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.
There are a few things to bear in mind before you spend your money, however. 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-£1K bike is intended as a beginner’s tool, a bike to introduce new riders to road cycling.
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
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.
Are bikes at this price point actually worth buying?
Don’t go thinking that sub-£1,000 road bikes aren’t the real deal though. As long as you’re riding on the 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.
Read on for summaries and links to all of our highest rated road bikes under £1,000.
The best £1,000 road bikes
Canyon Endurace AL 7.0
4.5 out of 5 star rating
The Canyon Endurace AL combines a generous spec with a great frameCanyon Bikes
The Giant Contend 2 is a great affordable all-rounderGiant
Unable to load Media
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.
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.
The ALR is no poor cousin though. It’s a properly sorted bike in its own right with a bang up-to-date frameset that’s ultra-lively and comfy too, thanks to slim seatstays and a 27.2mm post.
Trek hasn’t included mudguard mounts, which is a shame, but it’s our only real complaint. The finish may be muted, but the pearlescent paint looks lovely up close and the welds are nicely smoothed. There’s a red version too if this one’s just not eye-catching enough.
On paper, the Émonda ALR is average value, but the calibre of its frameset makes it a strong contender at this price.
The Boardman Team Carbon is one of the best budget carbon bikes we’ve testedBoardman
Full carbon frame and fork at a great price
Shimano Tiagra and Mavic CXP22 rims
Slightly woolly feeling brakes and narrow rims and tyres
Budget carbon isn’t always the best choice, but the Boardman Team Carbon is still a compelling one, offering a carbon frame and a full carbon fork at a seriously impressive price.
That does mean some compromises on the spec; the brakes aren’t great and the cranks are nothing special, but it’s a lively, exciting ride, and Shimano’s 10-speed Tiagra is very nearly the equal of 11-speed 105.
The Team Carbon has now been replaced by the Boardman SLR 8.9 Carbon, but it remains in our list for now as it’s a hugely popular choice that’s common on the used market.
Pinnacle’s Laterite 3 is another great budget bike from the Evans in-house brandBikeRadar / Immediate Media
Unable to load Media
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 (although it’s not the latest R7000).
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.