Find out what are the top picks for road bikes under a $1,000 you can get from online (in our opinion)
Many readers have asked me to write a review for road bikes under $1,000. Here it is, finally, after too many endless nights of analyzing! So enjoy, because I know the feeling of wanting to ride but having a hard time with making a decision about what’s worth buying and what isn’t.
So, let me show you in this bike review the very best road bikes under $1,000 – no bullshit, here is my complete take that I arrived at 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.
Those are the best road bikes under $1,000. Hope you enjoy!
Giant Contend AR 3 (2020)
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.
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 Jenson USA >
Giordano Libero 2.0
If you are looking at road bikes for under $1,000, 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.
The Giordano Libero 2.0 is the upgraded version which includes a lightweight 6061 aluminum frame and carbon fork. And that’s just the introduction to a great bike with a great build.
On road bikes under $750, you’ll generally still get Shimano Sora (two steps below 105) shifters, derailleurs, cranks and cassette – as the Libero 2.0 does. It also includes an 18-speed drive.
Giordano claims the Libero 2.0 weighs 23.8 to 25.6 pounds with the reflectors and kickstand.
The 700c wheelset is Vitesse Alloy, 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.
There are many positive online Libero 2.0 user reviews – on Amazon.com for example. Many point out that they expected less than they actually got with the Libero 2.0. Most of them appreciate the Sora groupset; some are excited about the kickstand but others are removing it right away. One lacking element is the saddle, which is problematic on most road bikes under $1,000. 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 2.0: Small for riders 5’1 to 5’8”; medium for 5’8” to 6’2” and large for 6’2” to 6’5”. 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 when you are looking for an entry-level road bike. From our test, it’s the only one in its price category which includes a carbon fork. In our testing, Libero 2.0 stands out as a really decent bike and a great value!
Find your size and purchase safely from Amazon
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.
The Tommaso Monza comes with the exclusive “UltraCompact” handlebar, which supplies much-need 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.
Read our full review of 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.
Raleigh Revere 2 (Women)
Best for Women!
Raleigh’s roots and legacy date back to 1889. As one of the largest bicycle manufacturers globally by the 20th century, Raleigh knows bikes and how to build them!
Raleigh describes the Revere 2 as a women’s mid-level endurance road bike. What this ultimately means is the Revere 2 rides comfortably on big mileage days thanks to specifically-tailored geometry and components.
The Raleigh Revere 2 has pretty much all you need – solid Sora components, reliable 6061 alloy frame mated with alloy fork, and confidence-inspiring disc brakes.
But there’s more: The Raleigh’s double-walled rims enable you to run various-width tires on the Revere 2. The standard build includes Chao Yang Rapide 700c x 28 mm tires – an optimal and reliable choice for a wide range of riding applications.
Raleigh claims the Revere 2’s overall weight is 23.2 pounds – no heavyweight – and surprisingly, it can be found for under $1,000 (possibly even under $800!).
Revere 2’s Frameset includes rack and fender mounts, allowing you to easily gear up for commuting and bike trips of all description. A sturdy 18-speed drive 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 five sizes for women: 48 cm for 5’0”–5’2”; 50 cm for 5’2–5’4”; 52 cm for 5’4–5’7”; 54 cm for 5’7” to 5’9” and 56 cm for 5’9–5’11”.
To summarize, we call this the best women’s road bike under $1,000. With its race-inspired design, Revere 2 will devour long training rides and trips of any length. Keep in mind that this bike has “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 Revere 2 is ready to roll for miles and smiles!
Diamondback Century 2
Diamondback 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 Century 2. We can’t argue much with the fact that they have managed to do it. With the price just shy of $1,000 and some decent components, the Diamondback Century 2 offers good bang for the money.
Let’s see exactly what you’ll get if you buy it.
First of all, the whole bike is built over a decent aluminum frame with enhanced performance geometry features, formed top tube, and an integrated headtube. The color of the bike is green which looks pretty much retro, so it is quite attractive if you like that style. Generally, this bike is similar in many regards to the Haanjo model from this same manufacturer.
The similarity is pretty obvious when you look at the components, specifically the derailleurs and the brakes. The derailleurs on the Diamondback Century 2 are Shimano Sora R3000 and the brakes are Tektro Lyra mechanical disc brakes. The drive train also has 18 speeds with the same cassette and chain. Moreover, the price of these two models is pretty much the same as well.
However, Diamondback Century 2 is a proper road bike with 28mm wheels. They are not the narrowest and most aerodynamic, but they are still quite fast and they offer a good compromise between comfort and speed.
The Century 2 is a decent bike that will be a good companion for you if you wish to complete for many centuries. The frame geometry is comfortable, it’s not at all racy, so you will be able to ride comfortably for many miles.
Moreover, the Diamondback Performance Road saddle is also regarded as very comfortable by people who have used it, so you are up for a lot of comfortable rides. Unless you are a fan of clipless pedals, the aluminum road platform pedals that this Diamondback model will serve you well as well.
To sum up, the Diamondback Century 2 is a decent entry-level road bike for under $1,000. For people who want to start riding more on roads and upgrade from their entry-level hybrids, it’s the best pick!
Find your size and purchase directly on Diamondback.com >
Diamondback Haanjo 3/ Haanjenn 3
Best Gravel & CX Road Bikes For Under $1,000
These two models are essentially the same bike, the only difference being that the Haanjo 3 is a men’s model and the Haanjenn 3 is a women’s model. The only difference between the two is the available color schemes and a slightly different frame geometry to fit the male and female bodies better. Haanjo 3 is available in an attractive olive green, while Haanjenn 3 is offered in an even better-looking silver color.
Diamondback Haanjo 3 is an entry-level road bike with an aluminum frame and entry-level components. The women’s model weighs around 22 lbs which is not really super-lightweight, but depending on the bike that you rode before, this can be a good improvement.
The components that you can find on both Diamondback Haanjo and Haanjenn 3 are Shimano Sora R3000, which are entry-level components. There’s a selection of 18 gears, which is less than an experienced rider would like to have. Higher-end road bikes usually have 20-22 gears. However, for a beginner road cyclist, this should be enough.
The biggest highlight on these two Diamondback 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 under $1,000. The tire width for both male and female model is 37mm, 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 Diamondback Haanjo 3 and Haanjenn 3 are the bikes for you! Buy them and the adventure won’t have to wait for you anymore.
Find your size and purchase safely on Diamondback.com
Salsa Journeyman 700
Best Adventure Bike
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. Feel free to enter a CX race on it, or go to 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.
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 Raleigh Revere 2 is the best choice for hard training sessions. Yes, women can (often do) choose men’s bikes, but we feel strongly that Revere 2 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, then the Century 2 is hard to beat, thanks to a great set of components and race-inspired 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.
In addition to blacktop prowess, the Diamondback Haanjo/Haanjenn 3 for women is a great possibility for gravel and dirt road rides. It’s a true “gravel grinder,” and as such will be competent on and off the pavement.
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