Best Road Bikes Under $500
Updated - June 12, 2019
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. Hopefully the list below will give you some indication of the types of bikes on offer and what you can get for your money.
Vilano Shadow Road Bike
- ✔ High Quality Shimano Shifters
- ✔ Very Affordable Price
- ✔ Reliable Well Reviewed Road Bike
- ✔ Striking Colour Scheme
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.
Schwinn Phocus 1600 Drop Bar Road Bike
- ✔ Available In Mens Or Womens Sizes And Frames
- ✔ Top Quality Components In This Price Bracket
- ✔ Aluminium Frame, So Nice And Lightweight
- ✔ Dark Or Light Colours Available
The Phocus 1600’s frame is made from aluminum, and offers an appropriate amount of rigidness and response that is noticeable when pedaling and steering. It has an overall weight of 26 lbs when fully equippe, which isn’t exactly low, but still acceptable for its range. A carbon front fork helps to alleviate shock, while also helping to cut the weight down.
The Phocus 1600’s drivetrain is comprised of Shimano parts, and gives you 14 separate speeds, more than enough to offer enough options for inclines, declines, and flat terrain. Shifting is very crisp after an initial tune-up, and is accomplished by using Microshift integrated brake levers.
Giordano Acciao Road Bike
- ✔ Very Competitive Price
- ✔ 14 Speed Gear Shift
- ✔ Above Average Tires (For The Price Range)
- ✔ Metal Pedals
Giordano is another good example of a road bike manufacturer that specializes in entry-level and mid-range bikes.
The Acciao is the company’s answer to those looking for a beginner’s road bike that is affordable, but still offers a decent level of components and overall ride quality.
While the Giordano Acciao is definitely not a high-end road bike, it still looks like one, and for the most part, provides a very good ride despite being on the lower end of the spectrum.
This makes it perfect for recreational use, or even as a cheap, yet capable commuter bike.
More About The Vilano Shadow Road Bike
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 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.
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.
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.
More About The Schwinn Phocus 1600 Drop Bar Road Bike
As for the Schwinn Phocus 1600 Drop Bar Road Bike’s brakes, they are just a little soft, and require a small amount of added pressure when using the included Promax alloy calipers. Some actually prefer a soft braking system, but if you don’t you’ll likely want to upgrade the pads for a small price.
The Phocus 1600 comes with high-profile alloy wheels that have 32 holes, and a paired spoke pattern in groups of four for better rim support and aerodynamics. Kenda K-196 tires are surprisingly responsive, and have a light tread for better grip and shock absorption.
Extra features include toe clips, helping maximize pedal efficiency for those who might not want to use clipless pedals. The light blue and white color pattern is very appealing as well, and looks very sharp out on the road.
More About The Giordano Acciao Road Bike
As with any bike in this price range, there are some obvious pitfalls with the Giordano Acciao Road Bike, but even the most experienced and discriminatory road biker can still find plenty to appreciate and respect.
The Giordano Acciao Road Bike is a perfect introduction to road biking for anyone on a limited budget.
If you’re someone who is just trying to get started in the sport, it can be a little intimidating to see the costs for many high-end road bikes, as well as all of the equipment you’ll need.
Sure, you can opt for the ultra-cheap road bike at your local corporate retail outlet, but while you may save some money, you are getting what is essentially a faux-road bike that is really just a basic bike made to look like a road bike. Not very ideal.
The Giordano Acciao Road Bike is very much an actual road bike, and although it may not be anywhere near a high-end bike, it still offers a very enjoyable ride quality, and employs the use of some strong components allows it to function on a more-than-acceptable level.
It is very much an entry-level road bike that doesn’t exactly feel like one.
With its steel frame, the Acciao takes a different route from the more widely used aluminum, yet still manages to keep things under 30 lbs when fully equipped.
As a result, you get a somewhat light frame, and also get a fairly good response, while also enjoying greater pedal power thanks to the rigidness of the steel.
The Acciao is not designed for any kind of racing or aerodynamics, so the riding stance is more of an upright position, which many beginners will appreciate, along with anyone who may use the bike for commutes and transportation.
The entire drivetrain and shifters are all Shimano Tourney STI, so you end up with a surprisingly quality level of shifting and gear ratio, and a total of 14 speeds.
As with any new bike, you’ll need a professional tune-up to get everything properly aligned, but after doing so, the Acciao offers quick and precise shifting.
Just as with the drivetrain and shifters, the Acciao has Shimano Tourney STI brakes, which are just as quality as the other components.
These are obviously not the best braking components that Shimano offers, but you get a lot for the money, and the included pads offer decent control and stopping power.
The Acciao’s Vitesse alloy wheelset is nothing special, but it’s also not bad in the least. Each rim includes 32 spokes, so you get a decent amount of support for the rims, helping guard against bending from both accidents and general use.
The included tires are good enough to not need an instant upgrade, but be careful to not over-inflate — they aren’t very forgiving.
The Velo saddle isn’t the best, but this seems to be a common problem with entry-level road bikes. The Acciao’s pedals avoid the ultra-cheap plastic you often get with beginner bikes, using metal instead.
The bike’s color is fairly nice, as you get a more Italian-inspired color scheme that helps the bike avoid any kind of amateur look.
Overall, the Giordano Acciao Road Bike builds upon a decent frame by using a cohesive set of components, all made by a reputable manufacturer.
Since the frame is under the 30 lb mark, you can easily hang on to the Acciao for a few years, swapping out better components as you go along for a higher-quality bike.
The biggest advantage with the Acciao is the fact that you are getting a true road bike that handles and performs well, and all for a more than economical price.
The steel frame is light considering, and totally suitable for upgrading as time goes on. This is easily a bike you can progress with for a long time before taking a bigger step up.
The wheelset and tires are a little better than other road bikes in this category, which will save you some money right off the bat, as many prefer to upgrade as soon as they get an entry-level bike.
The cohesiveness that an all-Shimano Tourney STI and braking system provides is definitely a plus too.
The Giordano Acciao Road Bike is one of few heavy-hitters in this oversaturated road bike category. Plenty claim to offer a “real” road bike experience for an affordable price, but very few actually manage to do so. Giordano’s Acciao is one of the few that does.
Not only is it a great entry-level bike, it’s made to grow with you as you progress. For just a few hundred dollars, you can give yourself a true road bike that is ready to go after a quick tune-up.
We recommend it for anyone who wants an easy and economical start to road biking.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’.