Best road bikes under £1,000 for 2018

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.

Reckon your budget could stretch to a bit more? Check out our best road bikes under £2,000 and our best road bikes under £2,500.

If you need some help with what to look for in a road bike, read our guide to choosing the best road and watch our video primer below.

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

Finding the right bike for you

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

Although they look like race bikes and are perfectly capable of being raced, 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 compared to more aggressive bikes designed for racing — 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 handlebars, 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 though. 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. We've been sure to include a selection of 2018 road bikes along with a select few 2017 models that you should still be able to purchase.

This article was updated on 14 February 2018.

Canyon Endurace AL 6.0/7.0

BikeRadar score5/5

The Canyon Endurace AL 7.0 has replaced the 6.0. It still combines a generous spec with a great frame
The Canyon Endurace AL 7.0 has replaced the 6.0. It still 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
  • £999

The Canyon Endurace AL won our Budget Bike of the Year 2017 award and it remains one of our favourite affordable bikes. 

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

Canyon has juggled its models for 2018 and the current Endurace AL 7.0 is the direct equivalent of the old 6.0. 

It's still a bargain thanks to a spec that includes a full Shimano 105 groupset — there are no nasty aftermarket brakes — and Mavic Aksium wheels, fitted with decent Continental tyres.

The current Endurace AL 6.0 gets Shimano Tiagra and replaces the old 5.0.

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
  • £953

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.

If your budget is flexible and you'd rather have discs, there's also a Pro SL Disc-2000

Ribble R872 Black 105 Fulcrum SE

BikeRadar score4.5/5

The Ribble R872 Black 105 Fulcrum SE offers impressive value for money
The Ribble R872 Black 105 Fulcrum SE offers impressive value for money

  • Full Shimano 105 groupset
  • A quality carbon frame and fork
  • As good at climbing as any other bike on this list

    You’ll have to excuse the fact this bike comes in at slightly over the £1,000 RRP threshold that this article states, but those seventeen pounds could turn out to be some of the best you ever spend.

    Ribble has managed to spec a quality carbon frame and fork, full Shimano 105 and Fulcrum’s entry-level Racing Sport wheels in a package that delivers value similar to that found by Rose and Canyon.

    Its ride quality is also very hard to fault, there’s climbing performance to match anything else at this price as well as impressive levels of comfort.

    The only real negative here is that you’ll have to build this bike yourself, so if you’re handy with the spanners then that’s likely not an issue, but for those who are less mechanically-minded we’d suggest taking the box to your local bike shop.

    Giant Contend 2 (2017 model)

    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 (2017 model)

      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
      • £575 (2017 model, so discounts are available) / £599 (2018 model)

      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.

      For 2018, the Allez has an updated frame, and it's one that we know performs very well. Unfortunately, a current recall of 2018 Specialized Allez road bike models means that it misses out on being included in this list.

      Vitus Zenium VR Disc (2017 model)

      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 such as 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 (2017 model)

        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
          • £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. 

          Trek Domane ALR3

          BikeRadar score4/5

          The Domane ALR3 is all about keeping you comfortable
          The Domane ALR3 is all about keeping you comfortable

          • Comfortable, smart and attractive frame
          • 32t crawler cog will get you up the steepest of climbs
          • Tubeless-ready wheelset forms a clear upgrade path

            If you’re looking for a bike that’s built for endurance rather than all-out speed, the Domane ALR3 could be one for you.

            You get a lovely-looking and highly developed frame that uses Trek’s IsoSpeed system, which adds some clever elastomer-based comfort without sapping at speed.

            The Domane’s tubeless-ready wheels and 28mm own-brand rubber also contribute to the silky-smooth ride.

            Don’t feel disappointed by Shimano’s 9-speed Sora drivetrain, its 11-32t cassette offers you all the range you’d expect from an endurance bike and is impressively smooth to shift. It’s a superb overall sportive machine.

            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
            • £499

            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 1

              BikeRadar score4/5

              Giant's Contend is well worthy of this list
              Giant's Contend is well worthy of this list

              • Stiff frame can sometimes feel harsh
              • Useful 32t cassette makes light work of climbs
              • Brakes are disappointing but a relatively cheap area to upgrade

                Another Contend makes this list, and it’s one we can wholeheartedly recommend.

                With geometry based closely on that of Giant’s outgoing Defy model, there's stable yet responsive handling which amounts to a ride quality normally associated with bikes costing a fair bit more.

                The stiffness of the Contend’s alloy frame can make it feel a tad harsh at times, but it never gave us that ‘dead’ feeling that some cheaper bikes do.

                Shimano’s Sora drivetrain lacks the close ratio shifts of Shimano’s higher-end groups but offers a very useful range thanks to an 11-32t cassette. 

                Giant’s own brakes aren’t the best, but they are a relatively cheap area to upgrade on what happens to be an otherwise very sorted machine.

                Giant Contend SL 2 Disc (2017 model)

                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

                  If you've got some more cash to spend and value all-weather braking then this could be a better choice than the rim brake Contend bikes listed above.

                  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 (2017 model)

                  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.

                    For 2018, the Allez has been updated with a new frame which we found to perform very well indeed. Unfortunately, a current recall of 2018 Specialized Allez road bike models means that it misses out on being included in this list.

                    Pinnacle Laterite 3

                    BikeRadar score4/5

                    Pinnacle's Laterite 3 is another great budget bike from the Evans in-house brand
                    Pinnacle's Laterite 3 is another great budget bike from the Evans in-house brand

                    • Ready for racks and mudguards
                    • Shimano 105 where you wouldn't expect it 
                    • Heavy wheels and so-so braking

                      The Laterite 3 is a product of Evans Cycles’ in-house brand Pinnacle, which we know has a knack for producing great budget bikes, and this is certainly no exception.

                      The no-frills aluminium frame of the Laterite strikes a good compromise between an aggressive race-like fit and more relaxed geometry, while mudguard and rack fittings open this bike to practicality that some competitors can’t match.

                      What really steals the attention here though is Shimano’s excellent 105 11-speed groupset, which is quite astonishing to see on a bike of this price. Yes, we’d have rather seen a crank from Shimano, but the Pro Wheel chainset worked just fine. Heavy wheels and lacklustre brakes hold the Laterite back from scoring full marks.

                      Trek CrossRip 1 (2017 model)

                      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.

                        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. 

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