Best road bikes in USA

If you’re looking for the best road bikes, there are an increasing number of alternatives at every price point.

Road bike prices have risen dramatically in recent years, with top-end models frequently costing more than $10,000 / £10,000.

The road bike market is more sophisticated than ever before, with frame materials, aero features, wheel construction, and tyre width all providing plenty of options. The rise of the gravel bike provides a machine that can be ridden on the road but also on tracks and trails, providing you additional options for where you ride.

1. SPECIALIZED ALLEZ

Best road bike for those on a budget

SPECIFICATIONS

Frame: Specialized E5 Premium alloy

Groupset: Shimano Claris

Wheels: Axis Sport alloy

Weight: 9.4kg / 20.7lbs

 

REASONS TO BUY

+Quality aluminum frame

+Full carbon fork

+Stable & assured ride

REASONS TO AVOID

Big jumps between gears

Budget brakes

 

Specialized’s entry-level road bike features a lightweight frame and an all-carbon fork with internal cable routing. The geometry was created utilizing Specialized’s massive bike fit database, resulting in a somewhat upright riding position and a pleasant fit for many riders. There’s enough for mudguards and a rack, so we think it’s versatile enough to serve as a first road bike, a winter cycle, or even a commuting bike.

The Axis Sport wheels are heavy, and the Tektro rim brakes aren’t the most effective, but the ride quality and athletic feel are on par with far more expensive bikes.The weight does slow you down on the climbs, despite the Shimano Claris 8-speed groupset’s range of less than 1:1, which shares many of the ergonomics of Shimano’s top-spec Dura-Ace. However, the range split across eight speeds results in some significant differences in gear ratios.

2. BOARDMAN SLR 8.9

Best road bike for outstanding value

SPECIFICATIONS

Frame: SLR 8.9 carbon

Groupset: Shimano 105

heels: Boardman SLR tubeless-ready

Weight: 8.9kg / 19.6lb

 

REASONS TO BUY

+Lightweight – under 9kg

+Carbon frameset that’s worthy of upgrades

+Well-specced at this price point

+Beautifully balanced ride quality

REASONS TO AVOID

Narrow tyre clearance

The Boardman SLR 8.9 gives a lot of bike for the money at £1,100. You receive a wind tunnel-tested aero carbon frame and forks, as well as Shimano’s dependable 11-speed 105 groupset (albeit with a FSA crankset). As a result, the bike is lighter than its competitors. 

The ride is excellent; responsive with just the right amount of compliance. It’s also a frame that will stand the test of time, making the SLR 8.9 a bike that will grow with you. The bike is available in both men’s and women’s versions, with the only change being the contact points on the same frame. The rim brakes work effectively in all but the wettest circumstances, and they’re a worthwhile trade-off for a bike with a carbon aero frame at this price.

3. GIANT CONTEND SL1

Best endurance road bike on a budget

SPECIFICATIONS

Frame: ALUXX SL-Grade alloyGroupset: Shimano 105Wheels: Giant P-R2 alloyWeight: 9.0kg / 19.9lbs

REASONS TO BUY

+Full carbon fork

+Great ride quality, offering comfort over long distances

+Assured yet nimble handling

 

REASONS TO AVOID

Heavy – a tad over 9kg for a size small

The Contend shares features of Giant’s more expensive bikes, including a small alloy frame with a sloping top tube. The D-Fuse seatpost and carbon fork are meant to improve rear and front end compliance, respectively. Along with the endurance frame geometry, this provides excellent comfort and handling, allowing you to ride for extended periods of time while inspiring confidence.

There’s plenty of low gearing, down to 1:1, to tackle uphills, and Shimano 105 provides great shifting, despite the rather large weight. It is, however, a good value proposition for the money.

4. VAN RYSEL ULTRA CF

Best road bike for rim brake fans

SPECIFICATIONS

Frame: Ultra Evo Dynamic carbon

Groupset: Shimano 105

Wheels: Aero 700 2024 BTWIN alloy

Weight: 8.3kg / 18.3lbs

 

REASONS TO BUY

+Great value with carbon frameset and 105

+Comfortable ride

+Striking looks

REASONS TO AVOID

Rim brake only

The Shimano 105-equipped Ultra CF from Decathlon’s in-house Van Rysel brand is a superb deal. You get a carbon frameset with aero flourishes and solid alloy wheels that provide steady handling and good braking from the in-series rim brakes – it’s one of the few bikes that still utilizes rim brakes, but Decathlon is gradually upgrading its range to disc brakes. It’s not extremely light, but a wheel update would undoubtedly improve performance and save weight.

The Ultra CF is available with a variety of groupset options from Shimano and Campagnolo, allowing you to tailor the spec to your needs, and there are men’s and women’s variants.

5. CANNONDALE CAAD13 DISC 105

Best affordable race-ready road bike

SPECIFICATIONS

Frame: SmartForm C1 Premium Alloy

Groupset: Shimano 105

Wheels: RD 2.0 alloy

Weight: 9.0kg / 19.9lb

 

REASONS TO BUY

+Fast and agile

+Frame ride quality – stiff yet comfortable

+Well-specced at this price point

+A frameset worthy of component upgrades

REASONS TO AVOID

High front end is a bit out of character with the bike’s racy feel

Cannondale has long been known as a master of performance alloy frames, and the CAAD13 continues in that tradition. It has long and low geometry based on the pro-level carbon SuperSix, as well as aero tube profiles for superior handling. It’s a frame that you won’t outgrow, and it’s priced low enough to be a first bike.

This price includes a Shimano 105 hydraulic groupset and an RS510 crankset. For 2022, the wheels have been slightly upgraded, and you now get DT Swiss R470 rims with Formula hubs. The only issue we had was with the relatively high front end stack.

6. LIV LANGMA ADVANCED PRO 1 DISC

Best women’s specific road bike

SPECIFICATIONS

Frame: Advanced-Grade carbon composite

Groupset: Shimano Ultegra 8000

Wheels: Giant SLR-2

Weight: 7.6kg / 16.8kg

 

REASONS TO BUY

+Exceptional ride – stiff front end yet compliant

+Lighter than many of its rivals

+Crank-based power meter included

REASONS TO AVOID

Wide spread on gearing for a race bike

Could benefit from deeper section rims

For 2022, the Liv Langma Advanced Pro 1 Disc has got considerable modifications. The improved SL fork gives the women’s-specific, race-ready frameset a firmer front end. There’s also clearance for 32mm tyres, making it very future-proof as tyres go wider. Surprisingly for a bike under £4,000, the Giant PowerPro crankset includes a power meter.

The riding is firm but compliant, and the Liv climbs and descends confidently. Our only complaints were minor: large jumps between gears due to the 11-30 cassette and shallow rims. Both of these, however, are subjective.

Many people won’t be surprised to learn that the Carrera Intercity Disc folding bike, an exclusive to Halfords, has earned the title of our best affordable folding bike alternative. With a price of just £450, it’s also a terrific option to take into account if you’re not sure if a folding bike would work for your needs and way of life.

This is the best folding bike for the money, but it doesn’t imply the ride is subpar. Comparatively speaking to many other foldable bikes available on the market, this specific model provides a 53-tooth chainring and a 9-speed, 11-34 cassette. Additionally, this bike weighs a very reasonable 12.5kg, which isn’t awful at all for a cheap alternative.

The Carrera Intercity also has the advantage of being very simple to fold in half, to the proportions of 750mm x 350mm x 650mm, making it very convenient to store or transfer on public transportation. Additionally, it has disc brakes, which provide more immediate and accurate stopping power. This is obviously helpful while commuting in crowded locations and navigating around traffic and pedestrians.

7. TREK EMONDA ALR 5

Best lightweight aluminum road bike

SPECIFICATIONS

Frame: Ultralight 300 Series Alpha Aluminium

Groupset: Shimano 105

Wheels: Bontrager Affinity Disc alloy

Weight: 7.8kg / 17.2lbs (52cm)

 

REASONS TO BUY

+Great looks, similar to a carbon frame

+Low weight for an aluminum bike, under 8kg

+Comfortable ride suited to long hilly days in the saddle

REASONS TO AVOID

Handling not the sharpest

The sub-8kg (17.6lbs) weight is impressive for an aluminum disc brake bike at this price, outweighing many carbon bikes, and Trek’s Invisible Weld Technology produces seamless welds that also appear like carbon. The bike feels more like a carbon bike than an alloy bike.

The lightweight Emonda provides excellent braking with its Shimano 105 disc brake groupset, as well as lots of comfort thanks to its 28mm tyres, carbon seatpost, and comfortable ride posture.

It is available in a wide range of sizes, ranging from 47 cm to 64 cm. There are also some fantastic colors.

8.RIBBLE ENDURANCE SL R DISC

Best road bike for custom builds

SPECIFICATIONS

Frame: Ribble T1000/T800 Carbon Monocoque

Groupset: SRAM Red eTap AXS

Wheels: Mavic Cosmic Carbon

Weight: 7.6kg / 16.8lb (54cm)

 

+Sharp looks with plenty of color options

REASONS TO AVOID

Heavier than some of its rivals at 7.6kg

Ribble, as a direct to consumer brand, is able to provide excellent value for money. The Endurance SL R Disc exemplifies this, with our Red eTap AXS-equipped variant costing a little over £6,500. However, like with all Ribble framesets, you can use its bike builder to design the bike of your dreams – and, more importantly, your budget.

The Endurance SL R Disc is an excellent all-arounder that benefits from a few aero changes and an integrated cockpit while remaining agile and compliant. During testing, it proved to be speedy while still providing all-day comfort. The only disadvantage, maybe, is the weight when compared to some of its competitors.

9. PEARSON HAMMERANDTONGS

Best fast endurance bike

SPECIFICATIONS

Frameset: Pearson high modulus carbon

Groupset: Shimano Ultegra Di2

Wheels: Pearson Hoopdrive Tooth and Nails

Weight: 8.2kg / 18.0lb

 

REASONS TO BUY

+Great ride quality

+Aero design

+Room for wide tyres

REASONS TO AVOID

Fairly pricey for the spec

Despite coming from the world’s oldest bike shop, established in 1860, the Pearson HammerAndTongs is a cutting-edge endurance bike, with an aero frame design and sufficient tyre space for 32mm wide tyres, and other features.

The front end is slightly higher than on racier models, as is typical of endurance bikes, but the geometry is designed for quick riding, with a short wheelbase and steep seat tube angle. The front end integration and the small aero carbon bars impressed us.

The Hammer And Tongs was again a quick ride, albeit the wheelset was a little jittery in a heavy crosswind. It’s an excellent performance for a little bike manufacturer.

10. MERIDA SCULTURA TEAM

Best aero climbing road bike

SPECIFICATIONS

Frameset: Scultura CF5 V

Groupset: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9200

Wheels: Metron 45 SL Clincher TL disc

Weight: 7.1kg / 15.7lb

 

REASONS TO BUY

+Great all-rounder

+Good value for a World Tour spec bike – RRP of £7,750 / US$10,700

REASONS TO AVOID

Wheels feel a bit twitchy in crosswinds

In its fifth iteration, it has inherited some of the aerodynamic features of the brand’s Reacto aero bike, such as boxy tubing, reduced seatstays, and a fully integrated cockpit. According to Merida, the end effect is a few watts saved.

However, as a high-end all-rounder, it’s also very comfortable, with tyre clearance currently at 30mm. And, for a bike that started out as a climbing machine, it’s still lightweight – in fact, it’s about 50 grams lighter than the previous generation.

We found it to be a delightful ride throughout our testing. It combines the advantages of an aero bike and a lightweight climbing bike to create a bike that is both responsive and assured. The new Dura-Ace is also worth mentioning, featuring better braking in addition to the dependability and performance you’d expect from a top-tier electronic groupset.

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