For a first-time road bike, I guess you want something that doesn’t break the bank but is still quality enough for joyful cycling experience and importantly, keeping up with your friends’ bikes.
Then I would say the price range $200 to $500 is ideal for you.
Don’t go for anything lower than that because you’ll hardly spot out which is a bang-for-buck road bike or a junk.
If you have no idea of where to start with, this ultimate guide is a good landing. Below are the top 10 best road bikes under 500:
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Top 10 Best Road Bikes Reviews In 2021
Schwinn Phocus 1400 and 1600 Road Bikes
For decades, Schwinn has been the brand that worldwide riders trust and love.
So if you’re looking for the best road bikes at a cost-efficient price point, this is a reliable choice. The Schwinn Phocus is a potential contender!
It is considered a huge step up for any intermediate rider whose price range is within $300 to $500 to settle on.
All of its components are found on $600+ road bikes. Such as the aluminum frame, high-profile alloy double-wall rims, and especially, the Shimano Claris 16 speed derailleur with Micro shift integrated brake lever.
Its finish doesn’t feel cheap as well. And the brake calipers themselves are easy to adjust and well-constructed for stronger stopping power.
In consideration, I would say this is ideal for those athletes who don’t plan to compete but just want a quality road bike for challenging their cadio with or getting out with friends.
- Made of high-end components – it stacks up against those road bikes more than 2x the price -> bang for bucks
- Absorb shocks and road vibrations efficiently for a smoother, comfier riding experience
- Fully integrated shifters for decent control that you can ride on various terrains, even hill climbing
- The foot pedal cups are hard to remove
Vilano Shadow Road Bikes
One of my favorite options for a quality yet inexpensive road bike is this Vilano Shadow.
It highlights Shimano STI Integrated Brake Lever/Shifters and dual-pivot alloy caliper brakes. With a 7-speed cassette and double crank, the total number of speeds comes out to 14, which is more than enough for a starter bicycle.
What I appreciate the most is its comfort and overall riding quality.
As entry-level road bikes don’t need every single speed advantage possible, Vilano made it with a traditional frame to encourage a forward-leaning stance. Something that you’d only find in high-end models.
Its responsive levers are another big bonus because they deliver precise controllability with easy grips while steering. So whether you’re about to ride it on steep hills or just around the town, it’ll help you handle all with more confidence.
- Feature a forward-leaning stance to enhance comfort and overall ride experience, making it the best beginner road bike
- Responsive levers for precise controllability with easy grips while steering
- If you’re a fan of trigger shifters, it might take a while to get used to with these integrated shifters
Giordano Libero 1.6 Mens Road Bikes
For a reasonable price under $500, the Giordano Libero 1.6 is a prominent road bike offering superior quality to other cheaper beginner models.
While some bikes are made of an aluminum frame to cut down on costs, this is a lot better. Its aluminum frame is 100% hand-crafted for higher strength while still keeping decent lightness to help you handle extensive road use.
Though compared to the Vilano Shadow, this is a bit expensive, I find its wheel rims and handlebar tape are a lot better in quality.
Plus, included in your purchase is a kickstand and dual water bottle mounts, which is worth using.
Available in three sizes – Small, medium, and large – with an inseam of 28 to 35 inches, it fits riders within 5 feet 1 inch to 6 feet 5 inches. If you’re interested in easy hauling and training, look no further than this.
- Feature 100% hand-crafted aluminum frame for superior strength and lightness to handle abuse better
- Deliver higher-quality wheel rims and handlebar tape
- Include a kickstand and dual water bottle mounts
- Brakes aren’t as high-quality as other components
Vilano Shadow 2.0 Road Bikes
Like the previous sibling, this Vilano Shadow 2.0 features big name components like Shimano and Prowheel in addition to a lightweight aluminum frame for both performance and speed.
But this version is a lot better, especially suitable for people who want daily rides or a fitness workout with commuters.
It highlights an internal cable routing to aid cockpit maneuverability and aerodynamic structure. In addition to high-tensile steel forks, it gives you better weight distribution with no compromise of riding experience.
Riding this bike is very smooth and controllable.
Its brake pads combining with the dual pivot alloy calipers keep you hassle-free about the loss of control, warping, shaking or jarring when it comes to stopping. So even if you’re a novice rider, just count on this.
- Internal cable routing offers cockpit maneuverability and aerodynamic structure
- High-tensile steel forks for better weight distribution without compromising the riding experience
- Avoid shaking, loss of control, jarring, bumping and warping efficiently
- The 25c tires are limited on some riding conditions
Vilano R2 Commuter Aluminum Road Bikes
If you are finding the best road bike for commuting, Vilano R2 is a potential candidate.
It’s priced under $300 but featuring a good combination of tight 6061 double-butted aluminum frame and drop-bar configuration. You’ll benefit (at least!) two big things from this combo: shock-absorbing characteristics and overall strength.
On the street, it cruises like a dream. It also comes with an urban comfort seat save your butt area during long hauls.
The biggest selling part is its Shimano derailleur systems and shifters. They work perfectly together that you can easily shift between gears to go up/downhills.
I love this bike, including its good-looking design. Aside from a sharp neat look, it provides a wide range of color options to choose from.
- Provide superior strength and shock absorption to ride more smoothly on city roads
- Feature an urban comfort seat to make you less fatigue during long-distance tours
- You can easily shift between gears to go up/downhills
- Don’t include a kickstand or tools needed for installation
Eurobike EURXC550 Road Bikes
The Eurobike EURXC550 will help your muscles stronger.
Unlike other counterparts, the entire frame of this bike is made of steel. Is it heavier? Absolutely. Is it stronger? A lot (if not saying that it’s the most durable road bike here). It guarantees the risk-free investment.
The best thing is the bike can keep cruising at the same speed and pace no matter how many miles you’ve traveled on it.
Another appealing feature is its 21-speed Shimano shifting system.
You rarely find such versatile shifter design on the market, especially in road bikes at this price range. With it, you have an unlimited performance on any specific track with full control over the speed.
- The steel frame makes the bike stronger and more durable
- It can keep cruising with the same speed and pace
- The 21-speed Shimano shifting system allows you to ride on multiple terrains with full control
Schwinn Volare 1300 Men’s Road Bikes
The Schwinn Volare 1300 is my recommendation for people who are living in a duplex apartment. It’s super-lightweight.
With just 29.8 pounds, you can easily haul it up and down the stairs and besides, such lightness helps it cut through the air to achieve speeds of between 14 and 17 MPH with ease.
Riding on gravels, bumps, or cracks isn’t a matter with this sturdy bicycle. It boasts a 14-speed system with high profile double-wall alloy rims, Shimano rear derailleur, and A050 shifters so you quickly switch between the gears.
As a result, is a smoother and hassle-free riding experience.
Schwinn doesn’t forget to add reassurances on this road bike by fitting it with alloy caliper pull brakes. With them, you’ve got quicker and more precise stopping power to avoid accidents.
- Super-lightweight that you can easily haul it up and down the stairs or to achieve faster speeds
- Can ride on gravels, bumps, or cracks with great control and smoothness
- Offer quicker and more precise stopping power for safety
- Some parts are a bit hard to assemble
Tommaso Imola Endurance Road Bikes
In terms of good-looking design, you hardly beat this Tommaso Imola over other brands.
What you’ll get from this bike is the original Italian design and manufacturing, which means it’s not only sleek but also quality.
In this price range, the 6061 SLA aluminum frame makes it bang for bucks. It highlights geometry construction to provide a comfortable and seamless ride both up and down the hills.
You will also have numerous gear combinations to keep up with your friend’s road bikes or grind your way uphill, all thanked the 3×8-speed system.
In a nutshell, if “realistic” is exactly what you expect from an inexpensive road bike, the Tommaso Imola will make you more than happy.
- Good-looking design and provide numerous color options to choose from
- Provide a seamless, controllable ride on numerous conditions
- Steel fork adds some weight to the bike, making it heavier
Giordano Libero Acciao Road Bikes
The 2nd road bike in this list that features a high-tensile steel frame and fork, here comes the Giordano Libero.
It also comprises of metal handlebars that are not only sturdy but also give you a more natural gesture to not feel so slumped. When riding, you don’t have to bend too much to reach out of the handles, hence, it’s more comfortable.
The most impressive thing is its super-strong braking system.
It allows you to stop the bike in a matter of milliseconds with full control, especially, no jarring. This functional component also helps avoid obstacles on the street with little effort while navigating better from one place to another.
- Can handle tall and heavy riders easily
- Give a more natural riding gesture for comfort and little effort
- You can stop the bike in a matter of milliseconds with full control -> safer
- The assembly is complicated
Vilano Tuono 2.0 Aluminum Road Bikes
Based on the great support and fantastic features, the Vilano Tuono 2.0 is ideal for people in need of a road bike for leisure rides on the streets or to cater to your commuting needs.
Even though designed mostly for beginner riders, the product still hides some nice surprises. Start with the weight!
It’s classified as one of the lightest models out there with only 26 pounds of weight. That means if you live on the 4th floor of your apartment building, just worry-free.
Another bonus is its 21-gear set that no matter your riding needs, this bike can handle all like a superman. The gear shifting is also easy – all you need to do is revert gear for slower speeds or crank-up to cruise downhills.
The biggest selling point is the disc brakes which are mostly seen on $700+ road bikes. Compared to the caliper brakes, these are much stronger, more powerful and reliable. It’s a great choice for hilly terrain, city commutes, or less-than-ideal weather.
- Weigh only 26 pounds to deliver higher speeds, better control, and easy to lift up
- Give you stronger, more powerful and reliable brakes to handle better in all situations, especially during emergencies
- Some parts are difficult to install
The Ultimate Guide To Choosing Best Road Bikes Under 500 In 2021
When it comes to the frame of road bikes, there are 4 types – aluminum, steel, carbon fiber, and titanium. But within the $500 mark, only the three first options are available because titanium is an expensive, high-end material.
Rims and Tires
Compared to the mountain, BMX, cross-country, and gravel bikes, road bikes feature distinctive rims and tires. These two components are basically much thinner to reduce friction and provide higher aerodynamics.
They’re the decisive parts keeping the lightness of a road bike, making it easy handling and quick acceleration.
That said, rims and tires must be strong and durable. At under 500 dollars, I highly suggest double-wall steel alloy rims and 700c or 26” (in diameter) tires.
You will find 26” to 29” tires on some high-end road bikes. The width of road tires is also various, usually within 0.9” to 1.1”.
While rims and tires affect a bike’s price, handlebars provide for a factor in determining the efficiency and comfort of your ride.
Namely, it will mostly determine how stable and how well-handling your bike is.
Improper handlebars will quickly make your fingers, wrists, and hands feel numbed or fatigue. I highly recommend choosing a reasonably broad design as it enhances the bike’s stability better.
But take note that road bikes for ladies usually feature narrower handlebars for extra comfort. Before riding, you should adjust this component to ensure it fits your riding stance and body the most.
What Are The Benefits Of Road Bikes?
Below are some prominent out of many benefits of using a road bike:
- It helps to promote environmental sustainability if you use it as the main vehicle from/to work or school
- This vehicle is much cheaper than a car or motorbike -> economical
- Keep you in shape as bike riding is a cardio workout
- With proper attire, you will get the Vitamin D needed to strengthen bones and get better night sleeps
- Release stress
- Compared to other bike types, it’s easier to go uphill
What’s The Best Way To Use A Road Bike?
When you go downhill or ride at high speeds, switch to high gears and vice versa.
Why Is Aluminum So Common?
Although aluminum is not the strongest or lightest material out there, it delivers adequate lightness to require less force to move the bike around and good strength to handle common abuse.
The best thing is that it is corrosion- and crack-resistant. The price is affordable, too
What Is The Best Budget Road Bike?
Based on the three major features to consider choosing a budget road bike, here are a few top-rated choices from my list:
- Schwinn Phocus 1400 and 1600 Drop Bar Road Bicycles
- Vilano Shadow Road Bike – Shimano STI Integrated Shifters
- Giordano Libero 1.6 Men’s Road Bike-700c
What Size Bike Should I Get For My Height?
To choose the right size bike for your height, you should take your calculator, following this formula:
Leg inseam (inches) x 0.70 = Your frame size (inches)
How Do I Determine The Bike Frame Size?
Step 1: Take off your shoes then, stand with your legs apart (within 6 to 8 inches). Find your leg inseam
Step 2: Multiply this number by 0.70 and it’s the frame size you should go for
And that’s all you need to know before choosing the best road bikes under 500. But before saying goodbyes, I have some minor precautions for you when using it.
As they’ll be used on roadways and become a part of the traffics, remember to equip yourself with proper safety gear. Such as lights, helmets, reflectors, mirrors, and of course, don’t forget to inflate its tires properly.
Thanks for reading!