Best Road Bikes
Worldwide, the most widespread form of biking is road cycling. More and more people are getting into it everyday, not only because some of them are thinking of becoming bicycle racers, but also because of the benefits that come from the activity itself. For example, it’s a wonderful way to exercise. Also, many people are preferring to take biking instead of bus or car tours nowadays when they visit scenic destinations.
The perfect road bike for some folks may be one that simply provides them with a safe, comfortable commute to different places in their city or town on a daily basis. Whatever your reasons are for wanting a road bicycle, this guide features extensive research on the subject that will definitely help you narrow down which one is the best choice for you.
10 Best Road Bikes
This 21 speed satisfies all tastes, being that there are lots of designs to choose from. Its features will contribute to an awesome bike riding experience each and every time. The aluminum frame is a lightweight and strong feature that riders appreciate. The fact that it is not heavy is good for commuters who have to frequently take it on and off of bike racks, or on and off the front of a city bus. This bike is made with 7005 aluminum, which is actually aircraft grade material.
Brakes and Wheels
The brakes on this model bike are Promax alloy that allow you to stop safely in all types of weather conditions. It also comes equipped with high-profile Vitesse racing rims that perform as good as they look. The GMC Denali is actually a good mix between a racer and a commuter, and gives a smooth ride on both pavement and back dirt paths. The rims on this bicycle give great stability, and many are surprised at how much grip the tires have at higher speeds. This tough set of tires (700c) hardly pick up things such as pebbles, sharp rocks or other foreign objects that could damage the outside rubber and/or the inside tube.
There's also a GMC series 700 steel fork that contributes to better handling, so even at high speeds you have great control. It also helps to absorb shock when you're on bumpy paths and other types of uneven ground.
Overall, with its wonderful mix of safety and style features, the GMC Denali road bike holds its own as one of the most reliable out there.
- Easy assembly
- Fluid gearing
- High performance tires
- Narrow pedals may need changing
- Seat angle hard to adjust
Nashbar Flat Bar
The bicycle handles very well because of its tapered steering feature. The Shimano 105 drivetrain makes the gears roll smoothly, so you'll have no problem shifting through them. At first sight, you can tell how well put together this road bicycle is, and how well organized the frame style is. It has 11 speeds you can go through easily, and the rims are 24 mm.
This strong road bicycle gives you a smooth comfortable ride, and the road gripping tires perform well in wet and dry conditions. Many cities have paved roads that go and up and down in hill fashion. So, it's good to know that this Nashbar model comes equipped with quality brake pads that allow you to stop on a dime, and this feature is complimented by the nice set of tires on this bicycle. This road bike also has good suspension and a comfortable seat that reduces shock.
Overall, the combination of control and comfort make the Nashbar Flat Bar road bike a winner.
- Light carbon fiber frame
- Racing quality rims
- Good suspension
- May have problems with initial manual settings
Giordano Libero 1.6
One of the best safety features on this road bike are a wonderful set of brakes that perform well anywhere from the race course to a dirt road with potholes, roots and other obstacles. This one comes in the black or red frame which is made of lightweight aluminum. If you're going to be going on biking expeditions in different places across the country, you want to be able to load and unload your bicycle easily. The Giordano Libero 1.6 is just the right weight and size for travelers who'll be driving to different touring destinations.
This bicycle also has great up and downhill performance, and provides a very comfortable ride. Switching speeds while pedaling will be mostly a spontaneous action, and there's nothing worse than wanting to accelerate or decelerate in the moment and you have trouble doing it when you need to. This bicycle has a total of 16 speeds, so at different points during your ride you can shift through gears fluidly from your handlebars.
Another thing you’ll like about the Giordano Libero 1.6 road bike are the 17' wheels. They can handle all types of surfaces from mud to grass, and still hug a paved road noticeably well at high speeds. And, the 32 spoke high-profile rims offer great stability.
You can't go wrong with the Giordano Libero 1.6, a road bike with all the speed, performance and features you'll need.
- Excellent quality at great price
- Easy assembly
- Good acceleration on open road
- Tires may need replacing regularly
- Brakes wear out quickly
Merax Finiss Aluminum 21 Speed 700C
The light frame of this bicycle makes it wonderful for workouts. But don't let that fool you, because this bike can carry riders who weigh over 300 pounds for long distances (it is still recommended that in order to get long time usage out of this quality bike the regular rider be between 200 and 220 lbs). The manufacturer's kept user-friendliness in mind when creating this bicycle.
It's is very portable, and has a quick release feature on the front wheel. You're not going to have your tools with you always, and if you spontaneously want to toss this in the back of the SUV or into the trunk of your car, the fact that you can conveniently remove that wheel will make your day a go a lot smoother.
This one comes equipped with Kendra's road clinching racing tires. These are much lighter when compared to other brands, have a long thread life, and offer less rolling resistance. This brand is not only good for accelerating to higher speeds, but are also very suitable for long-distance endurance riding.
Overall, for one of the best combinations of strength speed and portability, you can't go wrong with the Merax Finiss 21 Speed 700C road bicycle.
- Dependable derailleur/shifter
- Easy, quick release front wheel
- Great tires
- Assembly may be required
- May need seat replaced for longer rides
The Windsor Wellington 2.0
One of the first things to pop in a road bicycle buyer’s mind is if it is the right size for their body. The frame on this Windsor Wellington suits people who are medium height (between 5'7 and 6 feet), as well as folks who are considered tall, over six feet. It also doesn't accumulate a lot of wear and tear very easily. Affordability is also what attracts a lot of buyers, being that the quality of this one is comparable to road bicycles that cost a lot more.
This bike may look plain at first sight, but it outperforms a lot of is competitors easily. It has multiple upper-level components that make it very reliable and durable. The Windsor Wellington 2.0 has a different set of gears than similar road bikes. It's called a dual pivot brake, and allows you to switch gears more easily, even on rough roads at accelerated speeds.
Overall you won't be sacrificing a bit of quality just because of the reasonable price of the Windsor Wellington 2.0.
- Reliable for daily commutes
- Reasonably priced
- Somewhat low quality tires
Retrospec AMOK V2
The flat handlebar is a feature that allows you to dig deeper when pedaling, and put extra energy into your workout. You can accelerate speed and still experience enhanced control. The Shimano derailleurs come in multiple sizes, and this road bicycle handles well whether you're going up or down hill.
The crank and chain are protected because of the way this bike is built for riding through muddy, wet terrain. The Cantilever brakes on the front and back are very easy to tune, and the bearing hubs on this bicycle are also sealed. This means that you won't have to worry about so much maintenance on them. The Low Pro pedals on this one are also comfortable for those longer rides.
One of the most loved features on this on and off road bicycle are the Block 8 Kenda tires, whether you're rolling on pavement, dirt or gravel. The Retrospec AMOK V2 takes on all of these surfaces well with wonderful traction and control. Block tires offer the rider the ability to maneuver quickly, and are wonderful addition to this nice road bike.
Overall if you are looking for a road bike that can perform very well on rougher trails but still has speed on the highway, go with the Retrospec AMOK V2.
- Double wall rims
- Sturdy pedals
- Good tires
- Some dislike the flat handlebar
Diamondback Century Sport
The Enduro design was one of the most unique features on this road bicycle when compared to others in its class. The top tube was considerably shorter than other models, and the head tube was taller. The lengthier head tube on this bike allows the rider to sit into a more comfortable up right position, which is evidence that the bike's manufacturers had the long distance bicycle rider in mind.
At first, this Enduro design wasn't all that attractive to many riders, and some folks even cited difficulties in steering. But it was that exact same feature that made the Diamondback Century sport road bike more likeable and exciting to other riders who enjoyed the unique design.
Good Racing Quality
Although this bicycle can survive on somewhat bumpy terrain, it's better suited for a smooth road ride on a paved surface. It gets excellent acceleration on the highway, and is comparable to racing road bikes that are hundreds of dollars more. It's a lot more comfortable initially than a racing road bicycle normally is, and there are not much if any changes that need to be made from the beginning. All you really need is an open highway, and you’ll see just how much speed and control this bike offers. It actually feels as if you are gliding as you pedal. And, when it comes to making short turns and/or going around tight corners, this Diamondback model will make them look easy.
The cool design and racing features make this a well loved road bike by more new bicyclists every day.
- Comfortable long distance riding
- Highly Durable
- Reasonably priced
- Less experienced riders may have trouble steering
- Design is an acquired taste
This is one of those bikes that has all of the quality components that you could ask for. Whether you're racing, touring, or exercising, each ride is comfortable and enjoyable because the frame is very well built. Aluminum frames have a good reputation for durability. This 21 speed has a 6061 double butted frame, which is very strong and can last for years to come. There are a various colors to choose from, and a padded handle for good grip at low or high speeds on smooth or rugged terrain.
An Unrestricted Ride
You don't want to feel restricted in any way during your ride, and the fact that this Vilano has 21 gears makes it easier for you to adjust to your most comfortable riding speed when you need to. There's a Shimano drivetrain that makes shifting very easy, and the bike also comes with a good set of rim brakes that allow you to come to quick stops. If you're wondering how your bike will feel on rough terrain, the 700c threadless fork helps to minimize the shock factor when going through those bumpy areas. You feel like you have a better control of the bicycle on its nice, comfortable set of pedals, another wonderful feature.
Overall, this Vilano Aluminium road bike lives up to the brand’s good name, and is a quality choice if you want a long lasting, reliable one.
- Sturdy frame
- Affordable price
- Easy shifting
- Tires may need regular changes
Gravity Liberty 1 Shimano Sora
This wide geared, aluminum framed bike has 24 gears that the rider can easily shift through at multiple speeds. The frame itself is precision welded and semi compact, which allows you to sit back comfortably for longer rides. It also packs a good bit of speed to say that is mostly looked at as a touring or commuting bicycle. The frame's geometry also makes it easy for people of varying heights to ride comfortably.
'R' Series Tubing
The tubing on this bike is from Gravity's own 'R’ Series, and sets it apart (as far as style and comfort go) when compared to other similar road bikes on the market. The top tube is hydroformed, and the down tube is bi-oval, which provides high response performance, handleability, and the feeling of enhanced agility during each ride.
Overall, the multiple features and the well-built frame makes the Gravity Liberty 1 a great choice for a long lasting road bike.
- Excellent handling features
- Comfortable on long rides
- May require assembly
- Tires may wear quickly from constant off road riding
Schwinn Phocus 1400
This bike has been popular so far for its frame strength and weight, making it just right for those with exercising in mind. The design of this model is so responsive to individual body motion that whether you were to use it for touring your city, or for taking sometimes rugged dirt bike paths, you would be just as comfortable during each type of these fun rides.
Good Bicycle Control
You will feel a greater agility when riding the Schwinn Phocus 1400. This is a wonderful feature because even expert riders need to feel that same sense of control after accelerating to high speeds. What allows them this is the bike's aluminum frame that's not heavy but is very sturdy. Features like this make this road bike that much more maneuverable, and make quick turns easier to handle. The drop handlebar puts you in that lower aerodynamic position, but the design still gives you that stability that you need.
Easy Gear Shifting
No bicycle rider likes when it's complicated to switch gears. On this Schwinn model, an SR Suntour alloy crank provides a range that's wide enough to change gears fluidly. The 14 speed rear derailleur stands up in various weather conditions, and gives the rider the peace of mind of knowing that if they decided to ride on a somewhat rocky path, or if it started raining out of the blue, they wouldn't have a problem switching gears whenever they're ready to. The Shimano shifters (which are bar mounted) contribute to the quick shifting.
Overall, the Schwinn Phocus 1400 is a wonderful choice for experienced and novice road riders. And, you won't have to break the bank to enjoy a high-quality road bicycle.
- Looks attractive
- Handles well
- Simple assembly
- Thin tire tubes
- May need a brake upgrade
Criteria Used For The Evaluation
Some may not see price as a factor, and it all depends on whether you’re going to be using the bike professionally or more recreationally. You can end up spending too little or too much money on a road bike if you buy one spontaneously without fully knowing your overall intentions for it. Spending right around $500 (give or take a hundred dollars or so) will give you a long-lasting quality road bike, and it’s not advised that you spend over $1,000 if you’re not going to be using it very frequently or professionally. Of course, if there are features that you find attractive (even if you don’t necessarily need them) by all means, buy them if you can afford them. But many everyday bicyclists may see these as unnecessary extras, and they have all the peace of mind they need with the reassurance of safety, lightness and a tough frame on their road bike.
Suspension is a consideration that’s made more on mountain bikes, but it’s also a very important comfort and safety feature to have on road bikes. Having good front suspension on a road bike is common, and having extra rear suspension is not always necessary, especially if you are going to be using your road bike mostly for exercising or a daily commute on smoother, less rugged trails. Road bicyclists take off-road trails at times too, and, when sitting on the seat, they don’t want to feel every single one of those bumps in the path. But, at the same time, having too much rear suspension can make a road bike harder to pedal, and a continuous bouncing action can make it that much more difficult to accelerate spontaneously during your ride.
When someone is thinking of buying a road bicycle they have two main categories to pick from, racing and endurance. On a racing road bike, your torso is set lower, and steering angles are steeper overall, giving the rider greater handling and maneuverability. Bikes that are built for endurance offer a more upright seating position for the rider, Riders are much more relaxed, and have a feeling of enhanced stability on the road bicycle, even when they decide to ride in places other than a paved highway.
Many new road bike riders or may not know exactly what the derailleur does, but they may have heard that it’s important to have. The system itself is made up of chain rings, a cassette block, spy rocket, the chain, and cranks, but the part that you come in contact with as the rider is the shifting lever. It’s recommended that you do not look down at the shifter while you’re changing gears in order to get a better feel for the bike during the simultaneous motions of pedaling and shifting.
You want your tires to last for a while, so you should get the ones that suit your needs best. For example, if you’re planning on racing, you may want to get high performance tires that are normally thinner. Tires that are made to handle more endurance are normally less in price, but they aren’t lacking in quality, and serve bicyclists who regularly take long biking expeditions well.
Whether you are racing or touring your road bike, you need to select the correct size frame for your body length and weight. Other than things like your seat and handlebars, the size of the frame is going to contribute the most to your comfort level during your bicycle rides.
The frame is generally made up of three sections – the seat tube, the top tube, and the head tube. The reach from your seat to the handlebars from a seated position on the bicycle is what should be most considered, as well as how easy it is for your feet to reach and rest onto the pedals. How high or low you have the seat will also make a lot of the difference between you being comfortable or uncomfortable while pedaling. Plus, if you’re a beginner, it’ll be kind of hard for you to simply look at a nice road bike and be able to tell accurately whether it’s the right size for you. It’s smart to try different sizes at your initial purchase, and sit on different bikes with different seats, frames, and handlebars.
If you’re going to be using your road bike for longer endurance trips, then you’ll want a seat that is more cushioned. The most comfortable ones for this purpose are normally wider with softer, plush padding. Getting a seat post with springs will offer an even more comfortable ride.
On the other hand, if you have racing in mind for your road bike, you’ll want what is called a performance saddle. The seats are normally cut more narrowly and have much less padding. This is because when a bicyclist is using their bike for racing, their weight isn’t so much back on their sitting bones, being that they’re tucked very low towards the handlebars during the ride. The space between the bicyclist’s thighs should have as much motion as possible, and that’s another reason why a performance seat is cut so narrow. The design of the seat minimizes chafing, and gives the rider increased pedaling ability.
If you are just starting out racing your road bike, it’s okay to get a thinner performance seat, but your best bet would be to start off with one that actually has some cushioning in it. After a while, once you get used to that one, you can evolve into thinner performance road bike seats that’ll allow you more of a range of motion as you pedal faster for longer distances. Be sure that you’re not setting your seat up too high, because it can cause your body to shift more from left to right as you pedal, making acceleration more difficult and can cause your perennial area to become irritated. Whether you are racing or on a long distance endurance road bike ride, it’s advised that you stand up on the pedals every ten minutes or so, just to reduce the chances of your experiencing this type of irritation.
Q: How much should I spend on a road bike?
Most people are very surprised at the fact that a person who is not an avid bike rider could mistakenly spend as much money as they would for a car on a road bicycle if they are not careful. Spending over $1,000 on a bicycle that you will not use frequently is simply not smart. The amount of money that you spend should balance out well with your overall intentions for the bike. For example, if all you’re planning to do is use your road bicycle a few times a week for exercise, then you can get a quality one for right around $500, maybe even a little less.
Q: Are some road bicycles faster than others?
It’s the job of the salesman and/or the bike company to make certain bikes seem to the consumer like they are so much faster than others. This very well may be true in some instances, but it is important for you to understand that, ultimately, their sales pitch is just a marketing tactic. No, what will get you the most speed on your road bicycle is your experience in riding it, as well as how good the condition of the bike is in. Speed is mostly determined by the conditions you’re riding the bike in (such as you is if you’re riding with or against the wind, or if you’re going up or down hill), and how strong your legs are.
Q: How important is the size of the road bike?
Whether you spend $500 or $1,000+ on your road bike, it won’t be worth it if the bicycle doesn’t fit you comfortably. That being said, it’s important to look at comfort features of the bike that you’re planning on purchasing beforehand, such as how easily adjustable the seat is. Ask yourself how comfortable the original saddle is that comes with the bike, and see whether or not there are other seat options at initial purchase that are more suitable for your body shape, height, and weight.
Q: When can I ride my road bike off road?
Road bikes are mostly made for daily commuting, exercise, city touring, and for long endurance rides. The good thing about them is if you were to ride down a rocky trail that’s not too rugged, then upgrading to a better set of tires will allow you this flexibility from regular paved roads to ones with rocks or holes and obstacles that may make your bike ride somewhat bumpier. Also, getting a road bike with good suspension will give you this flexibility when you decide that you want to pedal into rougher terrain.
Q: What type of upgrades should I get for my road bicycle?
Both professional and amateur road bicyclists make seat comfort a number one priority at purchase. This is a very common initial upgrade, as well as your bicycle pedals, which sometimes are made with metal points that can damage your shoes quickly if you ride the bike frequently during the week. The wheels on the road bicycle may also be a necessary upgrade depending on the type of terrain that you’ll be riding on regularly. For example, you may want tougher, wider, more rugged tires if you will be taking a lot off-road trails.
Q: What materials should my road bicycle be made of?
Materials that your bike is made of will determine how high or low priced it is. Carbon bikes are probably the best balance between price and quality. This is definitely not to say that you can’t get a great deal and a quality bicycle that’s made of steel, aluminum, or titanium. But, when looking across the large scale of professional and amateur riders, carbon is the best price wise, and is one of the most sought out materials among bicyclists across brands.
Q: Should my road bike be mechanical or electronic?
Unless you are a professional rider, then there’s really no need for you to go for electronic shifting, unless it’s just an irresistible feature that you can’t go without. The most high-end road bicycles nowadays have multiple gears in the front and even more on the back wheel. For a beginning rider to get an electronic gear shifting bike would simply be splurging, and getting a mechanically shifting road bike would work out better price wise. You should probably instead use that extra money for other more important features, such as better brakes, more durable tires, or a more comfortable seat.
Q: How high should my handlebars be?
Many new road bicycle buyers may come in with the notion that having a higher set of handlebars will equal more comfort. This is not always true, being that if your handlebars are too high it means that your weight will then be shifted back into the seat. Then, it will feel as if you’re riding with most of your body weight in the back, which will feel uncomfortable and decrease your ability to accelerate speed quickly in most cases.
The same thing can happen if your handlebars are too low, because your body may not lean into them correctly depending on how long or short your arms and legs are, or how wide or slim your body is overall. Even though you may be in that low, aerodynamic position as you pedal, you won’t feel comfortable during your ride if you are forcing yourself into it. This is why things such as your handlebars and seat should be tested out at your initial buying of the bike, so that you don’t run into these aggravating small problems later.
Q: What’s the best design of road bike for me?
Depending on which brand you decide on, your road bike may come with a lot of design and style options to choose from. For example, some people who plan on racing will likely decorate theirs with logos and other flashy designs. Bike riders who do this are many times intentionally trying to attract attention with all the extra designs on their tires and frame. But, a person who will be using their road bike for more low-key purposes (such as touring the city or exercise) would probably not want all these flashy extras, being that in normal everyday situations that colorful bicycle could attract the wrong type of attention, such as thieves.