9 Best Entry-Level Road Bikes for Beginners (2020)

Are you getting tired of your clunky old mountain bike and thinking of upgrading to a road bike? If you spend most of your riding time on roads, switching to a road bike is a really smart idea, but road bikes can be really expensive. Wouldn’t it be great if you could get a quality, entry-level road bike that won’t break the bank?

It is possible and we’ll help you find the right one for you. After studying pages of performance reviews, spec sheets and component lists, we’ve compiled a list of the absolute best entry-level road bikes.

Top 3 Comparison Table
IMAGEPRODUCTDETAILS
Trek Domane AL 2
  • Features: Aluminum frame, carbon fiber fork and Shimano Claris components
  • Benefits: Quality Trek performance with comfortable endurance geometry that will grow with you as a rider
CHECK MEN’S PRICECHECK WOMEN’S PRICE
Raleigh Bikes Women’s Revere 1
  • Features: 6061 Aluminum alloy frame, 35mm wide tires, mechanical disc brakes
  • Benefits: Quality components, reasonable price and designed to fit women’s geometry
CHECK LATEST PRICE
Vilano Shadow 3.0
  • Features: 6061 Aluminum frame, Shimano brake lever shifters and Tourney derailleurs
  • Benefits: A nice combination of some premium features with a low price tag
CHECK LATEST PRICE

Hands down, the best entry-level road bike is the Trek Domane AL 2. Top bike company Trek designed this road bike specifically for first-time road bike owners who want a good quality bike they won’t outgrow in a year or two. You get a carbon fork, Trek performance and Endurance Geometry all for a surprisingly affordable price.

Check out the Trek Domane AL 2’s full review below, along with nine other great options for the best entry-level road bikes. You’ll be surprised at what you can get for such reasonable price points. One of our entry-level options even has a full carbon fiber frame!


A Beginners Road Bike Buying Guide

What should you look for when choosing an entry-level road bike? Here are four things you should be certain to consider to make sure you buy the perfect bike:

  • Frame Size
  • Frame Material
  • Derailleurs
  • Your Future Riding Goals

Frame Size

Having a bike that is the wrong size will lead to uncomfortable rides, pain and even injury, so it’s important to choose correctly when buying. The frame size is one of the main things that will affect the fit of your bike.

Most bike frames are measured according to the length of the seat tube. Check out this table to get a general idea of which size frame you should get according to your overall height.

Your HeightBike Size
4’11” – 5’3″13 – 15 inches
5’3″ – 5’7″15 – 17 inches
5’7″ – 5’11”17 – 19 inches
6’0″ – 6’2″ 19 – 21 inches
6’2″ – 6’4″21 – 23 inches
6’4″ and taller23+ inches

Frame Material

Years ago, entry-level bikes had one frame material – steel. Nowadays though, there are tons of different options. 

Steel

The lowest budget options will generally have frames made of steel. Steel, although strong and durable, is heavier than the more premium options like aluminum and carbon fiber.

Aluminum

Aluminum frames have really come down in price in recent years and you can even find some sub-$300 bikes with aluminum frames. It is light, strong and durable. Most of the options on our list have aluminum frames.

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Carbon Fiber

Carbon Fiber is a premium option so it’s hard to find entry-level bikes with carbon fiber frames. Carbon fiber is extremely light and stiff. We actually were able to find an entry-level bike with a carbon fiber frame. See if you can find it on our list!

Some of the options we list have a combination of aluminum frames with carbon fiber forks so you can get the best of both worlds.

Derailleurs

Nothing is more frustrating than having trouble shifting gears while riding. The next most frustrating thing is having a chain that rubs on your derailleur or even skips gears.

That’s why having quality derailleurs is one of the most important things you should look at when choosing a bike especially if you super tall. If so, we recommend you check out this guide on the best bikes for tall people.

Shimano is the king of derailleur makers. They make a wide range of great bike components including some nice options in the entry-level categories. Most entry-level bikes will have either Shimano Claris, Sora or Tiagra derailleurs.

The Claris is the budget option, Sora is in the middle and the Tiagra derailleurs are the best of the three. If you have some technical knowledge of how to work on bikes and don’t mind fine-tuning the derailleurs from time to time, then you can opt for the budget models.

Regardless, all are made by Shimano and are quality components.

Your Future Riding Goals

It’s important to think about your future riding goals so that you don’t buy a bike you will quickly grow out of. What do we mean by that?

Do you want a road bike just for some leisurely weekend rides and nothing more? Or do you plan on increasing the length and frequency of your rides and maybe even entering some races or training for a triathlon? While training for a triathlon during the winter we created a guide on the best folding exercise bike to buy.

If you’re just going to be going on some easy weekend rides, then you can opt for something a little cheaper. You won’t notice as much a slight drop in performance from slightly cheaper components and you won’t be pushing your bike to its limit. If you driving in a truck, then we recommend investing in one of the best truck bed bike racks.

On the other hand, if a triathlon could be in your future, then you’ll want to opt for something better. The icer components and lighter weight can help save valuable minutes off your time and won’t leave you stranded.

So there you have it, the four main things to consider when buying – frame size, frame material, derailleurs and your future riding goals. Keep those things in mind as you move on to our list of the best entry-level road bikes.


9 Best Entry-Level Road Bikes

1. Trek Men’s and Women’s Domane AL 2 – Best Overall

As you’ve started looking for road bikes, you’ve no doubt been eyeing up Trek road bikes. Most though cost well over $2000. That’s why Trek created the Domane AL 2. It’s a road-bike designed specifically for those who are testing the waters of road cycling and want a quality bike they won’t get tired of after a few months.

Because you’re buying a Trek, you can be confident that the Domane AL 2 is well-made and durable thanks to Trek’s long history of making top of the line bicycles.

The Domane AL 2 features a high-performance aluminum frame and a carbon fiber Iso Speed front fork with a sweep and shape tuned for a smooth ride. The frame is also designed for endurance geometry which means that the riding style is not as aggressive as racing road bikes. This makes it more comfortable to ride on long journeys or if you’re not used to the aggressive riding positions of most road bikes.

The Shimano Claris shifters and derailleurs mean you can smoothly get through all 16 gears. The Shimano shifters are integrated into the brake levers, so it’s easier and faster for you to shift gears without changing positions.

Features: High-performance aluminum frame, carbon fiber front fork, Shimano Claris shifters and derailleurs

Pros

  • Classic Trek Performance
  • IsoSpeed Carbon Fork
  • High-Performance Aluminum Frame
  • Size and color options for both men and women

Cons

  • No disc brakes

2. Raleigh Bikes Women’s Revere 1 – Best Pick for Women

Whether you’re looking for an entry-level road bike for short weekend trips or your first-century ride, the Raleigh Women’s Revere 1 is ready. The combination of quality features, quality Raleigh construction and women’s specific geometry make this a versatile and comfortable choice for women getting into the world of road cycling.

The 6061 aluminum frame and aluminum crankshaft help keep the weight to below 23lbs! The frame itself isn’t just a men’s small, but is designed specifically to fit women’s geometry while combining perfectly with the size-specific crankset, handlebars and stem.

The Women’s Revere 1 also features Shimano Claris shifters and derailleurs like many other options on our list, but the Revere 1 maintains a price point that is lower than most of the options we featured.

If you’re a woman looking to get your first road bike, then you definitely need to consider the Raleigh Revere 1. It’s hard to beat what you can get for the price. 

Features: 6061 Aluminum frame with women’s specific geometry, Shimano Claris derailleurs and shifters, aluminum crankshafts

Pros

  • Lightweight aluminum frame
  • Designed specifically for women
  • Two different sizes
  • Shimano Claris components

Cons

  • Only one color option

3. Vilano Unisex Shadow 3.0 – Best Budget Option

If you’re on a tight budget but still want some performance features, the Vilano Shadow 3.0 is a great choice. Don’t let its low price point fool you. It has some nice features normally reserved for more expensive bikes. You may also like our guide on the best bikes for college students.

You get a lightweight 6061 aluminum, Aero style frame with internal cabling. Another premium feature that makes for easier shifting is the Shimano STI Integrated brake shifters so you can easily shift gears without having to change positions.

If you don’t want to use special biking shoes and pedals, the Vilano Shadow 3.0 comes with free pedals so you don’t have to worry about that extra cost.

Features: 6061 Aluminum frame, Shimano brake lever shifters and Tourney derailleurs

Pros

  • Brake lever shifters
  • Lightweight aluminum frame
  • Shimano derailleurs

Cons

  • You should get a professional tune-up once it’s assembled

4. Tommaso Unisex Monza Endurance

Tommaso is gaining quite a reputation for making good-quality mid-range bikes with impressive features for a competitive price.

The Tommaso Monza features an aluminum frame and even a carbon fiber fork so you get lightweight strength and vibration dampening. The Shimano Tiagra drivetrain, combined with the STI brake lever shifters, provides smooth shifting and unmatched responsiveness.

The ultra-compact handlebars offer a low drop curve and flat top which makes it easy to find a comfortable riding position. Don’t worry if you are a short rider or even extra-tall. The Tommaso Monza comes in various sizes to fit riders from 5’2” to 6’5” in height.

Features: Lightweight Aluminum frame, Shimano Tiagra shifters, Shimano crankshaft

Pros

  • Comfortable design
  • Aluminum frame and carbon fiber fork
  • Lightweight (only 22lbs)
  • Comes in a variety of sizes.

Cons

  • No disc brakes 

5. Diamondback Unisex Century Sport

If you’re on the fence about buying a road bike, Diamondback made their Century Sport model to help you make the leap. It’s designed to be a road bike that helps you fall in love with the sport.

Its sleek design features a 16-speed Shimano Claris drivetrain and shifters for smooth shifting and reliable performance. You won’t be weighed down by the aluminum alloy frame and carbon fork, and when it comes time to stop the front and rear disc brakes give you plenty of stopping power.

The Century sport is designed to be comfortable to ride by putting you in a less aggressive riding position that traditional road bikes. This makes it easier for new riders who want to go for longer endurance rides.

Features: 7005 aluminum alloy frame and carbon fork, Shimano Claris shifters and derailleurs, dual disc brakes

Pros

  • Aluminum alloy frame
  • Carbon fiber fork
  • Designed for a comfortable riding position

Cons

  • Only one color option

6. Tommaso Unisex Sterrata 

If you’re looking for a road bike that still allows you the freedom to go on some dirt trails, the Tommaso Sterrata hybrid gravel adventure bike is the one for you.

You get a sleek aluminum frame that’s lightweight and durable. Despite being an entry-level bike, you even get a carbon fiber fork for maximum vibration dampening and lightweight comfort. The frame and fork even come with Tommaso’s lifetime warranty so you know you’re getting a quality product.

Although most of the Sterrata looks like a normal road bike, the rims and tires are slightly wider to give you some extra stability and grip when you’re on dirt roads.

The Tommaso Sterrata has 24 different gears that range from low gears for climbing steep heels and high gears for smooth open road speed. The Sterrata has dual Avid BB5 disc brakes so you can be sure to have plenty of stopping power no matter what the terrain or surface. Check out our guide on the best hybrid bike under 500 dollars and the best hybrid bikes under 300 reviews.

Features: Aluminum frame, carbon fiber fork, all-terrain rims and tires, Shimano Claris drivetrain

Pros

  • Aluminum frame and carbon fiber fork 
  • Shimano Claris components
  • Comes in a variety of sizes to fit any rider

Cons

  • Limited color options

7. SAVADECK Unisex Warwinds3.0 Carbon Road Bike

Think you’ll have to shell out $2,000 to get a carbon fiber frame? Surprisingly, that’s not the case thanks to the SAVADECK Warwinds3.0. 

You get a lightweight and stiff TORAY T800 carbon fiber frame and some flashy looks to go along with it. Choose from four different color schemes and a variety of sizes for virtually any size rider. 

The Shimano Sora 18-speed drivetrain makes for smooth riding and shifting whether going downhill or climbing.

Although the SAVADECK is an entry-level road bike that doesn’t mean it sacrifices on speed. The complete frame and rims were designed with the help of a wind tunnel to ensure they’re aerodynamically contoured. 

Features: Carbon fiber frame, Shimano Sora derailleurs, aerodynamically contoured frame and rims

Pros

  • Carbon fiber frame
  • Shimano Sora drivetrain
  • Four colors and a variety of sizes

Cons

  • Flashy decals – You’ll either love ‘em or hate ‘em.
  • No disc brakes

8. Raleigh Bikes Unisex Merit 2 

Do you need a road bike that will also work for your morning commute? The Raleigh Merit 2 is a great pick. 

Although at first glance it looks similar to a regular road bike, when you look closer you’ll notice the rims and tires are slightly wider than a normal road bike. It’s not quite a gravel bike, but the slightly wider tires work great on rough city streets where you meet up with the occasional pothole. 

The rest of the components are similar to other choices on our list. You get a Shimano Claris drivetrain, mechanical disc brakes and an aluminum frame with a lifetime warranty. You may also like our guide on the best gravel bikes under 1000 dollars.

Features: Aluminum frame, 16-speed Shimano Claris drivetrain, mechanical disc brakes, slightly wider tires

Pros

  • Lightweight aluminum frame
  • Slightly wider tires for better stability on rough roads
  • Lifetime warranty on the frame

Cons

  • Limited amount of sizes

9. Giordano Libero 1.6 Women’s Road Bike

The Giordano Libero 1.6 is a great option for women looking for an entry-level road bike. It features a stylish white and pink, Italian inspired design and an aluminum frame designed specifically for women’s geometry. 

Despite the low-range price point you still get a Shimano Claris rear derailleur and Shimano STI brake lever shifters for hassle-free shifting. 

Features: Hand-crafted aluminum frame, Shimano Claris rear derailleur, Shimano STI shifters

Pros

  • Handcrafted 6061 aluminum frame
  • Shimano Claris components
  • Design specifically for women

Cons

  • No disc brakes
  • Only a single color option

10. Giordano Unisex Trieste

The Giordano Trieste is a solid choice if you’re looking for a versatile entry-level road bike for a variety of terrains. Although the Chromoly steel frame adds a little extra weight, it is extremely durable and long-lasting so it can take mile after mile of punishment from even the roughest of roads.

The wider tires provide exceptional performance on all kinds of roads. The Shimano Claris components ensure smooth shifting and the disc brakes make sure you can safely stop whenever and wherever you are. You may also like our guide on the best bikes for seniors.

Features: Durable Chromoly steel frame, Shimano Claris drivetrain, disc brakes

Pros

  • Durable, long-lasting steel frame
  • Wider tires for stability and grip on any kind of road
  • Reasonable price

Cons

  • On the heavy side

What Is the Top Entry-Level Road Bike? – Final Thoughts

So which of these great entry-level road bikes will you be enjoying soon?

We know you’ll be happy with the Trek Domane AL 2. You get an IsoSpeed carbon fork, classic Trek quality and Shimano components all for a surprisingly affordable price. 

What are you waiting for? Take the leap and buy a road bike today. You’ll be blown away at the difference it makes when riding on the road. Get ready to ride harder, faster and longer soon!

IMAGEPRODUCTDETAILS
Trek Domane AL 2
  • Features: Aluminum frame, carbon fiber fork and Shimano Claris components
  • Benefits: Quality Trek performance with comfortable endurance geometry that will grow with you as a rider
CHECK MEN’S PRICECHECK WOMEN’S PRICE
Raleigh Bikes Women’s Revere 1
  • Features: 6061 Aluminum alloy frame, 35mm wide tires, mechanical disc brakes
  • Benefits: Quality components, reasonable price and designed to fit women’s geometry
CHECK LATEST PRICE
Vilano Shadow 3.0
  • Features: 6061 Aluminum frame, Shimano brake lever shifters and Tourney derailleurs
  • Benefits: A nice combination of some premium features with a low price tag
CHECK LATEST PRICE

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https://www.stayontrails.com/bikes-for-tall-people

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Austin Mills

Austin Mills in an outdoor enthusiast. He's been featured on some of the top outdoor & fitness blogs sharing his expertise in order to help others. In his free time, he likes spending time with his dogs enjoying the outdoors.

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