Which road bike for 500

by woops   June 14, 2011  

Asked by someone at work who wants to start road biking and was looking at a new bike for £500. Not familiar myself with the lower end of the road bike market. What to people recommend. I know that there are MTB for £500 reviews/grouptest but is there the same for road bikes?

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For that sort of budget, the best bet would be to look at second hand bikes. You really won't get very much for your money on a new bike at that price point, whereas you can get a good condition 2-3 year old bike, which would have been £1000 new.

Road bikes don't tend to wear as much, or as visibly as mountain bikes, so you can often get a used bike with little wear.

It obviously depends on what the bike is going to be used for, but I would say that is the best option. Otherwise, wait until September/October and all of the current bikes will be reduced to make room for the 2012 models. Although that will mean missing all of the wonderful summer rides, which isn't ideal.

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posted by roadracedave [75 posts]
14th June 2011 - 12:50

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As said above, for that cash go 2nd hand, because if you go for something new around the 500 mark your going to end up with very low end spec and normally a heavy frame

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posted by Gkam84 [8792 posts]
14th June 2011 - 15:35

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It's not really worth getting low end spec and heavy frame just for the sake of it being new try your mates before using ebay etc though

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posted by cool guy 999 [54 posts]
14th June 2011 - 16:45

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it depends what you want and how snobby you are. I bought the £589 Allez triple 2011 in spain to use when I am there, as it works out cheaper and less risky than shipping your bike out, as well as less faff.

I have a tarmac sl3 here in the UK, so it had to have big boots to impress, but have to say am very, very impressed with the allez. I have changed the tyres for GP4000s which I got cheap on merlin and couple with the conti supersonic innertubes to make cheap gains in rolling resistance and speed (both bikes came with truely dire spesh tires) at first i wanted to change the groupset; the low end shimano is annoying as you need to be on the hoods to change gear, the non-bar-wrapped cables are unsightly, the gear release has a dreadful lever and is nowhere near as slick as the sram red on my tarmac, but then, the sram red gruppo alone costs nearly 3x this entire bike!

Once I got my hissy fit diva side under control, and three rides in and altered my style to predicting gears a bit more, I have resisted upgrading the groupset or anything else on the bike and have so far done about 750km in 5/6 rides, its second outing saw 106km and 2500m of ascent and it was impeccable.

No it is not as fast as my tarmac on the flast and the ups, but that is mainly the wheels and the transmission, and can be compensated for with legs! I have done 70km/h downs on it (I am too old now to go faster) and it was rock solid, only the brakes being nowhere near as good as the sram red will hold me back, but have discovered that on long rides i flip the brake release lever to remove the wheels postition and the levers come way back and have a bit more leverage and feel.

In short, I have had second hand bikes, but they never fill me with confidence, if you are just trying out to see what you want that may be the way forward (i.e do i want a racer or a sportive, etc) but if you want a bike to keep, and not be paranoid when you feel something a miss, I cannot recommend the bog standard Allez 2011 enough - with some decent tyres and tubes!

roadie come mountain biker come single speeder and back again

posted by cborrman [84 posts]
15th June 2011 - 9:42

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I am another second hand avoider after a couple of bad experiences (I know thousands don't have them but I did) so after seeing a mate get sold a 'dodgy' bike and having had a second hand purchase of my own crack I have stuck to new.

I started road riding just over a year ago and had a limited budget so with advice from the 'Net, mags and mainly this site tbh, I bagged myself a Spesh Allez 16 (in rather stunning red) - got a bikefit, bottle, cage and basic cateye computer in the deal and have only changed the pedals (again on a budget for Shimano r540 spd SL pedals and some dhb shoes from wiggle).

More than happy with the bike and have no plans to upgrade right now. Carbon fork is a great bonus at that price point too from what I have learned.

I agree with the comment above about the shifters though, but only really been a problem over the past few months were I have used the drops more and more.

I think even if I did buy another road bike in the future I would keep the Allez as it rides so well.

If you want a list of various bikes I looked at either search my posts or ask away as I did plenty of comparing, etc.

posted by Super Domestique [1598 posts]
15th June 2011 - 12:23

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There are a good few 2010 Boardmans going around in bike huts. try phoning around a few halfords local to you.

posted by thefatcyclist [584 posts]
15th June 2011 - 23:27

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apparently specialized have just announced offers on 2011 allez from 18th June at participating dealers... mine is red too (re post above) very handsome for their cheapest road bike!

roadie come mountain biker come single speeder and back again

posted by cborrman [84 posts]
16th June 2011 - 11:08

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For £500 you should have a choice of some good bikes.

Size and fit is top priority. Buy online only if you're sure the size is right for you.

I'd argue colour and styling is more important than specification. Why? Because you may well change the drivetrain, wheels etc sooner or later but you won't change the colour or frame shape.

Visit a few bike shops, see if you can find something you like.

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posted by Simon E [1940 posts]
16th June 2011 - 11:24

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When of comes to the lower end of the market their isn't a great deal of difference between the bikes, they will all be aluminium frames with sora or similar groupsets. Just get your friend round a few shops and try a few, and go with whatever is the best fit.

posted by the _chief15 [3 posts]
26th June 2011 - 11:18

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