Best road bikes under £1,000

Our top rated affordable road bikes

The best road bikes under £1,000 are a great place to start if you’re new to cycling or if you're unsure how much riding you’re actually going to be doing. They can also make brilliant speedy commuters or second-string bikes for more experienced cyclists.

Road bike buyer's guide — what you need to know

There are a few things to bear in mind before you spend your money, however. And perhaps the most important is that they’re typically not pure race bikes.

Although they look like race bikes and are perfectly capable of being raced on, most lack the more extreme touches of the machines that are uncompromisingly geared towards competition.

Instead, a sub-£1K bike is intended as a beginner’s tool, a bike to introduce new riders to road cycling.

You’ll be sitting in a more upright position than you would on a dedicated race bike, which is good for comfort and also helpful for building new riders' confidence

What does that mean, exactly?

Well, for a start the bikes’ frames will often have more relaxed geometry — they’ll have a shorter reach so you won’t be stretched so far forwards, and thanks to a longer head tube and more elevated bars, a higher front-end so you won’t be so low.

In other words, you’ll be sitting in a more upright position than you would on a dedicated race bike, which is good for comfort and also helpful for building new riders' confidence. 

The bikes won't be as stiff or light as an expensive race bike, and they'll usually feature less carbon in their construction too. For the most part, bikes in this price range will have a frame made of metal, most often an aluminium alloy.

Don't go thinking that sub-£1,000 road bikes aren't the real deal however. As long as you’re riding on the tarmac, they’ll do whatever you need them to, whether it’s adding a bit of pace to your commute, dipping your toe into the waters of racing, taking on a sportive, touring or simply riding for fun at the weekends.

Read on for summaries and links to all of our highest rated road bikes under £1,000.

Canyon Endurace AL 6.0

BikeRadar score5/5
The Canyon Endurace AL 6.0 combines a generous spec with a great frame
The Canyon Endurace AL 6.0 combines a generous spec with a great frame
  • Direct-sales machine with a stunning frame matched to a great spec
  • Full 105 groupset and Mavic Aksium wheels
  • Lively but comfortable ride
  • Price: £999

There's nothing terribly elaborate about the Endurace AL's frame, but it's nicely finished and comes matched to a full carbon fork. 

The price has increased in price by £200 in the last year, but it's still an absolute bargain thanks to a spec that includes a full Shimano 105 groupset— there are no nasty aftermarket brakes — and Mavic Aksium wheels, fitted with our favourite Continental GP4000S II tyres

The women's specific Endurace WMN AL 6.0 scored a perfect five stars too
The women's specific Endurace WMN AL 6.0 scored a perfect five stars too

The ride is comfortable, and relaxed geometry is perfect for new riders. A wide range of gears will get you up the toughest climbs, while top-notch brakes inspire confidence heading downhill. 

Rose Pro SL 2000

BikeRadar score5/5

The Rose Pro SL 2000 is a performance bargain
The Rose Pro SL 2000 is a performance bargain

  • German direct-sales racer with a lovely alloy frame
  • Full Shimano 105 groupset, Mavic Aksium wheels
  • Firm but brilliant ride
  • Price: £975.25

The Pro SL 2000 was quite a bit cheaper when we reviewed it, but it’s still one of the best value bikes on the market thanks to its combination of spec and ride quality. 

Rose gives you a full 105 groupset and Mavic Aksium wheels, along with an exceptionally nice alloy frame that’s easily mistaken for carbon. 

It’s not the most compliant ride out there, but the PRO SL 2000 is genuinely exciting, putting budget carbon to shame.

Giant Contend 2

BikeRadar score4.5/5

The Giant Contend 2 is a great affordable all-rounder
The Giant Contend 2 is a great affordable all-rounder

  • Entry level alloy with mudguard and rack mounts for versatility
  • Shimano Claris 8-speed shifting with wide range of gears
  • Basic FSA cranks and Tektro brakes

    Giant’s replacement for the affordable alloy Defy inherits the best features of its predecessor, with a lively, comfortable ride.

    Shimano’s 8-speed Claris offers very competent shifting and a wide range of gears, and Giant’s in-house components are all decent, with the wheels being a little bit lighter than those typically found on bikes at this price point.

    The brakes would benefit from an upgrade to cartridge pads, but the total package is a good one.

    Specialized Allez E5

    BikeRadar score4.5/5

    The Specialized Allez E5 is a great looking bike that's tremendous fun
    The Specialized Allez E5 is a great looking bike that's tremendous fun

    • Striking alloy-framed racer that's fun and fast
    • Shimano Claris shifting with wide range of gears
    • Quality own-brand finishing kit

      If you want a genuinely racy bike on a limited budget, you can’t go wrong with the Allez E5.

      The cheapest version of Specialized’s entry-level road bike offers exciting performance and a competent Shimano Claris-based spec, along with one of the best looking frames you’ll get for this kind of money.

      It’s a surprisingly refined ride too thanks to a skinny seatpost and reasonably plump tyres.

      Vitus Zenium VR Disc

      BikeRadar score4.5/5
      The Vitus Zenium VR Disc offers a racy ride with disc brakes
      The Vitus Zenium VR Disc offers a racy ride with disc brakes
      • Online-only alloy-framed racer with cable disc brakes
      • Shimano 105 shifting, TRP Spyre brakes and Fulcrum wheels
      • Exciting ride makes up for boring finish

        Despite a rather un-special looking frame, the Zenium VR Disc is a remarkably rounded, likeable bike that’s great value for money.

        Handling is up there with the best, and little touches like the bars with slightly swept tops show there’s someone at Vitus who cares about your riding experience.

        The spec is solid, with Shimano 105 performing at its best thanks to well executed cable routing, and tidy Fulcrum wheels.

        Cable disc brakes won’t suit all tastes — they’re higher maintenance than other options and lack the self-adjustment of hydraulics — but they perform well apart from some annoying rubbing at the front caused by fork flex.

        Trek Émonda ALR 4

        BikeRadar score4.5/5
        The Trek Émonda ALR 4 is a premium alloy machine with Tiagra
        The Trek Émonda ALR 4 is a premium alloy machine with Tiagra
        • Top-notch alloy version of Trek’s super-light racer
        • Shimano Tiagra groupset, Bontrager finishing kit and wheels
        • Taut, lively ride that’s still commendably smooth

          The Émonda ALR is the affordable aluminium version of Trek’s incredible carbon Émonda SLR, offering much of the same racy goodness to those on a more limited budget.

          The ALR is no poor cousin though. It’s a properly sorted bike in its own right with a bang up-to-date frameset that’s ultra-lively and comfy too, thanks to slim seatstays and a 27.2mm post.

          Trek hasn’t included mudguard mounts, which is a shame, but it’s our only real complaint. The finish may be muted, but the pearlescent paint looks lovely up close and the welds are nicely smoothed. There’s a red version too if this one’s just not eye-catching enough.

          On paper, the Émonda ALR is average value, but the calibre of its frameset makes it a strong contender at this price.  

          Boardman Team Carbon 

          BikeRadar score4.5/5

          The Boardman Team carbon is one of the best budget carbon bikes we've tested
          The Boardman Team carbon is one of the best budget carbon bikes we've tested

          • Full carbon frame and fork at a great price
          • Shimano Tiagra and Mavic CXP22 rims
          • Slightly woolly feeling brakes and narrow rims and tyres
          • Price: £1,000

          Budget carbon isn't always the best choice, but the Boardman Team Carbon is still a compelling one, offering a carbon frame and a full carbon fork at a seriously impressive price.

          That does mean some compromises on the spec; the brakes aren't great and the cranks are nothing special, but it's a lively, exciting ride, and Shimano's 10-speed Tiagra is very nearly the equal of 11-speed 105. 

          B'Twin Triban 520

          BikeRadar score4/5

          The B'Twin 520 has an amazing spec for the money
          The B'Twin 520 has an amazing spec for the money

          • Comfy alloy frame
          • Amazing spec with Shimano Sora triple gearing
          • Relaxed geometry and mounts for mudguards and racks at both ends
          • Price: £479

          Decathlon’s house brand B’Twin churns out some amazingly well-specced bikes for the money, and the Triban 520 is a top choice for new roadies.

          Its alloy frame will take full mudguards as well as both front and rear racks, so it’s well suited to commuting or riding all year round.

          The upright position is great for new riders, and the only real weakness is the brakes, which could easily be upgraded.

          Merlin PR7

          BikeRadar score4/5

          The Merlin PR7 is a lot of bike for not a lot of money
          The Merlin PR7 is a lot of bike for not a lot of money

          • Alloy frame, carbon fork with alloy steerer
          • Shimano Claris gearing
          • Heavy wheels and basic brakes, but frame offers decent stiffness and comfort

            UK brand Merlin has always focused on value, and the PR7 is no exception. It’s rather heavy thanks to its wheels, but the frame is up-to-date and offers a good blend of comfort and performance.

            The PR7 has rack and mudguard mounts at the rear (but none at the front), and it’s kitted out with Shimano’s 8-speed Claris components. 

            The tyres and brake pads are acceptable rather than good, but for the money it’s a lot of bike.

            Giant Contend SL 2 Disc

            BikeRadar score4/5

            The Giant Contend SL 2 Disc is a great all-rounder with disc brakes
            The Giant Contend SL 2 Disc is a great all-rounder with disc brakes

            • Comfy alloy from the world’s biggest bike maker
            • Shimano Tiagra shifting
            • Unique hybrid disc brake setup offers most of the advantages of proper hydraulics

              The Contend range has replaced Giant’s hugely popular alloy Defy and the frames have been updated and refined.

              The Contend SL 2 is middle-of-the-road on spec and weight, but it’s a solid performer that’s very beginner friendly thanks to relaxed geometry and great ride quality.

              The unusual disc brake setup isn’t the easiest to adjust, but it works well and offers an experience pretty close to that of full hydraulics.

              Specialized Allez E5 Elite

              BikeRadar score4/5

              The Specialized Allez E5 Sport retains the likeable qualities that have made the Allez name famous
              The Specialized Allez E5 Sport retains the likeable qualities that have made the Allez name famous

              • Lively performing entry-level alloy racer
              • Shimano Tiagra shifting, Praxis cranks and own-brand everything else
              • Stiff, exciting ride makes up for average spec

                The Allez has long been a go-to for entry-level road bikes, offering solid performance in an attractive package, if not exceptional value for money.

                The spec is a bit piecemeal with a mishmash of own brand and third-party components mixed in with the Shimano bits. It’s mostly decent stuff although both brakes and wheels are a little flexy.

                Nevertheless, the Allez retains the likeable qualities for which it is renowned, and it’s a good basis for upgrades down the line.

                Trek CrossRip 1

                BikeRadar score4/5

                The Trek CrossRip 1 isn't a pure road bike, but it's a capable and versatile machine
                The Trek CrossRip 1 isn't a pure road bike, but it's a capable and versatile machine

                • Versatile aluminium all-roader with relaxed geometry
                • Shimano Sora shifting plus TRP Spyre cable disc brakes
                • Fat tyres, big clearances, and rack/mudguard mounts

                  The CrossRip stretches the definition of ‘road bike’ to its limit, but it’s a versatile machine that ticks a lot of boxes for commuting, adventuring or general leisure riding.

                  A fairly upright position and additional inline brake levers on the bar tops make this a good option for riders not used to drop bars.

                  The bike comes with chunky 32mm tyres as standard, a generous range of gears, and TRP’s Spyre dual piston disc calipers, which are about as good as a non-hydraulic brake gets.

                  Saracen Hack 2

                  BikeRadar score4/5

                  The Saracen Hack 2 performs better than expected in off-road conditions
                  The Saracen Hack 2 performs better than expected in off-road conditions

                  • Rugged, road-based all-rounder
                  • Mudguard and rear rack mounts
                  • Agile and involving handling

                    The Hack is another all-rounder that only barely qualifies as a road bike, but it will appeal to all-weather commuters and fans of rougher roads. Its alloy frame is built for big rubber, and full mudguard mounts plus rack bosses at the rear mean it's versatile too. 

                    Shifting comes from Shimano Tiagra's excellent 10-speed components, and Saracen has updated the disc calipers to TRP Spyres since we published our review, a real upgrade over the Tektro Miras. 

                    Calibre Rivelin

                    BikeRadar score4/5

                    £349 even gets you a carbon fork on the Calibre Rivelin
                    £349 even gets you a carbon fork on the Calibre Rivelin

                    • Well constructed aluminium frame with a carbon fork
                    • Comfortable ride position

                      It's increased in price by £49 since we reviewed it, but the Rivelin still offers a lot for the money. The frame is aluminium and impressively, it comes with a carbon fork. 

                      It's a heavy thing at 10.9kg, but the spec isn't half bad. Shimano 8-speed Claris gets the job done, and the bike rolls on not-awful Schwalbe Lugano tyres. 

                      Matthew Allen

                      Senior Technical Writer, UK
                      Former bike mechanic, builder of wheels, hub fetishist and lover of shiny things. Likes climbing a lot, but not as good at it as he looks.
                      • Discipline: Road, with occasional MTB dalliances
                      • Preferred Terrain: Long mountain climbs followed by high-speed descents (that he doesn't get to do nearly often enough), plus scaring himself off-road when he outruns his skill set.
                      • Current Bikes: Scott Addict R3 2014, Focus Cayo Disc 2015, Niner RLT 9
                      • Dream Bike: Something hideously expensive and custom with external cables and a threaded bottom bracket because screw you bike industry.
                      • Beer of Choice: Cider, please. Thistly Cross from Scotland
                      • Location: Bristol, UK

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