Best Road Bike: 7 Entry-Level Bikes for Sale Review

In recent years, entry-level road bikes have become even better value for money, with much of that Tour de France advanced technology trickling down to bikes we can all afford. We have seen a big increase with brands delivering great value entry level kits.

If you’ve started looking for an entry level road bike, but feel paralyzed by so many choices, you’re not alone. To help you decide what entry-level road bike to buy, I researched what’s available from online retailers and made a list of 5 bikes for you to consider. You can get a rough idea of the road bikes buyer guide if you have no concept of the road bikes.

How Much Does a Good Road Bike Cost

What is the best or cheap for a first road bike to buy? There is no standard answer, as a beginner, the worst thing you can base your decision on is budget. Our advice is always to buy the best bike you can afford, it will reward you with a long-lasting level of fun and performance, and most importantly, inspire you to get out more.

Good starter road bikes are not designed for racing alone. You can race them, for sure, but they’re designed to be ridden on all kinds of roads and conditions for long periods of time with minimum maintenance.

There’s a big difference between an entry-level road bike and a cheap road bike. If there’s one thing I’ve consistently learned as a cyclist it’s that you get what you pay for. All levels of bicycle components have a similar function, but some are designed for efficiency and durability better than others.

Granted not all parts are compatible and don’t have much resale value, if you buy cheap now, you can not always upgrade later. If shifting is tough or the chain keeps dropping, I guarantee you’ll be less likely to head off into the middle of nowhere to explore. The quality of the bike contributes to how much fun the bike will be to ride. You should feel safe and that your bike is reliable.

You might be able to go to a department store and pick up a new bike for less than $ 300, but if you plan to ride several times per week, you’ll be disappointed with the bike’s performance and it will actually discourage you from becoming a better Rider.

Consumer Reports recently tested comfort bikes that cost between $300 and $600 and found that long-term riders might consider investing in bikes that fall into this mid-range price point because less expensive models are often less durable, again.

Well-known bike brand company also launched new model every year, these new models just replace some minor components and color. In general, they and the last year’s model are not much different. Last year’s model is always better than the new model cheaper than 20%.

If you’re strapped for cash, one solid strategy is to put the money into a aluminium frame and carbon fork, which will most likely be lighter and produce a smoother ride, as carbon cuts down on the amount of road vibration you’ll feel. At this entry level price point (under $1000), manufacturers will often put a little more into the quality of the frame and fork in return for cheap components.

If you’re looking for the best road bike under $1000. One that is lightweight, durable and delivers high value in terms of performance, then Tommaso Monza road bike is our top recommendation.

And not some expensive ones, the next best thing, the Raleigh Bikes Merit 1 & Women’s Revere 1 Road Bike offers good performance at quite a price difference. All right, if you are really really poor, and just want to get a bike for 3 ~ 5 miles commuting, or go to school, the GMC Denali Road Bike there’re tons of reviews.

However, if you need something a little more budget-friendly but don’t want to compromise on quality, then Kestrel Talon Shimano 105 Carbon Road bike is your best chance to get top-level performance.

Let’s into

Best Entry-Level Road Bikes

#1. Best Entry Level Road Bike: Tommaso Imola

The Tommaso Imola is a great choice for casual cyclists and beginners who aren’t looking to break the bank but want something that is going to offer dependability in the long term. A little-known brand delivers powerful value.

Tommaso Imola will be who wants into the road of the first bike, this is best for starting road cycling, joining a group ride, or going in triathlon (of course it will not let you stand on the podium).

Tommaso Imola with a full Shimano Claris groupset, for maximum consistency and optimal performance in all moving parts. For anyone who wants to ride 1000 miles, there is no problem at all.

Claris is Shimano’s entry-level groupset, providing an affordable option for beginners or those on a tight budget while still delivering all of the quality and durability one would expect from the brand.

It will equip fitness bikes, touring bikes, or even turn road bikes into genuine racers for entry-level road races. The simple and intuitive Dual Control Lever offers comfortable riding.

The 24-speed gear ratio is 3 chainrings (front) and 8 sprockets (rear), which often come as standard on entry-level road bikes, is ideal for leisure riders or if you live in hilly areas – the extra help you’ll get from the smallest chainring will provide some relief!

The Imola bike features a steel fork, better than alloy absorbs road shock, but not greater than carbon fiber to give you the “smoother ride”. At this price point, you can not expect more. You can choose a higher version — Tommaso Forcella or Tommaso Tiempo.

The compact aluminum frame brings you more comfort and offers a smoother ride, as well fit for a wider height range to those who are shorter men. Well, your kid/girlfriend will thank you for your gift. The full weight of the bike is about 24lbs. 6 frame size to fit height from 4’10″ and 3 color schemes (Black, Orange, White) is available.

Tommaso Bicycles was founded in 1985 as a road bike brand. The bikes are designed in Italy, headquartered in Denver, Colorado, United States. The core of the road line is the 6 aluminum road bike offerings paired up with 6 carbon road bikes.

Imola is a town and comune in the Metropolitan City of Bologna, located on the river Santerno, in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy. The famous Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari and the Formula One drivers is here.

#2 Good Beginners Road Bike: Giordano Libero 1.6

Giordano Libero 1.6 is just like the Tommaso Imola road bike, featuring with light handmade aluminum frame and steel fork, as well Shimano Claris groupset. The bike is just what you expect it to be, good on performance, longer rides, and under $500.

No bike could be had that rode better than a handmade frame. The sensual element that gives you a bike ride is a real pleasure. Lightweight 6061 aluminum frame continues to be the foundation for this well-thought-out road bike. Libero 1.6 weighed about 26lbs, it rode comfortably and had excellent vertical compliance so that it adhere to the road.

Libero 1.6 just feature 16 gears that match ‘compact’ cranks, which mean the chainrings are 50- and 34-teeth, instead of the standard 53/39. This means easier pedaling when your hills get tough. For a road bike starter that gears seem a little less. In fact, a 16 gears bike can cover a wide array of needs, don’t worry about that.

Besides, Giordano Libero 1.6 only offers 3 sizes, and can’t widely fit everyone. This is in order to save the cost and stock. It aimed at the lower end of the crowd but also offered 2 sizes of a pink colorway for ladies.

And, if you’re under a strict budget, then Giordano Libero Acciao is good for you. It’s the brother model of Libero 1.6. It’s around $300 out of season, and they are built with steel and about 30 lbs. Better use is to go to school, not good to start road biking.

#3 Raleigh Bikes Women’s Revere 1 Endurance Road Bike

Are you a beginner in this Roadies game and confused about what will suit you best? Then chill out and relax, as this Raleigh Bikes Women’s Revere 1 Endurance Road is here to give exceptional feasibility and height of comfort.

This road bike for women is exclusively designed while keeping the female body frame in focus. The lightness of the bike, smooth speed, and overall design of this bicycle are just amazingly perfect for any girl out there.

The frame of this bike is made up of lightweight aluminum, which makes it immensely easy to ride on, have control, and maintain speed. Well, an enthusiastic biker world loves to cover miles in a single go, without being hurdled.

And that comfortable geometrical positioning and, liability to sit in an upright position, is what this road bike is capable of giving to the women riders. Coming in a variety of sizes, from small to large, suiting for a 5′ tall person to a 5′ 11”, the Revere 1 is surely the coolest and the most affordable bike for women.

In my opinion, with all the incredible specificities such as a strong frame, reliable material, lightweight, range of sizes, and others; this bike is surely the best beginner bike.

So! What are You Waiting for! Pick one, and Ride on!!

#4 Vilano FORZA 4.0 Aluminum Integrated Shifters Road Bike

Vilano Forza 4.0 Aluminum Integrated Shifters Road Bike

Looking for a highly versatile road bike at a reasonable price? Well, this Vilano FORZA 4.0 Aluminum Integrated Shifters Road Bike has got you covered. With the capability of 24 speeds, this bike works great in different levels of cycling, like daily biking, recreational riding, any competition or anything else.

It’s extremely hard to find cheap road bikes that are made of high-quality material, comfortable to ride, and are very strong. But this Vilano FORZA 4.0 comes at an affordable price of under 500 dollars.

Its amazing geometrical framing made of 6061 aluminum makes its lightweight, strong, and easy to ride on any sort of road. The same goes with its high-quality Shimano STI Intenerated Baker Lever Shifters that make its performance smooth and swift on both off and on the roads. Having the feature of Shimano gears makes it super easy to shift gear up and down.

There is no need to hassle about the assembly of this bike, as it comes 90% pre-assembled, with only the need of attachment of the seat, pedals, and handles bars after delivery, and this is like putting together some very easy puzzle pieces in a picture.

This bike is definitely highly recommended to every biker, especially to beginners and those who don’t have much money to spend on a bike.

#5 Best Endurance Road Bike: Raleigh Bikes Merit 1Raleigh Bikes Merit 1 Endurance Road Bike

Generally speaking, the traditional road bike is radical, and the endurance is its sportifs/sportive version. Endurance models have a more relaxed/more comfortable (higher stack)geometry and can manage a wider wheel/tire, providing a little more flexibility in where and how you can ride them.

If you are not a pro racer, and your body can’t handle the punishment it used to. As for an opinion, I personally prefer a slightly more comfortable ride these days, an aggressive race bike can’t be comfortable.

Raleigh Merit 1 is the ideal entry-level endurance road bike for commuting, a charity bike ride or longer rides. They’re a good option for those who are looking to start bike training, fitness or need a bike for those weekend treks.

The Raleigh Merit 1 and Revere 1 are the “Men’s” and “Women’s” versions of Raleigh’s new premium aluminum endurance road line. They are made with a 6061 alloy frame with double-butted custom formed tubing and custom alloy road fork for a light, fast performance, and quick handling. Their weight is about 23 lbs.

The 2017 Merit 1 comes stock with 700x28c tires, thru wider tires improve power transfer and tracking. Which makes for a more comfortable ride and also allows you to hit those connecting cobbled streets. This is especially true on aluminum bikes, which don’t have the innate shock-absorbing qualities of carbon or steel.

Merit 1 comes with a Shimano Claris 2×8 drivetrain too and with a supportive saddle and components (include Handlebar, Tape, Seatpost, etc.) from Raleigh 100 Series, unified component get overall ride quality, this adds to the velvety feel when riding in the saddle. You’ll find yourself taking a long way home.

If you’re looking for all-day riding comfort and great value, the smooth-riding frame, and cockpit, Merit/Revere line will not disappoint. Raleigh is a solid brand, not as popular as Specialized, Giant, etc, but it’s the best entry level endurance bike.

#6 Lightweight Aluminum Road Bike: Diamondback Century Sport

Diamondback Century Sport is a blue road bike, the women’s model is the Airen series and they also are designed for an endurance ride. Diamondback bikes is a world brand in all things bicycles, also is a sponsor for professional cyclists.

A century and Airen line are built with lightweight 7005 aluminum, these bikes weight about 22 lbs. If you’re looking to build a super-light machine, you’re still going to be relegated to carbon. 7005 has a resistance compared to 6061 aluminum being more resistant to squeeze, as you’d expect from aluminum, it’s a pretty stiff ride.

Lightweight aluminum plus a Shimano Claris 2400 drivetrain make it a fairly typical parts package for an entry-level road bike. Diamondback Equation SE wheelset with Kenda K196 700x26c tires provide reliable braking, so if you’re new to the sport or a nervous descender, this bike will be your new best friend.

Whether you’re looking for a Sunday ride to the farmer’s market or to conquer your first-century ride with the bike club, the Diamondback Century Sport will provide a comfortable and efficient ride (cycling lingo: century – a 100-mile ride or race).

If you are serious about building up your stamina to competitive levels or, constantly tracking and improving your fitness levels, then Diamondback Century Sports is good for frequent training rides, sportifs, and club races.

#7 Diamondback Bicycles 2016 Airen Sport Complete Women’s Road Bike

Diamondback Bicycles 2016 Airen Women’s Road Bike

Immediate ease, endurance geometry, and relaxed handling, definitely are some of the much-needed characteristics of a road bike. Most of the women out there eagerly wish for an incredibly comfortable, easy handle and perfectly structured bike, that is not only lightweight but also puts the body frame in an upright position.

Well, the Airen sport Diamondback bicycle has fulfilled all of these wishes in a single go. This Airen sport is truly a woman’s road bike.

The Airen Sport comes with mechanical disc brakes, which gives a great advantage to the women with smaller hands (as mine), thus avoiding a superhuman strength to do the task. This road bike increases the comfort level of the rider with features like a narrow bar and a shallow drop in the frame.

Talking about the looks (as the aesthetic appearance matters a lot for all of us girls), this road bike looks super cool in subtle color schemes that are immensely popular among girls. Otherwise, you can dress it up in any color you wish to, as I have done the same. This Airen sport 48cm is surely the best for ladies.

For all the women who are at the entry level of their road biking journey, have to go on long rides, or simply cycle for fitness purposes, the Airen Sport is the best option to go for. It fulfills all your needs for a relaxed and comfy ride.

#8 Best Budget Carbon Road Bike: Kestrel Talon Shimano 105 Road Bicycle

Kestrel Talon Road Shimano 105 Bicycle

Kestrel is an American bicycle brand that specializes in high-end bikes for triathlons and road racing. Kestrel builds monocoque carbon fiber frames and has tended to have a very fluid, curved appearance.

I think you would love the colorway with red, black, and eye-catching. The lightweight composite carbon fiber frame is designed with aerodynamics in mind and dressed with a wonderful Shimano 105 11-speed drivetrain. The Kestrel Talon is a relatively low-budget way to feel like a World Champion.

If you want to put on some serious miles but at an entry level, you should try to get a quality bike but at a great price. Talon weight about 20 lbs. It features airfoil-shaped tubes, a rear-wheel cutout in the seat tube, and internal cable routing for an aero advantage, even more efficiency, and maximum free speed.

Talon is designed for the rider who wants cutting-edge aero design and seat angle adjustability from 73 to 80 degrees, as well as a seat clamp for easier post adjustments. Its purpose is for triathletes looking to train on a road bike but race a tri bike without emptying their wallets on two separate machines

Perhaps you are quite the recreational roadie who flounders at the thought of being tucked tightly into a hard-charging pack of riders during the heat of a race, but at the same time, you want to put your miles and training to use through time trials and triathlons. Kestrel Talon offers a race-ready ride like a dream.

The oval concepts 520 rounds out the build with a 50/34T compact crankset has been used to cut cost and does the job for the most part, but if you have that elusive top of the hill performance, you can always upgrade them.

Best Road Bikes Under $1000

If you’re looking for a carbon fiber new bike with Shimano 105 and under $1000, it’s almost impossible. But you can consider aluminum alloy with Shimano 105, or carbon fiber plus lower end groupset than Shimano 105 — generally, be not produced, because of manufacturer’s marketing strategy.

OK, I’m a casual man, I will choose the Tommaso Ghisallo as my new road bike. This’s the best value for money under $1000. I just want to keep the bike stable with consistent, instead of replacing some parts of the groupset to cheaper.

Shimano 105 is a king groupset to be a popular choice for enthusiast riders looking for a perfect balance between performance and cost. But Tiagra is 105 of a few years ago you can choose, not bad.

If your mouse is sensitive enough, there are some treasure boxes of the aluminum frame plus Shimano 105 for clearance inventory with break size — Ridley Fenix Alloy 105 FE701BM, Ridley Fenix Alloy 105 Mix Color FE701Bm.

Basic Shimano 105 groupset + carbon fork and Ridley’s own Forza brand finishes off the rest of the bike with a functional kit. Fenix Alloy 105 leverages its best qualities to bring you superior ride quality. Most importantly, Ridley saves you half money for your new road bike with Shimano 105 and not a second-hand bike.

Ridley Fenix Alloy Size Chart (1 inch = 2.54cm):
  • 48 cm/XX-Small, Standover Height 69cm, Suggested height <162cm;
  • 50 cm/X-Small, Standover Height 74cm, Suggested height 162cm ~ 170cm;
  • 55 cm/Small, Standover Height 76cm, Suggested height 170cm ~ 178cm;
  • 57 cm/Medium, Standover Height 78cm, Suggested height 178cm ~ 186cm;
  • 59 cm/Large, Standover Height 81cm, Suggested height 186cm ~ 194cm;
  • 61 cm/X-Large, Standover Height 84cm, Suggested height >194cm;

Overall

Speed glory speeds! Road bikes can be expensive – there’s no doubt about that. Cycling is a world of millimeters. It’s not unlike buying a high-end mechanical Swiss watch. When you make something lightweight, that tends to make it weak.

So the trick here is that it has to be lightweight and strong. The complete groupset is particularly important. And then, to make things fun, we are going to demand that they also make them budget-friendly.

As the price tag is lower there will almost always be some compromise, but those components must still do a decent job. Most entry level bikes will have crappy wheels, but they should get you through several seasons of riding as long as you are not regularly hitting potholes, off-roading, etc. However, these are minor complaints.

The seat is hard at these entry level bikes, I think you need to invest in a gel cover for the seat. Some beginner road bikes may be equipped with plastic pedals, the middle/high-end of the bikes you probably noticed none of the bikes come with pedals. Because there are different, incompatible pedal/cleats paired with your own bike shoes.

You can ride a bike in just about any shoes, but riding shoes are more for competitive riders, though leisure riders certainly benefit from the better grip they offer on the pedals. Usually at $45 to $100 — additional costs are usually also includes apparel, helmet etc. Prior to need, you do not need to buy all at once.

Buying your bike online will almost certainly SAVE you money, I want you to get a bike that is not only in your budget — but that is also one that you will love riding. In theory, the more you’re willing and able to spend on a bicycle, the more comfortable it should be.

If you just need a bicycle to help you get around town, then a single-speed road bike might be a good option. Those bikes are often cheap and easy to maintain, great for commute even keeping fit.

Frame Material

Although carbon fiber can be lighter, stronger, and sexier than more affordable materials like steel and aluminum, unless you’re a hardcore rider or racer, carbon fiber isn’t necessary.

Naturally, carbon fiber works better at absorbing shock from rough road surfaces, so if you plan to log big miles, it may be worth investing the extra money into a carbon fiber road bike.

But even if you can’t afford the extra cost of a carbon fiber road bike, an aluminum or steel frame with carbon fiber components like a fork, handlebars and Seatpost can make a noticeable difference in shock absorption.

Bike Weight Limits

There are weight limits on all road bikes. In general, they are rated for 220~250 lbs. When weight limits are exceeded, the added stress can (not necessarily so) cause spoke to break on rims, as well as other issues. In fact, those bikes can bear the weight of 300lbs, but if you do that the manufacturers will be attributed to your own reason.

How to Assemble a New Road Bike

When these bikes arrive at your door, they will come mostly assumed. However, you will still need to adjust the breaks and the shift cables. You still need to charge half ~ one hour of labor to assemble a bike which is described by the manufacturer as “90% assembled”. Here’s a guide that will help you make easy your job.

How to Fit a Road Bike

Road bike sizing varies wildly between companies. Most companies list bike geometries on their website or in the product catalog. When shopping around, it’s best to compare frame geometries to get a better idea of what size fits you. Get a new road bike that fits you well and then adjust things like handlebars and seat posts height if needed to dial in the fit. We have an in-depth bike size guide to help make this easy.

Women’s Road Bike Sizing

People come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s no surprise that bike brands make an effort to create a varied range of steeds with different geometry to suit them. If you are shorter in height, you’re likely to find more availability in the women’s specific ranges – frame sizes usually go down to around a 44, which is suitable for a woman 4ft8 or 5ft (depending upon brand and geometry), whilst unisex bikes often stop sizing down at around a size 48 frame – though there are exceptions.

The gender differences in bikes are not leftover discriminations from before women were allowed to vote and work but are instead structural variances that better suit each gender’s body type. There’s nothing like road cycling for the sheer speed you can travel at and distances you can go. Once you’ve eliminated the other possible women’s bike types from your list, it’s time to get down to enjoying some high-speed, skinny-rubbered fun.

Women’s Road Bike Vs Men’s

Most women’s road bikes will come with narrower handlebars and shorter stems, which will usually improve the fit for a female rider. While it’s true that many women could benefit from a “women’s specific” frame, bike fit is very individual and other women find they are fine on a unisex bike. You may not need a female-specific bike. Tall women tend to fit better on men’s bikes and the opposite is true for short men.

If you look carefully, you’ll see that, aside from some extra-small sizes, the “women’s specific” models from company “X” will have the exact same geometry and tube lengths as the comparable “men’s” models. As long as you feel comfortable, secure, and safe on the road bike you want to buy, the gender distinction won’t matter at all.

However, the majority of women have a shorter torso and longer legs than men, as well as narrower shoulders and smaller hands. If you’re a woman/man that fits this leggy, shorter torso-ed mold, you’ll need to either make adjustments to a unisex bike or opt for one of many fantastic “female” (namely fit, maybe the color is not your) specific bikes.

What Road Bike to Buy

What road bike should I buy? Endurance road bikes have come to dominate the road market. The Raleigh Bikes Merit 1 & Women’s Revere 1 made our Editor’s Choice Awards. I admit this is just a not serious or sketchy beginner’s road bike guide and review. However I believe our reviews are pertinent, the above list of bikes is the best value for money.

Often price, popularity, and accessibility drive the buying decisions. Amazon has some good stuff. So do a lot of the other e-commerce sites. Not every customer will leave a review, however, it seems like some the size of their bikes are always running out of stock. Amazon provides a reliable refund service, you should not be afraid of trouble if you find the right bike for you that doesn’t have enough reviews to let you place an order.

Jonathan Tim
Jonathan Tim
A bicycle geek since early childhood spent his twenties as a mechanic in bike shops. His passions include flatland BMX, unicycles, cycle touring, mountain biking, and road riding.