We'd all love to ride pro-level superbikes, but budget tends to dictate otherwise. Don't despair, though – the best road bikes under £2,000 are seriously good. We've rounded up the best of the bunch for your delectation.
- Best road bike 2017 - our buyer's guide
- Best road bikes under £1,000
- Best bike: what type of bike should I buy?
Plenty of nice bikes fall into the £1,000-£2,000 price range. So many in fact, that picking one can be quite a headache. If your budget stretches up to 2K, you will be spoilt for choice so you really need to have a clear idea of what you want.
The main thing to bear in mind is that while all the road bikes in this price bracket are suitable for any type of tarmac-related riding, they start to become more tailored to specific purposes — branching off down either the sportive or racing route.
Generally speaking, at this price weights will drop and you may start to see some features that have trickled down from the bikes ridden by the pros. Aero optimisation, for instance, whether it be the shape of the frame’s tubes, the position of the brakes or the depth of the rims. You can also expect a higher grade of materials and components.
Carbon is more common but there’s still a place for aluminium at these sorts of prices. In fact, the best aluminium frames are considerably better than some of the entry-level carbon options. Whatever you go for, it can be worth prioritising the frame over the components at this price, as doing so will give you a great platform that can be upgraded with better parts as the ones supplied wear out.
Read on for summaries and reviews of the best road bikes under £2,000.
Cannondale CAAD12 105
- One of the best aluminium frames on the market, better than cheap carbon
- Wonderful handling, composed and smooth ride
- Good, if unremarkable spec
- Price: £1,399.99
Cannondale is the master of aluminium and the Smartform C1 6069 frame is one of the best out there, outperforming budget carbon and giving mid-range stuff a run for its money too.
It’s matched to a super-light full carbon fork, and while the build isn’t exactly generous, there are no big misses.
Giant TCR Advanced 1 Disc
- Aggressive racer with discs
- Ultegra shifting with RS505 hydraulic brakes
- Price: £1,999
The TCR has long been something of a benchmark for race bikes, and the Advanced 1 Disc carries on the tradition of being incredibly capable.
As well as a top notch carbon frame, this spec gets you Shimano Ultegra shifting, along with lumpy-but-effective RS505 hydraulic brakes.
The fit will be too aggressive for some, but if it suits then the TCR won’t disappoint.
Cube Attain GTC Pro
- Full Shimano 105 groupset with hydraulic brakes
- Frame design blends stiffness with comfort
- High-quality, own-brand components
- Price: £1,699
The disc Attain follows the latest trends with oversized head and down tubes, a beefy bottom bracket, and slender dropped chainstays.
You get 105 shifting matched to Shimano's lumpy-but-effective RS505 hydraulic levers and brakes, along with sturdy Fulcrum wheels.
The finishing kit is Cube's decent own-brand CPS stuff, made in collaboration with Germany's high-end component manufacturer Syntace. The bike also gets Syntace X12 thru-axle front and rear.
The Attain offers an intoxicating blend of stiffness and give on the road – it's one we really rather like.
Giant TCR Advanced 3
- Thrillingly responsive front end
- Rigid frame with a racy feel
- Ideal platform that won’t be eclipsed by upgraded components
- Price: £1,199
The TCR Advanced 3 may only get 10-speed Shimano Tiagra, but the trade-off is a great frame whose responsiveness puts to shame plenty of bikes costing as much.
Tiagra's brakes aren't quite as good as 105, but the shifting is on par and there's a good spread of gears on offer.
Overall, this is a seriously impressive machine that offers racy geometry without being too extreme. It's also very upgrade worth, a great place to start.
Trek Émonda ALR6
- A standout bike regardless of its frame material
- Comes with a full Shimano Ultegra groupset
- Nimble, exciting ride
- Price: £1,600
- Buy the 2017 bike now from Evans Cycles
- Buy the 2018 bike now from Evans Cycles (featuring Shimano Ultegra R8000 and Bontrager Aeolus Comp wheels)
Trek's aluminium Émonda puts cheap carbon to shame with a nimble, assured ride and a total weight of just 7.75kg for our 58cm test bike.
Shimano's outstanding Ultegra groupset takes care of shifting, while the wheels and finishing kit is all decent stuff from in-house brand Bontrager.
Canyon Endurace AL 7.0
- Engaging ride
- Great value for money
- Accomplished but understated
- Price: £1,074
It's not the most exciting thing to look at, but the Endurace AL is one of our favourite entry level bikes because it combines a flawless spec with outstanding ride quality.
You get a full Shimano Ultegra groupset apart from the chain, along with Mavic's trustworthy Aksium wheelset shod in the finest Continental rubber.
Relaxed geometry means this isn't a racer, but it manages to be both lively and remarkably comfortable.
Vitus Vitesse Evo Disc
- Racy online-only carbon with Ultegra shifting, RS685 hydraulic levers, FSA Vision Team 30 wheels
- Indifferent paintjob made up for by fast, fun ride and huge spec
- Price: £1,999.99
The Vitus Vitesse Evo Disc is a pretty average looking bike, but it makes up for it with a generous spec and a ride that’s racy and rewarding.
The RS685 levers are a lot less lumpy than the RS505s found on many bikes at this price point, and Ultegra shifting is always welcome.
While it’s on the firm side and it’s not particularly light, the Vitus soaks up road buzz effectively and handles sweety.
Neil Pryde Bura 105
- Race ready carbon with 105
- Second tier version of Bura SL superbike
- Price: £1,650
The Bura SL is a bona-fide superbike with a price tag to match, but for a whole lot less money the Bura is a worthy alternative, with a frame weighing just a couple of hundred grammes more.
The Bura is stiff and exciting, and it’s built with a decent Shimano 105 spec and perfectly acceptable Fulcrum wheels.
We’ve got no idea why Neil Pryde has fitted skinny 23mm tyres in this day and age, but it’s a small thing that’s easily changed.
B’Twin Ultra 720 AF
- Great riding alloy with a mind-blowing spec
- Ultegra groupset, Mavic Cosmic Elite wheelset
- Hidden rear brake is only negative
- Price: £1,099
B’Twin is the in-house bike brand of sports Giant Decathlon and it produces a number of exceptionally well specced bikes.
The Ultra 720 AF is built around a smart aluminium frame and although it’s not exceptionally light, the ride is exciting and refined.
Ultegra shifting is a huge bonus at this price point, and the Mavic Cosmic Elite wheels cost twice as much as the entry level hoops typically found on bikes at this level.
The hidden rear brake is a bit of a pain, but it doesn’t ruin an otherwise excellent bike.
Focus Paralane AL 105
- Versatile aluminium distance machine with relaxed geometry
- 105 shifting with RS505 hydraulic discs
- Likeable all-rounder only undermined by sub-par mudguards
- Price: £1,499.99
The Paralane is built for comfort over long distances, with modern frame design and a super skinny seatpost for compliance.
It’s fairly well specced, with proper hydraulic brakes for all-weather performance and 105 shifting.
The bike ships with mudguards as standard, but we found them disappointingly noisy, the only real flaw in an otherwise excellent bike.
Orro Terra Gravel Road
- Gravel/all-roader that’s ideal for commuting too
- Big spec with Shimano 105 shifting, TRP Spyre disc brakes, Fulcrum wheels and 3T finishing kit
- Price: £1,199.99
Orro is distributor i-ride’s in-house brand, and it’s bikes are designed with UK riding in mind.
The Terra has mounts to take a rack and mudguards, and clearances for tyres up to a huge-by-road-standards 42mm.
Cable disc brakes aren’t as good as hydraulics, but the TRP Spyres are the best of the breed and offer confident all-weather stopping.
Vitus Energie Pro
- Up-to-date carbon frame with a forgiving ride
- 1x11 SRAM Rival gearing
- Direct sales means you’ll have to assemble it yourself
- Price: £1,649.99
Despite really being a cyclocross bike, the Energie Pro is a decent all-rounder. It lacks rack or mudguard mounts, but tightly spaced gears work well on the road and the ride comfort is outstanding.
With proper hydraulic brakes and a modern carbon frame, the Vitus represents pretty darned good value.
Bianchi Freccia Celeste
- Delivers a lively, frisky ride
- Old-school racer looks
- Nice mix of components
- Price: £1,700
The Freccia Celeste has slightly old-school looks and the components are a bit of a mish-mash, but it comes together in a package that's more lively and rewarding than the spec and overall weight suggests.
Bianchi gives you Shimano Ultegra levers and derailleurs, along with FSA's funky four-arm Gossamer Pro cranks, a 105 cassette, and Bianchi-branded brake calipers.
The Fulcrum Racing 7 wheelset is basic but decent, and it comes fitted with 25mm Vittoria Zaffiro Pro Slick tyres.
Specialized Tarmac Sport
- Optimised design, so ride feel remains the same regardless of size
- Balanced ride with quick steering response
- Excellent tyres, bar tape and saddle
- Price: £1,700
The launch of the latest range-topping SL6 Tarmac means the more affordable SL4 doesn't look like the pro bike anymore, but it remains a strong contender thanks to a truly balanced ride and a decent, if unremarkable spec.
Specialized gives you 105 shifting, understated Praxis cranks and own-brand wheels and finishing kit.
We weren't great fans of the own-brand brakes on our test bike, but the latest version gets Shimano Tiagra calipers instead. These are stiffer, although the one-piece pads are acceptable rather than great.
Focus Cayo 105 Mix
- Great platform for upgrades
- Racy position
- Fast, nimble handling
- Price: £1,499
Long a favourite, the Cayo offers a genuinely racy carbon frameset that wouldn't look out of place at a much higher price point.
Focus gives you 105 shifting but saves pennies by fitting plainer non-series Shimano cranks and Tektro brake calipers.
The former is absolutely fine, the latter leave a little to be desired, but they get the job done. They don't take away from a lively, stiff ride that comes with a side order of vibration reduction.
Eastway Zener D1
- Great value for money
- Hydraulic disc brakes and a full Ultegra groupset
- An endurance/sportive bike with a fairly aggressive position
- Price: £1,440
Top of the Zener range, the D1 offers a huge spec for the money with Shimano Ultegra shifting and RS685 hydraulic levers with matching disc brakes.
The finishing kit is tidy Ritchey stuff while the wheels are quality DT Swiss items, ripe for tubeless conversion.
It's not the most exciting ride, but the Zener D1 is a very competent distance machine that offers great value for money.