Best Road Bikes Buying Guide
As Heinz Stucke once said, “It is the unknown around the corner that turns my wheels.” Your cycling adventure can surprise and thrill you with the unknown, but selecting the best road bikes should not feel like uncharted territory.
We have selected our all-time favorite road bikes on the market and will present some thorough information on each one listed in our best road bikes guide.
Few Important Factors To Consider when choosing the Best Road Bike
How much are you willing to spend?
How much money will you be saving by cycling rather than commuting by bus, tram or car to work and other places? Those are long term, cumulative savings, but you may not have a whole lump sum upfront to purchase your first road bike.
We have hand-picked the best road bikes in a variety of price ranges, so whether your spending ability is moderate or you can affordable top-of-the-line, we have you covered with a quality, reliable bike.
Weight vs. Durability. What is your road biking purpose?
Tear off a sheet of aluminum foil, and pick up a piece of steel flat-bar. Feel the difference? Ok, ok, road bike framing is a little more complicated than that, but the laws of physics and the property of the metals do not change.
Your frame and fork are the largest, heaviest components of your road bike. The frame material can make or break your road bike bike, change wind dynamics and even alter how your bike responds to road stressors and if it survives an accident. Maybe more important to you, it is where the majority of the cost goes, too!
Aluminum and steel are the two most common metals, and the frame make-up of the best road bikes we have chosen for commuter biking for you.
Aluminium is the most common frame material for road bikes under $1,000. It it a lightweight material the bends more than steel, but still makes a stiff frame.
Steel is the cheapest and heaviest, which provides a comfortable ride but a low price tag – it is not recommended for touring or racing bikes due to it’s weight, however. There are also stainless steel bike frames, which are ultra-high-strength but lightweight, built for race bikes but very expensive.
There are several specifics that break down different types of the Cadillac of road bike frames: carbon fiber. It is considered to be lighter and stiffer than any other bike frame product, which translates into it being the “faster” bike frame choice. We have one bike on our list that features this high-end framing, and the price matches, but fear not because the saying “you get what you pay for” often holds true with this material.
How big should it be?
Like cycling up a mountain trail, how high is your comfort level?
It is critical you choose the right size bike for your body. Road biking is a long-term relationship between the road, the bike, and your body. You need to work together – don’t purchase a road bike that is too small or too large simply because it’s a bargain price.
We have the sizes listed for the models we like below and remember most of these can be ordered in a smaller or larger size than we have described.
How do you gauge your size when ordering online?
Measure your inseam (inside length of your legs). You should be able to stand flat-footed over the frame of the bike with a few centimeters, or an inch or slightly more, of space between you and the top tube.
Top 10 Best Road Bikes in 2018 Reviewed Below-
1. Kestrel Legend Shimano 105 Bicycle
The Kestrel Legend Shimano 105 Bicycle is one of our higher-end recommendations, and for good reason.
The Build: Sleek and stylish, the Kestrel Legend Shimano 105 Bicycle is built with race-inspired precision geometry and an exact weight-to-stiffness ratio. The Legend’s aggressive aerodynamic geometry is designed with a low head tube for a more streamlined riding position and the tapered head tube enhances steering precision.
Also, Kestrel’s proprietary tapered head tube saves weight, and increases stiffness for enhanced stability when riding. A trifecta of perfection.
Surprising Smoothness: One of the only complaints you will hear about carbon fiber frames is that the stiffness translates into shock being absorbed by the body and not the bike. Not so for the Kestrel Legend. The Legend is known to riders who crave speed but don’t want to give up comfortable ride quality to get it.Another proprietary Kestrel addition to the Legend road bike are the asymmetrically shaped seat H-Stays and chain stays which improve lateral stiffness and pedal power transfer. Bonus, these also provide incredible vibration dampening when riding.
Low Weight: It provides a surprisingly smooth ride for carbon fiber, and the transition to riding up steep hills will make you grateful you traded up past the aluminum frame. The Legend uses the lightest frame ever made by Kestrel weighing in under 18 pounds, and it can boast of being one of the lightest road bikes on the market.
Customization: Each of the available 7 sizes offer unique road bike frame tube lengths, frame tube diameters, geometric frame shapes, and carbon types and layers to produce a fully personalized quality ride.
- Less than 18 pounds
- Available in 7 customizable sizes
- 700 X 23c Vittoria Zaffiro Pro Slick Tires
- 6061 3D-forged alloy stem for rugged durability
- Tektro Dual Pivot Brakes
- Shimano 105 STI 11-speed shifters
- EMH full-carbon tapered fork
- Kestrel Enhanced Modulus Hybrid carbon fiber frame
2. GMC Denali Road Bike
The GMC Denali Road Bike is one of our Favorite & affordable best road bikes that is designed for long-term road commuting, but, it also steps up to the plate when performing on rugged surfaces and has even been known to hold its own in road racing.
It is a fantastic entry level bike for serious commuter cycling that won’t break the bank. It can be used as a weekend warrior bike on rougher terrain, and even features Shimano shifters similar to mountain bike shifters.
Sturdy Build: The GMC Denali can be ordered in a large size to handle taller or heavier riders and the overall impression of this bike is constant reliability and riding life longevity. This is a great bike to begin your cycling life on and grow with it over thousands of miles.
Versatility: The GMC Denali features high-performance 700c tires that will last you the distance in rigorous street racing straight out of the box.
The Shimano Revo shifters allow shifting without taking your hands off the handle bar to g o through 21 speeds ready to give you the resistance you need for a workout, or the speed you want in a long commute.
The bike also features a lightweight aluminum frame and precision stopping alloy calipers coupled with beautiful alloy brake levers.
Want to look fancy speeding by your friends? The Denali also has high-profile alloy Vitesse racing rims and a snazzy alloy water bottle cage.
Pro Tip: Even though you can assemble this bike yourself, to get the best out of our best road bike, get it assembled and tuned by a professional to ensure it will function and remain solid for thousands of miles.
- 21 speeds
- 29 pounds
- Alloy water bottle cage
- Nice size range with 16” – 25” stand over height
- Shimano derailleur
- Shimano Revo shifters
- High-performance 700c tires
- Alloy Vitesse racing rims
3. Vilano Aluminum Road Bike 21 Speed Shimano
One of the best-selling bikes Vilano makes is the Aluminum Road Bike, which is a high quality road bike that races in our best road bikes list at a fraction of the cost of other road bikes on the market in its range.
The Vilano Aluminum road bike was designed for both entry level and intermediate road cyclists. It’s a fantastic commuter bike and has a appeal with college students and city work commuters.
Vilano’s Aluminum Frame: The Aluminum road bike is made with a quality, lightweight double butted 6061 aluminum frame. One of the lightest road bikes in its class, the Vilano Aluminum road bike weighs in at under 24 pounds.
Superior Drivetrain: This road bike was designed with a very accessible Shimano drivetrain with an adjustable 21-gear mechanism.
Quality Accessories: The Vilano Aluminum road bike offers rim brakes for a swift and safe stop.
The saddle is a comfortable Urban Comfort brand seat and the handlebar is a rust resistant 6061 alloy, which is also strong enough for road punishment with an integrated headset. It also features A050 handlebar mounted shifters.
Another quality touch is the 700c threadless fork, which improves your control and absorbs shock from rough roads like small potholes. This fork ensures that you have a comfortable ride, regardless of the terrain that you are on.
Last mention, but certainly not least, is the CNC alloy machined 700c double- walled wheels. This tough wheel set comes with 700c x 25c tires, which will handle the city streets like a tank.
- Simple assembly
- Free Pedals Included
- Quick release wheels
- A050 handlebar mounted shifters
- Lightweight 6061 Double Butted Aluminum
- Rugged 700c double walled CNC alloy machined sided wheels
4. Merax 21 Speed 700C Aluminum Road Bike
Fast and cheap. No, you’re not eating a greasy burger joint, you’re about to ride a lean racing machine that is both fast, and cheap to purchase.
A newer bike on the market for Merax, the Merax 21 Speed 700C Aluminum Road Bike comes 85% factory assembled, so it’s fast to put together, fast on the road and one of the best prices we’ve ever seen.
More Speed: The front wheel is quick release – fast loading into any car!
Super light yet durable 27 pound aluminum frame; light frame = faster riding.
Smooth Shimano 21 speed shifter and derailleur lets you glide through gears without fumbling.
Extras: The brakes are an attractive alloy caliper set, and the rims are A5 700Cx14Gx36H aluminum fitted with Kenda 7X28C tires.
The handlebar and seat post are aluminum and there is a matching mounted aluminum bottle cage.
- 21 Speeds
- KMC Durable Chain
- Alloy Handlebar
- Aluminum Caliper Brakes
- Solid aluminum framing
- Shimano TZ-31 model Front Derailleur
- Shimano RD-TZ50 are the Rear Derailleur
5. Schwinn Phocus 1600 Men’s Road Bike
The Schwinn Phocus 1600 Men’s Road Bike makes our best road bikes list because it is the best mix of everything we could find. It is lightweight and responsive bike that is moderately priced, but still on the low-end of road bikes pricing, and offers high quality component materials that surpass many others for that price range.
What Does It Offer: The Schwinn Phocus 1600 Men’s Road Bike has an aluminum frame which allows some shock absorption and give with riding, coupled with a carbon fiber road fork for stiffness and controlled, quick, agile steering. The Carbon fiber fork also dampens vibrations from road shock.
In addition to the precision steering, it offers a Shimano Claris 16 speed derailleur and fully integrated aluminum alloy shifters and a SR Suntour alloy crank for a wide 14-gear range for all of your cycling needs.
It Not Only Looks Fast, It Is Fast: The Phocus features racy high profile alloy rims with classic paired spokes, and the front wheel has a quick release.
Guess what? The saddle is a quick release as well for quick adjustments.
It stops on a dime with quality Promax alloy caliper road brakes.
Toe clips and straps included for extra performance.
Who Should Use It: Overall, we recommend this bike for fitness riding and workout enthusiasts also commuting with a road bike.
- Attractive aesthetics
- 23 pounds
- Quick release front wheel and saddle
- Promax alloy caliper road brakes
- Microshift 14 speed integrated shifter/brake lever combo
- Toe clips and straps included
6. Vilano Shadow Road Bike
The Vilano Shadow Road Bike is an affordable commuting road bike that works well for exercise and fitness and club riding.
Bike Setup: A nice combination of quality and panache, the Vilano Shadow has some notably sturdy and stylish features.
Lightweight: this bike is easy to walk up a trail or hoist on a car when needed. It features a lightweight 6061 aluminum aero frame.
Bonuses: The Shadow Road Bike comes with an awesome integrated headset and free pedals.
Quality Shimano STI Integrated brake lever and shifters offer impeccable control braking and flawless shifting in a single unit designed for the road warrior.
A nice, lightweight road bike, the Shadow is a beast rolling up the hills and a beauty to lift effortlessly onto the rack on your car. You will have a smooth ride on the Vilano Shadow road bike if you chose to buy this bike.
- 14 speeds
- 23 pounds
- Easy assembly out of the box
- 700c doubled walled CNC machined sided wheelset
- Comes in a variety of sizes
- Can come with quick release front or rear wheels
7. Vilano R2 Commuter Aluminum Road Bike
The Vilano R2 Commuter Aluminum Road Bike is a lightweight and durable commuter bike that is a very economical choice for beginners. We also highly recommend this bike to anyone on a budget that needs a multi-gear system for a variety of road surfaces and biking styles.
Bike Setup: The Vilano R2 Commuter has several praise worthy features that make it a great inexpensive commuter bike.
>> The popular Shimano 21 speed drivetrain will power you in any road riding variable.
>> Continuing with Shimano’s well-known name, the Vilano R2 Commuter Aluminum Road Bike.
>> Also features the staple brand’s A050 thumb shifters and front and rear derailleurs.
>> The 700c CNC machined wheelset is double-walled with quick release skewers for fast and flawless disassembly and cleaning.
What Else Is Included: Well, let’s start with free pedals! Bonus!
>> Mounted water bottle holder and rear rack mount points.
>> Quick-release wheel and a 7 speed freewheel.
>> Urban Comfort saddle for a stable, comfortable position.
>> Sturdy, steel handlebar that will handle any damage it gets.
>> A Hi-Ten Steel Alloy fork completes the sturdy front end.
- 21 Speeds
- 5 pounds
- 3 size choices
- Quality Hi-Ten Steel fork
- An aesthetically pleasing frame design
- Water Bottle and Rear Rack Mount Points
8. Giordano Libero Acciao Road Bike
The Giordano Libero Acciao is a stylish and affordable beast of a road bike. The beginner’s (and off road enthusiast) metal, steel, is used in the classically done framework. The Giordano Libero Acciao is rugged and durable.
Framing: The Libero Acciao road bike comes with a high tensile steel frame which is known for it’s strength of composition but give in road shock when riding.
The steel framework is slightly heavier than aluminum alloy, but not by much. The low weight coupled with it’s design make the Giordano Libero Acciao one of the fastest bikes in its range.
Comfort & Ease: One of the coolest features of this bike is its quick-release wheel, which makes it super easy to store in a car quickly.
Another feature we like about the Giordano Libero Acciao is that it’s seat is quite comfortable and helps the biker an excellent posture for riding.
Needs a third bonus? Mounted water bottle holders! It may not sound like a lot, but a lot of bikes do not come with them, and on a long ride you’ll really appreciate it!
Smooth Ride: In addition to the forgiving frame and comfortable seat, the Libero Acciao features a 14-speed Shimano Tourney STI drivetrain that guarantees a flawless transition while changing gears.
- 14 speeds
- 36 pounds
- 32” standover height
- Mounted water bottle holders
- High tensile steel frame
- Quick-release wheel
9. Takara Kabuto Single Speed Road Bike
The best aspects of this particular road bike are its simplistically functional design, and sturdy construction.
A fantastically affordable bike,the Takara Kabuto Single -Speed Road Bike is a great buy. Purchasing the Kabuto Single-Speeds feel like you are shopping for a $1000 item and some hands you an $800 coupon – you get the quality item, but at a fraction of the cost.
Also, the Kabuto weighs in at 29 pounds, so it’s still lighter than your average toddler, and designed for long distance commuting.
Single-speed: Every cyclist has their opinion about speeds. Do you need hundreds of speeds for every nuance of the road and your body, or should you just pedal and go forward?
Takara’s Kabuto Single -Speed Road Bike has...you guessed it, one speed.
What the pros?
>> Less components to break down, fix, or adjustments of temperamental components
>> Less parts to lube in winter and wet weather, or dusty weather, or, anytime
>> It is designed to be a neighborhood and long distance sity commuter where switching gears is not always necessary and with frequent stops may be a nuisance
>> Simplistic mechanisms can take more of a beating riding than complicated gear systems
>> Makes assembly incredibly easy
Steel Framing: Tig-welded steel construction constitutes the frame, horizontal dropout and fork. Compared to other road bikes in the range, which use a lightweight alloy or aluminum frame, the Kabuto Single-Speed offers more strength, stronger and longer lasting component quality, and more overall resistance to regular usage.
Bottom line of a steel frame?
It’s less likely to warp over time or get bent if it’s dropped or in an accident.
Alloy Components: If Takara Kabuto were all steel it would weigh down your ride, so there are some attractive and lightweight components on this road bike.
>> The alloy“flip flop” hub is an awesome feature so you can run the road bike in a fixed gear or in a standard freewheel, single speed mode.
>> 32 hole alloy wheels sporting Kendra road commuting 700 x 32 tires
>> The hand brakes feature alloy side pull brakes
>> Overall, with steel construction with alloy components for the rims and side pull brakes, the quality of the Kabuto is better than most other bikes of similar caliber and price. Takara has succeeded in strength and value in low-cost road bikes where other brands have tried and failed.
- Simplistic, easy to assembly and and maintain bike design
- Sturdy steel frame and fork
- Alloy rims and hub for style
- Alloy side pull brakes
- 31” standover height
- 29 pounds
10. Takara Sugiyama Flat Bar Fixie Bike
Extremely reasonably priced, the Sugiyama is the cornerstone of the Takara flat bar road bike series. The Takara Sugiyama Flat Bar Fixie Bike is a staple for beginner commuting and road biking both for its fantastic pricing and its user-friendly assembly and simple component list.
Design: The Sugiyama Flat Bar Fixie sports a steel frame with horizontal dropouts, and a steel fork that are all handcrafted. It also sports a flip-flop hub that functions in both fixed gear and freewheel single-speed modes.
Steel framing offers more support and long-term durability than aluminum builds.
It also features alloy side pull brake in both the front and rear, and 32-hole alloy wheels with Kendra 700 x 32 inner tube tires. An additional bonus for beginners is the bikes reasonable weight despite its steel frame.
Universal Fit: The Sugiyama Fixie offers a great stand over clearance of 31”, and the alloy pull brakes may this bike a great fit for men and women in the height range of 5’8” to 6’2”. There are smaller versions made available as well for those riders shorter in stature.
Easy Use: The bike is shipped with a great DIY easy assembly setup. Single speed means minimal components, less breakage and less maintenance.
Multi-Use: The Fixie offers freewheeling or a fixed gear option, allowing you to use this bike as a long-distance road bike for both commuter biking as it is intended, or casual workouts.
- Easy DIY assembly
- Fits riders 5’8”-6’2” height
- Unisex, attractive frame design
- Available in bright, highly visible colors for road safety
- Hub works in both fixed gear and single-speed modes
- Good quality steel framing offers great resistance to usage wear
- Single speed means less gear and component wear and tear
- While there is lower quality components pieces in this bike due to its incredible low price, they are still much higher quality than similar bikes for the same price
We highly recommend this bike to anyone shopping for a first-time road bike on a tight budget but still demands a reliable long-distance commuter ride. To be fair since this is a budget road bike, there are a few lower quality components in the seat and chain due compared to your $2 grand road bikes.
The only other downside is that for extremely rough terrain the Kendra 700 X 32 tires are thin-walled and offer only moderate support. However, they are ideal for commuter biking, and this is one ride that will last you for hundreds of miles on a budget.
Get Ready to Ride
We hope you have found a favorite in our best road bikes review and breakdown. Whether it’s commuting, racing or fitness we encourage everyone to ride and to enjoy that road bike experience you need a bike that fits you and your cycling needs.
Our best road bike review should give you the sizing, use and aesthetic specifics to get you on the bike you need!
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