10 of the best road bikes under £1,000

We pick some of the best mens and womens road bikes for under £1,000

by David Arthur   July 13, 2014  

750-1000-group

road.cc reviews

So you’ve got around a £1,000 to spend on a road bike, but not sure what to look for? We’ve rounded up 10 interesting road bikes for you at a range of prices from £700 up to £1,000 to give you an idea of what you can expect for your money. Just because you've got a thousand pounds to spend that doesn't mean you have to spend it all on the bike  go a bit lower and you can get still get a bike and one that will help you stretch your budget to some choice upgrades or some extra kit. It's all about finding the right bike for your riding needs and your riding budget.

If you think your budget might stretch to slightly more than £1,000 check out our guide to road bikes under £1500 - which features bikes from between £1,000 and £1,500. If you're not sure your budget will stretch all the way up to £1,000 check out our guide to road bikes for under £700 which concentrates on machines costing betwen £700 and £500, and for good measure our guide to 2014's hottest bikes between £500 and £900 is alwo worth a look.

Women's bikes

Some manufacturers are starting to shy away from the idea of separate men's and women's road bikes and simply offer a standard model. All of the bikes in our roundup will work for women riders, but where a manufacturer does offer a female specific alternative we've included that too. 

What can you expect for your money?

In this price range you get a very capable, lightweight and potentially very fast road bike. Whether it’s for getting into road racing, diving in to the world of sportives, riding to work or college, or simply for getting fit at the weekends, these 10 road bikes all offer a high level of performance and should deliver years of cycling enjoyment.

Traditionally bike makers choose one of two tactics when building a bike for a particular price point - use a cheaper frame with a higher spec of componentry, which should deliver a good bike at an eye-catching price, but limits upgrade potential. Or, go for a better quality frame, but down-spec some of the componentry to bring the complete package in under the desired price point on the basis that the buyer can replace parts as they wear out with better quality ones more in keeping with the frame. 

Both approaches have their merits it's up to you to decide which one works best for you. Just to complicate things further this isn't a rigid rule, some manufacturers are able to deliver the best of both worlds. Purely online operations and retailer own brands have the advantage of of saving on distribution costs and they often pass that saving on to the customer. Some other big manufacturers also have the benefit of economies of scale when buying components and again will sometimes pass that saving on to make their products more price competitive.

It's all in the frame

As this roundup shows, most - but not all - bikes at this price feature aluminium frames. The latest generation of aluminium bikes offer a fantastic combination of performance and value. It's a cliché because it's true that when it comes to bangs per buck performance you can't beat an aluminium bike. It's a very good material for bike frames, both light and stiff, two very desirable features in a bike frame. Modern aluminium frames are also comfortable too - gone are the days when you would expect a harsh ride from an alu bike.

Look for a frame with double, or triple, butted tubes, as these are lighter and offer slightly better ride performance than non-butted plain gauge tubes.

It is possible to get carbon fibre at this money, and we’ve included two examples. Carbon costs more than aluminium so you will typically sacrifice the quality of the components, with a lower tier groupset, wheels and finishing kit common. 

A carbon frame is likely to be lighter and stiffer than aluminium though, and does offer good upgrade potential so you could replace parts as they wear out. 

Another point to consider is will you want to to fit mudguards to your bike? Some bikes here will feature concealed mudguard eyelets so you can easily add mudguards, which can be invaluable for winter riding and daily commuting.

Groupset and parts

All the bikes here use groupsets - the collective term for a bike's gears, brakes and controls - mainly or entirely based on components from Japanese company Shimano. Most feature either the cheaper Tiagra or more expensive 105 or a combination of the two.

Shimano 105 is a bit lighter and offers slightly better performance, but Tiagra has been upgraded recently and is very good for the money. You should also expect to see a smattering of parts from Italian component maker FSA - instead of speccing their bikes entirely from Shimano parts many bike manufacuters will look to save a bit of money by going fitting a different crankset - usually an FSA one. That isn't necessarily a negative - FSA components have a very good reputation for quality and performance. 

Both Shimano groupsets are 10-speed with most bikes here using a compact (50/34) double ring chainset providing 20 usable gears. A triple chainset is an option on some bikes and provides more low and high gears, useful for climbing. 

You can also expect to see some own brand components at this price point - again that isn't necessarily a negative, bike manufacturers fit own brand componentry to their bikes right the way through their price ranges - usually re-badged items from one of the big component manufacturer's ranges. 

Own brand wheels and components give way to branded parts the more you spend. As wheels and tyres have a big impact on a bikes performance, look for a bike that doesn’t skimp on these parts.

If you value comfort, then look for a bike with 25mm tyres, rather than 23mm, as they offer a bit more cushioning and are no slower than narrower tyres anyway.

Just under £1,000

Hoy Sa Culobra 03 £1,000

Yes okay technically this isn't just below £1,000, but If you can stretch to £999, we reckon you can stretch to the extra quid to put the Hoy Sa Culobra 03 on your list. Like a number of the aluminium bikes here it delivers a level of handling and performance that you’d usually have to pay a lot more to achieve in carbon. It impressed us enough to make it in to our Bike of the Year Top 10.

Designed with input from Sir Chris Hoy the emphasis is on build quality and ride performance - this may be the most expensive bike on our list but it also has a frame that is eminently upgradeable as parts wear out. That’s not to say you don’t get a good kit package from the get go. The Sa Culobra comes with Shimano 105 gear mechs and shifter, Shimano RS10 wheels with 25mm Continental Ultrasport tyres, brakes are Tektro RS40s - the rest of the finishing kit is Hoy branded and good quality. Read our review of the Hoy Sa Culobra 03 here.
Buy it here

Boardman Road Team Carbon £999 

When it comes to bange per buck, it definitely pays to see what former Olympic champions have in their bike ranges at this price point. Boardman offer exceptional value for money in the shape of the Road Team Carbon, featuring a full carbon fibre frame and fork. The main benefit of the carbon frame over  aluminium alternatives here is the lower weight, and that’s something you’ll notice on the hills.

Boardman still manage to fit a mix of Shimano 105 and Tiagra onto the frame which is impressive. 25mm Continental Ultra Sport II tyres are fitted to Mavic CXP22 wheels, brake calipers are Tektro R540 and Boardman’s own brand E4P bars, stem, post and saddle. So while there are some obvious downgrades to account for the more expensive carbon frame, it still stacks up well on paper, and if anything offers good upgrade potential.
Find out more here

 

Whyte Dorset £999


One of the new breed of disc braked road bikes, which truly is a performance road bike with disc brakes rather than a re-engineered hybrid or cyclocross bike. If you want a bike for getting from a to b quickly all year round, and that can cope with whatever the British roads and weather can throw at it this could be for you. We were very impressed when we reviewed it earlier this year

At it's heart is a well designed, well put together aluminum frame with lots of nicely detailed touches - you can easily fit mudguards (always a plus) and the ride and handling is right up there with the best of the new breed of aluminium road bikes. Shimano's Tiagra groupset provides most of the drivetrain plus the controls, the brakes are Pro Max mechanical discs and wheels are Alex Rims with 28mm Maxxis Detonator tyres. It's definitely a frame that would repay the investment in upgraded componentry as parts wore out. 
Buy it here

 

Cannondale CAAD8 6 Tiagra £949.99 

Cannondale is a company with lots of experience making aluminium frames, not so long ago this CAAD8 aluminium frame was used in professional road racing, before the advent of carbon fibre. That means you’re getting a very well designed frameset for the money and some good racing heritage.

That high quality frame impacts the build kit, with only a Shimano Tiagra 4600 10-speed groupset, with an FSA Omega 50/34 chainset fitted into the oversized BB30 bottom bracket - the only bike here to feature this oversize standard. Maddux rims on Formula hubs with Schwalbe Lugano 23mm tyres make the wheelset, and Cannondale’s C4 handlebars, stem, seatpost and saddle finish the package.
Buy it here

 

Under £900

Genesis Bikes Volant 20 £899.99  

Another British designed bike, the Volant 20 uses a combination of 6061 and 6069 triple butted aluminium tubes along with a huge 44mm diameter head tube to create a road bike that is stiff and fast, making it ideal for anyone looking to get into road racing. This is definitely a bike that can hold its head high in any race.

A Shimano Tiagra 4600 groupset with a compact 50/34 chainset gives loads of climbing gears so even the steepest climbs will be no obstacle. Meanwhile 25mm wide Continental Ultra Sport tyres provide extra cushioning without impacting the speed, and Genesis branded parts complete what looks like a very tidy package.
Buy it here

 

Cube Peloton Pro £879 

The Cube Peloton Pro is one of the few bikes here with a triple chainset (three front chainrings) offering 30 usable gears, and that can come in very handy for getting up steep hills and mountains. A stylish aluminium frame with double butted tubes and internal cable routing is available in seven sizes and uses a carbon fibre fork.

A mixed Shimano 105 and Tiagra groupset with Fulcrum Racing 7 wheels and 25mm Schwalbe Lugano tyres complete an impressive build.
Buy it here

Cube Axial WLS

The Axial WLS is Cube's female equivalent of the Peloton Pro - it is second in a range of Axial models with a list price of £899. And the big difference between it and the Peloton Pro? Well, it's got a different paint job and saddle, and shorter cranks - 170mm as opposed to 175mm. In every other respect, including geomotry it would appear to be identical - oh except that on quoted weight the Axial is lighter, but that may be because Cube are quoting the weight for the smalles size and the Axial WLS Pro starts at a 47cm frame size as opposed to the Peloton Pro's 50cm. Those shorter cranks mean that smaller men are probably better off on the Axial WLS than the Peloton Pro.
Buy it here

 

Rose Pro SL-2000 £846 

German online retailer, by not selling bikes in shops in the traditional way, pass on some pretty good savings to the customer if you’re prepared to shop online.

This attractive £846 Pro SL-2000 offers a triple butted 7005 aluminium frame and carbon fibre fork with a Shimano 105 10-speed groupset, making it a better appointed bike than similarly priced bikes in this roundup. An FSA Omega compact chainset provides a usable low range spread of gears, and the Mavic Aksium wheels and tyres are a fast and responsive wheelset.
Find out more here

The Rose Pro WSL 200 is the women specific version of the Pro SL - again although it's a women's specific bike it may well suit a lot of men. It comes in four sizes compared to the Pro SL 2000's eight, and there are some differences in both the finishing kit - it has narrower Fizik bars, and a women's specific saddle, and the geometry - the Pro WSL has a 1cm shorter wheelbase and slightly steeper geometry at the head and set tubes (the tubes are just that bit more upgright than the Pro SL 2000 - which should make for a slightly nippier, faster handling bike. 

 

Under £800

Giant Defy 2 £799  

Giant offer the Defy, their endurance-orientated road bike, at a variety of prices from just £499 up to £1,199. This model uses an Aluxx aluminium frameset, available in five sizes, and featuring a carbon fork. A Shimano Tiagra groupset with a compact chainset (50/34) and a massive 12-30 cassette should see you up your local hills just fine.

Meanwhile Giant branded S-Elite C wheels with front and rear specific tyres in a 25mm width provide a good level of kit for the money.
Buy it here

Giant Avail 2 £799

Giant's female equivalent of the Defy 2 is the Avail 2 - with a frame made from the same Aluxx aluminium and with the same componentry - bar the women's specific saddle and handlebars. The big difference is in the frame geometry which has a slightly taller headtube, longer wheelbase and and slightly steeper head and seat angles. That should add up to a slightly more upright, riding position and quick but stable handling.
Buy it here

Specialized Allez Sport C2 £750

You get a smartly finished aluminium frame, with double butted tubes to save weight, finished with smooth welds and a carbon fibre fork on the Allez Sport, traditionally Specialzied's Allez in its various builds is one of the bikes that acts as a benchmark for mchines under £1,000.

Gears are Shimano Sora with a 9-speed cassette with a 12-27 ratio combining with the compact 50/34 chainset to provide plenty of low gears for getting up the hills. Specialized use an AXIS Classic wheelset with their own Espoir tyres in 25mm width providing extra comfort.
Buy it here

Specialized Dolce Sport EQ X3

The Dolce Sport EQ X3 is Specialized's female equivalent of the Allez Sport C2 - although it doesn't map directly across in that it is designed as a more of an all rounder whereas the Allez definitely has racing in its DNA.

Like the Allez C2 it is part of a range of Dolce bikes. It shares the same wheels and groupset as the Allez C2 - except the Shimano Sora drivetrain has a triple rather than double chainset at the front - adding an extra 10 gears and more climbing capability and the cranks are shorter too. Like the Allez C2 is made from Specialized A1 aluminium - unlike the Allez though the Dolce's frame has Specialized Zertz inserts. Whether it's the inserts themselves or the holes in the frame in which they fit that bestow the extra comfort - the end result say Specialzied is a more cushioned ride. They also add £120 to the price tag, although you do also get two colour co-ordinated bottle cages and a seat pack as part of the deal.

The other major difference is the frame geometry - a 54cm Dolce has a shorter seat tube and top tube compared to the equivalent sized Allez but a taller headtube for a slightly more upright riding position plua a longer wheelbase for a more stable ride. These differences reflect not just the fact that is is designed for women, but also that it's designed as a road bike to do everything on. 
Buy it here

Bonus under £700 bike

Ribble 4600 Evo Pro Carbon £699 

While most of the bikes here use aluminium frames, British company Ribble offer a carbon fibre frame and fork for a staggering £699, making it on paper appear a well priced package. It’s a summer special edition so availability is limited.

On top of that you get a Shimano Tiagra 10-speed groupset with Fulcrum sport wheels, Vittoria Rubino 23mm tyres and a high quality Selle Italia SL saddle and Deda Elementi handlebars and stem, signs that there have been few shortcuts in speccing the bike.
Find out more here

Buying your first road bike?

Our in-depth guide is packed with useful advice to steer you towards choosing the right bike for you, with information on frame materials, components, wheels, groupsets, sizing and fit. Read it here.

24 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Canyon? Radon? Those germans know a thing or two about building great bikes for low prices. Esp. that they all came in below 8.4kg mark, so, beat even the Hoy bike for weight:value.

I know that Cube, Focus (both are very popular here) are also great for their value, but seriously, Canyon is the "ideal" choice of mine. Too bad their Roadlite AL model has a very relaxed, almost "hybrid" like geometry.

http://www.canyon.com/_en/roadbikes/bike.html?b=3333

Athena Gruppo with Vento Asymmetric wheels, 7.95 kg, team replica paintjob.. too bad it's at 1100 pounds Sad :( but still heckuvadeal

2ryd

posted by Vejnecske [23 posts]
13th July 2014 - 17:51

20 Likes

Can you do an article on bikes for those who find it a bit of a challenge to find one because of ones height? I find that if you aren't an average height it's quite hard to find one.

posted by Alexander Sallons [2 posts]
13th July 2014 - 19:38

17 Likes

I'm sorry but whether you are a gaint or a midget there are plenty of bikes to choose from. Both midgets I know who cycle choose Islabike.

posted by drfabulous0 [356 posts]
13th July 2014 - 19:56

13 Likes

Cue the inevitable "what about the [insert name of recently purchased £1000 bike here]?" replies...

Decent summary in my view, good mix of brands and a useful platform for people to then carry out their own further research.

posted by parksey [235 posts]
13th July 2014 - 20:55

23 Likes

Personally I would go with tiagra over 105 at this price point, I have bikes with both and the best thing about 105 is the fact that the gear cables are hidden which looks nice and is good in the winter because light doesn't reflect back from them - modern lights are extremely bright! - and the 105 hoods are more comfortable, but I find tiagra actually works better for longer between servicing, and is lighter in use (particularly the front shifter) even though shifts do sound slightly clunky. Put the money towards a 'better' frame instead. Just my opinion for anyone looking to purchase a sub £1k bike....

posted by caaad10 [109 posts]
13th July 2014 - 21:09

13 Likes

I'm sorry too as I fail to find one my size, apart from a custom build, being over 2 metres tall.

posted by Alexander Sallons [2 posts]
13th July 2014 - 23:03

9 Likes

Me, I'm 1m 98cm, 6'6" in old money, and weight a decent amount over 100kg. Getting an off the peg bike is a nightmare, mainly due to wheel weight limits. No one specs 32 spoke Chris King hubs on good strong rims, Ksyrium, Ksyrium, Ksyrium………… So it's either buy a bike and change the wheels, which will add around 50% to the price, or get a custom model. £££££££££££££££££! Confused

icam1968's picture

posted by icam1968 [10 posts]
13th July 2014 - 23:46

7 Likes

Rose go up to size 65, is that still too small?
Apart from the stuff they have listed on their bike configurator, they will probably exchange the wheels to any model they have listed on their website. No Chris King, though, but they might even sell you a a package without any wheels at all... there are 36 spoke options as well.

Zombies don't ride bikes.

posted by Markus [38 posts]
14th July 2014 - 11:11

7 Likes

Vejnecske wrote:
Too bad their Roadlite AL model has a very relaxed, almost "hybrid" like geometry.
Looked at the link - almost hybrid like sounds ideal for me. But all the roadlite bikes have their handlebars 3 inches below saddle height, so not hybrid like enough for this timid shopper!

posted by vbvb [243 posts]
15th July 2014 - 0:45

6 Likes

How can you conduct a test of the best bikes under a grand and not include the Planet X Pro Carbon? £999 and full ultegra 11 speed, under 8kg puts the others to shame with its spec.

posted by kirbster [16 posts]
16th July 2014 - 8:49

3 Likes

kirbster wrote:
How can you conduct a test of the best bikes under a grand and not include the Planet X Pro Carbon? £999 and full ultegra 11 speed, under 8kg puts the others to shame with its spec.

The article says 'some' of the best, not 'the'. It's all subjective, I'd like to see the Felt F85 in there as it's a cracker. As for under 8kg are you sure? A clubmate has one, presumably a large as he's 6 foot and it's a brick.

posted by ajmarshal1 [298 posts]
16th July 2014 - 9:49

1 Like

ajmarshal1 wrote:
kirbster wrote:
How can you conduct a test of the best bikes under a grand and not include the Planet X Pro Carbon? £999 and full ultegra 11 speed, under 8kg puts the others to shame with its spec.

The article says 'some' of the best, not 'the'. It's all subjective, I'd like to see the Felt F85 in there as it's a cracker. As for under 8kg are you sure? A clubmate has one, presumably a large as he's 6 foot and it's a brick.

Changing the stock wheels gets the Pro Carbon under 8kg quite easily. If you're one of those people it should be quite easy to get it to 7-7.5kg.

posted by redmeat [70 posts]
16th July 2014 - 9:51

6 Likes

kirbster wrote:
How can you conduct a test of the best bikes under a grand and not include the Planet X Pro Carbon? £999 and full ultegra 11 speed, under 8kg puts the others to shame with its spec.

Because Planet X don't pay road cc any advertising money?

posted by redmeat [70 posts]
16th July 2014 - 9:52

3 Likes

Apart from the fact that the Planet X pro carbon Ultegra is £1199 anyway. You know, over a grand: http://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/CBPXSLPULT6800/planet-x-pro-carbon-shimano-...

And then having to spend more to get it under the previously mentioned selling point of sub-8kg? Not really falling into the articles bracket is it?

posted by ajmarshal1 [298 posts]
16th July 2014 - 9:59

6 Likes

ajmarshal1 wrote:
Apart from the fact that the Planet X pro carbon Ultegra is £1199 anyway. You know, over a grand: http://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/CBPXSLPULT6800/planet-x-pro-carbon-shimano-...

And then having to spend more to get it under the previously mentioned selling point of sub-8kg? Not really falling into the articles bracket is it?

Fair point, I'd forgotten about the recent price hike on the Ultegra model.

Swap 'Ultegra' for 'Rival' and your pedantry is satisfied.

posted by redmeat [70 posts]
16th July 2014 - 10:21

1 Like

2ryd

posted by Vejnecske [23 posts]
18th July 2014 - 9:02

5 Likes

Why's the giant defy 1 not listed. At £1000 it's amazing value. Made from allux sl the lighter, stiffer version of the allux that is used in lower models. The bike also comes with full 105 except from the chainset. The 56 cm I ride feels lighter than my mate's 54 cm caad 8 (both bikes 2013 model), it also feels equally as comfortable as the caad 8 the caad however feels marginally stiffer

posted by FJM1002 [13 posts]
28th July 2014 - 19:40

1 Like

"gone are the days when you would expect a harsh ride from an alu bike."

I found my aluminium frames to be harsh, and carbon to offer great suspension. Is it really true that aluminium has changed? I could imagine aluminium being okay one is light but does anyone with BMI over about 20 enjoy riding their aluminium bike?

posted by timtak [25 posts]
5th August 2014 - 3:39

5 Likes

redmeat wrote:
kirbster wrote:
How can you conduct a test of the best bikes under a grand and not include the Planet X Pro Carbon? £999 and full ultegra 11 speed, under 8kg puts the others to shame with its spec.

Because Planet X don't pay road cc any advertising money?

Oh that old chestnut again? 4 of the bikes mentioned are from companies that don't advertise on road.cc, which kind of negates your comment. As mentioned earlier, these are suggested bikes, not a top 10, nor a proscriptive list. And it's part of the reader input you can have to suggest others in the comments as a few have done, which I'm sure helps other readers without such extensive knowledge.

posted by fatsimonstan [35 posts]
5th August 2014 - 15:27

1 Like

I recently bought a Rose SL-2000 to replace a stolen Specialized Allez Elite and have been very pleased with it. I upgraded the wheels when bought it, which admittedly takes the price over £1000, and it's an excellent bike for the money.

It's an aluminium frame and it's a pleasure to ride. My BMI is 23, by the way.

posted by harragan [24 posts]
2nd September 2014 - 15:06

1 Like

I haven't ridden all of these - far from it - but owned a CAAD 8 a couple of years ago, and thought it was a wonderful bike. I don't think anyone buying one would be disappointed.

+1 on the Tiagra-better-than-105 comment above... Except that I don't think the tops are more comfortable, I think they're too wide. If you have small hands, go Tiagra for sure!

My BMI is unknown, by the way.

fourstringsisplenty's picture

posted by fourstringsisplenty [67 posts]
5th September 2014 - 18:49

2 Likes

http://apro.bikemag.hu/browse/orszaguti/kerekpar/uj-wilier-montegrappa-1...

Shimano 105 dérailleurs-shifters-brakes, FSA gossamer Wilier cranks, Tiagra cassette-chain, WH-R500 wheels.

Wilier Montegrappa for 270k HUF, which is around 680-690 GBP at current rates-- Thinking Thinking

2ryd

posted by Vejnecske [23 posts]
6th September 2014 - 9:19

1 Like

1000 ? That would be better to build bike by yourself.
I bought carbon wheels and carbon frame from V-KING Bike
They give a 8 % coupon code VK2014919 ,more cost-effective.
Finally I built the bike full carbon ...

Bike life...

narcissus's picture

posted by narcissus [6 posts]
12th September 2014 - 10:10

0 Likes

timtak wrote:
"gone are the days when you would expect a harsh ride from an alu bike."

I found my aluminium frames to be harsh, and carbon to offer great suspension. Is it really true that aluminium has changed? I could imagine aluminium being okay one is light but does anyone with BMI over about 20 enjoy riding their aluminium bike?

Argh, BMI: the worst indicator of weight. I've got a BMI of well over 20, and I love my aluminium race frame. I've won an open road race on it, I've also done a 150 miles sportive on it, without any major discomfort. I'm looking at replacing it this winter with either a Bowman Palace, or a Kinesis Aithein, both of which are proudly aluminium.

Edited to add: I changed the seatpost to carbon to take the sting out of the road, and run on 25mm tyres, but that's fairly standard.

posted by s_lim [119 posts]
12th September 2014 - 14:28

0 Likes