It’s 2018 and the best road bikes under £2,500 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 £2,500.
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.
Find the best 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 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 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 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 £2,500 the margins for improvement get smaller and smaller while the prices get a lot bigger.
This article was updated in June 2018.
Canyon Ultimate CF SL Disc 9.0 / 8.0
The Canyon Ultimate CF SL Disc 9.0 is near enough perfect Canyon
- Disc racer offering huge value for money
- Stiff responsive frameset is comfy thanks to flexy VCLS seatpost
Canyon offers both a class-leading spec and a seriously good ride with the Ultimate.
In addition to RS685 hydraulics and Ultegra shifting kit, the wheels are quality DT Swiss R23 Spline dbs, fitted with top-notch Continental tyres.
Canyon shuffled its model names for 2018 and the current Ultegra-level bike is called the Canyon Ultimate CF SL Disc 8.0. It now gets the latest Ultegra R8020 hydraulic groupset and a slightly different (but equivalent) set of DT Swiss wheels.
Latest deals for the Canyon Ultimate CF SL Disc 9.0 / 8.0
Specialized Roubaix Comp / Elite
The Specialized Roubaix is built for big miles Dave Caudery / Immediate Media
- Super comfy endurance ride with Future Shock front suspension and elastomer seatpost
- 105 shifting with RS505 levers
The Roubaix is something of a benchmark in endurance road bikes and the 2017 model was our Bike of the Year thanks to its exceptional ride quality.
The Future Shock front suspension effectively suspends the rider, while dropped seatstays and an elastomer-equipped seatpost add comfort to the rear end.
Specialized juggled its models for 2018 and the current Elite model is equivalent to the old Comp, albeit at a slightly higher price.
Latest deals for the Specialized Roubaix Comp / Elite
Trek Domane SL 6
The Trek Domane now gets IsoSpeed at both ends Dave Caudery / Immediate Media
- Big mile endurance bike with front and rear IsoSpeed comfort tech
- Ultegra shifting, in-house everything else
The original Domane shook up the world of endurance bikes with its funky IsoSpeed rear decoupler, and the latest Domanes get IsoSpeed up front too.
The SL 6 might seem old school with rim brakes, but it’s a seriously effective machine for big rides.
The 2018 model is £100 more expensive, but gets the latest Ultegra R8000 bits plus highly effective Bontrager brakes.
Latest deals for the Trek Domane SL 6
BMC Roadmachine RM02 105 / Three
The BMC Roadmachine 02 105 blends race and endurance traits for an amazing ride Ben Healy / Immediate Media
- Performance all-rounder is half racer, half endurance machine
- Brilliant ride means we can forgive the so-so spec and unremarkable weight
BMC’s Roadmachine splits the difference between the racy Teammachine and the endurance-focussed Gran Fondo.
It’s a speedy road-going thing with bigger tyre clearances than a conventional race bike, and mounts for mudguards too.
The weight is on the high side for the money and the lumpy RS505 levers won’t be to all tastes, but the Roadmachine more than makes up for it with a brilliant ride and geometry that’s spot-on.
Latest deals for the BMC Roadmachine RM02 105 / Three
Boardman Elite Endurance SLR Disc 9.2
The Boardman Elite Endurance SLR Disc 9.2 has a big spec for the money Ben Healy / Immediate Media
- Racy disc-equipped carbon that’s fit for long distances
- Big spec mixes Shimano Dura-Ace, FSA and non-series hydraulics
Boardman always scores highly for value, and the Endurance SLR is no exception with a full carbon frameset matched to some choice components.
Shifting is from Shimano’s outgoing (but still brilliant) Dura-Ace 9000 derailleurs, matched to very nice non-series RS685 levers.
The cranks are super-light FSA items, while the wheels are middling own-brand ones.
The Boardman offers a great balance between stiffness and suppleness, and it’s pretty light too.
Latest deals for the Boardman Elite Endurance SLR Disc 9.2
Cannondale CAAD12 Disc Ultegra
Cannondale’s Hollowgram Si crank with one-piece 52/36 SpideRing shaves weight off the CAAD12 Disc Ultegra Immediate Media
- Classy looks and comfortable ride
- Shimano Ultegra drivetrain and hydraulic brakes
- Instant response to pedalling and steering inputs
The CAAD12 is up there with the best alloy frames and it looks very tidy in its disc incarnation.
Despite the metal frame, the CAAD12 is lighter than some of the carbon competition and it’s on par in ride quality terms too, offering fantastic all-round performance.
The spec is pretty good too, with Shimano Ultegra, RS685 levers, Mavic Aksium Disc wheels, and Cannondale’s own very cool Hollowgram SI cranks with SpideRing one-piece chainrings.
Latest deals for the Cannondale CAAD12 Disc Ultegra
Cannondale SuperSix EVO Disc Ultegra
The Cannondale SuperSix EVO Disc Ultegra offers a near-HiMod experience for a lot less cash Ben Healy / Immediate Media
- Disc version of Cannondale’s second-tier racer is super stiff and composed
- Ultegra shifting and Mavic Aksium Disc wheels
We love Cannondale’s SuperSix EVO HiMod, but the regular EVO offers a very similar ride for a lot less cash.
This is a bike that loves to go fast thanks to super sharp, rock-steady handling.
It’s definitely a racer, but clever frame design and a super skinny seatpost absorb road vibrations effectively.
The 2017 spec was on par with the competition, with Shimano Ultegra 6800 derailleurs, non-series RS685 levers, Cannondale’s own cranks and decent Mavic Aksium Disc wheels.
The latest 2018 model gets Shimano’s updated Ultegra R8020 hydraulic groupset.
Latest deals for the Cannondale SuperSix EVO Disc Ultegra
Dolan Titanium ADX
The Dolan Titanium ADX is one classy bike for the money Immediate Media
- Titanium endurance machine with a massive, customisable spec
- Lively ride with added practicality
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 latest 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…
Latest deals for the Dolan Titanium ADX
Genesis Datum 20
The Datum 20 is a great choice for British roads Immediate Media
- Big clearance, all-weather road bike with discs
- Carbon frame, 105 shifting plus equivalent hydraulics
Genesis’ all-rounder isn’t the lightest bike around nor the best specced for the money, but it makes up for it with excellent ride quality and versatility.
It’s got hidden mudguard mounts and room to run 33mm tyres with guards fitted.
The build is a solid one with 105 shifting and groupset equivalent RS505 hydraulics. The wheels are nondescript, but the chunky Clement Strada USH tyres are a welcome choice that works well both on road and off.
Latest deals for the Genesis Datum 20
Lapierre Xelius SL600
The Lapierre Xelius SL 600 looks amazing and is hard to fault with a smart selection of components bolted to it Immediate Media
- 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 2018 bike gets Shimano’s latest Ultegra R8000 groupset.
Latest deals for the Lapierre Xelius SL600
Merida Scultura Disc 6000
The Merida Scultura Disc 6000 is a speed endurance machine Robert Smith / Immediate Media
- 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, the 2018 model has proper Ultegra R8000 levers and brakes along with the rest of the groupset. Unfortunately the price has increased by £350 at the same time, but that’s consistent with the rest of the industry.
Latest deals for the Merida Scultura Disc 6000
Ribble R872 Ultegra Di2
The Ribble R872 offers lots of bang for buck Ben Healy / Immediate Media
- Customisable spec offers big value for money
- Slightly firm but snappy ride
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.
Latest deals for the Ribble R872 Ultegra Di2
The Whyte Wessex is designed to be the ‘ultimate UK road bike’ Mick Kirkman
- Carbon disc road machine designed for all weathers and rough roads
- Fat tyres plus the option to run guards
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.
Latest deals for the Whyte Wessex
Cube Litening C:62 Disc
The Cube Litening C:62 Disc is a firm and focussed machine Cube
- Hard-edged disc racer that delights on smooth tarmac
- Ultegra-based build, plus RS685 levers and Mavic Aksium wheels
Cube’s Litening takes no prisoners with a hard ride and an unapologetically aggressive position, but if that suits you it’s a compelling choice with a solid spec.
The 2017 Litening got Ultegra shifting, top-notch non-series RS685 levers and those ubiquitous Mavic Aksium Disc wheels. The 2018 bike is significantly more expensive, but it gets an upgrade Shimano’s latest Ultegra R8070 hydraulic Di2 groupset along with other spec changes.
Latest deals for the Cube Litening C:62 Disc
Focus Paralane Carbon 105
The Paralane Carbon 105 is well suited to putting in big miles Robert Smith / Immediate Media
- Springy all-weather endurance ride is great for putting in big miles
- 105-equivalent hydraulic discs, plus rattly mudguards
Focus’ Paralane is a capable endurance machine that’s well suited to the UK’s endlessly potholed roads.
It’s comfy and lively, and this carbon version is built around a frame that claims to weigh less than a kilo, which isn’t the norm in its category.
Annoyingly, Focus hasn’t sorted out the rattly mudguards which we also experienced on the 2017 alloy version, but it’s still worthy of consideration.
Latest deals for the Focus Paralane Carbon 105
GT Grade Carbon 105 / Expert
If you’re not obsessed with speed the GT Grade Carbon 105 could be the perfect all-rounder Immediate Media
- Fast on the road and fun when you venture off it
- Great components
- Flared bars allow maximum control
The quirky Grade is more all-road than road bike, with features that make it suitable for rougher surfaces than more conventional machines.
Flared bars offer lots of control on bumpy descents, while spindly stays soak up vibration.
The spec is a little less generous than some bikes at this price point, but the Grade opens up new realms of riding and rarely fails to reward.
Latest deals for the GT Grade Carbon 105 / Expert
Ridley Fenix SL Ultegra
The Ridley Fenix SL is a purposeful ride Ridley
- Assertive ride is firm but smooth
- Super stiff chassis rewards powerful riders
Meant for crushing cobbles at speed, the Fenix SL doesn’t cosset you like some endurance bikes, but it does manage to be impressively smooth.
Ridley gives you Ultegra components and modest Fulcrum Racing 7 clinchers, a good, if not exceptional spec. The 2018 bike gets Rotor cranks in place of the groupset-matching Ultegra unit.
Latest deals for the Ridley Fenix SL Ultegra
Ridley Helium X 105
The Ridley Helium X is a more affordable version of the delightful Helium SLX Ridley Bikes
- More affordable version of the top-end Helium SLX
- Underwhelming spec for the money, but still a great ride
Ridley’s super-light Helium SLX has long been a favourite, and the more affordable X version offers a similar riding experience.
The frameset is stiff and exciting, but never harsh, and our tester called it “one of the stars of 2018”.
All the same, the spec is not generous for the money — you don’t even get a complete 105 groupset as various parts are substituted for cheaper third party alternatives.
Latest deals for the Ridley Helium X 105
Rose Xeon CWX-3000
The Rose Xeon CWX-3000 is an eye-catching and capable bike Rose
- Aero meets discs in an eye-catching package
- Rapid and racy, but firm ride
With TT-bike looks and hydraulic discs, the Xeon is meant for both going and stopping quickly.
It’s a firm but communicative ride with a great all-round spec that gets the small stuff (bars, tyres) right alongside the big ticket items.
Unusually, the 2018 bike gets an upgrade to the latest Ultegra R8000 groupset and is also quite a bit cheaper than its predecessor.
Latest deals for the Rose Xeon CWX-3000
Sensa Giulia Evo Ultegra
The Sensa Giulia Evo is a speedy aero racer Dave Caudery / Immediate Media
- Speedy Dutch aero racer
- Ultegra plus modest alloy clinchers
Dutch brand Sensa rivals the likes of Rose and Canyon when it comes to spec, and the Giulia Evo has a lot going for it.
It’s got an up-to-date aero frame and the latest Ultegra components, including brilliant direct mount brakes, the next best thing to discs.
The Sensa is best enjoyed at higher speeds but it’s not a harsh ride.
Latest deals for the Sensa Giulia Evo Ultegra
Sensa Giulia G2 Disc
The Sensa Giulia G2 is a firm but rapid machine Sensa
- Solid Ultegra and hydraulic spec for the money
- Super stiff carbon frame offers great power transfer, but firmish ride
- 2018 bike costs more, but gets Ultegra R8000
The Giulia G2 Disc gets a generous Ultegra-based spec along with decent DT Swiss R24 Spline db wheels.
An ultra-stiff frame makes for efficient pedalling. It’s not a buzzy ride, but the Giulia is best suited to smoother roads where it doesn’t skitter around.
The 2018 bike is a good chunk more expensive, but it gets an upgrade to Shimano’s latest Ultegra R8000 groupset.
Latest deals for the Sensa Giulia G2 Disc