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

by David Arthur @davearthur   December 10, 2014  

canyon endurace-al-6_c1073

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.

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, 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

Hoy Sa Calobra .003 — £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.

Read our review of the Hoy Sa Culobra 003 here.

 

Boardman Road Team Carbon — £999

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.

 

Whyte Dorset — £999

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.

 

Cannondale Synapse Alloy 105 Disc — £999

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.

Find a Cannondale dealer.

 

Under £900

Canyon Endurace AL 6.0 — £899

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.

 

Cube Peloton Race — £899

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.

Find a Cube dealer.

 

Cube Axial WLS PRO — £899

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.

Find a Cube dealer.

 

Rose Pro SL-2000 — around £800*

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. 

 

Rose Pro SL 200 Lady — around £800*

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.

 

Under £800

Genesis Bikes Volant 30 — £799

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.

Find a Genesis dealer.

 

Giant Defy 2 — £749

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.

Find a Giant dealer.

 

Giant Avail 2 — £749

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.

Find a Giant Dealer.

 

Specialized Allez Sport — £750 (on offer for £600)

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.

Find a Specialized dealer.

 

Specialized Dolce Sport C2 EQ — £800 (currently on offer for £640)

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.

Find a Specialized dealer.

 

Under £700

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 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.

39 user comments

Latest 30 commentsNewest firstBest ratedAll

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

10 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 [402 posts]
16th July 2014 - 9:49

3 Likes

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 [144 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 [144 posts]
16th July 2014 - 9:52

6 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 [402 posts]
16th July 2014 - 9:59

3 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 [144 posts]
16th July 2014 - 10:21

2 Likes

2ryd

posted by Vejnecske [69 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 [16 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 [40 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 [50 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 [81 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 [71 posts]
5th September 2014 - 18:49

3 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 [69 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 [8 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.

s_lim's picture

posted by s_lim [153 posts]
12th September 2014 - 14:28

3 Likes

Vejnecske wrote:
Too bad their Roadlite AL model has a very relaxed, almost "hybrid" like geometry.

I personally think the Inflite AL-9.0 is better, but would prefer to have a Campagnolo groupset (when the disc brakes finally come out).

posted by 1860 [32 posts]
10th December 2014 - 16:23

0 Likes

Isn't the pro sl-2000 11-speed since a few months? Even more bang for the bucks and as opposed to Canyon u can buy better wheels with them if u want to.

KoenM's picture

posted by KoenM [45 posts]
10th December 2014 - 21:16

0 Likes

has better geometry also..

do you know radon bikes? you can check them at

http://www.bike-discount.de/

http://www.radon-bikes.de/

2ryd

posted by Vejnecske [69 posts]
11th December 2014 - 7:24

0 Likes

http://www.radon-bikes.de/en/bikes/rennrad/training/r1/r1-50/ has better geometry than canyon or rose. actually it's pretty much perfect for me. (60cm frame for 187cm)

2ryd

posted by Vejnecske [69 posts]
11th December 2014 - 7:26

0 Likes

To expand selection for those who want disc brakes: I've just picked up a Specialized Secteur Elite 2014 for £950 (from £1200). Plenty in stock at Concept stores with alu, Tiagra and BB5s (easy upgrade to BB7)

posted by fustuarium [69 posts]
11th December 2014 - 10:38

0 Likes

How come the article date is listed as December?

posted by vbvb [400 posts]
11th December 2014 - 10:39

0 Likes

Any steelies recommended?

mingmong's picture

posted by mingmong [233 posts]
11th December 2014 - 13:13

0 Likes

+1 on the Cannondale CAAD8 - I love mine. I tried a few bikes, and found the Synapse a bit to upright for me (but the comfort of the rear triangle is fantastic). The CAAD 8 is really stiff for climbing & accelerating out of the saddle, but not uncomfortable. It has Tiagra, which is fine. There are some great bikes around for under £1k.

I also have a bike with 105 - overall I find the Tiagra lighter for shifting, but the 105 more positive & robust feeling. You aren't going to suffer much with Tiagra unless you need hidden cables or 11speed.

posted by BikeBud [148 posts]
11th December 2014 - 13:50

0 Likes

posted by Vejnecske [69 posts]
12th December 2014 - 19:11

0 Likes

+1 on the planet x comments.
They have some seriously good deals and never even get a look in on these lists from Road.cc, despite lower spec bikes making the list.
Bias against the brand in the Road.cc office?

posted by Liaman [40 posts]
13th December 2014 - 15:06

0 Likes

@vbvb if you stand up, your hands are normally lower than your waist too, so it doesn't feel too unnatural to have bars lower than saddle.

drmatthewhardy's picture

posted by drmatthewhardy [546 posts]
20th December 2014 - 21:16

0 Likes

Evans cycles do custom build chris king hubs on dt swiss rims with 32 spokes

posted by billyman [137 posts]
4th February 2015 - 0:32

0 Likes

BMI Basically Meaningless Information...

posted by kevvjj [22 posts]
4th February 2015 - 8:04

0 Likes

Great article

There are a few typos on the article,
carbon = caon, and bange = bang,

Would read better if these were sorted

Rooster123

posted by Rooster123 [12 posts]
4th February 2015 - 11:08

0 Likes

Check out the Ribble Sportive Racing. It is listed under their "special editions" on the top right menu of their web site. Full Ultegra everything. Newly designed frame in house by Ribble. Deda and Selle Italia finishing kit. £999. If you upgrade the wheels to Mavic Aksiums and add a carbon seat post. It's £1059. That works out £576 total via Cycle to Work scheme. Insanely cheap. It's approx 7.3 kilos as well. In fact as the frames sell for £250-£300 on eBay. It's actually one of the cheapest ways to build a bike. E.g. you could buy a Bowman Palace frame for £650. Add all the parts from the Ribble. And sell the Ribble frame. Voilà, Bowman Palace Ultegra for about £1350. Mental.

posted by cyclesteffer [42 posts]
14th June 2015 - 23:10

0 Likes