When was the last time you rode a bike?
If it was before you could legally drive a car, you’re probably wondering where to start looking for your first adult bike. Instead of being intimidated by your choices, take the time to read through our entry level road bike guide.
You’ll learn all there is to know about road bikes for beginners, and you’re sure to find the best entry level road bike for you and your biking needs.
1. Takara Kabuto Single Speed Road Bike
The Takara Kabuto features a steel frame and fork with a 54cm top tube.
It has alloy rims with an alloy hub and a tig-welded steel frame. It weighs just under 30 pounds and arrived ready to be assembled.
For under two hundred dollars, I thought this bike was an extreme value.
It looked like a million bucks and performed just as I needed it to. I didn’t have too many problems assembling it.
The Takara Kabuto completely exceeded my expectations and I still use it to ride down the street to run an errand or two, even if the roads are a bit wet. It’s definitely one of the best road bikes for beginners.
2. Vilano Aluminum Road Bike
The Vilano is an awesome road bike that features a double butted aluminum frame and Shimano shifters.
One of my friends has this bike and let me try it out a few times.
It handled very well, and he’s already put a few hundred miles on it. The only adjustment he’s made to it is to add clipless pedals so that he doesn’t have any issues when wearing his mountain shoes.
If you want to see if road cycling is for you, this is one of the best road bikes for beginners. It’s more of an investment than a purchase, and you’re sure to be impressed with the Vilano as you develop your skills.
3. GMC Denali Road Bike
The GMC Denali Road Bike is one of my favorite road bikes for beginners.
The price is great and it comes with plenty of upgrades that would cost a fortune from any other company.
This bike has a lightweight aluminum frame. You’ll love how much control you’ll have with 21 speeds. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to change gears or how smooth the ride was!
I’m not the most adventurous biker, but I couldn’t believe how easily I found myself cruising around turns and flying down hills. I felt completely in control.
After a few months of hard use, I did have to tighten the chain and replace the brakes. However, thanks to the bike’s price, this didn’t aggravate me at all.
4. Vilano Shadow Road Bike
This bike does it all and then some.
Whether you’re looking for a bike to ride to work or through unpredictable mountain trails, the Vilano Shadow is one of the best beginner road bike options to consider.
The included Shimano Integrated Brake Shifters gave me precise, controlled braking and shifting that I’ve never experienced with another bike in the same price range.
If you’ve ever been turned off by bike shops trying to sell you an entry level bike in the four-figure range, I highly suggest giving the Vilano Shadow a try.
Now, when I ordered this bike, it did come with a small scratch on the front rim that must have happened during the packaging process. A quick brush of paint took care of the problem and I get compliments on the bike almost every time I take it out.
5. Giordano Rapido Single Speed Road Bike
I loved the look of the Giordano Rapido.
It has an aluminum frame and a steel fork, so it’s lightweight but also durable where it needs to be.
It comes with alloy rims and a rear flip flop hub along with alloy side pull brakes.
The bike arrives ready to assemble. While professional assembly is recommended, I’ve put together quite a few bikes and decided to take it on myself. It took a little more time than normal, but if you’ve worked on similar projects in the past, you can probably handle it.
I did replace the pedals on this bike, only because I wanted something a little more heavy duty. I’ve heard that it’s common to replace the seatpost as well, but I haven’t had to do that.
All in all, the price of this bike is a steal and you’re sure to find yourself cruising down the street in style.
6. Schwinn Men's Phocus Drop Bar Road Bicycle
Schwinn is the name in the bike world.
It’s hard to not know who they are. I loved the high profile alloy rims featured in the Men’s Phocus that made it look like it should cost twice as much as it actually does.
There are bikes that cost less than this one, especially for an entry level bike, but if you have room in your budget, this bike can save you from having to add upgrades or replace any parts.
I’ve put hundreds of miles on my Schwinn and it’s just as enjoyable to ride as it was the first day I took it out. It’s comfortable and handles beautifully.
The only issue with this bike is that if you’re extremely shorter or taller than average, about 5’8”, you might find it a bit difficult to ride.
7. Merax Finiss Aluminum 21 Speed 700C Road Bike
If weight is an issue for you, this aluminum framed bike is easy to carry up stairs or over streams or rocky terrain.
I loved that it came with a kickstand, because I do make a lot of quick stops in the morning.
Another great perk of the Merax is that you don’t need any tools to put it together. Simply take it out of the box, snap a few pieces together, and you’re good to ride.
If you’ve never ridden a bike before, the Merax is one of the best beginner road bike options. Now it might not be the highest quality bike on the market, but for this price you can introduce yourself to biking without taking a huge risk.
I still use my Merax as a back-up bike when I need it. I don’t plan on getting rid of it any time soon.
What Can You Expect for Under $500?
It’s definitely possible to get the best beginner road bike under $500. When you bump up your budget to the $500 mark, you’ll find a lot more options in terms of frame materials and upgrades.
Compared to a lower-priced bike, you’ll probably experience a smoother ride and less headaches. However, make sure you’ve done your research on any bike you consider. Just because it’s priced higher than another bike doesn’t automatically mean it’s a better bike.
What Can You Expect for Under $300?
It used to be impossible to find the best entry level road bike for under $300. But there’s so much competition in the biking industry now that with more affordable materials easily available, prices are dropping while the quality is improving.
If you’re looking to make a smaller investment in a bike, you’ll find plenty of great options under the $300 mark.
Basic Road Bike Size Guide
In order to find the best bike size for your build, all you need to know is your height. Here’s a brief breakdown of frame sizes that match a rider’s height.
- XX-Small (47-48cm): Rider should be between 4’10” and 5’0”
- X-Small (49-50cm): Rider should be between 5’0” and 5’3”
- Small (51-53cm): Rider should be between 5’3” and 5’6”
- Medium (54-55cm): Rider should be between 5’6” and 5’9”
- Large (56-58cm): Rider should be between 5’9” and 6’0”
- X-Large (58-60cm): Rider should be between 6’0” and 6’3”
- XX-Large (61-63cm): Rider should be between 6’3” and 6’6”
Of course, each bike will vary a bit from the next so you’ll want to give a few bikes a quick test ride just to make sure your ride will be comfortable from start to finish.
What Frame Material Options Are Available?
When it comes to finding the best entry level road bike, there are three main frame materials you'll come across. Here’s a brief breakdown of each.
In a nutshell, a bike frame made of steel will be strong, durable and heavy. While the idea of a strong bike frame is appealing, you might not be ready to deal with just how heavy a steel bike can be, especially if you’re a beginner. But you’ll like the fact that your bike can handle plenty of abuse and still look and function great. Steel frames also help to absorb bumps and dips, giving you a smoother ride.
If one of your biggest concerns about starting to ride is the weight of your bike, aluminum is the ideal material for you. While it is light and stiff, you’ll also find that an aluminum bike will just about never last as long as a steel bike. Your ride might not be as smooth as you would want it to be either. But for the average rider, an aluminum frame can give you the right combination of strength and durability. If you do chose aluminum, look for a brand that offers a combination of aluminum and carbon fiber for increased durability.
If you’re a beginning cyclist, titanium is not the first material I would recommend. While it can handle just about anything, putting a titanium frame together can be a nightmare. Repairs will always need to be done at a shop, where you can expect to pay quite a bit. But if you’re worried about the fragility of aluminum and the heaviness of steel, titanium is a great compromise.
How Much Should My Bike Weigh?
The weight of your bike will have a direct effect on your biking experience. There’s the obvious benefit of owning a light bike, which is that carrying it up the stairs or over rough terrain is much easier than with a heavier bike.
But heavier bikes are typically more durable. There's no set weight, as there are many factors to take into consideration.
For example, many hope to get a lighter bike so that they can go faster. But it’s not that simple. In fact, having a lighter bike can actually make your ride more difficult as you might have trouble handling sharp turns and curves.
Most bikes weigh between 18 and 24 pounds. If you find one that seems to be way outside the average, do a bit more research into that brand to find out if you need to go that far..
Is There Anything Else I Should Look for in an Entry Level Road Bike?
Once you get past all the technical details of choosing a bike, the most important thing to remember is that your bike should make you feel comfortable and confident.
As long as you’ve done your research into entry level bike reviews, you should be able to narrow down your choices and find an entry level road bike that seems like it was made just for you.
Entry Level Road Bike Vs Hybrid
An entry level road bike is a great way to introduce your body and soul to riding. If you’re not sure if biking is going to be for you, choosing an inexpensive yet quality entry level bike is the best way to introduce yourself to the sport.
But if you feel like you’re ready to take on a bit more adventure, going with a hybrid bike isn’t a bad idea.
There’s no need to push yourself too early. Take the time to explore biking, learn how to not get hit by cars and not take on too long of a trip, and make sure that biking is something that makes you happy. Then you can look into the best hybrid bike for beginners as you expand your skills and your collection of bikes.
Ready to take on the open road?
Now that you’ve been introduced to several of the best entry level road bike options for beginners, you can get out on your own and enjoy the world of biking. You’ll improve your health, enjoy exploring new parts of your neighborhood and have a ton of fun!