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 2021 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.
These are the best Cheap Road Bikes of 2021
1. Tommaso – Fascino
2. Marin – Lombard
3. Salsa – Journeyman
4. Raleigh – Cadent
5. Vilano – Shadow
MSRP from $775 Giantnerd
Starting from $775, Tommaso Fascino is most likely the most road bike you will get from $775. The bike comes fully equipped and pre-tuned. It truly is one of the best sold cheap road bikes in this price range. Off to more important aspects, Tommaso Fascino is a full-aluminum cheap road bike that weighs just under 24 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 very long rides.
2. Marin – Lombard ‘2021
MSRP $939 JensonUSA
Designed for urban riders – the Lombard by Marin bikes is an ideal commuter bike for an active person with the know-how in road cycling. The aluminum-framed bike is equipped with a 2×9 speed Shimano Sora drivetrain, Tektro mechanical disc brakes, 700x40c tires with clearance for up to 45mm tires. There are plenty of rack&fender mounts to use this bike further from the fitness aspect that it is originally designed for.
The bike looks sleek, not mainly because of the internal cable routing, but also the brand-new metallic color-scheme as well. The saddle tells a lot about the bike, and this model is called “Marin Beyond Road Concept” which tells that it thrives in most areas you are comfortable pushing this bike for – whether it’s the everyday commutes, urban rides, touring, or as an all-road bike. Under the four-digit price tag, there’s not too much to ask from this bike. Once you’d feel like you’ll need some upgrades, you can swap out the fork for a fancier carbon one, and use the aluminum fork on your next hybrid bike.
3. Salsa – Journeyman Claris 700
MSRP $949 REI
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.
4. Raleigh – Cadent 3
MSRP $800 Raleigh
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.
5. Vilano – Shadow 3.0
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 2021.
- Weight – 26.05 pounds (includes pedals, reflectors, and kickstand)
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 that 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 2021.
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 bi
ke 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.