The best road bikes under £1,000 are a great place to start if you’re new to cycling or if you're unsure how much riding you’re actually going to be doing. They can also make brilliant speedy commuters or second-string bikes for more experienced cyclists.
Reckon your budget could stretch to a bit more? Check out our best road bikes under £2,000 and our best road bikes under £2,500. If £1,000 is too much to spend then here are the best road bikes available for under £600.
If you need some help with what to look for, read our guide to choosing the best road bike and watch our video primer below.
- The best road bike for £500
- Cheap bikes: what you should look for
- Best women's road bike: a guide to help you get the right bike for you
Finding the right bike for you
There are a few things to bear in mind before you spend your money, however. And perhaps the most important is that these bikes are typically not pure race bikes.
Although they look like race bikes and are perfectly capable of being raced, most lack the more extreme touches of the machines that are uncompromisingly geared towards competition.
Instead, a sub-£1K bike is intended as a beginner’s tool, a bike to introduce new riders to road cycling.
What does that mean, exactly?
Well, for a start the bikes’ frames will often have more relaxed geometry compared to more aggressive bikes designed for racing — they’ll have a shorter reach so you won’t be stretched so far forwards, and thanks to a longer head tube and more elevated handlebars, a higher front-end so you won’t be so low.
In other words, you’ll be sitting in a more upright position than you would on a dedicated race bike, which is good for comfort and also helpful for building new riders' confidence.
The bikes won't be as stiff or light as an expensive race bike, and they'll usually feature less carbon in their construction too. For the most part, bikes in this price range will have a frame made of metal, most often an aluminium alloy.
Are bikes at this price point actually worth buying?
Don't go thinking that sub-£1,000 road bikes aren't the real deal though. As long as you’re riding on the tarmac, they’ll do whatever you need them to, whether it’s adding a bit of pace to your commute, dipping your toe into the waters of racing, taking on a sportive, touring or simply riding for fun at the weekends.
Read on for summaries and links to all of our highest rated road bikes under £1,000.
The best £1,000 road bikes
Canyon Endurace AL 7.0
- Direct-sales machine with a stunning frame matched to a great spec
- Full 105 R7000 groupset and Mavic Aksium wheels
- Lively but comfortable ride
There's nothing terribly elaborate about the Endurace AL's frame, but it's nicely finished and comes matched to a full carbon fork.
Canyon juggled its models for 2018 and the current Endurace AL 7.0 is the direct equivalent of the old 6.0.
The current Endurace AL 6.0 gets Shimano Tiagra and replaces the old 5.0.
The ride is comfortable, and relaxed geometry is perfect for new riders. A wide range of gears will get you up the toughest climbs, while top-notch brakes inspire confidence heading downhill.
Giant Contend SL 1
- Alloy all-rounder with 105 shifting
- Wide gearing and mudguard mounts
Giant seems to be incapable of making a bad bike and the Contend continues that trend.
It’s a very, very competent all-rounder, offering a good spec with no major compromises and practical touches such as mudguard mounts.
The compact frame and D-Fuse carbon seatpost make for a comfy rear-end, while a seriously wide range of gears will get you up and down the worst hills at a reasonable pace (if you’ve got the legs).
Giant Contend 2
- Entry level alloy with mudguard and rack mounts for versatility
- Shimano Claris 8-speed shifting with wide range of gears
- Basic FSA cranks and Tektro brakes
Giant’s replacement for the affordable alloy Defy inherits the best features of its predecessor, with a lively, comfortable ride.
Shimano’s 8-speed Claris offers very competent shifting and a wide range of gears and its latest incarnation has hidden cables. Giant’s in-house components are all decent, with the wheels being a little bit lighter than those typically found on bikes at this price point.
The brakes would benefit from an upgrade to cartridge pads, but the total package is a good one.
- Shimano 105 R7000 shifting with Tektro brakes
- Carbon frame plus a carbon-legged fork
Yes, it's a good bit more than a grand but there is a Tiagra version that squeaks under if you prefer.
The R872 packs a lot of value in and is a great all-round performer, with climbing performance to match anything else at this price as well as impressive levels of comfort.
The latest version has an all-new frame which we haven't tested yet, but it's an appealing prospect with the latest R7000 components.
Rose Pro SL
- German direct-sales racer with a lovely alloy frame
- Full Shimano 105 groupset, Mavic Aksium wheels
- Firm but brilliant ride
The Pro SL is still one of the best value bikes on the market thanks to its combination of spec and ride quality.
Rose gives you a full 105 groupset and Mavic Aksium wheels, along with an exceptionally nice alloy frame that’s easily mistaken for carbon.
It’s not the most compliant ride out there, but the Pro SL is genuinely exciting, putting budget carbon to shame.
- Striking alloy-framed racer that's fun and fast
- Shimano Claris shifting with wide range of gears
- Quality own-brand finishing kit
If you want a genuinely racy bike on a limited budget, you can’t go wrong with the Allez.
The cheapest version of Specialized’s entry-level road bike offers exciting performance and a competent Shimano Claris-based spec, along with one of the best looking frames you’ll get for this kind of money.
It’s a surprisingly refined ride too thanks to a skinny seatpost and reasonably plump tyres.
Trek Émonda ALR 4
- Top-notch alloy version of Trek’s super-light racer
- Shimano Tiagra groupset, Bontrager finishing kit and wheels
- Taut, lively ride that’s still commendably smooth
The Émonda ALR is the affordable aluminium version of Trek’s incredible carbon Émonda SLR, offering much of the same racy goodness to those on a more limited budget.
The ALR is no poor cousin though. It’s a properly sorted bike in its own right with a bang up-to-date frameset that’s ultra-lively and comfy too, thanks to slim seatstays and a 27.2mm post.
Trek hasn’t included mudguard mounts, which is a shame, but it’s our only real complaint. The finish may be muted, but the pearlescent paint looks lovely up close and the welds are nicely smoothed. There’s a red version too if this one’s just not eye-catching enough.
On paper, the Émonda ALR is average value, but the calibre of its frameset makes it a strong contender at this price.
Bianchi Via Nirone 7
- £750 as reviewed, £850 for current Sora model
- Great looking frame that performs
- Mixed spec, but latest version sports Sora for not much more
Despite being Bianchi’s entry-level model, the Via Nirone gets a very decent alloy frame with remarkably smooth ride quality.
The spec is middling, with average non-groupset brakes and basic wheels, but it all gets the job done.
There’s no Claris version for 2019, but £100 more gets you an upgrade to 9-speed Sora.
Boardman Team Carbon
- Full carbon frame and fork at a great price
- Shimano Tiagra and Mavic CXP22 rims
- Slightly woolly feeling brakes and narrow rims and tyres
Budget carbon isn't always the best choice, but the Boardman Team Carbon is still a compelling one, offering a carbon frame and a full carbon fork at a seriously impressive price.
That does mean some compromises on the spec; the brakes aren't great and the cranks are nothing special, but it's a lively, exciting ride, and Shimano's 10-speed Tiagra is very nearly the equal of 11-speed 105.
The Team Carbon has now been replaced by the Boardman SLR 8.9 Carbon, but it remains in our list for now as it's a hugely popular choice that's common on the used market.
B’Twin Ultra 900 AF
- £699 (discount price on clearance)
- Quality alloy frame with a lively ride
- Full Shimano 105 and decent branded wheels
Decathlon’s in-house bikes pack a lot of value in, offering decent frames and specs that don’t cut many corners.
The 105 version of the Ultra is particularly good value, partly because Decathlon is phasing out the B’Twin brand name in favour of Van Rysel for its performance-oriented road bikes.
The Van Rysel Ultra 900 AF 105 is almost the exact same bike but it gets an upgrade to the latest 105 R7000 groupset and does away with the silly under-chainstay rear brake.
Nevertheless, the old B’Twin model is still a great bike, and a very good buy at a discount.
- Decent frame with 105 kit
- Sensible weight plus racy geometry
We don’t always endorse cheap carbon, but the Dolan offers a winning combination of racy performance and decent spec, and you can customise it to an extent too.
Unremarkable Shimano wheels won’t set the world alight but 105 shifting is always welcome.
The l'Etape moniker is a bit of a misnomer as this is more race bike than endurance machine, but if a reasonably aggressive fit is what you’re after then the Dolan is worth a look.
Focus Izalco Race AL 105 / Izalco Race 6.9
- Stiff, racy alloy frame rewards hard riding
- 105 kit and basic Alex wheels
The alloy Izalco isn’t the plushest bike in its class and it’s a little bit heavier than some, but it’s a rewarding ride if your style is fast-everywhere, as the stiff frame won’t waste your efforts.
Since we reviewed it, the Izalco has been upgraded to Shimano 105 R7000 and renamned the Izalco Race 6.9, with only a modest price bump.
Giant Contend 1
- Stiff frame can sometimes feel harsh
- Useful 32t cassette makes light work of climbs
- Brakes are disappointing but a relatively cheap area to upgrade
Another Contend makes this list, and it’s one we can wholeheartedly recommend.
With geometry based closely on that of Giant’s outgoing Defy model, there's stable yet responsive handling which amounts to a ride quality normally associated with bikes costing a fair bit more.
The stiffness of the Contend’s alloy frame can make it feel a tad harsh at times, but it never gave us that ‘dead’ feeling that some cheaper bikes do.
Shimano’s Sora drivetrain lacks the close ratio shifts of Shimano’s higher-end groups but offers a very useful range thanks to an 11-32t cassette.
Giant’s own brakes aren’t the best, but they are a relatively cheap area to upgrade on what happens to be an otherwise very sorted machine.
Giant Contend SL 2 Disc
- Comfy alloy from the world’s biggest bike maker
- Shimano Tiagra shifting
- Unique hybrid disc brake setup offers most of the advantages of proper hydraulics
If you've got some more cash to spend and value all-weather braking then this could be a better choice than the rim brake Contends.
The Contend SL 2 is middle-of-the-road on spec and weight, but it’s a solid performer that’s very beginner friendly thanks to relaxed geometry and great ride quality.
The unusual disc brake setup isn’t the easiest to adjust, but it works well and offers an experience pretty close to that of full hydraulics.
- Comfy steel distance machine
- Claris shifting with basic Promax mechanical disc brakes
Most of the bikes at this price level are alloy-framed and built with race or sportive pretensions. The Nicasio is closer in spirit to a traditional tourer.
It’s heavy and versatile, with fat tyres as standard and the option to fit a rack and mudguards.
It’s not the fastest, but a bike like this makes a great commuter and long-distance machine.
Merlin Cordite SL
- Racy carbon frame with seatmast is essentially an old Ridley Helium SL
- R8000 shifting plus 4ZA brakes
If the Cordite SL looks vaguely familiar that’s because it’s essentially the old Ridley Helium SL with different paint, a 2008 design that was raced at the top level of pro cycling.
Its stout seatmast dates it somewhat and makes for a firm ride, as well as limiting the range of saddle height adjustment once it’s been cut.
The brakes aren’t amazing either, but the Merlin is nevertheless a good amount of bike for the money, offering a full carbon frameset and R8000 shifting.
Scott Speedster 40
- Good range of gears, wider tyres and mudguard mounts
- Basic spec with average brakes
The entry-level Speedster received some updates for 2018, making for a very practical all-rounder.
It’s got mudguard mounts and 28mm tyres as standard, as well as nice low gears for hauling up the steep stuff.
The endurance geometry should work for most riders, but it’s sharp enough to be fun.
Specialized Allez Elite
- Lively performing entry-level alloy racer
- Stiff, exciting ride makes up for average spec
- Shimano 105 shifting, Praxis cranks and own-brand everything else
The Allez has long been a go-to for entry-level road bikes, offering solid performance in an attractive package, if not exceptional value for money.
The spec is a bit piecemeal with a mishmash of own brand and third-party components mixed in with the Shimano bits.
Nevertheless, the Allez retains the likeable qualities for which it is renowned, and it’s a good basis for upgrades down the line.
For 2018, the Allez has been updated with a new frame which we've found to perform very well indeed.
Pinnacle Laterite 3
- Ready for racks and mudguards
- Shimano 105 where you wouldn't expect it
- Heavy wheels and so-so braking
The Laterite 3 is a product of Evans Cycles’ in-house brand Pinnacle, which we know has a knack for producing great budget bikes, and this is certainly no exception.
The no-frills aluminium frame of the Laterite strikes a good compromise between an aggressive race-like fit and more relaxed geometry, while mudguard and rack fittings open this bike to practicality that some competitors can’t match.
What really steals the attention here though is Shimano’s excellent 105 11-speed groupset, which is quite astonishing to see on a bike of this price (although it's not the latest R7000).
Yes, we’d have rather seen a crank from Shimano, but the Pro Wheel chainset worked just fine. Heavy wheels and lacklustre brakes hold the Laterite back from scoring full marks.
Have you found what you're looking for?
If £1,000 is just too much money, there are some great road bikes in the sub-£600 bracket.
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