Best Beginner Road Bikes

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For newcomers, choosing the right road bike can be a difficult decision. The amount of information available when trying to decide what to purchase can be overwhelming. Fortunately, we’ve compiled some of the best beginner road bikes around, along with a guide on how to choose the right one for you.

5 Best Beginner Road Bikes

Beginner road bikes are meant to give the user enough control, while still providing an uncomplicated introduction to the hobby. It’s a balance between ease of use and functionality. Here are some of the best on the market.

Comparison Chart

Diamondback Bicycles Century 3
51Mm8LU+U9L. SL500
Vilano R2 Commuter Aluminum Road Bike
Ridley Fenix Alloy 105 Mix Color FE701Am Bicycle
510XX0FJrIL. SL500
SAVADECK Carbon Road Bike
51zwrTLlV8L. SL500
Schwinn Phocus 1600 Drop Bar Mens Road Bicycle

Diamondback Bicycles Century Road Bike

One of the most popular models of the Diamondback bicycle brand, it caters to entry-level bikers. Biking enthusiasts who want an alternative to the more expensive high-end racing bike models find the Diamondback Century Road Bike an enticing choice as well.

The frame is designed to take the stress out of your neck and back, allowing the rider to cycle for hours. It provides very smooth handling over level terrain, and is definitely created with road biking in mind. This can be a bit disorienting when entering rough terrain, as you’ll find steering a bit troublesome on rugged roads.

All in all, the Diamondback Century Road Bike is one of the top models in its class. It gives beginners a good idea of how intense the hobby can be, without breaking the budget. Ultimately, it’s a great choice for those looking for entry-level bikes without compromising on performance.

Related: Best Road Bikes Under $300

Pros

  • Offers perfect handling over smooth terrain
  • Great durability for the price
  • Lightweight design
  • Entry level pricing

Cons

Doesn’t handle rough terrain well

Vilano R2 Commuter Aluminum Road Bike 21 Speed 700c

51Mm8LU+U9L. SL500

Many bike enthusiasts know that aluminum road bikes tend to be on the expensive side. But this isn’t the case with the Vilano R2 Commuter Aluminum Road Bike. In relation to other aluminum bikes of the same category, Vilano offers the same high performance at a much lower price range. This makes it a perfect choice for those seeking to start road biking.

The Vilano R2 Commuter is very lightweight, thanks to the material it’s constructed from. This can be confusing to some who assume that the Vilano R2 can’t be durable because it’s not heavy enough to withstand the burdens of prolonged riding. This opinion changes the moment you take the bike out for the first time. It’s double-butted frame gives the rider stability, and offers the owner a smooth ride.

One thing to note though is that the inner tubes on standard models tend to deflate faster than comparable bikes of the type. If you plan to use the Vilano R2 on short daily commutes, this will never turn into a big problem. For longer trips, you’re advised to replace the inner tubes as soon as you get the chance. Some also report that the seat can be uncomfortable during long rides, and can also stand to be replaced.

All in all, the Vilano R2 Commuter Aluminum Road Bike is a great choice at its price point. It’s not the high-end of road biking, but those trying the hobby out will certainly get their money’s worth.

Pros

  • Very lightweight
  • Great design
  • Affordable for an aluminum bike

Cons

  • Inner tubes can deflate quickly
  • Seating isn’t meant for long rides

Ridley Fenix Alloy 105 Mix Color FE701Am Bicycle

Though most Ridley road bikes are designed for racing, the Ridley Fenix Alloy was created for those that enjoy long trips and want lasting comfort. This aluminum framed road bike is reinforced with both steel and titanium, providing it with both a lightweight and strong body. This equates to a more comfortable ride without sacrificing durability.

Its ergonomic design reduces stress on the rider, giving them the ability to ride for a longer periods of time. It’s a high-performance bike meant for those who really love riding.

However, this can be a great choice for beginners as well. The Ridley Fenix Alloy is meant for riders of all skill levels, and offers a mix of endurance bike, and racing bike all in one package. In that respect, the Ridley Fenix is one of the best beginner road bikes around.

That said, because it’s not designed with racing in mind, as the brakes included in the model aren’t at the high-end of the spectrum. Normal users will not find this much of a problem, but those who want a competitive edge in their bikes may wish to upgrade. Also, the bike doesn’t come with its own set of pedals. Therefore, you may want to pick up a set as well when you decide to choose the Ridley Fenix Alloy.

Pros

  • A mix of endurance and racing bike
  • Ergonomic design
  • Durable
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Brakes may need an upgrade
  • Pedals not included

SAVADECK Carbon Road Bike

510XX0FJrIL. SL500

The SAVADECK Warwinds 3.0 Carbon Bike is one of the best of its class. It belongs to the high-end line and may prove a bit expensive for most beginners. But if you’re looking for quality, then you’ve found it. Its carbon frame ensures not only a lightweight build, but durability that will last for years.

As the bike was designed with competition in mind, the aerodynamic frame offers comfort while riding. The improved steering, and braking system gives any rider maximum control of their bike on any terrain.

The light construction should also be noted, as it allows the biker to ride for hours without strain. Even beginners will be surprised at how comfortable riding the SAVADECK Warwinds 3.0 can be.

Those who are looking for the best beginner road bike may balk at the price of the SAVADECK, but for a bike in this category, it’s good value for the money. In terms of performance, quality, and reliability, the SAVADECK Warwinds 3.0 can match, or even beat, some bikes worth twice the price.

Pros

  • Very durable
  • Lightweight
  • Aerodynamic design
  • Comfortable rides
  • Great value for the price

Cons

Can be expensive for beginners

Schwinn Phocus 1400 and 1600 Drop Bar Road Bicycle

51zwrTLlV8L. SL500

One of the classics in the road biking market, the Schwinn Phocus is a bike that’s a great choice for those who want to really get into biking. With a competitive entry-level price, those seeking the best beginner road bikes may have found a perfect match.

Made with an aluminum frame and a carbon fiber fork, this offers great durability, considering the price point. Many who purchase a Schwinn Phocus 1400 or 1600 consider it a great entry-level bike, and a great frameset base for future upgrades.

That said, the Schwinn Phocus, though in no way heavy, may not be as lightweight as other bikes in its category. This shouldn’t be much of a problem for beginners, but enthusiasts and competitive bikers may find this unsatisfactory. Also, the frames come in only one size, if the seat is adjustable. Some people of smaller or larger builds than recommended may find riding it uncomfortable.

Pros

  • Great price
  • Quite durable
  • Great for entry-level bikers

Cons

  • Not as lightweight as others in the category
  • Comes in only one size

Read our full review of the Schwinn Phocus 1400 and 1600 Drop Bar Road Bicycle.

Buyer’s Guide

Choosing the best beginner road bike isn’t easy if you don’t have an idea of what to look for. Fortunately, we’ve provided some of the specs that you can check when purchasing a bike to ensure you’re getting the best value for your money.

Frame

Choosing the right type of frame for your bike can be confusing. Modern bikes are made of different materials that each offer their own advantages. Carbon steel, chrome, aluminum, titanium, and carbon fiber are just some of the most popular.

One of the first things to consider when choosing a bike frame is weight. Aluminum and carbon frames offer durability while still keeping a light profile. Steel and titanium offer strength in exchange for weight. It’s the balance between endurance and weight that matters when picking a suitable bike frame.

There’s also the question of the angles of the frame design. Some bikes are made for casual riding, others for a more competitive rider. The angles of a bike’s frame showcase the riding style it best suits. If you’ve already decided on how to approach the biking hobby, either as a casual pursuit, or as a start of a more serious endeavor, your bike’s frame should reflect that.

Wheels

Along with modern bike design, the bike wheel has evolved to fit a whole range of riding styles, whether for racing, rough road biking, or casual riding. Before choosing the kind of wheel you want to buy, first decide on the type of riding you wish to do.

Mountain bike wheels, for example, were made to withstand the rigors of rough terrain, road biking wheels to travel better on smooth roads. Some are designed to emphasize comfort for long rides, while others were made to withstand rough handling.

There’s also the option to go for either tube, or tubeless wheels. Tube wheels, as the name suggests, have inner tubes, while the tubeless models don’t. Tubeless wheels give the rider the choice to have their wheels at a lower pressure, providing a much smoother ride.

Bike Size and Fit

Bikes can come in different sizes, the standard are labeled as either small, medium or large, or can come in numerical measurements. Knowing the right size and fit for a bike is important, as it will relate directly to the comfort that you experience while riding it.

A poorly fit bike will cause no end of pain to someone riding it for any length of time. Fortunately, a good bike design allows users to adjust various settings of their bike to accommodate different riders. Bike seats can be lowered or elevated as appropriate, and the handlebars can be made to provide better control.

One of the best ways to ensure a great bike fit is to measure a bike’s stand over height. Ideally, you should be able to have your feet flat on the ground while straddling the frame. If your feet don’t touch the ground while straddling your bike, it’s too big, and may cause problems when riding. The length from the top frame to the ground is the stand over height of the bike.

Handlebars

The type of handlebars can also have a big effect on your riding style. A great deal of design has gone into the modern handlebar, and some are made to accommodate different styles of riding. When buying the best beginner road bike of your dreams, it’s best to know what handlebar you’re going to get.

Flat bars are mostly designed for cross country riding. They’re versatile and are usually come with a road bike as standard. Risers bars, those with grips in the middle, are ideal for trail biking, offering more control over uneven terrain.

Bullhorn bars, as the name suggests, curve forward, and are great if you want to push some speed into your bike riding. Drop bars offer great control, and provide more speed for those that really want to have an edge to their riding.

Group Sets

Bike group sets are the components that greatly affect the ability of the bike to do its thing. The shifters, the gears, and the brakes all belong to this category. Standard bikes usually come with nonbrand, general group sets, and many enthusiasts find enjoyment in trying to replace the standards with high-end combinations.

Newbies to riding looking for the best beginner road bike may find the number of choices for group sets overwhelming. There are dozens upon dozens of combinations, all with their own advantages to choose from. Unless you want to really go a step beyond, most standard group sets provided by manufacturers should perform adequately. After a while of riding the open road, you may want to upgrade to a specific gear or brake to suit your needs.

The Perfect Bike

Finding the best beginner road bike isn’t a hard task as long as you know the right specs to look for. A lot of road bikes are designed to perform differently, according to what the rider itself wants out of their bike. Knowing how you want to approach riding is a great step in finding the perfect bike for your needs.