Top 5 Best Entry-Level Road Bikes For Beginners
Last Updated: October 2016
|21-Speed Volare Bike by Schwinn||$$||4.4|
|Libero 1.6 by Giordano||$$$||4.1|
|FORZA 4.0 by Vilano||$$$||4.4|
|700C Aluminum by Merax||$$||4.4|
|21 Speed with Shimano Shifters by Vilano||$$||3.8|
What is your reason for looking for a good starter road bike? Are you looking for a better way to commute to and from work or trying to get in shape?
Are you interested in training for a marathon, or just looking to enjoy the exhilaration that enthusiasts of the sport feel?
Whatever your reason, it is likely that you do not want to spend a thousand dollars or more on your first bike. This is where starter road bikes for beginners are handy.
They are a lot more affordable than higher end bikes, and if you choose the right one, you will not have to sacrifice on quality.
This article will review five of the best entry level road bikes, all of them costing around or less than $500. They are the perfect investment to get you started on your cycling journey, even if you only plan on cycling a few days each week.
If you have a slightly bigger budget and are looking to get a higher end bike, then check out our top road bikes under $1000.
21-Speed Men’s Volare Bike by Schwinn
The first bike on our list of the best beginner road bikes is the Men’s Volare Bike by Schwinn.
Its features include:
- A durable but lightweight aluminum fitness frame made by Schwinn
- Alloy wheels with high profile rims
- Alloy crank made by Schwinn
- Alloy linear pull brakes
- 21-speed shifter and rear derailleur by Shimano
This bike is marked exclusively to men, however, its features allow it to be a great option for women as well. It comes in gray, a gender-neutral color, and it is offered in several sizes. The Volare Bike by Schwinn has several advantages, with the first being its affordable price.
This bike can , but this starter road bike does not sacrifice quality because of this reason. It is extremely lightweight compared to other bikes in its price range, weighing just 29 pounds. This means that it is even a great choice if you are planning on participating in a triathlon.
While you may need help if you have never assembled a road bike before, the Volare Bike is very easy to assemble. Another advantage of this great bike is that the gears work very well, meaning it shifts quickly and easily.
While this bike does not sacrifice quality for the low price you are paying, there are a few things to take into consideration before you decide it is the right beginner road bike for you. First, this bike is only offered in a single size.
While it is adjustable, it will most likely be uncomfortable for people over six feet even with adjustments. Additionally, newcomers to the biking sport may have difficulty with assembly, particularly because the bike does not come with instructions. Though it is a bit of an inconvenience, however, it can easily be assembled with the help of YouTube videos or your local bicycle shop.
Libero 1.6 Road Bike by Giordano
The Libero 1.6 Road Bike by Giordano has a cost that is a bit more expensive than some of the other beginner road bikes, but it is a good beginner road bike nonetheless.
Here are some of its features:
- Handcrafted aluminum frame- very light
- 15 speeds
- Water bottle mounts
- Quick-release alloy rims with 32 spokes
- Threadless seam
- Linear pull breaks
- Adjustable seat fits a wide variety of height requirements
This bike features water bottle mounts, something not found on any of the other bikes on this list of good starter road bikes. This makes it ideal for long rides, whether you are planning to use the bike for long fitness rides, marathons, or a long commute to work.
Another advantage of this bike is that the adjustable seat allows it to adapt to the right for riders between 5’1” and 6’5”. The tires of this bike are very high quality, the brakes are simple to use, and the gears shift very easily.
There are only a few disadvantages to this bike, but none that are deal breakers even with the higher price. The first disadvantage to consider is the crankshaft, which is not of the highest quality. While crankshafts are relatively cheap to replace, it is disappointing that they may become easily unthreaded after paying a pretty hefty price.
Additionally, this bike does not come with instructions, but you can watch videos or have a bike shop assemble them if you are not comfortable doing it yourself. Another disadvantage of this bike is that it shifts to just 15 speeds, which is less than any of the other bikes on the list.
Finally, while the tires are great, the inner tubes are not of the highest quality and they may need to be replaced after a short time.
FORZA 4.0 Aluminum Integrated Shifters Road Bike by Vilano
Next on the list of road bikes for beginners is Vilano’s FORZA 4.0 Road Bike.
Here are some of its features:
- STI Integrated Shifters and Brake Levers by Shimano
- 24 Speeds
- Double-walled wheels with CNC Machined Sides
- Aluminum frame- lightweight and strong
- Drop bar that allows you to ride in comfort
The FORZA 4.0 Aluminum Road Bike by Vilano has several great features, which you would expect for the cost. Whether you plan to ride recreationally, bike to and from work, or train for a marathon. The biggest advantage to this bike is its gears.
The FORZA 4.0 features 24 speeds, while the next highest amount on the list is 21. Even with the extra speeds, the gears transition very smoothly because of their high-quality integrated shifters. The bike also features a drop bar, meaning you can choose to ride with the handlebar up or down, so it is tailored to your level of comfort. In either position, the gears shift seamlessly. The other hardware parts are also as impressive as the gears, being very durable and of high quality.
Another advantage of this bike is that it offers very easy assembly, even if you have never assembled a bike before. Finally, the different size options that are offered make ideal for riders large and small.
The FORZA 4.0 by Vilano is slightly more expensive than some of the others on the list. This is probably because of the high-quality shifters and hardware of the bike. Even with the high price, however, there are a couple disadvantages that must be considered before your price.
First, some people may find that the seat is uncomfortable because of the very thin padding. This can easily be replaced, but you would expect more for the high cost of the bike. Additionally, the pedals, tires, and inner tubes are of lower quality.
The pedals are free with a purchase of this starter road bike, so you can’t really blame the company for the cheaper parts. However, the low-quality tires and inner tubes are quite a disappointment. They are relatively cheap to replace but you would definitely expect more after paying so much for this bike in comparison to others in the same class.
21-Speed 700C Aluminum Road Bike by Merax
If you are looking for a good starter road bike at an affordable price, this is bike is a great option.
Some of its features include:
- Aluminum frame that is both durable and lightweight
- 21 Speeds
- Quick-release front wheels
- Assembled by 85% at the factory
- Derailleur and shifter made by Shimano
The 21-Speed 700C Aluminum Road Bike by Merax has several advantages, with the most notable being its price. This is the most affordable bike on this list of best road bikes for beginners. With the high-quality functioning and hardware of this bike, the low cost is an incredible deal.
The frame of this bike is both lightweight and durable, making it a great option for any type of riding. Its high-quality features and 21 different speeds allow it to be ridden in any environment- whether you want to bike on a trail or ride it on the streets to commute to work.
Additionally, the gears are extremely easy to shift, meaning that you can easily transition from flat to hilly terrain.
At such a low cost, you would expect there to be a lot of downsides with the 21-Speed Road Bike by Merax. However, there are only three.
First, the bike comes mostly assembled from the factory. This means you can assemble it yourself, but some have quite a bit of difficulty connecting the seat to the bike. This is due to the shape of the connectors. It takes a bit of force, making it quite difficult to adjust.
The second downside of this road bike for beginners is that the height is a little bit on the shorter side. Even the tallest frame offered for this style of bike is not comfortable for someone over 6’3”.
Finally, this bike does not come with a kickstand. This is a minor drawback, as you can easily purchase and attach one yourself.
Aluminum 21 Speed Road Bike with Shimano Shifters by Vilano
The last on our list of good starter road bikes is the 21-Speed Aluminum Road Bike by Vilano.
Some of the features of this bike include:
- Lightweight aluminum frame with double butted joints
- Threadless seam
- Derailleurs and handlebar-mounted shifters by Shimano
- Doubled walled wheels with CNC machined sides
- Alloy caliper brakes
There are several advantages to this bike. First, it is extremely lightweight because of its aluminum frame. This is made durable, however, by its double-butted joints. The durable yet lightweight frame makes it great for road biking regardless of the reason you are choosing to ride.
Another advantage is that this bike is on the cheaper side. While it is not the cheapest on our list of road bikes for beginners, this can be expected because of the high quality offered by the company. Another advantage of Vilano’s 21-Speed Aluminum Road Bike is that it is very easy to assemble. It can be done even by individuals with very little experience, though you always have the option of going to a bike shop if you are uncomfortable assembling it yourself.
Finally, for the most part, this bike is made of high-quality hardware. The shifting and braking systems both work very easily.
As with any starter road bike, you can expect that the lower price will come with a few disadvantages. The first downside is that this bike comes with very cheap pedals. In the company’s defense, the pedals that come with the bike are free, as pedals are not included.
Pedals are also relatively cheap to purchase and easy to install. Additionally, while the actual tires on this bike are of a higher quality, the inner tubes are not so durable. They may pop if you ride over rough terrain or potholes. Fortunately, bike inner tubes are relatively cheap to replace. Another disadvantage is the gears of the bike.
While they are of decent quality, they do not shift quite as easily as some of the other bikes mentioned in our list of best entry level road bikes.
Finally, while most of the hardware found on the 21-Speed Aluminum Road Bike by Vilano is of high quality, the crank arm comes loose easily. It can be tightened but the poor installation means that you will probably need to replace it early in your bike’s life.
So, which of these bikes is the best road bike for beginners?
After looking at the advantages and disadvantages of each bike, the Merax 21-Speed with Shimano Shifters is our winner of the best entry level road bike.
The first advantage that it has over other bikes is its low price. It is the most affordable starter road bike on our list. While you may be able to find bikes around $100, they will not come close to the quality offered by this starter road bike by Merax.
Some of the key features of the bike include its 21 speeds, easy shifting, lightweight frame, and durable construction. This, as well as it’s very few downsides, makes it the best entry level road bike.