Best Budget Road Bikes under $1000
If you are looking for a great road bike but don't want to break the bank, we've come up with seven great 2016 options that will leave you with a smile on your face and spare change in your wallet.
When seeking out a road bike under AU$1,000, you should be looking at an aluminium frame (or material other than carbon), carbon fibre fork, wide robust tyres and relaxed handling with some scope to move into more performance-orientated cycling. That's not to say you have to end up there, but it's nice to have the option.
The majority of bikes at this price point will feature Shimano components, with two cogs on the front crankset in easy-pedalling ratios commonly known as ‘a compact’. It’s likely bikes of this price will offer either 8 or 9 speeds out back. Multiplying the front with the rear cogs will you give you the number of speeds a bike has - 16 or 18 in these cases.
The bikes that have made our list of 'best budget road bikes' tick most of the above boxes with a few curve-balls thrown in there to highlight the extensive range available to you at this price point. If you look hard enough, you'll find the perfect bike for you.
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.
Specialized Allez E5
The Allez range from Specialized is one of their longest running bike models and for good reason. The Allez E5 offers an entry-level price point but delivers big time on performance. The frame is made from E5 Premium Aluminium (the same on the top-of-the-line Allez Sprint), Specialized FACT carbon fork, and is rounded out with Shimano Claris groupset. That combination makes the Allez E5 the perfect bike for those entering the cycling game that may want to dip their toe into some racing or faster weekend rides.
Frame & Fork: Specialized E5 Premium Aluminium frame, fully manipulated tubing w/ smooth welds, 1-1/8" lower bearing, Specialized FACT carbon fork, alloy crown/steerer
Drivetrain: Shimano Claris 50/34T crankset, Shimano Claris FD & RD
Wheels: AXIS Classic wheelset, Specialized Espoir Sport tyres, 60TPI, wire bead, double BlackBelt protection, 700x25mm
Giant Defy 4
Giant have always represented value for money when buying a bike, so it's no surprise they have provided another great offering at this bargain price point.
The Defy series is for the endurance rider, the comfort-seeker, the person that enjoys spending time on their bike, and the Defy 4 carries that theme through with its endurance geometry, 'Lightweight and durable' ALUXX-grade butted aluminium frame, 25mm tyres and super compact drive train set up with a 32T cassette on the back. If you were looking for a slightly more robust option from Giant, the Defy disc has a slightly different frame shape and the inclusion of disc brakes (at a slightly higher price tag), but the no-fuss Defy 4 gets the go ahead from us.
Frame & Fork: ALUXX-grade aluminium frame, Composite fork with Alloy OverDrive steerer
Drivetrain: FSA Tempo, 34-50T crankset, Shimano Claris FD & RD
Wheels: Giant S-R2 wheelset, Giant S-R4, Front and rear specific, 700x25c tyres
Malvern Star Oppy S1
The Malvern Star Oppy S1 has to be one of the best-looking bikes going round regardless of the price. The Oppy S1 is a throwback to Malvern Star's heritage featuring a double-butted Chromoly frame, leather bar tape, and an 'On-the-rivet retro' saddle that provides the classic retro look.
As well as looking the part, the Oppy S1 gets the nod in the best budget road bike category thanks to its functionality. It features fittings for full fenders, as well as front and rear racks if you are looking to use it as a commuter. It comes equipped with disc brakes for great stopping power in any weather, and 'Sprint Shark' 700x35c tan wall tyres that are robust as well as continuing with the nostalgic theme.
Frame & Fork: Double butted Cr-Mo disc brake with CNC Breezer dropouts, CNC seat clamp, headtube and full rack and fender mounts, Full Cr-Mo disc with lugged crown and full rack and fender mounts
Drivetrain: Shimano Claris Compact 34/50T, Shimano Claris FD & RD
Wheels: Alex MD19 Cross alloy double wall with eyelets 32H, Sprint Shark 700 x 35c, tan wall w/Hippo Skin Kevlar puncture protection
A matching colourway for the frame and features of a bike is the kind of attention to detail you're only likely to see on very expensive models. Remarkably the Reid Cx manages to seamlessly combine all elements of the bike into a single beautiful unit. The dark grey, bordering on black frame colour, has an orange logo and matching orange stripe that runs from the fork, along the top tube and down into the seat stays. The unity doesn't stop there, thanks to the matching black and orange Reid Race bar tape, Reid racing saddle and orange coloured rear drop outs, the Cx punches well above its weight in the style stakes.
As the name suggests it's purpose built for Cx racing: Avid BB5 disc brakes, Continental Cyclocross tyres and huge clearance, but those features also make it a perfect bargain purchase for a road bike that is capable of providing a bit more adventure.
Frame & Fork: 6061 Double Butted R2 Aluminium Alloy frame with internal cable routing and rear rack mounts, Alloy Rigid Fork with integrated rack mounts
Drivetrain: Lasco Alloy Crankset 46/34T, Shimano Claris FD & RD
Wheels: Alex MD17 Double Wall Alloy wheelset, Continental Sport Cyclocross Speed 700C x 35C tyres
Polygon Strattos S2
The 'budget road bike' category is bread and butter for Polygon, providing affordable options that cater for performance or endurance riding. The Strattos S2 has made it onto the list of best budget bikes due to its suitability for the entry level cyclist: endurance geometry, upright position, 16 speed Shimano Claris and larger than normal 26mm tyres.
Polygon's in-house brand Entity provide the finishing kit, again catering for the beginner market by providing a wider than normal saddle with extra padding to increase comfort.
Frame & Fork: ALX Endurance Alloy Frame, Endurance Carbon Fork with Alloy Tapered Steerer.
Drivetrain: ProWheel Hollowtech 50X34T Crankset and Bottom Bracket, Shimano Claris FD & RD
Wheels: Araya AR-713 Rims with Alloy Hubs, Kenda Kontender 700x26c tyres
The Trek 1.1 is made from Treks '100 Series Alpha Aluminium' suggesting it's top-dog in the aluminium world. According to Trek, the high-performing aluminium frame features the same aero shaping as their top-end bikes at a fraction of the cost. And you can be sure with Trek's world leading R&D department a lot of trickle down technology features on the 1.1.
The spec sheet is on par with other bikes in this category: compact crankset, 16-speed Shimano Claris drivetrain, 25mm Bontrager T1 tyres, and carbon fork. However, it is slightly on the heavier side, weighing almost 11kg for a large frame.
Frame & Fork: 100 Series Alpha Aluminum frame with fender & rack compatible, Trek carbon road fork
Drivetrain: Vuelta Corsa, 50/34T, Shimano Claris FD & RD
Wheels: Bontrager alloy hubs, Bontrager AT-750 rims, Bontrager T1, 700x25c tyres
Fuji Track Comp
We've chosen a hybrid track bike for something a little different to round out the best bargain road bikes. If you are looking for a commuter bike with no fuss and want to look the part, the Fuji Track Comp bike is a great choice. It's a lightweight option at this price point (9.61kg) and comes with a very manageable 46T crankset paired with a 16T fixed cog to easily get you around metro areas.
A few features separate the Track Comp from a stock track bike. A gentler front fork and head tube angle make handling a little easier and more appropriate for commuting or riding on the open roads and from a practical standpoint. There are drilled holes in the frame and fork for brakes which come as standard. Track bikes do look very cool and will add significantly to your street cred over a standard flat bar commuter bike.
Frame & Fork: A2-SL custom-butted alloy frame, Elios 2, custom-butted Cr-Mo fork
Drivetrain: Fuji, forged alloy, 46T crankset, 16T fixed cog w/ lockring
Wheels: Vera Corsa DPM27, double wall, 24/28h, Formula alloy track hubs, Vera Helios, 700 x 25 tyres