When it comes to selecting a road bike there are so many to choose from it can become overwhelming. The best thing you can do is figure out exactly what you’ll be using it for and then finding the right bike to suit those needs. The following post will highlight the best road bikes for the money in 2018 as well as some key features and things to look for when making your selection.
Road bikes are designed with light frames and thin tires, for smooth riding. Generally you stick to paved surfaces such as roads otherwise you may want to check out our Best Mountain Bikes reviews.
Key Considerations for Road Bikes
Size & Fit
In terms of getting fitted to your road bike this is a pretty critical step. Regardless of the style or type of bike you choose as long as it fits well then you will enjoy the ride. It’s a good idea to get your measurements taken or take note of them in the case of shopping online. You need to ensure your frame is the right size, the saddle and handlebars are at the right height too.
Sizing remains much the same across all bikes, taking the riders height and leg length you can then determine the correct frame size. The following table shows the ranges.
|Rider Height||Inner Leg||Recommended Frame Size|
|5’1″ – 5’3″||27″ – 29″||48cm|
|5’3″ – 5’5″||28″ – 30″||50cm|
|5’5″ – 5’7″||29″ – 31″||52cm|
|5’7″ – 5’9″||30″ – 32″||54cm|
|5’9″ – 5’11”||31″- 33″||56cm|
|5’11” – 6’2″||32″ – 34″||58cm|
|6’1″ – 6’3″||33″ – 35″||60cm|
|6’3″ – 6’5″||34″ – 36″||62cm|
Road bike frames come in steel, aluminum and carbon fiber. Steel being quite heavy, aluminum being lighter and quite rigid and then carbon fiber which is considered the best.
Steel can be a good choice for commuters as the material makes it quite comfortable and soft to ride. Any bumpy terrain is absorbed by the frame, although due to the lack of popularity it can be difficult to find a steel framed road bike these days.
Aluminum is quite light and balances the rider strength and weight well. They are considered quite stiff which as you can imagine means the power transfer from pedals to bike is quite efficient. Aluminum frames are the most popular and are relatively inexpensive to manufacture.
Carbon fiber frames are the lightest frames but you definitely pay a lot extra for this. All racing bikes are manufactured with carbon fiber to be super light yet strong and versatile.
Best Road Bikes for the Money 2018
Kestrel Talon Road Shimano 105 Bicycle
- Kestrel enhanced modulus hybrid frame set; carbon rear triangle and emh carbon fork 1 1/8 - 1 1/4 alloy steerer
- Shimano front and rear 105 derailleur with 11 speed Shimano 105 STI shifters 11-28t cassette
- Oval concepts 327 wheelset 20 hole front and 24 hole rear, Vitoria zaffiro Pro 700 x 32C folding tires
- Oval concepts 310 6061 alloy, ergonomic fit handlebars with Shimano 105 STI brake levers and Tektro R540 dual pivot brake set
- Kestrel EMS Pro carbon seat post with ritchey clamp system and oval concepts 300 saddle with steel rails
The Kestrel Talon Road Shimano 105 Bicycle is top of my list, there are many things that appeal to me about this bike so lets dive in!
- Hybrid frame set – 800K and 700K carbon fibers.
- Lightweight yet stiff
- Aerodynamically contoured seat tube
- Internal cable routing for clean airlfow
- Seatpost can be adjusted for road use or triathlons
- Shimano front and rear 105 derailleur
- 11 speed Shimano 105 STI Shifters
- Vitoria zaffiro Pro 700 x 32C folding tires
- Tektro R540 dual pivot brake set
Kestrel was founded in 1987 by two aerospace engineers and were pioneers in carbon fiber bicycles. As a result Kestrel have continued to fine tune their designs over the years using the latest technology and studies. You can rest assured knowing your road bike has been made with to the highest quality!
The Kestrel Talon Road Shimano 105 Bicycle was designed in the A2 Wind Tunnel for fine tuning the aerodynamics of the road bike. This machine can handle all conditions well! In addition the seatpost allows for the saddle to be mounted and moved in a variety of positions. This means you can use it for a triathlon or just for general road biking.
The seat and chainstays have been designed to improve the overall stiffness laterally along the bike and the power transfer as a result is incredible efficient. At the same time the vibration is also dampened giving you a smooth ride.
- Lightweight carbon alloy frame
- Adjustable seat
- A2 wind tunnel tested
- Aerodynamically designed
- It’s only too hard to find a con with this machine! I could say the price but given the features it’s well worth it!
The Kestrel Talon Road Shimano 105 Bicycle was launched in 2007 and has grown in popularity ever since. For the price, the bike presents great value for money and is versatile for road or triathlon use.
Raleigh Bikes Willard 1 All Road Bike, Blue, 52 cm/X-Small
1 used from $ 869.99
- Designed for riding deep, loose gravel and dirt as well as commuting on rough roads and going the distance on pavement
- Sizing: 52cm=5'4-5'7, 54cm=5'7-5'9, 56cm=5'9-5'11, 58cm=5'11-6'1, 60cm=6'1-6'3, 62cm=6'3-6'5
- Made with a 6061 aluminum all road specific frame with a carbon fork with an alloy tapered steer and thru-axle for responsiveness
- Features a Shimano Sora 18 speed drivetrain to tackle hills and TRP spyre mechanical dual actuated disc brakes for great stopping power
- Offers 3D forged anti shock stem and anti-shock seat post to reduce road vibrations and keep you fresher longer
Raleigh Bikes Willard 1 All Road Bike is another popular road bike designed and manufactured by a reputable company. This bike is classified as an All Road bike meaning it can handle all types of terrain.
- Versatile bike for rough and smooth terrain
- Different sizing options
- Aluminum all road specific frame
- Carbon fork
- Shimano Sora 18 speed drivetrain
- TRP mechanical dual actuated disc brakes
- Offers 3D forged anti shock stem and anti-shock seat post to reduce road vibrations
- Arrives partly assembled
The Raleigh Bikes Willard 1 All Road Bike has been designed to handle both semi rough terrain such as gravel roads as well as paved surfaces.
It is available in the following sizing: 52cm=5’4-5’7, 54cm=5’7-5’9, 56cm=5’9-5’11, 58cm=5’11-6’1, 60cm=6’1-6’3, 62cm=6’3-6’5.
The bike arrives partly assembled and takes anywhere between 30mins to 120mins depending on your capabilities.
Bike is very durable and comfortable to ride, the frame, stem, seat post and tires work well together to absorb bumps making it smooth to ride.
- All road bike handles a variety of terrains
- Easy to assemble
- Very responsive TRP brakes
- Could be more gears
The Raleigh Bikes Willard 1 All Road Bike is an aluminum bike that has been designed for a wide range of applications. A fantastic choice for commuters out there looking for comfort without compromising on quality. If you don’t mind a little extra weight then it’s a great, smooth ride.
BEIOU 2016 Carbon Comfortable Bicycles 700C Road Bike
- Finish：3K glossy
- Frame：BEIOU Carbon Fiber Unibody
- Speed Control System： LTWOO Rear switch 20S
- Bike Weight：about 8.5KG
- Usually takes 7-10 business days for delivery to U.S. continential addresses
Moving through the list we are now at the first road bike under $1,000! The BEIOU 2016 Carbon Comfortable Bicycles 700C Road Bike is a carbon fiber road bike that is well worth considering.
- Carbon fiber unibody
- Glossy finish
- 3 frame sizes to choose from
- Lightweight bike
- Prowheel crankset
- 20 Speed
- Kenda 700*23C 60TPI tires
- Partly assembled
The BEIOU 2016 Carbon Comfortable Bicycles 700C Road Bike presents excellent value for money for those looking for a carbon fiber road bike without the high price tag.
Available in 3 different sizes: 48cm, 50cm and 52cm and in four different colours: white blue, white red, white gold and white orange.
- Looks good, rides well
- Carbon fiber and very lightweight
- 20 speeds
- Kenda tires
- Different colors to choose from
- Easy to assemble
- Only 3 frame sizes to choose from
In terms of value for a carbon fiber bike the BEIOU 2016 Carbon Comfortable Bicycles 700C Road Bike is great! This bike has good customer reviews and makes for a great commuter and racing bike.
Vilano FORZA 2.0 Aluminum Carbon Shimano Tiagra Road Bike
- Frame: 6061 Double Butted Aluminum
- Fork: 12k Carbon Fiber
- Shimano Tiagra 9 Speed
- 700C Double Walled Wheelset
- Free Pedals Included
The Vilano FORZA 2.0 Aluminum Carbon Shimano Tiagra Road Bike is the first mid range road bike to make the list. As the budget reduces quality starts to be compromised but lets take a look at the key features of this bike!
- Double Butted Aluminum Frame
- 12k Carbon fiber fork
- 9 Speed
- Four different sizing options
- Matte gray color
The Vilano FORZA 2.0 Aluminum Carbon Shimano Tiagra Road Bike is a good entry level road bike choice. It is available in four different sizes: 49cm, 53cm, 57cm and 61cm.
Given the price you can imagine the parts aren’t the best quality but you can get some serious distance on them before they will become a problem. Quite easy to upgrade as you go and as your see fit.
- Solid, sturdy frame and forks
- Different sizing options
- Seat is quite uncomfortable
- Pedals don’t clip in
- Only 9 speeds
For many people moving from a moutain bike to a road bike the Vilano FORZA 2.0 Aluminum Carbon Shimano Tiagra Road Bike is a popular choice. It is relatively lightweight and a great bike for starting your road biking journey.
Schwinn Men's Volare 1200 Bike, 700c, Grey
1 used from $ 218.69
- Schwinn aluminum fitness frame with rigid fork
- Shimano 21 speed EZ Fire shifters with Shimano rear derailleur for quick shifts
- Alloy linear pull brakes
- Alloy wheels with high profile rims
- Schwinn alloy crank
For the budget restricted the Schwinn Men’s Volare 1200 Bike is your best bet. Schwinn are a very reputable brand and this bike still has many great attributes.
- Aluminum rigid frame
- 21 Speed Shimano EZ Fire shifters
- Shimano rear derailleur
- LInear pull brakes
- Alloy wheels
- Alloy crank
- Lifetime limited warranty
The Schwinn Men’s Volare 1200 Bike has a total of 21 gear speeds with Shimano derailleurs and a crank shaft. Changing gears on this bike is easy and smooth.
The braking system of this bicycle is also good which is a feature many cheaper road bikes seem to lack.
The handlebars are very comfortable to use and are ergonomically styled which is a nice touch! Also, surprisingly the saddle was quite comfortable.
- Lightweight aluminum frame
- 21 quick shift gears
- Low budget friendly
- Hard to assemble
- Cheap parts
If you are just looking for a basic, no fuss road bike then the Schwinn Men’s Volare 1200 Bike will do the job. If you don’t mind accessories that aren’t the highest quality then this will keep you happy. It is a good entry level road bike for the budget restricted and will provide a comfortable ride!
For many years caliper brakes were commonly used for road bikes and all bikes actually. These are the brakes that have rubber which squeeze against the rim. Nowadays many road bikes will come with disc brakes. They are much better for handling wet weather but as a result are a bit more heavy. For endurance bikes you’ll generally see disc brakes and on race bikes caliper brakes. Each are good!
Road bike tires are very lightly treaded or have slick tread. In terms of comfort, wider tires will have a little more cushioning but this adds to the weight of the bike. Which isn’t necesarily a bad thing if you aren’t looking at competitive racing.
When it comes down to it if you aren’t happy with the tires they are quite easy and relatively cheap to switch so don’t get too caught up on this.
When it comes to finding the best value road bikes for money I hope you found this review helpful! I personally like the Kestrel Talon Road Shimano 105 Bicycle but if you are budget restricted then the Schwinn Men’s Volare 1200 Bike is a good choice. That’s not to say the other bikes aren’t good – they all made the list for a reason! If you are considering a mountain bike, read our complete review!