Best road bikes under £1,000

Boardman Carbon Team, Canyon Roadlite AL 6.0, Rose Pro SL2000 and more

Whether you're looking for your first road bike or planning to upgrade on a tight budget, here are the best bikes for you. The good news is that finding a brilliant entry level road bike that will set you back less than £1,000 is a lot easier than you might think.

And you certainly don’t have to worry about being shortchanged – you’ll get an excellent frame, good componentry and decent wheels for that money.

At this price the frame will most likely be aluminium, although you will find some carbon fibre or steel bikes for £1,000 – but it’s more than up to the job.

Wheels are often the biggest compromise on bikes at this price, but you can still find good quality hoops from the likes of Mavic and Fulcrum on sub-£1,000 bikes. Cheap, hard tyres are one of the first things we'd recommend upgrading.

There are hundreds of models to choose from so we’ve selected the road bikes that we feel offer the best value, the best kit and the best frames, and ridden them for hundreds of miles. We'll update this list as testing unearths more sub-£1,000 bargains.

Our testers are lucky enough to get to ride some of the most technically advanced bikes on the planet, but they’re not snobs and all admit that they’d happily ride sportives, do a bit of light touring, enter races and, of course, ride to work on any of the bikes in this selection.

The prices listed here are the Recommended Retail Price, but by shopping around you can get many of the below for much, much less (some currently sell at almost a third less), as some of these bikes have been around for a year or longer and are now at a reduced price.

We've tested plenty of other bikes this year (such as the Marin Lombard, Cube Peleton Pro and Focus Culebro 4.0) but only bikes scoring 4.5 stars and above have made this article.

Last update: 21 November, 2014

Boardman Team Carbon


"Some lower-spec kit, but the Boardman delivers an unparalleled ride at this price"

  • Weight: 8.73kg
  • Frame: Toray T700 uni-directional carbon fibre
  • Fork: Full unidirectional carbon fibre, tapered steerer
  • Front derailleur and shifters: Shimano Tiagra
  • Wheelset: Mavic CXP-22S rims, 9mm hubs, 24 stainless spokes front, 32 rear

Carbon, eh? That’s a bit of a clue in this bike’s name, separating it from virtually every other bike in this price bracket. Being able to put together a carbon frame with predominantly branded kit is a great achievement at this price, especially when the bike rides as well as it does. Yes, you might have to overcome your prejudices and nip down to Halfords, and there have been some component compromises, but it’s worth every penny.

Click here for a full review of the Boardman Team Carbon

Rose Pro SL2000


"Frankly, it’s very hard to fault the Rose if you’re prepared to buy a bike online"

  • Weight: 8.3kg
  • Frame: 7005 T6 Ultralight triplebutted aluminium
  • Fork: Pro modulus carbon tapered
  • Groupset: Shimano 105
  • Wheelset: Mavic Ksyrium Equipe S, 20 bladed straight-pull spokes front and rear

Unlike most of its peers, with the Rose you can customise a lot of the kit, including choosing different groupsets and wheels from an extensive online menu. And it’s that eschewing of the bricks-and-mortar approach that has enabled the German company to be so competitive. True, the bike will arrive in a box and you’ll have to do some spannering before you can ride it, putting in wheels and seatpost and setting up the handlebar. But then you look at the price... It’s an achievement to see Aksium wheels at this price, Ksyriums are virtually unheard of. Along with the frame they allow you to tackle hills – the ups and downs – with great pace and confidence. Out-of-saddle sprints? A breeze. This Rose? Blooming great!

Click here for a full review of the Rose Pro SL2000

Giant Revolt 1


"The Revolt is an excellent all-rounder with comfort built in"

  • Weight: 10.67kg
  • Frame: ALUXX SL-Grade aluminium
  • Fork: Advanced-Grade composite, alloy OverDrive steerer 1 1/8-1¼in
  • Shifters: Shimano R460 10-speed, Tektro crosstop levers
  • Wheelset: Giant S-X2 disc, 28 spokes

Our first reaction to the Revolt was slight bemusement – out of the box, there’s no getting past the fact that it’s kind of funny looking, with a super compact frame, kinked chainstays and radically dropped seatstays. Giant has rarely disappointed us, though, so we cast aside prejudice and took to the road.

Turns out we were right to withhold judgement. In spite of its gawky upper appearance and substantial 35mm boots, the Revolt is a remarkably lively ride.

Click here for a full review of the Giant Revolt 1

Merida Ride 94 Alloy


"Look beyond indifferent appearance and some ho-hum kit and you've got a highly capable, good value bike"

  • Weight: 9.3kg
  • Frame: Hydroformed 6066 aluminium
  • Fork: Carbon
  • Shifters: Shimano 105/Tiagra
  • Wheelset: Shimano R500

The Taiwanese company Merida is one of the world’s biggest bike manufacturers, and second at home only to Giant. Like Giant, it has a background in producing bikes for other people – making machines for Raleigh back in 1972 – but it now makes them only under its own name, Centurion’s and Specialized’s. The former is big in Germany, the latter is huge just about everywhere. The Ride 94 is part of Merida’s massive road bike range.

Click here for a full review of the Merida Ride 94 Alloy

Sensa Romagna Special


"A great choice for racing or sportives – and outstanding value for money"

  • Weight: 9.72kg
  • Frame: Tig-welded hydroformed double butted 7005 alu, replaceable hanger
  • Fork: Carbon blades, alloy 1 1/8in steerer, crown, dropouts
  • Groupset: Shimano 105
  • Wheels: Supra RA Comp machined alloy aero 35mm, Scwalbe Lugano 700 x 23 tyres

The name may sound Italian, but the Sensa Romagna is Dutch. Although the Shimano 105 shifting is a boon, the Sensa’s single-minded approach won’t appeal to everyone. There are no mudguard or rack mounts, for example, though you could fit clip-on ’guards. If you’re looking for a fast commuter you may have to look elsewhere, but if you want a quick sportive or race bike, the Sensa is fantastic value.

Click here for a full review of the Sensa Romagna Special

Canyon Roadlite AL 6.0


"It's a firm ride, but you'll not do much better than the Roadlite for this money"

  • Weight: 8.3kg
  • Frame: aluminium
  • Fork: Canyon One One eight SL carbon
  • Groupset: Shimano 105
  • Wheelset: Mavic aksium

Not long ago, German bikes were rare in Britain, but not any more. Teutonic brands Focus and Cube sell their well-priced bikes through ‘real’ bricks-and-mortar bike shops, and they’ve been joined by click-to-purchase cycle purveyors Rose and Canyon, who arguably offer even better value. But just how good is Canyon’s entry-level aluminium road bike? The Roadlite AL 6.0 is one of the very best sub-£1000 road bikes you’ll find. You will need to spend 10 minutes or so setting it up, but you’ll have nabbed a genuine bargain that’ll give you a massive performance boost over a £500 to £600 bike – and beat most £1,000 bikes. A very grand Canyon indeed.

Click here for a full review of the Canyon Roadlite AL 6.0

Cinelli Experience


"Great race bike handling and Campagnolo kit in a lovely package"

  • Weight: 8.96kg
  • Frame: Columbus Airplane aluminium
  • Fork: Cinelli Experience carbon, 1 1/8 - 1 1/2in aluminium steerer
  • Groupset: Campagnolo Veloce
  • Wheelset: Miche Excite, 24 spokes front, 28 spokes rear

Cinelli is best known for its components, yet it also has a long history when it comes to bikes. The Experience is made in the Far East but the kit is pretty much an all-Italian job: Cinelli’s associate company Columbus makes the 1,400g aluminium frame, with Miche providing the wheels and chainset and Campagnolo its 10-speed Veloce groupset. The tyres are from Vittoria, and the saddle is an excellent Selle Italia SL.

Click here for a full review of the Cinelli Experience

Cube Peleton Race


"A high quality comfort-orientated package that represents great value"

  • Weight: 8.88kg
  • Frame: Superlite double-butted aluminium
  • Fork: Pro modulus carbon tapered
  • Groupset: Shimano 105
  • Wheelset: Mavic Aksium S, 20 bladed straight-pull spokes front and rear

The German company Cube’s Peloton Race may ‘only’ have an aluminium frame, but it also has some of the best kit that you’ll find on a bike at this price – and the Mavic wheelset is more normally seen on bikes costing a considerable chunk more. The Peloton delivers a complete package that will appeal to those who are looking for comfort over raciness. Its kit is up with the best you’ll find, and it’s smart, modern and fast to get up to speed. Though its more relaxed handling means it may not be a sprinter’s special, its weight and comfort make it a first-rate long-distance companion.

Click here for a full review of the Cube Peleton Race

Fuji Sportif 1.3


"Not the speediest, but versatile and practical"

  • Weight: 10.1kg
  • Frame: Butted aluminium
  • Fork: Butted aluminium
  • Groupset: Shimano Tiagra
  • Wheelset: Vera Helios, 30 tpi, 700c x 28mm, wire bead w/ flat barrier; Vera Corsa rims

The Sportif 1.3 is part of Japanese/American company Fuji's endurance range, which places a premium on comfort over performance with a back- and knee-friendly setup, but still manages to spec some pretty decent kit. It's not a sprinter's bike, with acceleration tempered by its weight, and it's not one for hard out-of-the-saddle efforts. But the short stem, tallish head-tube, long fork blades and quite tight wheelbase create a comfortable position ideal for training, commuting or all-day rides.

Click here for a full review of the Fuji Sportif 1.3

Civia Prospect


"A weighty beast, but tough, comfortable and very well considered"

  • Weight: 12.92kg (28.48lb)
  • Frame: TIG welded 4130 chromoly, adjustable dropouts
  • Fork: TIG-welded 4130 unicrown, 1 1/8in steerer
  • Groupset: Shimano Deore/Sora with FSA Tempo cranks
  • Wheels: Alex DC19 alloy aero rims, forged alloy loose ball and cone hubs, stainless spokes 32 3-cross

With an unladen weight of 12.92kg (28.48lb), Civia’s Prospect steel commuter machine is nudging towards Clydesdale territory. But provided you factor in a slightly slower speed and keep your expectations for arrival times within reason, it’s none the worse for it. This is a machine that you could easily replace your car with. Make the Prospect your main means of transport and you could use it for commuting, load it up with your shopping and ride it at the weekend for fun and fitness.

Click here for a full review of the Civia Prospect

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