Best Entry Level Road Bikes for Beginners
If you are a bike riding beginner, then you might need a little help picking out the best entry-level road bike to meet your needs. Whether you want to reduce your carbon footprint, get some much-needed exercise, or feel the wind in your hair, this buying guide will help you pick the best one.
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Quick Answer: 6 Best Value Road Bikes
What Are the Best Road Bikes?
A road bike has been specially designed to sail across the pavement. They do not ride well on rough or uneven terrain. The design does not allow it the luxury of carrying heavy loads. Ideally, It take you from point A to point B rapidly, which makes them ideal for commuting and longer rides.
In this review, we are going to focus on light bikes that are designed for pavement.
Depending on where you live, it might, to as road racing or endurance bikes. They are used for traditional riding on smooth roadways and can attain high speeds.
In order to float across the pavement, they are traditionally very lightweight and boast higher speeds.
The Appearance of the Road Bikes
A good road bike does not have fender or rack mounts but is sleek for speed. Aerodynamics and aesthetics allow it to cut through the wind with ease to create a brisk ride.
Nowadays, most high quality road bikes have hydraulic disc brakes due to the higher clearance they afford which has become an added perk. With high tire clearance, the bicycle has more excellent traction and improved riding performance. Many beginner road bikes also now have extra-wide tires, which enable you to inflate to lower pressures.
Picking the Best Road Bike for a Beginner
Everyone must start somewhere, so here are a few tips on how to choose one of the best road bicycles. As a beginner, the myriad of entry-level road bikes under $1,000 online and at local bike shops can be confusing. The choices seem endless.
Here are a few things to focus on when picking the best entry-level road bike:
Disc Brakes on Road Bikes
Four years ago, disc brakes became the norm on road bikes. Even race-oriented bikes have launched disc brakes as the must-have plus they have become commonplace on endurance road bikes. That's a great thing for road riding because it means you get:
- Optimum performance in rough conditions
- Better control
- Fewer incidences of brake-heat induced rim problems
- Fewer tire problems
If you’re weighing the best road bikes for beginners, then make sure to get a bike with hydraulic or mechanical disc brakes. Sadly, bikes in the at a beginner-friendly price point have caliper brakes.
Consider the Tire Clearance on the Bike
Many years ago, rim brakes were the norm, but they had limited clearance, and you were restricted to 28mm wide tires or narrower. Another great thing about hydraulic and mechanical disc brakes is that the pinch point has been removed which affords a tire clearance of at least 32mm or more. It’s not uncommon for some modern road bikes to have a clearance of 35mm.
Wider Tires on the Road Bike or Not?
Early road bikes had very narrow tires and many popular bikes, such as mountain and fat-tire, do too. However, wider wheels and rubber have emerged because of their many benefits. You’ll get much better traction, which is something I can appreciate.
I come from Portland, Oregon, where it rains a lot. The pavement can become slippery, so broader tires on my road bike provide me with far better traction and a more excellent feeling of security. I know that I’m not going to spin out and lose it. Also, the city’s roadways frequently have lots of pumice (they use the pumice during icy weather to provide traction for autos and motorbikes).
When I’m riding, I don’t want to have to avoid the pumice gravel or potholes. With wider tires, I can glide across such minor obstacles without ever breaking stride. In fact, I can even use my road bike like a gravel bike.
In my opinion, I adore wide rims and would highly recommend them on any bike, especially if you’re a beginner.
The Aerodynamics of Modern Road Bikes
Even if you are shopping for the best cheap road bikes, you’ll probably be surprised to learn that they also have aerodynamics like the more expensive models.
Please remember, the best bike builders consider everything when designing a bike. This includes the position of the rider. Of all the things involved in an aerodynamic bike, the rider causes the most significant drag and resistance because of their bulky and unyielding form. While you want to keep an upright position, you should also feel like you're cutting through the air with ease.
However, designers still try to focus on how to improve the aerodynamics, because a little bit always helps.
Testing Road Bikes for Aerodynamics
Please remember that thousands of hours of intensive computer modeling and fine-tuning go into any bike’s creation even that of the best cheap road bike. Not all design takes place on a computer screen.
Designers also use wind tunnels to measure aerodynamics and further tune it. A high quality bike will have very low weight, plus great high stiffness, and take into consideration the rider’s comfort.
Materials Used to Create the Perfect Bike for Roadways
When shopping for the best beginner road bike, you’ll want to take into consideration the material that goes into its construction. Carbon fiber or aluminum alloy are the two most common.
Most entry level road bikes have an aluminum frame because aluminum alloy is much cheaper than carbon. We also recommend an aluminum frame for your first road bike because it requires less care and can better stand up to rough roads.
High-end solutions are usually made from carbon fiber composite, which is not only light but very strong. A carbon frame and fork can also be formed by designers nicely.
That said, even if a carbon frame is too expensive, you should look for a carbon fork. A carbon fork reduces vibrations from the road much more effectively than an aluminum fork.
Other frame materials that you might encounter include steel, magnesium, titanium, bamboo, and hardwood.
Remember, the design of the bike dictates how it rides and not the material.
Finding the Right Fit
When picking a road bike, you must choose the proper fit because riding long distances or commuting could become a reality the more you ride.
Here is a breakdown of things to consider:
The Drivetrain on the Road Bike
Take a close look at the components that come with any new bike. The best value road bike will probably have a crank with two chain-rings (known as the 2x) with 11 rear cogs (11-speeds).
However, you might encounter other drive-train configurations and components as you shop for the best affordable bike. Cheaper ones often do not have rear cogs on their drivetrains. You’ll see 2x10, 2x9, and 2x8 as you go down in price.
Remember, with fewer speeds shifting becomes more difficult.
Types of Drivetrains Found on Road Bikes
Higher priced road bikes will boast 12 speeds. SRAM’s come out ahead in popularity. Shimano leads as the most common drivetrain. You can often get Shimano 105 components or Shimano Sora components on entry and mid level bikes. Force eTap AXS 12 speed is on many mid-range priced bikes. Popularized by SRAM isn’t as popular on road bikes but is used on cyclocross and gravel bikes.
It stands out because it does not use a front shifter or derailleur. The large jumps between gears create the same total range as that found in a 2x system. The system is remarkably simple with chain security and heightened aerodynamics.
Top Six Starter Road Bikes
When shopping for a new bike for the road, I encourage you to consider these six top choices.
I have been biking for years. Both mountain and a trusty road bike currently hang in my garage. Anyone who enjoys pedaling must have a road bike, but they do not need to spend an excessive amount of money.
After reading this review, I’m confident that you will be able to pick the best entry level road bikes for your needs.
Built-in America, the Roadmaster is owned by Pacific Cycle. They are widely sold throughout the USA both online and at many retailers. As an entry-level bike, the Roadmaster offers versatility; ride it on pavement or off-road.
A 26” inch bike, it fits most adult men. Which has a very smooth suspension fork that absorbs the bumps with ease, so you don’t feel them. The tires on the bike have an adequate thread for optimum gripping abilities. With 18 speeds, it features a wide-ranging three-piece crank. The linear-pull rim brakes help stop quickly, which is a nice perk if you do much city-riding because auto drivers often don’t look where they are going. In such instances, you must stop immediately.
The smooth SRAM drive twister components stand out. The steel frame might be a bit on the heavy side, but it can stand up well to abuse so you can enjoy the ride that you have been dreaming about. The steel handlebars are easy to grip. I appreciate the padded seat which absorbs the bumps, so I don’t feel them. The designers took some time with it because even the streamlined build makes this bike stand out.
Truthfully, if you are looking for a new bike at a great price point, then please consider the Roadmaster 26” Men’s Granite Peak. It is one of the best and most affordable road bikes on the market currently. You can’t do much better in the price range.
Pros and Cons of the Roadmaster 26" Granite Peak Bike
Overall rating : 4 Out Of 5
If you start researching entry level bikes, you’ll start to see the Tommaso Imola Endurance Road Bike listed a lot as a leader. You are probably wondering if it lives up to all the hype. The quick answer is ‘yes.’ The Tommaso Imola is a great first bike for the money and worth your consideration. It looks good and features an Italian designer's name.
The Tommaso has some very nice specs that set it apart in this review from its competition. With Shimano Claris components at gears of 3×8, you’ll be able to tackle even the steepest hills. The Shimano Claris groupset derailleurs stand out because many budget rides lack derailleurs. Take good care of the derailleurs, and you’ll enjoy continued smooth shifting. I suggest that when it arrives, you take it to a bike shop to get real professional adjustments.
The bike comes with its own brand of tires: Tommaso Corsa TC-20. The aerodynamic shape typically occurs only on higher-end solutions. The front-wheel has 20 spokes and the back one 24 spokes. The Kendra 700x25c has a nice width (something that I look for in a bike). The wide rims are good because they make riding easier for beginners by affording greater stability. The wide rubber also absorbs the bumps you might encounter even on pavement. The mid-range Shimano Claris rim brake calipers are a huge disappointment I would have rather had disc brakes, but I guess a great bike cannot be perfect. However, the brakes are one area where they skimped.
Overall, this is a good bike offered at a solid price point.
Pros and Cons of the Tommaso Imola Endurance Aluminum
Overall rating : 4.5 Out Of 5
Just about everyone in the world who rides bikes has heard of the Schwinn. The company has created a name for itself by providing affordable rides. The Schwinn Phocus 1400 and 1600 Drop Bar Road Bicycles are for women and men. Without a doubt, this is an entry-level bike. You can take it for a spin, but you can’t do much else if you want to advance your skills. However, the affordable price makes it worth consideration. The differences between the 1400 and 1600 boil down to size. Are you short or tall?
A 6061 quality aluminum frame with a carbon fork (standard for higher-priced bikes but rare in this price range). The fork helps absorb bumps to create a smooth ride. The 16 speed Shimano Claris components shift nicely. The three-piece crank lets you shift when needed — this cruises on flat ground at about 20 mph which feels fast.
The doubled walled wheels stand up to abuse. If you want a wider tire, then you can easily place a 28c on the wheel which is something I recommend for any newbies.
The low cost makes it appealing to the beginners. Without a doubt, the bike will meet your needs, and you can always upgrade later.
Pros and Cons of the Schwinn Phocus 1400 and 1600 Drop Bar Road Bicycles
Overall rating : 4 Out Of 5
This bike is interesting. The Takara brand released this as their flagship to herald in a full line of single speed bikes. That might remind you of the ones you used to ride as a kid. If you rode your kid bike up any hills, then your legs were getting an extreme workout. Well, the Takara Kabuto Single Speed Bike isn’t easy to pedal on hills. If you live in a flat area, then the bike performs acceptably, but I wouldn’t recommend this for anyone living in a location like San Francisco. Even the slightest hill becomes a monumental task, but if you want a good hard workout, then this bike might fit the bill.
Features a very tough handcrafted steel frame for longevity. A flip flop hub enables the bike to run as a fixed gear, or it can go into a free-wheel single speed. At least you don’t have to worry about gears.
You get 32-hole alloy wheels and Kendra 700x32 tires which do a good job gripping surface. The bike has a standover height of 32 inches to fit taller individuals. Tig welded tough steel frame for good durability. Has alloy side pull brakes to stop.
It might be considered a little on the high end of the list for cost considering it boasts only a single speed.
Pros and Cons of the Takara Kabuto
Overall rating : 3 Out Of 5
The Eurobike XC550 is a good choice for the money. The steel frame and top tube affords good durability and longevity. The ergonomic seat provides nice support and comfort to the rider, which makes long-distance riding a breeze. The seat also features lower back support and helps maintain a good sitting posture. The adjustable seat lets you pick the height for your body’s unique needs.
The Eurobike has a Shimano A050-21 21 speed gear so you can ride across a variety of terrain with ease. The bike’s front and rear derailleur are different. The Shimano TZ30, which is in the front, helps to pull during an upward ride. The Shimano TZ50 has been positioned on the rear. Riders up to 300 pounds can ride on this without any problems. It comes with a one-year manufacturer warranty, and the frame boasts a lifetime warranty.
Shimano TZ50 components have been positioned on the rear. Riders up to 300 pounds can ride on this without any problems. The bike comes with a one-year manufacturer warranty and the frame boasts a great lifetime warranty.
The Eurobike is affordable, and you get a lot for your the price.
Pros and Cons of the Eurobike Bike XC550
Overall rating : 4 Out Of 5
I like to think of this bike as a ‘back-to-the-basics’ in a lot of ways. It has 21 speeds which are nice but very few other updates. This gets the job done if you are looking for a commuter or just to hit the wide-open road.
Features a Shimano A050 thumb rear indexed 7-speed. The front friction is 3-speed shifters. With the 21-speed drivetrain hills and other roads, obstacles are not a problem.
The 6061 aluminum frame boasts a commuter saddle for comfort. The 700c double-walled alloy wheels complete the bike’s simple package.
An affordable, basic solution
Pros and Cons of the Vilano R2 Commuter Aluminum Road Bike
Overall rating : 3.5 Out Of 5
In my opinion, the Tommaso Imola Endurance Road Bike stands out above the crowd as one of the best entry level road bikes. You get great components like those you'd expect to find on a much more costly bike. You can also upgrade by increasing the width of your tires. The lightweight frame and flashy paint job will turn heads.