Welcome to our guide to the best road bikes under £2,000. Bikes in this price bracket, are light, well-equipped and great value for money. We've spent hundreds of hours riding Tarmac roads, gravel roads and trails to find the best bikes for £2,000. Here they are.
Carbon fibre and aluminium vie for the title of most popular frame material for its light weight and strength, but don't dismiss road bikes around £2,000 that are made from the latest high-tech aluminium or steel alloys
Most road bikes around £2,000 now have hydraulic disc brakes. There are still a very few rim brake bikes available for traditionalists, but if you do opt for rim brakes over disc, often these bikes are a bit cheaper.
You have a big range of choices among the best bikes for around £2,000. Carbon fibre frame, or the latest ultra-sophisticated aluminium? Racing geometry, more upright for comfort or something in between? How about taking to the byways and bridleways on a gravel bike? Whatever type of riding you have in mind, there’s a bike in this price range that’ll suit you perfectly.
Shimano's 105 11-speed groupset dominates the equipment selection on road bikes around £2,000, but there are a few with the Ultegra groupset that's next up in the hierarchy, and others with the 10-speed Tiagra that's next down from 105.
Proving that composites don't quite reign supreme, Cannondale's meticulously engineered CAAD13 frame wrings every last gram of performance potential out of aluminium. Cannondale combines that frame with Shimano 105 shifting, its own HollowGram Si chainset and Shimano 105 hydraulic disc brakes for a thoroughly modern fast road bike.
The CAAD13 includes a stack of refinements over the previous, much-loved CAAD12 with tweaks to the aerodynamics and dropped seatstays to improve comfort.
It's always worth checking out what Canyon has to offer, and this combination of the light, quick but comfortable Endurace AL frame and Shimano 105 components is decent value, and a superb all-day mile-eater that's fun to ride.
One of the early adopters of the whole gravel/adventure/do-it-all bikes, the Cotic Escapade has had a few upgrades since its inception a good five or six years ago. Larger tyre clearances, a new carbon fork and a tapered head tube have now upped the performance and dropped the weight, making the new model an absolute joy to ride whether on or off road.
The original Cotic was disconcertingly ahead of its time, but with the explosion of the whole gravel/adventure market, components have caught up and things like quality 1x groupsets, brilliant hydraulic disc brakes and 650B wheels mean the Escapade can really strut its stuff, especially if you like to chop and change your choice of terrain.
How does Cube manage to make a carbon fibre endurance bike with 105 equipment for just over two grand? Well, they've swapped out the hollow 105 chainset for the non-series FC-RS510, which as far as we can tell is a Tiagra crank configured for 11-speed instead of 10. It's a bit heavier, but works just fine, saving a bunch on the price tag without substantial detriment to performance.
The Attain GTC Race is very much a mile-eating all-rounder, with clearance for mudguards so you can keep going through winter without getting drenched.
Highly capable, with a performance that shines on any surface as it smooths out bumps with the skinniest of skinny rear stays – and a very competitive price – the GT Grade Carbon is a top choice in an increasingly crowded gravel bike market.
The Grade is brilliant at being fast and comfortable on rough roads, and right at home on forest trails and gravel roads. The new frame, with its 'floating stays' design, is impressively smooth at the saddle. Rough tracks, jagged roots and rippled fields are soaked up exceptionally well thanks to the seat post flexing backwards. It's freer to do this on the new frame since the seat tube can bow forwards, unhindered by the seat stays.
GT makes no claim for how much flex there is, and it’s obviously not tuneable, plus variables like rider weight and aggression influence just how much you get. However the stays actually flex visibly, either when you press hard down on the saddle with your elbow, or look down when you’re riding. At the worldwide launch event in Girona, riding next to another Grade revealed that it's even noticeable from afar.
Geometry defines a gravel bike, with stability a key focus. The Grade gets a lower bottom bracket across the size range, along with 15mm longer chainstays, and feels extremely surefooted on any terrain at any speed.
The Equilibrium has been part of Genesis' line up for many years now, and this latest version – with its Reynolds 725 frame and fork – is an absolute corker, thanks to a smooth ride and plenty of tyre clearance.
Tester Stu writes: "The ride quality is beautiful. I like my tyres pumped up hard; if the frameset is any good, it'll deal with the vibrations. And this one does. Taking to the back lanes sees it float across broken road surfaces. It just seems to dampen everything out and feels so composed."
Giant's Defy line is one of the most popular bikes in the endurance and sportive sector, and is the company's best-selling model, combining smart geometry with a full range of competitively priced builds. It was revamped for 2019 with a frame that will take up to 32mm tyres, some tweaks to the cable routing, and the addition of Giant's new D-Fuse buzz-reducing handlebar. Those improvements carry on into the 2021 models.
The 2021 Defy bikes also get tubeless-ready wheels and 32mm tyres, and the Defy Advanced 3 has Shimano's Tiagra shifting with an 11-34 cassette for a 1:1 low gear.
Giant bills the handsome Revolt Advanced 3 as a gravel bike, but it's very much on the go-faster end of the gravel spectrum, so it's suited to Tarmac shenanigans too with handling that's positive enough that you can push it into the bends and still have fun when the road heads downhill.
Dirt roads are where the Revolt Advanced really excels though, rewarding flat-out effort with buckets of fun as the tyre scrabble for grip on loose surfaces. You can throw it through twisty gravel sections right on its limits and enjoy the thrill of feeling it could all go tits-up in an instant — but it doesn't.
There aren't many 2020 Revolt Advanced 3s left in the shops, but the 2021 model is imminent and gets Shimano's GRX-400 braking and shifting in place of the 2020 bike's Tiagra.
Ribble's CGR AL is a hugely versatile and superb value bike for everything from gravel bashing to cyclocross and road commuting. The aluminium frame isn't overly compliant and the kit needs a few tweaks if you intend to mostly stick to dirt, but that's easy enough to custom spec it to your heart's content when you order. (That's the £1,400 105-equipped version in the pic by the way; the Ultegra version is available in the same screaming orange.)
The CGR bit of the name stands for Cyclocross, gravel and road, which tells you pretty much everything you need to know about where this bike is pitched, namely as a do-it-all drop bar bike. The impressive thing is that it actually delivers on this promise, having taken in everything from gravel rides, road Audaxes and tow-path bashing commutes.
The aluminium frame is really nicely made with flattened welds, there are 12mm through axles at either end with flat mount disc brakes, loads of guard, cage and rack mounts and the paint job is smooth and smart - orange is available as well as this blue - and it generally gives off the vibe of being a much more expensive machine than it is. It scores extra points for having a proper, tapered steerer on the carbon forks where many rivals still have a straight item too.
Part of Trek's line of Émonda lightweight race bikes, the ALR 5 demonstrates one of two approaches to speccing up a bike in this range. Trek takes the aluminium version of its Émonda frame and equips it with Shimano's midrange 105 group for a bike that doesn't cost the earth but has plenty of upgrade potential.
Trek has extensively tweaked the 2021 carbon-fibre Émonda to improve its aerodynamics, but at £2,700.00 the cheapest of the new bikes is out of our price range for this guide.
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John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.