If you’re looking for a road bike for serious riding, training or even 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. If you’ve got a little bit more to spend, take a look at our best road bikes under £1,000 for 2019.
In any case, cheaper bikes need not just be for beginners, they can also be the ideal, easy-to-maintain platform to create the perfect all-weather training bike.
Most bikes at this level will use external cable routing, which although not as neat looking, is far easier to live with than potentially faff-ridden internal routing. 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.
Most bikes around the £600 mark will also be outfitted with an 8- or 9-speed groupset. As 11-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.
The number of speeds tells you how many sprockets the cassette attached to the back wheel has. 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.
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.
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. 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 with a third party — FSA in this case — supplying the cranks. The 2018 model has been upgraded to the latest version of Claris, which looks a little more up to date.
With a full complement of mudguard and rack mounts, the Contend 2 is an ideal option for those looking for a true all-rounder that doesn’t compromise on ride quality.
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.
Confidence inspiring disc brakes are rare at this price point
Adventure, gravel or all-road bikes are an increasingly popular option for those who prefer to ride off the beaten track.
Utilising fatter, often treaded tyres and a more confidence inspiring upright riding position than a regular road bike, adventure bikes are also a great option for those that spend lots of time riding on rough or otherwise poorly maintained roads.