Cheap road bikes - our pick of the best

Great value budget bikes under £500, £600 and £750

You could pay a small (or large) fortune for a new bike, but in these cash-strapped times not everyone’s looking to spend a four figure sum. Luckily, there are some great value budget bikes around the £500 mark. If you’re a beginner looking for your first road bike, you need look no further.

The entry level bikes below have all scored highly in tests by BikeRadar and Cycling Plus. Some of the newer or higher-specced models will push you a little bit past that £500 benchmark, although there are several of last year's bikes still available online at a heavily discounted price – even more of a bargain.

Best road bikes under £500

B'Twin Triban Black 5

RRP £429.99

B'Twin triban 5:

Gallic sporting hypermarket Decathlon offers its B’Twin Triban 5 Black at a price that almost defies belief. It has a carbon fork and Shimano’s Sora groupset – but have compromises been made elsewhere to hit this improbable price?

It’s light, comfortable and versatile. Want to tackle your first century or sportive? Perfect. Riding to work or need a winter trainer? Spot on. We really do think it will be love at first ride. Indeed, the only problem might be buying one – these bikes fly off the shelves as soon as Decathlon gets them, and we can see why.

Click here to read our full review of the B'Twin Triban 5 Black.

Revolution Sabre

RRP £429.99

Revolution sabre: revolution sabre

The Revolution Sabre from the Edinburgh Bicycle Cooperative is a striking black and red number (the colours of the anarchist flag, fittingly), sporting Revolution’s usual star logo.

Out on the road, the Sabre is certainly more comfortable than might be expected for an alloy bike with an aggressive position, and will be well-suited to more powerful riders. It may not be as revolutionary as the paint-job would have you believe, but it’s certainly gone down its own route in terms of beginners' road bikes – and if the Sabre's geometry resembles your existing bike, it would also make an ideal choice for a winter trainer.

Click here to read our full review of the Revolution Sabre.

Scott Speedster 60

RRP £499

Scott speedster 60: scott speedster 60

Scott’s Speedster 60 is the entry-level road bike from a company whose machines compete in the pro peloton at the very highest level – Simon Gerrans and Daryl Impey riding their Scott Foils to stage victory and the yellow jersey early in the 2013 Tour de France.

In conclusion, this Scott would make a great first road bike. Both frame and wheels are relatively light compared with some of its competitors and, while the seat tube angle is quite steep, the medium height head tube and classic 73-degree head angle stops it from being too aggressive for less experienced riders.

Click here to read our full review of the Scott Speedster 60.

Carrera TdF Ltd

RRP £499

Buy now from:

Halfords (currently £329)

Carrera tdf ltd:

On miles of rural and urban routes, the Carrera was glitch-free and very pleasant to ride. It descends pretty well and braking was good – helped by the fact that it has calliper brakes with metal cartridges rather than the solid rubber brake blocks found on some other bikes at this price, allowing softer and grippier rubber to be used.

Click here to read our full review of the Carrera TdF Ltd.

Best road bikes between £500 - £600

Scott Speedster S55 (2012)

Buy now from:

Paul's Cycles (currently £499.99)

Scott speedster s55: scott speedster s55

A lively and entertaining ride that also has a practical side. The Alex wheels are relatively light for a bike at this price, and spin up to speed well, aided and abetted by the stiff and lively frame. For a four-season bike the seat and head angles are quite racy, and the Scott is as happy to hold a tight line as a pure race machine.

Click here to read our full review of the Scott Speedster S55.

Ribble 7005 Audax / Winter Trainer (2012)

RRP £669.96

Buy now from:

Ribble Cycles (currently £579.95)

Ribble 7005 audax/winter trainer: ribble 7005 audax/winter trainer

The level of equipment for the price is simply outstanding. Add to this a great quality – if a little dated – aluminium frame and a good Deda fork and you have the perfect winter trainer/ year-round commuter. We wouldn’t be tempted to use it for much more than that, but we can’t think of a better value bike for seeing out the winter.

Click here to read our full review of the Ribble 7005 Audax / Winter Trainer.

Ribble Sportive 7005 (2012)

RRP £595.95

Buy now from:

Ribble Cycles (currently £595.95)

Ribble sportive 7005: ribble sportive 7005

The basic spec Ribble Sportive costs £581.95 with full Shimano Sora groupset complete with chainset and brakes, but we made a few minor changes, going for a Deda stem and bar which fitted the look perfectly, a Selle Italia saddle and Continental Ultra Sport tyres. The Sportive balances the needs of comfort and performance well. It would make an ideal first road bike, and, given how comfortable it is, a fine sportive machine.

Click here to read our full review of the Ribble Sportive 7005.

Boardman Road Sport

RRP £599.99

Boardman road sport:

Should red really be quickest, then the Boardman Road Sport ought to fly. It’s a brilliant bright red, none of your namby-pamby burgundy. This is a bike that screams rather than whispers, that turns heads, whose looks belie its modest price.

Click here to read our full review of the Boardman Road Sport.

Wilier Toni Bevilacqua

RRP £599

Wilier toni bevilacqua:

To mark 105 years in business, Italian brand Wilier are moving in on the fixie scene with their own well-executed interpretation named after Antonio ‘Toni’ Bevilacqua, a 1950s double track world champion.

Click here to read our full review of the Wilier Toni Bevilacqua.

Best road bikes between £600 - £750

Dolan Preffisio Apex (2012)

RRP £749.99

Buy now from:

Dolan Bikes (currently £612.99)

Dolan preffisio apex: dolan preffisio apex

At heart, the Preffisio is a modern take on the old-fashioned training bike, a machine for grizzled roadmen with chiselled thighs to ride on five-hour epics through the worst weather. 

Click here to read our full review of the Dolan Preffisio Apex.

Sensa Romagna Special (2013)

RRP £754.99

Buy now from:

Merlin Cycles (£689.99)

Sensa romagna special: sensa romagna special

Your money buys a beautifully finished hydroformed and double-butted aluminium frame – showroom glitz with smooth welds and neat graphics. If you want a quick sportive or race bike, the Sensa is fantastic value.

Click here to read our full review of the Sensa Romagna Special.

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