10 of the best £1,000 to £1,500 road bikes

Got a budget of up to £1,500? Here are 10 bikes to consider, including carbon, steel and aluminium choices

by David Arthur   April 7, 2014  

ultimate-cf-sl-7_c1072

This was a popular guide last year so we've updated it with some of the best looking 2014 model road bikes, priced between £1,000 and £1,500. To reflect the choice available we've included bikes made from carbon fibre, aluminium and steel, so there is something for all tastes.

One thing this roundup of bikes highlights is just how much choice of high quality road bikes are available, you really do get a lot for you money. There's a wider choice of frame materials, and we've included a couple of alloy bikes, some carbon and even a steel bike too. Another benefit of spending this sort of money is that the bikes start to get much lighter than those costing half as much, which will have a significant impact on the ride quality and performance, and your times up your local hills. 

Shimano 105 is the dominant groupset at this price point but it's still 10-speed for now, the newer 11-speed won't start to appear until the 2015 model year bikes begin arriving in shops this autumn. While there is a lot of own-brand kit for parts like wheels, handlebars and saddles, which is no bad thing (manufacturers have really raised their game with own label components), there is a lot more branded kit from the likes of Mavic and Fizik. 

Boardman Road Team £999.99

Let’s dive in with the Boardman Road Team at £999.99. It’s hard to fault the Boardman range of bikes for their affordability and the Road Team now features a T700 uni-directional carbon frame with a carbon fork with a tapered steerer tube, with a  BB30 bottom bracket and internal cable routing. A Shimano 105/Tiagra groupset, Mavic  CXP22  wheels,  Continental Ultra Sport II 25mm tyres and Tektro R540 brakes  complete the fine package.

www.halfords.com

Trek Domane £1,000

Want to ride the same bike as the one Fabian Cancellera has just ridden to victory in Tour of Flanders? While this isn't exactly the same, it employs the same IsoSpeed Decoupler technology to tame bumps but in a more affordable alloy frame package. The Endurance geometry ensures a comfortable ride and a position ideal for commuting and sportives. The frame is wearing a Shimano Tiagra 10-speed groupset with a triple chainset. The wheels, tyres, saddle, handlebar and stem are all from the Bontrager catalogue. We're currently testing this bike, you can see our first look here for more detail and photos. 

www.trekbikes.com

Genesis Bikes Volare 00 £1,199.99

Thanks to Genesis Bikes, we can chuck a steel frame option into the mix. There used to be a time when all road bikes were made from steel, and even though carbon has replaced it in professional racing, it's still a fine choice for everyone else. In fact, the Madison-Genesis team have been racing a version of this steel bike at the top level. This Volare 00 is based on the race bike but uses the more affordable Reynolds 631 tubing with a carbon fibre fork and full Shimano Tiagra 10-speed groupset. If you want to stand out from your mates, this is a smart choice. 

www.genesisbikes.co.uk

Mekk Poggio 2.0 £1,249.99

The Mekk Poggio 2.0 is a good all-round road bike with tons of upgrade potential. It features a full carbon-fibre frame, the same one that Mekk use across the whole of the Poggio range right up to the £2,399.99 Poggio 3.5. It has a tapered head tube and press-fit BB86 bottom bracket to add stiffness. This model is built up with a Shimano 105/Tiagra groupset, R500 wheels and Vittoria Zaffiro 23mm tyres with a new Selle Royal saddle.

We've tested the cheaper Poggio 1.5, with the same frame. You can read the review here. 

www.mekkbicycles.com

Giant Defy Composite 2 £1,299

The Defy Composite 2 at £1,299 gets you onto a Giant carbon frame. The Defy is the company’s sporty but comfort-orientated range, and this model has a carbon frame with Giant’s own PowerCore bottom bracket and OverDrive head tube which contribute to a stiffer frame. It’s finished with a Shimano 105 groupset and compact chainset, Giant’s own P-Elite C wheelset, and Connect saddle, stem, bars and seatpost. Further comfort is provided with the fitting of Giant's own 25mm tyres. 

www.giant-bicycles.com

Focus Cayo Evo 4.0 £1,399

At £1,399 the Focus Cayo Evo 4.0 uses a race-proven carbon fibre frame and fork packaged with a Shimano 105 groupset. A compact FSA Gossamer Focus crank makes hills easy work and Concept EX brakes and Fulcrum 7.0 wheels with Schwalbe Lugano 23mm tyres complete the build.

www.focus-bikes.com

Bianchi Vertigo £1399.00

We bet most people will want a Bianchi on any new bike shortlist. The Vertigo is a new bike from Bianchi, built around a carbon frame and the company’s Coast to Coast geometry which places an emphasis on comfort over long distances. That means a slightly more relaxed geometry and more upright position than a traditional race bike. Bolted to the frame is Campagnolo's Xenon groupset with an FSA Omega chainset and Bianchi's own label Reparto Corse for the wheels and all finishing kit, including the brake calipers. 

You can read our review of the Vertigo here. More info at www.bianchi.com

Canyon CF SL 7.0 £1,399

German company Canyon has made quite an impression in the UK with their direct-to-consumer business model meaning big savings for those prepared to bypass the bike shop for their next bike purchase. The new-for-2014 CF SL was launched just last September, and is is produced using the exact same mould as that the Ultimate CF SLX we tested last year, it's just using a cheaper carbon fibre. That keeps the price lower. Although the weight does go up a bit, it's still light at a claimed 940g. This is the entry-level model built with a full Shimano 105 groupset, Mavic Aksium wheels and 25mm tyres and Ritchey WCS bars and stem and a Fizik Ardea saddle. 

www.canyon.com

Moda Vivo £1,449

This brand new Vivo from British brand Modo Bicycles uses an updated aluminium frame which saves a bit of weight over the Primo it replaces. Aluminium is an excellent frame material choice at this price; it's light, stiff and the latest generation aluminium bikes ride as well as many carbon frames. It's cheaper than carbon too, which means you get a better component list. This model gets a full Shimano 105 groupset with American Classic wheels. They can do custom builds too if you wanted to upgrade the wheels, for example. 

www.todayscyclist.co.uk

Cannondale CAAD10 5 105 £1,499

It might seem a lot of money to spend on a frame that isn't carbon, but the CAAD10 still sets a benchmak for all aluminium frames and puts a lot of carbon bikes to shame. With a frame weight a little over a kilo, it's not much heavier than carbon either. Cannondale package the frame with a full Shimano 105 groupset, carbon fibre fork with tapered steerer tube, Shimano RS11 wheels and a Prologo Kappa EVO saddle. You can read our CAAD10 review here.

www.cannondale.com

32 user comments

Latest 30 commentsNewest firstBest ratedAll

The Boardman isn't availble anymore..halfords stock seems to have dried up..

posted by NeilXDavis [97 posts]
16th December 2012 - 1:06

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Looks available to me, as well as the carbon version for 300 extra.

posted by fluffed [2 posts]
10th February 2013 - 10:38

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I'd love an equilibrium. I have an alloy aether from Genesis and its great. will be interesting to see what they charge for a 105/ultegra spec volare. Could see people moving back to steel from carbon? a few anyway.

posted by Oliver Duffy [15 posts]
11th March 2013 - 13:35

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Completely agree. People want carbon as that's what the pros ride but crucially the pros get an instant free replacement if they stack their bike. IMO, metal frames make a lot more sense for amateurs. I've ridden an old Focus Cayo for the last few years and it has been great but I hate the idea that a single crash or overenthusiastic moment on the workstand could write it off completely. It will most likely be the one and only carbon frame I ever buy - steel or more likely titanium for my next upgrade, I think. I don't buy into the whole pub debate about frame materials - ultimately any material can be engineered to feel like another with the right frame/tube profiles - but longevity is another matter and for this reason I prefer metal. Genesis deserves credit for dragging steel back into the mainstream and proving it's not just for the artisans. Really like their graphic designs, too - agree the Equilibrium is a pretty bike.

posted by Yennings [150 posts]
24th March 2013 - 7:37

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ive been looking at the Forme Axe Edge Comp with this spec:

Specification
Frame

Forme Carbon Torayca 700
Fork

Forme Torayca 700 Carbon Blade
Wheelset

4za Cirrus Clincher
Groupset

Campagnolo Veloce
Finish Kit

4za Cirrus/Stratos
Tyres

Schwalbe Lugano

cant find owt on the review side so any opinion on how this compares to the above?!

posted by skitza [107 posts]
21st April 2013 - 22:44

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None of the above mentioned bikes would be on my list of £1000 to £1500!!

Specialized, Canyon, Cube, and Ridley would rank high on my list of possible best buys for the money.

posted by Mostyn [387 posts]
19th May 2013 - 8:56

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rosebikes.com ... you can get plenty of value for your money there. nice-light frames, value groupset-wheels and finishing kit...

2ryd

posted by Vejnecske [16 posts]
22nd May 2013 - 18:46

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My wife's in the market for a road bike in this category and we've been out testing over the past couple of weeks. She's a strong, experienced cyclist but only has a basic 2002 Specialised Hardrock for commuting, MTB, pub rides etc and has never ridden a road bike before. Being quite tall, the ladies specific bikes didn't work for her. A few of our cycling mates had bought road bikes to replace hybrids; hence the need for a new bike. She tried 2 Trek bikes, one of which was the Domane 2.3 with the seat damping system. She then moved onto Specialised and tried a Secteur and a carbon Roubaix; the shop suggesting that the jump to carbon would be a real revalation. She said carbon seemed to make no difference at all and went back to the Domane 2.3 for a 2nd test, after which she declared it the winner. Interestingly it had the best 'spec' (Shimano 105 groupset) compared to the other bikes (Sora, Tiagra at best), so perhaps an alloy frame with decent equipment is the way to go.

Shades

posted by Shades [118 posts]
25th November 2013 - 15:17

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All are lovely bikes, but is there any way you guys could start tagging bikes according to speciality?

I'm in the market for a new race frame, and prefer metal. Kinesis or Canyon is calling, but if steel was an option...

posted by s_lim [59 posts]
7th April 2014 - 21:31

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A good friend of mine had the misfortune to crash his Ti bike a year or so ago. Top tube started to come apart from the head tube at the weld. Damage was very slight, hardly visible at first, but he remarked that the handling felt odd. 10 miles later the top tube had sheared away completely from the head tube and the downtube started to come away too. It looked and sounded like tin foil crumpling. Needless to say the ride stopped by that point.

Key lesson - a crash could write off any frame, not just carbon fibre. And Ti is as irreparable as carbon fibre, if not more so as some companies offer carbon fibre repair.

posted by woollee23 [90 posts]
7th April 2014 - 22:48

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Yennings wrote:
Completely agree. People want carbon as that's what the pros ride but crucially the pros get an instant free replacement if they stack their bike. IMO, metal frames make a lot more sense for amateurs. I've ridden an old Focus Cayo for the last few years and it has been great but I hate the idea that a single crash or overenthusiastic moment on the workstand could write it off completely. It will most likely be the one and only carbon frame I ever buy - steel or more likely titanium for my next upgrade, I think. I don't buy into the whole pub debate about frame materials - ultimately any material can be engineered to feel like another with the right frame/tube profiles - but longevity is another matter and for this reason I prefer metal. Genesis deserves credit for dragging steel back into the mainstream and proving it's not just for the artisans. Really like their graphic designs, too - agree the Equilibrium is a pretty bike.

If you're capable of getting so "overenthusiastic" on a workstand that you can trash a carbon frame, them I'd suggest you should be leaving the bike maintenance to your LBS!!!

posted by pwake [235 posts]
7th April 2014 - 23:02

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I'm delighted with my Whyte Suffolk at £1,199 with disk brakes (TRP HyRd), carbon fork, 28mm tyres with clearance for mudguards.

http://whyte.bike/2014/product.php?xProd=116

posted by Dave42W [25 posts]
7th April 2014 - 23:25

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the boardman described is the outgoing model, the one illustrated is the new 2014 all carbon job

nowwalksdogs

posted by peapodoffroad [0 posts]
7th April 2014 - 23:28

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I can still get a Wilier GTR with Campy Centaur and FulcrumR7 for 1400 british pounds, or izoard xp for 1000 pounds with tiagra-whr-500. Or buy something from rosebikes.co.uk. Smile

Or even a Basso Laguna with Campy Veloce and Miche parts (wheelset, outboard cup crankset) for about 1260 british pounds. Though the shimano builds are usually mooore spensive (105 option costing more than veloce or centaur)

2ryd

posted by Vejnecske [16 posts]
8th April 2014 - 5:07

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+1 on the Planet-X. Awesome spec for the price.

carlosjenno's picture

posted by carlosjenno [29 posts]
8th April 2014 - 6:03

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No sign of the KTM Revelator 3500.

I searched one out at the Welsh Cycle Show, on the basis of your first impressions, and liked it enough to buy one.

posted by Grubbythumb [24 posts]
8th April 2014 - 7:06

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It's "10 of the best", not "the 10 best" bikes.... there are hundreds of great bikes out there, people get so worked up if their favourite bike isn't listed!

posted by caaad10 [91 posts]
8th April 2014 - 7:29

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The first question I had on the above is, can I apply for bike-2-work schemes (or something similar) for all of the bicycles listed above?

If not, what is the new shortlist?

posted by foolishfour [1 posts]
8th April 2014 - 7:59

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Ride your own ride

posted by CanAmSteve [88 posts]
8th April 2014 - 8:42

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I've got the boardman, switched the wheels which were a bit heavy to C24's and it's a very fine bike now, don't think you can get much better for the money although PX are always worth a look if you're looking for a bargain

Argon18 E-112 - Scott Spark 910 - Boardman Team Carbon - Planet X XLS

posted by colinth [162 posts]
8th April 2014 - 10:19

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Vejnecske wrote:
rosebikes.com ... you can get plenty of value for your money there. nice-light frames, value groupset-wheels and finishing kit...

err, theres a Canyon CF SL in the list....

posted by denzzz28 [12 posts]
8th April 2014 - 11:28

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Missing a Sensa!!!

Merlin Cycles women's race team ~ http://www.merlincycles.com
Manx nerd peddler ~ http://mooleur.blogspot.com

mooleur's picture

posted by mooleur [348 posts]
8th April 2014 - 12:25

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I had a Focus Cayo, got rid of it and bought a Planet-X RT-58. Twice the bike for the same price, and with Ultegra 11-speed. Well worth a look.

--
DrD

posted by DoctorDee [3 posts]
8th April 2014 - 13:44

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Specialist definitely off the list now!

Edgeley

posted by Edgeley [150 posts]
8th April 2014 - 18:57

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I have a Trek Domane 2.0 for commuting and winter riding and a Specialized Roubaix for summer riding and also prefer the Trek. Despite being much cheaper that the Roubaix Expert, the Trek is more comfortable and mor enjoyable to ride. So I agree with Shades's wife.

posted by Kadenz [14 posts]
8th April 2014 - 20:22

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Nothing can match the Planet X RT-58 (Carbon version). £1399.99 - Ultegra 6800 11, full carbon fibre, 8kg-ish, all round great spec.
They're also willing to swap Shimano for the equivalent SRAM gear too.

You can purchase an alloy version if you don't like carbon fibre - £599.99 and pretty light too. Again, you can spec something different than the (incredibly ugly) Tiagra groupset.

posted by J90 [26 posts]
8th April 2014 - 22:56

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The Trek Domane looks a little small, like 2 inches tall.

David Bowie agrees with me

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1046 posts]
9th April 2014 - 0:45

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bikeboy76 wrote:
The Trek Domane looks a little small, like 2 inches tall.

'Toy Camera' or 'miniature' effect on a digi camera....looks great, especially from the 23rd floor of a building looking down on traffic....

bit of digression...

No Ribble Bikes...??
Build a great bike for that money....

The_Kaner
FREEEEEEEEDOM!

The _Kaner's picture

posted by The _Kaner [322 posts]
14th April 2014 - 9:04

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Re the Canyon

*it's a bit heavier at 940g*

Yup, striking that off my list as too heavy.

Isn't any frame under 1kg incredibly light? Especially at that price?

posted by Tom Amos [201 posts]
14th April 2014 - 10:52

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£1500 and the Ribble website...... worked for me. My summer road bike is a belter. Big Grin

Endorphines going up and adrenaline going down, who needs drugs?

posted by banzicyclist2 [149 posts]
14th April 2014 - 20:12

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