Last Updated on August 11, 2022 by Editorial Staff
New to road biking? Well, you’re definitely in for a treat! But as a beginner, you don’t want a road bike that will cost you a fortune, do you? What you need is an entry-level budget road bike that incorporates all the features necessary for a rewarding road biking experience. You’ll agree with me that there is a whole lot of options out there for entry riders looking for cheap bikes.
But wait a second, what we are talking about is a quality road bike without the price tag. I think you get the picture now, do you? Well, without further introduction, we go straight into reviewing the best cheap road bikes under $500 and how you can choose the right one for your need.
List of Affordable & Cheap Road Bikes (Under $500)
|Name of Road Bike||Ranking||View on Amazon|
|Vilano Shadow 3.0||Best pick|
|Windsor Wellington 2.0 Aluminum||Runner-up|
|Merax Finiss Aluminum 21 Speed||Budget pick|
|Vilano R2 Commuter Aluminum||Also great|
|Schwinn Volare 1400 14 Speed||Recommended|
|6KU Fixed Gear Single Speed Urban|
|BAVEL Aluminum 21 Speed 700c|
|Gravity Ave A Shimano 14 Speed|
|Schwinn Men’s Axios TT 700c|
|Vilano Forza 4.0 Aluminum|
|Pure Cycles Classic 16-Speed|
|Poseidon ‘Triton’ Aluminum|
|Giordano Libero 1.6 700c|
|Name of Road Bike||Ranking||View on Amazon|
Reviews of Road Bikes Under 500 Dollars
On the contrary, these are affordable bikes with a performance similar to road bikes twice their price. In short, these roadies offer great value without putting a huge dent in your pocket. All bike models featured in this review are from trusted brands. Just for a peek through, we have models from brands, such as Schwinn, Vilano, Pure Cycles, Bavel, Merax, among other notable names in the cycling industry. We give an in-depth review of each model outlining the features that count and why they matter in getting a rewarding biking experience.
1. Merax Finiss Aluminum Road Bike
Merax is a stunning road bike built with functionality in mind. A strong, thin lightweight aluminum frame withstands rough pavements and keeps the bike in good balance. This bike can accommodate riders up to 330 pounds. But for the sake of long-term use, the recommended weight capacity is 220 pounds, which is more than enough to fit most riders.
The frame is aerodynamically designed to take the effort out of every glide. At 28 pounds, this bike is extremely lightweight to add fun in long distance rides and lessen strain on your legs and ankles. Merax offers a 21-speed gear shift, which is actually a very good deal for a road bike at its price. With such number of speeds, you’ll definitely have many options to choose from when tackling different terrains and steep roads. Both the front and rear derailleurs work efficiently to provide rapid and smooth gear changes.
The bike has a 700c steel fork that provides stability and reduces vibrations substantially to guarantee a smooth ride. Lightweight kenda tires set upon durable aluminum rims form a great base for the bike. Merax Finiss is a unisex road bike currently available in three sizes to ensure it fits all sizes of men and women. The bike needs some assembling before use. It’s a wonderfully refined road bike for leisure or competitive rides.
2. Galaxy SC1 Commuter Bike / Racer by Cycles Mercier
Galaxy SC1 offers an optimal balance of characteristics that add more fun to your road bilking experience. This bike is the pride of Mercier, a bike that brings the brand’s uncompromising quality to a lightweight aluminum frame. This SC Series 6061 frame has a semi-compact geometry that offers a relaxed upright riding position.
Thanks to an ergonomic saddle (with comfort channel) and curved seat stays, long hours ride is made more comfortable. The seat post can be micro-adjusted in height to offer a more customized riding position. A double chain ring crank combines with convenient stem-mounted shifters for simpler maintenance and easy shifting while adding that casual style to the bike. Strong-side caliper brakes provide powerful and reliable stopping power in a wide range of conditions.
Galaxy SC1 has a strong wheelset made of double-walled aluminum to provide a firm base. This road bike is available in five different sizes that fit riders from 4 feet 11 inches to 6 feet 3 inches tall. Setup is easy, though professional assembly and tuning are advised for best results. It is an attractive, sleek bike both for road cycling and green commuting.
3. 6KU Fixed Gear Single Speed Urban Fixie Road Bike
This road bike is among the best budget fixies currently available on the market. Quality controlled manufacture makes it a good bicycle that delivers in key areas of reliability, comfort, and everyday practicality. The frame of the bike is made of a fully tig-welded high-tensile steel designed to lessen vibrations and absorb road bumps.
The result is a decent ride that is smooth and comfortable. Compared to other bikes in the same class, 6KU Fixie is relatively lightweight, a feature that lets it hold up well in terms of quietness and speed. This road bike is all about simplicity, so its single speed gear comes as no surprise. Well, the advantage of the fixed gear mechanism is that you spend more time riding than fixing your ride.
The bike has a steel fork tough enough to smooth out rough road conditions. The rear wheel of this bike can be flipped to let you showcase your whip skid skills. You’ll be happy to know that it comes 90% pre-assembled and has a solid guide that is easy to follow for beginners.
6KU Fixie road bike comes in a wide selection of styles and sizes to match your unique personality. It is available in five sizes and numerous colors. The different size options fit riders from 4 feet to more than 6 feet 4 inches tall. This is a bike that is specially made for you!
4. BAVEL Commuter Aluminum Road Bike
Bavel road bike is light, both in framework and budget. In fact, this bikes weighs a mere 27.3 pounds for easy handling and nimble maneuvers. The frame and the fork are made of aluminum to provide a sturdy yet lightweight ride that doesn’t sacrifice speed. Shimano derailleur, shifter, and freewheel add some good quality to this road bike. The freewheel design offers a smooth ride and makes cornering more convenient.
This bike lets you enjoy 21 different speeds at 7 gears without having to break a sweat. The front and rear wheels have a quick-release mechanism that makes cleanup and assembly a whole lot easier. Among the favored features of this road bike is the disc brake system that offers superior and reliable braking power in different weather conditions. The 700c tires and the aluminum rims are built tough to handle any paved surface you might encounter.
Bavel road bike comes in a number of colors to suit your style and personality. You can get it in three different sizes of 48cm, 51cm, and 54cm. This bike has been subjected to a 500-meter test ride to ensure it performs as advertised. It is 90% pre-assembled, though some tuning is required to get it into its best form.
5. Vilano R2 Commuter Aluminum Road Bike
This commuter road bike makes a perfect choice for a quick trip to work, campus, or around town. It is a basic road bike but with many plus qualities. The frame comes in glossy black featuring neat welds and a traditional shape. Tubes used to build the frame vary in size and profile, a design that works well in bringing stiffness to the high-stress areas while adding a bit of flex to the rear. It feels lightweight thereby adding some agility to your ride. The frame has mount points for a water bottle to keep you hydrated during long hours of riding.
Vilano R2 has a no-nonsense 21-speed Shimano. Gear selection is spot on and never misses a chance. Thumb shifters used on this road bike offer an easy time during servicing and maintenance. The stock saddle is quite basic but with a surprisingly comfortable feel during those short rides. This road bike is extremely customizable to your liking since every part can be upgraded. It comes in two color options and three sizes of 50cm, 54cm, and 58cm. Vilano R2 is definitely an understated unisex bike that looks sharp and professional.
6. Gravity Ave A Road Bike
Gravity Ave offers responsive performance in a lightweight aluminum frame. This road bike has a semi-compact frame geometry that provides a relaxed upright riding position while adding to its aerodynamic design. The top tube of the frame slopes towards the back to provide a lower standover height that makes it easier for riders of different sizes to get on and off the bike.
This road bike offers wide gearing, thanks to a 14-speed Shimano drivetrain that lets you conquer different terrains with less effort. Gear shifters are stem-mounted for easy reach and improved riding comfort. Powerful, all-weather disc brakes provide superior stopping power in different conditions.
The saddle is ergonomically designed to offer a comfortable sitting platform. It is mounted on a seat post that can be adjusted to give a customized riding height. Gravity Ave has a whole avenue of size options to match your unique personality and style. You get it in six sizes (43cm, 46.5cm, 50cm, 53.5cm, 55.5cm, and 58.5cm). This bike also comes with a selection of five different colors.
7. Vilano Shadow 3.0 Road Bike
This is more than just an ordinary road bike. While you may be taken aback by its low affordable price tag, the quality you get from this road bike is a high standard and might even exceed your expectations. This all-rounder bike is reliably lightweight, which is good for speed and nimble maneuvers.
The frame is butted aluminum that significantly reduces the effects of vibration to make rough road riding less stressful. This frame is lightweight yet remains sturdy and strong to withstand a lot of abuse. Vilano Shadow comes equipped with 14-speed and offers room for upgrading once you gain sufficient experience. The bike boasts integrated STI Shimano shifters built for precision and quick gear changes. The shifters and the braking system are placed in a single convenient unit to provide precise shifting and controlled braking right at your fingertips.
The wheels are carefully machined for improved strength and performance. You’ll be glad to know that free pedals are included in the package. This bike comes partially pre-assembled to give an easy time putting together the remaining parts. It is currently available in three size options (small, medium, large) to ensure there is something for everyone. This is a road bike that has the right features to help you meet your goals.
8. Schwinn Men’s Axios 700c Drop Bar Road Bicycle
When it comes to road bike performance, Schwinn Axios offers a little something extra. This is a bike that portrays Schwinn’s quality and excellent craftsmanship at a discounted price. It has an aluminum frame and a rigid fork specially designed for quick agile riding. The aluminum frame gives a lighter build for easy handling and stays strong enough to support riders up to 250 pounds.
The bike has a 14-speed Shimano rear derailleur and A050 shifters designed for quick gear shifting. Its alloy crank offers a wide gear range for conquering those steep inclines. The rims are made of alloy material to provide a lightweight yet strong base. A quick-release feature is incorporated on the front wheel to give an easy time during cleanup and assembly.
The saddle has a quick-release mechanism designed for quick height adjustments that offer a comfortable customized ride. Schwinn Axios has caliper brakes for a sure, reliable stop. This is definitely a road bike that gives you the power of a performance bike with all the quality parts you need.
9. Windsor Wellington 2.0 Aluminum Road Bike
Windsor Wellington 2.0 is a simpler and more streamlined approach to modern road bikes. Talking about a lightweight build, this bike beats most of its competitor’s hands down. It weighs in at just 24 pounds making it the lightest in its class. A lightweight aluminum frame and aerodynamically shaped stays come in handy to add more delight to your ride. This frame offers a good strength to weight ratio and keeps the weight of the bike to a minimum for easy handling and transportation.
With a full set of 21 gears, this road bike is sure to lessen the effort needed in pedaling. These gears provide all the options you need when riding long flats or steepest hills. This bike gives you the quality of full Shimano gear changers mostly found on higher priced models. This is an assurance that the bike is constructed of the highest quality that is sure to last.
The shifters are mounted on the handlebar for easy reach. The gear sprockets and chainring are changeable, which is a good feature in case you plan to upgrade in future. Double-walled machined wheelset offers a true straight riding and great accuracy on the road. The seat is fully adjustable to your exact height and has the right amount of cushioning to offer comfort during long rides. This bike comes in a range of colors and different sizes to suit any rider from 5 feet to 6 feet 4 inches in height.
10. Schwinn Volare 1400 Men’s Road Bicycle
Think of the best road bikes money can buy and you find yourself looking at Schwinn Volare 1400. This road bike gives you a chance to feel the lightness and durability of a rugged aluminum frame. A rigid fork is integrated on the frame to guarantee a ride that is smooth regardless of the terrain.
Apart from being built for speed and agility, the frame gives a sturdy support that’s field tested to a weight limit of 250 pounds. This streamlined bike does away with the modern 21-speed approach and instead settles for 14-speed. It has a wide gear range that suits riders of all experience levels. Shimano shifters are integrated into the design making gear shifts a breeze. Lever brakes are built as one single unit together with the shifters for easy access.
Schwinn Volare has oversized 700c tires that provide smooth and fast riding. The rims are made of a double-walled alloy material that keeps the weight at a minimum while remaining strong enough to provide a sturdy base. This bike has a brilliant design that takes away the look of a traditional road bike. It has a medium frame size of 53cm and is available in matte red.
11. HASA R4 Road Bike
HASA R4 is a lightweight performer that goes toe to toe with road bikes twice its price. It weighs in at an impressive 21.6 pounds, a feature built for agility and speed without sacrificing the sturdy support. The aluminum frame is built for durability and works great at absorbing vibrations resulting from bumps and potholes on the road. This road bike is designed to be quick on flat roads and steep hills, thanks to a complete set of 24 gear speeds. It has a great set of shifters built for precision and long-term performance.
Shimano brake levers are another strong point of this road bike. These brakes give you the performance and safety needed in a ride. The bike has a sturdy suspension fork that never frustrates when it comes to comfort. The quality of the wheels and double-walled alloy rims are commendable in ensuring a smooth and stable ride. HASA R4 is available in a selection of six sizes (50cm, 52cm, 54cm, 56cm, 58cm, and 60cm) that offer a perfect fit for everyone. It comes 95% pre-assembled.
12. Vilano FORZA 4.0 Aluminum Integrated Shifters Road Bike
This is a versatile road bike for various functions. It comes lightweight and comfortable enough for those long endurance rides. The frame is made of butted aluminum tubes that keep weight to a minimum while maintaining aerodynamics. It is immensely strong to guarantee long-lasting durability. High-strength steel forks and alloy crank come in handy to reduce the bumps and stresses.
Vilano Forza is equipped with caliper brakes designed for performance and longevity. It has high quality integrated shifters that perform on and off the road. The shifters are mounted on the brake levers so you can shift without any fuss. With 24 speeds, this road bike holds nothing back when it comes to tackling different road situations.
The double-walled machine rims maintain position and control on the road. These lightweight rims combine with Kenda tires to respond well to maneuvers. Free pedals are included in the package. Vilano Forza is currently available in four different sizes that fit riders who are 5 feet to 6.5 feet tall. This is a bike that offers you the privilege of a comfortable ride both on-road and off-road surfaces.
13. Pure Cycles Classic 16-Speed Road Bike
This is a classic road bike with sweeping curves and modern geometry. The bike has a lighter and stronger Chromoly steel frame that provides a comfortable ride and long-lasting durability. The frame reduces the effects of vibrations to make your ride smooth. Pure Cycles road bike has a frame geometry that’s neither too aggressive nor too upright. Rather, it falls in between to provide a relaxed riding position that doesn’t over-stress your body.
It offers a set of 16 gears in its purest form, a feature that provides a rewarding experience when pedaling uphill or on long flats. The dual chainring is made compact enough to tackle tough climbs. The bike is fitted with nitro tires that roll smoothly while offering a super responsive handling. The drop handlebar is adjustable to give more options for body and hand positioning.
It has a performance saddle that is cushioned to stay comfortable during extended rides. It comes in six different size options to fit riders who are 4 feet 11 inches to 6 feet 4 inches tall. Pure Cycles puts some focus on the appearance of the bike to meet the needs and preferences of riders. They achieve this by offering this road bike in different colors to choose from. The bike comes 90% pre-assembled.
14. Poseidon ‘TRITON’ Road Bike
Triton road bike is Poseidon’s flagship model that provides that expensive and pro-level feel. The bike has a lightweight aluminum frame beautifully pieced together with smooth-weld technology to give the looks and performance you desire in a road bike. The fork is made of carbon fiber that keeps weight to a minimum while dampening all that road buzz for ultimate rider comfort. The frame geometry provides a more upright riding position that makes a sweet introduction to first-time riders.
This road bike comes equipped with 8-speed drive-train designed to rip through long flats and inclines on the road. Smooth and fast shifters give you all the time you need to concentrate on the road. The bike has improved dual pivot brakes that provide reliable stopping power to keep you safe down the fast descents. Triton road bike is available in five size options (48, 51, 54, 56, 61).
15. Giordano Libero 1.6 Men’s Road Bike
This bike is designed to offer convenience and durability in a classic Italian style. It’s one of the sweetest deals for a guy looking for a bike to race or commute to work. A handcrafted aluminum frame is what gives the bike its lightweight characteristics perfect for climbing hills as excellent outdoor activities. The frame is extremely strong and durable to support your weight with ease. The forks are crafted from high-tensile steel and do a great job in absorbing road shock.
A majority of the parts are made of lightweight alloy making this road bike an ideal choice for those after speed. This road bike has a Shimano drivetrain with 16-speed selections designed to conquer inclines and flat surfaces. Dual bottle mounts are a great addition in keeping you hydrated during long hours of riding. Lightweight alloy rims and 700c tires let the bike handle potholes while giving a stable base. The rims have a quick-release mechanism that comes handy during the assembling process.
This bike comes mostly assembled right out of the box so putting it together is quite a snap. However, for best performance, you’ll need the service of a professional to do some fine tuning. Giordano Libero 1.6 road bike is available in three different sizes (Small, Medium, and Large) to fit riders who are 5 feet 1 inch to 6 feet 5 inches tall.
Find the Best Entry-level and Affordable Road Bike for Beginners (Buying Guide)
For most of us, the search for the entry-level road bike that comes at an affordable price seems quite a challenge, not until we’ve had a first-hand experience. Visiting your local bike shop and trying them out is a good move. Alternatively, you can try to talk to people who work there since they are extremely knowledgeable. But at the end of the day, all you want is just get one and hit the road, right? Well, if you want a cheap, entry-level road bike that will help you put on some serious miles, then I suggest you take the following factors into consideration.
1. Type of riding
The first question to ask yourself is, what type of riding are you doing? You need to know that there is a growth of other road bike categories. The two main categories are sportive road bikes and aero road bikes. These are further categorized into comfort/endurance bikes, performance bikes, off-road gravel bikes, to the all-round road bikes. Sportive bikes are an ideal option for entry-level riders owing to the relaxed and more upright riding position they offer. What’s more, they are cheaper compared to aero road bikes. Sportive road bikes are normally characterized by their longer head tube and shorter top tube.
2. Bike fit and sizing
This is the most important things you want to get right when looking for the best entry-level road bike. A wrong size and fit will not only make you uncomfortable but also cause some serious health issues. Don’t get a bike just because it is priced lower since it might turn out to be a terrible idea. The trick is to first measure the frame size, which is the measurement from the middle of the crank to the top of the seat tube. This measurement is taken in centimeters.
A good rule of the thumb is to get a road bike that allows you to put the pedal all the way to the bottom with a slight bend of the knee about 20 degrees. Too much bend (greater than 20 degrees) or a straight leg will tire your legs much faster. Here are some common frame sizes and the recommended fit: 50cm (5’3-5’5), 52cm (5’5-5’7), 54cm (5’7-5’9), 56cm (5’9-5’11), 58cm (5’11-6’2), and 60cm (6’1-6’3). Well, this is just a quick preview of road bike fit and sizing. You can always go online and download a complete bike fit and sizing chart.
3. Frame and fork material
This is another key area to consider. Common road bike frame materials include aluminum, steel, and carbon fibre. Aluminum and carbon fibre are the most recommended for entry-level road bikes. Aluminum is cheaper and provides a good balance between reliability and robustness. Carbon fibre absorbs vibrations well while providing a lower weight ratio and greater lateral stiffness. This is where you have to weigh your options and decide which frame and fork material to go for. However, I would advise starting with aluminum if you’re looking for something more affordable. Alternatively, you can settle for an aluminum frame but with forks made of carbon fibre.
It is important to take a look at the groupset model specified in the description. Groupset represents the bike’s brake and transmission. There is an option of different groupsets from different manufacturers, such as Shimano, Campagnolo, and SRAM. Each of these brands has various groupset models designed to cater for different bike weights, performance level, and price brackets. Among these, I recommend Shimano since it offers a high-end feel without the price tag. The ideal Shimano groupset for entry-level road bikes is Sora, Tiagra, and Ultegra. If a slightly higher weight isn’t an issue, then you can settle for Shimano 105 groupset.
5. Brake type (caliper or disc brakes)
The choice between a disc brake and the traditional rim/caliper brake is a decision that rests entirely on the rider. Each system has its own benefits and drawbacks. Disc brakes provide consistent stopping power in both dry and wet conditions. However, it adds some weight to the bike. Caliper brakes, on the other hand, are cheaper, easier to maintain, and offer many choices when it comes to wheel upgrades. The drawback of caliper brakes is that they tend to suffer and lose braking power in wet conditions. So it’s up to you to decide which brake type you want for your first road bike.
Well, presenting you with a list of the best road bikes under $500 won’t be complete without a guide that outlines a thing or two about choosing the best affordable road bikes for beginners. We give all the factors that need to be put into consideration ranging from the type of riding, frame material, bike sizing/fit, groupset, to brake type. Well, what more can you ask for! I hope we’ve got you completely covered.
We hope this article has made your journey to road biking a lot easier. There are other options out there, but these best cheap beginner-level road bikes excel in terms of quality, performance, and affordability. All these road bikes are available at Amazon stores. So feel free to check them out and maybe get some informative opinions from customers who have the first-hand experience. Well, it’s never too late to go hit the road!