Best budget road bikes 2024 - Quality bikes at an affordable price point

best budget road bikes
(Image credit: Sergey Mironov)

The best budget road bikes benefit from trickle-down tech from much more expensive models. Although many of the best road bikes are increasingly unaffordable for the average rider, bike manufacturers typically offer budget road bikes that have many of the same modern features as their top-tier models. These bikes, although being at the more budget end of the spectrum, will provide a great ride experience and feel, as well as serviceable componentry.

They might have a heavier frame that's usually aluminium alloy rather than carbon fibre, but their geometry and handling may not be that different from more expensive models. They will have lower-spec road bike groupsets with fewer gears, but you can expect good shifting performance nevertheless.

Likewise, the wheels will be lower priced than the best road bike wheels, but you can expect them to be robust and serviceable and you'll usually get quality tyres

Buying your first bike can be daunting from a technical standpoint, so if you're not sure what you're looking for then we've included a handy guide at the bottom to take you through all you need to know before jumping in. But first, here is our pick of the best budget road bikes.

Quick List

Best budget road bikes

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The best for all-round riding

Giant Contend 1 2022

(Image credit: Giant)

1. Giant Contend 1

The best budget road bike for all round riding

Specifications

Weight: 9.5kg
Groupset: Shimano Sora R3000
Wheels: Giant S-R3
Frame Sizes: S-XL

Reasons to buy

+
Full carbon fork
+
D Fuse technology
+
Impressive sub 10kg weight

Reasons to avoid

-
Arguably a little dull

Pretty much everything on the Giant Contend 1, other than the groupset and brakes, comes from Giant. That’s no bad thing though, as it’s all good quality stuff. You get a decent set of wheels and 28mm tyres from Giant, along with a D Fuse alloy seatpost, which Giant says increases comfort by allowing greater flex in desired directions, without sacrificing stiffness in others.

The frame is made from ALUXX-Grade aluminium, with Giant’s iconic compact frame design and a full carbon OverDrive fork. The groupset is Shimano’s Sora R3000, and you get an almost complete package of components – the only non-Shimano substitute is the Tektro TK-B177 rim brakes but these are good performers nevertheless, so it’s not a huge loss.

It also has mounts for mudguards and a rack, extending its usefulness into the winter months or for commuting/touring. Our only criticism is that it’s arguably a little bit dull, compared to some other bikes listed here.

The best budget road bike for women

Liv Avail AR 2022

(Image credit: Liv Avail AR 2022)

2. Liv Avail AR 4

The best budget road bike for women

Specifications

Weight: 10.77kg
Groupset: Shimano Claris
Wheels: Giant S-R2 Disc
Frame sizes: XXS-L

Reasons to buy

+
Designed using women's body dimension data
+
Tubeless-ready wheels
+
Good range of sizes

Reasons to avoid

-
Would benefit from a groupset upgrade

While some people are still asking the question, 'can women ride men's bikes?', Liv Cycling just goes ahead and creates high-performing bikes for women's specific needs. Designed by women, engineered by women, and tested by women, using women-only body data, it's fair to say that many women will find the Liv Avail AR 4 an incredibly comfortable road bike on a budget. 

Liv's own ALUXX-Grade aluminium frame is a lot more compliant and comfortable than most would expect, while the Advanced-Grade carbon composite fork reduces the overall weight and keeps the front end of the bike light and snappy. 

In terms of spec, the Avail AR 4 matches what many of the other bikes in this list have to offer, with Shimano Claris gearing, mechanical Tektro disc brakes, and tubeless-ready wheels. 

The best for aspiring racers

allez

(Image credit: Specialized)

3. Specialized Allez E5

The best budget road bike for aspiring racers

Specifications

Weight: 10kg
Groupset: Shimano Claris
Wheels: Specialized Axis Sport Disc
Frame Sizes: 44-61cm

Reasons to buy

+
Well finished frame with a choice of colours
+
Good quality components
+
Tyre clearance
+
Mounting points

Reasons to avoid

-
Tektro brakes aren’t quite as good as Shimano’s
-
More upright geometry is less aero than older model

The Allez is Specialized's longest serving road model, one of the brand's original three bikes, and has been updated completely for 2023. Disc brakes reach down to every level, adding greater control to what is a firm favourite for riders first 'proper' road bike. 

The geometry has been tweaked to be slightly more upright than the outgoing model, as we detailed in our first ride review, as well as adding more tyre clearance (up to 35mm), and mounts for permanent mudguards and a pannier rack. The aim seems to have been to make what was a racy bike much more of an all-round package, and should suit anything from sunday club runs, through commuting and winter duties, to light touring and everything in between.

The range of Specialized road bikes can be a bit confusing, but we've got a guide to help you navigate it.

The best for a 105 groupset

B’Twin Triban RC 520 Disc

(Image credit: B’Twin)

4. Triban RC 520

The best budget road bike for Shimano 105

Specifications

Weight: 10.4kg
Groupset: Shimano 105 R7000
Wheels: Triban Tubeless Ready Light
Frame Sizes: XS-XL

Reasons to buy

+
Shimano 105 R7000 groupset
+
Tubeless-ready wheels and clearance for up to 36mm tyres
+
Cable-operated hydraulic disc brakes

Reasons to avoid

-
Workhorse looks

It’s pretty rare to see Shimano 105 R7000 on a budget bike, but that’s exactly what the Triban RC 520 Disc offers. And it’s not just a pricey groupset at the expense of everything else either – you get a modern styled frame with dropped seat stays for extra comfort and heaps of tyre clearance (slick tyres up to 36mm will fit). 

It’s also got mounts for racks and mudguards, the wheels can be converted to tubeless, and Decathlon offers a lifetime warranty on the frame, stem and handlebars. 

Another interesting spec choice is the TRP HY/RD mechanical actuated hydraulic disc brakes. While most bikes at this price point get rim or mechanical disc brakes, the HY/RD offer a significant improvement in power and control. They do require a little more maintenance and certainly add on some weight but the performance benefit is worth it if you are frequently riding in poor weather conditions. 

So what’s the catch? Well, the looks are a little workhorse-like – not bad per se, but just nothing to set your heart fluttering. The externally routed cables also mean you need to be careful with keeping the exposed sections clean and in good condition, to keep everything working smoothly, though this does make for simple maintenance when the time comes. 

The best for mile-munching

Trek Domane AL 3 Disc

(Image credit: Trek)

5. Trek Domane AL 3 Disc

The best budget road bike for mile munching

Specifications

Weight: 10.54kg
Groupset: Shimano Sora R3000
Wheels: Bontrager Affinity Disc rims on Formula Hubs
Frame Sizes: 44-61cm

Reasons to buy

+
Great-looking frame with a choice of colours and a large range of sizes
+
32mm tyres and tubeless-ready wheels
+
Vibration absorbing IsoSpeed fork
+
Front and rear thru-axles

Reasons to avoid

-
The exposed section of cable along the chainstay will require more maintenance

Trek is usually renowned for making bikes that are on the pricier end of the spectrum, so you might be surprised to see one on this list, especially at this price. The Trek Domane AL 3 packs in plenty of value though, with a nicely finished 100 Series Alpha Aluminium frame and Trek’s clever IsoSpeed carbon fork – which swoops forward before the dropout to increase compliance without affecting wheelbase length.

The groupset is Shimano Sora R3000 with Tektro C550 dual-piston mechanical flat mount disc brakes. You get comfortable 32mm tyres and tubeless-ready Bontrager wheels, which is seriously impressive at this price point. There are also eight different size choices, so you can really narrow down the frame size to find the perfect fit.

Trek produces some other options if you suddenly want to expand your budget; head to our guide to Trek road bikes to find out more.

The best for custom options

Ribble R872

(Image credit: Ribble )

6. Ribble R872

The best budget road bike with customisation options

Specifications

Weight: 9.0kg
Groupset: Shimano Tiagra 4700
Wheels: Raleigh Mach 1 CFX
Frame Sizes: XS-XL

Reasons to buy

+
Full carbon frame and fork
+
Lightweight

Reasons to avoid

-
Wheels aren’t the best

The Ribble R872 has a thoroughly modern frameset, and both the frame and fork are full carbon, and a chunky downtube and chainstays offer great pedalling stiffness, while slim, dropped seat stays increase compliance and comfort over rough roads. 

At 9kg, it’s decently lightweight (though there are lighter alloy bikes at this price point), but the Raleigh Mach 1 CFX wheels are more suitable for training rather than racing. You do get a full Shimano Tiagra 4700 groupset though, as well as a dependable finishing kit from Level, Ribble’s in-house brand.

If you absolutely have to have a carbon frame, the Ribble R872 is a great option. Ribble also offers a large degree of customisation through its BikeBuilder tool – meaning you can change key components for size, make upgrades or you can go a step further and build a completely custom bike with a custom paint job - if your budget is really flexible.

Best of the rest - UK and US

Budget road bikes

(Image credit: Courtesy)

7. Trek Domane AL 2

Another quality mile muncher

Specifications

Weight: 9.57kg
Groupset: Shimano Claris R2000
Wheels: Bontrager Tubeless Ready rims on Formula Hubs
Frame Sizes: 47-62cm

Reasons to buy

+
Great-looking with two colours to choose from 
+
Huge range of sizes
+
28mm tyres on tubeless-ready wheels
+
IsoSpeed fork damps vibrations
+
Front and rear thru-axles

Reasons to avoid

-
There's an exposed section of cable along the chainstay that will need more maintenance

Usually known for its more pricey bikes, it's a surprise to us all that Trek has managed to make a lower priced road bike with this type of spec. It offers great value for money, considering the inclusion of the brand's IsoSpeed decoupler technology, which builds compliance into the carbon fork to absorb vibrations from the road and make for a more comfortable ride.

The Shimano Claris R2000 8-speed groupset, despite not being quite top of the range, offers a smooth shifting experience and is easy to maintain and fettle. Providing the stopping power are alloy dual-pivot rim brakes, while the Bontrager tubeless-ready wheels roll on 28mm wide Bontrager R1 Hard-Case tyres.

Finally, with eight sizes to choose from, plus two colour options, it should be plenty easy to find the right Domane for you without breaking the bank.

Head to our roundup of Trek road bikes if you want to know a bit more about the whole range.

Budget road bikes

(Image credit: Courtesy)

8. Fuji Sportif 2.3

The best budget road bike for smaller budgets

Specifications

Weight: 10.13kg
Groupset: Shimano Claris or microSHIFT R8
Wheels: Alex Vera alloy rims with formula hubs
Frame sizes: 46-61cm

Reasons to buy

+
Surprisingly capable and comfortable over long mileage
+
Curved seat stays offer excellent compliance
+
Superb price

Reasons to avoid

-
Brakes aren't amazing
-
Fairly heavy compared to others listed here

If you're in the market for a low-priced mile-munching road bike with endurance geometry, and compliance built into the frame, look no further because you've found it.

The Fuji Sportif 2.3 gives you plenty of spare change to spend on other road cycling essentials, yet it delivers a surprisingly comfortable all-day ride. It's built with a high front end, which will put the rider in a fairly relaxed and upright position, ideal for long hours in the saddle. Meanwhile Fuji's 'Wave' seat stays have a curve built into them, which adds some flex into the alloy frame to absorb some of the road chatter and smooth out the ride.

The frame offers internal cable routing for a tidier look, mounts for a rear rack and fenders, and comes with a choice of either a Shimano Claris groupset, or a microSHIFT R8 group instead.

Marin Gestalt 2

(Image credit: Marin)

9. Marin Gestalt 2

The best budget road bike for a little off-road action

Specifications

Weight: Not specified
Groupset: Shimano Tiagra
Wheels: Marin alloy
Frame sizes: 50-60cm

Reasons to buy

+
Wide tyre clearance
+
Carbon fork
+
10-speed shifting
+
Rack and mudguard mounts

Reasons to avoid

-
Gestalt 2 spec is a little over-budget

Marin Bikes makes some adaptable budget bikes, with the Gestalt 2 offering WTB Exposure Comp 32mm tyres and the option to fit wider tyres up to 35mm, giving the flexibility to head off road for some light gravel riding.

It's equipped with 10-speed Shimano Tiagra gearing, with a 1:1 lowest gear to help you get up the steepest roads, while stopping power comes from Tektro mechanical disc brakes. There are mudguard and rack mounts, making the Gestalt 2 a versatile all-season/all-surface option. If the Gestalt 2 blows the budget, the Gestalt 1 or the base model Gestalt lower the spec but come in less expensive.

Budget road bikes

(Image credit: Courtesy)

10. Diamondback Haanjo 2

The best budget road bike for versatility

Specifications

Weight: 11.34kg (claimed)
Groupset: Shimano Claris
Wheels: Diamondback Equation rims on unbranded hubs
Frame sizes: XS/47 - XL/59

Reasons to buy

+
Super versatile for one bike to do it all
+
Gravel-capable
+
Lots of mounting options, including the fork

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavy

The Diamondback Haanjo 2 may appear to be a better fit for our guide to the best budget gravel bikes, and it certainly comes with gravel capabilities, but first and foremost it's designed to be a do-it-all bike that can perform all the main functions needed without the need to own a quiver. If you're short on storage space and need something affordable that can be used for road riding, commuting, touring and recreational off-road stints, the Haanjo is the one.

The aluminium frame is paired with a steel fork, which admittedly does put it at the heavier end of the spectrum. However, with plenty of mounting options including on the fork, you can set it up however you wish to, and switch things up whenever you need to take the Haanjo for a different kind of ride.

Driven by a Shimano Claris 2x8-speed drivetrain and controlled with Tektro Lyra mechanical disc brakes, the Haanjo 2 comes stock with plush 40mm Vee Rubber Speedster tyres for a super comfortable ride and reduced rolling resistance when fully inflated.

Cannondale Synapse Sora

(Image credit: Cannondale )

11. Cannondale Synapse Disc Sora

The best budget road bike for future upgrades

Specifications

Weight: 10.4kg
Groupset: Shimano Sora
Wheels: RD rims on Formula Hubs
Frame Sizes: 48-61cm

Reasons to buy

+
High-quality frame and full carbon fork 
+
Front thru-axle

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive when compared to other equally specced budget road bikes

At face value, the Cannondale Synapse Disc Sora might seem a little expensive in this company, but Cannondale is providing a high-quality platform that is capable of growing with you as a rider. The bike is built around a tidy SmartForm C2 alloy frame and full carbon fork, both of which have Cannondale’s SAVE (Synapse Active Vibration Elimination) technology built in to increase comfort.

The disc brakes are cable-actuated, but the frame has internal cable routing, through both the frame and fork. The Shimano Sora groupset borrows technology from Shimano's previous top-end drivetrain generations, making for a high performing workhorse-like groupset. Likewise, the Vittoria Zaffiro tyres aren’t the best road bike tyres on the market, but they are from a recognisable, well-regarded brand, and handily come in a 28mm size for extra grip and comfort. 

Head to our guide to Cannondale road bikes to see where the Synapse sits in the range.

Cube Attain Pro 2023

(Image credit: Cube)

12. Cube Attain Pro

The best budget road bike for those who want to stand out

Specifications

Weight: 10.3kg
Groupset: Shimano Sora
Wheels: Cube RA 1.9 Aero Disc
Frame Sizes: 47-62cm

Reasons to buy

+
Full carbon fork
+
Colour matched finishing kit
+
Thru-axle front and rear

Reasons to avoid

-
Matte finish frame not as pretty as the competition

German brand Cube isn’t the most well-known maker of road bikes but the company is known for its progressive designs – often bucking the trend for ‘boring black bikes’. Weighing in a touch above 10kg is impressive for a budget bike that has disc brakes, as is the fact that the Cube Attain comes with a full carbon fork, internal cable routing and nicely colour-matched finishing kit, meaning it looks more expensive than it is.

The durability of Shimano's Sora groupset makes for good value at this price; it all functions perfectly well, offering a slick shifting experience. Cube does a cheaper Attain model, however this Pro version offers some significant upgrades that make the extra cash easily justifiable.

specialized allez sport 2023

(Image credit: specialized)

13. Specialized Allez Sport

The best budget road bike for aspiring racers

Specifications

Weight: 9.16kg
Groupset: Shimano Sora
Wheels: Specialized Axis Sport
Frame Sizes: 44-61cm

Reasons to buy

+
Good-looking frame with two colour options
+
Comfortable contact points
+
Good quality spec

Reasons to avoid

-
Tektro brakes let it down a little

At the entry-level of its road range sits the Specialized Allez Sport, a lower priced road bike with an aluminium frame, carbon fork, rim brakes, and 9-speed Shimano Sora shifting. If you're looking to get into road cycling, whether it's for racing, sportives or just general enjoyment at the weekends, this would make an excellent first road bike.

Forget what you always thought you knew about aluminium road bikes, because Specialized's Allez Sport, with its FACT carbon fork and plush contact points, does a great job of absorbing road chatter and leaving you feeling comfortable as you munch up the miles.

If we had to complain about anything, we'd prefer to see Shimano brakes over the Tektro ones, which just aren't as good.

Check out our guide to Specialized road bikes if you want to find out more about the full range of options.

Liv Avail 1 2022

(Image credit: Liv)

14. Liv Avail 1

Another quality women's specific model

Specifications

Weight: 9.6kg
Groupset: Shimano Sora
Wheels: Giant S-R3
Frame sizes: XS-M

Reasons to buy

+
Specifically built by women, for women
+
Comfortable and versatile
+
Accelerates quickly

Reasons to avoid

-
No large size

No longer just a sister-brand to Giant, Liv Cycling stands on its own as a women-for-women cycling brand that focuses all its energy on creating bikes that women will love. The Avail 1 is its endurance road bike offering, which is versatile enough for long-distance rides as well as weekend sportives and Sunday club rides. 

Rolling along with Shimano's Sora groupset and Giant S-R3 tubeless-ready wheels, the Avail 1 offers reliable and smooth shifting, with a decent range of gears to tackle most terrains.

The spec is excellent at this price point, making the Liv Avail 1 a choice entry-level road bike for anyone hoping to fall in love with the sport. The only drawback is that there's no size large available, so tall women will have to look elsewhere.

Scott Speedster 50

(Image credit: Scott Sports)

15. Scott Speedster 50

The best budget road bike for hard to find sizes

Specifications

Weight: 10.5kg
Groupset: Shimano mix
Wheels: Syncros Race 24
Frame sizes: XXS (47) - XXL (61)

Reasons to buy

+
Low price
+
Huge range of sizes to choose from
+
Beautiful paint job
+
Internal cable routing

Reasons to avoid

-
Rim brakes aren't great for steep gradients

For your first ever road bike, a Scott Speedster 50 is a cost-effective and good quality machine that will deliver a fun ride to get you hooked on the sport. The 6061 alloy frame and fork feature internal cable routing for a neat and clean aesthetic, and the 7-speed Shimano drivetrain with double chainset offers a decent number of gears to power you through most entry-level road rides and sportives.

Tektro rim brakes offer efficient stopping power and simple maintenance, while the Syncros Race 24 rims are paired with Formula Comp hubs and Schwalbe Lugano 28mm tyres for smooth rolling and puncture resistance.

If you're willing to spend a little more, you can get Shimano brakes and a full, named groupset. However, if you're on a tight budget and want something simple that will help you get out on the road to hone your skills, this is a great value option.

Best road bike under £1000: Vitus Razor Disc 2021

(Image credit: Vitus)

16. Vitus Razor Disc

The best budget road bike for year-round performance

Specifications

Weight: 10.61kg
Groupset: Shimano Claris R2000
Wheels: Vitus KT wheels
Frame Sizes: XS-XXL

Reasons to buy

+
Classy looks
+
Disc brakes, 28mm tyres and mudguard mounts
+
Front and rear thru-axles

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavier than other bikes listed here
-
Tyres are slow rollers

The Vitus Razor disc is one of the cheapest ways to get on the disc brakes bandwagon for road bikes.

It has a beautifully finished, double-butted aluminium frame and carbon fork with an anthracite paint job. The Vitus wheels are of a good standard and they also look the part with their all-black rims. The 28mm Kenda Kwick Roller tyres aren't particularly fast-rolling but should provide decent puncture protection, and can easily be upgrade.

The Shimano Claris R2000 groupset is a decent, well-performing kit but the 11-28T cassette could be slightly limiting if you live somewhere very hilly.

How to choose the best budget road bike for you

If you're looking for a lower-priced road bike, that doesn't need to limit your options. Most brands will strive to offer an entry-level road bike that offers a quality spec for those just getting started with road cycling or who want a budget road bike for commuting duties and who maybe have a more expensive machine already.

Here's the lowdown on everything you need to think about when looking for the best budget road bike.

Can beginners use road bikes?

We understand that drop bars, skinny tyres and clip-in pedals can be daunting for some riders, but if you can ride a bike then you can definitely ride a road bike. Getting used to the differences happens pretty swiftly, and if you're worried about clip in pedals then start off with some of the best flat pedals until you're confident enough to make the switch.

Tyres on road bikes have got a lot wider too over the last few years, and many bikes will have tyres that are 28mm wide or more. That offers more grip and a more comfortable ride, as the extra width lets you lower your tyre pressure.

How much should I spend on a road bike?

If you pick a number it's pretty likely you can find a bike for that price, be it £20,000 or £20. The £1,000/$1,000 price point is, in our opinion, where you can start to find really high quality machines that will be reliable as well as able to give you a real performance boost.

There's been significant bike price inflation over the last few years though, so if you can afford it, it's worth looking a bit over this price threshold. The good news though is that even lower priced bikes now often come with features like disc brakes, internal cable routing and quality finishing kit.

What frame material do I need?

Carbon fibre reigns supreme at the top end of the performance pyramid, whereas aluminium framesets tend to occupy the lower end. There's nothing intrinsically worse about aluminium as a material, however, so don't be put off in this regard - we even have a guide to the best aluminium road bikes that clearly shows they can mix it with the best. 

Aluminium bikes will generally be heavier than carbon, but lighter than steel. For an entry level bike they make perfect sense as they're less fragile than their carbon siblings, but won't rust like those made of steel, so you can get a decent level of performance whilst still being able to leave it locked up outside if you need to.

We wouldn't recommend cheap carbon bikes that don't come from trusted manufacturers; good aluminium is better than cheap carbon.

How many gears do I need on my bike?

This will be a function of the groupset that comes with the bike you buy (all the drivetrain components). Budget road bikes will almost invariably come with Shimano components, which is no bad thing as they're reliable, robust and easy to use and service. 

More expensive offerings may reach 11speeds, while more wallet friendly models may only have 8 or 9 speeds. More isn't necessarily better though, provided the bike has ample range for the terrain you're riding on - the more gears you have the finer the tolerances are for smooth shifting, and so the more maintenance they require. 

In short, fewer gears will be more forgiving if you're not the sort of person who takes the utmost care of their bike, and they're a little easier to learn basic bike maintenance on too.

Do I need disc brakes?

While discs have taken over at almost all price points, they haven't yet begun to totally dominate road bikes at the entry level. Discs are on the whole better, especially in the wet, but riders have been using rim brakes without issue for decades so they aren't the be-all and end-all. 

Our top tip would be to invest in some quality brake pads, which can make lacklustre rim brakes a noticeable amount better. 

What components should I get on my bike?

If you're buying with a set budget there will always be a compromise. A better frame will likely come with worse components, but this leaves it ripe for future upgrades. Conversely a less expensive frame may be built with higher quality componentry.

If quality build kits are what you're after then you can usually get a little more bang for your buck with direct to consumer brands like Ribble or Canyon, who cut costs by cutting out the middleman. Be sure of your sizing before you commit though!

What else should I look for?

If this is your first road bike you'll probably be looking to use it year round, so mudguard mounts will be particularly useful. Also, if you plan on using it for commuting then the ability to add a pannier rack to take your belongings to and from the office will also be of benefit to you. This will also mean you can use it for some light touring too, if the mood takes you.

Don't forget to budget for the extras you'll need like a helmet, lights and a pump. A pair of the best cycling shorts can be expensive but w