Affordable Cycling: Best Cheap Road Bikes 2016 – 2017

road bikes

Want a good road bike that won’t bust your budget? Whether you are looking for the best beginner road bike for the money or just a really great bike for a skilled rider, the fact is that you do not have to spend a fortune to get quality gear. You can find plenty of low priced bikes out there for cyclists of all skill levels.

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Of course, if you’ve walked into a bike shop lately and seen those shiny bikes at the front with price tags over a grand, then you might be skeptical that you can get yourself a good road bike under $1000, much less a good cheap road bike under $500. To give you an idea of the great bikes that you can get for well under a grand or two grand let me share some of my top rated road bikes for 2016 – 2017.

Our Picks: Top 10 Road Bikes 2016 - 2017

these bikes all have manufacturer prices under $2000
PhotoProductOur Rating
Windsor Wellington 2.0 Aluminum 21 Speed Shimano Equipped Road BikeWindsor Wellington 2.0 Aluminum 21 Speed Shimano Equipped Road Bike (4.7 / 5)
2015 Tommaso Forcella Lightweight Aluminum Road Bike2015 Tommaso Forcella Lightweight Aluminum Road Bike (5 / 5)
2015 Kestrel Talon Road Shimano 105 Carbon Fiber BikeKestrel Talon Road Shimano 105 Carbon Fiber Bike (4.8 / 5)
Vilano FORZA 4.0 Aluminum Integrated Shifters Road BikeVilano FORZA 4.0 Aluminum Integrated Shifters Road Bike (4.2 / 5)
Schwinn Men's Phocus 1600 700C Drop Bar Road BicycleSchwinn Men's Phocus 1600 700C Drop Bar Road Bicycle (4.5 / 5)
Vilano Shadow Road Bike - Shimano STI Integrated ShiftersVilano Shadow Road Bike - Shimano STI Integrated Shifters (4.1 / 5)
2015 HASA R4 Road Bike Shimano 2400 24 Speed2015 HASA R4 Road Bike Shimano 2400 24 Speed (4.2 / 5)
2015 Kestrel Talon Tri-Shimano 105 Carbon Fiber Bike2015 Kestrel Talon Tri-Shimano 105 Carbon Fiber Bike (4.9 / 5)
Vilano Women's Classic Urban Commuter Single Speed Bike Fixie Style City Mint Pearl Road BicycleVilano Women's Classic Urban Commuter Single Speed Bike Fixie Style City Mint Pearl Road Bicycle (4.2 / 5)
Vilano Aluminum Road Bike 21 Speed ShimanoVilano Aluminum Road Bike 21 Speed Shimano (3.9 / 5)
Nashbar WR1 Women's Road BikeNashbar WR1 Women's Road Bike (4 / 5)
Schwinn Men's Volare 1200 Bike, 700cSchwinn Men's Volare 1200 Bike, 700c (4.8 / 5)

Reviews: Good Cheap Road Bikes Under $1000 – $2000

If you’re interested in a few of the awesome road bikes that you see listed up above, then let me take a moment to give you some mini reviews on a few of my favorite models. Most of what you see listed above are road bikes under $1000 – $1500 (based on manufacturer prices), but some have higher prices than others and the price at Amazon or your preferred retailer is what is currently valid. With that in mind, I think you will find that these are all great bikes that offer a good value for the money right now.

1. Tommaso Forcella Lightweight Aluminum Road Bike

2015 Tommaso Forcella Lightweight Aluminum Road Bike reviewThere is no denying that the Italians make great bikes and you have to look no further than this Tommaso Forcella model to see what I’m talking about. Here you have some of the finest Italian craftsmanship and some great features like a full Shimano drive train.

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Basically, what you get with this cheap Tommaso road bike is a very high quality bike at an affordable price. Overall, this is the perfect choice when it comes to a good entry level road bike, but it’s also great for those riders with more experience.

The frame itself is very lightweight, it is aluminum and it has a carbon fork, which is awesome for reducing vibration. The sizes for the frame range form x-small to x-large, which makes this road bike good for all ages and sizes. And the 24 speed Shimano Claris drivetrain really shows you just how powerful a road bike can be, even if it is considered to be an entry level model!

But probably the best thing about it is that Tommaso backs all of their bikes with a lifetime guarantee. So you never have to worry about this thing crapping out on you.

Bottom line: out of all the road bikes under 1000 dollars, this one is the best model on the market right now. I think you definitely won’t regret buying it.

2. Vilano Shadow Road Bike

best price Vilano Shadow Road Bike

When it comes to a good entry-level road bike that has a good quality frame, a smooth ride and a low price, then it is hard to beat the Vilano Shadow. This bike makes a great choice for beginners and intermediate riders.

You can use this bike for your daily commute, as part of your fitness routine or just for riding with the local bike club as it is very versatile. And it’s quality is made to last you for quite a while.

As you compare this bike to others, take note of the Shimano A070 STI brake lever integrated shifters. At the price for this bike, this is a great feature. You get low cost for the bike, precision braking and good shifting.

It is a very lightweight bike with the 6061 double butted aluminum frame. That is what makes the Vilano Shadow such a great bike for commuters because you can easily lift it onto the bus or train for that commute. It weighs it at about 23 pounds in total weight.

Full Vilano Shadow Road Bike Specs:

  • Frame: 6061 Double Butted Aluminum w/ Integrated Headset
  • Fork: 700c 1 1/8″ Threadless
  • Shifters: Shimano A070 STI Integrated Brake Lever
  • Front Derailleur: Shimano
  • Rear Derailleur: Shimano Tourney
  • Crankset: Alloy Double
  • Rims: 700c Doubled Walled CNC Alloy Machined Sides
  • Freewheel: Shimano 7 speed
  • Tires: 700c x 25c
  • Chain: KMC
  • Brakes: Dual Pivot Alloy Caliper
  • Headset: 1 1/8″ Integrated
  • Handlebar: Alloy
  • Saddle: Anatomic Comfort
  • Seatpost: Alloy 27.2
  • Speeds: 14

I like that you have some color choice when it comes to ordering the Vilano Shadow, even if your only options are a black or a white frame.

Like all good road bikes, you have to order the size of the frame that you need based on your height. If you need help deciding which size to order, check out the guide below. Options are small, medium or large.

  • Small frame is 50 cm, which is good for someone up to about 5-ft 4-in in height
  • Medium frame is 54 cm, which is good for someone up to about 5-ft 10-in in height
  • Large frame is 58 cm, which is good for someone over 5-ft 10-in in height

If you want to read more about this great bike, then you can look over my Vilano Shadow aluminum road bike review where I give you some additional details and answer some questions you might have about this bike.

3. Giordano Libero 1.6 Men and Women’s Road Bikes

For an option that makes both a men’s and a women’s road bike model, probably the best choice right now is the Giordano Libero 1.6 bike.

Giordano Libero 1.6 White/Red Men's Road Bike-700cGiordano Libero 1.6 White/Red Men’s Road Bike-700cCLICK FOR PRICE

Giordano Libero 1.6 White/Pink Womens Road Bike-700cGiordano Libero 1.6 White/Pink Women’s Road Bike-700cCLICK FOR PRICE


You don’t really get a choice in color with this one. The men’s frame comes in a red and white design while the women’s comes in a pink and white design. I’m not really a fan of those options, but it’s something that I’ll overlook because the bike gives you a smooth ride.

Other than the color, the big difference between these two models is that the women’s frames are smaller in size since women’s bodies are normally smaller than men’s. To show you what I mean, have a look at the difference in the frame sizes below.

Men’s Giordano Libero 1.6 frame sizes:

  • Small = 50cm/20” fits riders 5’1″-5’8″ with a stand over of 28″-30″
  • Medium = 56cm/22” fits riders 5’8″-6’0″ with a stand over of 30″-32″
  • Large = 61cm/25″ fits riders 6’2″-6’5″ with a stand over of 33″-35″

Women’s Giordano Libero 1.6 frame sizes:

  • Small = 35cm/15” fits women 4’ 7”-5’2″ with a stand over of 28”-29″
  • Medium = 41cm/17” fits riders 4’10”-5’5″ with a stand over of 29″-30″

Those are really the only differences that they have as the rest of the features are shared between the two models, which is why I think that they are one of the best cheap road bike options for men and women in 2015 – 2016.

Top Features of Giordano Libero 1.6 Men’s & Women’s Road Bikes:

  • Lightweight hand crafted 6061 aluminum frame
  • 1 1/8” Threadless stem
  • 16-speed Shimano drive train
  • Dual water bottle mounts

This bike mode looks great with its Italian-inspired design and it also gives you a great ride. Like the Vilano Shadow, the frame is a lightweight 6061 aluminum frame that weights right around 23 pounds. Perfect for commuting and riding up those steep hills.

I also enjoy that this model has a double water bottle mount. It is perfect for those long afternoon rides. And if you want to try this out in a local competition, that double mount means less time stopping for some water.

The Giordano Libero 1.6 is one of my favorites because it represents a good value entry-level road bike for cyclists. But the great thing about it is that the features make is a good choice for accomplished cyclists as well. You’ll even see some people doing well in competitions riding one of these, which says a lot about it’s quality. That is why I think it is one of the best road bikes. It is one of the best road bikes for the money right now.

For more information on the women’s model, check out my Giordano Libero 1.6 Women’s Road Bike Review.

For more information on the men’s model, check out my Giordano Libero 1.6 Men’s Road Bike Review.

4. Diamondback Bicycles 2014 Airen 1 Women’s Road Bike with 700c Wheels

best price Diamondback Bicycles 2014 Airen 1 Women's Road Bike

If your budget allows for a bit more spending, then you can get a few more features by considering the this Diamondback women’s road bike. It has a low price and makes a good women’s road bike choice for 2014.

Though the Giordano Libero 1.6 women’s bike is a great choice, the Diamondback Airen women’s bike is an even better choice. It will give you a more enjoyable time out on your bike if you take your cycling seriously. Though I definitely think that this model is worth the slightly higher price, it is probably not the best choice for someone new to road bikes and is better for the serious cyclist.

This black and purple frame is ultra lightweight. You get a fully butted 7005 alloy with a formed top tube and an integrated headtube with an integrated headset and a performance carbon fork with an alloy steer tube. Pretty spiffy, huh?

An even better feature – the DBR Airen Performance Alloy Fork w/ Alloy Steerer – gives your hands some much needed relief from road vibrations. If you do a lot of cycling on roads that are not smooth, then you will absolutely love how this bike dampens road vibrations when cycling. Your hands and arms will thank you later.

When you compare the Diamondback Airen women’s bike vs the Giordano Libero 1.6 women’s bike, then you will notice that the ride is better on the Diamondback. It is smoother, feels more responsive and like you have greater control. And if you’ve done any cycling before, then you know how important it is to feel like you can trust your bike.

This bike is great for use an endurance bike, a commuter bike or just a lazy afternoon ride bike. It comes in five different frame sizes, which are designed to fit the smaller body of a woman. Here’s the break down of those sizes:

  • XXS is 48 cm
  • XS is 50 cm
  • Small is 52 cm
  • Medium is 54 cm
  • Large is 56 cm

Here’s a quick look at the top features of this bike, check them out now:

  • Devine Women’s Specific Custom Fully Butted 7005 Alloy Enhanced Performance Geometry Frame
  • DBR Performance Alloy Fork with alloy steerer
  • FSA Tempo Triple Crankset
  • Shimano Sora Rear Derailleur & Claris 8-Spd Dual Control Shifters
  • Equation SE Rims w/Stainless Steel Spokes

What To Consider When Shopping For Road Bikes

Road bikes are intended for fitness fanatics, event riders and competitive riders. What is significant about road bikes is that it allows riders to go farther and faster than most bikes. Road bikes are not designed for rough or unpaved surfaces. It is recommended to ride on bike paths and roads.

Purchasing a road bike can be stressful but also beneficial. There are many health benefits, time and planet saving advantages, and other positive recreational factors that add to the biking experience. You want to make sure that you are making the right decision in this investment.

Common Road Bike Features

How will you know a road bike from other types of bikes? Here are some common features to look for that will help you in defining a road bike:

  • Very lightweight frame, wheels and other components.
  • A drop (or curled) handlebar
  • Narrow wheels and tires
  • A carbon fiber front fork
  • No front or rear suspension
  • An array of styles and sizes for both men and women

Common Frame Materials

The main frame options are aluminum or carbon fiber.

The majority of aluminum frames provide a smooth ride experience, and are usually less expensive than the carbon fiber frames. Most road bikes that are aluminum-framed provide an improved ride experience due to their composite front fork. This feature absorbs road vibration.

Carbon-fiber bike frames are more suited to provide a more comfortable ride experience.Due to the amount of work it takes in manufacturing these frames, they are usually more expensive than the aluminum-framed bikes.

So, which one do you choose? If you are wanting a frame that is lighter and stronger, then the carbon-fiber is the best option. The aluminum frame is more suitable if you tend on riding for leisure and fitness and have no desire of being the next Lance Armstrong.

Why You Might Need A Road Bike

Consider your biking needs. How many miles do you bike, how often do you bike? If you plan on riding more frequently at longer distances than most, then a road bike may be your best choice. They are designed for comfort and the lightweight makes them easier to transport. In larger cities, many cyclist transport their bikes on public transit to desired riding destinations. This same scenario could cause frustration with heavier bike types.

Why A Road Bike Might Be A Bad Choice For You

Yes, road bikes are lighter than other bike types, but under what circumstances will choosing a road bike not be the best option as opposed to another bike type? Once again, the factor of comfort is what you should consider.

If you have a heavier commute you may want to choose another option. Road bikes are designed lighter. If you are transporting a heavy bag or laptop, etc. the added back pressure will cause extreme discomfort. In this case, you will want to choose a bike that allows more support, has more seat cushion, will allow you to have better posture, and has bigger tires.

What You Need To Know About Frame Geometry

Although many of the features of road bikes are similar, there are subtle differences in the way that the frames are designed. These bikes allow for a more

Some road bikes are designed with a sport geometry. These bikes are more suitable if you plan on riding up to 3 times a week and record anywhere from 20 to 150 miles a week. This style allows you to ride in an upright positions and the steering is more relaxed than a on the performance bike.

The performance geometry style road bikes are more convenient for those who intend on competing. This style requires the rider to be more flexible and stretched out to improve aerodynamics. These bikes are more expensive and feature a stiffer frame, higher end components, and lighter wheels.

Flat bar road bikes have similarities to the sport geometry but they allow for a more upright riding position. This style give you the comfort of being able to easily observe traffic. That is what makes this style more popular for commuting.


How To Get The Correct Road Bike Frame Size

There are many factors to take into account when choosing frame size.
There are 3 main measurements that affect the frame size. These measurements include:

1.The Seat Tube
2.The Top Tube
3.The Head Tube

These measurements combine to produce the frame size. You also have the seat height and reach to take into account. Your best option is to test the waters. Go around to different shops and try out different bikes. Get comfortable in understanding what a road bike feels like, that way you will have more knowledge of what it is you are looking for.

Most manufactures offer two types of road bikes. The first is the sportif model, which is also known as the sportif range. They also offer a race bike range. A way to determine which of these models best suits you is to do the toe touch test. If you are able to touch your toes then the race bike range will best suit you. If you are unable to touch your toes, then the sportif range will be more comfortable for you.

Ask questions! Just as you wouldn’t buy a car that you feel uncomfortable in, that is the same way you should feel about your new bike. There is no need to make impulse decisions when you can make an educated decision by getting advice from qualified professionals.

Laws Of The Road

After choosing your bike, it would be beneficial to understand the rules of the road and safety requirements. Depending on what state you reside, there are rules that may apply to you that may differentiate from state to state. For instance, some states completely prohibit the use of bikes on sidewalks, while others have limited exceptions to sidewalk riding. Understanding these laws and bike safety will ensure you a consistent pleasant experience in biking.

There are many ways to enjoy your road bike. You can join a local cycling club, ride with family members, or take time to ride alone and clear your frustrations. Don’t worry if at first you are not able to tackle your desired mileage, or if you are not able to climb those hills you have been anxious to travel. You will quickly realize that it is not that easy at first, but with time and great dedication, you will be riding with the best of them.