9 of the Best Cheap Road Bikes You Can Buy Online in 2018
Last Updated: 06/06/2018
Every passionate biker one day wakes up in the morning with the idea to buy a road bike. Maybe you have a mountain bike or a hybrid bike and at first, all those semi-pro cyclists with the shaved legs and strange apparel looked very funny to you.
But today you want to be much faster and agile and the only way to do it is to upgrade your bike to a road bike. Also, you don’t need to look ridiculous when you cycle with a road bike. I get that.
If you don’t have enough time to read more ( because you want to hit the road immediately ) just check the list below with the best cheap bikes we have pre-selected for 2018.
The best cheap road bikes for 2018:
- Vilano Shadow Road Bike
- Tommaso Forcella Road Bike
- Giordano Libero 1.6
- Merax 21 Speed 700C
- Vilano FORZA 3.0 Aluminum Carbon
- Schwinn Phocus 1600
- Schwinn Prelude Road Bike
- Vilano Aluminum Road Bike 21 Speed Shimano
- Diamondback Bicycles 2016 Century 1
The good news is that at the beginning of 2018 there are many good road bikes which are cheap, reliable and very fast. I found at least 1o road bikes which deserve your attention. Because you don’t have to break your piggy bank in order to be quick on the road.
There are some things that are important for every bike. You can have all the benefits of the good road bikes including disc brakes, wide gear range, and lightweight carbon fork. Of course, you can’t buy an affordable bike with a carbon frame, but I guess this would change in the future.
Road bikes are different from other bicycles because they’re lighter and much faster. They have very narrower tires which make the difference. Their geometry puts the rider in a very aerodynamic position, which helps with the wind resistance. If you have never ridden a road bike before you will notice how much faster they are compared to any other bike type. With very little effort you will be 6-7 miles per hour faster than you would be on a mountain bike or a hybrid bike.
So let’s say you have decided that you want a road bike. The biggest problem is that road bikes are expensive! Well, this could be true but there are also some very good cheap road bikes which will be the perfect choice for any beginner “roadie”. But you have to be very cautious because some of the cheapest road bikes are not very well made and use low-quality components.
You are just entering the world of road cycling so you don’t need the newest and most sophisticated road bikes in the market. You most probably need a bike which is cheap, well made, quick and fun to ride. I can assure you that there are many options out there with these requirements in mind.
The road bike has changed a lot since the early days. Modern suspension forks, frames, multiple gearing, much better aerodynamic design for bikes, lightweight materials like carbon fiber make the new road bike easier to power. But today more than ever the road bikes are accessible to all with its entry-level models made for the novice road biker.
So let’s start with our picks for the best cheap road bikes:
Vilano Shadow Road Bike
Vilano Shadow is a very good entry-level road bike which is cheap and at the same well made and reliable enough. It’s suitable for commuting, fitness exercise or your first club rides. This model is suited with the Shimano STI brake lever integrated shifters which are very precise and versatile and at the same time cheap enough.
The road bike is very light because of the 6061 double-butted aluminum frame. The total weight of the Vilano Shadow is around 23 pounds which is acceptable. That’s why the bike is very easy to carry on stairs or to haul it in a bus. The bike is just perfect if you want to buy your first road bike. You could easily make 30-40 miles ride even on your first day with it.
Overall Vilano Shadow is a good choice for an entry level road bike. If your budget is very tight you won’t have many options anyway so you can consider this one. It’s light and balanced enough even to make your first century-ride ( 100 miles ride ). What I don’t like is the look which is a little bit ugly in my opinion.
- Economical bike;
- Light and comfortable;
- Good Shimano STI brake lever integrated shifters;
- Not as good looking as other cheap bikes;
Tommaso Forcella Road BikeCheck Current Price on Amazon
I know that this one is a little bit more expensive than the other road bikes but you should definitely consider it if you can raise the budget a little bit. Tommaso Forcella is an excellent choice for any dedicated road cyclist.
We can easily say that this one is a premium entry level road bike. It looks just gorgeous with its Italian design. It is important to note that Tommaso is making bikes for almost 30 years so they definitely know what they’re doing.
All the components are high-quality Shimano and they’re just perfectly assembled. With this bike, you get smooth and accurate shifting, good performance and balance. With this model, you will get a carbon fork and a premium 6061 SLA Aluminum frame. Tommaso uses a very compact geometry for the Forcella to assure maximum comfort and power transfer to the wheels.
In a conclusion, I can say that Tommaso Forcella is a perfect choice if you want a smooth ride with an affordable price tag. If the look is important to you the timeless Italian design will make you just love this model. If you are looking for a road bike which is often on sale, then the Tommaso Forcella is one of the best choices on Amazon.
If you are interested in Tommaso bikes but your budget is lower, check our new Tommaso Sentiero Tourney Adventure Review!
- Great striking Italian design
- Smooth ride;
- Light and balanced;
- High-quality components;
- Reliable and rigid;
- A bit on the pricey side;
Giordano Libero 1.6 Men and Women’s Road Bikes
Ok, let’s face it if you are a woman which is looking for a cheap entry level road bike you don’t have many choices. When a guy thinks of a bicycle for women they normally visualize some beach cruiser bike. But this is definitely not the case. Unfortunately, most of the bike frames are made just of the big sizes which are suitable only for men.
You don’t need to look any further because Giordano Libero 1.6 is one of the best choices for a road bike for women. The men’s frame is red and white and the women’s frame is only pink and white. If you are sporty women who hate pink you will have a problem with this road bike.
Most of the bike frames are made just for the big sizes which are suitable only for men. You don’t need to look any further because Giordano Libero 1.6 is one of the best choices for a road bike for women.
The men’s frame is red and white and the women’s frame is only pink and white. If you are sporty women who hate pink you will have a problem with this road bike.
The design is Italian-inspired and the bike looks great despite the fact that it’s offered only with one color option. The ride is very comfortable, quiet and smooth. It shifts easily without any issues. The only problem with the ride is the seat which is quite uncomfortable.
As the frame is made of the 6061 aluminum it makes the road bike very light with a total weight of around 23 pounds which is perfect for carrying the bike on stairs or for climbing big hills.
Overall the Giordano Libero 1.6 is a good entry level road bike. It is a great value for your money and a great choice for the female riders. It has a double water bottle mount, which is perfect for the longer rides.
- Light and balanced road bike;
- Women’s frame available;
- Good looking Italian-inspired design;
- Only available in pink/white for the women’s frame;
- Uncomfortable seat;
Merax 21 Speed 700CCheck Current Price on Amazon
This model is one of the cheapest ones on our list but despite that, it gets excellent ratings on Amazon. Merax 21 Speed 700C road bike is made of aluminum which makes it light enough for everyday use. The total weight is around 27 pounds which are good for this price.
For your money, you get Shimano thumb shifters which are very easy to use. The bike looks good enough taking into consideration it’s low price tag.
Let’s face it, the Merax 21 Speed 700C is not a high-end bike so it does not have all the fancy components. The seat is cheap and can get quite uncomfortable on a long ride. The bike comes with pre-installed bottle cage which is very rare for such cheap bike.
It is very important to mention that the people seem to really like the bike. If you are looking for a cheap road bike which is good enough for casual rides and commuting you should definitely consider buying the Merax 21 Speed 700C. If you can afford better bike maybe you should look further for better components.
- Very cheap indeed;
- Light enough for everyday use;
- Preinstalled bottle cage ( bonus );
- Very high Amazon ratings ( which is always good );
- Not so high-quality components;
Vilano FORZA 3.0 Aluminum CarbonCheck Current Price on Amazon
Vilano is a manufacturer who makes very good entry level road bikes. Forza 3.0 is one of their best cheap road bikes for 2018. It features a lot of high-quality components like carbon fiber front fork, Shimano STI Shifters, Shimano Claris 3 speed front derailleur, Shimano Sora 8 speed rear derailleur and more.
You will get a very nice and smooth ride thanks to the carbon fiber fork. Shifters and brakes are very good and responsive despite the cheap price of the bike. The frame is made of a strong lightweight 6061 aluminum which combined with the carbon fiber front fork makes the road bikes very light.
One of the few complaints about this bike is the seat which is not very comfortable but this is a small compromise you will have to make. After all, you can always change that component with a much better one at a later stage.
Taking all this information into consideration we can conclude that Vilano FORZA 30 Aluminium Carbon is a very good and cheap road bike made of very good components. We strongly recommend buying this bike as a first road bike. We now have a dedicated individual review of the Vilano Forza 4.0 which is really a great road bike for beginners.
We now have a dedicated individual review of the Vilano Forza 4.0 which is really a great road bike for beginners.
- High-quality components;
- Cheap to buy online;
- Light and balanced;
- Fast and realiable;
- Not so good looking;
- Uncomfortable seat;
Schwinn Phocus 1600
Schwinn Phocus 1600 is one of the best road bikes on our list. It’s a great value for money with all the high-quality components included like SR Suntour alloy crank and the full Shimano 14 speed drivetrain. It comes in both a men’s frame and a women’s frame which makes it perfect for each family member.
The bike is very good for anyone who is looking for cheap but at the same time good road bike. It is suitable for commuters, novice cyclists, and fitness.
The high profile alloy rims look amazing. The frame is very light adding to the total weight of the bike of 23 pounds, also the front fork is carbon fiber which is good at this price range.
The drivetrain is just perfect for anyone. It allows you to change gears super easily and comfortable The brakes are also very high quality and reliable enough for this price point.
We can conclude that the Schwinn Phocus 1600 is one of the best road bikes overall. It looks good, rides smoothly and is super easy to assemble if you buy it online. This model is one of our best choices.
- High-quality components;
- Good looking bike;
- Men’s and women’s frame;
- Light enough at 23 pounds to carry around;
- No gear indicator on the shifters ( what a shame );
Schwinn Prelude Road BikeCheck Current Price on Amazon
Schwinn Prelude is another great model from Schwinn on our list. This road bike is made with its price in mind but despite that, it offers some very impressive high-quality components. It’s designed to be good for any cyclist in mind. The bike is just great for the everyday commuter and more than good for the enthusiast biker.
One of the most striking features of the bike is the 6061 aluminum frame which is very light and strong at the same time.
This road bike is very balanced and light as a feather. The padded tape handlebars are also very nice touch for this price range. The gear changing is super fast thanks to the 14-speed Shimano drivetrain with A050 road shifters. Schwinn Prelude is suited with KMC Z51 chain which is of very high quality and comes with some spare oil. All this adds up to the very good and smooth ride.
In general, the Schwinn Prelude is a very strong entry in our list of the best cheap road bikes for 2018. It’s a bike with high-quality components but not expensive for the novice cyclists. It is also light and balance bike good for everyone.
- Good high-quality components;
- Light and balanced;
- Good looking road bike;
- Value for money bike;
- Large pedal frames;
Vilano Aluminum Road Bike 21 Speed ShimanoCheck Current Price on Amazon
As we already have mentioned Vilano is a trustworthy bike manufacturer and this model is again a very good entry level road bike for everyone. I think that it’s especially good for commuting and will serve very well the riders who are on a budget.
This road bike is very light because of the frame made from 6061 Double Butted Aluminum, which provides strength and fantastic lightweight and balance. For your money, you get the Shimano A050 SIS Handlebar Mounted shifters which are very good for such entry level bike.
The wheels on this bike are exceptionally strong, as they are 700c double-walled CNC alloy. That’s one of the reasons the bike is very strong and good for everyday commutes in the city. The drivetrain is also made of high-quality components. You will get 21 gear settings which can be easily adjusted to meet your riding speed and needs.
Overall we can say that Vilano Aluminum Road Bike 21 Speed Shimano is a great choice for anyone who wants to become a roadie. It is well balanced and durable enough for anyone. But in my opinion, you can find even better cheap road bikes for this money.
- Lightweight bike;
- Smooth Shifting and ride ;
- Balanced and cheap bike for anyone;
- Not as good looking as some competitors;
- Uncomfortable seat;
Diamondback Bicycles Century 1Check Current Price on Amazon
Diamondback Bicycles Century 1 is not so cheap as you may want it to be but heck it’s a very good road bike. The first thing you note when you see the bike is how gorgeous it is. Hands down it is one of the best-looking road bikes on our list. But as usual, the look is not the most important thing here.
Diamondback Bicycles 2016 Century 1 has a geometry to be the perfect blend of speed and comfort. The 73.5-degree seat-tube angle moves the rider about 2 degrees more upright than most true race bikes. This relieves stress on the lower back and creates a more balanced riding position for all-day comfort.
The components used here are very good and durable as usual in all Diamondback bicycles. For your money, you will get a DBR Podium air formed disc alloy fork w/1.5 inch tapered alloy steerer, TRP Spyre disc brakes with 160/140mm rotors and a Shimano 105 2×11 drivetrain which is excellent.
In a conclusion, we can say that the Diamondback Bicycles 2016 Century 1 is a very good value for money. You should note that the normal price a little bit higher than the competition but the manufacturer makes a lot of discounts. You will see this model very often “On Sale” with very big discounts.
- Great look and feel ;
- Perfect geometry for speed and comfort;
- High-quality components;
- A little bit overpriced ( not the cheapest one here );
Some things to consider before buying an affordable road bike:
1. Bike size tips
So you already decided that you want to buy your first road bike. You know that it has to be cheap and reliable. But the most important thing about buying a road bike online is getting the right fit. A bike which is not correctly fit for you is not only uncomfortable but it also can cause a carpal tunnel and back injuries during long rides.
Sometimes it is very tempting to buy a wrong-sized bike because it is on sale and the price is very good. Don’t make such a big mistake because sooner or later you will hate cycling. My advice is to check with your local bike store your correct size. I’m sure that they will help you and this way you could then order the correct size online.
For more information on bike sizes, you can also check this very good and comprehensive article by Evans Cycles.
Also, you can check this awesome road bike size chart courtesy of Bicycle Guider.
2. Get good components
Getting good components with your cheap road bike is maybe the most important advice I can give you. If you invest in a good components bike you will ride without major repairs 3-4 years.
High-quality components will ensure you smooth and nice rides and will pay off for a long term. I know that the good components are normally expensive but with all the bikes on our list, we suggest a good compromise between good quality and price.
3. Read all the reviews online before buying
Another tip that I always share with my readers is that you should always read as many reviews as possible before taking the decision to buy a road bike online. Actually, this is the only way to understand the pros and the cons of each model because you can’t try the bike on your own.
The good news here is that most of the cheap road bikes we recommend have many reviews and you can have a conclusion based on that.
Where to buy cheap road bikes?
In my opinion, the best place you can find cheap road bikes is online. In online markets like Amazon, the prices are much lower than in your local bike shop, because they don’t have to pay rent and payroll. Also, you have the advantage of reading all the reviews of other buyers which is absolutely awesome. Of course, you can always go to your local bike shop and see, try, and decide what is good for you. After that, you can buy online to save some bucks.
How to assemble a road bike bought online?
Almost all the bikes from Amazon ship partially assembled in standard bike boxes. This is one of the main reasons the bikes online are cheaper than the ones in the bike shops. The main challenge with the assembly is that everything is cable activated. All the cables need to be tightened and loosened in order for the bike to shift and brake properly. Apart from the cables, the rest is pretty easy to assemble.
You can find a lot of tutorials on YouTube for the assembly, but if this is too complicated for you there is always the option to go to your local bike shop and fix everything for $30-40. You should have this cost in mind when you decide to buy a road bike online.