Many people frown when they hear the term ‘best entry–level road bikes.’ Mainly, because of vanity. We do not see anything wrong with basic road bikes that are well-built by a known brand.
These cheap road bikes listed below are perfect for anyone who isn’t willing to break the bank by spending too much, but still wants to get a glimpse of what road biking is all about. We must warn you – road biking is very addictive!
Entry-level road bikes are generally affordable road bikes that are designed to ‘lure in’ potential road bikers who are on a tight budget. That doesn’t always mean that those bikes are poorly made, instead they are equipped with the essential basics one would need to get going with the new hobby.
In this case, beginner’s road bikes are typically built on an aluminum frame and carbon fork, coupled with a 2x front cog drivetrain, mechanical disc brakes or caliper brakes.
The 9 Best Beginner Road Bikes
1. Tommaso – Fascino
Best value beginners road bike!
Are you ready for some original Italian design?
Yes, bikes should be utilitarian, but there’s nothing wrong if they are a fashion statement at the same time. Tommaso Fascino meets both of these criteria, which is why I had no doubts to include it as one of the best beginner road bikes. It’s light, it’s customizable, it’s painted a sexy shade of black – it has all that you need!
Let’s make it clear, I have nothing against so-called Frankenbikes which mix components from different manufacturers. If done right, they can be awesome. However, it’s nice to see a bike with matching components throughout.
This is a lightweight bicycle made 100% from aluminum, which is the best material for an entry-level road bike.
Tommaso Fascino promises exactly that – it comes with a full Shimano drivetrain, Shimano derailleurs, as well as Shimano brake levers. This means that all of the parts are guaranteed to be compatible and to work seamlessly together.
I also need to mention that you’ll be shifting through 21 gears on the Tommaso Fascino, which is plenty even for more experienced riders.
The lightweight Tommaso TC-20 wheels and Kenda 700x25c tires are easy to get going and increase your speed threshold. Even though Tommaso Fascino is a good entry-level road bike, it’s built for those who plan to ride more and more and need a bicycle that would support their growing fitness demands.
Frames XXS to XL
4’9″ to 6’5″
2. Co-op Cycles – ADV 2.1
A gravel/road bike
Getting a new road bike under $1,000 in 2023 sounds way better than it did five years ago. By today, the price and quality gap have finally come down to a suitable price range, allowing recreational and beginner riders to get a good quality road bike at just three digits. Yes, the ADV 2.1 is not a thousand-dollar road bike, instead, it is a gravel/road bike 2in1.
The bike is built on a 6061 double-butted frame with a carbon fork, coupled with Shimano Claris 2×9 speed drivetrain, Pro-max mechanical disc brakes, and Marin’s WTB ST i19 rims. The tires are 700x35mm Kenda Flintridge gravel/road tires.
The ADV 2.1 features all the essentials to get you going, and participate in long endurance rides, some intermediate climbs and why not use it for bikepacking.
Frames: XS to XL
5′ to 6’3″
3. Cannondale – Synapse 105
Best road bike for women
The Cannondale Synapse Women’s road bike is a female-specific, Shimano 105 version of the popular endurance line.
The Synapse has all the characteristics of a great road bike, and you can easily transform it into a light gravel machine with wider 32mm tires and fenders.
The Cannondale Synapse Women’s 105 has a lightweight SmartForm 2 aluminum frame and an incredibly comfortable and lightweight carbon fork.
The carbon fork saves weight and makes all the difference in smoothness on imperfect roads. The Vittoria Zaffiro 700x30c tires are wide enough to tackle even bumpier roads, so if you live somewhere like this, it’s a great choice for you.
Road riders who would like to step up their training or just get around the city much faster than before will love the Cannondale Synapse Women’s 105 road bike.
Frames: 44, 48, 51, 54cm
4. Schwinn – Sporterra
One of the cheapest & best looking
MSRP: Check on Amazon
That’s the lowest you can go and still expect a decent ride of. The one-size frame fits riders 5’7″ to 6’0″ and can work as a great commuter/gravel bike for those on the lowest possible budget.
- 2x7speed Shimano Tourney
- Mechanical disc brakes
- 700c wheels
5. Cannondale – CAAD Optimo 4
A Great Mix of Components
Cannondale is one of the biggest road bike manufacturers nowadays. Some of the most successful elite road racers ride their bikes, such as the EF-Education Team from the US, one of the biggest names in cycling right now! The Cannondale CAAD Optimo 4 is super-lightweight due to the CAAD Optimo Full Carbon fork and SmartForm C2 Alloy Aluminum frame. It’s one of the top picks on the list!
The biggest difference between a $500 road bike and a $1,000 road bike is seen in the components. With the CAAD Optimo 4, you get a nice improvement. This model comes with Shimano Claris, which is expected for this price range.
The RS 3.0 wheelset and Vittoria Zaffiro 25c tires will give you an idea of what riding a real road bicycle feels like; these tires are super fast.
Finally, what’s worth mentioning are the Promax v-brakes brakes, which will provide you with a decent braking experience in dry weather but poor braking in wet weather. The bottom point is, if you want to start training more seriously and have longer and more arduous rides, this Cannondale bike is one of the best entry-level road bikes for you!
6. Marin – Gestalt 2 🏆
The best starter gravel bike
The Marin Gestalt 2 makes a great entry-level road bike for anyone out there. The new models feature must-have components packed at a very good value: Starting from the 6061 Aluminum frame coupled with Marin’s full-carbon fork, 2×10 speed Shimano Tiagra groupset, 700x32c WTB Exposure Comp tires.
Mechanical disc brakes and tubeless-ready rims with rack and fender mounts also add a ton of versatility which makes the bike quite modern if you are looking for a bike for the next 5-10 years.
Besides the tech specs, the looks of the bike matter a ton as well, right? Well there you have it, the all-new bike looks, excuse me, but way better than most other bikes around! Go check out Marin’s size chart and available models to see if there’s still something for you there!
7. All-City Cycles – Thunderdome
The best single-speed road bike
All-City has moved the limits of the money-value ratio with this model. Built around an All-City Alumasonic frame and Whisky No.7 carbon fork is a bicycle that looks like a million dollars, but costs just $1850.
The Thunderdome comes with durable components so it will be hard to resist riding it every day. This is a fantastic road bicycle for beginners who know they will not stay on the entry-level road cycling level for much longer.
The single-speed drivetrain helps to keep weight, maintenance, and costs down, making it the perfect city commuter. This bike is built to withstand much more than you can throw at it.
The All-City Thunderdome is an excellent choice for speed with the Donnelly Strada LGG, 700 x 25mm tires. This bike is for anyone who doesn’t feel like an absolute beginner anymore and wants to take their fitness to the next level.
8. Orbea – Avant H30D
Premium look with Shimano 105
Orbea is one of the best bicycle manufacturers today. This is evident in the Avant H30D model, which has everything a rider might want in a beginner road bike.
The Avant H30D comes in a sleek silver color with a semi-integrated headset that makes for an eye-catching design. This bike uses a 6061 Aluminum frame and carbon fork, which provides a lightweight and responsive ride.
Shimano took care of the shifting with their 105 groupset, which is seen on many models you can get at this price. The brakes are hydraulic discs, which means you’ll have a powerful, controlled braking experience.
Finally, the Avant also has Vittoria Zafiro V Rigid Bead 700x28mm tires which are fast and durable.
9. Hiland – Aluminum Road Bike
Cheapest Road Bike
MSRP: Check on Amazon
The Hiland Aluminum bike is a perfect budget road bike at just $400. The bike is great for beginners who want to try their hand at road rides. The 3×7-speed drivetrain is represented by Shimano, the bike’s frame, fork, and wheelset are all made of lightweight yet durable aluminum.
The 28c tires on this bike provide some extra comfort and traction and are right around the middle to use for training purposes and races alike. Finally, Hiland also managed to squeeze in disc brakes despite the low price.
What to Expect from Affordable Road Bikes?
As mentioned earlier, you probably wouldn’t be able to win Tour de France on an entry-level road bike. These bikes are intended for light, occasional training, and casual rides on the weekend.
If you want to get a bicycle just to stay fit, to commute from time to time, or simply have fun now and then, there are many entry-level road bikes under $500 that would make you perfectly happy.
Their components are not as durable as those on high-end bicycles, so they require more care.
However, as long as you are mindful of the most crucial parts, you can rest assured that your entry-level road bike will last you for many years.
All of the bikes on this list are good starter road bikes, that with proper care and maintenance will last for years and years of regular riding. They are all a very good buy, so it’s up to you to make up your mind and choose the one that created the biggest spark in your eyes. If your excuse for not cycling was that you couldn’t afford it, I hope that I’ve eliminated it and proved you wrong.
So, ride more, stay fit, look good, join a group ride, and become a cyclist with one of these budget road bikes!