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.
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If you need some help with what to look for in a road bike, read our guide here and watch our video primer below.
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 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.
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 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 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.
This article was updated on October 17 2017.
Canyon Endurace AL 6.0/7.0
- 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.
Canyon has juggled its models for 2018 and the current Endurace AL 7.0 is the direct equivalent of the old 6.0.
The current Endurace AL 6.0 gets Shimano Tiagra and replaces the old 5.0.
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
- German direct-sales racer with a lovely alloy frame
- Full Shimano 105 groupset, Mavic Aksium wheels
- Firm but brilliant ride
- Price: £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.
Giant Contend 2
- 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
- Striking alloy-framed racer that's fun and fast
- Shimano Claris shifting with wide range of gears
- Quality own-brand finishing kit
- Buy the 2017 Allez E5 from Leisure Lakes Bikes
- Buy the 2018 Allez E5 (updated model) from Evans Cycles
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. We'll be bringing you a review of the latest model in the near future.
Vitus Zenium VR Disc
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Comfy alloy frame
- Amazing spec with Shimano Sora triple gearing
- Relaxed geometry and mounts for mudguards and racks at both ends
- Price: £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.
- 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
- 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
- Price: £999
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
- 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. Look out for a full review of the latest version on BikeRadar in the near future.
Trek CrossRip 1
- 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.
- 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.