Best entry-level road bikes under £500
You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a good road bike, as this collection of affordable options shows
You really don't need to spend a fortune to get a good road bike these days, as this roundup of 10 bikes shows.
It’s quite likely that if you’re reading this you’re looking at buying your first road bike. You’ll probably have a lot of questions. A good place to start is always a well stocked bike shop where you can view the bikes in your budget and get a good idea of what is offered. The second place is road.cc’s Buying Basics: Buying your first road bike guide. It’s packed with useful advice from where to start, frame materials, sizing, bike fit and other important considerations. So, have a read of that too. We've previously looked at the best £500 to £900 road bikes so, if you're considering spending a bit more, check that out as well.
Road bikes priced under £500 often feature light and stiff aluminium frames with good quality gears and brakes. Japanese firm Shimano is the predominant component choice at this end of the market, and the good news is that a lot of the technology seen higher up the ladder eventually trickles down to the entry level. Their 2300 is the most prevalent drivetrain, and you might spot a bit of next-level-up Sora.
Weight is the main area where entry-level bikes suffer. However, with compact or triple chainsets, and the wider range of gears they offer, getting up steep hills is made easier. As a general rule, the more you spend the lighter the bike will be.
Vitesse Sprint Race £185
Supermarkets make up much of the sales for bikes at this price and from Tesco is the £185 Vitesse Sprint Race. It’s the most affordable road bike we could find. It has an alloy frame fitted a steel fork and a Shimano TZ-30 groupset and twist shifters.
The downside to buying such a bike is that it’s listed as ‘self assembly’, which is fine if you’re handy with an Allen key or two. It’s a portly bike as well at over 31lbs. www.tesco.com
Revolution Track £349.99
With the promise of low maintenance and simplicity from a singlespeed drivetrain, the Courier Single is a good choice for commuting to work and occasional jaunts into the countryside. It has an alloy frame with sealed hubs, a Selle Royal Viper saddle and Continental tyres. www.edinburghbicycle.com
Decathlon Triban £299.99
If you’ve ever been to France, you’ll undoubtedly have passed a giant Decathlon superstore. They sell direct so can pass the savings onto the consumer, and they offer some very good deals. The Triban is one such example, and for just £300 you can have an aluminium frame with a 24-speed Shimano 2300 groupset. A highlight is the carbon fork. www.decathlon.co.uk
Carrera TDF Road Bike £299.99
Halfords is the biggest seller of bikes in the UK and offers a wide range of affordable entry-level road bikes. The £300 Carrera TDF looks good on paper with a very competitive spec, including a 6061 aluminium frame with a Shimano Sora 2300 8-speed groupset, Tektro brakes and Kenda 23mm tyres on alloy rims. www.halfords.com
Pinnacle Dolomite 1 £450
Pinnacle is the in-house brand of retailer Evans Cycles, and the Dolomite is their entry-level road bike. At £50 under the top-end of our price range, you get a 6061 aluminium frame and fork with road race geometry. A Shimano Tourney A070 groupset combines a compact chainset with a 12-28t cassette for a wide spread of gears. www.evanscycles.com
Raleigh Airlite 100 £375 (online discounted from £500)
Raleigh’s entry-level bike is the Airlite 100. It comes with a 6000-series aluminium frame with weight savings thanks to a butted down tube and top tube, and there’s clearance for mudguards. The frame is fitted with a Shimano 2300 groupset with a compact chainset and 13-26 cassette, and Tektro brakes. www.raleigh.co.uk
Dawes Giro 200 £299.99
British brand Dawes offer up the £299.99 Giro 200 as their entry-level model. It centres on a 7005 aluminium frame with road race geometry and is fitted with a steel fork. Rims are alloy with 36 spokes and tyres are Kenda K-196 26mm. www.dawescycles.com
Norco Valence A4 £500
Norco is a huge Canadian bike brand and the bikes are brought into the UK by Evans Cycles. The Valence represents their most affordable road bike. Features includes a light double butted and shaped 7005 aluminium frame with an alloy fork, Shimano Sora 2300 drivetrain and a FSA Tempo CK-200TT compact chainset. www.norco.com
Scott Speedster 60 Compact £499
At the top-end of this price range is Scott’s Speedster 60, which has a smart double butted 6061 aluminium frame an alloy fork. It gets a Shimano A2350 and A070 groupset with a compact 50/34 chainset, and is completed with Schwalbe Racepac 23mm tyres. www.scott-sports.com
Boardman Road Sport £499.99
The Road Sport has a 7005 double-butted aluminium frame with a Shimano 2300 groupset and FSA Tempo compact chainset. The Road Sport comes in a slightly more relaxed, sportive-friendly geometry than a full-on race bike; the top tube is a little shorter and the head tube is a little longer. You get mounts for mudguards too. www.boardmanbikes.com