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10 Best Entry-Level Road Bikes for Beginners in 2022

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KEY
POINTS

  • On average, beginners spend between $700 and $1200 for an entry-level road bike. The more you can spend on a road bike, the more lightweight it will get.
  • Get a bike with disc brakes if you can afford it.
  • Most beginner bikes come with Shimano Claris and Sora groupset.
  • These days, the 23mm tire is less popular than those measuring between 25-28mm.

Everybody’s got to start somewhere, right? When it comes to cycling, owning a bike designed explicitly for newbies offers advantages that are immeasurable. From engineering to the design, bikes for beginners are so artfully made, the fun part of riding begins as soon as feet make contact with pedals.

We’ve spent hundreds of hours researching many bikes to put together this list of the very best entry-level road bikes for beginners and first-time buyers. If you want a lightweight, zippy, and comfortable ride that conquers hills and maneuvers like a pro, get the Co-op Cycles ADV 2.3 Bike. We also have recommendations for even cheaper bikes, road bikes for women, and low-maintenance bikes.


-Best Overall-

Co-op Cycles ADV 2.3 Bike


  • Solid aluminum frame and a carbon fork for durability
  • Lightweight body conquers hills and maneuvers like a pro
  • Top Shimano GRX components plus dropper post enhance control
  • Gravel-specific ergonomic engineering.

This model sells out like ice cream in August so commit to a search for this tidy craft made of Double-butted 6061 aluminum. “Shimano GRX 1 x 11 drivetrain isn’t a reworked set of road components,” say Co-Op engineers, and the rear derailleur reduces chain slap and noise, preventing chain drop. Move through 11 gears enroute to your destination.

Related: Co-Op Cycles – Everything You Need to Know!

Who needs a suspension system when you can enjoy adventures one obstacle at a time? Stop on a dime while retaining control courtesy of Shimano GRX hydraulic disc brakes and maneuver like a pro using the bike’s flared handlebars. The WTB Nano 700c x 40mm tubeless tires are unique and pre-taped rims make converting to tubeless tires easy.

Keep both hands on the handlebars while engaging the dropper post lever on the fly, and no matter your height — you can stand between 5-feet and 6-feet; 3-inches — you still get a custom fit. The quintessential adventure bike, this model welcomes a frame bag or rear rack if it’s not considered a ride if it doesn’t last longer than a day. Weighing just 23.2 pounds, expect lots of bike that’s moderately priced, so go forth and search!


-Compact Frame, Comfortable Ride-

Tommaso Forcella


  • Built for beginners
  • Designed for reduced vibration
  • Carbon fork and full Shimano Claris groupset
  • Features upgraded Tommaso Corsa TC30 wheels.

Just because you can afford this bike, doesn’t mean you don’t get superior quality and components. Upgrades transcend the carbon fork on this premium 6061 SLA Aluminum frame that is both stylish and technologically superior thanks to proprietary shaped tubing. Tommaso employs compact geometry on the Forcella to deliver maximum comfort and power transfer during the most daunting rides.

Features include a powerful 24 speed Shimano Claris drivetrain, 11-28T Claris cassette and Claris Triple 30/39/50T crankset, Tommaso Corsa TC30 wheelset, 20 radial laced spokes in the front and 24 spokes in the rear. The wheelset looks great while minimizing weight and wind resistance.

Forcella’s exclusive Ultracompact handlebar has no equal thus riders enjoy a comfortable ride even in the drop position, dramatically reducing wind resistance. The final upgrade for the Forcella is a custom Tommaso-WTB Volt saddle that is the envy of the road bike industry. Perks include getting this bike 99-percent assembled, so it takes about 10 minutes from unpacking to ride, and you even get a 7-day grace period to audition this bike to make sure it’s what you expected.

Read more: Tommaso Sentiero Review


-Smooth, Stable and Fun to Ride-

Trek Domane AL 3 Disc


  • Smooth, capable, dependable ride
  • Stable Endurance Geometry for vibration absorption
  • IsoSpeed carbon fork swoops forward toward the dropouts
  • DuoTrap S compatibility to wirelessly track rides and goals.

Riders in possession of this Trek ride get overly enthusiastic when talking about the Domane AL 3 because it’s packed with extras at a price that doesn’t cause sticker shock. This smooth, stable, and super fun road bike never met a loop, group ride, or gravel trail it couldn’t conquer.

The lightweight, comfortable frame features a road-smoothing carbon fork, quality parts, and wide range of gears making it an ideal choice for folks just getting into road cycling, minus a heart-stopping price tag. Technically, you’ll be impressed. The Shimano Sora drivetrain has 18 speeds and integrated brake/shift levers. The wide range of gears makes climbing a breeze.

The lightweight aluminum frame and stable Endurance Geometry produce confident rides and the bike features a Domane carbon fork, mounts for fenders and tubeless rims. Because the Trek Domane AL 3 has lighter parts, you may worry about stopping efficiently, but put that worry to rest: Powerful disc brakes bring you to a halt quickly and effortlessly – if you can bring yourself to stop once you hit your stride.


-Best Low Maintenance-

PRIORITY APOLLO GRAVEL


  • Priority’s lightest, fastest model at 24 pounds
  • The first gravel grinder with internally geared 11-speed hub
  • Efficient belt drive and drop-bar shifters
  • No derailleurs to lock up; no chains to grease.

Priority informs shoppers up front about the current state of bicycle manufacture (Most bicycles are selling out before they’re produced!), so if you decide you can’t live without this model, you’re going to have to practice the Zen of patience. Shoppers will be won over by this bike’s low maintenance promise if the price tag doesn’t do the job.

Read more: Best Belt-Drive Bikes

Pick a surface and the Apollo Gravel will be a standout, delivering stability on loose surfaces and rugged terrains. Enjoy responsive shifting and all-season, all-conditions braking. Just getting into gravel riding but you also need a ride that will handle your daily work commute? This is it.

“It simply works each time you hop on,” notes an Insider reviewer who credits this ride’s ability to shine in all weather like a champion. The Apollo easily performs on myriad surfaces and while it may be pricier than competitor commuter bikes, can you name one that sets you free on gravel when you don’t have to be at the office? Compatible with wider tires for rough terrain, this low maintenance bike is a winner.


-Fast, No-Nonsense Road Bike-

Giant CONTEND AR 1


  • Designed and developed for riders seeking elevated road capability
  • Disc-brake integration and generous tire clearance (up to 38mm)
  • D-Fuse composite seatpost dampens road vibrations and minimizes fatigue
  • Comes in 6 sizes (XS, S, M, M/L, L, XL) for a custom fit.

Giant invites you to expand your road riding horizons on this well-rounded bicycle, offering a balanced, smooth frame and components, powerful disc brakes, and high-volume tubeless tires. The Contend AR 1 transitions from fast pavement to bumpy back roads effortlessly, so if you’re a newbie looking to test your mettle on multiple surfaces, this Giant bike will accomplish all of your goals.

Count on disc-brake integration and generous tire clearance (up to 38mm), both of which deliver superior control, even on outrageous terrains. The D-Fuse composite seatpost dampens road vibrations, delivering a smoother saddle experience and you are likely to find that you’re less fatigued when you dismount after your ride.

How balanced is this product’s road geometry? Superior. The ALUXX-Grade Aluminum frame is so artfully balanced, riders corner and accelerate like pros from the get-go. The innovative D-Fuse seatpost reduces road shocks, and vibrations and the wheel system hosts tubeless tires for a smoother ride and reduced risk of flats. Seamless disc-brake integration for consistent braking offers control not every road bike delivers.


-Best Value Road Bike-

Schwinn Fastback AL Claris


  • Schwinn road-tuned N LITENED GOLD® triple-butted aluminum frame and fork
  • Shimano Claris 16-speed drivetrain with compact crank and Claris shifters
  • Promax aluminum caliper brakes
  • Alex X2200 double-wall rims with Schwinn® aluminum road hubs.

This Schwinn Fastback is the ideal choice for folks who are both beginners and budgeters and especially for folks who love the brand and understand that the AL Claris is no wimp. Climb onboard the Schwinn race saddle and hit the road. This cycle is crafted of lightweight aluminum, features a Shimano drivetrain and 16 speed Shimano Claris shifters.

Choose from 6 sizes (XS, S, M, M/L, L, XL) so your ride is tailored to your physique. Features include 700c road-tuned geometry, internal cable routing, 10mm x 135mm dropout, replaceable hanger and 1 1/8-inch headtube. In concert, components deliver on performance. Front and rear Shimano Claris derailleurs are included in this package.

Alex X2200 aluminum double-wall rims plus wire bead, 700c x 25c Schwinn road tires are responsive, and when the Promax RC469 aluminum caliper brakes are applied at any speed, riders feel confident atop an aluminum seat post hosting a saddle that features steel rails. Schwinn road grips with gel cork tape wraps make this affordable ride a product you can count on for longevity, performance, and fun.


-Best All-Rounder-

Diamondback Haanjo 2


  • Choose a size that suits your height: XS, S, M, L, XL
  • Fitted with mechanical disc brakes
  • Frame is made of high-quality aluminum
  • Tire size is 700 x 38c for balance and stability.

Looking for an entry-level bike that behaves like a pricier model? This Diamondback Haanjo 2 has your name written on it. Owners can’t stop raving about quality and value, especially the bike’s frame, crafted of fully-butted 6061-T6 alloy and featuring a relaxed head tube angle, Shimano Claris derailleurs, and shifter. Hit the road with lots of gear onboard compliments of the Haanjo 2’s front and rear rack mounts.

Fender mounts protect your ride, even in downpours. Wide 700×38c tires never met roads they couldn’t handle and this entry-level bike comes with Quick Release alloy front and rear hubs. The handlebar has plenty of cred: it’s a DB Gravel type crafted of 6061 Alloy and featuring 8 Degree Flare and a 31.8mm Bar Bore – and the grips are wrapped in Diamondback Endurance Gel Tape.

Diamondback Equation CX double-wall rims and Diamondback interval wire bead 700x38c reflective sidewall tires pair up to stop the bike the moment the Shimano Claris ST-2400 Bike Brake Levers are engaged, triggering Tektro Mira Post Mount Mechanical Disc rear rotors to engage. There’s more, but we’ll stop by mentioning the tool kit that comes at no extra charge with this value-packed bike.


-Best for Longer Commutes-

Marin Lombard 1


  • Series 2 Lombard, 6061 Aluminum frame
  • Internal Cable Routing; forged dropouts
  • Tektro Road Mechanical Disc, 160mm Rotor front and rear brakes
  • Undertake longer commutes on this light touring bike.

Delivering tough, fast urban rides, the Lombard will be delighted to get you to and from your office or take abuse on rugged terrain without leaving you achy or sore. Designed with built-in reflectivity so you can be easily spotted when it’s dark or raining, the Lombard’s durable components and higher-volume tires stand out.

Marin invites you to “treat the city like a playground.” You’re urged to follow that challenge. Front and rear hubs manufactured of forged aluminum alloy plus puncture-protected tires mounted on disc-specific Marin Aluminum Double Wall rims add to the confidence newbies experience, and both front and rear derailleurs are Shimano-branded Soras. This 9-speed ride won’t leave you in the dust when you pick up speed.

Fitted with a Marin 3D forged alloy, 48/32T chainrings, ring guard crankset, Marin butted alloy 16-degree flared drop handlebars with microfiber tape grips, the brand’s 3D forged alloy stem attests to the high quality of this bike’s components. There’s a reason Marin produces a saddle that’s called Beyond Road. Translation: your buns won’t kill you at the end of your ride, even if you’ve set a new personal distance record.


-Jack of All Trades-

Raleigh Merit 3


  • Moderately priced bike from an iconic brand
  • Mechanical disc brakes plus 700x28c tires
  • An endurance product designed for long days in the saddle
  • Excellent responsiveness; brakes deliver great stopping power.

Take it from the review of a dude who refers to himself as “a tall, big rider” who is not shy about complaining about comfort and fit. His Raleigh Merit 3 happens to be one of the 6 sizes available to folks seeking entry level bikes. Product designers built this bike for both comfort and efficiency while not skimping on mechanics.

Shimano R3000 Sora 2×9 STI shifters flatten out any hill, and wide Schwalbe Lugano II K-Guard 700×28c tires offer traction and long-lasting durability usually found in pricier bicycles. The Merit’s Bike Frame is Custom Formed, and the fork is made of Carbon. Both the front and rear derailleurs are Shimano R3000 Soras. The brakes won’t let you down; they’re TRP Spyre Flat Mount Disc models with 160mm rotors.

Ride like the wind on Schwalbe Lugano II K-Guard Road 700x28c wire bead tires atop Alex GD24P double-wall tubeless-compatible rims featuring 14g stainless steel spokes. This 9-speed ride offers a stylish Raleigh Double Butted handlebar wrapped with Raleigh PU-coated EVA padded bar tape, and this tidy package includes rack and fender mounts.


-Best for Women-

Liv Avail 3


  • Engineered for fearless women who crave adventure
  • Lively on climbs, confident on descents, and ready for action
  • Features the latest in endurance frame geometry
  • Advanced-grade composite fork with OverDrive steerer.

For women who wouldn’t think of riding a girly bike, this Liv Avail lets girls behave like guys minus the testosterone. The PowerCore bottom bracket transfers power directly from each pedal stroke for sublime efficiency, no matter how long the ride happens to be. Lightweight and balanced, the frameset promises superior stiffness without compromising compliance.

This Avail 3 intuitively moves with your body no matter how long you’ve been out and about because it is available in 5 sizes for a custom fit. After all, one size fits all doesn’t apply to female riders. Shimano Claris shifters plus front and rear derailleurs distinguish this ride, and Tektro TK-B177 brakes plus Shimano Claris brake levers stand ready to stop on cue. Giant S-R3 AC, 700×28 wire bead tires never met terrain they couldn’t conquer – just like the women occupying this bike’s saddle.

Count on the ALUXX-Grade aluminum frame to stay in the game for years, and the fork, crafted of aluminum plus alloy OverDrive steerer, won’t let you down. The Giant Connect handlebar is engineered to accommodate a woman’s physique, and both the stem and seatpost are crafted of Giant D-Fuse alloy. A Liv custom saddle offers comfort for tushes during the longest rides. Pedals with toe clips/straps are included. In sum, the words “You Go Girl” may as well be embellished on the body of this ride.


Brakes

The most common brake found on road bikes is the caliper brake. This brake type delivers excellent stopping power, won’t require an engineering degree to adjust properly, and quick-disconnect features on these brakes make it easy to get the pads out of the way when repairs or installations are needed. Caliper brakes are mounted via posts built into the bicycle frame: One pair on the front fork; the other on the rear seat stays.

In our list, only the following 3 bikes come with calipers: Tommaso Forcella, Schwinn Fastback AL Claris, and Liv Avail 3.

Related: Hydraulic vs. Mechanical Disc Brakes

Mechanical disc brakes are typically cheaper than hydraulic types, they’re easier to maintain, and they’re not just adequate but powerful enough for most touring applications. Riders report that mechanical disc brakes give the rider “More of an on/off brake feel” and folks evaluating brake types say that mechanical disc brakes are unlikely to fail in remote areas, thus adding a safety note to this brake type.

Road bikes with mechanical disc brakes in our selection are Trek Domane AL 3 Disc, PRIORITY APOLLO GRAVEL, Diamondback Haanjo 2, Marin Lombard 1, and Raleigh Merit 3.

Hydraulic Disc Brakes, known for being low maintenance when measured against other brake types, are self-adjusting. Riders seeking a braking system that is powerful choose this brake, but it’s this brake style’s effortless braking capacity that wins hearts and dollars.

Riders enjoy gradual power delivery and fairly effortless braking, but cylinder, piston, and oil leaks can render hydraulic disc brakes useless. That stated, hydraulics outperform mechanical brakes in adverse weather conditions since this braking system is sealed rather than exposed.

Road bikes with hydraulic disc brakes in our selection are Co-op Cycles ADV 2.3 Bike and Giant CONTEND AR 1.


Wheels and Tires

The road to making a road bike tire decision is lined with decisions because so many brands compete in this market. But there’s no debate about the qualities one should prioritize when shopping for tires. “The best road bike tires should be fast, light, supple and resilient,” writes Aaron Borrill for Cycling News, and the introduction of wider rubber tires has been a game changer.

These days, the 23mm tire is less popular than those measuring between 25-28mm. Your goal? The tire that offers the most comfort, the lowest rolling resistance, cornering grip excellence and better aerodynamics, whether you opt for a tubeless tire or one that requires a tube.

Read more: Can a Man Ride a Women’s Road Bike


Groupsets

A road bike groupset includes any mechanical moving part on the bike that involves braking, shifting, and running the drivetrain itself. That means brake levers, shifters, front and rear derailleurs, front and rear brake calipers/discs, crankset, bottom bracket, chain, and cassette. Generally speaking, road bike groupsets come in hierarchies. We have 3 major brands that produce most of the components in a groupset: SRAM, Shimano, and Campagnolo.

Most beginner bikes come with Shimano Claris and Sora. They’re excellent affordable groupsets that are lower down the road bike groupset hierarchy but more than enough for beginners. One thing that you should pay attention to is the gear rations on the groupset. I recommend an 11/32 cassette on the back, which means the smallest cog has 11 teeth, and the biggest one has 32 teeth. With a bigger big cog, you’ll climb much easier hills on a higher cadence. On the front, aim for smaller rings which again means easier climbing.


Budget

When we talk prices, we always have in mind the MSRP ( manufacturer’s suggested retail price ), which is the price manufacturer recommends. Often MSRP is different from retail prices due to supply/demand and other factors.

Here’s what you need to know on how much to spend on a bike.

Yes, road bikes are expensive. Expect to spend between $700 and $2200 for a good entry-level road bike that will serve you for years to come. Generally speaking, the more you can spend on a road bike, the more lightweight it will get. You will also have a better drivetrain, tires, and brakes.

Related: Best Road Bikes Under $1000

What is the Best Entry-Level Road Bike for Beginners?

If you want a lightweight, zippy, and comfortable ride that conquers hills and maneuvers like a pro, get the Co-op Cycles ADV 2.3 Bike.

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About Alek Asaduryan

Alek Asaduryan is the founder of YesCycling and has been riding bikes and in the cycling industry since 1991. Since then, his mission is to make cycling more accessible to everyone. And each year, he continues to help more people to achieve that. When he's not out riding his beloved fitness bike, Alek reports on news, gear, guides, and all things cycling related.