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. With the explosion in popularity of gravel and adventure bikes, many bikes are becoming more versatile at the entry-level. As a result, several options feature space for wide rubber, disc brakes and are designed to traverse a wide range of terrain.
Groupset options will typically leave buyers with two chainrings on the front crankset with more manageable pedalling ratios known as a "compact". Expect these groupsets to feature anywhere between 8 and 11-speeds.
Rim brakes are the most popular stoppers at this price point; however, mechanical disc brakes do start to appear, carrying 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, 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.
The Allez range of entry-level road bikes from Specialized is one of the American company's longest-running bike models and for a good reason.
The Allez Sport delivers big on performance, featuring an E5 premium aluminium frame while a FACT carbon fork features out front for a more supple road feel and improved handling. The package is rounded out with a capable Shimano Claris 8-speed groupset complete with a wide range 11-32t cassette. An aluminium Axis Sport wheelset gets riders rolling with Espoir Sport tyres providing the grip.
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$1,150
Merida Scultura 100
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 100 also ticks the box in terms of functionality. A Shimano Claris 8-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 riders from long bunch rides to a crit race all in the same weekend.
Price- RRP: $999
Reid Falco Sport
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.
The Falco Sport outshines others on this list for componentry at a sub $1k price point. Shifting comes courtesy of Shimano in the form of its ever dependable 10-speed Tiagra groupset which is paired to a compact FSA crankset. Alex rims are laced to quality Novatec hubs, shod with grippy Kenda tyres.
Reid has been making noticeable improvements to its frames in recent years, and this latest iteration features double-butted hydroformed tubing, clearance for 28c tyres, internal cabling, smooth welds and a comfort-based geometry. All up, this value-packed steed is more than deserving of a place on this list. It is worth noting that Reid has a small handful of retail shops to collect fully built bikes from, otherwise the bikes ship partially built in a box to your door. If you're not mechanically minded, a bike built and serviced by a local bike store may serve you better.
Price- RRP: AUD$849
Avanti Giro AR1
The Giro series of flat-bar and drop-bar road bikes from Avanti is ideal for riders wanting a similar fit and feel to a flat-bar road bike, with the all-road versatility of a gravel bike.
The AR 1 features a more upright, endurance-based geometry in a 6061 aluminium frame complete with mounts for racks and fenders. Wider 28mm tyres add more control, and a compact Shimano Claris 8-speed drivetrain is set up with a 32T cassette to conquer the climbs. Tektro mechanical disc brakes also feature, providing increased braking power and modulation in less-than-ideal weather conditions.
The AR 1 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$1,099
Apollo Giro 20
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 is a great place to start your two-wheeled obsession.
Designed for long days in the saddle with 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 25mm wide puncture-resistant rubber rounds out this high-value package.
Price- RRP: AUD$1099
Trek Domane AL 2
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, tubeless-ready aluminium hoops, 28mm Bontrager R1 tyres, and a carbon fork with eyelets for mounting mudguards (front and rear).
Price- RRP: AUD$999
Malvern Star Oppy S1
Australian based bike company Malvern Star has been in operation for over 100 years and has a rich history in the bike touring space. The company threw its support behind legendary endurance rider Hubert Opperman in the 1920s and 1930s who held several long-distance cycling records, thrusting both Oppy and the company into the national spotlight. The Oppy S1 Heritage brings the all-road adventure spirit of Oppy's rides to the masses in the form an affordable gravel bike.
Featuring a sturdy CroMo frame complete with provisions for racks and fenders, the S1 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 durable double-walled aluminium wheelset wrapped in wide 35mm CVT rubber. With dialled gravel geometry, the S1 represents an excellent place for new road riders to kickstart a passion for commuting, bike packing or endurance riding.
Price- RRP: $1099
Polygon Stratos S3
For riders wanting to take the step-up from a performance flat-bar to a drop-bar road bike, you'll be hard-pressed to find a better candidate than the Polygon Stratos S3. The Indonesian outfit is widely regarded in the mountain bike scene for its affordable price points and solid build quality. With the Stratos, Polygon brings these same qualities to the entry-level road market.
The Stratos makes use of a triple-butted hydroformed aluminium frameset produced in-house at Polygon and backed by a lifetime warranty. The frame is also paired with a full carbon fork to reduce road buzz. A Shimano Sora groupset paired with a 50/34T crankset takes care of the going while Tektro mechanical brakes provide the stopping power. Double-wall alloy rims wrapped in 28mm wide, puncture-resistant Kenda rubber rounds out this affordable package.
Price- RRP: AUD$849
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.