15 of The Best Road Bikes Under £1,000
We pick some of the best men's and women's road bikes for under £1,000
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 15 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 your budget won't stretch this high, then have a look at our best bikes at £500 roundup or our guide to bikes costing under £750. Want to spend a bit more? We've got that covered too, with our guide to road bikes under £1500.
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, perhaps with a change of saddle, 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 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. Some 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. Others 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 aluminium 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. Most bikes here feature weight saving and vibration reducing caon fibre forks.
It is possible to get carbon fibre at this money. 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/Taiwanese component maker FSA. Instead of speccing their bikes entirely from Shimano parts many bike manufacturers 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.
One difference bwteen Tiagra and 105 is that Tiagra is 10-speed, 105 11-speed. That means you get one more rear sprocket with 105, giving you wither a bigger range or closer gaps between gears for more consistent pedalling.
Most bikes here use a compact (50/34) double ring chainset providing 20 gears with Tiagra, 22 with 105. 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 in this price range. Again that isn't necessarily a negative. Bike manufacturers fit own brand componentry to their bikes right the way through their price ranges and they're often just as good as name-brand parts from third-party manufacturers.
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
Designed with input from Sir Chris Hoy the emphasis here 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 — it's the same triple butted 6066 aluminium frame as used on their top of the range model.
You get a great parts package with Shimano 105 gear mechs and shifters, Shimano RS10 wheels with 25mm Continental Ultrasport tyres, and Tektro RS40 brakess. The rest of the finishing kit is Hoy branded and good quality.
When it comes to bang per buck, it definitely pays to see what former Olympic champions have in their bike ranges at this price. 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 with Boardman’s own brand E4P bars, stem, post and saddle. While there are some obvious downgrades to account for the more expensive carbon frame, it still stacks up well on paper, and offers good upgrade potential.
One of the new breed of disc braked road bikes, this is truly 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.
At its heart is a well designed, well put together aluminium 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. There's a carbon fibre fork to smooth out the road, 28mm Maxxis Detonator tyres and a Shimano Tiagra groupset with Pro Max mechanical disc brakes.
Disc brakes are becoming more prevalent in the road cycling market at a range of prices, and coming in just under £1,000 is the new Synapse Alloy 105 Disc from Cannondale. The Synapse is the US company's endurnace bike, designed primarily to be comfortable, so making it ideal for sportives, riding to work and club runs.
This model features a 6061 aluminium frame sharing many of the styling cues of the more expensive carbon fibre Synapses, and is built up with a Shimano 105 groupset, FSA Gossamer chainset and Promax Render R mechanical disc brakes. You can fit bigger tyres in the Synapse than most regular race bikes, up to 28mm, this model comes fitted with Schwalbe Lugano 25mm tyres.
If you want bang for buck few brands manage it quite as emphatically as German-based Canyon. This brand new Endurace, which follows the design of the carbon Endurace first introduced this year, features an aluminium frame with a geometry that is longer in the wheelbase and taller in the head tube, to create a more comfortable position. It’s the bike that many people have been waiting for Canyon to make.
The aluminium frame is partnered with a carbon fibre fork with a 27.2mm seatpost and a complete Shimano 105 groupset, with a compact 50/34 chainset. The bottom bracket is actually upgraded to an Ultegra item. Mavic Aksium One wheels and Continental Grand Prix 4000s II tyres, and claimed 8.2kg according to Canyon.
The Cube Peloton Race has been updated for 2015 with a revised geometry intended (a 20mm taller head tube) to provide a more comfortable position on the bike. It has a double butted 6061Superlite aluminium frame with modern details like a tapered head tube, internal cable routing and 3D forged dropouts, and a Cube CSL carbon fibre fork. It's built up with a complete Shimano 105 groupset — impressive at this price — with a 11-32 cassette and compact 50/34 chainset, and Fulcrum Racing 77 wheels and 25mm Continental Ultra Sport 2 tyres.
The Axial WLS is Cube's female equivalent of the Peloton Race — it is second in a range of Axial models with a list price of £899. And the big difference between it and the Peloton? Well, it's got a different paint job and saddle, and shorter cranks — 170mm as opposed to 175mm. In every other respect, it is identical, and it gets the same 20mm taller head tube for 2015 and the same Shimano 105 groupset and Fulcrum 77 wheels.
By not selling bikes in shops in the traditional way, this German online retailer can pass on some pretty good savings to the customer if you’re prepared to shop online. This attractive £800 Pro SL-2000 features a triple butted 7005 aluminium frame and carbon fibre fork with a Shimano 105 10-speed groupset, making it better appointed than many similarly priced bikes in this roundup. A Shimano 105 compact chainset provides a usable low range spread of gears, and the Mavic Aksium wheels and tyres are fast and responsive.
*Rose prices are set in Euros so vary with the exchange rate.
For the same price, the Rose Pro SL 200 Lady is the women's 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 handlebars, and a women's specific saddle.
Another British designed bike, the Volant 30 uses a combination of 6061 and 6066 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.
It's versatile too, with space for wide tyres, and mudguard eyelets, making it the perfect candidate for a fast commuting bike, or a winter training bike. 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.
The Giant Defy 2 drops £50 for 2015, in a range of bikes stretching from £499 to £999. The Defy is Giant's most popular bike. It's designed for comfort and speed, it's a bit more upright than their race bikes, and there are mudguard eyelets as well.
The frame is all-new for 2015, with lots of tube profile changes, a small rear triangle and a new D-shaped seatpost designed to help make the Defy a smoother ride. A Shimano Tiagra groupset is paired with Tektro brakes, Giant S-R2 rims and Giant Tracker hubs with 25mm Giant S-R4 Flat Guard tyres.
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. It also gets the same new D-Fuse seatpost as the Defy, providing increased comfort. There's a carbon fibre fork too. It's packed with a Shimano Tiagra groupset, Giant brand bars, stem and saddle, and Giant S-R4 25mm tyres.
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 road bikes under £1,000. This one gets a FACT carbon fibre fork too.
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.
The Dolce Sport C2 EQ is Specialized's female equivalent of the Allez Sport, although it doesn't map directly across. The Dolce is designed as a more of an all rounder, similar to the Trek Domane or Specialized's own Roubaix, whereas the Allez definitely has racing in its DNA.
The Dolce has an aluminium frame and FACT carbon fork with Zertz inserts in the fork and rear stays, intended to provide more comfort. You get a Body Geometry Women's Riva Sport saddle and Specialized Roubaix gel bar tape to add further comfort. The parts list includes a 9-speed Shimano Sora drivetrain with a wide range 11-32 cassette, and Specialized Espoir Sport 25mm tyres.
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 Christmas 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.