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Best Entry Level Road Bikes for Beginners
- Last updated: May 12th, 2021
Do you have a road bike for 2021? If you don’t then relax. In this guide, I will help you to choose the best entry-level road bikes.
The road bike is the most specialized of all the different bike types and meant only for riding on tarmac. I’ve thought the same. Going to your local bike store you can see them on sale with price tags starting from $800.
Those, I’m sure, last very nicely and are good bikes.
Here we go, I’ve brought out 89 best cheap road bikes for 2021!
Has a beautifully curved aluminum frame
Has a harmonic combination of Shimano and Tommaso road components
In our opinion (and we’re sure many will agree), Tommaso makes some of the most attractive and the best looking road bikes. It is, without a doubt, one of the best bicycle manufacturers that you can consider at a reasonable price.
Their quality lies in the fact that they make entry-level and mid-range models. Therefore, anyone can find something that they need.
Tommaso Imola, which we are reviewing here, is an entry-level model that even offers several glimpses of the mid-range world.
It has a beautifully curved aluminum frame with a taller head tube that puts you in a more upright position.
This way, you will be more comfortable and be able to do long endurance rides on it. Because of this, Fascino is very popular with riders who are buying their first road bike.
Tommaso Imola is light, fast, and elegant, offering an all-around great performance at a bargain price.
Other than that, Tommaso Imola has a harmonic combination of Shimano and Tommaso road components. They will provide you with 24 speeds on a 3×8 drivetrain. You’ll do the shifting with Shimano Tourney parts, and a wide-range cassette is a part of the same groupset.
One of the things some riders might not be stoked about is the brakes. Namely, Fascino comes with rim brakes. They offer great braking performance, but more and more riders prefer disc brakes nowadays.
The tires are Kenda, and they’re 25 mm wide. This is the most popular width you can find on most road bikes. It is perfect for entry-level riders who should have more grip when cornering for safety and confidence reasons.
If you’re buying your first road bike and you want it to last a long time and get you through many long rides, you can’t go wrong with Tommaso Fascino.
BTW: There are 6 different sizes to choose from, whoa!
Gravel bikes are the new hot trend in the cycling industry. They have a lot of similarities with road bikes, which is why Cannondale Topstone 1 deserves a place on this list! Gravel bikes are usually not cheap, but you can get a decent model without spending outrageous amounts of money, which is the case here.
The frame is made from lightweight aluminum, whereas the fork is made from carbon, so the total weight of the bike is just 22 lbs. 9.6 oz. That’s very decent considering that this is an aluminum gravel bike.
Cannondale Topstone 1 is the ideal choice for riders who intend to stray off the beaten path and put their foot in the gravel riding world.
There are several other surprises Topstone 1 has. It’s absolutely jam-packed with mounts, which makes it a fantastic solution for all of your adventure rides. The stock version does not come with any accessories, but you can easily fit it will lights, fenders, racks, bike bags, and anything else you might need for long journeys.
This bike is equipped with Shimano GRX components, which is an excellent choice at this price range. It has a 2×11 drivetrain with a wide-range cassette, so no need to worry about running out of gears. It also has a pair of GRX 400 hydraulic disc brakes, which is a must on gravel bikes!
Let’s not forget the versatile 38mm tires on 700c WTB ST i23 wheels, which can rip trails in half.
If you want a serious two-wheeler for adventure trips and recreational riding, then Cannondale Topstone 1 is the best mid-range road bike for gravel you can get!
Co-op Cycles ADV 1.1 touring road bike is clearly a capable machine that is available in 5 sizes – from S to XXL.
The ADV 1.1 touring road bike is built around a double-butted Chromoly steel frame and fork with a geometry created to ensure comfort over long daily rides.
Component-wise, it’s much more than what you’d expect from a bike at this price point. Shimano Deore LX front and rear derailleurs offer 30 gears with a touring crank that’s excellent for climbing.
The TRP HY/RD hydraulic disc brakes are a good choice for the money as well, offering excellent braking power under heavy load.
The bike rolls on 700c size wheels and 38 mm wide tires, which is a great compromise between speed and comfort.
Co-op Cycles ADV 1.1 is the best touring bike that can take you on month-long tours with front and rear panniers and all of your camping gear.
The biggest advantage of this bike is that it comes equipped with front and rear racks out of the box. Therefore, all you need is some bike bags.
However, ADV 1.1 is not without its cons. The biggest one for me is the seat, it is too stiff, which can be a problem when you’re riding all day long.
One thing to keep in mind is that this bike isn’t completely assembled, and some mechanical skill is required. This isn’t necessarily a con but you might want to factor in the cost of assembly by an experienced mechanic before buying. A proper tune-up and inspection are vital to make this bike function properly.
All you need to do is assemble the front wheel, seat, attach the shifters to the handlebars, handlebars to the head, pedals (included), and connect the brakes. Then, inflate the tires, do some minor tuning to the brakes and shifters and you are all set!
Salsa has been making bikes now for a long time and has achieved a high market share. In its price range, this ride is hard to beat, especially when it comes to entry-level touring bikes for cyclists who don’t know how to buy a bike!
Salsa Marrakesh is perhaps the best example of affordable touring bikes that are cheaply priced but well built!
For some, $1,800 might not seem very cheap, but it’s hard to find this list of components for less.
It comes in one color that will match any remote road perfectly. Plus, you can choose from one of six sizes – from 50cm to 59.5cm.
Online reviews mostly have good things to say about it: Shimano Alivio components with 27 gears, robust WTB 700c wheels and versatile 42mm tires, durable steel frame and fork with upright geometry, and a comfortable seat made of memory gel.
This bike comes in a single box and is almost entirely assembled. But if you feel insecure, scroll down and see how to assemble it!
Salsa Marrakesh is our top pick due to a fantastic design and bargain components for commuters and tourers who want top value at an affordable price.
This bike brakes with TRP Spyre-C mechanical disc brakes which is a good refreshment if you used to brake with rim brakes. They’re more powerful and more precise.
Masi Vincere Tiagra is every endurance cyclist’s dream come true.
Masi Vincere combines a super durable aluminum frame with a stiff carbon fork. The rear triangle even comes with rear rack mounts, so you can fit panniers on this bike for commutes or bike tours.
When it comes to the components, Masi Vincere has Shimano written all over the place. The groupset this bike operates with is Shimano Tiagra, which is a mid-range groupset that will take a lot of beating and abuse.
In total, you’ll have 20 gears at your disposal with a compact crank and an 11-32T cassette.
Like most modern endurance road bikes nowadays, Vincere sports a pair of mechanical disc brakes, which greatly improves its versatility. You can ride it on all types of terrains and even in rain.
The Kenda Valkyrie, 700 x 30c tires are smooth and fast. If you want, you can certainly go a few millimeters wider and improve comfort and grip even more if you want.
All in all, if you want a cheap unisex endurance road bike with an aluminum frame and a carbon fork that’s ready for day-long rides, Masi Vincere is a worthy candidate!
Orbea Orca M40 is one of the simplest but at the same time one of the best all-terrain mid-level road bikes that you can buy right now.
If you want to become a part of the gravel riding craze (which we definitely encourage because it is super-fun), this Orbea model is going to help you learn the ropes. However, this is also a phenomenal choice for pure road riding, depending on which tires you put on it.
One of the main characteristics of gravel bikes is comfort, which you will no doubt get thanks to the lightweight carbon frame and fork. The result is a lightweight and stiff bike that rides predictably.
To power this beautiful bicycle along scenic roads of all kinds, you will be using a 2×10 drivetrain equipped with Shimano Tiagra 4700 components. That’s the best bang for the buck you can get at this price. It offers decent quality and performance, as well as enough variety with the gearing.
Orbea Orca M40 is a no-brainer for anyone who has room for just one bike and needs a great performer on a variety of different terrains.
We also like the Shimano 4770 hydraulic disc brakes because they are powerful, precise, durable, and easy to maintain.
Finally, Orbea has opted to dress their Orca M40 model in 700c x 28 mm tires, but the frame and the fork have enough clearance for up to 35 mm wide rubber.
Therefore, Orbea Orca M40 seems like the perfect tool for gravel beginners and enthusiasts on a budget to fall in love with this discipline and explore the outback.
We’ve been seeing more and more women cyclists on the roads lately, which means that the need for beginner road bikes for women is growing.
Here we have the best entry-level road bike for women in our opinion. It’s a good choice to get used to pedaling, improve your fitness, and fall in love with the sport.
The first characteristic of the Giordano Libero 1.6 is obvious from the moment you take the first look at it, which is the design. The color is feminine, and the bike stands out when it’s out on the roads. The pink details on the white paint job look very nice.
Another reason why this is the best beginner road bike for women is the fact that it is made specifically for female body geometry. This means that it has a shorter top tube than usual, shorter stem, narrower handlebars, and a women-specific saddle. This will make a massive difference when it comes to comfort, especially on longer rides.
Giordano Libero 1.6 is a high-value entry-level road bike with an attractive paint job making it a dream bike for any female beginner roadie.
When it comes to the components and parts, there are many things that Libero can boast about. For example, it has a lightweight aluminum frame and fork, strong caliper brakes, and comfy road tires.
This road machine also has a 2×8 Shimano Claris drivetrain which is a good choice for beginner riders.
All in all, Giordano Libero can be recommended as the best beginner road bike for women who are just starting to ride or want to upgrade from their leisure bike.
Schwinn Fastback got its place on my list immediately as a good cheap road bike and here it has remained. I bet you all knew the Schwinn before. It used to be one of the best-known manufacturers around, but it has been sold several times in the last years and a bunch of times before that as well.
Typically these purchases can bring with them changes to the quality of the bike, but with Schwinn, it luckily has remained the same and the price has even gone down on the best budget road bike.
So they have become known for making good bikes for starting out.
I am personally impressed by the quality this bike exudes for this amount of money.
I’m sure that with this setup, you can ride for years to come. You’d most likely need to visit the local shop 3-4 times to have the wheels re-trued and maybe upgrade some parts (the saddle for example) but everything else is simple – sit and ride.
Schwinn Fastback brings together a list of reliable components on a quality aluminum frame that makes it the biggest bargain in entry-level road cycling.
And if you are a true roadie, then you’ll want to upgrade it so as to make it lighter and otherwise faster. Still, at 22 lbs, it is already pretty light.
Users suggest replacing the rim tape. This is important because the tape of the rim is quite thick and can rub your tire and you’ll end up getting a flat. You can be sure to find something from Amazon, Zefal is a good enough choice. You can get one for less than $10. Concerning the pedals- when you want to train harder, you should get yourself Shimano clipless pedals.
Schwinn Fastback is available in six sizes that fit riders between 4’11” and 6’4″. Also, it comes in a beautiful glossy blue color that makes it look more expensive.
All these bikes are value-added possibilities, but, if we drill into the details, then Salsa Marrakesh is probably the best choice for longer adventures on varying terrain. It’s the best touring road bike for intermediate riders that we’ve found.
For example, Raleigh Detour is a great pick for anyone who wants a speedy foldable bike to do daily commutes and leisure rides. For men & women who want a quality endurance road bike with Shimano components, we proudly present you with the Masi Vincere Tiagra.
If you need a light, fast, durable, and attractive versatile road bike, Tommaso Imola is there for you. Also, a strong performer on gravel roads is the Cannondale Topstone 1, with a nice set of components and relaxed frame geometry.
If going cheap is what you have in mind, then we’ll point you at the Schwinn Fastback. Yes, it’ll be equipped with a cheaper component group, but, if normally maintained, the bike will work nicely for years to come. Our second choice for minimal investment is the Co-op Cycles Adv 1.1 – it comes fitted with racks so it’s ready for traveling.
The best newcomer is definitely the Orbea Orca M40. It has a nice balance between price and components and performs excellently on gravel.
An excellent pick for women who want to take up road biking is the Giordano Libero 1.6 Women’s, which has women-specific parts and geometry and a decent set of components.
Don’t forget that all these bikes are the best picks for beginners!
But only the best cheap road bikes are here to stay. These fantastic bikes will last you many great years.
Like the expensive ones, their advantages are in speed, lightness, and an aerodynamic riding position. You can ride, get further in a shorter amount of time and see much more. Typically the road bike is more expensive compared to other types, but there are good budget variants on the market which, while not meant for races, offer up heaps of enjoyment and sweet adrenaline while riding them.
I know what it feels like to shop with a limited budget. But the last thing you want to do is to get the first inexpensive bike you come across.
I want you to choose a bike that meets two criteria – it’s affordable and you love it. And about sizing, bike size is measured in a way shown on the picture – from the seat-post to the crank.
Your height / Bike Size
4’11” – 5’3″ = 13 – 15 inches
5’3″ – 5’7″ = 15 – 17 inches
5’7″ – 5’11” = 17 – 19 inches
6’0″ – 6’2″ = 19 – 21 inches
6’2″ – 6’4″ = 21 – 23 inches
6’4″ and taller = 23+ inches
I will show you some of the best entry level road bikes that are worth buying. I’ll explain all the pros and cons of each bike so that you could spend money only on those aspects that play a role for you. I want you to know everything about buying your first road bikes for beginners, so I’ll give you the additional easy bike size charts to make sure you pick out a road bike with the right size, in case the information above wasn’t sufficient.
Are Entry-Level Road Bikes Expensive?
Not always. If you choose wisely. If you go to a Local Bike Shop (LBS) you can see very expensive prices. Also, you can check online to find the best inexpensive road bikes. The main difference of price comes from secondary costs like warehouse, marketing, assembly etc. That’s why you can find road bikes for a good price.
All you must do is to choose wisely. Let’s say, 80% of expensive bikes are good. But only 20% of road bikes are expensive. So think again, why should you pay more for the same quality?
How To Do Assembly to Your New Entry Level Road Bike
Amazon bikes come partially assembled and are shipped out in boxes.
Many new owners tend to complain about it, but it isn’t something impossible for you to do.
There are two ways to assemble a bike.
#1: Take it to the bike shop and they will do it for about $40. Still, a pretty good value if you add it on to the price you paid for your entry level road bike.
Or, #2: Do it yourself, if you can think logically and work a wrench, then it really isn’t hard. Everything is cable activated and these cables need to be tightened properly in order for the bike to shift and brake properly.
Outside of the cable, you likely need to attach the handlebar. Did it sound like it might be a bit tricky? Then I have a video for you:
So you need to adjust them sometimes. And it doesn’t matter, whether you’re riding a cheap bike or an expensive one. So it will certainly be a good skill to have -adjusting brake and gear cables. But if it looks impossible, let your friend do it or pay the guy in your local shop.
So there are a few extra costs at the beginning but it evens out when you are on the saddle of one of the best entry-level road bikes there is.
Enjoy! As I have and continue to do.
I bet you need it when you’re starting out with the new bike!
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