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You may be new to cycling and want to start taking on that journey, or you may be an ordinary commuter who wants to get through wintertime; whatever your reason is, no one wants to spend money on a pricey bike.
Do you want to hear good news today? I bet you do and here it is – you may find cheap road bikes that perform beyond their tag price. In fact, here’s a list of the best road bikes under 500 dollars!
The bicycle business loves to trickle down, which means that the recent features you get to see in high-end bike models will be included in mid-range models a year after then sooner or later on cheap road bikes.
- 1 What Makes Road Bikes Great
- 2 Top 5 Affordable Road Bikes
- 3 Different Types of Road Bikes
- 4 500 Dollar Road Bike Buying Guide
- 5 Bonus: Road Bike Assembly
- 6 Conclusion
What Makes Road Bikes Great
A road bike is a type of bicycle that is meant for paved roads and smooth surfaces. Consequently, this bike type is the most commonly preferred bike by many cyclists since they are doable and convenient to use. They are also designed for effortless high-speed cycling.
Road bikes are normally lightweight and without a rear or front suspension. Most road bikes are built with drop handlebars and have carbon fiber reinforced polymer front frames. Also, they are assembled with two light thin tires.
This bike type is ideal for those who commute daily to their school or work. You can also use it if you just want to stroll around the neighborhood or if you have an important errand to attend to. However, road bikes are not suitable in areas with rough terrain. For this, you may opt for a mountain bike or a hybrid bike, which works best on such surfaces.
What to expect from a $500 Road Bike
If you are not familiar with road bikes, you may think that spending 500 dollars to buy one is a lot of money. Yet, for experienced cyclists that amount is nowhere near to purchase a high-performing bicycle that may be used for commuting or training, and sports activity. Be that as it may, you can own a high-quality road bike that is within (or below) your $500 budget.
Here’s what you can expect from a $500 road bike:
- Has an average of 10kg
- Designed with a modern aluminum frame
- Integrated with either Shimano Claris, Sora, or Microshift shifters
- Excellent tire quality
- Includes dual-caliper rim brakes or Tektro equipment on upper-class bikes
- Forks may be made out of steel or aluminum, at times part-carbon
Top 5 Affordable Road Bikes
We were able to review hundreds of bicycles and see what they got, and these bikes ranged from $250 up to $10,000. So if we are going to ride a road bike, we should know if it’s cheap but high-performing. That being said, we have made a roundup of our top picks for the best cheap road bikes, and you will discover what to expect from these budget-friendly road bikes.
Schwinn Phocus 1400 and 1600 Drop Bar Road Bicycle
Among the Schwinn road bikes that we have tested, the Schwinn Phocus 1600 is among our favorites – and apparently, it is everybody’s favorite too. In fact, many cyclists love this road bike for several reasons but one is its affordability.
The Schwinn Phocus 1600 is constructed with excellent and long-lasting materials. It provides comfort for riders even on long distances. It is also easy to assemble, especially if you are a biker who is familiar with bikes. Additionally, its seat is adjustable.
What’s more is that this bike possesses both form and function. It has an aesthetic finish and has a weight capacity of more than 250 pounds. This cheap road bike is perfect for everyday commute or weekend bike stroll. Also, it is a good beginner road bike, likewise for experienced bike riders. In other words, it’s easily the best affordable road bike out there.
- Carbon fiber fork, aluminum frame
- Shimano Claris 16 derailleur
- Microshift shifter and brake lever
- Integrated with double-wall rims and paired spokes
- Front and saddle quick release
- Dual pivot (Promax alloy) caliper brake
Trinx TEMPO1.0 700C 21 Speed Racing Bicycle
The Trinx TEMPO1.0 700C 21 Speed Racing Bicycle is another best road bike under 500 dollars that is made in Italy. Its structure looks well-pleasing and you can ride it daily for commuting. With this road bike, you don’t need to worry about repairs while on a long ride.
Also, the Trinx TEMPO 1.0 is lightweight and is intended for long-distance rides. And since this road bike is lightweight and has a set of brakes that works flawlessly, it makes for a perfect beginner bike. Hence, we strongly recommend the Trinx TEMPO 1.0 for first-time bike riders.
As a matter of fact, this bike is not complicated to assemble, and if you wish to install upgrades with it, then you are free to do so. The only thing is that although the Trinx TEMPO 1.0 is outstanding when it comes to performance, its saddle may not be comfortable to sit in. Still, you can always replace it with a comfier saddle.
- Hydroformed AI6061 frame
- Shimano 21 speed gearing
- Trinx Hi-Ten steel handlebar and fork
- Built with Shimano A050 shifter
- Includes WinZip Alloy brakes
Eurobike EURXC550 21 Speed Road Bike
Since the Eurobike EURXC550 21 Speed Road bike only has a 42T chain wheel, and considering that standard road bicycles come with a 52 or 53T, we recommend this cheap road bike for beginner cyclists. That said, this entry-level road bike consists of larger chain wheels, allowing riders to build-up power to run the bike faster.
Plus, this beginner road bike is fast and smooth to ride, which gives riders an excellent ride experience. Its steel bike frame is super lightweight too. So, again, if you’re just taking the first step in cycling and want to spend on a road bike within the budget, then the Eurobike EURXC550 21 is an amazing choice.
The Eurobike EURXC550 21 will be delivered to you already assembled at 85%, which means that only installing the handlebar, pedals, seat, and the front-wheel is left for you to do. Believe it or not, it only takes a moment to install these parts on this road bike.
- 21-speed gearing
- High quality steel frame
- 700mm wheels
- Available in 2 sizes, fits riders 5’5” to 6’ tall
- Parts replacement is free within a year from purchase
Vilano Diverse 3.0 Performance Hybrid Road Bike
Whatever purpose you intend this road bike for, the Vilano Diverse 3.0 Performance Hybrid Road Bike will always do best. This bike is ideal for the everyday commute, peloton rides, and training. It is designed with a frame and fork made from 6061 aluminum. It’s integrated with outstanding disc brakes that give complete control and accurate stopping even in bad weather.
Additionally, this road bike is built with platform pedals and a water bottle mount. Assembly-wise, the Vilano Hybrid road bike is very easy to put together with some tools, but if you want, you can just as easily bring this road bike to a shop instead and let them do the work. Either way, it is also important to have it checked and tuned regularly.
What we really liked, though, is that the Vilano Hybrid road bike is aesthetically stunning – its color is all-black and it’s engraved with white or silver calligraphy. Also, its brakes work excellently, which means that you can be sure of your safety at all times.
- High-performing with a 700c set of wheels
- Hydroformed alloy fork and frame
- Quick and effective stops with disc brakes
- Upright handlebar offers comfort
- Comes with free pedals
- Looks classy in black color
Looking for more affordable hybrids? Here’s a review of the best hybrid bikes under 300 dollars!
Outroad Road Bike 14-21 Speed Shimano Shifter 700C
The Outroad Road Bike 14-21 Speed Shimano Shifter 700C offers a superior riding experience for any rider. It has a road frame that is made from aluminum while its road fork is made of steel. Since it is designed with 21 speeds, riders are free to switch gears easily with their fingertips.
More importantly, this road bike offers safety and reliability to riders. Not to mention, the Outroad road bike is built with ergonomic handlebars that help lessen resistance and its tires feature anti-slip wear resistance.
This road bike is perfect for any activities, including commuting or recreation. Although this bike is cheap, it does not compromise its quality. In fact, perhaps the only catch is that among our top picks for the best road bikes under $500, this one is kind of heavy.
- Features 700C wheels
- 21-speed grip shifter
- Great for riders with 5’3″-6’0″ height
- Can hold up to 330 lbs
Different Types of Road Bikes
Now that you’ve seen our top recommendations on affordable yet well-performing road bikes, here’s a quick guide on the different kinds of road bicycles to help you better decide on which type of roadie works best for your cycling needs:
Most road bikes are commuters. Commuter road bikes are intended to run on pavement, which means that the objective of these bikes is to offer balance and comfort. In other words, speed and aerodynamics only come next. Commuter road bikes are often designed with durable wheels, rack mounts, and mud flaps.
As you practice cycling and get better as time goes by, you would want to ride for more hours. With that, tour bikes are ideal, since touring bicycles are intended to provide comfort to its rider, especially during long riding hours. However, take note that touring bikes are not exactly designed for speed. Check out our review of the best touring bikes here.
Race bikes, as the term suggests, are specially created for racing. Race bikes are commonly lightweight and are built with a superb brake system. Compared to the first two, racers are built for speed. But, take note that this bike type may not be suitable for entry-level cyclists.
Compared to race bikes, sportive bikes are distinctively larger and are structured towards endurance racing. Hence, they tend to be more convenient and more comfortable to ride on, even for a long period of time. So, if you’ve got long hours of a daily commute to school or work, a sportive bike is a great option for you.
Time Trial and Aero
Meanwhile, there are also time trial bikes, which are built for professional cyclists who wish to beat time records. This bike is structured with low wind resistance and fast speed. And, for medium to high-speed controls, you can try an aero bike, which is basically a time trial bike but without the added features.
500 Dollar Road Bike Buying Guide
If you’re looking for the best road bikes under 500, you will find a lot of road bikes available in the market, and although they may all be within the 500 dollar price range, they may not all be worth the trouble. So to help you out, here are some factors to consider when choosing a 500 dollar road bike:
Bike size is the most essential factor you need to consider when choosing the best road bike for beginners. Keep in mind that if the bike size does not suit you, it will only be uncomfortable to use and may negatively affect your health. So, be careful not to be fooled with low-priced bicycles and try measuring their frame size first. Frame size is measured in centimeters.
To know if you can ride comfortably on a road bike, try pedaling to the bottom. If it allows you to do that while slightly bending your knee at 20 degrees, then they should be a good fit. If you have to bend more than 20 degrees to the point of stretching your leg straight, it will only tire you eventually.
Or, to make things easier for you, simply check the manufacturer’s size chart, look for your height/ size and the corresponding bike size, and base your decision from there.
Type of Riding
Before deciding on purchasing a road bike, ask yourself first what kind of riding you would like to do. For starters, these road bikes are classified into performance road bikes, off-road gravel bikes, comfort or endurance road bikes, and all-around road bikes. In fact, there are even recumbent road bikes designed for cyclists with limited mobility and special cycling needs.
As an example, for beginner cyclists, a sportive road bike is the suggested option since it offers a more relaxed riding position. What’s great about sportive road bikes is that they are more affordable than aerodynamic road bikes. And, usually, sportive bikes have a shorter top tube and longer head tube.
Frame and Fork
Study the specifications of the bike frame. A standard bike frame must weigh between 20-30 lbs. More importantly the bike should be lightweight and durable at the same time. The best road bike under 500 should be made up of either steel, aluminum, or alloy.
In addition to that, you must also consider the fork. Check if the fork is mounted at a lofty angle with no suspension. When it comes to the fork, the best road bikes are of sturdy materials such as carbon or steel, even metal alloys.
Did you know that some bicycles feature foldable frames? For example, here are some of the best folding mountain bikes we found in 2021.
Wheels and Tires
You may not realize it but wheels do matter too. To give you an idea, most road bikes were installed with thin tires and rims, which may require extra care. Think of it this way: if your current wheels don’t match your needs, then you should consider replacing them with a more suitable size and type.
Consequently, it is best to choose a wheel brand with an excellent speed and lesser friction. Typically, road bikes priced at 500 dollars and below come with 26-29” tires and have rims within 23mm up to 28mm.
It’s essential to also examine the groupset your road bike has. Simply put, a groupset is your road bike’s transmission system and brakes. There is a wide-range of groupsets offered by various manufacturers, including SRAM, Shimano, and Campagnolo.
The aforementioned groupset brands feature different models that are designed for various bike weights, levels of performance, and price ranges. We highly recommend the Shimano groupset because it provides superb capabilities despite the cheap price.
You can choose among the Shimano groupsets that work best for starter road bikes, namely, Tiagra, Sora, and Ultegra. The Shimano 105 groupset is also a good option but you should take note that it weighs a bit more than the others.
For beginners, having accurate and high-performing brakes is very vital, especially if you need a sudden brake in which case the brakes must quickly stop the wheels. Road bike brakes are usually mechanical, though to know more about your brakes, be sure to run through its manual.
Handlebars have a lot to do with the comfort your road bike gives you. If your handlebars are installed too low, it may be tiring to ride on since you need to bend your body. This means that the best handlebars for road bikes are drop handlebars because it allows the rider to sit in an upright posture.
For road bikes under the $500 range budget, saddles are sometimes hard and are not comfortable to ride on. This is a serious issue especially if you have to do long rides every day. However, the good news is that saddles are replaceable, which means that you can simply choose one that is wider, softer, and comfier to sit on.
Bonus: Road Bike Assembly
Bike assembly can be done in two ways:
- Do the assembly yourself by using a wrench. All you need is to properly tighten the gear and brake cables on your bike. In some cases, you will have to install the handlebars as well. It is not complicated as you think it is, you just need to trust your instinct and think logically.
- If you are not confident with assembling the bike yourself and if you have an extra budget, you can take the road bike to a local shop and let them do the job. It may cost you $40, which is not bad even if you add it to your road bike’s market worth.
Ideally, cycling is not just a healthy, fun, and less expensive means of transportation, it is also eco-friendly. Besides, owning a bike should not cost you a lot just to acquire one with high-quality components that provide a comfortable and convenient riding experience.
A 500 dollar worth of a road bike may sound unappealing but if you try looking for the best ones, you will never go wrong, especially if you choose any of the road bikes we’ve reviewed in this article. Whichever one you choose among our top picks for the best road bikes under 500, we hope that you find the one that will satisfy your needs.