A road bike is a speed machine and for the most part is a bike used on pavement or tarmac. They are also sometimes used for racing and are thus sometimes referred to as racers. However, given their popularity and highly specialized nature they tend to be very expensive. In this regard we have compiled a list of the best road bikes under 500, best beginner road bikes, best hybrid bikes and best flat bar road bikes for the money.
Unlike many other reviewers we not only read reviews online but test the bikes ourselves to ensure that it is the right fit and works as well for your needs. Apart from riding the bikes we also trawl the forums such as Reddit for real user experience by people that have rode the bikes. This means that by reading our review you can then buy with confidence.
Best Road Bikes Under $500 Comparison
|Takara Kabuto||35.2 Pounds||Check Price||3.6 Stars|
|6KU Aluminum||25.7 Pounds||Check Price||4.2 Stars|
|Vilano Shadow||34.5 Pounds||Check Price||4.3 Stars|
|Schwinn Phocus||31 Pounds||Check Price||4.1 Stars|
|Tommaso Imola||35 Pounds||Check Price||4.4 Stars|
Best Road Bike Under 500: Takara Kabuto Single Speed Road Bike
- Single speed making it great for commuting
- Flip flop hub to easily change the configuration of the gear
- Highly durable steel fork and frame
- Alloy brakes and rims that will not rust
The sleek Takara Kabuto Single Speed is the best road bikes under 500 out there. It is quite the durable bike with its steel frame and fork and alloy parts that make it relatively light. With two wheel modes you can choose between the freewheel or a fixed gear. In fixed you cannot coast which is great for racing while the free wheel position allows for coasting which would be great if you are just taking a lazy commute.
The bike is one of the easiest to assemble and you can do even without ever having done it before. All you will need an affordable all in one bike repair kit and an adjustable wrench and you will be good to go. Given that it is a stripped down road bike it is also easy to maintain though it will take a while before any of the components will need repair or replacement.
I would recommend this as a beginner road bike though it can easily hit 20 particularly if you have switched to freewheel mode.
Best Flat Bar Road Bike Under 500: 6KU Aluminum Fixed Gear Single-Speed Fixie
- Aluminum frame makes it lightweight and easy to ride
- Classic urban look that will draw looks around town
- One gear drivetrain means it’s a street inspired bike’
- Comes with easy to use repair and maintenance tools
- Simple and easy to maintain
The 6KU Urban track bike is the best flat bar road bike you can find for less than 500 bucks. The bike is a combination of style and speed that lets you cruise around the pavements with ease. With the comfortable riser handlebars and performance inspired lightweight aluminum frame you can ride around town taking it all in while looking classy and stylish.
It has a flip flop hub so that you can flip between coasting or not coasting. You also get to have total control over your bike and can choose between having your daily commute while coasting, freewheeling or pedaling or if you like you can ride fixed to have even more control. The riser handlebars are also primed to provide the excellent handling of a racing bike while still allowing you to ride casually and in comfort and style.
Lasrly, the bike comes with free assembly tools so that you have everything ready to go once the package arrives at your doorstep. It is also one of the easiest bikes to maintain given that it is stripped down to bare essentials.
Best Beginner Road Bike Under 500: Vilano Shadow Road Bike
- 700c double wall machined side to protect from stones and thorns
- Integrated brakes and shifters for better control on the road
- A Lightweight double butted aluminum frame
- Drop handlebars to reduce air resistance
- Narrow high pressure tires designed for road racing
The Vilano Shadow Road Bike is a top rated road bike that is designed for a range of roads and pavements whether you want to just ride on the trail or ride around town given that it has a double machined side that can take a lot of punishment.
With its narrow high pressure tires, it is an excellent bike that provides little resistance and hence is great for road racing. With its lightweight aluminum frame it is great for beginners and women who may not have the strength or balance to handle the heavier bikes. This lightweight nature also helps when racing as you could have the lightest bicycle on the track which can be an advantage. Beginners will also love the integrated shifters and integrated brakes as they can easily stop and change gears.
As a racer what I loved best about this were the drop handlebars which reduce air resistance which is great when I am going on the road.
Best Road Bike Under 750: Tommaso Imola Endurance Aluminum Road Bike
- The best road bike coming at less than $750
- Provides great performance at an affordable price
- Top quality Shifters, Derailleurs, Crank, and Brakes
- Comfortable ride regardless of riding style
- Robust aluminum frames that will last for long
You do not need to break the bank to get a high performance bike as the Imola while not a beginner bike provides a ton of features at a great price. Everything from the lightweight wheels, lightweight aluminium frame and Shimano gear shifters will provide value and last for the longest time. This was the first bike that I used when I came back for a long hiatus as I could easily customize it with all manner of accessories.
The road bike has been built to last with its aluminum frame coming with lifetime warranty which more than most bike manufacturers will give you. Moreover the bike comes with Shimano components most of which also come with up to two year warranties so that you can ride without worry as your bike is covered.
The compact frame geometry of the Imola makes it possible to ride comfortably regardless of your riding style. Coming with a shallow handlebar drip if you prefer the lower handlebar position you can still be comfortable ion this bike. The bike also has 700c road bike ties so that you can enjoy your ride regardless of the terrain.
Lastly it does provide a classy look with its Shimano Claris brakes, crank, derailleurs, and shifters. Unlike many bikes that use knock offs I have found that this bike uses original Shimano and hence it always shifts and brakes perfectly.
Best Road Bike for The Money: Schwinn Phocus Drop Bar Road Bicycle
- Lightweight road bike with carbon fiber and aluminum fork
- 16 speed shifter and derailleur with micro shift integrated brake/shift
- Lightweight double wall rims with paired spokes
- Dual caliper road brakes for efficient braking
- ‘Wide gear range given the alloy crank
Schwinn bikes have always been one of the most popular bike brands in the United States and the Schwinn phocus is testament to why that is so. With its choice of the 1400 or 1600 drop bar road bikes, you get a responsive bike that is smooth, quick and agile.
The lightweight bike is great for workouts over the weekend or just riding out on a bike path as the lightweight carbon and aluminum frame will turn long arduous rides into fun weekends. The lightweight nature of the bike combined with paired spokes and double walled rims means you can go almost anywhere you want.
I love to use the bike for a good workout and I have also found it great for bike path riding given how maneuverable it is. The alloy crank makes changing fears a breeze and braking is so great as it comes with dual calipers. This coupled with the 16 speed derailleur and shifter makes this the perfect bike for a workout.
What to Look For When Buying a Road Bike Under 500
Deciding on what road bike to get under $500 is not an easy task and hence there are several things that will have to be taken into consideration including the features of the given bike and your personal needs. However, the following are some of the most important things to take into consideration.
Fork and Frame Material
It is critical to take into account the material used to make the fork and frame of your road bike. There are several materials that are used to construct forks and frames but the most common are carbon and aluminum.
Frame and fork material
The frame and fork material is a great factor that should not be left out when purchasing the right road cycle for yourself. There are several materials used to make road bicycles especially the frame and fork. One material commonly used is aluminum.
Aluminum – This is a lightweight material which is why it is used in so many road bikes which need to be as light as possible. Lightweight bikes tend to be faster and hence can be great for road racing or for beginners and entry level riders who might not have the dexterity to control the bike well.
Carbon fiber – For the most part carbon fiber is used in forks since it is a light weight yet strong material that can take the high pressures at the fork. Given that it is very rigid, it is common in road bikes that are mainly used in road racing or on hilly and rugged surfaces. Moreover it is a lightweight material relative to the likes of titanium, aluminum or steel which may add necessary weight to bikes used for road racing. It can also be used on other parts of the bike such as the shifter lever, saddle rails, pedals brake levers, pedals and disc brake rotors.
This refers to the components that make up the mechanical parts of a bike except for the handlebars, bicycle frame, saddle, the fork, rims, stem, and wheels. Some of the more common components of groupset include the cog set, gear levers, chain, brake levers, crank set, integrated brake levers, derailleurs, and shifters.
It is critical to ensure you get original rather than off brand groupset components to ensure your safety on the road, better performance and the long life of your bike. Some of the best manufacturers include the likes of Shimano and Campagnolo and the quality of the components will depend on which company manufactured them for your road bike.
Gear levers are critical for road bikes since you most likely will be riding in hilly or tough terrain and hence you need to be able to easily shift your gears. Some of the best out there include components from Shimano that have innovated to make their levers some of the easiest to change when riding your road bike.
Cable-operated caliper brakes
Most road bicycles come with caliper brakes operated by cables since they are the most efficient with the speed of such bikes. There are a few bikes that use hydraulic calipers though these are very rare. The vast majority of road bikes are fitted with disc brakes or direct mount calipers for better performance though these tend to be custom made for only a few frames.
You can get your chain set in either the triple or double depending on the ratios you decide to go for. You will typically get standard combinations of 39/53t on standard combinations while there are several ratios on the double chainsets. Most professional racers thus prefer bigger ratios as they make acceleration faster though the bigger gearing ratios make hem harder to push particularly when getting off the line.
The bikes we tested cost less than 500 but we have found that the more money you spend the better the quality of the bike. However, any bike that costs at least $300 should be a decent road bike with lightweight frame made of aluminum and carbon fiber materials and other high quality components.
Road biking is one of the best ways to work out or just to enjoy oneself. Whether you prefer to tour the bike paths or just cruise around the neighborhood, it is critical to get a bike that fits your needs. To find the best road bike under 500 it is always important to check out a range of features including fork and frame material, bike fit and size, and group set among other things so that you can get the best bike.
While 500 is not much money it can get you a good road bike as long as you choose your bike carefully. The bikes reviewed here should be good for the needs of both beginner and professional cyclists given that they can be ridden in all manner of terrain. If you are looking for the best though check out the best hybrid bikes under 1000