The best cheap road bikes 2019: 8 great choices for £600 or less

Great value budget road bikes for beginners or training

Best cheap road bikes

Here are eight of the best cheap road bikes that we’ve reviewed in 2019.

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As groupsets have become ever more affordable and more direct-sales brands have entered the market, the ride quality and value for money of entry-level road bikes has increased hugely.

If you’re looking for a road bike for serious riding, training or just commuting, £600 is about the price point at which you will get a solid ride that, given due care and attention, will serve you well for years to come.

Cheaper bikes aren’t just for beginners, they can also be the ideal, easy-to-maintain platform to create the perfect all-weather year-round training bike.

Nearly all bikes at this price point will be made from steel or aluminium, although some may have a carbon fork.

Most bikes around the £600 mark will be outfitted with an 8- or 9-speed groupset. The number of speeds tells you how many sprockets the cassette has attached to the back wheel. Most entry-level road bikes still come with either double or triple cranks (with two or three sprockets at the front), giving you a large range of gears.

As 11-speed — and even 12-speed — groupsets have become the norm for more expensive bikes, 8- and 9-speed parts have become very affordable, and sourcing replacement parts shouldn’t pose any problems for you or your wallet.

For a full explainer on road bike groupsets, check out our comprehensive guide.

Most bikes at this level will also use external cable routing. This means the cables run on the outside of the tubes and are held in place with brazed- or welded-on ‘stops’. Although not as neat looking as internal cable routing — which, as the name suggests, routes the cables inside the frame — it is far easier to live with and doesn’t require any special tools to service.

Nearly all bikes at this price point will also use a threaded bottom bracket, which is easier to replace and often longer lasting than many varieties of press fit systems found on more expensive bikes.

The best cheap road bikes for 2019

  • B’Twin Triban 520: £500
  • Giant Contend 2: £575
  • Specialized Allez: £630
  • Vitus Razor: £500
  • Boardman SLR 8.6: £550
  • Decathlon Triban RC500 Disc: £530
  • Merlin PR7: £499
  • Pinnacle Laterite 1: £420

This article was updated in July 2019.

B’Twin Triban 520

5.0 out of 5 star rating
The Triban 520 is the best value for money entry-level road bike on the market today
The Triban 520 is the best value for money entry-level road bike on the market today.
BikeRadar
  • £500
  • The best entry-level road bike you can buy for £500
  • Great transmission for the money

B’Twin is the house brand of French outdoors supermarket Decathlon and is well known for producing a range of incredibly competitively priced bikes.

The Triban 520 is no exception. Unlike most options in this price bracket, the bike comes with a full 9-speed Sora groupset, including the cranks and brakes.

The spec isn’t the only thing that sets the Triban 520 apart — it’s ride quality is the best in class and the versatility afforded by full mudguard and pannier mounts means it can be turned to pretty much any task.

The bike is available in men’s/unisex and women’s versions, the latter coming with women’s-specific finishing kit.

Latest deals for the B’Twin Triban 520

Giant Contend 2

4.5 out of 5 star rating
2019 Giant Contend 2 road bike
The Giant Contend 2 remains an excellent budget choice
  • £575
  • Sporty and comfortable ride
  • Competitive weight

For an alloy bike costing less than £600, the Giant Contend 2 weighs in at a competitively light 9.56kg — a full 900g lighter than the Merlin PR7, also on this list. While this may not sound like a lot, it represents a 10 percent difference in weight, which you can really feel on the bike.

Like most bikes in this price range, the Contend 2 is outfitted with a Shimano Claris groupset. There’s also a full complement of mudguard and rack mounts, so the Contend 2 is an ideal option for those looking for a true all-rounder that doesn’t compromise on ride quality.

Latest deals for the Giant Contend 2

Specialized Allez

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Specialized Allez 2019 model in red and black
The Allez frame is one of the best-looking you’ll find on a bike at this price range
David Caudery/Immediate Media
  • £630
  • Racy alloy frame with a full carbon fork
  • Shimano Claris 8-speed components
  • Revamped design with slightly more relaxed geometry

The Allez has long been a benchmark for affordable bikes. The design was revamped for 2018 with an all-new frameset and the focus has shifted slightly, with the new bike offering a more relaxed riding position as well as rack/mudguard mounts for practicality.

It’s also lighter than before, and the low gearing is very beginner-friendly.

Claris 8-speed gearing is basic but functional and the brakes are dual pivot with cartridge pads.

Latest deals for the Specialized Allez

Vitus Razor

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Vitus Razor road bike 2019
The 2019 Vitus Razor is a top choice for not a lot of money
  • £500
  • Updated frame with a full carbon fork, both of which take decent sized tyres
  • Latest Shimano Claris components

The Razor was recently udpated with an all-new frame and fork, albeit one that looks somewhat traditional.

It’s got mudguard mounts and clearance for good sized tyres. Vitus supplies the bike with 28mm wide tyres that actually measure closer to 30mm wide on the broad own-brand rims.

That means comfy ride quality on poor roads and a complete package that’s hard to fault apart from slightly budget brake pads.

Latest deals for the Vitus Razor

Boardman SLR 8.6

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Boardman SLR 8.6
Boardman’s SLR 8.6 has an all-new and very neatly finished 7005 aluminium frame
David Caudery/Immediate Media
  • £550
  • Carbon fork and tubeless-ready rims set it apart
  • Lovely all-round ride

If you’re looking to upgrade from your very first, super-cheap road bike to something a little more premium from a recognisable brand name, then Boardman’s SLR 8.6 should be one of the bikes to consider.

Boardman’s SLR 8.6 has an all-new and very neatly finished 7005 aluminium frame, which features aero-optimised tube forming, which is matched with a full carbon fork.

Latest deals for the Boardman SLR 8.6

Decathlon Triban RC500 Disc review

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Decathlon's Triban RC 500 Disc
Decathlon’s Triban RC 500 Disc is the best disc-equipped road bike under £600 that we’ve tested
Courtesy
  • £530
  • The best disc-equipped road bike under £600 that we’ve tested
  • Heaps of versatility

Decathlon updated its surprisingly UK-friendly range of disc-equipped budget road bikes last year and the French super-retailer has hit the ground running with its £530 Triban RC 500 disc.

With the exception of the Microshift cassette and the Promax calipers, the bike features a full Shimano Sora groupset. While mechanical calipers will never be able to match the power of hydraulic discs, these certainly don’t disappoint, with heaps of modulation and power on tap.

The mudguard and pannier mounts coupled with generous tyre clearances make this a truly competent all-rounder.

Latest deals for the Decathlon Triban RC 500 disc

Merlin PR7

4.0 out of 5 star rating
The Merlin PR7 is a great all-round bike at an even better price
The Merlin PR7 is a great all-round bike at an even better price
BikeRadar
  • £499
  • Good all-round performer
  • Spritely ride quality

The Merlin PR7 was refreshed in 2016, resulting in a more modern looking bike that holds its own against options from brands many times its size.

The current version gets the latest R3000 Sora groupset which warrants no complaints and the 34/30 low-end gear should get most riders up any hill.

The wheels are a bit heavy, but the bike rides well and offers a lot for the money.

Latest deals for the Merlin PR7

Pinnacle Laterite 1

4.0 out of 5 star rating
The Pinnacle Laterite 1 is very affordable and not overly compromised
The Pinnacle Laterite 1 is very affordable and not overly compromised
Pinnacle
  • £420
  • Decent frame makes for a good all-round ride
  • Latest version gets new style Claris R2000 shifters

At this price level you can expect compromises, but the Laterite is decently specced and rides well.

It’s not too heavy and while we’d replace the cheap, one-piece brake pads, there isn’t much else to complain about. It’s even versatile thanks to rack and mudguard mounts.

Latest deals for the Pinnacle Laterite 1

Also consider:

These bikes didn’t score highly enough to make the list, but are still worth a look, particularly if you can pick one up at a good discount.

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