Best Beginner Road Bike – Reviews & Buying Guide
Cycling with road bikes has gained vast popularity over the years. And the rise of the Tour de France might have inspired you to take cycling as a serious weekend hobby. Or maybe you’ve begun envying your mates who are growing healthier with their regular commutes. These scenarios might have made you want to search for the best beginner road bike out there.
Riding a road bike indeed is the sportful activity keeping you active while also paving a distinct way to meet new people and explore the surroundings. Road bikes, additionally, have everything that it takes to satisfy the thrill-seekers and competition lovers.
When it comes to purchasing a new road bike, the profusion of available options can hugely confound you. To make the process less daunting to you, we have come up with this best entry-level road bikes review followed by an ultimate buying guide, so you get it all sorted out beforehand.
- Best Beginner Road Bike Reviews
- 01. Vilano R2 Commuter Aluminum Road Bike
- 02. Giordano Libero 1.6 Men's Road Bike
- 03. Eurobike Road Bike XC7000 14 Speed
- 04. LZ-550 Steel Road Bike
- 05. Pure Cycles Classic 16-Speed Road Bike
- 06. 6KU Aluminum Fixed Gear Fixie Urban Track Bike Single-Speed
- 07. Diamondback Haanjo 1 Gravel Adventure Road Bike
- How You’ll Choose The Best Entry Level Road Bike-Buying Guide
- FAQs About Purchasing an Entry-Level Road Bike
- Final Word
Best Beginner Road Bike Reviews
To set you up for the best possible start, here we begin our road bike reviews. We have handpicked the best ones out there that will fit your bill while offering close to pro-level specifications.
01. Vilano R2 Commuter Aluminum Road Bike
Want the best possible riding experience, no matter how the terrain is? A multi-speed road bike is all that you need. Spare yourself from aching your muscles with this Vilano R2 Aluminum Commuter bike that comes with 21 speed.
The aluminum frame is a 6061 double-butted. The attractive glossy black frame stuns you with its look and lightweight.
The fixed fork and the head-tube are made of aluminum as well. The welds are done brilliantly to make it stay durable throughout rough terrains. Besides, you’ll hardly struggle with the controls on steeply inclined roads.
The 21-speed bike has Shimano Tourney derailleurs implemented on both its front and back that rarely compromises any miss while changing the gears. The almost latest biking tech incorporated gears may amaze you when you consider its price.
Alloy caliper brake is something that makes the performance of this bike like a high-end bike. It nearly matches the quality of a racer allowing you to ride it in long rallies.
The 700c wheelset has doubled CNC walled machined alloy sides, which may not be as desirable compared to its other components. A few users have complaints about the tires too. However, they don’t seem to be that much unconventional, and they get their job done pretty well.
This Vilano R2 is extremely lightweight because of its aluminum body that’s also finely welded for better durability. Despite the quality shifters, it may require some time for getting used to for its design. Although the complaints regarding the tires cannot be overlooked, we find no reason not to recommend this neat and balanced bike considering its price.
02. Giordano Libero 1.6 Men's Road Bike
Are you looking for an exotic bike rather than a local one? You can go for this Italian made Giordano Libero that finely fits within the scarcity of your budget.
Giordano 1.6 is famous for its superb piece of hand-crafted 6061 aluminum frame. Weighing nearly 24 lbs, this bike is light in weight having higher durability. The fork and headtube, however, are not the same material, it’s made of high tensile steel instead that is easily maneuverable.
The side-pull alloy front and rear brakes are powered up with Shimano ST2300 16-speed drivetrain for convenient controlling throughout your rides. A Shimano RD2300 derailleur on its front is partnered with a Shimano FDAO50 on its rear.
The makers have incorporated it with a pair of 700X25c aluminum wheels that are strong yet lightweight. They have also designed it deftly enough to allow you easy climbing uphill.
Three different size options are there to offer you enough selection choices according to your body length. The large one suits riders with a height of 6’2” to 6’5”, the medium suits those with 5’8” to 6’, and there’s also a small size that is suitable for shorter riders with 5’1” to 5’8” height.
This Giordano Libero men’s bike is an ideal choice for transportation in your everyday activities, especially for beginner roadies. The polished combination of beauty, stability, and convenience make it a precise option for casual rides or exercises. However, you may want to exchange the saddle for a better one, which may not comfort you during long tours. But apart from that, it’s a decent choice of a bike for the money.
03. Eurobike Road Bike XC7000 14 Speed
We have yet another Eurobike to introduce to you that looks pricier way beyond its actual price. You may even mistake it for a carbon bike because of its aero shaped design.
The bike may not be an aero carbon bike, but its 6061 aluminum built fork and frame makes it so lightweight to bring you better speed gains. The ergonomic look also suggests how competent this bike will be for racing.
The thicker frame and a thicker headtube make it much stiffer in contrast to its steel-made counterpart we’ve discussed earlier. And you’ll be able to figure the difference while riding out on a bumpy road.
Your impression on this bike won’t wane a bit when you take a look at its groupset. Shimano Claris ST2400/R2000 shifters are doubled up with a matched pair or Shimano Claris derailleurs. The 34/50T chain wheel boasts an aluminum crank.
Unlike its fellow Eurobike LZ-550, which has disc brakes on it, this one has Shimano caliper brakes implemented on it which is very much the hype nowadays. This XC700 has a pair of deep-section rimmed wheels as well supported with an internal cable routing.
The aesthetics of this bike do hold some value too. The back seat is positioned much lower than the other contenders on our list. This position is a proven trait that helps it with lower drag.
A well-balanced component quality makes this Eurobike XC700 road bike a decent choice for beginners for the longer term. It decreases the loads far better than the other models we have here because of its deftly engineered body design. As a result, it hardly puts any negative impacts on your stamina while riding beyond the wind. Born to race, this aerodynamic road bike has multiple color options to choose from red, blue, and white.
04. LZ-550 Steel Road Bike
If you’re looking for a premium-looking road bike that fits within your low budget, this LZ-550 might be your perfect match.
The featured luxurious-looking bike comes with a durable fork and frame made of high-grade steel. The athletic iron-racing handlebar adds to the rider’s comfort during rides. It also provides you with the lower back support with an ergonomic seat post design.
The bicycle has a 21-speed Shimano A050 gear along with Shimano TX-30 shifters to help you commute fast with quick and smooth gear shifting facility. A Shimano TZ30 front derailleur is paired with a Shimano TZ50 in its back.
The 160mm aluminum dual disc brakes are one of the bike’s core attractions. The 7-speed KMC chain adds to its efficiency along with the alloy rims. The dual brakes enable you to power up in adverse weather conditions.
The stunning three-spoke wheels are accommodated with 700x28c tires offering better traction on the road. The highly durable bike takes up to 300 lbs of weight whereas it weighs nearly 32 lbs itself.
We find the LZ-550 an outstanding road bike. With the specs and the splendid look, it can be considered an excellent choice for the entry-level bikers. The dual disc brakes ensure superior control with additional safety that would effectively assist every beginner. A bit heavier build and the potential rust issues might be the primary concerns, but it still a great choice with the steal of a price.
05. Pure Cycles Classic 16-Speed Road Bike
Have you been looking for an affordable way to commute while getting ready to go a level up in your racing career? You can pick this 16-speed road bike from Pure Cycles, which is also a convenient choice for moving around the town.
The bike boasts a range of classic components along with the brand name of Pure Cycles. Take the classical steel frame, for instance. The 4130 Chromoly steel-made sturdy yet lightweight frame is secure on your throw while riding tricky trails with hardly any fatigue.
The classically curved drop bar and the forks are also made of the same Chromoly steel. Meaning, your riding comfort remains very much on the ease while rarely facing any control issues with the brakes or the shifters.
It comes with an easily operable Shimano Claris drivetrain that has an astutely positioned gear lever to make accurate shiftings a piece of cake. Both the front and rear alloyed caliper brakes do the stopping job efficiently enough to make sure the bike doesn’t move an inch while you pull them.
Those with extra weight will love its 17mm deep alloy rims. The rims are sturdy enough to support additional loads, and they are also supported by a rigid set of stainless steel spokes. Besides, a pair of Hutchinson Nitro tires also tag along with this bike to partner you all-year-round weather conditions.
If you’re ready for a spiced up biking experience, you’ll need a road bike that neither compromises your comfort nor its functionality. This sturdy 16-speed Pure Cycles road bike is exceptional in this regard, which doesn’t knock you off with your budget either. This beginner-friendly bike is an excellent choice for sure.
06. 6KU Aluminum Fixed Gear Fixie Urban Track Bike Single-Speed
If you've ever thought of buying a classy urban bike that would hardly break the bank, this 6KU track cycle might be the one you've been looking for. It's a single-speed fixed gear beauty that rides wonder.
This aluminum framed track bike is naturally pricer than its steel-framed counterpart of the same model, which makes it genuinely more lightweight. This aluminum version in 58 cm in size that weighs only 21 lbs. It’s 1-⅛” alloy fork makes sure you can easily handle it on longer rides.
It has a flip-flop hub on its back wheel, which gives you the option to ride freewheel with its single-gear cog and also to ride with its fixed cog. The makers have equipped it with front/rear alloy brakes and replaceable pads for effortless stopping.
The 30 mm alloy wheels are surely enjoyable, making it even lighter to handle. Its double-walled construction increases its durability while also providing better cushioning during rides. We couldn’t help appreciating the 700x25c tires that add so little weight on to the bike keeping the trips smooth and pleasurable.
This 6KU Urban Fixie comes at an affordable price having a sleek design and multiple color options to make it a great entry-level bike. Yes, there are some issues regarding the plastic pedals and narrower handlebars. But we can hardly overlook its well-equipped other components in contrast to its lower price.
The bike is easy to ride and provides comfortable rides to accompany you throughout the explorations of your town. Happy customers have already been raving about the bike’s great adjustability and modest price tag.
07. Diamondback Haanjo 1 Gravel Adventure Road Bike
Want to upgrade your average commuting experience to a remarkable level? Take a look at this gravel adventure bike from Diamondback Haanjo series. The impressive worry-free durability, along with the superior riding comfort, is undoubtedly going to take your breath away.
How many times have you thought of having a bicycle frame that would offer you the endurance geometry? The aluminum 6061-T6 alloy frame provides such a feature to offer you the worry-free durability you crave for.
With this sleek looking bike you can keep your dryness all the way bringing your gear along, thanks to its superb Gravel disc steel fork that has low-rider rack mounts and fenders.
The Tektro Aries disc brakes are one of their own innovations that deliver nearly a top-notch Shimano hydraulic stopping. It’s one of the first road brakes to come up with flat-mount technology. This technology provides a much cleaner, inline appearance while the braking mechanism powers you up in every condition.
If you had been budged a lot with shifting struggles while speeding up through the terrains, the Shimano Acera 1x9 drivetrain would help you forget those issues with its simplistic yet ultra-reliable shifters and Shimano Acera RD-T3000 derailleurs. The 700c wheels come with Diamondback’s patented 28h double-walled equation rims that deliver thoroughly responsive turns in the most adverse of conditions.
If you’ve been looking for a cheaper alternative to the catchy high-end mountain and trail bikes, look no further. This Haanjo trail bike from Diamondback is the real deal out there. It’s a born road bike that gives you the feel of a highly competent mountain bikes in rough terrains. Despite requiring you to buy several standard components separately, it’s an unmatched trail bike to have for the price.
How You’ll Choose The Best Entry Level Road Bike-Buying Guide
Well, choosing the perfect road bike is nearly a daunting task for sure. The wide range of types, frame materials, and so many component options can be pretty bewildering. This hassle may also waste a lot of your time.
To cut off that time-consuming phase, we have prepared this buying guide for you. We have gone through dozens of beginner road bikes, tested the key aspects, and compiled a complete reference of their features, so you get a concise yet in-depth idea about them. Let’s have a look at how to choose the best beginner road bike.
Types of Road Bikes
The bike type jargon is one of the most confusing terms when you are newly engaging in cycling. Numerous types of road bikes come with subtle design variations that make them perform more efficiently at particular disciplines.
For instance, Aero road bikes are the best fit if you want to slice through the wind drags at mid-end or high-end speeds, but it's not good for relaxed, slower rides. Similarly, commuter bikes are best for comfort and reliability. You may want to go for endurance bikes to explore hilly terrains and long distances. There are Adventure and gravel road bikes for general rides and off-roading. You also have the option to pick flat bar road bikes if you want to get the feel of a mountain bike. And there are several specialized variations of women’s road bikes as well.
Frame and Fork Material
The construction and geometry of frames and forks greatly affect the way a bike performs. You can choose the frame and fork material of your road bike from a number of options. They are-
This is the most common frame material, known mostly for its traits like corrosion resistance, better weight-to-strength ratio, and fairly light body weight. The downside is, they fatigue faster over time than others. However, the newly engineered aluminum alloys absorb impacts better than the normal ones. Aluminum forks are light and stiff in general. They can be aerodynamically shaped to offer comfortable rides on rough roads.
02. Carbon Fiber:
This material is a unique blend of high-tech fabric impregnated with resin and not actual metal. A carbon frame is super stiff, extremely light yet durable. They can be shaped and joined in endless ways to provide almost every kind of desired ride quality. Being totally immune to corrosion and naturally capable of absorbing shocks, these carbon forks also offer fine handling. Because of the high cost of carbon fabric and resin, the price of these carbon frames and forks is on the high end.
This frame material is the longest-lasting, costliest, and strongest of all. It’s best known as the combination of the best traits of all the other materials. It has the weight of aluminum, the comfort of steel, and the sprightly ride of carbon to make you feel its liveliness with each pedal. Because of the additional cost and weight issues, titanium forks are rarely produced, and most of the frames are manufactured with carbon forks.
Steel has been the most traditional choice of frame material for road bikes for decades. It provides easy bending and shaping while also allowing endless assemblage methods making it very much adaptable to a beginner cyclist. It also offers easier rides, durability, easier repairs, and affordability. Steel is an excellent material for forks as well. It is shapable to multiple types, including the aero ones. It repels shocks to fuse rough roads. However, steel forks are heavier than the others mentioned on this list.
Gears are the key to maintaining the pedaling speed with comfort. They help you retain the riding cadence no matter how adverse the terrain is. Most road bikes come with a minimum of 18 gears, but the number can also be more than 30, it depends on how many cogs and chainrings the bike has.
For beginners, it’s best to focus on low gears first for climbing the hills. The smaller chainrings or the low gears make climbing easier. Besides, they help cut off the difficulties when riding and shifting as a newbie. One gear is good for effortless riding, you can go for two if one is too annoying for you, or you may want to stick with three if keeping the overall balance is your priority, and even if you speed it all up you should not exceed the 21-speed range as a novice.
With shifters, you can move the bike’s chain between the cogs of the rear cassette and the front chainrings. Each of the shifters controls a cable attached with a derailleur. The shifters may come mounted on the handlebars, or they can be integrated with brake levers. In some bikes, they are attached to the downtube, or the drop bar ends. Choose the one that you find comfortable for you.
Like brakes, the drivetrain is also considered as the engine room of a bike. It consists of the chainrings, cranks, chain, cassette, shifters, and derailleurs. The drivetrain is similar to a closed circuit that propels your bike. Most entry-level road bikes come with drivetrains made with aluminum and steel. Spending a bit more money on it increases your bike’s durability, efficiency, and shifting performance decreasing the weight. You can go for higher-grade alloys or carbon fiber to add up to your bike's durability and performance.
Chainset: Chain-rings and Cogs
Most road bikes have two or three chain-rings on the front. Two chain-rings are pretty much the norm, but three are reserved commonly for entry-level road bikes or touring bikes. Some bikes have also followed the trend of mountain bikes with a single chain-ring, minimizing the potential mechanical issues. A single chain-ring also simplifies the shifting of the rear cassette.
A regular setup has 53 teeth on the cogs while 39-teeth on the smaller ones. It’s common among professionals. A compact setup sees 50-teeth on the large and 34-teeth on the smaller cogs, providing much easier pedaling making it an ideal choice for beginners. For easier pedal ratios and greater spread of the gears, choosing a bike with smaller chainrings on its front and a larger cassette on its back is astutely the best option.
Road bikes come with several brake variations. Spoon brakes, Duck brakes, Rim brakes, Disc brakes, Drum brakes, Coaster brakes, Drag brakes, and Band brakes to name a few. But it comes down to only Rim brakes and Disc brakes when the combination of comfort and performance is your priority. Let’s see how they fare.
a. These brakes apply force to the rim directly, or the wheel sideways.
b. Below the tire, a textured, machined braking surface at the rim’s edge handles the stopping when the brake lever is pulled.
c. They are known for reduced weight and simplicity.
a. A steel disc rotor is placed at the wheel hub, from where the brake caliper is mounted on the frame clamps the rotor.
b. Two variations of disc brakes are available. Hydraulic and Mechanical. The complicated hydraulics work with the help of hydraulic brake fluids that are also found on automobiles and motorcycles. The simpler mechanicals, on the other hand, is cable-actuated. Pulling on the lever pulls the braided steel cable, which applies braking force onto the rotor.
c. Disc brakes enable more finite control while braking and provides constant power no matter what the condition is.
Wheel and Wheel Size
The rim depth and width of a wheel largely dictates how you’ll ride and feel. The modern rims are wider than the earlier-generation-rims, which is pretty much a trend now. Rims with more depth are more aerodynamic. With better aerodynamics as well as greater tire air volume, they provide better comfort, but at the same time, they are more affected by the wind than shallow rims.
The rim diameter is another key factor. 29-inch tires are the same diameter as 700c rims, which is the standard size for road bikes. This is the size key for retaining momentum while riding. The relatively smaller road bikes come with 650c, and this size is specified for 26-inch tires. There are even smaller variations like 24-inch and 20-inch tires, which are for junior riders.
Tires and Tubes
Most racing road bikes run on tires withing the width range 18mm-23mm. For casual riding or riding as a beginner, you need an additional grip, which will require you to go for 25mm or 28mm tires. Narrower tires provide lower traction and more speed, but with less stability, they provide less comfort. Most tires come without treads, meaning a better cornering grip.
It’s worth knowing Tubular, Tubeless, and Clincher tires, the three tire variations. The Tubulars are generally reserved for professionals, while the Tubeless is quite a new trend. The Clincher needs an inner tube for holding air. The tubes are required to go along with the specifications of the wheels and tires for avoiding pinching or overstretching. If the size and thickness mismatches, there’ll be possibilities of fatal issues regarding the weight and performance.
Weight is surely one of the key factors regarding the riders’ comfort. The weight of any bike depends largely and almost solely on the frame material. As we’ve said before, Carbon frames offer the lightest bodyweight with a sprightly ride. Aluminum comes followed by, which is fairly lightweight with an overall balance of speed and comfort. Titanium has the weight of aluminum and it gives you the feel of carbon when you ride.
When it comes to assembling your bike, ask yourself- “How often am I going to do this by myself?” If you are a self-motivated person who loves to do his stuff by himself, going for a bike with easy assemblage is necessary. Among the frame types, steel has the most number of ways of assembling where titanium gives you the hardest time. Assembling aluminum frames is almost similar to the steel frames, and they are easily adaptable. The carbon frames, because of its shape variations, have so many complexities in the assemblage.
The limiting factor that plays the biggest role while purchasing a road bike is your budget. The enormous price range of entry-level road bikes starts from 200$ that extends up to 7000$ for premium performance bikes. Spending big ensures the alleviation of weight, improved stiffness, better shift quality, superior durability, and ultimate comfort. But regardless of this price range, you can choose a great bike that’s good enough to serve the purpose.
As you go for a bike having a renowned brand name on it, the quality and the material of its fork and frame will change accordingly. A typical upgrade from steel to aluminum, then aluminum to carbon may happen only when you spend your money buying your bike from a well-renowned brand. The groupsets will achieve similar upgrades like low to high-grade steel, then high-grade alloys, then high-grade aluminum alloys and such.
Breaking or damaging your bike and spending hefty bucks on them every time is definitely not the best practice. Especially when you are a beginner, you tend to damage your bike more often than the regular road bike riders. So, you must pick a road bike that offers you a warranty with lengthy enough a period.
FAQs About Purchasing an Entry-Level Road Bike
Q1: For what purpose I need a road bike actually?
Ans: They are best for racing and riding longer distances. They make great workout bikes too.
Q2: Are the tires of road bikes more flat-prone?
Ans: Sadly, yes. The narrower the tire is, the more flat-prone it gets.
Q3: How can I determine the required size of my bike?
Ans: The easiest way is to stand over it. Putting your shoes on, clear the bike’s top bar inch by inch. However, different manufacturers have different ways to measure a bike size. It’s always a good practice to follow their instructions and test accordingly.
Q4: In which sector I can eye for saving a few bucks as a new biker?
Ans: We always recommend to purchase the best one you can afford. When you buy a pricier yet high-grade bike, you can enjoy the longer-lasting level of performance and fun, which also inspires you to explore more.
Q5: Literally, how less can I spend to avail a decent new road bike still?
Ans: Well, we’ve seen a lot of technological filters down from professional rider bikes. In effect, you now can get an excellent beginner bike for less than $600. Only you’ll have to figure out your demands and the efficiency of the bike.
Q6: Is there any particular time in the year when I can get the best deals?
Ans: You can lurk around the Amazon website during the Amazon Prime day, black Friday deals, or Cyber Monday deals where Amazon offers steller deals at reduced prices.
There are tens of thousands of different beginner road bikes out there with so many types, variations, and price tags. Since not all of them are equally great, choosing a suitable one for yourself is pretty challenging. Hopefully, selecting one from our reviews above will spare you the hassle allowing you to tackle down the roads with comfort and peace of mind. Or you can go through all the directions we have provided in our buying guide and make the best pick yourself.
The choice is yours. So go ahead, get the perfect entry-level road bike and experience the joyful first ride you deserve.