After looking through 17 road bikes and spending 43 hours on research and testing, we think that the Tommaso Imola Compact Aluminium Road Bike is the perfect choice for a road bike that is under $1,000. It’s a budget road bike that can keep up with more expensive road bike brackets, and possibly even outperform some of them. Thanks to its light aluminium frame and quality components, the Tommaso Imola makes a great all-rounded road bike among all we have reviewed. [read more]
At first glance, road bikes are very appealing to the eye, they look sleek and sporty. Its style may convey the image of a hefty price tag. To most of us, our knowledge of these carbon fibre or high-grade aluminium bikes is that they’re exceedingly expensive.
But with the increasing availability of bicycle materials and parts, gone are the days that only those with excess cash to spare can own and experience the joys of riding quality road bikes. You can purchase a very capable competition road bike for just under $1000.
Some of these $1000 road bikes can even compete with road bikes that cost over $3000 or more. If you’re new to the world of road bikes, then we’ve got you covered. These $1000 bikes may feel like they’re worth more than what you pay for.
This guide is to assist those who have no knowledge of bicycles, whatsoever. If you’ve noticed, bikes have changed so much. After the year 2000, the huge variety of bikes and bike parts may overwhelm some. But not to worry, this is a guide for a specific class of bikes – road bikes to be exact. But I must inform you that even with a narrow scope, the world of road bikes is a large one. The best thing to do is try them out and keep on learning.
There are seven factors to consider when choosing a road bike.
Of course, all of these parts have to fit within a budget. That will depend on you. Putting in more money will result in a better built/quality bike. Keep in mind that not everything expensive is good. You have to find the parts and components that will pay up to its purpose. If you don’t plan on joining any race, then you can stick with mid-tier components. Buying all the high-end bells and whistles may be an excess; unless, you do plan on racing, and need all the best parts.
A bike’s frame material will command its price and determine how much of its performance you can squeeze out of the bike. There are four different types of materials used for a bike’s frame. But only two of them are commonly sold due to being massively produced and is a perfect combination between robust structural rigidity and light weight, these are carbon fibre and aluminium. The other two which are steel and titanium are uncommon and usually sold only as a frame; this means that you have to build your own bike.
Here’s a guide on the types of frame materials.
In the past, steel was the prime option for bicycle frames. In fact, you have to go back twenty years ago to find a steel framed bike on the podium of the Tour de France. Nowadays, steel frames have been outclassed by aluminium and carbon fibre. Steel does not have the quality of lightweight that other materials offer. But what it can offer is its durability. Steel is exceptionally strong and can take a lot of hits without any terminal damage.
If for instance you accidentally hit a post, your steel frame will dent. That can easily be remedied and fix, unlike carbon and aluminium alloy. Rust is the main enemy of steel. Proper maintenance and care will ensure that your frame lasts long.
While steel framed bikes are not as popular as they used to be, they are still a practical choice. Nowadays, people who build bikes for commuting or as a hobby still choose steel framed bikes. A community of fixed-gear bikes or fixie bikes still opt for this material, due to its rigidity and comfort.
This is the rarest frame material of them all. You’ll barely see anyone riding a titanium bike around, it’s like spotting a leopard in the wild. That’s because titanium bikes cost a lot and mostly they’re built part by part.
Titanium has an advantage over steel in terms of weight, its strength to weight ratio is almost identical to it too. It may not be lighter than aluminium or titanium but what it can provide is high corrosion resistance, better durability, and improved dampening over aluminium and carbon fibre. That being said, titanium bikes have better ride quality than steel, carbon fibre, and aluminium. Its natural shock-absorption property is one trait that attracts people toward this frame.
Overall, titanium frames make for a great investment for those who are looking for a bike that can stand the test of time. Some people often favour reliability over weight. It may cost a lot, but what you’re paying for is a bike that provides comfort and limitless durability. Just avoid crashing into any stationary obstacles.
Add your content here...
The material used for aluminium frames are not aluminium itself, but aluminium alloy. The reason for aluminium’s popularity is due to its strength to weight ratio. Surely, it’s not stronger than steel, but it’s a good balance between robustness and weightlessness.
Another perk that aluminium frames offer is its cost. It’s cheap, the question then: why is it so expensive? That’s because of the craftsmanship put into making aluminium bike frames. Carbon fibre on the other hand is very labor intensive, but it’s not as difficult to manipulate and shape into form. That is why, these bikes spike up in price. Purchasing a bike with a basic aluminium frame might even cost you less than a steel framed bike.
Just like its metal based cousins, aluminium is robust and easy to repair. It does not shatter or crack, like carbon fibre. But if your aluminium frame takes too much of a hitting, meaning it dents, bends, and then breaks then it’s off to the trash bin. Aluminium bikes need to be taken care of and maintained. This type of frame is also fatigues, after years of use, aluminium frames won’t be as rigid as they used to be.
While riders and cyclists lean towards carbon fibre as their weapon of choice, aluminium is putting up a good fight. You’re most likely better off with a mid-range aluminium bike than a low-end carbon bike, leaving you with some extra cash for components and upgrades.
Carbon is the most popular frame material on the market today. That’s because it can weigh less than 1kg and still be rigid enough to withstand harsh road conditions. Although carbon fibre can withstand tremendous amounts of force, the only downside to it is how brittle it is compared to the other materials (steel, aluminium, and titanium).
Carbon fibre can only withstand extreme force at a certain direction. It is fragile and when subject to loads of impact on the direction that is not meant for stress, it can shatter or crack, rendering the bike useless. The reason for this is because it does not have the isotropic characteristics of metals. This means that the structural properties of metals are identical in all directions. Unlike carbon fibre, which are a bundle of braided resin, are only strong in an aimed direction.
A good example to test this is have someone sit in the middle of a carbon fibre bar that is being held on two opposite ends and do the same with a steel bar. The tendency for carbon fibre is to break in the middle, when subjected to a force that the structure is not meant to handle at different direction. The steel bar will simply hold because of the multi-directional strength of steel.
Despite that, carbon fibre is not as weak as it may seem because these frames are stress-tested in labs and can handle tons of force. Just avoid running into a lamp post. Another advantage of carbon fibre is its longevity. Compared to aluminium, carbon fibre does not have a shelf-life.
The reason why carbon frames are a favourite for most riders is because these frames have the edge in terms of pure performance. Over the years, carbon frames have become more affordable, thus, a number of carbon grades (low-end to high- end) are easily accessible.
Knowing what groupset you have on your bike should also be taken into importance. A groupset is a collective term for your bike’s gear set, brakes, levers and shifters. Majority of bikes sold today come with groupsets made from one company, Shimano. The Japanese company is popular for creating good performance low budget groupsets such as the Shimano Tiagra and higher end variants like the Shimano 105. Here are a few things that you have to know about groupsets.
On road bikes, it’s prevalent that brake levers and shifters come as one, unlike mountain bikes, wherein the shifter and brake levers consist of two different components. Shifters for road bikes are meant for changing gears and applying the brakes.
The two kinds of brake sets used by bikes today are disk brakes and rim brakes. The former, works similar to the brakes of motorcycles and cars, where you have a rotor disk that spins with the wheels and a hydraulic or cable-operated caliper to squeeze the spinning disk to reduce speed. The latter is more common on road bikes wherein the cable-operated calipers squeeze against the rim of the tyres to slow the bike down.
Rim brakes have been around for a long time and are still quite popular due to its simple mechanism and stopping efficiency. Over time, disk brakes have gained more followers, specifically hydraulic disk sets, due to its massive stopping power, improved modulation, and lighter material.
The choice of what brake sets to equip often boil down to the rider. Rim brakes are often more cost-friendly because maintenance is easy. Disk brakes require more service and are a little bit more expensive than rim brake sets.
This consists of your cassette, chainset, chain, and derailleur. All these components combined make powering your bike easier and effective. Various parts on your drivetrain will determine your torque and power output.
We will divide the individual parts of the drivetrain for further understanding.
The cassette is a group of sprockets located beside the rear tyre; these sprockets provide a range of efficiency throughout different speeds. The larger the gear, the easier it will be to pedal. Smaller gears allow you to transfer power into higher speeds.
Keep in mind that the larger the gear is, the number of teeth increases. If you want smooth gear changes, you’d want to look for a cassette that has a close number of teeth from the largest gear to smallest gear.
The chain of your bike should be proportionate to the number of gears on your bike. You can simply count the number of sprockets attached on the rear tyre (the cassette) and that should match your chain length. For example, a nine-speed groupset must be equipped with a nine-speed chain.
Proper chain tuning is required to maintain the quality of your chain and avoid damaging other components. Your chain can be the cause of quickly wearing down your cassette and derailleurs. Inspect your chain regularly and change them right away when required.
These are the group of larger sprockets attached to the pedal crank. There are two types of chainsets that come with road bikes: double and triple, which indicate the number of sprockets on called chain rings. Engaging to the smaller gear means it’ll be easier to pedal the bike, which is meant for climbing hills. On the other hand, a higher top speed is achieved when switching to the larger gear.
The double chainset is more race-centric while the triple chainset is geared towards touring and long distance cycling. The extra small gear of the triple chainset makes pedalling uphill easier. Conversely, triple chainsets are not as popular as they once were because of the arrival of the compact double chainset. This double compact chainset allows riders to achieve the low-gear responds of a triple but without the extra chain ring, and the added benefit of weight reduction.
This piece of clever mechanism is in charge of shifting your chain from different gears. Your bike will normally come with two derailleurs; the front, which is commands the chain to the chainrings and the rear is responsible for switching sprockets on the cassette.
The most common type of derailleurs is cable-operated, and their more hi-tech counterpart is electronically-operated. Cable-operated derailleurs are much lighter; while electronically-operated ones weigh more because of all the wires and batteries, they offer much smoother shifting.
This part is another factor that makes a bike’s price tag spike. It is also the makes a huge difference in ride quality and performance. A tyre’s weight will also contribute in your bike’s overall performance. Cheap tyres are often light and the contact patch is not as sticky as more expensive tyres.
Pressure also matters. Just because your tyres indicate a specific optimal tyre pressure, doesn’t mean that you should always pump in what the number shows. Road conditions will also be a factor in performance, relative to your tyre pressure. If roads and streets in your area are smooth then you’ll benefit from the indicated pressure; but if you take roads that are quite bumpy then you should consider lowering your tyre temperature.
Your comfort also depends on your tyres. If you feel that your bike is too harsh and the whole ride feels stiff, try to find a comfortable pressure by releasing some of the air in your tyres.
It’s important to be comfortable on your bike. The best way to test this is to spend time riding a bike of your choice. Ask your bike dealer if you could test out a buy you plan to purchase, and then compare it with another bike of your choice. After clocking in a few kilometres, you’ll get a feel of which bike fits you more. If you want to enhance your bike’s ergonomics, you can adjust your seat height, change the handle bars, and importantly, find your riding position.
|Diamondback Haanjo Trail 24 Alternative Road Bike||16-speed Shimano Claris||Tektro mechanical disc brakes||22 lbs|
|Vilano FORZA 4.0 Aluminum Integrated Shifters Road Bike||24-speed Shimano Claris STI Integrated Brake Lever||Shimano Claris Brake Caliper||30 lbs.||-|
|Schwinn Men's Phocus 1400 700C Drop Bar Road Bicycle, Black, 18-Inch||14-speed with Shimano A050 shifter||Alloy Caliper Brakes||27 lbs.|
|Diamondback Bicycles 2016 Century 1 Complete Road Bike with Disc Brakes||18-speed Shimano/FSA drivetrain||Tektro Mira Mechanical Disk brakes||20.5 lbs||-|
|Vilano Shadow Road Bike - Shimano STI Integrated Shifters||14-speed with Shimano A070 STI Integrated Brake Lever||Dual Pivot Alloy Caliper||23 lbs.|
|Tommaso Imola Compact Aluminum Road Bike – (Editor’s Choice)||24-speed Shimano Claris||Shimano Claris Brake Caliper||23.8 lbs.|
|Merax Finiss Aluminum 21 Speed 700C Road Bike Racing Bicycle Shimano||21-speed Shimano drivetrain with A050 road shifters||Aluminum Caliper||28 lbs.|
|Schwinn Men's Prelude Bicycle (BBWhite)||14-speed Shimano drivetrain with A050 road shifters||Dual pivot road brakes||33 lbs.|
|2017 HASA R5 Shimano 21 Speed Road Bike||21-speed Shimano Tourney ST-A073||TEKTRO Alloy Racing Calipers, R315 with Drop: 41-57mm||23.14 lbs.|
|BAVEL Ultra Light Aluminum 21 Speed 700C Road Bike Racing Bicycle Shimano 48cm/51cm/54cm||21-speed Shimano EF-500||Disc brakes||27.3 lbs.|
Note: Majority of the bikes listed are made of aluminium
This is a bike that is made for endurance cycling; Diamondback designed this road bike for control and confidence. Unlike other road bikes, the Haanjo is paired with fatter tyres, wider handlebars, and mechanical disc brakes. That’s because this bike can also be taken on dirt routes, alternative paths for you to take if you’re getting bored with riding on pavement. It’s makes for a great commuter road bike and a performance on and off roader as well.
As mentioned earlier, the Diamondback Haanjo is equipped with disc brakes by Tektro which clamp pretty hard, providing a lot of stopping power. Its drivetrain is a 16-speed Shimano Claris which is enough gears for you to cycle on tarmac or dirt paths. Its frame is made from 6061 T6 aluminium tubing, which is a popular choice for mid-high tier road and mountain bikes because of its amazing structural rigidity and weight. On top of every specification, it weighs at a stunning 22 lbs.
All in all, the bike is perfect for those who want to enjoy the speed and excitement of road bikes and the adventure and thrill of mountain bikes. Of course, this is mainly a road bike but it’s an amazingly capable one.
If you’re looking for a road bike that can be taken to competitions and used also used for your daily commute, then you might as well consider, The Vilano FORZA 4.0. It’s a bike that is fit for all kinds of cyclists. It comes with high quality parts and is also made of superior materials.
The Vilano FORZA 4.0’s frame made from 6061 aluminium which is light and can absorb the rocky bumps of rough terrain (even if the frame is superb at absorbing bumps, we suggest you don’t take this bike off road, it will not be comfortable). The bike is a 24-speed Shimano equipped STI Integrated Brake Lever Shifters, meaning the brakes and the shifters are operated by the same levers. It’s easy to use and shifting is like a knife through butter. The Shimano Claris calipers make great work with putting the bike to a halt.
The only downside of this bike is that it is quite heavy. Weighing in at 30 lbs. it’s one of the heaviest bikes on our list. But nevertheless, it’s still an amazing road bike. And under 1000 bucks, it seems more than able to trade punches with more expensive aluminium bikes.
This is a bike that is meant to satisfy the needs of consumers and to provide them with an affordable performance road bike. Schwinn designed this bike to be swift, responsive, and comfortable. The Schwinn Men’s Phocus is strong and light, no doubt that this bike would be perfect for training or simply enjoying a cruise down your favourite route.
The frame of the Schiwinn Men’s Phocus 1400 is made from their own aluminium road frame that is designed for agility and handling. The fit of the bike has great ergonomics and riding position feels aerodynamic. The Shimano A050 shifters respond quickly and are easy to use. Going through the 14-speed drivetrain is no big deal.
The brakes are smooth but they’re not the best. It’s enough to get you to stop but after hitting high speeds, you can feel the brakes fade quite a bit. It seems that either the brake pads need to be changed or the alloy calipers need to be tuned. One more thing about the brakes is the lever, it definitely needs to be changed, but, if it doesn’t bother you then you could stick with the stock levers.
For less than 300 bucks, this bike is a steal! You just have to change a few things but generally, this bike is awesome. It weighs at 27 lbs. and is quite a performer.
Comfort and ride quality, that is what Diamondback claims to be the core principles of the Diamondback Century 2016. When you make or create bikes, it has to be crafted with a purpose. Because in the world of road bikes, you can’t have everything, added performance means sacrificing comfort. But for some people, comfort is one of the most important factors to consider. That is the prime factor of this bike, comfort.
The Diamondback century takes the form of an enduro design. A lot of people find it difficult to steer these kinds of bikes because of the geometry of the bike. While for others, simply think of it as a challenge and this is what makes it exciting. The moment you take off on this bike, you’ll notice that it is so comfortable. It’s actually unbelievable. Usually it takes time for someone to get used to a bike, but with the Diamondback Century it only takes seconds.
The frame is made from 7005 aluminium alloy, which is very light. Tektro Mira Mechanical Disc brakes are a standard with the Century. The superb 18-speed drivetrain is a Shimano/FSA. And amazingly, this bike only weighs 20.5 lbs. It’s rare that a road bike is built for the sole purpose of ride quality and comfort.
Designed to be the perfect budget starter bike, Vilano has crafted a beautiful road bike that is cheap and simple. The Vilano Shadow is an entry level bike that is surprisingly well equipped. This is a great choice for those who are on a tight budget. All together it’s a very basic and beautiful road bike.
The Vilano Shadow is your typical road bike, there’s nothing extraordinary about the bike. What makes it so great is the quality of the Vilano Shadow in contrast to its price. It’s crazy! Ride characteristics are quite smooth. It’s also comfortable but it’s not the most comfortable bike out there.
The 21-speed Vilano Shadow is quite a hassle to cycle through gears. With an average height, I still have to reach out and flick the paddle, other that I have no complaints, everything works properly, the brakes are good, it weighs 23 lbs. and is easy to paddle up hills.
Overall, this bike is amazing for starters and for those who are looking for a great cheap road bike. But if you’re looking for a road bike to take on regular commutes and daily rides then it’s best to look elsewhere.
It’s amazing how such a bike is sold under $1000. The Tommaso Imola is a bike whose heritage can be traced back to 1985, when the Italian manufacturer began making quality road bikes and importing them to the United States. After over 30 years, they’ve never failed to produce quality road bikes. The Tommaso Imola one of the finest bikes under one thousand bucks.
The Tommaso Imola is finely equipped with one of the best components in the market. The Shimano Claris groupset is flawless. It’s very easy to shift, brake modulation is accurate, and cycling through gears is so satisfying. The SLA 6061 Aluminium frame is light; the whole bike weighs 23.8 lbs. The only thing weighing the bike down is the slightly heavy rims.
The Shimano Claris groupset is coupled with a 24-speed drivetrain giving you power from different ranges of power bands. Maximum performance is everything when you talk about the Tommaso Imola. Its powerful lightweight frame is engineered to perfection. Proper dimensions ensure comfort and maximum aerodynamics.
This bike may be all about the performance, but it’s surprisingly comfortable in relation to other performance road bikes. Its seat is made of memory gel with is not too harsh on your bottom. The Tommaso Imola is ruthlessly brilliant; paying fewer than one thousand bucks for this bike is truly a bang for your buck.
Looking straight at the Merax Finiss, you can already tell that this bike was designed for racing. But don’t let its looks drive your expectations too high. It’s an entry-level racing bike, made for beginners, novices, and amateurs who want to experience racing. The Merax Finiss is a great bike to for those who want to take racing to another level and refine their skills.
The Merax Finiss is well equipped with Shimano SA050 Shifters, Full Shimano 21-speed drivetrain, aluminium brake calipers and an aluminium frame. The bike is on the heavier side for an aluminium frame, weighing at 28 lbs. Despite that, Merax claims the bike can support up to 330 lbs. which is proof of their rigid frame.
The highlight of this bike is its aerodynamic frame. Instead of going with a cylindrical frame design, Merax decided to flatten the frame for a better streamlined road bike. This bike is meant for beginners who want to enter and participate in races, although the components are not of the highest quality, it will get the job done. There are slight issues when shifting. The chain grinds with the derailleurs at times, which might risk breaking the chain a malfunction happens at high speeds.
Overall, the Merax Finiss is an impressive road bike. It may not be the best but at least it gives novice and amateur riders a chance to experience racing.
One of the most reliable and affordable road bikes on our list is the Schwinn Men’s Prelude Bicycle. The Prelude is meant for daily commute, it can be used for pleasurable cruises and working out as well. The Prelude has a very attractive classic look, to top everything off. Schwinn has been popular for producing cheap road bikes with quality components.
The handsome classic looking road bike is equipped with 14-speed Shimano drivetrain, Shimano A050 bar mounted shifters, and dual pivot road brakes. Its frame is made from aluminium and the whole bike weighs 33 lbs. Yup, it’s very heavy, but it’s not meant for racing. It’s a daily commute bike, its weigh and limited drivetrain speed shouldn’t really be a bother.
Shifting is very responsive, brakes have just the right amount of stopping power. With a 14-speed drivetrain, you don’t expect it to come with racing type brakes. Apart from the groupset, everything about this bike feels well-made and rigid.
This bike prioritized comfort and ride quality, and it shows it in its parts. A comfortable padded seat, kickstand, comfortable grip, and the brake levers positioned a bit higher for comfort. The Schwinn Prelude is a fantastic and reliable commuter bike.
The Taiwanese bicycle manufacturer has created an excellent road bike for amateurs who want to take it to races, daily commutes, and cruising. The HASA R5 is a fine product from the Heng Feng Bicycle Company. The predecessor of the HASA R5, the HASA R4 was capable of competing with bikes above its price range. Will the HASA R5 hold its reputation?
First of all, the HASA R4 is a 21-speed road bike that is designed for multiple purposes; it’s a very versatile road bike. Its frame is made from 6061 aluminium; it’s light, perfect for dampening bumps on the road and is a responsive frame. The front derailleur is paired with a triple chainset and the crankcase is packed with 7 sprockets, a total of 21-speed gears. The Shimano shifters work flawlessly.
Ride quality is very pleasing. The seat and handlebars are comfortable; the tyres are very stable, you can ride on this bike for hours without getting fatigued. The aluminium alloy brake calipers hold on the rim of the wheels and provide a strong stopping power.
Overall, this all-around road bike is perfect for anyone looking to buy a reasonably priced commuter or training bike. The HASA R5 is perfectly balanced.
The Bavel Ultra light is another awesome road bike for beginners. It’s a great budget road bike for those who want to experience the thrill of performance road bikes at a cheap price. It doesn’t seem like a bike that is priced under a thousand bucks. Even the welded areas of the bike are so clean. That sign alone means that this bike is made with quality.
The Bavel Ultra light is made with an aluminium frame and it comes in various color patterns which is pretty attractive. This road bike comes with straight handle bars, but nevertheless it’s still comfortable to use for long rides. The bike weighs at 27.3 lbs. which is not too light and not too heavy as well.
It uses the Shimano EF-500 Shifter and Shimano groupsets which are top class. The drivetrain is flawless; cycling through all 21 gears is as smooth as silk. The brakes are Shimano made disc brakes which are excellent at stopping the bike even in muddy conditions or high speeds.
Even with all its top quality components, this bike does have its flaws. Nothing major though, just a few things that bothered us were the pedals and seat. The pedals seem to be made of cheap plastic and the seat is a pain after a long ride.
Editor’s choice: Tommaso Imola Compact Aluminum Road Bike
Among all the affordable road bikes (under $1000), the Tommaso Imola Compact Aluminum Road Bike stood out. If you’re looking to get a quality road bike for commute or competition purpose, the Tommaso Imola seems to be the greatest choice. For a road bike that is priced under $1000, it’s amazing to see something as well-built as this. Without its price tag you can mistake it for a bike that costs more than $4000. It comes with a quality Shimano groupset, it has the most gears you can shift through, and it’s one of the lightest on the list. What more can you ask for? It’s an amazing road bike and it can easily fool anyone that it’s much more expensive than its price tag. It’s an amazing choice that is worth your consideration.
The Tommaso Imola may have the crown but it was a tough choice between the Diamondback Haanjo Trail 24 Alternative Road Bike. The two bikes both had the functionality and quality of more expensive road bikes. Both bikes offer riders the experience of professional class road bikes. The Diamondback Haanjo offered a playground of different spectrums; a road bike that can tackle dirt roads and adventure courses. What the Tommaso Imola had over the Diamondback Haanjo was its sheer quality and hard core road bike heritage that still runs through its veins. Serious amateurs who want to experience professional quality bikes will get that with the Tommaso Imola.
Last but not the least; we have the Bavel Ultra Light Aluminum 21 Speed 700C Road Bike Racing Bicycle. This bike deserves the recognition because of the quality of its build, stunning components and fun color scheme. Unlike other budget road bikes under $1000, the Bavel Ultra Light is an amazing road bike because it’s as thrilling as expensive professional road bikes. Its gear shifters are what impressed us. It’s so smooth, probably as smooth as or smoother than the Diamondback and Tommaso mentioned earlier. The Bavel is pure experience, thrill, adventure and fun. It’s a great catch and a top choi