Six of 2014's hottest £500 to £900 road bikes
Stick below a grand and, as our selection shows, there’s a good choice
You don't need to spend a fortune on a new road bike, as this roundup of good quality bikes costing between £500 and £900 shows. If you're in the market for a new bike, we've picked six of the newest 2014 road bike models at a variety of prices.
This price range gives a good spread of options depending on your budget, and each are ideal if you're new to road cycling and want to start cycling to work, get into road racing or dabble in a sportive or two. The popular Cycle to Work Scheme makes bikes in this price range very popular with first timers and commuting cyclists and there’s never been a better time to buy a road bike: technology and features have trickled down from the expensive top-end bikes to bikes below a grand.
2014 road bikes offer good value for your money. The most notable change from picking these six bikes is that Shimano's new Claris groupset features a lot on the more affordable bikes. It's a brand new groupset replacing 2300 and gets Shimano Dual Control STI levers. These have the downshift lever behind the brake lever rather than a thumb button. It's the same as the higher end groupsets. It's an eight speed system, with the capacity for up to a 32T cassette at the back and double and triple options at the front, so should give enough ratios for. Spend a bit more and Sora and Tiagra becomes more prevalent. Shimano's top-notch 105 groupset features on the bikes nudging closer to the £1,000 mark.
All of these bikes feature alloy frames. Aluminium is the most popular frame material in this price range. It's a good choice, both light and stiff and modern construction advances have seen most manufacturers continue to develop alloy frames, so much that the level of performance and ride quality from all of these bikes is excellent.
Let's take a look at the six bikes then.
Boardman Road Sport £499.99
Boardman Bikes have built up an enviable reputation for really well designed road bikes that cram a lot of good kit in at low prices, and the newest models dip below £500. First introduced in 2012, the Road Sport was well received and and got an impressive four stars in our review. For 2014 the bike is largely unchanged, save for the upgrade to Shimano Claris shifters, which are a big improvement on the 2300 shifters on the previous model - Claris has the same STI gear change system as Shimano’s more expensive offerings. There is the same quality alloy frame and strong build kit for the money, all finished in the same popular red paint with some fresh new decals.
Trek has a fine range of bikes at affordable prices and we’ve picked out this women’s Lexa Compact which, at £500, is a good buy. (We've reviewed the more expensive Trek Lexa SLX which is based on a similar frame here here). At the Lexa Compact's heart is a 100 Series Alpha aluminium frame with a matching alloy fork, and Trek use Shimano’s excellent Claris groupset, which offers proper STI shifting. It’s 16-speed with a compact 50/34 chainset and is finished with Bontrager (Trek’s own brand component range) parts. A bonus is the mudguard and rack mounts, so it can double up for commuting as well as weekend rides.
Buy it here from Rutland Cycles
Specialized’s Allez range has been well honed over the years, and this £600 offers any new cyclist a light and stiff bike perfectly suited to doing your first sportive, getting into road racing or just commuting to work. The smart looking frame, with the signature bowed top tube, is matched with an aluminium fork. Shimano’s 2400 Claris groupset with proper STI shifters provides 16 gears and a Shimano Claris compact chainset. Finishing kit is all Specialized branded and brakes are Tektro dual pivot calipers. Here's our review of the 2012 Allez.
Buy it here from Evans
Hoy Sa Calobra .001 £750
We really liked the Hoy Sa Calobra in its £1,000 guise when we tested it earlier this year. The .001 here has a smart 6061 T6 triple butted alloy frame with the same geometry and carbon fibre fork as the more expensive models in the range, but keeps the price down with a Shimano Sora 3500 18-speed groupset and FSA Omega compact chainset and decent finishing kit for £750, making it a really good buy.
Buy it here from Evans
Canyon Roadlite AL 6.0 £899
German direct-to-consumer brand Canyon updated the Roadlite for 2014. The aluminium frame gets a bit lighter and you now get a full carbon fibre fork and VCLS carbon seatpost, both shed a bit of mass as well as providing a little more comfort. The geometry has been improved with a slightly longer wheelbase to make it more stable of handling. This is the most affordable of the range, and Canyon really pass the savings onto the customer, it packs a full Shimano 105 groupset with Mavic Aksium wheels and Continental Grand Prix 4000S tyres and Ritchey handlebar and stem. You can read our first ride review here.
We'll be adding a few more bikes to this roundup soon, this list obviously doesn't cover every single brand out there, so let's hear your suggestions for bikes in the comments box below.