Best Road Bikes [Review] in 2021
written by Cycle expert Alex Bristol
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Choosing the right road bike can be challenging and often quite tedious at the best of times, with so many to choose from how do I know which one will be best? I’ve tested many road bikes over the years so I know what to look for and where to look for it.
Road bikes may seem simple and easy to find but there’s actually a lot of factors to consider before clicking buy. You want a bike that’ll not only look nice but also has quality features that’ll cater to your biking journey.
But not to worry I’m here to help.
Whether you’re looking for the fastest sprinter, the most stylish aero bike, a bike that’ll allow you to stretch and push the limits for longer, or even one that’ll tackle the climbs then you’re at the right place.
Together we will find the best road bikes for you.
With massive advancements in technology and the build of road bikes, it can be tricky and confusing to find the right one. But with my help, we will get past the confusing features and get onto the exciting stuff.
I’ve researched 54 different road bikes for you today looking at weight, comfort, durability, performance, price, and much more so you can put your feet up, read along with me and we will sure to find you your perfect match in no time.
But enough of me babbling, let’s jump in.
We’ve spent the time so you don’t have to:
The Best Road Bikes In 2021 For The Money
Émonda SL 7 eTap
What better way to start my best road bikes list than with a TREK bike, honestly? As you may already know, TREK is one of my favorite brands of road bikes due to its consistently reliable quality bikes and, therefore, the winner on my list.
The Emonda SL 7 is no exception making it number one spot on my list.
With its carbon, aerodynamic frame, and carbon wheels, you’ll never wish to miss a shift again. With the SRAM’s 12-speed Force eTap AXS drivetrain, you’ll be shifting through the gears with precision, predictability, and as smooth as silk.
But here’s the best bit
This bike is equipped and ready to tackle the biggest climbs, steepest descents and fastest sprints no matter what road is thrown at you.
These 12-speed cassettes also come with hydraulic disc brakes making this an outstanding lightweight bike for racing, excelling in all conditions, so shifting is like a dream.
With Emonda’s sleek and sexy design, you’ll definitely have all the heads turning, high quality, which screams class. Still, it is also suitable for anyone, regardless of gender, ability, or riding style.
This is for those looking for a race bike that excels in any condition and always shifts like a dream, no matter the weather condition or terrain you’re riding on.
Offers great performance and speed
Lightweight and strong carbon frame enables smooth riding
Quick shifting with the SRAM's 12-speed cassette
Ready to tackle any terrain
Latest deal: Émonda SL 7 eTap
Tommaso Imola Endurance Aluminum Road Bike
Now for my second pick, I wanted to go for a slightly cheaper Amazon option which is still highly rated as a quality road bike. With Shimano gears, super lightweight aluminum frame, and lightweight wheels for an amazing value.
The Imola gives affordable performance, suitable for those looking about getting into or getting back into cycling but a bike that you won’t easily outgrow and last as you grow as a rider.
For me personally, I’d say this is one of the best entry-level road bikes for the price point.
They didn’t cut corners by using an aftermarket crankset, nonseries derailleurs or any tricks manufacturers use to save a few bucks. This is such a great bike for both beginners and in the long run, giving you that reliable performance you can count on.
The Shifters, Derailleurs, Crank, and Brakes are all new Claris meaning that you are guaranteed quality.
But here’s the kicker.
The frame geometry offers a more relaxed position, with a shallow handlebar drop so you can be comfortable in any riding position. Imola is designed for maximum comfort and efficiency so you can get every inch of performance out of your ride.
Overall this is such a great quality bike for the price-point go check it out.
Lightweight but durable
Super high quality for the price point
Shallow handlebar drop giving ultimate comfort
Claris shifters, derailleurs, crank and brakes
May be good to invest in a more comfortable seat
Latest deal: Tommaso Imola Road Bike
Vitus Zenium CR Road Bike
Making spot number three has to be Vitus’ Zenium CR Road Bike simply because it is one of the best for reliability and comfort.
With a carbon frame that’s ready to take on local races, fast sprints, and fun-packed rides with family and friends you can’t go wrong with this bike.
Featuring a full carbon frameset, equipped with Shimano 105 2×11 Speed sets along with hydraulic disc brakes so you can push the boundaries on the hills and not have to worry about the descents.
You may be thinking, what about comfort?
Comfort is unmatched with the perfect blend of comfort and performance for a great all-around riding experience for longer. With the UD carbon fork and tapered steering position, you will have the ultimate confidence and control.
If you’re looking for a carbon road all-rounder that’ll give you both comfort and extreme performance then the Zenium is the one for you.
But here’s the best bit, the Shimano 105 R7000 speed groupset and ‘trickle-down’ technology and disc brakes mean that this bike not only looks fantastic but works to the hardest and best of its ability on every ride.
This is such a fantastic option at a slightly cheaper option than the TREK while still remaining top-class- go have a look.
Full carbon frame-set
Ultimate comfort and control
Extremely high quality for the price point
May need to change saddle
Latest deal: Vitus Zenium CR Road Bike
TREK Domane SLR 7
Now I know what you’re thinking another TREK bike already? What’s so great about them? Well, let me tell you TREK is best known for its Domane series of road bikes so it’s a must have on my list due to the quality of endurance you get.
Pairing the best endurance frame with a Shimano Ultegra Di2 drivetrain for the best shifting while still remaining super lightweight. This bike was built for high-performance sprints, riding like the wind on the road
The carbon frame, wheels, electronic drivetrain, and hydraulic disc brakes makes this bike top class., you’ll never miss a shift again. With sleek internal storage, you can store all your favorite essentials and gear.
If you love diving down those hills like me and not having to worry about the brakes then this is the bike for you.
But here’s the kicker, the Aeolus pro 3V Disc Tubeless ready carbon wheels and Domane carbon seatmast cap means that every vibration from the uneven road surface is absorbed. So not only is this bike super sleek its comfort and performance is unmatched.
Don’t just take it from me go have a look at the reviews.
Ultegra Di2 electric drivetrain
Latest deal: TREK Domane SLR 7
Ribble Endurance SL R Series Disc
Now I can’t wait to tell you about this bike. Ribble’s Endurance SLR was built for aspiring racers and those seeking the perfect mix of the high-performance superbike with excellent endurance geometry.
With Ultegra groupsets, silky-smooth shifting performance, and carbon monocoque frameset this is the bike of your dreams. It ensures every watt of power is translated forward so this bike remains both lightweight and agile.
With a wide range of colors to choose from you can’t go wrong
But that’s not all.
The Shimano Ultegra R8020 hydraulic shifters and brakes meaning you will be stopping on the dot smoothly in all conditions. Overall it is a fast, comfortable bike that’ll turn heads
What more could you need? Go check it out.
Silky smooth shifting
Designed for racing
Lightweight but agile
None so far
Latest deal: Ribble Endurance SLR
Cannondale Synapse Carbon Disc Women's Ultegra
Best women’s road bike
When I’m looking for an intermediate bike I always look for a bike that is light, stiff, and fast so I can get the most endurance out of it. I’ve heard a lot of rave about this bike and after doing my research it’s definitely one of the best.
Not only does this bike have SAVE micro-suspension technology on the frame, bar, fork, and seat post in order to absorb the shock from bumps in the road, giving you that unrivaled connection with the road, but it also remains comfortable and lightweight on your ride.
With race-level performance, you will not be disappointed with this bike.
The Cannondale is light enough to tackle quick climbs but stiff enough for that adrenaline enduring sprints down the country plains with friends. Thanks to its asymmetric design, tube shapes, and carbon layup this bike can give you performance on any size.
But wait let me tell you something.
With the race geometry technology of the positions, this bike is forward enough to push the boundaries but upright enough that you can push further for longer, keeping you tackling the roads in any weather, rain or shine.
This is the best of the best for women’s road bikes- go have a look for yourself now!
Race geometry of positions for comfortable riding
Designed for racing
Lightweight, stiff and fast
None so far
Latest deal: Cannondale Synapse Road Bike
Brand-X Road Bike
Looking for a simple, but consistently quality commuter road bike? The Brand X road bike is renowned for its reliability with it’s strong and a light aluminum frame that’s complete with Shimano Tourney gearing.
It has a reliable 7-speed drive train making it a great option if you’re looking for low maintenance, allowing you to shift through the gears and find a comfortable cadence for your terrain.
This is such a popular and great choice.
With large 700x25C road wheels that offer both strength and durability, especially on those rough city roads. Along with Kenda tires which will provide you with that touch of comfort on the road.
With easy assembly and glowing reviews, you can’t go wrong with this bike. It is unrivaled quality for the value of money making it the best budget road bikes on my list for under $500.
Quality road bike for the price point
Durable but lightweight
7-speed drive train
700x25C road wheels and tires built to tackle rough roads
May struggle on hilly areas
Latest deal: Brand-X Road Bike
Vitus Mach 3 VRX Urban Bike
I can guarantee the Vitus Mach 3’s aluminum frame, will provide both comfort and versatility. Equipped with rack and mudguard mounts, so you can easily load it up with panniers and take your adventures wider and further.
This bike is one of the best.
With its geometry supporting a more upright, comfortable, and accessible riding position. Fully integrated cable routing, this bike keeps everything clean and tidy, making infinite bikes rack and mount capabilities.
I can assure you that you’ll have confidence running through your bones with the aluminum fork and steerer with the tapered head tube, combined with flat bar specific stem lengths result in inspiring steering.
And it doesn’t stop there.
The extra tire volume allows you to have a super plush ride while tackling poor uneven road services. The fit mudguards will keep you dry, and it comes with a rear luggage rack so you can carry all the essentials needed for your day.
The sporty saddle and integrated bar & stem will have everyone’s heads turning- why not give it a go.
Lightweight but durable
Fitted with mudguards for clean riding
Fitted with aluminum fork
Latest deal: Vitus Mach 3
Cube Axial WS Race Road Bike
When looking for a road bike I tend to look for versatility, speed, and comfort, and this bike ticks all my boxes. The Cube Axial is a super fun bike that you can excel your skills on.
The Cube Axil optimizes everything you do so you can get the best out of your ride, designed for both racing and leisure. The unforgettable reliability and performance of Shimano’s 105 components mean this is your time to shine.
With smooth, 2×11 gears ready to tackle any terrain the road brings with ease, while the hydraulic disc brakes mean that you push the limits in rain or shine, wet and snow- this bike has you covered.
Plus, you’ll be rolling on the fastest, smoothest Cube Aero race wheels and Continental Ultra Sport tires that’ll give you the best grip possible no matter how icy it may get.
But wait I’m not finished.
While remaining sleek and agile this bike is built to take damage from what the roads may throw at you, and optimized with speed and comfort in mind, it was designed with women’s specific geometry to make your perfect fit.
Honestly ladies this is your perfect match- go have a look now!
Hydraulic disc brakes that are perfect for all weather
Sleek and agile
Women's specific geometry for ultimate comfort
Latest deal: Cube Axial WS Race Road Bike
I can’t wait to tell you about this bike, designed with one goal in mind, making the best value entry-level road bike on the market that doesn’t sacrifice performance- Tommaso Fascino is one of the best.
They didn’t cut corners by using an aftermarket crankset, nonseries derailleurs or any tricks manufacturers use to save a few bucks. This makes this bike not only a great beginner cycle but also in the long run, giving you consistent performance in your ride.
Tommaso Fascino offers a huge gearing with 21 powerful speeds making it super versatile. With a full Shimano drivetrain, you’ll be smooth shifting with no troubles.
With all the speed you’ll be gaining, you’ll wanna ride and stop with confidence, luckily the premium Tommaso Freno dual-pivot brake calipers are up for the job.
The Tommaso TC20 wheelset was designed to be durable while remaining lightweight so not only does this bike look great, it is built to tackle the punishment of many miles, perfect for a beginner.
The sleek design makes this bike a sexy first bike and will have all the heads turning.
But here’s the kicker: With such confidence with the quality and value of this bike, they offer a Risk-Free 7 day Test Ride so if you don’t love it you can take it back!
This is one of my favorite go have a look at the glowing 5-star reviews if you don’t believe me.
Such high quality at a great price point
7 day test ride on this bike
21 powerful speeds
Latest deal: TOMMASO FORCELLA
Cube Attain SL Road Bike 2021
Now, this bike is a definite head-turner with its double-butted aluminum Superlite frame and road comfort geometry, you’ll sure to have a speedy but controlled ride on every journey with this bike.
Built with full-carbon disc forks, you will have total control with impressive handling even after miles on the road. The blend of aluminum and carbon means gives impressive strength while still remaining lightweight.
The Cube was designed for versatility with a Shimano 105 drivetrain you will have gears for every situation. Delivering speedy acceleration for a smooth and reliable performance every time, even in the roughest of weather.
But that’s not all,
This bike comes with hydraulic disc brakes so you can keep gaining momentum without the worry. This along with aero disc wheels decrease rolling resistance so you can keep up the speed and push the limits as you bash for a trophy finish.
Overall this is such a great road bike for the price point go check it out.
Such high quality at a great price point
Hydraulic disc brakes
Aero disc wheels
None so far
Latest deal: Cube Attain SL
Cannondale Topstone 1 Alloy Bike
Last but certainly not least is another gem by Cannondale. The Topstone 1 is a versatile gravel road bike built for chasing routes, discovering new terrain, navigating tricky courses, and making your daily commute a breeze.
The SmartForm C2 Aluminum Alloy construction and full carbon fork make this bike lightweight, durable and high performing. This bike is designed to take a fair amount of abuse from the road with complete confidence, ideal for my city dwellers!
The gravel-specific Shimano GRX 800/600 11-speed shifting and Shimano GRX 400 hydraulic disc brakes offer unmatched performance for rides that go further than just riding on the road or pavement.
But wait, I’m not finished…
The Topstone 1 offers a balanced riding position; it is upright enough to provide a comfortable ride for the long haul and control on the technical terrain such as fun-packed counter road rides on the country road but forward enough for efficient speed.
Plus, the 700cx 39mm wide tires enhance this comfort, grip, and traction. This frame can mount a whopping 3 water bottles or even big frame bags; this bike is designed for convenience. My only pet peeve is the pedals not being included…
But apart from that, this bike is yet another winner and an excellent road bike for any rider.
Hydraulic disc brakes for superior stopping power
Comfortable for long rides but speedy
3 water bottle mounts
Carbon fork for shock absorption of rugged roads
Pedals not included
Latest deal: Cannondale Topstone 1 Alloy Bike
Best Road Bike Brands– A Buyer’s Guide
When buying a road bike, you will find that there are so many options on the market. This means that if you are indeed searching for the best, you need to sacrifice a lot of time to compare different products.
What even is a road bike anyway?
However, this is not possible, especially if you are not exactly sure what you are looking for. To save your time, we compared several products, which are among the most popular options on the market.
I know; I’m pretty awesome when it comes down to reviewing things. My research was based on performance, rating, price, features, and design. This means that we have only selected those products with the best features.
In terms of design, you will find that they are all attractive and lightweight. They also have high-quality features like effective brakes, reliable wheels and are also easy to assemble. Again, they all have a reasonable price.
If you check their rating on Amazon, you will find that they are highly rated, which means that they will give you the best value for your investment. Whether you are a professional cyclist or a beginner, you can use any of them comfortably since they are straightforward to use.
Why Should You Buy A Road Bike?
Road bikes are among the most preferred bikes by many cyclists and seeing this list, we are pretty damn sure why. One of the main reasons that make them so popular is their lightweight design. We mean, come on, who doesn’t want to lift their bike above their head?
As compared to other types of bikes like BMX bikes and mountain bikes, road bikes have a more streamlined shape, which means they move faster and are also comfortable to ride so, getting to work early without breaking a sweat is most definitely a huge win for everyone.
30-mile commutes? No problem.
The other unique thing you will notice with road bikes is their handlebars which tend to loop horizontally instead of vertically. This allows you to position your body correctly when riding.
As a result, you can ride the whole day without fatigue. A word of warning, leaning forward means that your head is pretty much at the forefront of being spanked by bugs. Perhaps looking for some nifty cycling glasses shouldn’t go a miss on a road bike. You’ll most definitely thank us.
In terms of durability and control, they are unmatched. When riding, they put your torso at a lower level, which gives you more control and traction almost like some sort of wizardry.
If you are searching for a perfect bike for flat terrains, a road bike will be the most suitable option. However, they are not the best for rocky terrains or dirt paths. Like, honestly, we can’t advise against it enough.
Do not ride a road bike on rocky roads. It’s worse than treading on an upside-down plug socket – you have been warned!
Aero Bike Vs. Climbing Bike:
Nowadays, most road bikes have some level of aerodynamic turning to add comfort and performance to your riding position. However, some bikes have added more and improved aerodynamics to their bike, more than usual.
Examples like TREK Madone and Cannondale SystemSix go through hours and hours of development, computer modeling, and aerodynamic tuning in virtual environments and wind tunnels. These bikes use every inch of speed possible while maintaining properties of a good race bike like stiffness, low weight, and comfort.
On the other hand, Climbing bikes are designed to optimize the bike frame to be lightweight and stiff. These bikes still consider aerodynamics but not as much. Climbing bikes tend to be very agile, lightweight, and smooth-rolling, they do tend to feel faster than aero bikes because of this lightweight feel, but they’re actually slower.
For extreme racers, I would recommend going for the aero bike as it will give you the speed and agility you need to smash out your last time score, and they’re made with some pretty cool features. But for any casual rider, a climbing bike will do nicely.
How Much You Should Spend On A Road Bike:
You may be looking on the market for a new road bike and have no idea where to start, and that’s fine. To make things easier for you, I will break down how much you should spend on your road bike and what features you should expect to get.
For beginners, I would recommend spending between $500 and $1500 on your first road bike; if you’re looking for a versatile bike that you can use both on the road and trail, then a hybrid bike will be ideal.
Here are the features you get for different price ranges:
$1000-$1500: You can expect an aluminum frame with a carbon fork for this kind of price range. These frames are brilliant as aluminum keeps the price low while the carbon fiber adds superior shock absorption.
Some bikes will come with mechanical disc brakes, but most bikes at this price range will have rim brakes. If you can afford to spend a little extra, I would definitely opt for the disc brakes as they offer superior stopping power in all conditions and on all road conditions. For the drivetrain, you should expect shifting at Shimano Sora or Claris level.
$1000-$2500: For around this range, you will still be looking at an aluminum frame with a carbon fork around the Shimano 105 level. Some bikes may even come with a carbon frame with a Shimano Tiagra fork.
Again you should expect either disc or rim brakes; as I said before, I would always recommend going for disc brakes as you can break with the confidence of stopping power.
Either an aluminum frame and carbon fork at around Shimano 105 level or a carbon frame and fork shifting at Shimano Tiagra level. Aluminum wheels, seat post, and handlebar/stem. Disc or rim brakes. We would advise choosing rim brakes or cable-actuated disc brakes.
$2500-$3500: Around this price range, you should notice that carbon frames are becoming more common. Carbon frame and fork with Shimano 105 or Ultergra aluminum rims, carbon seat post, and aluminum handlebars.
All brakes around this price range will all have disc brakes, whether mechanical disc brakes or hydraulic disc brakes. Hydraulic disc brakes perform better than both rim brakes and mechanical disc brakes.
Hydraulic disc brakes are better than mechanical disc brakes because you can apply less pressure at the level for an equal level of braking power.
$3500+: As you go up in the price ranges from around this price, the features are very similar, but as the price goes up, so does the quality. Around $10,000, you would expect top-of-the-range components and materials.
Key Things To Check When Buying A Road Bike:
You need to check various parts to ensure that they are of high quality. The most important part is the frame. Ensure that it is sturdy and long-lasting. You also need to check the brakes, handlebars, pedals, and wheels to confirm they are all functional.
Size: Choosing the wrong size is the worst mistake you can make when buying a road bike. If the bike is too small or too big for you, it won’t be possible to enjoy your rides. Also, look for a bike with adjustable parts like the handlebar.
There’s nothing worse than a bike that is too small for you; not only does your back kill by the end of the ride (and trust me, you’ll feel it for days after), but there’s never a sweet spot, and it can actually be dangerous in the case of an accident.
Price: When buying a road bike, you should not go for the cheapest. In most cases, you can easily determine the quality of the bike by checking the price. You should always set a budget and look for added features.
Here’s a pro tip: go for an aluminum bike frame with a carbon fork; they tend to have as many features and almost as much shock absorption as a carbon frame but at a quarter of the price.
The most reliable bikes are the most expensive. Since not everyone can afford the most expensive road bikes, the product we have reviewed in this article is very affordable, even for very tight budgets.
Gears: When buying a road bike, I tend to focus on gears mainly; gears are the foundation of the bike; they are what keeps the bike moving smoothly and well keeping it running in general. Manufacturers often will give a name of the spec levels in a model range for the fitted groupset.
If you live in a city with many hills (aka the west coast), then you’re going to need a lot of gears; I may not live in San Fransisco. Still, I have visited many times, and without the wide gear set I have on my bike, I wouldn’t have made it up the hills; gears are the life and soul of a bike and making your life easier as a cyclist.
Wheels and tires: Getting the right wheels and tires on a road bike is important for comfort, stability, and performance. The more high class you go, the more likely you’ll have carbon fiber rims, which are lightweight and deeper so they can improve your aerodynamics on the wheel.
In terms of tires, I would recommend upgrading straight away if the manufacturer doesn’t offer tubeless-ready tires or puncture-resistant tires; if you hit a bit of glass, it’s game over, and it is the most tedious job to try and get home with a flat.
City dwellers, when I say that having puncture-resistant tires are a must, I absolutely MEAN IT. They make a world of difference when tackling rugged concrete jungles; they’ll also save you a lot of time trying to fix flats with your portable bike pump.
Brakes: As a key safety feature, you cannot forget quality brakes; this is the one thing I wouldn’t cut corners on. Usually, on road bikes, disc brakes are best to tackle hills and rough roads no matter the weather.
I love disc brakes as it gives me that feeling of total control to own that road, safely. Hydraulic disc brakes provide superior stopping power no matter the weather condition and the terrain’s condition.
Durability: Now I know what you think sleek bikes are pretty cool, but they aren’t always as durable. If you like tackling the roads in all conditions like me, you shouldn’t let your bike stop you.
I would definitely recommend a durable and weather-resistant bike, so nothing will stop you from pushing the limits to reach your goal. Aluminum and carbon are the most durable frames; you’ll find they can take a fair amount of abuse and are extremely weather-resistant.
Frame material: If you’ve read my other guides, you will know that material is another key thing I look out for. I hate heavy bikes. You want a lightweight but stiff material so you can push the boundaries but not have the weight pulling you back.
With a lightweight design, you can go on for longer, making the most out of your ride. I recommend either aluminum or carbon, but aluminum is probably the best option if you’re on a budget. Aluminum with a carbon fork will give you similar comfort and features to a carbon frame but at a more affordable price.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are road bikes worth their price?
Absolutely! Road bikes are a bit pricey due to their advanced features. Again, they are very durable and sturdy, which also contributes to their high price. Road bikes allow you to go faster with less effort and are comfortable for long rides.
You shouldn’t spend any less than around $500 and no more than $10,000. On average, a good-quality road bike should cost between $1000-$5000. Aluminum frames are ideal as you can add extra features while keeping the price low.
What is the best road bike for money?
My personal favorite road bike has to be one by TREK, either Domane 7 or Emonda SL 7; this is pure because of the quality and reliability of these road bikes and the brand in general. They also come in appealing designs, which will definitely turn heads.
Another favorite of mine is the Tomasso Imola. It is one of my favorite entry-level road bikes and offers excellent quality for an honorable price point; it is super durable and comfortable on long rides.
Which is the best road bike for beginners?
I would recommend either Brand X Road Bike or Tomasso Imola; they offer high-quality components but are a brilliant entry-level road bike for beginners. These bikes are real confidence boosters; you’ll be whizzing down the country track with a massive smile.
I would recommend going for an aluminum frame with a carbon fork at entry-level is because it keeps the price low. However, you still get quality components needed for shock absorption and durability.
If you have been searching for the most reliable road bike, you can never go wrong with the four products we have reviewed in this article. They have all the features you would expect from a quality road bike. These bikes are also durable and affordable.
In terms of design, you will find that they are lightweight and easy to use. In short, they provide the best performance as compared to other road bikes you will find on the market.
If you have been searching for a perfect way to lose weight, riding any of them will help you in your journey to keep fit. Remember to check their rating and price from the links above.
Stay safe and happy biking!
Content Manager at Pedallers
Alex is a cycling expert at and focuses on reviewing bikes, accessories, and general cycling. He searches for the most up to date products that match the needs of cyclists across the world. Whether it's recent news or the best bike set-ups, Alex is a trusted source for anything around cycling.