best Cheap Road Bikes under 500 review
Lately, beginner road bikes are becoming a better value. With the innovative technology of the Tour de France declines to a cheap market, we could pick up an inexpensive bicycle. And here is my analyzes opinion that is what best road bikes under 500 while matching a deep discount time.
how much should I spend on a bike
As the old saying goes: inexpensive, buy twice. Cost a little more than your plan, even a beginner road bike also like to provide value for your money at this time.
For many manufacturers, from $600 to 1200 dollars is a fantastic price range, representing the trickle-down effect of technology on a good road bike for sale at a reasonable price.
If you are looking for an affordable road bike, you won’t go too far on the frame material and you should check decent quality finishing components. And at this end of the market, you shouldn’t expect a top groupset.
why does Shimano Claris groupset?
Budget. Price is a great driving force for our demand. If you are looking for a road bike around 600 or under, a bicycle equipped with Shimano Claris groupset is about the price point at which you will get a solid ride that, given due care and attention.
The lingo “groupset” refers to the drivetrain and is a general name consists of all the bits that make your bike move (in some cases, stop again). Here is a simple introduction.
Shimano provides a variety of technology route groupsets at a range of prices from entry-level to top. Claris is the little brother in the Shimano family.
Shimano Claris road bike is a starting point of complete road groupset while homing on entry-level. It has the function of top groupsets eighty percent.
The main reason for the selection of Shimano Claris is the shifting design(but also keep your wallet) – the dual control built-in brakes and gear lever system (STI). That means that the brake levers are also the shifting levers.
A whole groupset commitment to performance may be the most tempting, can be reducing unnecessary complaints and maintenance costs. Keep maintained, the shifting and braking should be given years without fault.
Whether you’re a weekend warrior, training or a five-day commuter, Claris can satisfy those who ride 2,000 miles a year(Of course, 5000 miles are also available, but that will faster use up the lifespan. If you have such a need, suggest upgrade next level).
By the way, the tourney is not a family member of Shimano. As it isn’t a full set just only covers the shifting, no have self – brakes. You can find them at the low end of the market(like GMC road bike).
I don’t want you to buy the first cheap(low) bike you see. I hope you get a value not only in your budget but also you will keep riding. So, away from hypermarkets.
what difference between these Shimano Claris road bikes on my list?
In this list, not every bike is strictly under 500 but they all store with Shimano Claris groupset. But based on price there are still differences between them.
Some brands aim to squeeze bikes under 500 dollar. Thanks for meeting the budget of beginners. It provides an opportunity for beginners to enter road biking.
But pay attention to the specifications. Because manufacturers usually replaced cheaper parts to reduce the overall price of a bicycle in the market for sale.
They usually subtracted the components of groupset that include brakes, chain, bottom bracket(BB), and crankset, or even cassette. That helps manufacturers to save a few costs(obviously they not just selling one).
When store with mixing components, a various incompatibility that may occur and increase the odds of maintenance and reduce the riding experience. The specification of components of a road bike groupset is more consistent the better can guarantee itself to work.
Giordano Libero 1.6 has been in existence for several years, and it’s time for them to redesign and update their products. As its components are composed of messy. You should kick it out of your list.
Here is a knowledge, Claris recent directory number is R2000, and earlier is 2400, the oldest is 2300. The newer numbering has improved in lightweight, durability, and appearance than older.
The biggest difference between R2000 and 2400 are appearance. R2000 just to make it look more professional. But 2400’s braking and shifting have 30% higher than 2300.
Next, I will explain the difference between each one in this review, so what you can spend money on those most important parts for you. I also talk about the sizes and comfort and give you some suggest guidelines to ensure that you get the right bike.
The following table is a simple comparison of those cheap road bicycles we have edited, that can directly tell you which groupset parts are not replaced by the after-sale brands and respond to yourself list of candidates.
- Tommaso Imola is configured with a full Claris R2000, is undoubtedly the best value for an entry-level road bike. You will thanks to this, these components work together in a perfect, and harmonious way to achieve the best performance.
- Like KMC, Tektro and FSA are also strong after-sales brands respectively in brake and cranks market. FSA recently launched its own groupset in the high-end market. And the Diamondback is still a worthy brand.
- The cassette model of Fuji Sportif 2.3 is somewhat lower than the previous 2 friends. And the brakes no brands but are highly expending parts. Never mind.
- Raleigh Merit 1 can’t quite keep up with the value for money front if no discounts. I’m sorry to see that cranks have been replaced with a no brand. This is a 2017 product.
- Vilano is from China’s OEM company, but that less than 500 figure is more likely to moves you.
- Pure Cycles Classic is the test(first) product who company intends to enter the road market. The cassette is from a Taiwan brand, not impressive.
To sum up, these beginner bikes serve their price though one or two components have been replaced.
For some cyclists, their ideal bike place of production are Europe (Italy), Japan, Taiwan, but had not a favorable impression for products from China mainland.
I have to admit that these OEM production lines do not have quality control like some of the more mature brands. The probability of their bicycles being complained will be greater.
Nearly all bikes at this price point will also use a threaded bottom bracket. Obviously, your bicycle manufacturer stops here while saves a few costs, except Tommaso Imola comes Shimano.
Theoretically, this bottom bracket of type is easier to replace. And always durable than an expensive bicycle’s system if its come from an after-sale brand.
KMC is one of the largest chain manufacturers in the world and is working well for its collaboration with Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo groupset. They produce and sell and supply them to other brands, such as Shimano. Some racers used them in Tour de France.
Claris groupset does not contain a chain. The chain bad from the good is actually related to your use for environment and riding strength and maintenance mode, so you don’t have to care about its model. Just make sure it is a trustworthy brand.
Aside, SRAM enters the road market adopted the same specifications as Shimano to used on cassette and chain. Even if no bicycle was found on my list what works mixed with SRAM cassette.
Some old models have been used in such a combination while now are largely out. Example HASA R4, as same as Giant bicycles from Taiwan, second-tier in its country.
how many speed do I need?
Fundamentally, Shimano Claris is an 8-speed system. Because of its cassette assemble just 8 sprockets. If your bike marked 16 or 24 speed that just a marketing art.
Your 8-speed cassette teeth specific figures should be:
We divide the number of teeth on the chainring by the number on the sprocket. In a pile of numbers, we can find out some identical answers. They don’t have as many as the manufacturer advertises.
As you can see from the above table, whether or not you choose a 16- or 24-speed bike, their wave range is not extremely obvious.
The number of gears is irrelevant, 16 is plenty if you have the right ratios which match your fitness levels also can go out 25km/h. If you do not have enough power, the excess gears will only be vacant.
How much speed do I need is a false proposition. That (cassette) is about hills grade for your ride.
- The 12-25 cassette is built for flat roads. A sprocket with 25 teeth can handle the slope of 12%~15%. Such as Vilano FORZA 4.0
- A 28 teeth sprocket corresponding is 20%, but come with a 30 teeth chainring can topping out at 25-27% climbs. Like Tommaso Imola.
- 32 teeth and 34 teeth respectively around in 25% and 30%.
A sprocket tooth amount more much, you can ride for steeper hills. And gives you more cadence when climbing to keep the traction smooth.
When climbing, your bike needs to overcome horizontal resistance and downward gravity. At the same time, we need to maintain physical strength to the next hill before the next meal.
The combination of the selected chainring and sprocket determines the gear ratio what hard or easy to pedal. If you use a higher gear ratio to climb hills, this can lead to overuse of your strength and having to stop pedal on the midway.
Obviously the less the number of teeth on a chainring, the smaller the push that your feet need to deliver. Use a low gear ratio(smaller chainring plus larger sprocket) you can easy to uphill.
To any starter for sportive, a 16-speed entry-level bike is good enough for most sections of the road. A cassette plus a compact crankset gets you gears while being lighter and simpler to use.
But if you live in a particularly rugged area or less exercise, a triple crankset can give you extra relief. There, I will tend to choose Tommaso Imola. Of course, your experience and fitness level are crucial.
When you buy a bike (frame) and are consider your budget, you have several factors: price, material, weight, durability.
Again, if you are budget under 1000, that is almost arduous to find a carbon fiber bike. Your left is aluminum and right is steel.
Once upon a time, steel was building mainstream. The main reasons for the decrease in steel are weight and cost. It is heavier than aluminum and carbon fiber and is not suitable to make high-end bicycles. Mass production is more expensive than aluminum while hindering for sale in the low-end market.
Aluminum, affordable bits of help reduce costs. If you’re a cash-strapped and ambitious road racer, aluminum frames are probably the most meaningful because they’re relatively light and hard, which helps in better sprints or fast riding. Efficiency is also part for commuting.
However, the steel can be bent to a certain extent(somewhat like a coil spring) what riders call lively. While using thinner tubes to create more damping that can eliminate the edges off of high-frequency road noise.
If you weigh more than 180 pounds, a steel bike allows for a sense of resilient riding quality while extra weight would helping you lose weight, training and exercise your muscles.
A contrast is an aluminum does not absorb vibration from the ground very well, but increasing own fatigue and durability faster goes down(steel will rust, so which one’s life will be longer?). So, equipped with a steel/carbon fork is necessary for that to absorb shock.
A statement, Diamondback Century 1 uses tubing reinforcement and improved construction techniques, which allow the bike frame to eliminate buzz better than ever, while still providing a quite lively riding if you are not over 250 pounds.
The most common types of aluminum are 6061 and 7005, and the numbers refer to alloys in aluminum, such as magnesium, silicon, and zinc (pure aluminum is not enough for bicycles).
7005 can support greater pressure than 6061. Aluminum forks are generally stiff and light and can be shaped aerodynamically.
CroMo/Chromoly is considered a high-tech version of steel and offers superior strength properties over Hi-Ten, so it can butt and make thinner/lighter frames.
Butted is the alloying with tubes that achieving greater strength to weight ratio. Stronger but lighter where is the starting point for a good quality bike.
Single butting means that one end is thicker, double butting means both ends are thicker. Triple butted tubes have the same purpose as double butting, but further reduce the weight in the center.
The best road bikes frame usually have triple butted tubes. A cheap bicycle frame will be straight gauge tubes. The latter will be notably heavier and less reactive, that product description is likely to simply say ‘aluminium alloy frame’.
geometry: aggressive or relaxed
Race road bike has an aggressive geometry to form a more aerodynamic profile. They only focus on speed and not worry about weight or comfort. Suited to racers, crit riders, short course triathletes.
Endurance road bike(sometimes called sportive bikes, sportif, Gran Fondos) with a relaxed geometry to get a steady ride and add comfort. These bikes build for long distance riders, those that ride on rough roads, the vast majority of beginners.
Aggressive bikes are not that you can’t go, but more backaches and pains if you are forcing yourself into that position.
Bikes from 500$ to1000$ range are towards the recreational cyclists. They feature with some performance elements but mostly based on durability and versatility.
Vilano FORZA 4.0 also exists in the market for several years while not releases new. It is not a wise choice. But acting a negative role in my list.
The frame is the skeleton of a bicycle, and once its geometry is determined, the entire bicycle’s parts will grow for it.
For example, Vilano FORZA 4.0 bike has an aggressive frame which built for short distance sprint. Based on this, it assembles a 12-25t cassette for a flat ride and a pair of thinner tires squeezing aerodynamically more.
I don’t understand what is the intention of Vilano’s manufacturer. Sprinting for a beginner? It looks weird. Its owners lack research of the market.
If I want to take part in a triathlon, I will pick Fuji Sportif 2.3 as my first road bike. The frame has a wind tunnel designed to hold the cables inside and looks clean, with the benefit of an aerodynamic bonus.
what size road bike do I need?
Measure your height and inseam, and verify your figure is covered in the size chart by your bike manufacturer.
You don’t need to search for a 52cm or small road bike. Because each manufacturer will have different sizes and frame depict.
Someone will be identified by A and others will be expressed by Z(the above diagram, they can convert through computation). So a 54cm size of one brand may be equal a 58cm size of another brand.
Originally, people put forward women’s bike to get more sales targets. But this creates a stock pressure on manufacturers. And now, a compact bike has broken this bug, and the manufacturers are starting to avoid talking about a women’s bike. However, as long as you are over 12 old you will surely be able to match a suitable size.
The advantage of a compact frame over a standard (diamond) frame that helps manufacturers reduce store pressure while making easier for the woman or shorter to pick up a right size. They call it a unisex bike. I believe this can also reduce the chance of the top-tube scratching the crotch.
A good bike model should offer at the fewest come with 5 sizes. This is not the more, the better. If you stuck in the middle of two sizes will cause difficulty in selection.
Are you stranded? Measure your arm length (from left fingertip to right fingertip) and then subtract your height. If we are left with a negative number, get a small size. If back a positive number, get the bigger.
Pass frame, groupset and then wheels also put some to concern. The bike frame has a significant impact on riding quality, the wheels too.
Wheels are the first element of your bicycle that can sense roads vibration, surface defects, and terrain changes. Check the rims, tires, and the number of spokes for your bicycle to keep that wheels are true.
Rim is located outside of the wheel and loads the tire. A wheel’s rim width and depth will largely dictate how it rides and feels.
The cross-section of a rim from 30mm called deep profile. Else, as a shallow profile rim.
The shallow profile rims plus low spoke number can reduce the wheels weight. Such as Tommaso Imola. Those wheels are usually easier to climb, and a fringe benefit of this is a comfort as felt powerful rotating more when ascending.
The double wall adds extra coating with the internal cross-section of the rim that cut spokes from tires or rim friction which are great aids in rim stiffness and wheel durability. It’s just a very common technology.
|Model||rim depth/width||Tires||Front/rear Spokes||limited|
|Tommaso Imola||shallow/wide||700X25c||20/24 hole||230lbs|
|Diamondback Century 1||shallow/wide||700X28c||28/28 hole||250lbs|
|Fuji Sportif 2.3||shallow/wide||700X28c||24/28 hole||250lbs|
|Raleigh Merit 1||shallow/wide||700X28c||28/28 hole||250lbs|
|Vilano FORZA 4.0||shallow/wide||700X23c||32/32 hole||250lbs|
|Pure Cycles Classic||shallow/wide||700X28c||32/32 hole||250lbs|
The rim width can either be measured internally or externally. When measured externally, anything under 19mm is considered narrow, where more than 22mm is considered wide.
A 23mm rim is sufficient to accommodate for 23mm to 28mm tire. Though trends are toward greater tire for comfort and traction while providing lower rolling resistance.
I know, you may need to cross the old cobblestone road, but 28cm tires are competent enough. If you want to replace your bike tires up to 32mm wide, your bike frame does not have enough clearance.
Tire pressure is another hot topic in recent times. You may want to know that the correct tire pressure with your bike, but the cyclist weight, tire size, road surface, and ride quality factors will affect your inflation figure.
The general rule that is narrower tires, the pressure greater. When the pressure in the tire is high, the rolling resistance is improved but is not easy to pierce. The lower pressure tires can provide better comfort and grip(more contact surfaces, seem like wider tires).
The heavier your weight, bigger the PSI you need to set. But OEM wheels always have a weight limit.
Yes, it’s not the bicycle frame that supports your weight but your bike wheels(especially the rear).
In general terms, the more spokes a wheel has, the more the load is extending and stronger wheel should be.
A Heavier rider needs more spokes where can be loads effectively distributed. However, that will comes with a weight penalty.
Fewer spokes mean lighter wheels which are easier to drive and get small aerodynamic gains.
If you are a big guy, you may need to customize a pair of hand-made wheels. Even if these bicycles can support a person what over 300 pounds(muscular man, not fat). But if you try to do so, the manufacturer will be exempt itself from warranty claims and lawsuits. I’m not responsible either for here. You take the consequence yourself.
The wheels of Tommaso Imola is not friendly enough for heavy people. Replace it if you require. No stupid light wheels and at least have 32 spokes, maybe 36.
On the whole, road bikes are still serving for professional riders. You can pick up a cheap bike for value though because of the drop in technology.
Place on entry-level, the comfort from a bike is estimable. When your limited budget is spent on a good bike frame, and then a good bike groupset, there is not much left.
The quality of the wheels is just passable which will let you go through several seasons(about 2000mile). The pedals and saddle give you a bad start if your budget is further down.
The heavier your weight, the harder from the saddle. If you are over 30 years old, I suggest investing in a gel cover for the seat that will protect your prostate.
Your cheap bike usually has a pair of plastic pedals. If you want to improve power transmission, invest in a pair of bike shoes.
If your bike fork is not good enough to cushion which lead to your hands numb. Try changing tape or wearing gloves.
When your bike come to your door, you need to fine-tune the height of stem, handlebar, and seatpost to suit your body proportions.
Truthfully, the contact points on new bicycles are not suitable for you. The comfortable are just average. But with a lower price tag, there are always some compromises.
Popular brands such as Trek, Specialized, and Giant don’t sell and shipped online. They have protective agreements with retailers to ensure who can afford rent and wages.
For the most party more money equals less weight, the production process is better. The fact is when you get to a sweet spot in the middle, you get the most bang for the buck. After that, you are buying a name and glitz.
Tommaso, Diamondback, Fuji, and Raleigh did not have ample advertising cost. They hope to increase sales through online. They are a solid brand too.
I recommend you choose from these four brands because those manufacturers have mature quality controls and have a complete product series that corresponds to different groupset levels.
Who is the best road bike? No, they are all the best budget road bikes. However, your budget is best not to include accessories. Please buy a helmet for your safety, as well as a lock and lights.
If you are a tight budget, try to search a used on eBay. Or, look at the old models of last year or the year before last. Like Raleigh Bikes Revere 2 — Shimano Sora 2x9spd. Old models may short in size, and stocks are a little. Make sure your mouse is sensitive enough.
Oh, yes. Diamondback, Fuji and Raleigh is the brand of history for more than 100 years. Like Apple phone, their bike model is annual. If you want to view the reviews for them, add the particular year to model before the search.
They also keep a women’s production line. However, Diamondback recently revised its sales strategy where doesn’t need a specific women’s bike at the entry level. The old model before the Diamondback corresponding to Century 1 is Century sport.
To be honest, the price is not the first key I choose. Of course, it’s best to be under 600 dollars. As far as I can accept I prefer to choose the color matching of Tommaso Imola.
The balance of black and white can give me a enhance self-confidence in appearance to create an inconspicuous feeling. If I retire or channel to another city, the grandma (30teeth) chainring can reduce the pain of my thigh muscles.
The other thing I like Tommaso Imola about its 11-28 cassette that is teeth margin of two adjacent sprockets are reasonable, which reduces chain shedding when the large jump between gears.
If I live on a hill, a 30teeth chaining is more helpful to me than a 32teeth sprocket. A 32 or 34 teeth sprocket is suitable for very steep and merciless climbing. Unless it is an extreme mountain, I seldom used.
Diamondback Century 1 is a beautiful bicycle with an enhanced geometry that can withstand the mileage required to work. If you invest 100 miles a week, the excellent braking of Tektro R315 will not bring any trouble to the rider.
If you plan to take part in charity riding or for your first Ironman race, my eyes will fall on Fuji Sportif 2.3. Its wind tunnel wiring and the carbon fiber fork are big highlights. Of course, this also requires the corresponding level of fitness to achieve its benefits.
Note, the wind tunnel design has a bad side. If the maintenance fails, cables will knock the inner wall of the tube to produce an echo.
Fuji bikes are the ASI own. Advanced Sports International(ASI) had bought the Performance Bicycle that is the largest bicycle retailer in the United States. It has more than 106 stores, own brands including Forte, Spin Doctor, Transit and Scattante, as well as online businesses Performancebike.com and Nashbar.com.
In 2018, Raleigh Merit 1 did not update its annual model. Its bright spot is that seat comfort is better than others.
If there is no discount, I think I will not consider it. Like smartphones, when a new product is released, they will be clearing and stop production of old models.
Raleigh and Diamondback were acquired by the same company. They belonged to Accell as two different brands now. Raleigh has not updated its products and speculated that it is adjusting the market as same as Diamondback.
Pure Cycles Classic Road Bike frame is made of Chromoly steel and offers a lively ride rather than harsh for anyone over 180 or even 220 pounds. But the drivetrain parts lacks uniformity, which will cause a fat guy to lack of smooth for operation and control.
In theory, you can also plan an upgrade, but a Vilano FORZA 4.0 bike frame is not an ideal choice. You get what you pay for, the option is available to you.
By the way, due to tariffs and anti-dumping, the price of bicycles may be raised lately. So…act fast, SAVE your money. Grow your fitness level, do not let it leave your environment circle.