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Ready to move up a notch? This is the price/performance sweet spot

You’ve an abundance of riches in the £1,500 to £2,000 price band, with bikes that are light, well-equipped and great value for money.

You also have a big range of choices. Carbon fibre frame, or the latest ultra-sophisticated aluminium? Caliper brakes or discs? Racing geometry, more upright for comfort or something in between? How about taking the 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.

Genesis Datum 10 — £1,999.99

2018 Genesis Datum 10.jpg

2018 Genesis Datum 10.jpg

The Genesis Datum 10 will take pretty much whatever you can throw at it, on or off-road. The spec represents excellent value and the ability to jump between town and country use positions it as a sound contender for an 'only bike' that you won't be sheepish about getting muddy on, while being worthy of a shine-up for the Sunday morning group ride.

At launch two years ago, Dave rated the Di2 11-speed Datum 30 at 4.5/5, finding it a 'hugely capable bike that is loads of fun over all sorts of terrain'. Later that year it won our Sportive Bike of The Year Award, with only the Shimano Di2-influenced price holding it back from taking overall honours. At £3,200 in 2015 money, the Di2 version was a hefty price to pay, so this time around it's the base model £1,899 10-speed Tiagra model on test. Again, for this spec it's not a class-leadingly cheap bike, but the overall package is worthy of inclusion on anyone's to-be-considered list.

Read our review of the Genesis Datum 10
Find a Genesis dealer

Canyon Endurace CF SL Disc 7.0 — £1,799

Canyon Endurace CF SL Disc 7

Canyon Endurace CF SL Disc 7

It's always worth checking out what Canyon has to offer, and this combination of the light, quick but comfortable Endurace CF SL frame and Shimano 105 components is decent value, and — if the women's equivalent is any guide — a superb all-day mile-eater.

Read our review of the Canyon Endurace WMN CF SL Disc 8.0

Merlin Nitro Aero Ultegra Di2 2018 — £2,020

2018 merlin nitro aero ultegra r8050 di2.jpg

2018 merlin nitro aero ultegra r8050 di2.jpg

Merlin Cycles has been offering its own brand of bikes for a while, and the Nitro Aero Di2 is an excellent addition thanks to its combination of a quick, stiff aero frame and Shimano's slick electronic shifting. The price has just gone up slightly, but it seems churlish to quibble about £20.

Read our review of the Merlin Nitro SL

Merida Silex 600 — £1,700

2018 Merida Silex 600.jpg

2018 Merida Silex 600.jpg

Merida's dramatic take on the gravel bike genre is as close as a bike gets to being a mountain bike without becoming the bailiwick of our sister site off.road.cc. It has the long head tube and top tube that's a feature of many contemporary mountain bikes, and single-chainring gearing. It keeps its feet on the Tarmac with 35mm tyres, but if you wanted to get adventurous there's room to go plenty bigger.

Read our review of the Silex 600's carbon fibre big brother, the Merida Silex 9000
Find a Merida dealer

Raleigh Mustang Comp — £1,500

2017 Raleigh Mustang Comp.jpeg

2017 Raleigh Mustang Comp.jpeg

With Raleigh's aluminium-framed Mustangs, carbon Rokers and steel Mavericks the Big Heron jumped into gravel bikes with both boots a couple of years ago. Raleigh's folks say they started revamping their endurance road range, then realised that for a lot of British riding a bike with a long wheelbase and fat tyres was better able to cope with back roads trashed by the combination of bad winters and hacked road maintenance budgets. The Mustang Comp has SRAM hydraulic brakes and 11 speed SRAM Apex 1 gears.

Find a Raleigh dealer

Cannondale CAAD12 105 Disc 2018 — £1,700

2018 cannondale caad12 disc 105.jpg

2018 cannondale caad12 disc 105.jpg

Proving that composites don't quite reign supreme, Cannondale's meticulously engineered CAAD12 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.

Find a Cannondale dealer

Boardman Road Pro Carbon SLR — £1,500

Boardman Road Pro SLR.jpg

Boardman Road Pro SLR.jpg

If you want to put that race licence to good use, smash those Strava KOMs or just want a fast, comfortable, easy-to-ride road bike, then the Boardman Road Pro Carbon SLR needs to be on your shortlist. With a full-carbon frameset, SRAM Force groupset, Mavic Ksyrium wheels and weighing in at just 7kg (15.5lb), the SLR is a real contender even before you take the price into account – and that challenges even the direct-to-consumer specialists.

The Road Pro is a stunning bike to look at. That mirror effect silver paintjob makes it stand out, especially in the sunshine; you're going to get noticed for sure.

That beauty isn't just skin deep, though. In a cycling world where bikes are starting to cross as many disciplines as possible, the Boardman knows exactly what it is: a proper race bike that just begs to be ridden hard. It likes being on the tarmac, getting chucked downhill on the ragged edge of the tyre's grip, or being sprinted hard up that 20 per cent climb without the slightest hint of flex from the frame.

Read our review of the Boardman Road Pro Carbon SLR

Giant Defy Advanced 2 2018 —  £1,359.19

2018 Giant Defy Advanced 2 Neon Green.jpg

2018 Giant Defy Advanced 2 Neon Green.jpg

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 completely revamped for 2015 with a whole new frame design providing enhanced comfort and, for the carbon frames, disc brakes only. From 2017 Defy bikes are all carbon fibre, as the Contend range replaces the previous aluminium Defys.

We're just starting to see price reductions on 2018 Giants, as retailers clear the floor for incoming 2019 models. The Defy Advanced 2 was previously £1,700 and you can now pick up the 2018 Giant Defy Advanced 1 for £1,479.19 instead of £1,848.99.

Read our review of the Giant Defy Advanced SL
Read our review of the Giant Defy Advanced 3
Find a Giant dealer

Specialized Tarmac SL4 Elite 2018 — £2,000

2018 specialized tarmac sl4 elite

2018 specialized tarmac sl4 elite

Specialized's £2,000 Tarmac Elite is a smart looking and well packaged bike that offers the sort of fast and engaging ride that will suit budding racers, along with sportive cyclists who favour a less upright position than is provided by the company's Roubaix model.

Read our review of the (very similar) Specialized Tarmac Comp
Find a Specialized dealer

Trek Émonda SL5 2018 — £1,800

2018 Trek Emonda SL 5.jpg

2018 Trek Emonda SL 5.jpg

Part of Trek's line of Émonda lightweight race bikes, the SL5 demonstrates one of two approaches to speccing up a bike in this range. Trek takes the second-lightest of its Émonda frames and equips it with Shimano's midrange 105 group for a bike that doesn't cost the earth but has plenty of upgrade potential.

Read our review of the Trek Emonda SL5
Find a Trek dealer

Specialized Ruby — £1,900

2018 Specialized Ruby.jpg

2018 Specialized Ruby.jpg

There are some superb women's bikes in this category, of which Specialized's Ruby is a great example. It has the same shock-damping steerer as Specialized's Roubaix (the men's equivalent) and the same spec as the Roubaix at the same price.

Find a Specialized dealer

Rose Team GF 4 Disc 105 — £1,907.04

2018 Rose Team GF 4 Disc 105.jpg

2018 Rose Team GF 4 Disc 105.jpg

Rose claims an impressive 7.9kg for the Team GF 4 Disc 105 and given that its predecessor the Xeon CDX-4400 comes in at 7.5kg (16.6lb), we believe it. The ride is quick, easy to live with and delivers a lot of fun miles. It's a cracker of a machine ready to be ridden flat out or cruising the lanes.

Read our review of the Rose Xeon CDX-4400

About road.cc Buyer's Guides

The aim of road.cc buyer's guides is to give you the most, authoritative, objective and up-to-date buying advice. We continuously update and republish our guides, checking prices, availability and looking for the best deals.

Our guides include links to websites where you can buy the featured products. Like most sites we make a small amount of money if you buy something after clicking on one of those links. We want you to be happy with what you buy, so we only include a product in a if we think it's one of the best of its kind.

As far as possible that means recommending equipment that we have actually reviewed, but we also include products that are popular, highly-regarded benchmarks in their categories.

Here's some more information on how road.cc makes money.

You can also find further guides on our sister sites off.road.cc and ebiketips.

Road.cc buyer's guides are maintained and updated by John Stevenson. Email John with comments, corrections or queries.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

7 comments

Avatar
Jamminatrix [198 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Does the Merida come with an extra spoke for that rear wheel, or do I have to buy it?

*One comment I want to make about Giant bikes is their online ordering system (may be only applicable to USA), which tracks showroom inventory.* I ordered a bike online, it showed which local shop had it, went to pick it up, and the bike had seen some big use already. I guess it had been on a few extended test rides. Kind of a bummer when you think you are ordering a new bike going to be built out of a box, but in actuality it is whatever model is sitting on the showroom floor.

Avatar
John Stevenson [326 posts] 11 months ago
3 likes

Jamminatrix wrote:

Does the Merida come with an extra spoke for that rear wheel, or do I have to buy it?

Ha! Well spotted! A photoshopping fail on my part while cleaning up the original image. Here's the missing spoke:

smiley

Avatar
DrG82 [242 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

My god that Raleigh Mustang frame is ugly, and the welds look like something I could have done.

Avatar
DrG82 [242 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

My god that Raleigh Mustang frame is ugly, and the welds look like something I could have done.

Avatar
Jamminatrix [198 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

As a follow-up, and to those reading this recently:

I just saw on CRC the Cube Agree C:62 is £350/$500 cheaper than the Giant Defy Advanced 2, and comes with name brand Fulcrum wheels and actual 105 crank instead of a non-series crank like the Giant. Geometry looks very comparable. Had I known, I probably would have got that instead and spent extra money on other things.

Avatar
cdean [30 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes
Jamminatrix wrote:

As a follow-up, and to those reading this recently: I just saw on CRC the Cube Agree C:62 is £350/$500 cheaper than the Giant Defy Advanced 2, and comes with name brand Fulcrum wheels and actual 105 crank instead of a non-series crank like the Giant. Geometry looks very comparable. Had I known, I probably would have got that instead and spent extra money on other things.

 

I bought the 2017 Defy Advanced 2 (the orangey one at the top of the article, which is more red in real life) recently at an end of season bargain price. Unlike the 2018 model it has a proper 105 crank and the actual Shimano hydraulic shifter brakes rather than the Giant hybrid thing that allows cable shifters to be connected to hydraulic brakes, so it looks like the 2017 model is a better spec than the 2018 one. Another victim of the reduction in value of the pound! The wheels feel alright and I like the way they look with the bike (oh, vanity) but there's definitely scope to upgrade them in future.

Avatar
efail [129 posts] 21 hours ago
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The Boardman bike does not weigh 7kg. I've weighed one in the shop, with all of the tat removed, including the pedals, and it weighed 7.8kg, and that was a SMALL. Don't know where you got yours.