Find out our top picks for road bikes under $1,000 you can get online (in our opinion)
Many readers have asked me to write a review for road bikes under $1,000. It’s finally here, after too many endless nights of analyzing! So enjoy, because I know the feeling of wanting to ride but having a hard time making a decision about what’s worth buying and what isn’t.
So let me show you the very best road bikes under $1,000 – no bullshit, Here is my complete list, that I arrived to after endless comparisons with too many decent bikes. I am glad that there are different reviews, which tells me that there are many great bikes from various manufacturers.
Keep in mind that the price of these bikes can fluctuate.
Below are the
5 7 best road bikes under $1,000. I hope you enjoy!
#1: Salsa Journeyman 700
Salsa has a vision of the world in which you will no longer need to have a road bike, a mountain bike, a touring bike, and a bike packing bike. Salsa Journeyman 700C Claris is one bike designed to rule them all. \
This Salsa model is made with versatility in mind, so it can complete different missions — enter a CX race on it, or go on an off-road touring adventure.
The heart of the Salsa Journeyman model is a light and sturdy aluminum frame, built from the 6061 aluminum alloy. The fork is rigid, without suspension, which leaves a lot of room for different mounts. Thus, you can bejewel your Journeyman with a front rack, a light, a fender, and there’s a three-pack mount as well. You can carry all you need with yourself and more.
The frame is painted in a beautiful shade of gentle red and has three water bottle mounts. There’s also a top tube mount, reserved for the Salsa EXP Series Toptube Bag. This frame can also fit either 700c or 650b wheels. If you go with 700c tires, you can roll on up to 50mm tires. However, if you choose the 650b setup, you can go wild with 56.5mm ones. With these, you can ride on almost any terrain.
As far as gearing goes, you’ll have 16 wide-range gears at your disposal. You can shift through them with ease using the Shimano Claris groupset which this bike comes with. Even though this isn’t a high-end groupset, it works precisely and without any hiccups. Therefore, it’s a great deal on an under $1,000 bike.
Another great deal is the disc brakes which are necessary when we’re talking about an adventure bike. This Salsa model is fitted with a pair of mechanical discs, so you’ll need a stronger grip to get the most out of them. However, you don’t need to worry about performance no matter when and where you ride.
#2: Tommaso Monza
Fabulous Italian Design
The Monza’s frame is constructed of 6061 hydroformed aluminum and fitted with HCT’s carbon road fork.
The bike’s Tiagra components work very well, outperforming the lower-spec Shimano Sora series found on many comparable bikes. It doesn’t have any unnecessary gears and the Tiagra Compact 50/34T crankset gives you all the range you’ll need with 20 speeds. A Sunrace 11-28T cassette rounds out the drive.
This bike comes equipped with linear-pull brakes. If you want greater stopping power, you can upgrade to premium disc brakes, which are ready for any adventure you can dream up. Prudence suggests giving the stock brake set a try before upgrading because they are a decent spec.
Tommaso Monza’s upgraded deep-dish Corsa TC-40 wheels are tough, versatile and aerodynamic. Take them (or let them take you) on all the treks that previously seemed a formidable challenge. Same goes for the Kenda tires; they’ll give you the confidence to take paths you previously considered beyond your capability.
Tommaso Monza is the rightful favorite of many road cycling enthusiasts thanks to its remarkable design, carbon fork, and a uniform Shimano groupset.
The Tommaso Monza comes with the exclusive “UltraCompact” handlebar, which supplies much-needed comfort – and minimal wind resistance – when going down the drops. It comes standard with a premium WTB Volt saddle – a standout among all stock saddles in this review category.
Full Review: Tommaso Monza
The Monza comes in five sizes from XS (for riders 5’2”–) to XL (– 6’5”). This bike requires minor assembly, as all bike in this under $1,000 test. All you need to do is mount the wheels, adjust the derailleurs, tighten a few bolts, and you’re good to go.
Not every entry-level road bike under $1,000 can boast the parts spec of the Monza. With a 53cm frame, the bike weighs 21.6 pounds, which is impressive! Lastly, it’s ready to accept fenders if you want to make longer journeys or take on the elements. All told, this is a great bike with a solid build that will take you where you want to go – for years to come.
#3: Pure Cycles Gravel Adventure Bike
Best Entry-Level All-Terrain
Pure Cycles says they wanted to create a bicycle that is long on components and short on the money and that’s how they came up with the Gravel Adventure Bike. We can’t argue much with the fact that they have managed to do it. With the price of just $800 and some decent components, the Pure Cycles Gravel Adventure offers good bang for the buck.
Let’s see exactly what you’ll get if you buy it.
First of all, the whole bike is built over a strong steel frame with tons of clearance and a plentitude of rack mounting points. The color of the bike is green which looks pretty much retro, so it is quite attractive if you like that style. It’s a fantastic choice for travelling.
The value is pretty obvious when you look at the components, specifically the derailleurs and the brakes. The derailleurs on the Pure Cycles Gravel Adventure are Shimano Claris and the brakes are Promax flat mount mechanical disc brakes. The drivetrain has 16 speeds with a Sunrace cassette and an FSA crank.
The Gravel Adventure Bike is a proper gravel bike with 38 mm tires. They are not the widest out there but they grip the loose gravel well and offer a good compromise between comfort and speed.
This Pure Cycles model is a decent choice that will be a good companion for you if you wish to complete many centuries and have fun in local gravel events.
The frame geometry is comfortable, it’s not at all racy, so you will be able to ride without pains and aches for many miles.
Moreover, the Selle Royal Rampage is also regarded as very comfortable by people who have used it, so you are up for a lot of plushy rides. Unless you are a fan of clipless pedals, the VP alloy Test Ride pedals that this Pure Cycles model comes with will serve you nicely as well.
To sum up, the Pure Cycles Gravel Adventure Bike is a decent entry-level gravel machine for around $800. For those who want to start riding more away from roads and upgrade from their entry-level hybrids, it’s the best pick!
Find your size and purchase directly on REI.com
#4: Trek Verve 1 Disc (& Lowstep)
Best All-Road Bikes Under $500
These two models are essentially the same bike, the only difference being that the Trek Verve 1 Disc is a men’s model and the Verve 1 Lowstep is a women’s model.
The only difference between the two is the frame. The Men’s model has a traditional step-over frame, whereas the women’s model comes with a step-through frame.
Trek Verve 1 is an entry-level road bike with an aluminum frame and entry-level components. The fork is made from steel, so it does not surprise that the weight of this bike is around 30 lbs.
Cyclists hungry of adventure, touring, nature, and daily bike commutes will find trusty companions in Trek Verve 1 Disc and Lowstep bikes.
The components that you can find on both of these bikes are Shimano Tourney and Altus, which are entry-level components. There’s a selection of 21 gears, which is a standard number on bikes in this price range. For a beginner road cyclist, this should be enough.
The biggest highlight on these two Trek models is the disc brakes. Possibly a little bit more weight could have been saved by using rim brakes, but more and more experienced roadies are starting to prefer disc brakes for their road bikes. It’s more important to have stability than to achieve some marginal weight gains.
When you look at the tires, you see that these are not typical road bikes. The tire width for both male and female model is 45 mm, which is better suited for a hybrid. However, these bikes have been imagined as touring/gravel/adventure bicycles and they do come with rack mounts and fender mounts, so this is not out of the ordinary.
In case you are having itchy feet and want to do some touring on nice paved or gravel roads, the Trek Verve 1 Disc and Verve 1 Lowstep are the bikes for you! Buy them and the adventure won’t have to wait for you anymore.
#5: Cannondale Quick 4 Women’s
Best for Women
Cannondale describes the Quick 4 as a women’s entry-level endurance road bike. What this ultimately means is the Quick 4 rides comfortably on big mileage days thanks to specifically-tailored geometry and components.
The Cannondale Quick 4 has pretty much all you need – solid components, a reliable SmartForm C3 alloy frame mated with a chromoly steel fork, and confidence-inspiring hydraulic disc brakes.
But there’s more: The Cannondale’s double-walled rims enable you to run various-width tires on the Quick 4. The standard build includes Schwalbe Spicer 700c x 35 mm tires – an optimal and reliable choice for a wide range of riding applications.
Cannondale claims the Quick 4’s overall weight is 25 pounds – no heavyweight – and surprisingly, it can be found for just $700.
Cannondale Quick 4 will help you get fit and cover greater distances than ever before at a more than competitive price point.
Quick 4’s Frameset includes rack and fender mounts, allowing you to easily gear up for commuting and bike trips of all description. A sturdy and enclosed MicroSHIFT Advent, 9-speed drivetrain will keep you moving forward efficiently, whether a destination is in mind, or you’re just out for recreation and fun. Compared to other bikes under $1,000, Revere 2 is an optimal choice for years of reliable cycling performance.
There are only three sizes for women — XS, S, and M — but they cover a wide range of heights.
To summarize, we call this the best women’s road bike under $1,000, even though it has flat bars. With its comfortable geometry, Quick 4 will devour long training rides and trips of any length. Keep in mind that this bike has a “nice price,” including economical but functional components, but it can be easily upgraded by replacing certain components at a later time. Right off the floor, though, the Quick 4 is ready to roll for miles and smiles!
Find your size and purchase safely on REI.com
#6: Giant Contend AR 3
Great Performer on Fast Sections
Giant is a strong player in the road biking world, which is why at least one of their bike has to make it to our list. Giant is one of the biggest bike companies in the world because they produce bikes for all types of riders and in all price categories, including the one under $1,000.
The Giant Contend AR 3 fits nicely in our best road bikes under $1,000 test. Let’s have a look at what this unisex bike has to offer.
The stealthy gray frame with a bright orange Giant decal is made of venerable ALUXX-Grade Aluminum. It sports a carbon fork, which does a great job of dampening road vibration. It also cuts some weight and provides better performance on uneven roads.
The Giant Contend AR 3 is actually a road bike that costs $1,000 and has no apparent shortcomings. The derailleurs and crankset are solid Shimano Sora. It rolls on the Giant S-R2 wheelset, which is reliable if you take care of your bike. For those interested in improving the bike’s weight with upgraded gear, the wheels would be the first area to scrutinize.
The tires are Giant S-R3 AC, 700×32. That’s a bit wide for a traditional road bike, but more and more riders prefer this comfortable size. To control this rocket, you’ll appreciate the solid Tektro mechanical disc brakes.
The weight of this bike is not disclosed by Giant, but we assume it can’t be too heavy considering the material and the specs.
Giant Contend AR 3 does a fantastic job for the money no matter if you are taking it on an easy-going group ride or doing timed intervals.
It has 18 gears – is that enough? We believe so since pretty much all of the road bikes under $1,000 have around the same number of gears. The wide range produced by 50/34 in front and 11-34 rear allows you to ride pretty much everywhere.
It doesn’t come with pedals like most entry-level road bikes.
Many great road bikes didn’t make it into our test due to a lack of size variety. We insist on sizes to accommodate all riders. The Giant Contend has FIVE sizes, which will suit riders from 5’2” to 6’4” in height.
Giant Contend AR 3 is a great performer in a competitive road biking world. New but experienced manufacturers are something we are always looking for. On the Contend, it’s obvious that they’ve pushed hard for the right components and specific geometry to produce a great entry-level road bike. The result is a bike that is reliable, sturdy and elegant – an amazing performer for under $1,000!
Find your size and purchase safely from JensonUSA
#7: Giordano Libero
Cheapest We Recommend
If you are looking at road bikes under $500, keep in mind that you should not feel compelled to stick to well-known brands. Giordano is one brand which you might not be familiar with, but it was the top seller in our under $500 test. It also garnered many positive reviews.
Giordano Libero is the upgraded version which includes a lightweight 6061 aluminum frame and a steel fork. And that’s just the introduction to a great bike with a great build.
Road bikes under $500 generally come equipped with Shimano Claris shifters, derailleurs, cranks and cassette – as is the case with Libero. It also includes a 16-speed drivetrain.
Giordano claims that Libero weighs 25 to 26 pounds which is excellent for a bike that costs that little.
The 700c wheelset is Giordano’s 32 Hole Double Wall Alloy model, not an extremely light set, but it will work nicely. Rims are often the first component riders choose to upgrade, but you’ll want to keep the great-performing Kenda clincher tires.
Giordano Libero has several aces up its sleeve, such as the quality build and awesome design, even though it costs next to nothing considering the value.
There are many positive online Libero user reviews – on Amazon.com for example. Many point out that they expected less than they actually got with the Libero. Most of them appreciate the Claris groupset; some are excited about the double-wall wheelset, but others are swapping it right away. One lacking element is the saddle, which is problematic on most road bikes under $500. If, after an honest try with the stock saddle, you find it doesn’t work for you, you can source a new one from your LBS or Amazon.
There are three sizes of Giordano Libero: Small for riders 5’4 to 5’8”; Medium for 5’7” to 5’11” and Large for 5’10” to 6’4”. It comes partially assembled, and you’ll have to attach the front wheel, handlebars and saddle. It’s fairly easy but if you’re not handy with wrenches, you can order the assembly from Amazon.
The bottom line is that you should absolutely consider this bike if you are looking for an entry-level road bike. Our impression is that it’s the only bicycle in its price category which includes such reliable components in such a nice package. In our tests, Libero stood out as a really decent bike with a great value!
Find your size and purchase safely from Amazon
Don’t get me wrong; all the bikes mentioned are winners, and going with any of those would be a good move. However, a few details should be considered…
If you want to separate yourself from the crowd with an exotic-looking steed, then the Giant Contend AR 3 would be your best choice. (It might sound like a strange name, but actually, there’s an interesting story behind this bike.)
For women, the Cannondale Quick 4 is the best choice for hard training sessions. Yes, women can (often do) choose men’s bikes, but we feel strongly that Quick 4 is just as good as our best men’s bikes.
For longer training days, the Tommaso Monza will work nicely. Its geometry is more “relaxed” than most road machines in this category, and that’s why the Monza often beats others in longer-distance riding.
If you want to do some serious training and even compete on gravel, then the Pure Cycles Gravel Adventure is hard to beat, thanks to a great set of components and comfortable geometry. Yes, the design is quite minimalist and fast. If you are looking for an adventure bike, then Salsa Journeyman will fulfill your needs in a less esoteric package.
For those who want to go cheap and don’t mind losing the advantages of better components, the Giordano Libero 2.0 will do fine. Libero 2.0’s customer reviews support this recommendation.
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