Best road bikes under £3,000 for 2019 and 2020

Got £2,000 to £3,000 to spend? Here are your best options

  The products mentioned in this article are selected and reviewed independently by our journalists. When you buy through links on our site we may earn an affiliate commission, but this never influences our opinion.
male cyclist riding grey road bike in countryside

It’s 2019 and the best road bikes under £3,000 are insanely 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. Read on for our round-up of the best bikes under £3,000.

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The best road bikes under £3,000 in 2019, as rated and reviewed by our expert testers

  • Canyon Ultimate CF SL Disc 8.0: £2,399
  • Boardman SLR 9.2 Disc: £2,100
  • Canyon Endurace CF SL Disc 8.0 Pro: £2,499
  • Dolan Titanium ADX: £2,198
  • Focus Izalco Max Disc 8.7: £2,649
  • Focus Paralane 8.9: £2,459
  • Giant TCR Advanced Pro 1 Disc: £2,999 / £3,499
  • Giant TCR Advanced Pro 2: £2,599
  • Isaac Boson Disc: from £2,360
  • Kinesis RTD: £850 frameset, £2,250 with Ultegra
  • Lapierre Xelius SL 600: £2,349
  • Merida Scultura Disc 6000: £2,400
  • Ribble Endurance SL Ultegra / Endurance SL Ultegra Disc: £2,349 / £2,709
  • Ribble R872 Ultegra Di2: £2,470
  • Rose X-Lite Four Ultegra Di2: £2,720
  • Specialized Tarmac Disc Comp: £2,899
  • Whyte Wessex: £2,499

Prefer to spend less? Check out our best road bikes under £2,000 and best road bikes under £1,000.

Not sure what you’re looking for in a road bike? We can help you to choose the right road bike for you and watch our video primer below.

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 that aim for the sweet spot between stiffness, comfort and weight while keeping prices within reach of the enthusiast.

Most of the contenders at this level have carbon frames
Most of the contenders at this level have carbon frames.
Mick Kirkman / Immediate Media

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 with the emergence of gravel/all-road bikes.

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.

Disc brakes and thru-axles are now a common sight on bikes in this price range
Disc brakes and thru-axles are now a common sight on bikes in this price range.
Matthew Allen / Immediate Media

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 bigger.

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.

Editor’s note: this buyer’s guide only includes bikes that scored at least 4.5 out of 5 stars when they were reviewed by our team of expert testers. Certain bikes may also slightly exceed the nominal budget of this list due to recent price increases, but we continue to feature them as they remain relevant to riders shopping around this price point. 

Canyon Ultimate CF SL Disc 8.0

5.0 out of 5 star rating
The Canyon Ultimate CF SL Disc 9.0 is near enough perfect
The Canyon Ultimate CF SL Disc 9.0 is near enough perfect.
Canyon

Canyon offers both a class-leading spec and a seriously good ride with the Ultimate, and there’s a women’s-specific version as well as a unisex model.

Canyon shuffled its model names back in 2018 and the current Ultegra-level bike is called the Canyon Ultimate CF SL Disc 8.0 (it used to be the 9.0). It now gets the latest Ultegra R8020 hydraulic groupset and a slightly different (but equivalent) set of DT Swiss wheels.

Boardman SLR 9.2 Disc

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Boardman SLR 9.2 Disc
Boardman should be congratulated for including so much tech at this price.
David Caudery / Immediate Media
  • £2,100
  • Full Shimano Ultegra disc groupset
  • Somewhat firm but enjoyable ride
  • Hidden mudguard mounts

Boardman’s SLR offers a lot of kit for the money with a full Shimano Ultegra hydraulic groupset not commonly seen at this price.

It’s somewhat firm, racy ride that rewards an aggressive style. Hidden mudguard mounts lend year-round practicality.

Canyon Endurace CF SL Disc 8.0 Pro

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Best road bikes under £3,000
The Endurace’s carbon frame and full-carbon fork are paired with an all-carbon cockpit.
David Caudery / Immediate Media
  • £2,449 as tested, now £2,499
  • Buy now from Canyon
  • Great riding endurance bike with Campagnolo Potenza

There aren’t many bikes that come as standard with a Campagnolo groupset, but Canyon offers this version of its excellent Endurace carbon machine with a full Campagnolo Potenza disc setup.

Potenza is roughly equivalent to Ultegra, but offers a very different feel which some riders may prefer.

The Endurace itself is a brilliant bike for putting in the miles, offering a relatively relaxed riding position and plenty of comfort without being dull.

Dolan Titanium ADX

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Best road bikes under £3,000
The Dolan Titanium ADX is one classy bike for the money.
Immediate Media

Titanium has a timeless quality to it and the Dolan puts this premium metal to particularly good use.

The ADX is an outstanding all-rounder that manages to be exciting and lively, but not overly aggressive.

It’s practical too, with mudguard mounts as standard.

We reviewed the ADX with Ultegra 6800, but the latest version of the bike gets Shimano’s Ultegra R8000 groupset, along with internal cabling.

Specs can be customised to some extent, or you can roll your own with a frameset. There’s even a disc version…

Focus Izalco Max Disc 8.7

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Best road bikes under £3,00
The cheapest Izalco Max Disc generates speed for fun, but it also generates a near-constant whistle.
Courtesy
  • £2,649
  • Aero redesign of a lightweight racer
  • Shimano 105 disc groupset plus carbon wheels

While the old Izalco Max was a purely weight-focussed machine, the current model adds aero to the mix and features a bang up-to-date frame design with 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.

Focus Paralane 8.9

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Best road bikes under £3,00
The Paralane is a capable all-roader.
Focus
  • £2,459
  • All-weather, all-surface carbon machine
  • Now with 2× gearing

The Paralane is Focus’s all-road or gravel-lite bike and it’s well suited to all manner of surfaces. Unusually, it also ships with full mudguards.

The 2019 bike we reviewed had a SRAM 1× groupset but the 2020 equivalent gives you a Shimano Ultegra double setup for the same money, addressing our one concern which was the less than ideal gearing.

Giant TCR Advanced Pro 1 Disc

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Giant TCR Advanced Pro 1 Disc
The TCR has a great chassis and an excellent wheel and tyre combo but the icing on the cake is the brilliant Shimano Ultegra disc groupset.
David Caudery / Immediate Media
  • £2,999 as tested, £3,499 for 2020 equivalent TCR Advanced Pro 2 Disc
  • A brilliant race bike with discs
  • Shimano Ultegra and carbon tubeless wheels

The disc version of the TCR is as pure a racer as its rim counterpart, it just stops a bit better. This build gets you a full hydraulic Ultegra groupset plus Giant’s own tubeless carbon clinchers.

For 2020 the model names have been juggled a little, with the TCR Advanced Pro Team Disc offering the same spec as the 2019 TCR Advanced Pro 1 Disc, albeit at a somewhat higher price.

Whatever spec you opt for, you won’t go too far wrong with a TCR.

Giant TCR Advanced Pro 2

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Giant TCR Advanced Pro 2
Giant’s ability to build amazingly good-value bikes tailored to the needs of almost every rider hasn’t changed.
Giant
  • £2,399 as reviewed, now £2,599
  • One of the best all-round carbon race frames on the market
  • Shimano 105 and Giant carbon tubeless wheels

The TCR has been a benchmark race bike for years, consistently punching above its weight in both price and performance terms.

This model gets you Giant’s second-tier Advanced grade carbon, just one level below the pro stuff.

It’s kitted out with a full Shimano 105 groupset and, remarkably at this price, a set of mid-depth carbon tubeless wheels.

Isaac Boson Disc

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Isaac Boson Disc
The design of the Boson is refreshingly understated.
David Caudery / Immediate Media

In a world of truncated aerofoils and radically dropped stays, we still appreciate more organic lines such as those of the Boson Disc.

The Isaac is a great all-round performer, handling beautifully and riding impressively smoothly.

The choice of specs is yours as Isaac lets you spec your own build and we were certainly happy with our Ultegra-equipped bike, which came in at a fairly reasonable price.

Kinesis RTD

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Kinesis RTD
There’s enough stiffness to give the Kinesis RTD true race bike speed and responsive handling.
David Caudery / Immediate Media
  • £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.

Lapierre Xelius SL 600

4.5 out of 5 star rating
The Lapierre Xelius SL 600 looks amazing and is hard to fault with a smart selection of components bolted to it
The Lapierre Xelius SL 600 looks amazing and is hard to fault with a smart selection of components bolted to it.
Immediate Media
  • £2,300 as tested, now £2,349
  • Pro-ridden, lightweight frame with head-turning looks
  • Springy rear end
  • Smart component selection that includes Zipp, Fizik and Mavic parts

Lapierre’s outlandish looking Xelius is a proper racer with all the modern trimmings (apart from discs!).

The funky rear-end adds a huge amount of compliance and while stiffness isn’t exceptional, the all-round balance is extremely likeable.

With Shimano Ultegra and Mavic Ksyrium wheels, the spec is hard to fault too. Better yet, the current bike gets the latest R8000 version of the groupset.

Merida Scultura Disc 6000

4.5 out of 5 star rating
The Merida Scultura Disc 6000 is a speed endurance machine
The Merida Scultura Disc 6000 is a speed endurance machine.
Robert Smith / Immediate Media
  • £2,400
  • Speedy endurance bike with discs and thru-axles
  • Latest version costs more, but gets new Ultegra R8000

The Scultura Disc offers a smooth and speedy ride with geometry that’s taller than that of a pure racer, but which is well suited to long rides at speed.

It’s not the lightest bike despite a sub-1,000g frame, but the Merida manages to feel very lively thanks to a stiff frameset and wheels.

Where the 2017 bike got Ultegra-equivalent hydraulics, newer models have proper Ultegra R8000 levers and brakes along with the rest of the groupset.

Ribble Endurance SL Ultegra and Endurance SL Ultegra Disc

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Best road bikes under £3,000
The Ribble is light, fast and fun.
David Caudery / Immediate Media
  • £2,349
  • Aero bike with a juicy spec
  • Mudguard mounts add practicality

Despite the name, the Endurance SL is a racy machine, one that’s very on-trend with aero tube profiles throughout, dropped seatstays, and an integrated aero cockpit. Despite all this, the bike has rim brakes, although there’s also a disc version if you prefer.

Ribble gives you a full Shimano Ultegra groupset at this price plus a set of own-brand carbon clinchers. A range of alternative builds starting at around £1,600 are also available.

Ribble R872 Ultegra Di2

4.5 out of 5 star rating
The Ribble R872 offers lots of bang for buck
The Ribble R872 offers lots of bang for buck.
Ben Healy / Immediate Media

Ribble’s bikes always get the nod for value, and the R872 continues the tradition with a competitive spec for the price.

Although the frame is not as accomplished as some of the big brand competition, it’s stiff and racy enough to reward.

You can customise the spec to your heart’s content, but in this guise with Shimano Ultegra Di2 and Mavic Ksyrium wheels, it’s hard to fault.

Rose X-Lite Four Ultegra Di2

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Best road bikes under £3,000
As one of the last bastions of the humble rim brake, this black beauty offers performance and value that very, very few bikes can match.
Immediate Media
  • £2,677 as tested, now £2,722 (varies with exchange rate)
  • Good value and a great ride

If you’re still a fan of rim brakes then the X-Lite Four is a great buy (there’s a disc version too if you prefer), offering an excellent all-round ride and a big spec for the money, with full Shimano Ultegra Di2.

The X-Lite is on the firm and sporty side of things but has a taller front end than some pure race bikes. It’s available in a variety of specs to suit different tastes and budgets, and you can’t go too far wrong with any of them.

Specialized Women’s Tarmac Disc Comp / Tarmac Disc Comp

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Black Specialized Tarmac
The Tarmac is a benchmark all-round race bike for good reason.
Specialized
  • £2,899
  • Ultegra disc groupset plus DT Swiss alloy wheels
  • Lightweight, racy carbon

The Specialized Tarmac is a fine machine in virtually all its incarnations and the mid-level Comp spec doesn’t leave you wanting for much, unless you’re itching for carbon wheels.

The latest SL6-generation Tarmacs have abandoned the classic looks and gone with the trend for dropped seatstays. The result is a fairly comfy and delightfully responsive race bike, one that’s well suited to big days out as well as smashing round your local crit course.

There are better value bikes out there in terms of spec, but you really can’t go wrong with a Tarmac.

Whyte Wessex

4.5 out of 5 star rating
The Whyte Wessex is designed to be the 'ultimate UK road bike'
The Whyte Wessex is designed to be the ‘ultimate UK road bike’.
Mick Kirkman

The Wessex is aimed squarely at the typical UK road rider, with clearances for big rubber by road standards and the option to run proper mudguards.

It’s not a particularly light bike, but it’s a smooth ride with direct power transfer that rewards hard efforts.

Also consider…

Specialized Roubaix Sport

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Specialized Roubaix Sport
The Specialized Roubaix is built for big miles.
Specialized
  • £2,500 as tested, now £2,600 for the equivalent Roubaix Sport
  • Super comfy endurance ride with Future Shock front suspension and elastomer seatpost
  • 105 shifting with hydraulic discs

The Roubaix is something of a benchmark in endurance road bikes and the 2017 model was our Bike of the Year winner thanks to its exceptional ride quality, earning a full five stars. While the current model isn’t as good value and scored lower as a result, we think the Roubaix deserves to be on your radar all the same.

The Future Shock front suspension effectively suspends the rider, while dropped seatstays and an elastomer-equipped seatpost add comfort to the rear end.

Specialized keeps juggling its model names but the 2020 equivalent to the old Roubaix Comp is the Roubaix Sport, which gets a Shimano 105 disc groupset with Praxis Alba cranks

Have you found what you’re looking for?

If £3,000 is stretching it, there are some fantastic bikes in the sub-two grand bracket.

Still not sure what you’re actually looking for in a road bike? Make sure you’ve read our introductory buyer’s guide.

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