10 of the best £500 to £750 road bikes
Here's a selection of affordable road bikes from Specialized, Genesis, Cannondale, Cube, Boardman, Giant, B'Twin and more
Previously we’ve looked at the best bikes costing under £500, now it is time to have a close look at the bikes you can buy for between £500 and £750, and see what spending a couple of hundred pounds more really gets you. You can generally expect lighter frames, carbon fibre forks and higher quality components.
At this price range you an expect lighter aluminium frames with double and triple butted tubes - saving weight and offering improved ride performance - and carbon fibre forks (but with aluminium steerer tubes) again to save a bit of weight. Many of these frames feature a geometry that places the handlebars a little higher than a race bike along with a shorter top tube which can make them more comfortable, especially if you’re new to road cycling.
Shimano is the predominant groupset brand with Claris and Sora popular on bikes costing between £500 and £750. Most bikes will feature compact chainsets - that's two chainrings in 50 and 34-tooth ratios - that should make spinning up even the steepest hills a little easier. Some bikes even have triple chainsets - three chainrings between the pedals - that will make climbing anything much easier. Shimano's excellent 105 groupset starts to get a look in the closer you nudge to £750.
Expect own-brand wheels, tyres, handlebars, stem and saddles on most of these bikes as manufacturers aim to keep the bikes within budget. Most own-brand components are of an excellent quality these days as most brands have really raised the standard over the past 10 years. That means you’re getting really well finished bikes ready to ride and race from the shop.
If this is your first road bike and you want some more useful advice for buying your first road bike, then make sure you have a read of the road.cc Buying Basics: Buying your first road bike guide. It’ll arm you with all the important advice you need to know before making a decision.
The Giant, or Liv as the women's bikes are now known, gets going with the Avail 5 kicking off proceedings at a penny under £500. It uses Giant’s an Aluxx aluminium frame with a shape and size designed to be comfortable to ride whether it’s for longer adventures, sportives or commuting to the office. It’s available in three sizes down to XXS. It’s equipped with a Shimano Claris 16-speed groupset with FSA Tempo compact chains and Tektro brakes.
Mekk’s British designed road bike range starts with this £549.99 Pinerolo AL ZR, with a single butted aluminium frame with a carbon fibre fork and is available in five sizes. A mix of Shimano Claris and Sora parts make up the 16-speed drivetrain with a high quality KMC chain, and it’s finished off with Shimano R500 wheels and 23mm Continental Ultra Sport II tyres.
Giant do a large range of bikes for men and women, the Avail 5 we mentioned already is is the most affordable model for women, in the men’s range this Defy 4 is the second most affordable model. It too has an aluminium frame with a carbon fibre fork and a Shimano Claris 16-speed drivetrain and comfortable 25mm tyres, and there are mounts for mudguards if you wanted to add some rain protection for winter riding.
Ribble always gets a good mention in any buyer's guide about affordable road bikes, so here's the 7005 Audax. The Ribble website features a bike builder that lets you specify your own build, from the groupset and wheels down to details like the handlebar and even the headset spacers, but Ribble also offers special edition bikes with fixed specs at great prices. This is one of them, a keenly priced bike for winter training and Audax riding.
The 7005 aluminium race frame comes with a carbon fiber fork and is hung with a Shimano 105 5800 11-speed groupset, which is almost unheard-of at this price. The wheels are Rodi Airline Evo Clinchers with Yaw Nitro tyres, there's an ITM bar and stem and Selle Italia X1 Flow saddle.
The British designed Volant 10 from Genesis Bikes costs £599.99 and combines an aluminium frame, complete with mudguard mounts (making it ideal for regular commuting duties) and a carbon fibre fork. The frame has double butted tubes, to save weight, with space for wider tyres - 25mm Continental Ultra Sport tyres are ready fitted. A Shimano Claris groupset is fitted with a 50/34 chainset and 11-30t cassette, if the numbers don’t mean much to you, basically they mean you’ve got a wide range of gears enough for even the steepest mountain climbs.
The Synapse was completely redesigned a couple of years ago to make it an even more comfortable bike, and the carbon version has been raced successfully in races like Paris-Roubaix and Tour of Flanders. Racing aside, all that engineering is condensed into this aluminium model with SAVE Plus tube profiles and carbon fork legs to increase comfort, along with the skinniest seatpost - 25.4mm - of any bike here. It's intended to increase comfort. The frame is topped off with a Shimano Claris groupset and 25mm Schwalbe Lugano tyres.
Cannondale also offer the Synapse for women, the Cannondale Synapse Alloy Claris Womens costs £599 and uses a similar aluminium frame and carbon fork with many of the same design features intended to improve comfort, and with a geometry aimed at people who value comfort for longer rides. It has a Shimano Claris groupset with 25mm Schwable Lugano tyres.
The next step up from the £450 Boardman Sport (that we rate very highly) is this £699.99 Boardman Comp. It uses an aluminium frame with triple butted tubes - this saves weight and improves the ride performance - with smooth welding so it looks really good. It gets an upgraded carbon fibre fork to shed some weight over the cheaper Sport model, and features Shimano’s Sora groupset with a compact 50/34 chainset and 25mm Vittoria Zaffiro tyres.
German company Cube's most affordable bikes are called the Peloton. There are quite a few in the range, this Peloton Pro at £699 packs a smart looking frame with some good quality parts. The frame is 6061 double butted aluminium with an oversized tapered head tube - that increases the size of the fork steerer and makes for a stiffer front-end - with a carbon fibre CSL Race fork. The geometry features a taller head tube to raise the height of the handlebars, making for a more comfortable ride. It’s equipped with a Shimano Sora triple groupset and Shimano R501 wheels and 25mm Continental Ultra Sport 2 tyres.
Decathlon’s B’Twin line of road bikes receive much attention at the budget end, with the Triban a hugely popular model, but if you have a budget of £750, the newly introduced Alur 700 is a very good proposition. With an aluminium frame and carbon fibre fork and largely Shimano 105 specification, it’s a bit of a bargain. The frame features triple butted tubes, to save weight, and a relaxed geometry that places the handlebars a bit higher and closer to you so it’s more comfortable, idea for riding to work or embarking on some sportives. It looks a really good bike, probably the best specced in this guide, for not a lot of money.
Drawing on frame design features from the more expensive Allez models in the range, the £750 Allez Sport is built around an E5 Premium aluminium frame with smooth welds and carbon fibre fork with a Shimano Sora groupset. Comfort is taken care of with 25mm Specialized Espoir Sport tyres with a double BlackBelt puncture protection, which should help ward off flat tyres. There are mounts for mudguards so it would make an ideal weekday commuter, and strip them off for the Sunday morning ride.