It can sometimes be challenging to find a cheap road bike you can use in your spare time, especially if you’re a casual cyclist who doesn’t want to commit to something they only use every so often. A lot of potential choices will have extra features that you won’t really use, and others might be so basic that they feel uncomfortable to use. There is a middle ground, thankfully, but finding it yourself can be a stressful job.

Below are ten road bikes we’d recommend to any commuters, casual cyclists or exercise lovers who just want something simple, along with some of the reasons they stand out from the crowd.

Related Review; Road Bikes Under $500 for Beginners.

View The Best Road Bike Under $500 Below

1. Schwinn Phocus 1500 Flat Bar Road Bike

Schwinn Phocus 1500 Flat Bar Road Bike

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The Phocus 1500 aims to provide a ‘pure’ riding experience, devoid of any gimmicks and odd trends. The lightweight aluminum frame that holds it together is surprisingly durable, able to withstand bumps and crashes without making you feel sluggish and weighed down during your ride.

This beginners’ road bike has strong mechanical disc brakes that give you more control over emergency stops, and the powerful suspension fork helps to keep bumpy rides smooth both on mountain trains and on regular paved roads. Although the Phocus 1500 excels as an entry-level road bike, it’s also very easy to modify, letting you swap in new parts to turn it into a more professional bike as you improve your skills.

Pros:
+ Lightweight aluminum frame
+ Double wall rims for extra stability
+ 24-speed drivetrain
+ Strong mechanical brakes
+ Easy to modify and repair

Why We Liked It – The Phocus 1500 is a viable choice for both newcomers and long-time cyclists and doesn’t rely on gimmicks to do its job well.


2. Retrospec Harper Coaster Fixie Style Single-Speed

2. Retrospec Harper Coaster Fixie Style Single-Speed

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The Harper Coaster’s biggest feature is its built-in coaster brake, which lets you keep your bicycle’s momentum going without having to turn the road bike pedals – you just have to pedal backward for a more gradual type of braking. Thanks to the 26-inch wheels, steering and controlling your movements are extremely easy, even if you aren’t manually pedaling forwards.

The high-tensile steel frame of this single speed bike ensures that accidental bumps and impacts won’t leave any lasting damage on your new fixie bike, and the lack of cables or other hanging parts means that it’s almost impossible to get snagged on anything as you breeze past.

Pros:
+ Coaster brake
+ Large wheels for extra control
+ Comfortable riser handlebars
+ Minimalist frame
+ Made using durable materials

Why We Liked It – The Harper Coaster’s braking system could be tricky at first glance, but its minimalist setup makes it very easy to learn and adapt


3. EUROBIKE Road Bike EURXC550 21 Speed 49

EUROBIKE Road Bike EURXC550 21 Speed 49

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This bike’s flashy style hides it’s exceptionally strong disc brake system and high-quality components. Its reliable derailleurs and shifter make it extremely easy to instantly switch gears in any situation, no matter what terrain you’re traveling on or how steep the path may be.

Having 21 speeds to choose from makes this bike a very versatile choice since it can take on all kinds of terrain without needing to be adjusted or modified. This allows for rapid speed and angle adjustments when combined with the durable brakes and tires, meaning that you can easily avoid dangerous slopes or crashes.

Pros:
+ 21 different speeds
+ Distinctive design
+ High-quality derailleurs and shifter
+ Reliable, long-lasting tires and wheels
+ Excellent disc brake system

Why We Liked It – A skilled cyclist could do some impressive things with this road bike, but it’s also basic enough to avoid alienating newcomers and casual riders.


4. KENT GZR700 Road Bik

KENT GZR700 Road Bik

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The GZR700 is a steel-framed road bike that aims for a good mix of comfort, smooth riding, and quick braking. The Shimano gear shifters work with the bike’s rear derailleur to make shifting gears a quick, straightforward process, and the Vitesse 36-inch wheels have deceptively strong spokes that keep them stable on even the bumpiest terrain.

With 21 speeds and a powerful set of alloy caliper breaks, it’s very easy to keep the GZR700 pointed in the right direction or avoid hazards and obstacles, even while you’re moving at high speeds. Thanks to the comfortable road bike saddle and the smooth way the bike moves, you don’t have to worry about aches and pains building up while you’re on a road in the middle of nowhere.

Pros:
+ Feels smooth to ride
+ Great wheel quality
+ Easy gear switching
+ Comfortable
+ Durable steel frame

Why We Liked It – The GZR700 eliminates most of the pain and discomfort of riding, meaning that it’s ideal for those who cycle to relax rather than exercise.


5. 6KU Aluminum Fixed Gear Single-Speed

6KU Aluminum Fixed Gear Single-Speed

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This 6KU bike is purpose-built for commuting and urban travel, providing a basic, reliable product that doesn’t try to be more than the sum of its parts. The frame is durable and lightweight, doing away with most of the extra bulk and weight in favor of pure speed and convenience. The 1 1/8 inch alloy fork lets it absorb the natural bumps you might encounter while crossing paved roads or traveling on uneven ground.

The brakes, which are strong enough to bring you to a sudden stop if you lose control, can easily be removed for repairs or to be replaced: thanks to the very simple frame design, this can be an excellent bike for cyclists that prefer to modify and customize their equipment.

Pros:
+ Simple, unobtrusive shape
+ Easy to modify
+ Lightweight
+ Strong, removable brakes
+ Durable frame

Why We Liked It – The 6KU is an excellent bike to use on urban roads, losing a lot of unnecessary features and weight to make something that’s ideal for the commute.

If you have more budget, try these road bikes under 1000 dollars.


6. Giordano Libero Acciao Road Bike

Giordano Libero Acciao Road Bike

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The Acciao has been carefully designed to suit female cyclists in both design and style. The frame, saddle, and fork have all been engineered to keep women comfortable and safe while traveling, using ergonomic shapes and a full suite of adjustable parts to get rid of muscle aches and dampen painful bumps or collisions.

The bike’s 14-speed drivetrain gives it plenty of power on both flat land and slopes, whereas the included Kenda 700x25c tires help improve the smoothness of your movements on uneven ground. The ergonomic handlebars can help keep your back and arms in a position that’s comfortable and healthy, although they aren’t hard to swap out if you’re a long-time cyclist who prefers a more conventional shape.

Pros:
+ Incredibly ergonomic
+ Offers a smooth ride
+ 14-speed drivetrain
+ Powerful cranks for climbing slopes
+ Durable frame

Why We Liked It – The Acciao had been built to accommodate the female body’s bone structure, making it a standout choice for women who want to cycle frequently without getting muscle pains.

See also: Road bike helmets


7. Giordano Rapido Single Speed Road Bike

Giordano Rapido Single Speed Road Bike

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The Rapido’s simplicity is its greatest strength, making it a hassle-free experience for riders of any age or skill level. The aluminum frame is incredibly durable, especially since there’s barely anything on it that can be permanently damaged, and the lack of any extra gears or speeds stops novice bikers from switching to the wrong settings.

The 32-inch wheels are wide enough to give you proper control over where your bike moves, offering some surprisingly decent performance on bumpy roads. The gear hangars, weak spots that are often overlooked, are reinforced to withstand the wear and tear that comes from cycling through a crowded urban area.

Pros:
+ Extremely simple
+ Really durable
+ Easy to control
+ Reinforced dropouts
+ Reliable side pull brakes

Why We Liked It – The Rapido is one of the simplest high-quality road bikes on the market, and its simplicity can be as useful to newcomers as it can to long-time hobbyists with a knack for modifying their bikes.


8. Schwinn Volare 1200 Men’s Road Bike

Schwinn Volare 1200 Men's Road Bike

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The Volare’s lightweight frame makes it easy to ride on any terrain, even uphill, without feeling weighed down or sluggish. It’s alloy linear pull brakes give you plenty of control over when and where you stop, pulling on both wheels to make sure that you won’t slip or skid if you’re on sloped ground. The EZ Fire gear shifters make changing gears incredibly simple, letting you switch between 21 different speeds on the fly.

The Volare uses a sports-style bicycle seat to make faster riding more comfortable, as well as flat handlebars that are strong enough to avoid damage if they clip a solid surface.

Pros:
+ Really lightweight
+ 21 speeds
+ Strong fork and frame
+ Powerful brakes
+ Easy to use

Why We Liked It – The Volare is great for urban travel, handling smooth roads really well and using its lightweight design to its advantage.


9. Raleigh Bikes Cadent 1 Fitness Hybrid Bike

Raleigh Bikes Cadent 1 Fitness Hybrid Bike

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The Cadent 1 is a light, nimble road bike that still offers a surprising level of strength and power, meaning that it doesn’t just have to stick to paved roads. Its sturdy frame has mounts for racks and fenders, letting you carry more or protect your bike from poor weather, and uses sporty geometry to avoid getting in your way while you’re riding.

The flat handlebars make it easy to handle your bike, especially if you’re taking it across a bumpy road or patch of ground. The 35c tires give the Cadent 1 extra traction on all surfaces and cover a wider area to give you more control over your precise movements.

Pros:
+ Lightweight
+ Manoeuvrable
+ Mounts for fenders and racks
+ Deceptively powerful
+ Wide tired for better control

Why We Liked It – The Cadent 1 can tackle both urban roads and uneven natural terrain, making it a great multi-purpose choice both for commuting and relaxation.


10. Schwinn Women’s Phocus 1600 700C Drop Bar Road Bicycle

Schwinn Women's Phocus 1600 700C Drop Bar Road Bicycle

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The Phocus 1600 uses a strong aluminum road frame to make bumps and collision far less of a problem, with the carbon fiber road fork absorbing a lot of force from impacts and letting the front wheel get a better grip on the ground. The bike has been designed to stay comfortable without sacrificing its nimble nature, making it perfect for casual use in your daily routine.

The Phocus 1600 uses a Shimano drivetrain to give you far more power over how your road bike moves, along with Microshift shifters to make switching gears incredibly easy. The brake levers let you bring yourself to a stop at a gentle pace, but you can also pull on them harder to stop near-instantly if you’re about to hit something at full speed.

Pros:
+ Durable
+ Lightweight, but grips well
+ Switching gears is easy
+ Powerful brake levers
+ Comfortable

Why We Liked It – Schwinn’s Phocus 1600 is a surprisingly powerful road bike, and its durability helps keep it in one piece for a long time, even if you’re prone to collisions or bumps.


Road Bike Under 500 Buyers Guide

Durability

Durable road bikes will usually last you longer, especially after repeated collisions, and will generally have a higher weight limit than their weaker counterparts. If you like using your bike to carry a lot of heavy items, whether it’s shopping or work-related equipment, having a durable frame and strong wheels makes a bigger difference than you might expect. Road bikes can be involved in some nasty collisions if used incorrectly, sometimes including direct impacts with moving cars or solid brick surfaces, and keeping both yourself and your bike safe should be a priority in those situations.

The durability of your road bike also makes a difference if you plan to modify or upgrade your new bike later on, and simply want something affordable as a starting point – stronger parts are far less likely to break while you’re making changes to them or trying to swap them out.

Comfort

Bikes in a cheaper price range have a tendency to sacrifice a lot of comfort in favor of more power, which is only useful if you’re planning on competing in races. It’s not always as simple as adding another saddle, either: everything, including the shape of the frame and the placement of the handlebars, can affect how comfortable or uncomfortable your road bike feels to ride, and some things can’t be fixed with a simple change of parts.

Ideally, you want more comfort than power, since road bikes aren’t usually meant to tackle much more than smooth surfaces. Of course, this varies from person to person, but the majority of people will prefer to use something that feels good, especially if they’re using the bike for the commute or as a way to relax in their free time.

Comfort can also extend to things like carrying racks or freewheeling, features that can make it much easier to use the road bike in your day to day life. While having a place to store things won’t directly make you comfortable, it can help get rid of some of the discomforts from having to carry bags of shopping or work equipment.

Versatility

Versatility is generally a good thing, but there can be exceptions. If you’re not planning to use your road bike outside of a very specific place or situation, it may be a better idea to focus on something that’s specialized: for example, if you’re only going to use it for commuting to work in an urban area, it’s probably not worth getting something that can double as a mountain bike.

However, if your motivation to buy a road bike isn’t very clear-cut, it may be best to keep your options open by buying one that fills a few different roles or purposes. You never know when you might suddenly pick up an interest in cycling up mountains or taking trails at night, and limiting yourself when you don’t have a clear goal in mind can cut out a lot of these options.

Buyers Guide Questions:

What’s the most important part of a road bike?

Road bikes are meant to handle smooth roads first and foremost, so there’s no single feature that deserves the most attention, but some definitely stand out more than others. Tires with good grip are usually essential to traveling across smooth surfaces without slipping over, especially when it’s raining, and they don’t have any real downside to speak of.

Strong brakes are similarly important, especially if you’ll be regularly taking your bike onto a busy road that doesn’t have a separate bike path – being able to stop in an instant means that you’ll avoid a lot of accidental collisions with other cyclists or vehicles.

Gear shifters are less important for some road bikes, but they can still make a huge difference in how they handle. Single-speed bikes are some of the simplest out there, meaning that they can work really well for newcomers or commuters who don’t want the extra hassle but having multiple speed settings can also be a really useful feature when you’re trying to deal with the sloped ground or less-than-smooth surfaces.

The closest thing to a single ‘most important part’ is probably the frame of the bike itself – It determines how light or heavy the rest of the bike will feel, how many extra features you can attach and how it’ll feel to ride, as well as what it looks like to bystanders. It’s also the hardest part to swap out since everything else on the bike is connected to it. The quality and style of the frame can make or break a bike, so make sure you keep that in mind while you’re looking for your next purchase.

Should I use my road bike off-road?

A lot of road bikes support off-road travel to a certain extent, and some even act as hybrids that can handle both equally!  That’s not to say that it’ll feel as comfortable as a regular off-road or mountain bike, though, since most road bikes aren’t built to absorb the bumps and dips that a mountain bike has to deal with. Using a bike on the terrain it wasn’t built for won’t directly damage it, but the wrong tires or brakes can easily lead to loss of control on slopes and wet ground.

There’s generally nothing stopping you from doing this aside from your own comfort level, so don’t worry about needing to cross rural roads or grass areas – you should be fine on reasonably flat, dry terrain. Remember that you can always replace the tires or suspension fork if you want to make the ride smoother, which will usually cost a lot less than buying an entire second bike.

Is there anything that could catch me out?

Your height is actually an important factor in buying any kind of bike, especially road bikes. A lot of them are designed to be used within specific height ranges, and won’t fit every person equally – if you’re too tall or too small, pedaling can become uncomfortable no matter what parts you replace or upgrade. It’s down to frame most of the time, and a lot of brands will offer charts that show what preferred heights for each style or size of bike they sell.

It can also impact how far you need to lean to reach the handlebars unless they’re an extendable set that you can lock at a certain height. The further you have to lean, the less natural it’ll feel, and you might eventually start hurting your bones or muscles without realizing you’re doing it. Saddles are sometimes adjustable, too, but only within a very limited range.

Always make sure you ask about the recommended heights before committing to a purchase, and make sure you have up-to-date measurements of your own height. A weight check may also be a good idea for less durable bikes, since they can sometimes have a very explicit weight limit that the bike wasn’t built to surpass – even if you’re under the limit, any extra equipment or possession you have with you could push you over it, so be sure to check with the manufacturers as soon as you’re able to.

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