It’s 2022 and the best road bikes under £3,000 are really good. Where once this price range was the sole preserve of racers, you now have a huge choice that includes sportive and endurance bikes, disc brakes (or not), and race bikes too.
Some of the best women’s road bikes also fall into this bracket.
Read on for our round-up of the best bikes under £3,000 or $4,000.
Carbon bikes, as well as some of the best aluminium road bikes make the cut. But if you’re dead set on a less common frame material, consult our guides to the best steel road bikes and best titanium road bikes.
Not sure what you’re looking for in a road bike? We can help you choose the right road bike for you…
Finding the right bike for you
The best bikes in this category tend to be the all-rounders that can take a decent stab at everything. Think lightweight frames that offer all-day comfort for those sportive riders chasing fast times, but that will also hold their own on your local chaingang.
These are bikes targeted at the sweet spot between stiffness, comfort and weight, while keeping prices within reach of the enthusiast.
More specialist models such as featherweight climbing machines or aero-optimised rigs feature, but the compromises made to bring them into this price range will usually be bigger than the small advantages their specialisation can bestow.
Also, bear in mind that the type of riding the term ‘all-rounder’ encompasses is widening because the best gravel bikes are so versatile.
And, for this price, you can expect to find bikes carrying a lot of worthwhile kit, including thru-axles and quality hydraulic disc brakes in many cases.
Whichever bike you choose, the good news is that if you’re spending this sort of money you’re unlikely to be disappointed with your purchase.
You could certainly spend a lot more on a bike if the urge takes you, but over £3,000 the margins for improvement get smaller and smaller, while the prices get a lot higher.
So-called ‘halo’ bikes from the major manufacturers now routinely exceed £10,000, but, unless you absolutely have to have the latest top-spec model, that kind of outlay is very hard to justify.
The best road bikes under £3,000 or $4,000 in 2022, as rated by our expert testers
Boardman SLR 9.4 Disc
- £2,700 as tested
- Wireless SRAM Rival 12-speed drivetrain
- Stiff yet pleasant ride
- Discreet mudguard mounts and good clearance
Boardman’s SLR offers a lot of kit for the money, with a full SRAM Rival groupset rarely seen at this price along with Boardman’s top-spec and svelte C10 carbon frame.
It has a somewhat firm, racy ride that rewards an aggressive style while retaining enough comfort for long rides. Hidden mudguard mounts and sensible gearing lend year-round practicality.
Like many other brands, Boardman also makes a women’s-specific version of this unisex bike.
Cannondale CAAD13 Disc 105
- £2,250 / $2,300 / AU$3,499 / €2,299 as tested
- Thrilling ride
- Questionable value
The Cannondale CAAD13 incorporates enhancements from the brand’s premium SuperSix Evo carbon racer. Seatstays are dropped, tyre clearance increased to 30mm and aerodynamics are improved.
The groupset is Shimano 105 with Cannondale cranks, and the brand supplies the finishing kit and wheels too. Mudguard mounts are a practical bonus.
Once you start riding, the CAAD13’s assured handling, decent climbing and zingy ride assuage concerns about value. Still, it’s £500 less than the carbon-framed and equivalent-specced SuperSix Evo and a better bet than other carbon bikes.
Focus Izalco Max Disc 8.7
- £2,649 as tested
- Aero redesign of a lightweight racer
- Shimano 105 disc groupset plus carbon wheels
The Focus Izalco Max adds aero to its predecessors’ low weight and its frame features dropped stays and truncated aerofoil tube profiles.
Focus gives you a full 105 hydraulic groupset and 45mm deep Alexrims carbon clinchers.
The Izalco isn’t the lightest bike in its class, but it’s no heavyweight and it offers a racy ride. The only real niggle we had with the bike was an odd whistling noise present at normal riding speeds.
- £850 frameset, £2,250 as tested
- Racy aluminium with all-weather capability
Kinesis has long been a go-to for practical everyday bikes designed for the realities of UK riding. The RTD is no exception, offering racy handling plus disc brakes and the ability to fit full mudguards.
Like other bikes from the brand, the RTD is sold as a frameset, so you can build it up to suit your budget.
Latest deals for the Kinesis RTD
Merida Reacto 6000
- £2,800 as tested
- Firm and fast frame
- Nimble handling
The Merida Reacto 6000 is a bargain aero bike that manages to be rapid, agile and reasonably comfortable. Wheels and tyres are disappointing but you can invest the money the Merida Reacto 6000 saves you in an upgrade.
Merida’s second-tier CF3 frame has clearance for tyres up to 30mm wide, enhancing comfort. Two other practical features are the non-integrated, non-proprietary handlebar and stem. These are more readily customisable and serviceable, and only marginally less streamlined than integrated alternatives.
The Reacto 6000’s Ultegra R8000 groupset is the highlight of a solid spec, let down slightly by an average saddle. Bear in mind the aggressive geometry if you don’t favour a racy position.
Planet X Pro Carbon Ultegra
- £2,600 as tested
- Staggering value
- Speed demon
With aggressive geometry enabling nimble handling and a firm, lightweight carbon frame with aero characteristics, the Planet X Pro Carbon is built for speed.
This doesn’t mean the bike is uncomfortable on poorly surfaced roads, because the Pro Carbon has clearance for up to 30mm tyres.
Available as a frameset or entire bike from Planet X, the Pro Carbon is high quality at almost incomprehensibly low cost.
Ribble Endurance SL Ultegra Disc
- £2,709 as tested
- Aero bike with a juicy spec
- Mudguard mounts add practicality
Despite the name, the Endurance SL is a racy machine and one that’s very on-trend, with aero tube profiles throughout, dropped seatstays and an integrated aero cockpit.
Ribble gives you a full Shimano Ultegra groupset at this price, but a range of alternative builds starting at around £1,600 are also available.
Latest Deals for the Ribble Endurance SL
Vitus Vitesse Evo CR Rival AXS
- £3,200 as tested
- Whippy ride
- Low weight
- Staggering value
The Vitus Vitesse Evo CR Rival AXS seems to be worth more than the sum of its parts. A light frame and fork, SRAM Rival AXS groupset, high-end alloy wheels and decent tyres round off a remarkable build for the money.
Aggressive geometry turns the Vitus Vitesse Evo CR Rival AXS into a fast, agile racer that doesn’t abandon comfort. Since it doesn’t have mudguard mounts, winter road riding might be all the bike isn’t suitable for.
Vitus ZX-1 EVO 105
- £2,800 as tested
- Goes like the wind
- Superb value
The Vitus ZX-1 EVO frame is now aero-optimised. Vitus claims the design, which mimics the geometry of the Vitesse Evo race bike, reduces drag by a fifth compared with the previous model.
Whichever spec you go for, the Vitus ZX-1 EVO has fully integrated cable routing. Paired with deep-section carbon wheels and aero bar and stem, these propel the ZX-1 to high speed at stunningly low cost.
Unlike many aero road bikes, the ZX-1 manoeuvres more like a racer. The ride is by no means plush, but far less severe than you’d expect from such an aero bike.
All City Zig-Zag
- £2,750 / $3,199 as tested
- Lovely looks and top quality
- On the expensive side
The All-City Zig Zag combines an old-school steel frame with the best of modern tech, such as a carbon fork, hydraulic disc brakes, tubeless wheels and tyres as stock, and clearance for up to 35mm tyres.
All things considered, it’s great fun to ride. It handles very confidently and feels faster than its 9.71kg weight and steel tubing would suggest.
There’s no denying All-City’s wonderfully stylish steel bikes are a little pricier and heavier than your equivalent carbon road bike, but we’d also argue it has a lot more character.
Kinesis Aithein Disc
- £2,680 as tested
- Fast and firm ride
- Few concessions to comfort
The Kinesis Aithein Disc frameset is a racer’s dream at a good price. The stiff alloy frame responds quickly to accelerations, suiting fast-paced club runs and competitive riding.
Although the ride may be too uncompromising for some, the pared-back Aithein frame is not meant to deliver all-day comfort. It excels at what it’s designed to do – hammering along the flat, and up and down climbs.
You can build up the frameset as you wish. The Ultegra-equipped build we reviewed costs £2,680.
Orro Venturi Evo 105
- £2,100 / $2,667 / €2,457 as tested
- Aero-focused bike with racy riding position
- Good value and clearance for 28mm tyres
Orro might not yet have the history or social status of an established WorldTour brand, but it more than makes up for that by offering fast, smooth bikes that represent excellent value for money.
If you want a racy aero bike that delivers a smooth ride, even on British roads, and is rapid on undulating courses, then Orro’s Venturi Evo 105 could be right up your street.
Specialized Allez Sprint Comp
- £2,650 / $3,000 / AU$4,200 / €3,500 as tested
- Classy aluminium frame
- Quality finishing kit
- Mediocre wheels and tyres
The Specialized Allez Sprint Comp shows a superbike can still be alloy. Geometry and tube shapes are identical to the Tarmac SL7, the brand’s do-it-all road bike. The frame’s responsiveness could lead you to believe you’re riding a carbon bike, albeit a heavy one.
Value is iffy though. The stock wheels and tyres don’t harness the frameset, one of the best of its material type. A host of lighter and better-specced carbon road bikes are similarly priced or cheaper.