with great stopping power to give you full control of the ride in both dry and wet conditions. The brakes have been integrated with the shifters to enhance your control from the cockpit.

This bike is equipped with a Shimano EF 51 3/8 Speed shifter with 24 gears to give you an easy time when you have to take on steep inclines, declines, and flat terrains.

 Your hands remain in full contact with the handlebars for more convenience. The shifters perform perfectly in all kinds of weather conditions, including in the rain and snow. 

The Weinmann 700cc rims are strong and warp-resistant, enabling you to ride for a lifetime with minimal damage. These rims maintain speed on uneven grounds and during heavy braking, which is a credit to the disc brakes easing the pressure off the walls.

And while the Weinmann are not the best rims in the industry, they can still comfortably bear loads of up to 300 pounds.

The Kendra 35c tires on the Diverse 3.0 make use of high-quality rubber that can cope with different terrains. However, the narrow width of the wheels makes them unsuitable for downhill runs, as well as dirt trails. 

The Vilano Diverse 3.0 is our pick for a cheap yet solid road bike. In our Diverse 3 review, we go over some of the positives and negatives, including the weird unconventional gear adjustment Vilano opted for. 

It has a charming design and comes with great features that function together to provide you with a fun ride. Not to mention that it has the kind of versatility you’d expect from a quality hybrid bike. 


  • Wheelset: 700c doubled walled CNC machined side
  • Shimano STI Integrated Brake Lever/Shifters offer precise and controllable braking and shifting in a convenient single unit designed for the road
  • 6061 Double Butted Aluminum Aero frame with integrated headset

The Vilano R2 is a great entry level road bike that spoils you with top quality specifications for a smooth ride despite carrying an affordable price tag. Whether you are a new bike enthusiast or an experienced rider, you will have a blast riding it in the city, on the trail, or in uphill stretches.

The 6061 aluminum material used on the frame keeps the bike lightweight so that you won’t have to struggle on steep inclines. The frame has been neatly welded to give you a fine-looking and durable build for the bike, which complements the cute gloss black color it comes in.

The Alloy caliper brakes on the R2 are among the best in its class. They are consistent in providing excellent braking power whether you use them for racing or for a day-long rally.

The brake levers are quite neutral and will feel natural in your hands. And if you wish, you can adjust their height to your preference.

The R2 uses Shimano A050 thumb rear indexed with 7-speed shifters. The front friction 3-speed provides you with 21 different levels of speed, ensuring that you have the right speed for the terrain you are in. However, the friction shift on the front rings may take a while to get used to.

Vilano could have done better with the 700c Double-walled CNC Alloy Machined Sides they used on the R2. There have been complaints about the tires not being durable enough. Nevertheless, it isn't a big concern as they still get the job done.

The quick release skewer works well with the 700c by 25c tires to provide you with a stable ride on varying surfaces. 

If you’ve been searching for cheap road bikes that offer great performance, the Vilano R2 is an option that fits the bill.

It is strong, lightweight, and comes in a cool design. The R2 ensures that you have a comfortable ride for your many adventures without you having to break the bank.

Best Beginner/Entry Level Road Bike

If you’re just starting out and getting into road cycling, you don’t necessarily have to run out and get the most expensive bike you can find. In fact, you can find some very affordable road bikes that are priced and designed for beginners.

These are our two favorite bikes in the beginner / entry level road bike category.


  • Wheelset: 700c doubled walled CNC machined side
  • Shimano STI Integrated Brake Lever/Shifters offer precise and controllable braking and shifting in a convenient single unit designed for the road
  • 6061 Double Butted Aluminum Aero frame with integrated headset

The Vilano Shadow is the most popular entry-level road bike for a reason.

For an incredibly low price, you get a relatively light frame, and a number of solid components that can be easily upgraded at a later time.

As an entry-level bike, this is all you can ask for, as it’s good to go from day one, yet has the ability to be upgraded so you hang onto it for years to come.

The frame itself is made from double-butted aluminum, and has an integrated headset. With all of the components equipped, the Shadow weighs just under 30 lbs, which is good for how much you’re paying.

Despite being a beginner road bike, the Shadow has some decent components made by Shimano.

This includes a 7-speed freewheel and double crankset, for a total of 14 speeds. Shifters are actually integrated with the brake handles, so you use the brake handle itself as a shifter.

This is different from the standard trigger shifters many are used to, and required a bit of adjustment at first.

The seatpost is made from alloy, and has enough length to suit nearly any leg length. The saddle itself has an anatomic fit, but you may want to consider upgrading it immediately if you have some extra money to do so, as many complain that it’s still a bit too stiff.

The Shadow comes with a pair of Kenda 700c x 25c tires, which hold up well even after miles of use. The tubes are another story, however. They are a bit fragile, and can easily puncture during assembly. It’s recommended to purchase some higher-end ​best road bike tubes along with the bike itself.

The included wheelset is decent enough to start out with, but you’ll likely encounter a bit of bending further down the line.

Quick releases on the front and back wheels make changing tubes and tires much more quick and convenient. The Shadow’s pedals are the standard platform style pedals, which can also be easily upgraded if you so choose.

While you may eventually want to upgrade many of the components with the Shadow, it’s still an excellent and affordable option if you’re starting out.

Those that need a road bike for recreational and commuter purposes will fine the Shadow to be everything they need, with the added ability to upgrade as time goes on.

The overall value is hard to ignore. If you’re looking for an easy way into road biking, the Shadow is perfect for you.

In our Vilano Shadow Review we dive deeper into features such as the wheelset and speed system.

2. Giordano Acciao

  • Medium fits riders 5'8"-6'0" with an inseam of 30"-32"
  • Steel frame and Fork
  • 1 1/8" Alloy Threadless Stem and Alloy Handlebar

The Giordano Libero Acciao sits right below the Shadow in terms of being an optimal entry-level bike.

It is not only attractive in design, but also contains some very quality components that help set it apart from most other entry-level bikes.

It does cost a little more than the Shadow, but you get a few more things as well.

The Acciao’s frame is forged from high tensile steel, which results in a relatively heavy weight for a road bike, coming in at 28.9 lbs. While it may be heavier than what’s considered ideal, you do get a very stable frame that keeps you grounded, while making out the best bike pedal efficiency.

Shifting is relatively snappy and precise with Shimano Tourney STI shifters, which includes front and rear derailleurs from the same series as well.

This also applies to the braking system, which is Shimano Tourney STI too.The stock pads are pretty decent, giving you a suitable amount of stopping power and control without exerting too much pressure.

The Vitesse alloy wheelset is surprisingly solid, and employs 32 spokes for better support to protect against bending. The included back road clincher tires perform well in terms of grip and overall feel, but they are also fragile when over-inflated, so make sure you use an accurate tire gauge with them.

The Acciao’s Velo saddle is okay, but some may want to upgrade it after the first few months. Pedals are definitely entry level- as you only get basic plastic versions similar to the Shadow.

The Acciao is a bit of a trade-off.

You get some better components, a better look, and for some, a better ride in general, but it will cost you a little more, and you also have a heavier frame. Still, the Acciao is a top entry-level road bike for a reason, and is a great purchase for anyone starting out with road biking.

 Few popular Giordano bike models  are explored in our  Giordano Review

Best Road Bikes - Best Carbon Frame Bikes Under $2000

Carbon frame bikes are widely considered the best among cycling experts. The combination of incredibly low weight and shock absorption makes them cherished by both competitive and recreational rides alike.

For those with a little more money to spend, you can get a lot of bike for under 2000 dollars.

These bikes tend to have lighter frames, higher-end components, and some added features that help improve everything from speed to comfort. Here are our two favorites.


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Designed as an aero road bike, the Talon is a ridiculously good deal, as you get a quality carbon frame and plenty of quality components for well under $2000.

While it may be a aero-style bike, the Talon is still very comfortable, and suitable for novices and recreational riders who want a bit of extra speed and responsiveness.

The frame of the Talon is its main feature, as it is fully carbon, and a big reason as to why the bike weighs just around 20 lbs. It offers a race-oriented seating position, while still allowing for better pedal efficiency in lieu of the obvious give and flex that a carbon fiber frame provides.

You get 11 speeds with the Talon, courtesy of a Shimano 105 system that includes shifters and the front/rear derailleurs.

The frameset is Kestrel’s own Enhanced Modulus Hybrid. 11 Speeds may be a bit low for some, but the gears have an excellent ratio, so you get a lot of variance in between the highest and lowest gear setting.

Stopping power is more than adequate, as the Talon uses a Tektro R540 dual-pivot pad set that offers lots of grip, made possible with Shimano 105 STI levers. No spongy feelings her, just controllable, hard braking.

The Talon also has some minor comfort features that can make a big difference, especially on longer rides. The EMS Pro Carbon seatpost allows for shock absorption, and the included saddle is surprisingly pleasant as well. The Talon’s handlebars are ergonomic for a better grip and feel too.

The wheelset and tire combination of the Talon is a great value as well. Oval Concept 327 wheels provide sturdy, durable wheels and rims, with four extra spokes in the rear for better weight support. Vittoria Zaffiro Pro 700 x 32c folding tires are very durable as well, and create a smooth, responsive ride with lots of grip.

The Kestrel Talon isn’t just great value, it’s one of the best road bikes period.

While it may be an aero road bike, it still offers a comfortable ride that makes it more versatile than other aero bikes, while retaining plenty of speed.

We cover everything, from the sturdy seat to the durable wheels in our Kestrel Talon In-Depth Review.

Bianchi has long been a respected name in high-end road bikes and the Intenso is a perfect example as to why.

It offers riders a well-rounded carbon frame road bike, with even more added features to encourage a lighter and smoother ride, even at high speeds.

With the Intenso, the frame is obviously the star here.

The entire bike weighs just 18 lbs, and the give in the frame is just enough to absorb shock and vibrations, but not too much as to sap your pedal power away. The front for is carbon as well, and is reinforced with kevlar for better longevity and stability.

The Intenso utilizes a Campagnolo Veloce drivetrain that is very snappy and responsive, offering precise ratios that are great for climbing and top speeds. Shimano 105 derailleurs and shifters are the perfect complement, providing easy shifting and fast response.

The wheelset is equally impressive, as the Intenso comes with Fulcrum Racing Sport Wheels, which are about mid-range in terms of Fulcrum’s full offerings. The included Hutchinson Equinox tires are very rugged, with lots of grip and absorption. They are a bit on the slim side, at 23cm.

The Intenso’s drop bars are short and shallow, and can easily accommodate larger hands. Reparto Corsa components include brake levers, saddle, and seatpost, helping round out the overall look and feel of this bike.

Speaking of looks, it’s hard to beat the Intenso. It comes in a few color options, and each of them looks great, and certainly alludes to the overall quality.

The best part? The Intenso isn’t nearly as expensive as other carbon frame bikes, yet still offers a high level of components and overall ride feel. You may eventually upgrade a few components, but as a whole, the combination of value and quality is superior.

We explore the wheelset, 20-speed system and many other features in our  Bianchi Intenso In-Depth Review.

Best Road Bike Under $1,000

If you’re trying to keep things more affordable, but are still willing to get closer to the $1000 range, you still have plenty of options. These two bikes offer better quality than entry-level bikes, but still manage to stay within a mid range price.

Both of the bikes below are perfect for both beginners and intermediate riders, and can easily be upgraded over time to place them into a higher category as you progress.


  • YOU DON’T NEED TO SPEND MORE: Because Tommaso is a direct to the consumer brand you can now get a bike with 100% Shimano gears, super...
  • THE IMOLA IS AFFORDABLE PERFORMANCE, NOT ENTRY LEVEL: If you are just getting into cycling or returning after a long hiatus, this is your bike....
  • STEP UP TO THE BRAND NEW SHIMANO CLARIS R2000: The Shifters, Derailleurs, Crank, and Brakes are all new Claris. R2000 Claris STI shifters now...

Tommaso brings tremendous value to the table, shipping directly to the customer they can cut their costs dramatically and therefore sell you a superior bike at a more desirable cost. The Imola road bike comes in at just under $1000, a fraction of the cost of many comparable models.

Unlike many of their competitors, they also offer a lifetime frame warranty and classic customer service through their USA based customer service team.

At this price point, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was an entry level road bike. It’s not, it’s a performance product at an affordable price, a true unicorn in the cycling industry!

Complete with the Claris R2000 groupset which is a significant upgrade from the previous group sets that many competitors use. Rather than external cable routing which is less aesthetic and also risks damage, it goes inside the body of the handles.

Similarly, the crankset has been upgraded dramatically for superior shifting and greater all-around performance. Again, you are getting this on a bike that sells for less than $1000.

The Claris STI shifters in this bike mimic 105 and Tiagra components which are reserved for top-tier products that cost thousands of dollars. Shimano gear sets are an industry leader, giving optimum performance and precision shifting.

Compared to other road bikes the Imola has a shallow handlebar drop which allows you to ride in the lower handlebar position and still be comfortable. For intermediate and beginner riders who aren’t accustomed to other positions, this is vital.

Similarly, they’ve slightly widened the tires on this bike to 25mm, 700c road bike tires which are going to give you a more comfortable ride, greater efficiency and added control on sharp turns.

The frame itself is built using the highest quality aluminum and is backed by their industry-leading lifetime warranty because their bikes are affordable and made to last. Plus, all Shimano components are supported by their two-year guarantee, allowing you to ride with confidence.

For advanced riders who want to race with the Imola, it comes equipped with their exclusive UltraCompact handlebar which allows for higher comfortability in the drops.

This position reduces your wind resistance, giving you a faster ride and letting you go further than before.

Overall, the Tommaso Imola is a standout in the road bike niche, delivering fantastic performance at an exceptional price. For beginners through to advanced riders the Imola is for everybody and will top tier components this is a bike that will grow with you as you improve.


  • Medium fits riders 5'8"-6'0" with an inseam of 30"-32
  • Weight- 24.3lbs
  • 18-speed Complete Shimano Sora Drive Train

Think of the Libero 2.0 as an improved version of the 1.6. While the Libero 2.0 appears to be the same on the surface, further examination shows better components across the board.

This bike falls well under 1000 dollar price range, but looks and performs like a road bike priced well above, which is all you can really ask for when spending the extra money for a better road bike.

The frame of the Libero 2.0 is the same as its lower-quality relative, as you get a 6061 aluminum frame that is rigid with a hint of give. There is one big difference, however: The Libero 2.0 has a carbon fork. This gives the front end much more shock absorption, while helping lower the weight to 24.3 lbs fully equipped

The Libero 2.0’s shifters, crank, cassette, and both derailleurs are all Shimano Sora series, creating a cohesive shifting experience that is very precise, snappy, and responsive.

 You also get two more gears than the 1.6, bringing the total up to 18. This gives you plenty of choices to really hone in the exact gear you need for climbs, sudden bursts of speeds, and whatever else.

The upgrade to Vitesse alloy 700c 32 spoke wheels makes a big difference as well. The rims are very light, and have enough strength and support to give you countless miles of use without worrying about the dreaded bent rim.

The Libera 2.0’s Kenda tires are durable, and give you a noticeable grip on the pavement, while also adding in a bit of shock absorption.

As with the 1.6, the 2.0’s stance is a little more upright than a racing bike, so you have a more comfortable stance that is conducive for commuting and recreational riding. That’s not to say that you can’t put your head down and really get after it speed-wise, however.

If you’re willing to pay the money, the Libera 2.0 is a significant step up from a beginner bike, and has the upgradability and longevity of a mid-range bike, without having to spend thousands of dollars. The carbon fork is an added bonus that helps push it over the top.

3. Vilano Forza 2.0

  • Frame: 6061 Double Butted Aluminum
  • Fork: 12k Carbon Fiber
  • Shimano Tiagra 9 Speed

Being that Vilano makes the best entry-level bike on this list, it’s no wonder that they also rank highly in the under 1000$ category.

The Forza 2.0 is a very potent road bike, offering a solid combination of ride quality and components.

The frame is made from 6061 double-butted aluminum, helping keep the overall weight down to 25 lbs.

Like the Libero 2.0, the Forza also has a carbon fiber fork, giving it better shock absorption. The frame offers a noticeable overall response, enabling improved maneuverability and pedal efficiency.

The drivetrain is a mix of Shimano and Vilano parts. The front derailleur is a Shimano Sora series, while the rear is the slightly better Shimano Tiagra series. The shifters are Shimano Sora, giving you easy control over all 27 of the speeds. Yes, 27 speeds, the most of any bike on this list. This allows you to fine-tune your pedaling in a variety of settings.

The Forza 2.0’s double-walled CNC wheelset provides elevated steering response, and perfectly complement the bike’s 700c x 22c Kenda tires. While many are often tempted to quickly upgrade their tire and wheel sets, it’s safe to say that you’ll be perfectly satisfied with these.

The Cionlli saddle is a nice bonus, as it’s surprisingly comfortable, and shaped well. While the Forza 2.0 doesn't come with clipless pedals, it does include toe straps, which many are more comfortable with when starting out. The straps improve your pedal efficiency as well.

While this doesn’t affect the ride quality, the Forza 2.0 looks great. It has a very minimalistic aesthetic to it, thanks to a matte grey finish. Seriously, it looks very sharp, and will probably earn you more than a few glances from other cyclists.

The Forza 2.0 is one of the best values for under $1000, giving you an appealing design, a carbon fork, and high-end Shimano gear components for a very reasonable price. It’s built to perform immediately, and can easily be upgraded as time goes on. You can’t go wrong.

Our Vilano Forza 2.0 Review goes into detail regarding the frame, wheelset  27-speed system and many more features.

Best Road Bike Under $500


  • Lightweight hand crafted 6061 aluminum frame
  • 32 Spoke High Profile Quick Release Alloy Rims
  • 1 1/8" Threadless stem

The Giordano crams as much value as you can into an under $500 dollar road bike. You get a lightweight frame, solid components, a very comfortable ride, and even a bit of added style.

It’s truly one of the most well-rounded bikes you can get in such an affordable price range, and it can easily be upgraded over time.

The frame of the Libero 1.6 is of moderate quality forged from 6061 aluminum that is both durable and offers a small bit of shock absorption. With all of the components equipped, the Libero 1.6 weighs around 26 precise shifting when needed. A Shimano Claris derailleur and smaller-sized crankset help round lbs, which is very good for an entry-level and intermediate road bike.

The Libero 1.6 utilizes Shimano Claris 16 speed STI shifters that do seem a little sluggish at first, but are still reliable and provide out the gear system, and give you a bit of a boost on steep climbs, which is definitely appreciated.

The linear pull braking system is decent, but the actual brake pads may be the biggest complaint of the Libero 1.6. They are a bit spongy, and require a few extra feet for complete stoppage. Fortunately, this can be resolved with a cheap pair of new brake pads, so don’t worry too much about them.

The Libero 1.6 uses alloy rims with 32 spokes. This provides some extra reinforcement so you don’t have to be as concerned with bent rims over time. The stock tires are actually quite good, as are the tubes. No need to upgrade.

The spiked metal pedals are a nice step up from the lower-end plastic you’ll find on cheaper road bikes, and the quick release wheel latches are convenient as well. Water bottle holders mounts are included as well.

If you are trying to get the most out of your money, this bike is hard to beat. It is more than capable of handling grueling rides lasting for miles, and can take you even further with just a few small upgrades, should you choose to do so.

2. diamondback Haanjo 

  • Aluminum alloy frame with endurance geometry for durability and all day riding comfort
  • DB gravel disc steel fork features fender and low-rider rack mounts
  • Reliable shifting performance courtesy of Shimano Claris 2x8 speed drivetrain

Diamondback’s Haanjo 2  is a commuter bike designed to help you navigate city streets en route to your destination, while still possessing the ability to withstand rougher terrain.

It’s more of a hybrid road bike, as it features flat handlebars and treaded tires. It also happens to be a great value.

The Haanjo 2 uses an aluminum frame, helping keep the overall weight down to a manageable 25 lbs.

The frame itself offers excellent response, and allows you to get the most out of your pedaling leaving the shock absorption to the tires for the most part.

The drivetrain offers 9 total gears, which is a bit low. Still, the gears are configured for city riding, and you’ll likely appreciate the extra travel you get out of each gear, rather than having to shift all the time in start/stop situations. The Haanjo 2 uses Shimano Acera gear components, which includes both derailleurs and shifters.

Braking is a big emphasis on commuter bikes and hybrid bike, which is the main reason the Haanjo comes with Tektro Aires mechanical disc brakes, operated by Tektro 2-finger alloy linear levers. Response is crisp, and you don’t need a lot of pressure for stopping.

The wheelset consists of DB Equation CX 700c Doublewalls, with Schwalbe Citizen with a kevlar guard, giving you a rigid wheelset that can take the extra punishment city riding dishes out, while also offering extra protection for your tubes.

Both the saddle and pedals are made by Diamondback, with the saddle giving you a bit of extra cushioning, which is a must with the more upright riding position and lack of drop handlebars.

Overall, this is a very inexpensive and solid hybrid that gives you speed, comfort, and durability, all of which are essential for commuting. For just around the 1000 dollar price range, this is easily the best hybrid value you’ll find.

In our DiamondBack Haanjo Review we take a detailed look at the wheelset, brake system, speed system and many other aspects of this bike.

Best Road Bike for Women

Women’s road bikes have a few subtle design features that are more inline with a woman’s body shape. While many women choose to ride unisex and small men’s bikes, there are plenty of others who prefer the a more women-oriented design.

These two bikes are among the top choices.


  • Schwinn aluminum road frame with Carbon fiber fork for Quick agile riding
  • Shimano 16 speed drivetrain with Micro shift integrated brake levers for smooth, fast gear changes
  • Promax alloy caliper brakes for precise stops

Schwinn’s Women’s Phocus 1600 is part of their Signature Series, and manages to cram a lot of impressive features and components into a relatively low-priced road bike.

The women's version of the popular Phocus 1600 has all the same aspects of the men’s version, with a strategically-sized frame and handlebars.

The Phocus 1600’s frame is made from aluminum, and offers an appropriate amount of rigidness and response that is noticeable when pedaling and steering. It has an overall weight of 26 lbs when fully equippe, which isn’t exactly low, but still acceptable for its range. A carbon front fork helps to alleviate shock, while also helping to cut the weight down.

The Phocus 1600’s drivetrain is comprised of Shimano parts, and gives you 14 separate speeds, more than enough to offer enough options for inclines, declines, and flat terrain. Shifting is very crisp after an initial tune-up, and is accomplished by using Microshift integrated brake levers.

As for the brakes, they are just a little soft, and require a small amount of added pressure when using the included Promax alloy calipers. Some actually prefer a soft braking system, but if you don’t you’ll likely want to upgrade the pads for a small price.

The Phocus 1600 comes with high-profile alloy wheels that have 32 holes, and a paired spoke pattern in groups of four for better rim support and aerodynamics. Kenda K-196 tires are surprisingly responsive, and have a light tread for better grip and shock absorption.

Extra features include toe clips, helping maximize pedal efficiency for those who might not want to use clipless pedals. The light blue and white color pattern is very appealing as well, and looks very sharp out on the road.

In a way, it almost seems like the Phocus 1600 was intended to be a higher-end entry-level bike, but ended up being more of a mid-range bike for a lower price. If you’re looking for as much quality in a women’s bike for under $500, the Phocus 1600 should top your list. It certainly tops ours.

For a better look at some of this bike's features, such as brakeset and wheelset, check out our Schwinn Phocus 1600 Review.

2. giordano Libero 1.6

  • Lightweight hand crafted 6061 aluminum frame
  • 1 1/8" Threadless Alloy 100mm stem
  • 16-speed Shimano Claris STI Shifters and Rear Derailleur

The women’s version of the highly-rated Giordano 1.6 has all the great features in the men’s version, only in a scaled down size that includes a shorter stem.

The frame is made from aluminum, and presents an overall weight of 26 lbs when equipped. Like the Phocus 1600, this isn’t exactly a low weight road bike, but still falls just under what is acceptable.

The frame feels snappy and responsive on the road, with a noticeable rigidness.

Shimano Claris parts make up the drivetrain, which is operated using the integrated brake shift levers. This may take a ride or two to get used to if you’ve always used trigger shifters, but once adjusted, shifting any of the 16 gears is quick and easy for the most part, especially after a proper tune-up.

The wheelset is comprised of Vitesse Alloy 700c High V-Profile’s with Kenda black road clincher tires. Both are fairly durable, and offer a suitable amount of grip and shock absorption. Intermediate users will eventually want an upgrade, but the stock versions are more than acceptable.

The plastic pedals are the only real drawback with the Libero 1.6, but again, upgrading is easy if desired. Two water bottle holder mounts are a nice touch, and the paint job and design of the Libero 1.6 is very feminine, which some riders will prefer.

Like its male relative, the women’s Libero 1.6 is a noteworthy value, and is suitable for both entry-level and intermediate riders who want the most out of a road bike, but want to keep things under $450.

What to Look Out for When Buying a Road Bike

The best road bikes are not a one-type/size-fits-all purchase.

In order to ensure that you end up with the bike that is right for you, it’s crucial to know the most vital aspects beforehand.


Road bikes can generally be broken down into a few different main categories and subcategories.

  • Race/Time Trial/Aero - These three road bike types are all designed for speed, and speed only. Time trial and aero bikes also incorporate a heightened sense of aerodynamics that make the bike even faster, and less conducive for casual and long-distance riding. These bikes are intended for competitions, not fitness and recreational use.
  • Commuter - If you’re looking to use your road bike as a main form of transportation in an urban setting, a commuter bike is your best bet. Commuter bikes allow the rider to sit more upright, and have some strategic designs and features that emphasize comfort and maneuverability above all else.
  • Sportive - Sportive road bikes are known for being the most versatile. These bikes are basically a more comfortable version of a race bike, making them great for fitness, recreational, and even some competitive riding, although the casual user can still appreciate their design.
  • Touring - Designed for long-distance riding, touring bikes are built to be durable, comfortable, and stable enough for riding days at a time. They also incorporate added features such as bike racks and mud deflectors for added convenience and functionality on a long ride.

So, before all else, consider what you want your road bike to be used for. This will help you decide on the category you should be focusing on. Sportive and commuter road bikes are among the most popular.


A road bike’s size in relation to your body size has everything to do with how comfortable and efficient it will be. The vast majority of manufacturers will have a size chart available for you to gauge the best size suited to your body size in terms of height. Further adjustments to seat height and the bike’s handlebars provide the opportunity for fine-tuning.

Top Components

The bike’s frame is obviously the most important characteristic, but the included components are just a notch below. Gear sets, brakes, wheels, tires, and other components are all worthy of close examination before purchasing.

Nearly every road bike you’ll find online lists the model and manufacturer of the essential components, so familiarize yourself with them as best as you can, and compare with other models as well. Sometimes you’ll find that a bike may have a great drivetrain, but poor wheels. It’s all about finding the right balance of what’s important to you.

And of course, you can always upgrade if need be as well.

best road bikes disc brakes

These are the best road bikes out there... What's next?

By now you should have a much better idea as to what road bike to consider in terms of your price range and skill level. While we clearly have our two favorites, any of the bikes listed above are examples of a quality road bike that will give you miles and miles of use for years to come.

If you are looking to ride with your riding partner then you can have a look on the tandem road bike for sale with high-quality features.

Regardless of which model you choose, be sure to choose the right size, and don’t forget to acquire all of the gear and accessories you’ll need as well. After a proper tune-up, you’ll be ready to go. Happy riding!

editors pick
Kestrel Talon Road Shimano 105 Bicycle


Why is it better?

  • Aero style bike
  • Adequate stopping power
  • Fully carbon frame

our score

Last update on 2020-12-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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