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 a bit more? Check out our best road bikes under £2,000 and our best road bikes under £3,000. If £1,000 is too much to spend then here are the best road bikes available for under £600 as reviewed by our team of testers.
If you need some help with what to look for, read our guide to choosing the best road bike and watch our video primer below.
- Best aluminium road bikes
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- Best women’s road bike: a guide to help you get the right bike for you
The best road bikes under £1,000 in 2021, as rated and reviewed by our expert testers
- Boardman SLR 8.9: £1,100 (frequently discounted)
- Bristol Bicycles Expedition: £775
- Canyon Endurace AL 7.0: £999
- Carrera Virago: £800
- Decathlon Triban 520 Disc: £749.99
- Giant Contend SL 1: £999
- Giant Contend 2: £579
- Ribble Endurance AL Disc: £899
- Ribble R872 Tiagra: £1,000
- Rose Pro SL: £997
- Specialized Allez: £650
- Specialized Allez Elite: £1,050 (okay, there’s some wiggle room on budget…)
- Van Rysel RR 900 AF: £849.99
- Vitus Zenium: £999.99
The road bikes listed above all scored at least 4.5 stars out of five. Read on for full buying advice and our complete list of high scoring bikes.
Finding the right bike for you
There are a few things to bear in mind before you spend your money, 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-£1,000 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 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.
What will I get for my money?
Don’t go thinking that sub-£1,000 road bikes aren’t the real deal though. As long as you’re riding on 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.
Bikes in this price range vary a good deal in spec. The best value ones will typically have a mid-range 11-speed Shimano 105 or SRAM Rival groupset, while many will be equipped with the next level down, such as 11-speed SRAM Apex or 10-speed Shimano Tiagra. (A groupset is the collection of components that make your bike go and stop, i.e. shifters, derailleurs, cranks, brakes etc.)
Disc brakes are becoming more common at this level but they will often be mechanical cable-operated calipers (or mechanically actuated hydraulic calipers) rather than the full hydraulic systems found on more expensive bikes.
In any case, don’t discount rim brakes, they’re perfectly adequate for most riding and save weight compared to discs.
Read on for summaries and links to all of our highest rated road bikes under £1,000, with the highest scoring bikes shown first.
The best £1,000 road bikes for 2021
Boardman SLR 8.9c
- £1,100 (but frequently discounted)
- Shimano Tiagra components plus Tektro brakes
- Tubeless-ready wheels
- Beginner-friendly ‘sportive’ style geometry
Replacing the much loved Team Carbon, the SLR gets a much more up to date looking frame. It’s equipped with 10-speed Shimano Tiagra shifting and Tektro brakes, and its alloy wheels can be converted to tubeless.
Despite being one of the cheapest carbon bikes on the market, the Boardman is a great all-round ride with geometry that’s slightly more upright and beginner-friendly than that of a full-on racer.
Bristol Bicycles Expedition
- £775 as tested
- Buy now from Bristol Bicycles
- Weighty tourer with discs
- Classic triple gearing and various upgrade options
If you’re looking for a speedy racer, the Expedition isn’t for you. It’s a heavy-duty tourer in the vein of classics like the Dawes Galaxy, and it comes as standard with a triple crankset, now rarely seen on road bikes.
The Expedition offers a nice upright riding position and a spec aimed at long-distance touring, or perhaps all-weather commuting.
The frame is alloy and the fork is steel, and Bristol Bicycles lets you customise component choice to an extent.
It’s not for everyone, but if you appreciate a tough, well thought-out machine, it’s worth a look.
Canyon Endurace AL 7.0
- Buy the 2020 Endurace AL 7.0 now from Canyon
- Direct-sales machine with a stunning frame matched to a great spec
- Full 105 R7000 groupset and Fulcrum wheels
- Lively but comfortable ride
The Canyon Endurace AL won our Budget Bike of the Year 2017 award and it remains one of our favourite affordable bikes, receiving consistently high scores in subsequent reviews as the spec has been tweaked over the years.
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 juggled its models back in 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 Fulcrum wheels fitted with decent Continental tyres.
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.
- Almost certainly the cheapest carbon bike in the UK
- Great all round ride – smooth and controlled
- Shimano Sora 9-speed components
At full price, the Virago is seemingly the cheapest carbon framed road bike on the market, and you might be wondering if a bike this cheap can actually be any good.
While the frame certainly isn’t as light as one you’d get on a £3,000 machine, the Virago is an excellent all-round ride. The spec isn’t bad either, with Shimano Sora shifting.
Unsurprisingly at this price, you don’t get a complete groupset – the brakes are Tektros while the cranks are FSA. All the same, the bike is a bargain.
Decathlon Triban RC 520 Disc
- Comfy endurance bike
- Shimano 105 shifting with cable-actuated TRP hydraulic brakes
Sports giant Decathlon shook up its bike range in 2018 and 2019, dropping the B’Twin name almost completely. The Triban RC 520 Disc is a versatile, comfy road bike that offers a very impressive spec for the money.
The shifting is proper 105 (with non-series cranks) and the brakes are cable-actuated hydraulic discs, the next best thing to a full hydraulic system.
Big tyre clearances and mounts for mudguards make this bike a great choice for year round training or all-weather commuting.
Giant Contend SL 1
- Alloy all-rounder with 105 shifting
- Wide gearing and mudguard mounts
Giant seems to be incapable of making a bad bike and the Contend continues that trend.
It’s a very, very competent all-rounder, offering a good spec with no major compromises and practical touches such as mudguard mounts.
The gearing on the 2020 bike is slightly harder than it used to be which is a little strange, but the compact frame and D-Fuse carbon seatpost make for a comfy rear-end and it’s still a very good bike overall.
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 its latest incarnation has hidden cables.
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.
Ribble Endurance AL Disc
- From £899 (£1,099 as tested)
- Buy the updated Ribble Endurance AL Disc now from Ribble Cycles
- Racier end of endurance geometry, plus disc brakes
- Mounts for mudguards
Ribble offers a lot of bike for the money with its aluminium framed endurance bike. The Ribble starts at just £899 with Shimano Tiagra and cable discs, but spending a bit more gets you full hydraulics.
It’s not the lightest machine, but it’s year-round capable and well suited to big rides, winter training or long-distance commuting.
Ribble R872 Tiagra
- Full carbon frameset
- Shimano Tiagra 10-speed components with Mavic Aksium wheels
- Stiff, smooth-riding bike with racy-ish sportive geometry
The R872 is a handsome machine built around a full carbon frameset that’s pretty up to date, with now-fashionable dropped seatstays for comfort and lateral stiffness.
Ribble markets the R872 as a sportive or endurance bike but it’s a little bit racier than some of the competition, and not lacking in stiffness.
You get a full Shimano Tiagra groupset with nice wide gearing, and Mavic’s ever-dependable Aksium wheels.
Rose Pro SL
- German direct-sales racer with a lovely alloy frame
- Full Shimano 105 groupset, Mavic Aksium wheels
- Firm but brilliant ride
- New model expected imminently
The Pro SL is 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 is genuinely exciting, putting budget carbon to shame.
Right now, the Pro SL is out of stock, but we’re keeping it in this list because we’re expecting a replacement to appear at some point, and it’s a bike worth looking out for on the used market in any case.
- Striking alloy-framed racer that’s fun and fast
- Shimano Claris shifting with wide range of gears
- Quality own-brand finishing kit
If you want a genuinely racy bike on a limited budget, you can’t go wrong with the Allez.
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.
Specialized Allez Elite
- Our £1,000 Bike of the Year for 2020
- Lively entry-level alloy racer
- Goldilocks ride quality makes up for average spec
- Shimano 105 shifting, Praxis cranks and own-brand everything else
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.
Nevertheless, the Allez retains the likeable qualities for which it is renowned, and it’s a good basis for upgrades down the line.
Van Rysel RR 900 AF
- Quality alloy frame with a lively ride
- Full Shimano 105 and decent branded wheels
Decathlon’s in-house bikes pack in a lot of value, offering decent frames and specs that don’t cut many corners.
The company rebranded its road bikes a while back, with the mid-range and higher end models now being sold under the Van Rysel name, where previously they were B’Twins.
The Van Rysel Ultra 900 AF 105 is almost the exact same bike as the B’Twin Ultra 900 AF, but it has latest 105 R7000 groupset and does away with the silly under-chainstay rear brake.
- Full-carbon frameset
- Shimano Tiagra and TRP Spyre cable disc brakes
- Generous gearing and stylish tan-wall tyres
Vitus is Wiggle CRC’s in-house brand and it has consistently offered loads of value for money.
The Zenium is built around a full-carbon frameset and it sports disc brakes and thru-axles.
The drivetrain is mostly Shimano Tiagra while braking comes courtesy of TRP Spyre mechanical disc calipers, pretty much the gold standard for non-hydraulics.
The ride is a touch firmer than some of the competition and the Vitus isn’t the lightest bike in its class, but it’s an excellent all-rounder that’s lent a touch of class by its stylish 28mm tan-wall tyres.
The following bikes scored 4 out of 5 stars when reviewed by BikeRadar.
Bianchi Via Nirone 7
- £750 as reviewed, now £800
- Great looking frame that performs
- 8-speed Shimano Claris components
Despite being Bianchi’s entry-level model, the Via Nirone gets a very decent alloy frame with remarkably smooth ride quality.
The spec is middling, with average non-groupset brakes and basic wheels, but it all gets the job done.
Cannondale CAAD Optimo 105
- Racy geometry
- Shimano 105 R7000 components
Cannondale’s CAAD bikes have long offered performance to equal or exceed that of similarly priced carbon machines.
The CAAD Optimo is a somewhat racy ride and it comes equipped with the latest Shimano 105 R7000 components and third-party brakes and cranks.
It’s not the most comfortable ride but it’s a good choice for riders seeking something more aggressive.
- Buy the l’Etape now from Dolan Bikes
- Decent frame with 105 kit (choice of alternative builds available)
- Sensible weight plus racy geometry
We don’t always endorse cheap carbon, but the Dolan offers a winning combination of racy performance and decent spec, and you can customise it to an extent too.
Unremarkable Shimano wheels won’t set the world alight but 105 shifting is always welcome.
The l’Etape moniker is perhaps a bit of a misnomer because this is more race bike than endurance machine, but if a reasonably aggressive fit is what you’re after then the Dolan is worth a look.
Focus Izalco Race AL 105 / Izalco Race 6.9
- £999 as tested, now £1,159 (but discounts available)
- Buy the updated Izalco Race 6.9 now from Wheelbase
- Stiff, racy alloy frame rewards hard riding
- 105 kit and basic Alex wheels
The alloy Izalco isn’t the plushest bike in its class and it’s a little bit heavier than some, but it’s a rewarding ride if your style is fast-everywhere because the stiff frame won’t waste your efforts.
Since we reviewed it, the Izalco has been upgraded to Shimano 105 R7000 (with a non-series crankset) and renamned the Izalco Race 6.9, with only a modest price bump.
Giant Contend 1
- Stiff frame can sometimes feel harsh
- Useful 34t 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 old 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 11-34t cassette.
The brakes are cheap Tektro items, but they are a relatively cheap area to upgrade on what happens to be an otherwise very sorted machine.
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
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 Contends.
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 most elegant or the easiest to adjust, but it works well and offers an experience pretty close to that of full hydraulics.
GT GTR Sport
- Aluminium frame with a full-carbon fork
- 8-speed Shimano Claris with Promax cable disc brakes
- Middling spec but a comfy, likable ride
A lot of bikes at this level look remarkably similar to one another, but the GT stands out with its signature triple-triangle frame design, where the seatstays run either side of the seat tube, joining directly to the top tube.
The GTR isn’t the best value bike on paper with its 8-speed Shimano Claris gearing, but it’s a smooth ride with generous gearing range.
As a bonus, the wheels are tubeless-ready, and there are mudguard mounts too.
- £700 as tested, now £865
- Comfy steel distance machine
- Now with MicroSHIFT components and Tektro mechanical disc brakes
Most of the bikes at this price level are alloy-framed and built with race or sportive pretensions. The Nicasio is closer in spirit to a traditional tourer.
It’s heavy and versatile, with fat tyres as standard and the option to fit a rack and mudguards.
It’s not the fastest, but a bike like this makes a great commuter and long-distance machine.
Merlin Cordite SL
- £1,000 as tested, now £899
- Racy carbon frame with seatmast is essentially an old Ridley Helium SL
- R8000 shifting plus 4ZA brakes
If the Cordite SL looks vaguely familiar that’s because it’s essentially the old Ridley Helium SL with different paint, a 2008 design that was raced at the top level of pro cycling.
Its stout seatmast dates it somewhat and makes for a firm ride, as well as limiting the range of saddle height adjustment once it’s been cut.
The brakes aren’t amazing either, but the Merlin is nevertheless a good amount of bike for the money, offering a full carbon frameset and R8000 shifting.
Merlin PR7 Sora
- Racy aluminium framed road bike with a good groupset for the price
- A few economies on the spec, but no major letdowns
The PR7 is about as simple and straightforward as they come. It’s cheap at RRP, and a stonking bargain when it’s available at a discount.
It’s an affordable, moderately racy road bike with an aluminium frame that sports a nice glossy black finish.
Where some bikes at this price level get 8-speed Shimano Claris, the Merlin has 9-speed Sora, and the wheels get branded rims from Mavic.
The gearing could be a touch lower and it’s a shame there are mudguard mounts at the rear only, but it’s a lot of bike for the money otherwise, with a fast and racy personality.
Scott Speedster 40
- Good range of gears, wider tyres and mudguard mounts
- Basic spec with average brakes
The entry-level Speedster is a very practical all-rounder, with mudguard mounts and 28mm tyres as standard, as well as nice low gears for hauling up the steep stuff.
The endurance geometry should work for most riders, but it’s still a sharp enough ride to be fun.
Pinnacle Laterite 3
- 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.
Have you found what you’re looking for?
If £1,000 is just too much money, there are some great road bikes in the sub-£600 bracket.
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