Find out what are the top picks for road bikes under a $1,000 you can get from online. Enjoy the TOP 7!
Last Updated: August 9, 2018 (Added Haanjo/Haanjenn 3)
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 strong picks below, enjoy!
Co-op Cycles is a lesser-known brand, but it has become a strong player in the road biking world. It is produced by the well-known outdoor products seller REI (Recreational Equipment Incorporated). REI’s quest for road cycling innovation and excellence was finally answered by the formation of the Co-op brand, and several quality bike models have been produced under this umbrella.
The Co-op Cycles ARD 1.1 fits nicely in our best road bikes under $1,000 test. Let’s have a look at what this unisex bikes has to offer:
The stealthy black matte frame with smooth blue highlights is made of venerable 6061 double-butted aluminum. It sports a carbon fork, which does a great job of dampening road vibration. As well, it cuts some weight and provides better performance on uneven roads.
The Co-op ARD 1.1 is actually a road bike under $900 without any apparent shortcomings. The derailleurs and crankset are solid Shimano Claris. It rolls on Co-op Cycles’ own 700c rims and hubs, which are reliable if you take care of your bike. For those interested in improving the bike’s weight with upgraded gear, the components would be the first area to scrutinize.
Tires are CST Recourse, 28 mm wide. Alternatively, you can run knobby tires up to 35c. Co-op also claims the stock tires have puncture protection. ARD 1.1 has thru-axle up front, known for reliability. To control this rocket, you’ll appreciate the solid Shimano Claris mechanical disc brakes.
The weight of Co-op ARD 1.1 is 22 pounds (medium size without pedals).
It has 16 gears – is that enough? We believe so, since pretty much all of the road bikes under $1,000 have 16 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 Co-op ARD 1.1 has three sizes, which will suit riders from 5’3” to 6’3” in height.
The Co-op cycles ARD 1.1 is a great performer in a competitive road biking world. New but experienced manufacturers are something we are always looking for. On the ARD 1.1, it’s obvious that they’ve pushed hard for the right components and specific geometry to produce a great entry-level road bike. The ARD 1.1 is reliable, sturdy and elegant – an amazing performer for under $1,000!
Find your size and purchase safely from REI.com >
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
Best Performer in 2017!
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 the full reviews 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.
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 Claris components, reliable 6061 alloy frame mated with alloy fork, and confidence-inspiring disc brakes.
But there’s more: The Weinmann XC180 double-walled 23 mm-wide rims enable you to run various-width tires on the Revere 2. The standard build includes Clement Strada 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 16-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!
OUR TOP PICK!
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 >
Best Gravel & CX Road Bikes For Under $1,000
Best for adventure & gravel!
The Diamondback Haanjo 3 and Haanjenn 3 for 2018 have arrived!
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 are the available color schemes and a slightly different frame ergonomics to fit the male and female bodies better. The Haanjo 3 is available in an attractive fiery red, while the Haanjenn 3 is offered in an even better looking matte green.
The 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 will 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.
A highlight of these two Diamondback models are 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 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.
If you do not mind getting muddy from time to time or even enjoy it and seek it out whenever you go for a ride, the Nashbar 105 has arrived just in time for the new season! Cyclocross is gaining more and more popularity as we speak and it is no wonder since it is super fun. It is a great mix of the best that road has to offer and the best that trails have to offer, as is this bike!
As its name suggests, the Nashbar 105 features the trusty Shimano’s workhorse components – the 105 series! These have proved time and again how durable and how versatile they are and they will serve you well in dirt, dust, and on the tarmac. It’s not very common that a bike costing $850 has Shimano 105 groupset, which is a mid-range solution. However, we are very happy that it does and you should be too if you decide to buy it since this is great value for the money that you have to cash out.
Other highlights on the Nashbar 105 include the 22-speed drivetrain with a Shimano 105 cassette and an FSA Gossamer crankset. Of course, the derailleurs and shifters are 105, so you will have some precision shifting on all occasions.
We have established that the Nashbar 105 is fast on all terrains, but how does it brake? It’s fitted with TRP Spyre-C mechanical disc brakes which are great. You do not want to end up with rim brakes on a CX bike. It would have been an even better surprise if we got hydraulic brakes, but let’s not be too greedy.
The tires are very knobby and clingy Kenda Small Block Eight, 700×35. Their surface is completely covered in small low-profile knobs which will provide lots of traction in mud and on dusty roads.
We end up the Nashbar 105 on a very positive note on best road bikes under $1,000. The price of this bike screams entry-level, but everything else says mid-range CX bike. So, if you are looking for one, you will definitely not get disappointed!
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 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. The runner-up Nashbar 105, will also fulfill your needs in a less esoteric package.
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 separate yourself from the crowd with an exotic-looking steed, then the Co-Op ARD 1.1 would be your best choice. (It might sound like a strange name, but actually there’s an interesting story behind this bike.)
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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