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The Best 2018 Entry-Level Road Bikes for $1,000

May 16, 2018
The Best 2018 Entry-Level Road Bikes for $1,000

Looking at taking your cycling to the next level and don’t want to break the bank? When seeking out a road bike around AUD$1,000, thankfully, you’re not short on capable options.

Bikes at this price point are typically designed to make the transition from flat-bar or more upright style bikes as easy as possible. Expect the frame to be constructed from aluminium with a road buzz reducing carbon fibre fork out front. Robust tyres and a more relaxed endurance focussed geometry are also likely to feature.

Groupset options will typically leave buyers with two chainrings on the front crankset with easier pedaling ratios known as a “compact”. Expect these groupsets to feature anywhere between 8 and 11-speeds out back.

Rim brakes are the most popular stoppers at this price point, however, mechanical disc brakes do start to appear which carry the benefit of increased stopping power. Rolling stock will typically come in the form of in-house aluminium wheelsets built for both strength and durability.

The models that have made our list of best budget road bikes tick most of the above boxes with a few curve-balls thrown in to highlight the extensive range available to you at this price point. Thinking of spending a little more? A couple of hundred dollars extra will see the bike gain crisper shifting, more secure braking, a lower weight and marginally improved durability.

Alternatively, you may be able to pick up a bargain by hunting for a used bike. Do be warned that a few deals may be too good to be true, and if ever possible, have a bike shop inspect the bike before purchase. If you’re unsure of what to look for, you’re probably best to stick with a new bike, unfortunately we speak from personal experience on this one.

So if you are looking for a great road bike on a budget, the following eight options are sure to leave you with both a smile on your face and spare change in your wallet.


Specialized Allez Sport

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The Allez range of entry-level road bikes from Specialized is one of the American company’s longest running bike models and for good reason.

The Allez Sport delivers big on performance, featuring an E5 premium aluminium frame whilst a FACT carbon fork features up front for a more supple road feel and improved handling. The package is rounded out with a capable Shimano Sora 9-speed groupset complete with a wide range 11-32t cassette outback.

The Allez is the perfect bike for those entering the cycling game that may want to dip their toes into some more competitive riding as well as longer endurance rides.

Price- RRP: AUD$1,250

Giant Contend 1

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The Contend series of entry-level road bikes offer up the perfect starting point in the wide range of Giant road bikes.

The Contend 1 features a more upright, endurance based geometry in an ALUXX-grade butted aluminium frame. Wider 25mm tyres add more control, and a compact Shimano Sora 9-speed drivetrain is set up with a 32T cassette to conquer the climbs.

If you were looking for a slightly more robust option, Giant also offers the Contend in a disc equipped option. Complete with hydraulic disc brakes, tubeless tyres, a slightly different frame shape (and a marginally higher price tag). We’ve tested the Contend Disc before, and can confirm it’s a great bike.

Price- RRP: AUD$1,099

Merida Scultura 200

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Merida’s hugely capable line-up of Scultura road race bikes stretches right from the entry level, all the way up to featherweight rides being piloted by some of the world's best riders.

Arguably one of the most aesthetically pleasing bikes on this list, the Scultura 200 also ticks the box in terms of functionality. A Shimano Sora 9-speed groupset takes care of the shifting and is paired with a compact 50-34t crankset courtesy of FSA. Finished off with in-house aluminium rims wrapped in 25c wide Maxxis rubber, the Scultura is capable of taking you form long bunch rides, to your first crit race all in the same weekend.

Price- RRP: $1,199

Reid Falco Elite

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Australian owned and operated outfit Reid Cycles claims to provide users with the country’s best value bikes. Take one look at the component list of the Falco Elite and it’s not hard to see the truth in this statement.

Outfitted with arguably the highest quality build kit here, the Falco Elite outshines others on this list for componentry. Groupset comes courtesy of Shimano in the form of its ever dependable 11-speed 105 groupset which is paired to a compact FSA crankset. Alex rims are laced to quality Novatec hubs, shod with grippy Continental tyres.

In our past experience, the aluminium frames don’t share the same polished handling as the bikes from the global brands, but regardless, this value-packed steed deserves a place in this list.

Price- RRP: AUD$1099

Apollo Giro 20

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Proudly Australian, Apollo Bicycle Co is well known for its great value bikes suited to every type of rider. For those wanting a wallet-friendly way to tick off the kilometres, the Giro range of alloy road bikes are a great place to start your two-wheeled obsession.

Designed for long days in the saddle with a more relaxed endurance geometry, the Giro 20 features a reliable 9-speed Shimano Sora groupset paired with a compact crankset. A robust aluminium wheelset with a high spoke count wrapped in 25c wide puncture resistant rubber rounds out this high-value package.

Price- RRP: AUD$1099

Trek Domane AL 2

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The Trek Domane AL 2 brings all the hallmarks of the carbon framed Domane endurance bike down to an entry-level price point. Making use of Trek’s own 100 Series Alpha Aluminium for the frame means that the AL 2 scores the same frame shaping as their top-end bikes at a fraction of the cost.

The component list for the Domane is on par with other bikes in this category, if not a little lower to suit the price; outfitted with a compact crankset, Shimano Claris drivetrain, 25mm Bontrager T2 tyres, and a carbon fork with eyelets for mounting mudguards (front and rear).

Price- RRP: AUD$949

Fuji Sportif 2.3

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The Sportif range of road bikes from Fuji takes design cues and trickle down tech from the brand’s top-level Gran Fondo endurance bike, and brings it down to a more affordable price point. With a more relaxed, upright geometry, the Sportif 2.3 represents a great place for new road riders to kickstart a passion for everything bike.

Featuring a sturdy aluminium frame complete with provisions for racks and fenders, the Sportif is as capable as a commuter as it is an all-day endurance machine. Groupset comes courtesy of Shimano in the form of its 8-Speed Claris drivetrain. The bike is finished off with a dependable aluminium wheelset wrapped in wide 28c Vittoria rubber.

Price- RRP: $999

Norco Search A Sora

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The versatile range of Search road bikes from Canadian brand Norco, blends all-road capability and long-distance comfort in an affordable package. A premium aluminium frame with an endurance focussed geometry, vibration damping ARC design and clearance for up to 35c tyres should provide smooth and confident handling for all-day rides over a variety of terrain.

A Shimano Sora groupset paired with an adventure spec 48/32T crankset takes care of the going whilst Tektro mechanical brakes provide the stopping power, the only bike on this list to feature disc brakes. WTB rims wrapped in 32c wide, puncture resistant Schwalbe rubber rounds out this affordable, anyroad package.

The Search may not be the perfect pick if you’re looking to join your shop road bunch, but it’s an impressive option if your riding aspirations involve multi-surfaces and big adventures.

Price- RRP: AUD$1,199


In the market for a new ride and don’t know where to start? Our ultimate guide to buying a road bike is a great place to go next.