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Best Road Bikes Under $500

Top 5 Best Road Bikes Under $500 (September 2021)

With a budget of $500 it’s possible to find a good road bike that will hopefully last several years and need minimum maintenance due to it’s quality and design. $500 allows us to start looking at carbon composite bike frames to reduce the weight of the road bikes even further and consider branded tyres and brake systems. The best road bikes under $500 are probably still consider to be entry level models. However some will be equipped with more advanced components which is helpful to the longevity and enjoyment of the bike.

If you’re in the market for an entry-level road bike for commuting that you can also use for more serious weekend rides and perhaps even dabble in a few races, then $500 is about the price point that you need to be looking at. While you can pick up a decent road bike at a slightly lower price, the better groupsets available at the $500 mark will serve you well in the long-run.

Introduction To Road Bikes Under $500

For the daily commute and weekend rides, our road bikes are perfect. The features vary from bike to bike but you can expect supreme comfort courtesy of ergonomic handlebars and saddles, lots of speed options and microshift gear shifters, and precision thanks to the lightweight frames and carbon forks.

Road bikes are lightweight, stiff and strong allowing for fast paced riding. At under $500 you’ve got a great range of road bikes to choose from and most fall into the endurance or sportive category. Less aggressive than race bikes, sportive or endurance road bikes put you into a more upright and comfortable riding position. Compliance features are also built in to the frame which helps to absorb the bumps and vibrations you get when riding on less than perfect road surfaces. These two features combine to reduce fatigue on long rides and help you to perform at your best for longer. Our pick of the best road bikes under $500 feature expertly crafted aluminium frames matched to carbon bladed, and even full carbon forks, with capable Shimano componentry.

Materials Used In Road Bikes Under $500

Aluminium is still the undisputed king of budget frame materials. Lightweight, stiff and cheap, brands are able to build great performing road and mountain bikes out of the metal, at a manufacturing cost that still enables them to spec decent quality parts and finishing kit. The drawback of aluminium is that it comes in tubes. When compared to carbon fibre, which is built up sheet by sheet into whatever shape a manufacturer wants. It’s difficult to mould it into shapes that are, for example, more aerodynamic, or promote stiffness and compliance concurrently. Although not impossible, as shown by some of the bikes in our roundup of the best aluminium road bikes .

Brakes Common On Road Bikes Under $500

Cable-operated rim brakes are very common on most entry-level road bikes. These generally work well, especially in clean and dry conditions but wet-weather performance can leave a little to be desired as rims and pads get contaminated with road grime. The industry trend is undoubtedly towards disc brakes. We’re starting to see this technology trickle down to the higher end of the best entry-level road bikes but usually only in cable-actuated rather than hydraulic. Disc-brake bikes have the advantage of a dedicated braking surface that’s moved away from the road and muck. This generally leads to more consistent performance in all conditions. Without the size restrictions of a rim brake caliper, frame manufacturers are also able to build in greater tyre clearance for added grip and comfort.

Road bikes all used to have sidepull caliper brakes – long-reach ones if mudguards were to be accommodated. Disc brakes are now increasingly popular. They add a little weight but are great for commuting: they work uniformly well, irrespective of wet, dirty or damaged rims; and they don't cause rim wear. Road bikes under $500 will have mechanical disc brakes.

You’re also more likely to find hydraulic or mechanical disc brakes on less expensive bikes these days. Compared to rim brakes, discs offer better stopping power, especially in the rain and on dirt and gravel roads. You have more control and less hand fatigue with mechanical disc brakes. They also require less maintenance than older rim brakes. This alone is a great reason to upgrade to a new bike.

Tires Found On Road Bikes Under $500

Recently, affordable bikes have started to come with the same wider, more-versatile tires found on expensive road bikes . Models with tires 28mm or wider are now common. The extra width softens the road because you can run lower tire pressure with less fear of flatting. This leads to a more comfortable ride. They grip better on dirt and gravel, opening new routes to explore. Wider tires can be heavier though. So if you’re strictly looking to do faster rides on smoother roads, tires in the 25mm range might work better.

Finding The Best Road Bikes Under $500

There’s a lot of value to be found, and fewer compromises than ever before. This piece is written to help you find the best bikes under 500 dollars. We’ll be reviewing each one, mentioning the style of riding it’s suited for, and any other concerns worth noting.

Some manufacturers concentrate on an overall package which represents great value to the consumer. Others simply find a cheap frameset and build to a high specification around that. If you want something visually impressive to wow your friends and work colleagues, consider the great frame option. However, if you’re after a bike for the long term, a more rounded package will offer the best longevity.

Today's beginner/cheap road bikes are lighter, ride better and are more comfortable than ever due to better materials and technology. Another nice side effect of these advancements is a more durable bike, today's starter road bikes can handle more miles and rougher roads.

 

Vilano Shadow 3.0 Road Bike Image

Vilano Shadow 3.0 Road Bike

  • ✔ High Quality Shimano Shifters
  • ✔ Very Affordable Price
  • ✔ Reliable Well Reviewed Road Bike
  • ✔ Striking Colour Scheme

A perfect entry level bike for those who want an everyday ride that won't break the bank.

Vilano Shadow 3.0 Road Bike - Read Review See The Latest Price On Amazon Now

Vilano has delivered amazing budget friendly bikes for entry level to high skill riders since 2008.

The Vilano Shadow 2.0 is a road bike built for performance without gouging the bank. The cost-effective road bike has big name parts such as Prowheel and Shimano and a lightweight frame for speed and performance.

Vilano offers other models in their road bike line up such as the TUONO and Forza, which the Shadow is designed off of. The design for the Shadow 2.0 is for riders that are looking for a fitness workout or daily rides with friends or commuters.

Even with high end names and parts, the Vilano Shadow 2.0 was built for reliability and cost savings. With the entry level road rider in mind the Shadow gives you everything you need at a fraction of the cost of the competition.

To save on build cost the Shadow 2.0 utilizes caliper brakes that squeeze the rims for effective slowing and stoppage. With the Dual pivot alloy calipers, you won’t have to worry about shaking, warping or loss of control when coming to a stop. The brake pads are tapered to hug the rims and allow for a stop without bumping or jarring.

Vilano Shadow 3.0 Vertical Brake Levers

Vilano didn’t skimp when it came to the shifter. The Shadow 2.0 comes equipped with a Shimano A070 STI shifter with integrated brake lever. The integrated lever allows you to maintain control of the bike while braking, shifting or cranking leaving two points of contact at all times.

Often overlooked, rims provide the brakes a place to grip and the tires a place to mount. Vilano doesn’t overlook the rims, ever. The Shadow 2.0 uses 700c double walled CNC rims with allow machined sides. The sides provide an extra smooth surface to aid in braking and areodynamics.

Vilano Shadow 3.0 Chain And Pedal

Mounted on those CNC double walled rims you will find CST 700c x 25c tires. These tires are meant for the road and gravel and not for trials, downhills or mountain biking. Because they are slim you will be able to lean into corners without sacrificing speed and able to pull out of an incline while maintaining crank.

Since the Vilano Shadow 2.0 was designed to be an entry level road bike, the cost is kept down. You will find the price point between $300 and $400. The bike’s performance and durability will pay for itself long before you decide to upgrade.

Vilano Shadow 3.0 Frame And Handlebars

The Vilano Shadow 2.0 road bike is perfect for entry level riders and those looking for a daily ride that won’t break the bank. Once properly set up the bike is virtually worry free and rides with comfort, speed and control.

When you want a reliable bike for daily commutes, riding with friends and groups and those long rides off by yourself, the Shadow 2.0 delivers every time.


State Bicycle Fixed Gear Speed Bike Image

State Bicycle Fixed Gear Speed Bike

    The only thing better than the bikes look and feel is the price.

    State Bicycle Fixed Gear Speed Bike - Read Review See The Latest Price On Amazon Now

    Not many road bikes come in bright yellow. However the State Bicycle fixed gear speed bike certainly does. This bike is a celebration of colour and you can’t help but smile at its simplistic yet charming design.

    The State Bicycle fixed gear speed bike has a sturdy 22″ steel frame and a flip-flop rear hub allowing the rider to ride on a fixed gear or a single-speed. The bike has and adjustable yellow and black saddle that matches the frame of the bike in terms of colour. The bikes frame is bright yellow, it’s handlebars, saddle mount and pedal system all in black. Although the bike doesn’t take a conventional approach in it’s colour scheme it’s easy to see it’s charm and character. The bike comes with black plastic pedals as standard. It’s worth mentioning that the bike is available in a less flamboyant colour scheme where the frame of the bike is primarily white, however even with this design the adjustable saddle is bright green so you still get some burst of colour with this variety as well. The bike weighs in at 14kgs and therefore is in contention with most road bikes despite being made of steel rather than the more common alloy material used in road bikes.

    State Bicycle have added brakes to this model of their bike to allow it to meet safety regulations for road use. They have attached V brakes at the front and rear of the bike and these seem to be sufficient to provide the response and braking power needed to stop the bike safely and quickly.

    The first thing to point out about the tyres on the State Bicycle fixed gear speed bike is their colour. Blue, a rare choice of colour when it comes to road bike tyres. These Wanda 700c x 25c tyres are an interesting combo to the bright yellow wheel rims and frame of the bike.

    The bike is amazingly comfortable to ride. This bike is a head turner so expect plenty of looks, after all it is bright yellow with blue tyres. The bike’s seat is also surprisingly comfortable and the combination of the bikes components result in a smooth ride. This bike could easily be used for long journeys and there is very little chance of other road users not seeing you.

    A beautifully individual bike, very different to the usual road bikes seen on the market. The combination of simple design and bright colours is unique and a great show of creativity by State Bicycle. The only thing better than the bikes look and feel is the price.


    Royce Union RMX Commuter Bike Image

    Royce Union RMX Commuter Bike

    • ✔ Strong Aluminum Frame
    • ✔ Front Zoom Suspension Fork
    • ✔ 3 Speed Shimano Twist Gearing System
    • ✔ Padded VELO Saddle

    Quality bikes perfect for regular commutes or weekend trips in town. Built-in performance spec makes the bikes easy to maintain and comfortable to ride.

    Royce Union RMX Commuter Bike - Read Review See The Latest Price On Amazon Now

    The Royce Union 700c RMX is a stylish bike with a classic design painted a cool white with an overcoat of gloss. The lightweight frame is made of toughened, heat-treated aircraft-grade aluminium. The design is simple and brilliant with a SHIMANO drivetrain, 3-speed Twist and a Nexus rear derailleur. Just shift the gear with a simple twist for climbing and gliding down the hills. The internal hub protected against mud, dirt and rain, reducing maintenance.

    The saddle is padded with premium VELO and supported by dual springs. There is a quick release binder that customizes the saddle height for a proper fit. The spring-loaded rear rack secures your bag, books, grocery bags, etc. This frees your hands to handle the bike. The resonant bike bell helps clear your way and the kickstand is to park your bike.

    The slight-rise handlebars encourage you to ride upright with better posture. We want to give a special shout-out to the grips too; they are very ergonomic and give you a confident response when cycling. On the grip is a twist smooth shifter linked to a Shimano Nexus rear derailleur with an internal 3-speed hub. As with the Critical Cycles Mixte this operates reliably and requires little maintenance or attention as it protects the mechanism from road dirt and water. The linear pull brakes comprise a lightweight alloy that gives a good, smooth and happily predictable stopping power. These have benefits compared to coaster brakes.

    The linear pull brakes with wheel rims lend a superior brake-pad contact for an instant stop. The trim tires enhance momentum at reduced resistance. The front and rear fenders protect you from splashes.
    Functionality

    The RMX is our first bike on test that comes with bundled safety features and, in this case, it’s a bell that satisfies the ‘hear and be heard’ criterion. We have no hesitation in recommending this good all-round Royce Union commuter bike.


    Mercier Galaxy ST Express Road Bike Image

    Mercier Galaxy ST Express Road Bike

    • ✔ Lightweight Durable Steel Frame
    • ✔ Padded Sports Saddle
    • ✔ Strong V-Type Brakes
    • ✔ Smooth 14 Speed Shimano Gearing System

    This is an entry model into the world of road bike racing. It's gives you the basic setup to compete with some of the more elite layouts.

    Mercier Galaxy ST Express Road Bike - Read Review See The Latest Price On Amazon Now

    The Galaxy ST / ST Express - un compromised quality of Mercier comes to the durable and comfy ride of HiTenSteel while you are even more comfy with a TaperBlade fork up front and Ergo-saddle in the rear. The ST / ST Express model road bikes have convenient stem mounted shifters and a double chain ring crankset for simpler shifting and maintenance.

    Features the new SC series HiTenSteel frame with Traditional geometry and advanced TaperedRadius seatstays for a more upright, rider friendly position and comfortable ride quality. If you are a newer rider or simply desire a more casual riding position, this is the bike for you. Super versatile, Double Chainring Shimano components and Double-wall rim wheelset at a blow-out price.

    Having a road bike that has low tier performance components in this budget category is fantastic. It's a great entry bike to the sports level of road biking. The striking color isn't for everyone however it will keep you seen on the road which does come with it's own safety benefits.

    If you want a more sporty option than the others on this list, then go with the Mercier Galaxy ST Express road bike.


    Vilano R2 Commuter Road Bike Image

    Vilano R2 Commuter Road Bike

    • ✔ Lightweight Aluminium Frame
    • ✔ Water Bottle Holder
    • ✔ Eye Catching Design
    • ✔ Easy To Upgrade

    This is a perfect entry level bike that comes at an amazingly low price.

    Vilano R2 Commuter Road Bike - Read Review See The Latest Price On Amazon Now

    Different companies provide different types of bikes to the customers. Among the leading companies, Vilano is considered the best company with high-quality road bikes. Riders who are money conscious and want to get a perfect bike for commuting to work, riding for exercise or even for fun will love using the Vilano R2 Commuter Aluminum Road Bike.

    This is a perfect entry level bike that comes at an amazingly low price. On top of that, you will also enjoy quite some top quality features that ensure a smooth ride. Whether you are a starter or a college student looking for a perfect road bike, this model will suit you all. Also, free pedals are included when you buy the bike.

    Bikes come with different types of frames. The aluminum frame in this bike makes it lightweight, so the bike is easy to ride. On top of that, the lightweight frame is also durable so do not expect the bike to break easily simply because it is designed with a lightweight frame.

    Unlike other bikes that you will find, this bike is easy to upgrade its components to the most suitable. If you want to improve the quality of pedals, saddle or handlebars; upgrading the bike is a simple process that helps you come up with a bike of your choice.

    This is a perfect bike for commuting to work, going to school, riding for fun or fitness. It has a 21 speed Shimano drivetrain so you can be sure of fast rides. Again, the 3-speed shifters make your riding more enjoyable because you have full control of your bike.

    Sometimes when you are on the road, it can get sunny such that you end up sweating a lot, and this causes your body to lose more water. With this road bike, you can carry water or any favorite drink with you because it has a water bottle mount that is conveniently located on the bike. This keeps you hydrated throughout your riding experience.

    For those people who prefer bikes with different color options to choose from, Vilano provides you with everything that you need. You can get this road bike in quite some color options to suit your taste and preference.

    Riding a bike should be fun, and this is why you need to look for a perfect bike that will meet all your needs. Finding a bike that is comfortable to ride and easy on your pocket is not a guarantee in most of the bikes, this is where the Vilano bike beats most bikes on the market.


    What To Expect

    With a road bike budget of $500 we’re starting to enter the realm of semi-professional road bikes. We can start to enhance our expectations and hope for low weight bike frames and high quality components. We’ve got several mid tier bikes on offer in this list each with a selection of premium features. We can start to expect some of the features seen on the bikes in the list best road bikes under $1000.

    Quality

    As said above, the materials used when we have $500 on the table are better, lighter and more responsive than in the budget range. Specialised road bike types start to appear in our list including racing and touring road bikes. Each offering advantages to the rider and fulfilling specific tasks better than others.

    Common Features

    Many of these road bikes come with racing elements. Some have racing saddles for rider comfort. Some provide racing styled drop handlebars in order to provide comfortable hand positions for the rider. Some of the road bikes listed here go all out and provide a completely ‘racing’ look and feel the bike.

    Additional Features

    Some of the additional features of this range of bikes include double walled alloy rims, offering enhanced strength to the bikes wheels while maintaining a low weight. Sports saddles are also very common with these bikes providing the riders with higher levels of comfort compared to their budget counterparts. Many come with little extras like luggage storage, bottle holders or pedal straps.

    Worth It?

    Absolutely, when we look at the increase in quality we see in comparison to some of the lower priced road bikes it’s definitely a case of ‘if you have the money, get the higher quality bike’.

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