Best Road Bikes Under $1,000 – Buying Guide 2020


After many hours of research and testing, we conclude that the best road bike under $1,000 is the Tommaso Forcella. It’s an absolutely stunning italian-design road bike with many high-quality components.


Every cyclist who rides casually a hybrid bike or a mountain bike, one day wakes up in the morning with the idea to try a classic road bike. Maybe you just ride here and there your casual mountain bike and 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.


Best Road Bikes Under $1000

Tommaso Forcella – Our Pick!

Tommaso Forcela - awesome black road bike

This bike normally sells for around $700 bucks which are great for what you get.  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. Tommaso Forcella is fitted with 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 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 that is often on sale, then the Tommaso Forcella is one of the best choices for you.

If you are interested in Tommaso bikes but your budget is lower, check our new Tommaso Sentiero Tourney Adventure Review! 

PROS:

  • Great striking Italian design
  • Smooth ride
  • Light and balanced
  • High-quality components
  • Reliable and rigid

CONS:

  • Complaints about the wheels

Vilano Shadow

Vilano Shadow Road Bike Perfect For Beginners

Vilano Shadow is a very good entry-level road bike which is cheap and at the same time very 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 on a bus. The bike is just perfect if you want to buy your first road bike. You could easily make 30-40 miles rides 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. Vilano Shadow is a road bike that you can buy for around $300-400 ( depending on the size ) which is awesome. You can spend the rest on a nice pair of cycling shoes or even better on a commuter helmet.

PROS:

  • One of the cheapest road bikes
  • Light and comfortable
  • Good Shimano STI brake lever integrated shifters

CONS:

  • Not as good looking as others in this list

 

Giordano Libero 1.6 Men and Women’s Road Bikes

Giordano Libero 1.6 Road Bike in black and red

Ok, let’s face it if you are a woman who 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. And the good news is that it is available in two options – one for men, and one for women.

The men’s frame is red and white and the women’s frame is only pink and white. If you are a sporty woman who hates 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.

PROS:

  • Light and balanced road bike;
  • Women’s frame available;
  • Good looking Italian-inspired design;

CONS:

  • Only available in pink/white for the women’s frame;
  • Uncomfortable seat;

 

Vilano FORZA 3.0

Vilano Forza 3.0 Road Bike

Vilano is a manufacturer that makes very good road bikes for beginners. Forza 3.0 is one of their best cheap road bikes for 2020. 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 is one of the best affordable road bikes you can buy online.  We strongly recommend buying this bike as a first road bike.

We now have a dedicated individual review of Vilano Forza 4.0 which is really a great road bike for beginners. 

PROS:

  • High-quality components
  • Cheap to buy online
  • Light and balanced
  • Fast and reliable
  • Excellent riding position

CONS:

  • Not so good looking
  • Uncomfortable seat

Schwinn Phocus 1600

Schwinn Phocus Road Bike - perfect entry-level model

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 16 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 a good road bike. It is suitable for commuters, novice cyclists, and fitness training.

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 definitely a notable contender on this list. It looks good, rides smoothly and is super easy to assemble if you buy it online.

This model is one of our best choices for 2020. By the way, if you are wondering what’s the difference between Schwinn Phocus 1600 and 1400 you can read our article – Schwinn Phocus 1400 vs 1600 – Which one is better?

PROS:

  • High-quality components;
  • Good looking bike;
  • Men’s and women’s frame;
  • Light enough at 23 pounds to carry around;

CONS:

  • No gear indicator on the shifters ( what a shame );

Schwinn Prelude

white/red Schwinn Prelude road bicycle

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 a 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 road bikes under $1,000. It’s a bike with high-quality components but not expensive for novice cyclists. It is also light and balance bike good for everyone.

PROS:

  • Good high-quality components;
  • Light and balanced;
  • Good looking road bike;
  • Value for money bike;

CONS:

  • Large pedal frames;
  • Very often is sold-out on Amazon

Diamondback Century 1

Grey Diamondback Bicycles Century 1 Road Bike

Diamondback Century 1 is not so cheap as you may want it to be but heck it’s a very good road bike. It will cost you around $1100 but it is included in this list because sometimes it is on sale for below $1000.

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 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 conclusion, we can say that the Diamondback 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.

For what you pay you will get a high-quality product which is not an entry-level bike. This is definitely a mid-range road bike.

PROS:

  • Great look and feel ;
  • Perfect geometry for speed and comfort;
  • High-quality components;
  • Mid-range road bike;

CONS:

  • it costs a little bit more than $1000;

Tommaso Imola Endurance

Tommaso Imola Endurance Road Bike

As you may already notice Tommaso is one of my favorite bike manufacturers. They make very solid, high-quality and good looking bikes.

Tommaso Imola Endurance is another great example of this trend. The road bike is fitted with a very compact aluminum frame and steel fork. It is an ultimate bike for commuters as its frame has been drilled for all types of fenders and racks which is very nice.

The 3×8 groupset from Shimano Claris R2000 provides a wide range of gears to make it perfect for all terrains from hills to flat roads for all types of riders. The Shifters, Derailleurs, Crank, and Brakes are all new 2019 Claris. Tommaso Imola Endurance features wider 25mm, 700C tires for nice performance and smooth ride.

The responsiveness and performance shifting of this bike is impeccable due to the Shimano Claris STI shifters used in it to provide consistent and smooth shifting in all riding conditions. It offers comfort and powerful control on the road due to its premium quality compact handlebar and geometry of the compact frame.

All these make the Tommaso Imola Endurance one of the best entry-level road bikes for 2020.

Pros: 

  • Durable lightweight Aluminium Compact Frame in combination with an SST Steel Fork;
  • 3×8 Shimano Claris Groupset makes it perfect for all types of riders on all types of surfaces from flats to hills;
  • Shimano Claris STI shifters provide soft and reliable shifting in all riding conditions;
  • Compact handlebar and frame increase the comfort and power of the rider;

Cons: 

  • Some users complain that the pedals are low-quality

Affordable and high-quality road bike in one sentence?

The good news is that at the beginning of 2020 there are many good road bikes which are cheap, reliable and very fast. 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 a 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 narrow tires that make the difference. Their geometry puts the rider in a very aerodynamic position, which helps with the wind resistance.

climbing a hill on a road bike
Photo by aquachara

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 and affordable road bikes under $1,000 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 ( example GMC Denali Road Bike ).

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.


What to consider when choosing an affordable road bike.

Road Bike Size

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 that is not correctly fit for you is not only uncomfortable but it also can cause carpal tunnel syndrome and back pain 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. 

bike size chart

Get good components

Getting good components for your new road bike is maybe the most important advice I can give you. If you invest in good components you will ride your bicycle without major repairs for many years.

High-quality components will ensure you smooth and nice rides and will pay off for the 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.

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 making 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 roadies we recommend have many reviews written by real buyers and you can have a conclusion based on that.

Decide your budget

If you are reading this article you have most probably decided that your budget is below $ 1,000, but you should be more specific.

You should decide the amount of money you want to spend while buying your first roadie. There is no standard price for the road bike as it can range between $300 and $1,000. So to buy a really best one you should fix the maximum amount you can spend for this purpose.

My personal advice here is to buy the best you can afford. Don’t save a few hundred bucks, because the joy of riding a nice road bike is priceless.

Another option is to buy second hand. But before you decide on that you should read the pros/cons of buying new vs second-hand bike.

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

Check your local bike shop

You can search online as well as offline to find the road bike within your budget. You can also go to your nearby store and pay money to buy a road bike. Though nothing is wrong in this transaction still the result would have been better if you have spent some time to do some research in this regard.

Also, note that when you buy a bike online you will most probably pay 10-15% less than on any offline store.

Frame material

The next thing to focus on while buying a bike is the material of its frame. You can find different types of materials used in the frame of these bikes like aluminum, steel, carbon fiber, and titanium, etc. You should compare the features of the frame to find the best option for you.

A bike with an aluminum frame can be less expensive than other materials whereas the steel frame can be stronger and more durable for you. The frame made of titanium can be lighter than the aluminum frame and sturdier than steel but it is costly also. So it may not suit your budget.

Carbon fiber is also used by several companies to manufacture frames of road bikes. The designers make a frame, after considering several other factors to make them more comfortable, strong and lightweight. For your budget below $1,000, you won’t find any bikes made of carbon fiber or titanium.


Where to find some of the cheapest road bikes?

In my opinion, the best place you can find nice road bikes under $1,000 is online retailers. 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 maintain physical shops.

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.

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