Do you want to get into road cycling but don’t have a proper bike? Well, don’t worry, we’ve made a list of the cheap road bikes in 2020 just for you!
These bikes are meant for you if you plan to start cycling or you’ve already begun to recently. We’ve categorized them according to their prices, so you can easily find the one that suits you best.
Why should you buy online? We believe that it is a crucial step to saving an extra penny when buying road bikes. At local bike shops, you might be able to find a road bike for beginners that will cost you around $800 -1,600. These are nice bikes, but we believe we managed to get an even better price for the same value, which you can see in our review below.
Let’s check it out!
Tommaso – Imola
Aluminum frame & fork | Number of gears: 24 | Brakes: V-Brakes | Price: $649
Tommaso Imola is the most road bike you will get for $649, and it seems that most people understand this. It is one of the best sold cheap road bikes in this price range. It’s available in three attractive colors: black, white, and orange. Thus, anyone can find a look that perfectly fits their style. Off to more important aspects, Tommaso Imola is a full-aluminum cheap road bike that weighs just 23 lbs. This is perfect for riders who are beginners and want to have a reliable and efficient ride. Moreover, it features a frame with compact geometry, which ensures you will feel comfortable even on the very long rides.
Shimano Claris components, 700 x 25 mm tires
When it comes to components, the Tommaso Imola is equipped with Shimano Claris R2000 parts. This is a common choice on many budget road bikes. In total, it has 24 speeds, with a standard 11-28t cassette on the back. Shimano Claris is an entry-level groupset, but it has proven as a reliable choice preferred by many new riders. As is the case with most road bikes, Tommaso Imola comes with Shimano Claris brake calipers. Disc brakes are becoming more and more popular on road bikes, even some pro riders have started using them. But, most riders still prefer v-brakes when it comes to road bikes.
The wheelset is the famous Tommaso’s TC-20, with a 23 mm rim, that we can see on a lot of Tommasso road bikes. They chose to wrap it with Kenda’s 25 mm wide tires, which is a great fit. It is the preferred width of many experienced riders today, who are more and more often opting for the comfort that wider tires provide. When buying this bike, you can choose between the Ready to Ride build and No Build. This might save you an additional $50 off the price.
Finally, Tommaso Imola is the best cheap road bike that you can get out there. It combines reliability with elegant Italian design, which is everything you could ask for. Don’t hesitate to buy it if you are a beginner rider and you are starting to fall in love with road biking.
Salsa – Journeyman Claris 700
Best Cheap Road Bike For Adventures
Number of gears: 16 | Brakes: Mechanical Disc Brakes | MSRP: $949
Features: Aluminum frame and fork, 16 gears, Shimano Claris components, mechanical disc brakes…
This list of the best cheap road bikes would not be complete without one the best model for adventures on the market. To fill in this important position, we’ve chosen to show you the Salsa Journeyman Claris 700, which is one of the best-selling cheap road bikes with wide tires.
It has a breathtaking, clean red or orange paint job, with multi-color details that really make the bike stand out on the road. The Salsa Journeyman has a really affordable price, considering that it is built on a superb, lightweight aluminum frame with some pretty decent components.
The drivetrain is 2×8, which is similar to the one seen on more serious and more expensive models. You can move through the 16 gears with Shimano Claris derailleurs, which have proven as a great entry-level option. These 16 gears are more than enough to get you anywhere, especially because the cassette is an 11-34t.
The best thing about the Salsa Journeyman Claris is that it has disc brakes. These are mechanical discs made by Promax, perfect if you plan on riding a lot of hills or riding in bad weather. Also, in that case, changing flat tires is the last thing you want to be doing. The good news is that this bike has WTB Riddler Comp tires with puncture protection, so flats might become a thing of the past for you. The tire width is 37 mm, so you can ride even on harsh roads.
The Salsa Journeyman is one of the best cheap adventure road bikes because it is lightweight, simple to maintain, and looks really nice. We recommend it if you want a practical road bike that can get a lot of miles under its wheels both on and off-road.
Tommaso – Forcella
Number of gears: 24 | Brakes: V-Brakes | MSRP: $700
Features: Aluminum frame, carbon fork, Shimano Claris components, 24 gears, V-brakes, TC-30 wheels, 25 mm tires…
Another Tommaso cheap road bike has made it on our list, with a good reason. This time it is Tommaso Forcella, a model that is slightly more expensive than Imola but gives you more in the form of components. Tommaso Forcella is intended for entry-level riders who are sick and tired of being beginners forever. It is the perfect model to allow you to transition from a beginner to a more experienced cyclist.
The high point of Tommaso Forcella is, without a doubt, its carbon fork combined with the lightweight aluminum frame. Therefore, Forcella weighs only around 22 lbs, which is much lower than any beginner mountain or cross bike that most riders start with. Moreover, carbon is the perfect material to smooth out road vibrations, so it is much more comfortable as well.
Tommaso Forcella is equipped with Shimano Claris R2000 components which have one of the best money to value ratios on the market. You’ll have no problems whatsoever shifting through the 24 gears, even if you find yourself having to change gears uphill, under a lot of tension.
One thing we’d love to see on Tommaso Forcella is disc brakes. Originally it comes with v-brakes, but more and more cheap road bikes today have disc brakes, as they are becoming more affordable and more accessible.
Of course, when it comes to the wheelsets, Tommaso has opted for their TC-30 wheels, which are pretty light and responsive on the rides. The tires are 25 mm wide, which is a standard solution on most road bikes today.
So, what more to say but to encourage you to give Tommaso Forcella a try. It’s the perfect bike for anyone who wants to start doing longer rides, go faster, and invest more in their health and fitness.
Giant – Contend AR 3
Number of gears: 18 | Brakes: Mechanical Disc Brakes | MSRP: $1,000
Features: Aluminum frame, modern look, Shimano Sora components, 18 gears, mechanical disc brakes…
If you do not have a lot of money to spend on a road bike, but you want reliability and attractive design, Giant has plenty of models for you. Giant Contend AR 3 is one of the best cheap endurance road bikes by this Taiwanese manufacturer for a lot of reasons. Let’s see what they are.
First of all, it’s built from a custom ALUXX-Grade Aluminum frame. It is known to be very durable and weighs less than other popular alloys. If you like the modern look, you will love the simple and smooth gray paint job as well. It’s the perfect fit for rides in nature.
Now, even though Giant Contend AR 3 is categorized as an entry-level road bike, it comes with full Shimano Sora components. This groupset is intended for recreational skill level, so you already get more than you can expect from most cheap road bikes.
The drivetrain is a 2×9, which resembles what we can see on mid-level road bikes. Entry-level models usually have a 3x crank. Another nice surprise that you’ll get is mechanical disc brakes. Some riders prefer rim brakes on road bikes, but disc brakes have been becoming more and more common in recent years.
The brake levers are Shimano Sora, so even though you need more power to engage mechanical disc brakes, braking should feel smooth.
Giant Contend AR 3 wheels and tires are built by Giant in-house. This is usually a big plus, as it ensures the best compatibility. The rims are double-wall Giant S-R2, and the tires are 700×32. Thanks to the wider tires, Contend AR 3 offers more versatility and allows you to hit some rougher and bumpier roads as well.
All in all, I feel that the Giant Contend AR 3 is a bargain considering what you get for the money. If you wish to spend just $1,000 on your first road bicycle and ride both recreationally and for fitness, you can’t go wrong with this choice.
Raleigh – Cadent 3
Number of gears: 27 | Brakes: Hydraulic disc brakes | MSRP: $800
Features: Aluminum frame, upright geometry, carbon fork, Shimano Acera derailleurs, 27 gears, hydraulic disc brakes
Is your main criterium when buying a road bike to spend as little money as possible? If that is the case, they do not come much cheaper than Raleigh Cadent 3. You can get this bike online for $800, which is a bargain, as you get enough bike for your daily commutes.
Even though Cadent 3 is an entry-level bike, there are still a couple of surprises that should not be overlooked. One of these is the 6061 aluminum custom formed frame, with a rounded top tube and comfortable geometry. It is coupled with a lightweight carbon fork, which is quite comfortable and has enough clearance to add wider tires. Thanks to all of that, Raleigh Cadent 3 does not weigh much.
The derailleurs and shifters are low-end Shimano Alivio and Acera, providing you with 27 speeds in total. That’s more than enough to tackle any terrain.
Most road bikes today have sufficient gearing, so it’s not something you need to worry about.
One surprising thing is that Raleigh Cadence 3 does not have drop bars but flat handlebars. This might not be the preference of some riders when it comes to road bikes, but you can easily switch to drop bars later on. You save so much money on this bike that it should not be a problem.
Another positive surprise is the Tektro hydraulic disc brakes which slow the bike smoothly. Moreover, the tires are 35 mm wide, which is excellent for city asphalt which is often much less than perfect.
When we look at the grand picture, we love this bike. It has some disadvantages, but it’s perfect if you’re just looking for a simple way to commute on a daily basis, get healthier, and save money on gas. It has rack and fender mounts as well, so you can ride it in the rain and add bike bags as well.
Vilano – Shadow 3.0
Number of gears: 21 | Brakes: V-Brakes | MSRP: $349
Features: 6061 aluminum frame, 14 gears, 700c wheels, STI brake levers with integrated shifters…
Vilano Shadow is the cheapest road bike on this list, but that does not make it the worst. It’s made for those who do not have or do not want to spend too much money on a bicycle, but still want to get all of the main benefits of road biking.
Lightweight but strong, the handcrafted 6061 alloy frame is reliable. This frame is the only choice for bikes under $500 because you really can’t make a decent carbon frame for under $500.
Gears – It has Shimano Tourney like most of the bikes around this price range. Let’s talk about gears; it has 2 gears in front (50 tooth and 34 tooth) and 7 at the back which give you a good overall ratio of speeds needed due to riding conditions.
Rims – It has 700c wheels like all road bikes. This number means size. They use CNC rims. They aren’t anything fancy but if you use the bike like you should, then the last and let you train well.
Weight – They claim it weighs from 26 to 27 pounds
Assembly – You have to add pedals, handlebars, and few small things. If you’re not comfortable with it, you can always take it to your local bike shop. It might be crucial if you don’t know how to adjust the derailleur.
Sizes – Three main sizes. Small – Riders from 5’4” to 5’8”. Medium from 5’7” to 5’11 feet and Large 5’10” to 6’4”.
Bottom Line: Great bike for this price. Researching this bike led me to think that it is the best bike for an entry-level road biker for under $500. This is a “Starter bike” as they say. And if you compare my reviews with Amazon ones, then you’ll realize the same – it is a great bike for a beginner in 2020.
Weight – 26.05 pounds (includes pedals, reflectors, and kickstand)
Marin – Nicasio 700C
Best Alternative Cheap Road Bike
Number of gears: 16 | Brakes: Mechanical Disc Brakes | MSRP: $800
Features: Chromoly frame and fork, upright geometry, Shimano Claris components, 16 gears, 30 mm tires, disc brakes…
Have you heard about the newest trend in road biking called gravel bikes? They are becoming more and more popular, so we’ve decided to include the best cheap road bike made for gravel. In our opinion, that’s Marin Nicasio 700C. It’s amazing how many new doors a gravel bike opens. It gives you new riding possibilities that you didn’t even think about before.
Marin Nicasio 700C has a full Chromoly frame and fork with a relaxed endurance geometry in mind. Therefore, you can ride longer on gravel, dirt, and forest roads. It has a replaceable hanger for the derailleur, so even if you fall, you will save your Shimano parts.
When talking about the derailleurs, Marin opted for Shimano Claris this time. They are an entry-level solution, but they are great for beginners, who just need reliable shifting. Therefore, shifting on a bumpy off-road hill will present no challenge. The number of gears is 16, which is not too much but will get the job done.
Some of the things that make gravel bikes what they are are wide tires and disc brakes. Marin Nicasio has both of them! The tires are 30 mm wide, offering more than enough grip, and you can stop this pretty bike by engaging the Promax mechanical disc brakes.
If you have some gravel roads in your area that you have been tempted to ride on, the Marin Nicasio is the perfect companion for those. Moreover, it will not stop you from riding fast on asphalt either, so it is hard to go wrong with this model.
How To Choose The Right Size?
The best way to choose a good road bike size for you is to find out what your height is.
Then, you can compare it to one of the charts available on the internet. Most bike manufacturers have their own charts as well. So, when you choose which bike you want to buy, make sure to consider their measures, as they could be manufacturer-specific.
However, this is just one of the many possible methods. We encourage you to take a look at our in-depth bike sizing guide. Here, we explain 7 different methods of choosing the right bike size.
You can use just one or combine several of them for an even more precise fit!
What Separates a Cheap Road Bike From a Cheaply Made Road Bike?
A cheap bike and a cheaply made bike are not the same!
A cheaply made bike has terrible components, often no-brand ones, and a lousy finish. Such bikes usually do not last long and often have a lot of mechanical or structural problems.
The bikes that we have included here are cheap, but they are still quality made. They are produced by reputable companies which put a lot of time and effort into finding the right balance between the price and components.
All of the best cheap road bikes that we have included on our list have Shimano or Sram components. They usually work well and last for a long time. The only way in which they differ from more expensive models is the materials used and the weight. Therefore, if you bought a cheap road bike, it does not have to mean that you bought a bad bike! It can make you happy for a long time!
There you have it, we’re shown you the seven best cheap road bikes you can buy in 2020.
Each of them is best suitable for a particular type of rider and a particular style of riding. For example, the Tommaso Imola is perfect if you want a practical road bike that looks good, which you can ride both on recreational and longer fitness rides. The Giant Contend AR 3 is perfect for those who want a cheap road bike, but are willing to spend a little bit more money to get better components and care about the speed.
On the other hand, Raleigh Cadent 3 and Merax Finiss are made for riders whose main motivation is to save money. If you know that you won’t go on very long and demanding rides, but you want a bike to ride casually on the weekend, you won’t make a mistake if you buy one of these two models.
If you care about having carbon on your bike, either for performance or for bragging, you can get it for little money if you buy Tommaso Forcella. Women who are looking for the best cheap road bike suitable for their geometry do not need to look past the Co-op Cycles ARD 1.1W. This is also the best-looking bike on the list!
Finally, if you have an adventurous spirit and you like challenging yourself on gravel roads, we recommend you go for the Marin Nicasio 700C. It’s a utilitarian bicycle that does not take no for an answer.
Do We Suggest Buying Cheap Road Bikes?
A cheap bike is better than not having a bike at all, right? A cheap road bike will get you outside into nature, help you lose weight, get fit, become healthier, and be happier. As we explained, a cheap bike is not the same as a cheaply made bike. If you take our advice and choose one of the best cheap road bikes we showed here, we’re sure you’ll be cycling happily for a long time.