Looking for the best budget road bike for the money? How about inexpensive road bikes that won’t break your bank and still gets you incredible value? This article is all about finding the best affordable budget road bike and we have done extensive research to present this review. Let’s check it out.
Best Budget Road Bikes
Have you thought of what an affordable, entry-level road bike should look like?
If you ask me, then here it is. We have chosen this one as our top pick budget road bike and I promise you won’t regret getting it.
The Vilano, sporting the design of the more expensive options is a good pick for those on a budget since it’s both affordably priced and comes equipped with all the features necessary for a great ride. Also, try not to forget, Vilano is one of the best bicycle brand out there.
This best-selling model, Vilano 21 is considered one of the best inexpensive road bicycles out there. It is being designed around a 6061 Alloy frame, a design component we see in premium bikes. And there’s a good reason for it -the aluminum alloy renders the Vilano extremely lightweight (24 pounds) for speed purposes, yet strong on the road.
Complementing the alloy frame is a 700c fork that increases the overall performance of the bike.
Shifters are one of the most important components on a bike, and on this model, you get a Shimano A050 trigger shifter that provides good shifting without costing you too much. What I like most about the A050 trigger shifter is that they require minimal maintenance.
The wheelset on the Vilano 21 Speed is comprised of premium 700c wheels. While the 700c wheels are a standard in many budget bikes, the wheels on the Vilano are double walled CNC machined sides, and they are tailored for optimal performance on flat surfaces.
The Urban handlebars will not only improve on your comfort but also make the long rides more enjoyable. Comfort is further boosted by Urban comfort saddle.
Finally, you will love the KMC chain alongside the caliper brakes for great stopping power that will bring you to an instant stop.
Whatever you are planning to do, whether fitness, Sunday riding, training, or marathons, this bike will do it. And owing to its price, your budget will love it as well.
- Low maintenance
- Strong wheelset
- Best priced road bike
- Flimsy braking
Read the Vilano 21 speed review here.
Pretty much every site that is reviewing the best budget road bikes lists the Takara Kabuto as a commuter bike, which is incredibly accurate, though we later found the bike is also versatile.
Comfy, functional and stylish, the Kabuto is the perfect bike for laid-back riding, especially if you are looking for a cruiser bike.
Unlike the other bikes, something is appealing about this model, and that is it does not try to over saturate itself with features; there is amazing beauty in simplicity.
Despite offering a single speed, it does not mean that it’s not worth checking out. If anything, the Kabuto is more consistent in what it preaches compared to some of the flashier road bikes.
For starters, the Takara features a solid 57-centimeter top tube, tig-welded steel frame, and frame. With the steel frame in place, you can be sure of not finding faults on this one. Alongside the steel frame are the horizontal dropout’s that is endurable on both soft and hard roads.
This good cheap road bike excels in performance as much as it excels in design. And since it’s primarily built as a commuter road bike, the all-steel construction is a bonus as it translates to longer endurance, strong performance and tolerable reputation against a variety of terrains.
With its flip-flop hub feature, riders can either ride in a fixed gear or in a standard single speed mode to make full use of the bike’s stable components in a comfortable technique.
Overall, the Takara Kabuto has proven to be as promising as any other expensive road bike used by professionals. It’s an ideal option for the everyday commuter who doesn’t want or need to have many bells and whistles.
- Steel construction
Top-of-the-line road bikes can cost you thousands. Luckily, it’s possible to purchase an affordable bike that features some of the same bells and whistles you would find in pricier models.
One to try is the GMC Denali.
Component-wise, it’s pretty much what you would expect a bike at this price point. The bike is built around an aluminum frame and fork. With a mix of comfort and quality, the bike features non-groupset Shimano derailleurs and Shimano Revo shift, which make the gearing process a breeze.
For maximum power and stopping power, the Denali GMC road bike offers 21 speeds in total alongside alloy calipers and brake levers.
Sporting a rugged look, this road bike rolls on 700c size wheels, which are sleek enough to allow faster speeds while providing the much-needed traction for your daily riding demands. And given the 700c wheels are a standard in many bikes, there are plenty of replacement tires and tubes available.
Complementing the wheels are the alloy rims, also known as high-profile rims. The high-profile rims are taller than the regular spoke rims, and the added height gives the Denali wheels more stiffness and better aerodynamics.
According to my, the biggest pro of this bike is the high-quality construction for the price, but the bike is not without its cons.
- Plenty of features for the money
- Lightweight aluminum frame
- Brand name components
- Single-lever brake controls aren’t handy
Read our full review of the GMC Denali Road Bike.
Tommaso Forcella, an Italian-made road bike oozes quality craftsmanship, which you can tell from all the high-quality components. Not only does it look great, but it rides even better.
Forcella is a lightweight bike with an aluminum frame with a carbon fiber fork.
WOW, let than a sink for a moment. Few, indeed it’s rare, to find entry-level budget bikes offering something like this. But, the Tommaso Forcella does. The carbon fiber fork will provide you with the maximum road vibration dampening and extra comfort.
Another unique feature that the Tommaso provides is the Shimano Claris derailleurs and shifters. The Shimano gearing system will, in turn, give you the best integration and performance in the industry. For instance, many reviewers have noted that the Tommaso delivers a smooth ride and an even performance even on steep or rugged inclines thanks to the Shimano Claris triple crankset.
To get a great speed, you have to have great speeds, and fortunately, Tommaso provides you with awesome TC-30 wheel-set. The TC-30- wheelset is lightweight and more importantly aerodynamic for the price, and one of the best wheelset to be put on a budget bike.
Overall, I think you will agree with me that Tommaso Forcella is one of the perfect choices for smooth riding at an affordable choice. Better yet, not many bikes or brands use the components we see in the Tommaso. For the price, I do think you will be getting a really quality bike for your money.
- Less vibration
- Lightweight and aerodynamic
- Built to last
- Budget option
- Assembly can be tricky but not that hard too.
Vilano Shadow 3.0
The Vilano Shadow 3.0 is yet another budget option that brings things back up to a higher level among the road bikes.
A fairly versatile bike, the Vilano Shadow is an ideal option for a variety of tasks including getting fit, riding to work or riding with the local bike club.
Vilano Shadow 3.0 is a step up to the Vilano Shadow, and as you would expect with any other upgrade, the new model is quite promising and has done a great job of correcting the weaknesses of its predecessor.
The Shadow 3.0 is built on a double-butted 6061 aluminum aero frame, alongside an integrated aluminum for. The benefit of the aluminum construction is that it renders the bike at a modest weight while keeping it sturdy.
If, for instance, you will have to haul the bike onto a bus, train or vehicle, a few times a day, you will love how lightweight this premium bike frame is when lifting. What’s more? Speed and lightness are synonymous. Weighing around 23 pounds, achieving top speeds with the bike is a breeze.
Another noteworthy feature of this model that makes the difference in quality in the braking and gearing system is the Shimano STI integrated shifter system. The brakes, which are mechanically operated dual-pivot alloy rim brakes will provide you with excellent shifting, and precise braking at a low cost.
Better yet, the Shimano gearing system steps things up a couple of notches with Shimano Tourney level components, which are well above what is seen as standard on bikes in this price range.
Finally, the Vilano rims are double-walled, machined-alloy 700c, and this makes the bike relatively swift over hard surfaces.
- Narrower rims for improved speed and performance.
- Shimano Tourney 21 speed, gearing components raise the standard just a bit.
- Quality, lightweight double-butted 6061 aluminum frame.
- Stock pedals are under-designed
Budget Road Bikes – Who are They for?
These low-cost road bikes are ideal for beginners starting on their cycling journey. Particularly, these bikes are perfect for beginners who are new to cycling and do not know what to look for in a bike or are unsure of how much riding they are going to do.
If you have been in the cycling domain for as long as I have, you’ll agree with me that the one thing that all bike trades love is the “trickle-down technology.”
New to the term? Well, it simply means that features found in high-end bikes will be available on mid-range models the next year, and eventually on the budget bike. And as such, the budget bikes also make brilliant speedy commuter, second-string, cycling or training for the serious and more experienced cyclers.
That said, I know you are wondering which best budget road bike to go for. That’s why, we’ve rounded up a collection of top 5 options for you above.
How we Choose the Top Budget Friendly Road Bike
With literally hundreds of different road bike models on the market, choosing the budget inexpensive bike wasn’t exactly an easy affair.
However, with the help of our expert testers and some outside help, we have first narrowed our consideration of the five best affordable road bikes to about 50.
The selection process entailed practical testing data, and with the help of our bike experts, we narrowed the list of affordable bikes that represent the best value down to 20.
Later on, we focused our selection based on the specificity of the vital components such as the gearing system, braking system, fork, rims, chain derailleurs, speed, headset and other features that stand out. It’s also at this stage that we considered the quality of the materials used in building the bikes.
The final step was to consider the price and rating of each bike. We incorporated the cost factor because our review is all about finding budget option bikes. However, it’s crucial you remember that cost is quite subjective. Carbon bikes, for instance, did not make it to the list but may represent the best value, if you’re looking for speed and comfort.
Things to Consider When Buying a Cheap Road Bike
When you are interested in purchasing a budget road bike, there a few things that you should keep in mind during the buying process to ensure you get a bike that will not end up disappointing you.
In the section below, we shall provide you with a basic buying guide to help you know what elements to look for. Hopefully, by the end of this buying guide, you will get yourself a bike that will provide you with the durability, performance and of course, speed that you would expect from a high-quality product.
Consider the Brand
There are plenty of brands that have been in existence for long in the bike manufacturing domain and are constantly associated with reliability.
The first step is to take a good look at the brand that manufacturers a specific road bike you might be interested in.
Ideally, we recommend that you get your budget bike from a more reputable bike brand.
Consider the Features
For any road bike, it’s essential you do not overlook the specific features a bike has to offer.
With a huge inventory of road bikes, you would want to choose a type that can satisfy your particular cycling needs and preferences.
First, you need to consider your expectations, and from there, look for a bike with the particular features to satiate your cycling needs.
One of the primary consideration in many road bikes is speed-therefore, you would want to go for a bike that is lightweight, with plenty of aero-dynamism and at the same time, ensure your choice of bike is sturdy and durable.
Secondly, you wouldn’t want to purchase a flimsy bike that is going to break down after a few miles or a couple of uses. Ensure you get a bike with robust construction, and in any case, the material used should be robust and durable-this is particularly true if you’re planning you use your road bike regularly.
Pay special attention to the performance features such as the shift and gearing system installed on the road bike. These features will have a huge impact on your overall performance as well as your cycling experience.
While there are some budget options such as the Takara Kabuto, which feature a single-speed option, a majority of the road bikes will allow you to manually adjust the gears to accompany the pace and terrain you are riding on.
Sure, we are looking at the budget bike on this guide and while this already limits your options, remember that cost is quite subjective.
However, it’s crucial that you take the price of each bike that you consider into account.
As a rule of thumb, when faced with two similar options, it’s we recommend that you strike a balance between cost and value; Go for the road bike that is within your budget means, but most importantly, goes for the one that will fulfill your cycling needs.
Related: Best Road Bikes Under $1000
Choosing the right road bike for you is vital, as it will greatly enhance your cycling experience and provide you with a bike that will satisfy your need.
While there are many options in the market, we found the ones listed on this post offer a better overall experience.
Particularly, I suggest you buy this one as the bike is solidly constructed and is flush with performance-oriented features. I tested 3 times before writing this guide and all I can say is it’s one of the finest. Still, the other options are wonderful, and most importantly, they fit the budgetary needs of many enthusiasts.