How to set the right expectations when it comes to the best-value road bike?
Let’s be real:
Cycling has gained a lot of popularity recently and it’s enough to inspire anyone to take it up as a new hobby, a challenge, or a fitness regimen. Having your own road bike is also a great way to commute to work or other places.
And the best part is:
No matter the purpose you are investing in a road bike, you will gain all the benefits associated with cycling. If you’re interested to know what’s the best cheap road bike to buy, this article’s got you covered.
We have listed some of the best, most demanded, and affordable road bikes to help you narrow down your options. So without further ado, let’s jump in right away!
Best Cheap Road Bikes
Tommaso Fascino Sport Performance Aluminum Road Bike
- Extremely light, aluminum body with a lifetime warranty
- High-performance road bike for experienced bikers
- Vast gearing options with 3×7 drivetrain
- All parts manufactured by shimano for consistent performance
- Compact and sleek design for perfect handling
Every aspect of this bike has been designed for maximum performance and efficiency. From the frame size to the design of the crank, care has been taken with every detail. With 21 speed settings and rim brakes, you can ride this bike for fitness as well as daily commuting.
Firmstrong Urban Lady Beach Cruiser Bicycle
- Offers a relaxing riding experience
- Long-lasting and lightweight steel frame
- Lightweight wheels made with aluminum
- Easy to control with long handlebars fitted with rubber gripping
- Adjustable and comfortable seat
A perfect bike for light riding and single speed cruising, Urban Lady is designed for everyday pleasure biking on surfaces such as the road, pavement, bike lanes, and even the beach. It features a simple design that is easy to control and maintain. The dual-spring seat makes it an even more comfortable and convenient ride.
Mongoose Dolomite Fat Tire Mountain Bike
- All-terrain bike fitted with super-large tires
- 7-speed gear system makes it perfect for riding uneven surfaces
- Adjustable headset for maximum control and speed
- Extra-grip pedals for safety and stability
- Easy to assemble
A fun-fat-tire road bike that lets you ride on challenging, hilly terrains with ease. Speed can be adjusted across a range of 7 levels, making it easy to change gears in any position. The alloy frame channels all weight down to the tires, relieving stress in your arms and back.
Giordano Libero Aluminum Road Bike
- Lightweight aluminum frame and strong steel fork
- Own-brand shifters for easy gear changes
- Double alloy rim for extra stability
- Efficient braking system
- No assembly required
The Giordano Libero is perfect for intermediate to expert bikers in search of a high-performance bike. This lightweight bike is easy to control and offers a variety of experience with its 16 different speed settings. The braking system is efficient with pivot side braking that is highly responsive to the rider.
HASA R5 Aluminum Road Bike Racer
- Offers 21-speed levels
- 3-speed shifters fitted in the left and 7 on the right
- Stainless steel spokes for added strength
- Frame comes with a
- lifetime warranty
- Pre-assembled in Taiwan factory
This bike is perfect for beginners as it features an extremely lightweight yet strong frame. All the cables are enclosed within the tubing to achieve a clean look. The braking system is effective whereas the handlebar features a convenient, ergonomic design for maximum control.
Best Cheap Road Bikes Buyer’s Guide
When it comes to buying the best ‘cheap’ road bike, the first thing you need to understand is what ‘cheap’ really means here. If we consider the average pricing of road bikes, a price tag around $500 is considered cheap.
But sticking to this single factor may not help you with a wise decision. The price range factor is a broad idea and thus, it’s important to be more specific. The difference in the price of the bikes will also reflect on the quality and features. A road bike that costs $350 may not have the best quality components and could be clunky together. But a $500 bike may include a carbon fork. The price difference of just $150 can make all the difference in the feel, performance, and quality of your ride. Therefore, the best deal is one where you get a great bargain for a bike that offers you maximum features.
Here’s the key:
Narrow down your options based on the reference guide shared here. The information will make it easier for you to make a great decision. Keep reading!
Factors to Consider When Shopping for a Road Bike in a Budget
Looking for a nice and affordable bicycle to commute and/or exercise? If yes, then you really need to check out your road bike options to get started.
One of the main reasons why it’s a great idea to start with a road bike is that these can be found in a much affordable range. You can find plenty of amazing options between the range of $500 and $1000. So if that’s one of the criteria for you, it is great to start with a cheaper option and upgrading to a better one if you really have to.
When buying the best cheap road bike, you must take into account some important factors to ensure you get a good deal. While there are different types of styles and materials available, your decision should be based on factors that are important to you, especially your budget.
Here are some important factors that you should ponder over to ensure you get the best cheap road bike in a budget.
To start off, focus on the frame of your road bike. This is where most of your money will show. It is the basic structure that will determine your overall comfort and ride. It’s the skeleton that will support your weight and allow you to paddle around the area without any constraint.
The two most popular choices for the frame include carbon fiber and aluminum. While there are other materials on the list, but these two options are the lightest, which is important in terms of quality when it comes to selecting the best cheap road bike. A great combination of the frame is one made from aluminum attached with a carbon fiber front fork. This helps reduce vibration and offers you a smooth ride. The overall ride experience, however, will also depend on the design.
The next most sought-after material for the frame is titanium. This is the lightest form of aluminum but features the durability and longevity of steel. This makes it one of the best materials for a road bike. It is unfortunately because of the steep price that it does not fall in the ‘best cheap road bikes’ category.
In simple words, if you are looking for a material that’s light and strong at the same time, and also falls in the budget, then a carbon-fiber is going to be a great choice.
For the rest of the frame, common parts include:
- Wheels (hubs, axles, spokes, and rims)
- Drivetrain (brake levers, crankset, derailleurs, chain, equip levers)
- Brakes, pedals, seats, and handlebars
You do not have to assemble the entire frame by yourself. The parts are pre-assembled into groupsets by the manufacturer. These groupsets include gear assembly and brakes to ensure everything is adjusted accordingly and the bike is framed together perfectly. The groupset is one of the factors that people ponder over to judge the quality of the bike.
It is the drivetrain that consists of the most complex parts of the bicycle design. These are small, yet crucial to the assembling of your bike. The drivetrain includes:
- Chain and chainrings
- Cogs and cranks
You can’t ignore the wheels of your road bike. It does not only affect the weight of your bicycle, but also decides its performances, momentum, and speed. Paying attention to the wheels will also help you ensure that your bike is streamlined and has optimal agility against the wind.
Unfortunately, you do not have a selection of options if you aren’t getting a custom-made road bike. You can, however, upgrade the wheels after you’ve bought the bike.
Gearing and Cranksets
Cranksets and gearing are the next two things you should think about. A crankset is a part where the pedals are attached to propel the back wheel. A road bike includes a compact, double, or a triple crankset. This indicates the size and number of chainrings on the bike.
For example, a triple crankset has three chainrings attached. Usually, the set also includes a 9-speed cassette adjusted around the rear wheel, which allows a total of 27 gear selections. This is a common configuration of a regular road bike available for beginners. For pros, there’s an extensive range of gears to choose from.
On the other hand, compact and double cranksets have two chainrings attached in the front with a ten-speed cassette. If you are new to all this, it’s best to opt for a compact or a triple crankset. Cyclists who are more experienced are more inclined towards the twofold setting.
Gear Shifters and Brake Levers
Both brake levers and gear shifters used to be separate components located on different parts of the bicycle. Today, these components are integrated within the design for increased efficiency. As far as the real configuration is concerned, it will vary based on different brands and models.
The key is to select a bike that gives you a good grip on the handlebars. The design should allow you to brake and shift with your hand in the drop position. In case it is difficult for you to reach the handle, look for a bike that offers custom alignment and adjustment.
This is the most common factor that every pro and beginner is equally interested in. The placement of the pedal plays a major role in your road biking experience. What works perfectly for you would depend on how the bicycle is responding to your paddling. Of course, the basic models will have a basic setup for the pedal, but manufacturers these days are becoming more aware of the specific preferences with regards to pedals to offer more variety and options.
Having the right kind and placement of pedal can also have an impact on your riding efficiency. This will keep you more connected to your bike. You may also consider investing in clip-in pedals or cycling shoes to improve your experience. Pedals are important and significantly associated to your overall bike riding adventure. So don’t ignore it for a few dollars.
Choosing the Right Size for Your Road Bike – Everything You Need to Know
It isn’t the easiest thing to shop for the best road bike with a limited budget. But looking for the cheapest bike available is the last thing you should do. As stated earlier, the best deal is one where you get a great bargain for a product that actually has a great value.
Do not jump to a conclusion right away just because the road bike is affordable. If you really have to narrow down your selection criteria, make sure you assess it based on these three factors:
- It should be affordable
- It’s the correct size
- And because you love it!
Here’s the truth:
You can’t proceed with the right decision unless you’re absolutely sure that the road bike you’re buying is the perfect size for you. Here are some factors to help you understand your bike’s sizing better:
Your Height range = Bike Height
4’11” – 5’3″ = 13 – 15 inches
5’3″ – 5’7″ = 15 – 17 inches
5’7″ – 5’11” = 17 – 19 inches
6’0″ – 6’2″ = 19 – 21 inches
6’2″ – 6’4″ = 21 – 23 inches
6’4″ and taller = 23+ inches
Best Cheap Bike – Top Buying Tips
Even though you do not have a big budget for your road bike, you should settle for anything less than what you have in mind. Just because you have a budget constraint doesn’t mean you get a low-quality bike that breaks down or rusts out in a few years. Looking for an affordable bike doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have enough options to choose from.
In addition to checking out the best cheap road bikes that I have reviewed in this article, you can also check out these top buying tips to ensure you get your hands on the best deal.
- Do not compromise on the material: There are all kinds of manufacturers targeting customers who are looking for cheap road bikes. And while there are amazing bikes you can get at an affordable price tag, not everything available in the market is worth investing in. do not fall for such schemes, even if they claim to be highly durable. If the bike’s frame is not made out of durable material, steer clear. If you’re a pro, it is very easy to point out construction flaws as well. So if you know any avid biker, make sure you seek a little assistance to make an informed decision.
- The seat would decide your comfort level: This is the comfort you can’t compromise on. It doesn’t matter how cheap or expensive the bike is. If the seat is not made from high-quality material, it won’t be comfortable. The shape of the seat also matters. So make sure you take these factors into consideration.
- Pick up a personalized style: Now this part is important too. Your ride needs to reflect your personality. Your personalized style would include color preferences, handlebar grip material, adjustable seats, and bounciness of the wheels.
- Keep the bounce: Talking of the bounciness of the tires, make sure it’s adequate. Unlike mountain bikes, road bikes are more about longevity, acceleration, and speed. So an appropriate level of bounciness is enough.
Whatever you’re buying, just make sure you’re not compromising. Make this buying experience exciting and worthwhile.
Best Cheap Road Bikes FAQs
What are the road bikes best suited for?
Road bikes are mainly designed for commuting or racing, particularly on uneven and rough terrains. However, people can use them as part of a fitness program by making cycling a part of their regular fitness routine.
What’s the purpose of drop bars on road bikes?
Drop bars serve three main functions in road bikes. First, these bars allow the rider to place their hands in the most comfortable position, which helps them to alter their position on the bike to maintain balance and posture. Secondly, they enable the rider to adopt a leaned-over position, which facilitates better breathing throughout the ride. Lastly, the leaning position is more aerodynamic and helps your bike ride faster.
What’s the right way to determine my bike size?
The ideal size of the bike is determined by standing next to it. A bike is of the right size if you can stand next to it wearing your shoes and extend its top bar leaving an inch to spare. The exact specification of this size would vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Another way in which you can determine if a bike is the right size is by measuring the distance between the seat and the bars. If you can reach the bars comfortably from the seat without bending too much, it means the bike is a good size for you.
Does a bike fit make a difference?
While bike measurement charts do help in finding a bike with the right fit, you can simply tell if the bike is right for you by sitting on it. Try this with many different bikes until you find one that feels just right. It’s more or less the same as shopping for shoes. Once you get a feel of what the right bike feels like, you can consult a bike chart and pick your size.
Are disc brakes better than rim brakes in a road bike?
For road bikes, it is conventional to use caliper brakes, the sort that consists of pads of rubber that press against the rim to make the wheel stop. Nowadays, disc brakes have become more common, and are especially used in mountain bikes and endurance bikes.
My Remaining Picks for the Best Cheap Road Bike
sixthreezero Around the Block Men’s Cruiser Bike
- Uniquely designed cruiser bike
- 21-speed settings
- 26-inch wheel diameter with treaded tires
- Twist fear changers on each side of the handlebar
- Foam grips for stable grip
You just can’t ignore this unique design! This cruiser bike offers a comfortable riding experience. The low pedal setting offers maximum stability by lowering the rider’s center of gravity while allowing one to stretch the legs comfortably. It can easily be fitted with a fender for greater protection and support. With most of it pre-assembled, this bike needs minimal assembly before you can enjoy riding it.
Vilano Shadow 3.0 Road Bike with STI Integrated Shifters
- Integrated gear and braking system for maximum convenience
- Lightweight and aerodynamic aluminum frame
- Double-walled wheels for securing tires
- A responsive caliper braking system
- 14-speed settings
This road bike is specially designed for beginners and can be used for daily trips to the office as well as for fitness. The gearing and braking systems are housed in a single unit, making it easy to control both the systems simultaneously. The cables are also encased out of sight which minimizes the risk of accidents and injuries.
Northwoods Aluminum Full Suspension Mountain Bike
- 21-speed settings
- Aluminum frame and steel fork
- Lightweight mountain bike
- Minimal assembly required
- Responsive brakes
This is an excellent mountain bike for beginners. Its lightweight makes it easy to carry on difficult terrains and control. The rider can choose from 21 different speed settings and the braking/gears operate smoothly. The suspension system is fairly strong which endures rides on uneven surfaces. Moreover, the firm treads on the tires provide a smooth grip on different surfaces with maximum speed and comfort.
sixthreezero Ride in The Park Men’s Touring City Road Bicycle
- Cruiser bike with 7-speed settings
- Versatile men’s bike for cruising and country riding
- Double-walled wheels for additional safety
- Comfortable seating to enable upright posture
- Lightweight; comes 85% pre-assembled
This bike is ideal for the urban man who prefers different terrains from city pavements and streets to country tracks. The super-lightweight design makes it easy to navigate in busy traffic as well as on dirt roads with equal comfort. The seating design allows you to keep a healthy posture while controlling the movement and speed efficiently.
Poseidon ‘Triton’ Road Bike – Lightweight Aluminum Frame
- A smooth and lightweight aluminum frame
- Carbon fiber fork for better shock absorption
- Pivot braking system for highly responsive brakes
- Specially designed for riding on steep surfaces
- Frame comes with a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty
The perfect all-terrain road bike is your answer to the most challenging terrains around you. Designed for long journeys, the upright seating enables you to keep a straight posture while the Hyperglide cassette makes riding on steep inclines a smooth and enjoyable experience. The efficient brakes help you stop the bicycle right when you want to.
Pure Cycles Classic 16-Speed
- High-strength chrome and steel body
- Comes with 16 different speed settings
- Responsive caliper brakes offer immediate responsiveness
- Easy to adjust for perfect height and arm settings
- Easy to assemble, even for beginners
This road bike is designed for difficult terrains while offering complete safety for beginners. With 16gear settings to choose from and a smooth braking system, the bike remains in your control always. This long-term investment can be easily adjusted to a comfortable height for perfect handling.
Schwinn Phocus 1400 and 1600
- Lightweight body made with carbon fiber and aluminum
- Integrated gearing and braking system
- Strong frame made enhanced with double rimming and paired spokes
- Dual pivot braking system for high responsiveness and safety
- Available in 41 cm and 56 cm frame sizes
With its combination of strength and lightweight, this is an ideal road bike for regular, mildly intense exercise. It allows you to choose from 16 different speed and gear settings to scale up your workout. It is a highly responsive bike that gives you complete control over safety, gear shifting and stopping.
For a lot of people, buying a road bike is a big commitment, especially if you’re investing in one as a way of commuting. However, finding a cheap road bike that checks all your requirement boxes is a process. And to make this process easier for you, we have broken it down for you in this guide.
Check out all the information we have shared with you to help you make an informed decision. Also, don’t forget to go through our list of the best cheap road bikes we have listed to narrow down your available options.
So use this information in your best interest and lock yourself an amazing deal for the best cheap road bikes!
Don’t forget to share with us in the comments which one of the bikes from the list you think is the best!