Road biking has quickly become one of the most popular methods of exercise over the past few years. Bicycling is superb for burning calories and shedding stubborn fat from the body. While beginners and casual bikers may be satisfied with their biking experiences using a simple 10-speed, true cyclists that want a great ride will want to purchase one of the best road bikes under $1,000 they can find.
Why? A quality road bike is built to last, provides comfort and functionality well beyond that of a simple bicycle, they’re light, and made for speed and you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for it.
Buying a Quality Bike
Unless you’re a very casual cyclist, having a top-notch bike isn’t just recommended, it’s a necessity. Road bikes are designed to be lightweight and very fast. They’re built for racing. Face it, a simple, run-of-the-mill bicycle isn’t going to cut it when you want high-grade performance.
The Perfect Bike
For the ultimate road biking experience you need a piece of equipment that will help you maximize your speed, provide optimal comfort for those long pedaling sessions, and conquer the open road. A traditional bike just can’t live up to those expectations. In order to get the most of your hobby you need a bike that will perform well under any circumstances.
What to Look for in a Road Bike
Quality Frame – One of the most important aspects that you need to keep an eye out for is a great frame. The frame makes up the majority of your bike. It’s a key element in determining the overall weight and speed of your ride, too. Most road bike frames are made from aluminum, but some companies also make frames from either steel or titanium.
Size – Sizing is important no matter what kind bike you plan to buy. Getting a bike that is either too tall or too short for your stature will result in a rather unpleasant riding experience. You’ll definitely want to make sure that the size is adequate enough to accommodate your legs. If you find that you’re cramping your knees too much, go bigger. If, however, you’re straining from stretching a bit much, go smaller.
Wheels – Aside from the perfect frame and optimal size, the next most important thing to look for in a road bike are a great set of wheels. The wheel has a huge amount of influence on how smooth and responsive your bike is. Quality wheels will be lightweight and provide excellent control.
Best Road Bike under $1,000 Reviews for 2018
1. Schwinn Phocus 1600 Drop Bar Road Bicycle
Schwinn is a company that is well-known for it’s dedicated to excellence when it comes to bikes. The Phocus 1600 700C is a bold testament of their incredible engineering and pride in their work. The bike features an aluminum frame, 14 speeds, powerful brakes, lightweight wheels, and everything else you could ever want or need from a road bike.
The frame is easily one of the best aspects of the Phocus. It’s incredibly light and has a carbon fiber road fork. This makes for a very stable and sturdy construction, but it also gives the bike the ability to fly on the road. The shifters operate very smoothly, too, which makes it easy to switch up gears while riding.
- Strong and Lightweight Frame
- Smooth Changing 14-Speed Derailleur
- Sturdy, Lightweight Wheels
- Perfect Size for People 5′ 10″ to 6′ 2″
- High Performance for an Affordable Price
What’s to Like About the Schwinn Phocus 1600 700C
This bike is definitely a popular choice for both beginner and advanced road cyclists. Nearly everyone agrees that for the price, you won’t find a better bike. Like this guy said in his review, you really can’t beat the quality and performance of the Phocus in this price range. The bike tames even the roughest roads and has a braking system that can stop you on a dime. There’s a lot of bang for your buck in this package.
What’s Not to Like
While we’d love to say that this bike is the perfect specimen, it’s not. Then again, nothing is. Perhaps the biggest flaw with the Phocus is the quality of the included tires. Schwinn ships this bike out with rather sub-par tubes that don’t take a lot to damage. Several people have stated that the tires become deflated even if they aren’t punctured after riding 30 to 50 miles or so.
Overall, despite the tire issue, the Phocus 1600 700C is still our number one choice of road bike. It has the same quality and performance you’d expect to get out of a bike twice its price. Right now the Phocus gets around a 4.5 out of 5. We highly recommend it, especially for beginners.
2. GMC Denali Road Bike
GMC is mostly known for, well, their vehicles, but did you know that they also have a line of high-quality bikes? Well, they do and they’re actually quite awesome. The Denali Road Bike, for example, bridges the gap between riding in style and having a high-performance bicycle that can tackle anything you throw at it. It’s a sleek looking ride, but it’s also got all of the necessary components for comfort, speed, and smooth sailing.
This is a 21-speed model that’s made with a durable, yet light, aluminum frame. Equipped with high-profile racing rims, a super-smooth transitioning derailleur, and high-performance tires this bike really packs a lot of punch for the money. It’s classy in appearance, rugged, rides smooth as butter, and is affordable. What’s not to love about this machine?
- 21 Riding Speeds
- Super Light Aluminum Frame
- Strong and Lightweight Racing Rims
- Smooth Changing Shimano Derailleur and Shifters
- Powerful Tires Ready for Road Racing
What’s to Like About the Denali Road Bike
The Denali is a serious rider’s bike with a beginner’s price tag. It’s loaded with features you’d typically find on models two to three times the cost and it looks great, too. The bike weighs in at about 27 pounds, it’s incredibly durable, it’s equipped with racing rims, and the gear changes are velvety smooth.
What’s Not to Like
Despite it’s lightweight construction, this bike is a little husky compared to other models. This is due to a few components being a bit heavier than those found on similar bikes. One reviewer pointed out that you can swap out parts such as the wheelset to make the bike a little lighter than it is in the factory condition.
All in all, the Denali is still an excellent bike and it takes the silver medal in our honest opinion. The bike needs to be slightly lighter and the tires could be a bit higher-grade, but it’s still an excellent value. If you’re looking for a great ride at a budget price, this is definitely the bike we’d recommend.
3. Giordano Libero Men’s Road Bike
If you weren’t impressed with our top two selections or they don’t come in your size, you may want to check out this nifty road bike from Giordano. It’s a great-looking bike that is handcrafted, has a solid aluminum frame, features 16 riding speeds, and comes in three different sizes. The bike is specifically for men, though, sorry ladies!
The Libero 1.6 has a great frame on it, is relatively lightweight, comes equipped with Shimano Claris STI shifters and rear derailleur, and even includes dual water bottle mounts for taming your thirst during those extended road trips.
- Handcrafted, Beautiful Design
- Well-Made Aluminum Frame
- 16-Speed Derailleur
- 2x Water Bottle Mounts
- Comes with a Kickstand
What’s to Like About the Giordano Libero 1.6
This bike has a lot going for it. The frame is built well and incredibly sturdy. The gears change quite easily through all 16 speeds, even after months of use. On top of all that the bike is a fair price for what you get.
What’s Not to Like
This seems to be a common problem with getting road bikes in this price range, but the included tires are a bit shoddy. You’ll find that after a few rides you’ll more than likely want to replace them as they tend to leak air a bit and even go flat. Another drawback is the weight. Like the Denali above, the Libero weighs roughly 27 pounds, making it rather bulky when compared to some other models. A couple buyers have also mentioned that the brakes could be a bit better.
Despite the small nuisances associated with the tires, weight, and brakes, the Libero 1.6 is still a strong contender in the world of road bikes. That’s why it clinched the third place spot on list of the best road bikes. It’s definitely an ideal choice for beginners.
4. Schwinn Phocus Drop Bar Road Bicycle
Yes, another Schwinn bike has cracked our top five! It’s well deserving of it, though. This particular model has a proper aluminum frame, a sturdy fork, great handling, 14 speeds, and brakes that never quit. It’s truly a work of art. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of it, though, is the ridiculously low price. This is probably the higher quality road bike you’ll ever see that’s under $400.
That’s right, the Phocus 1400-700C is priced below $400. Heck, most of the time it’s actually available on Amazon for less than $300. It outperforms similarly priced models by a long shot. So, if you’re just getting started, but still want a bike that will last and ride well, this may well be your best bet.
- Sleek and Stylish Design
- Rugged Aluminum Frame
- Fast and Agile Handling
- Equipped with 14-Speed Shimano Derailleur
- Strong and Reliable Brakes
What’s to Like About the Schwinn Phocus 1400 700C
If you’re looking for a budget-priced bike that will satisfy your riding needs and then some, this is probably a good choice. The low cost of the bike even gives you plenty of room to make upgrades in the future that can further improve the overall performance.
What’s Not to Like
Other riders have suggested that this bike may feel slightly heavy to some people. One buyer also took aim at the 14 speeds saying that if you ride in areas that are hilly you’ll probably wish you had an 18 or 21-speed instead.
While it’s certainly not the perfect road bike, the Phocus 1400-700C has a price that’s hard to argue with. It may not be able to tackle elevated terrain as well as the models featured in our top four picks, but it can still cruise the open roads smoothly and is a great bike to start off with.
5. Vilano Aluminum Road Bike 21 Speed
If you’re looking for a wide gear range, a buttery smooth ride, a super lightweight construction, and more at an entry-level price, look no further than this Vilano 21-Speed Road Bike. This is easily one of the lightest and most impressive models on our list. In all honesty, this bike should cost at least double what it goes for. It’s a fantastic ride that’s available for less than $350.
The frame is double butted which makes for a lighter, sturdier composition. It also helps reduce stress and shock while riding on rugged road surfaces. In other words, the ride is much smoother than a traditional aluminum frame.
- Double-Butted Frame for Smoother Riding
- Shimano Shifters
- Comes with a Set of Free Pedals
- 21 Riding Speeds
- Powerful, Alloy Caliper Braking System
What’s to Like About the Vilano Aluminum Road Bike
There are so many great properties of this bike. It’s light, it rides smoother than most other entry-level bikes, the price is absurdly low, it has a wide range of speeds for taking on inclines, and much more. This is a superb bike not only for those just getting into biking, but even for seasoned riders.
What’s Not to Like
The biggest complaints that commonly pop up for this Vilano bike are related to the quality of the braking handles and shifters. Several people have mentioned that both of these components feel a bit cheaply made and don’t operate as smoothly as one would hope.
The frame on this bike is superb. Some of the other components could definitely use upgrading, however. Overall, it’s a decent little bike for a beginner that just wants to start without having to shell out a huge investment for their first bike.
6. Vilano Performance Hybrid Road Bike
Want a bike with a more simpler build that looks and feels more like a mountain bike? Well, the Vilano Performance 700C may be a bit more up your alley. It’s classified as a performance hybrid bike that comes in three different sizes and three colors. The bike isn’t made for dedicated riders, but it’s not a bad choice for someone that just wants to ride casually or just bike to work.
That’s really what the bike is intended for. The name even implies it. It’s a “commuter” road bike. It’s comfortable, is made moderately well, comes with an ergonomic seat, and even has water bottle mounts.
- Perfect for Commuting to Work
- 21 Riding Speeds
- Features a Double-Butted Frame
- Shimano Shifters and Derailleur
- Comes with Smooth Riding Kenda Tires
What’s to Like About the Vilano Performance Commuter Bike
This is a working man’s bike. If you’re just looking to get in some extra exercise or even save a little money on gas each month, this Vilano bike was made just for you.
What’s Not to Like
This bicycle isn’t really intended to be used for speed or steep inclines. The shifter works alright, but the transitions aren’t super smooth. Furthermore, the bike itself is a little on the heavy side weighing in at about 26 pounds altogether.
As stated above, this bike is primarily meant to be used as a commuter bicycle. If you’re looking for something with more performance that can reach higher speeds and own the road a bit better, we recommend purchasing a bike listed in our top 5.
7. Schwinn Volare Road Bicycle
Finally, we come to, yes, yet another Schwinn. We can’t help it. They really do make great bikes. The Volare 1300-700C is a prime example of why this company is one of the leaders in the industry. It’s built with a sturdy aluminum frame, a lightweight construction that allows for great speed and handling, and the assembly is fairly easy even for a beginner.
Seriously, the initial setup of the bike is incredibly simple. The only parts that need to be attached are the wheels, handle bar, pedals, and the front brake. You can take it to a bike shop to have it put together professionally if you want an optimal riding experience, but it’s not necessary.
- Lightweight Frame
- Easy to Assemble
- 14 Riding Speeds
- Light, Yet Durable Rims
- Powerful Brakes
- Smooth Ride
What’s to Like About the Schwinn Volare 1300 700c
The Volare 1300-700C is a great bike for beginners that live in areas with mostly flat land. The bike is light and quite fast which is brilliant. The brakes work exceptionally well and the bike actually looks great, too.
What’s Not to Like
So far, the biggest issues that people have brought up about this bike are that the seat could be a little more comfortable and the pedals are a tad heavy. These are small issues that can easily be remedied by replacing the components.
This is an extremely affordable, decent-riding bike. It’s definitely the best choice if you want to go with the cheapest option possible. It rides smooth and is quite durable. The bike is well worth the price.
Choosing from the Best Road Bike Under $1,000 Reviews
Finding the best road bike for under $1,000 can be rather tricky. If you follow the general rules we mentioned above and use our list of top selections as a guide, though, you’ll be well on your way. Just remember to make an informed decision. Keep your personal preferences, your size, and, of course, your budget in mind when you make your final choice.
If you’re looking for quality and performance without having to spend a fortune, we highly recommend buying the Schwinn 1600-700C, the GMC Denali Road Bike, or the Giordano Libero 1.6. These bikes are seriously good deals for what you get with them. They dominate the road, provide a insanely smooth ride, and, compared to similar models, they are extremely affordable.
How to Choose a Road Bike
Road bikes are popular among cycling enthusiasts but also among amateurs who are looking to train in their spare time. They are similar to racing bicycles, they have narrow tires and similar frames. There are plenty of models available on the market that can satisfy all types of customers’ needs, from professional bikers to hobbyists. When choosing a road bike, the budget is one of the most important aspects one should consider, as high-quality bikes can be really expensive.
Choosing the best road bike for your needs implies knowing exactly what you will be using it for. Depending on your activity and cycling frequency, you will be able to decide whether it is worth investing a lot of money in it or not.
What Should you be Looking For
Bikes are a long-term investment for those who wish to train outdoors and have a healthy lifestyle. A road bike’s quality might not be observed during the first minutes of riding, but it will definitely contribute to the rider’s overall experience in time. Therefore, it is important to look for bikes with features that will make you feel comfortable and that will contribute to your wellbeing.
A bike’s size is the most important factors of all. A bike that is too small or too large for a person’s height and weight can lead to uncomfortable riding and higher risks of injury. Most bike manufacturers include various height charts on their labels that can help you choose the right size for your bike.
This way, you will be able to buy a bike that fits your body shape and size, without having to put unnecessary pressure on your upper and lower back, hips and legs. If the chart is not present in the bike’s specifications, check the manufacturer’s website, where they all include such information.
If you are not sure whether or not the bike will fit you, go to a specialized shop. Shop assistants are usually experienced bikers that can help you make the right choice.
The frame’s materials are also important in this matter and it is usually the reason why some bikes are so expensive. You can choose from steel, aluminum, titanium or carbon fibre frames. Depending on how you are planning to use it and how heavy do you want it to be, you will be able to choose from these materials.
When looking for the best road bike for your needs, you should also look for high quality components and advanced features. Try out various controls, brakes, compact, standard or triple chain rings, gear shifting controls and more.
Don’t forget about the wheels! They are responsible for the responsiveness of the road bike and for the overall riding experience. Try out both light and heavy wheels before making a decision, as they will help you feel more balanced and confident when correctly chosen.
Choosing the right bike should be on the top of your priority list, especially when you are planning on riding one on a daily basis. Therefore, do not rush into taking a decision before analyzing your needs and the best offers on the market.