Carbon road bikes can get unbelievably expensive, but you can find some significantly cheaper if you know where to look. The best carbon road bike under 1500 dollars is the Diamondback Century Carbon. I enjoy this bike because of its aesthetically pleasing design, its weightlessness, and of course, its Diamondback name is something I’ve always loved. I’d also recommend the Kestrel Talon Triathlon model if you are riding for long distances.
Do you live in the city? If so then you have no doubt noticed the way traffic has gotten exponentially worse over the years. And it isn’t getting any better either. There is, of course, a way to combat that traffic. It’s pretty simple actually, all you have to do is get a bike.
But here’s the thing, you don’t want to get just any bike. Since you are on the road, you really should opt for a “road” bike. Seems reasonable right? You use mountain bikes for riding in the mountains, so why wouldn’t you get a road bike for riding on the road? But what makes up a good road bike?
In order to know what makes a good road bike you first have to understand exactly what a road bike is.
Best Overall: Diamondback Century Carbon Complete Road Bike
This bike has a beautiful piece of work with a hand-built carbon fiber frame. The frame is lightweight, yet sturdy and durable, especially where it is needed most. It also has a carbon fiber fork to help enhance steering control.
The Shimano Tiagra 2×10 drivetrain gives riders an ample amount of gears to help them get up and down the hills you are sure to be traversing. And the Tektro Lyra mechanical disc brakes give unparalleled stopping power for bikes in this price range.
If you are looking for an excellent road bike, the Diamondback Century is a bike that I think most riders will thoroughly enjoy.
Runner-Up: Kestrel RT-1000 Flat Bar Shimano 105
This is undoubtedly a great bike in this price range. Of course, you can expect a carbon fiber frame as well as a full carbon fiber fork. Speaking of bike peripherals, the flat bar handlebars are much different than you would generally find on most road bikes. Typically road bikes have drop bars that allow you to have more places to position your hands when riding. This is great for comfort while riding especially long-distance riding.
The geometry of this bike’s frame is superb; it offers maximum comfort and is extraordinarily aerodynamic (something that is sure to come in handy if you are going for top-end speed).
The Kestrel RT-1000 Flat Bar bike is lightweight, geometrically superior, durable, and offers smooth gear shifting, all of which culminate in a great road bike. I will say though; I’m not sure how much riders will like the flat handlebars on this bike if they ride for longer distances. My favorite feature of road bikes is the drop bars because it allows cyclist to have more freedom while riding.
Most Comfortable Road Bike: Kestrel Talon
I’m not very well versed in the world of road bikes but after hours of research and even sometimes using them. It seems that Kestrel is one of the most trusted brands when it comes to road bikes. And the Kestrel Talon Tri Shimano 105 is one of the road bikes that has received the best ratings from users and reviewers alike.
It is constructed of Enhanced Modulus Hybrid carbon that combines 800k and 700k carbon fibers. This combination gives a remarkably sturdy frame that retains its weightlessness and more compliance than a typical carbon fiber bike.
The design of this bike is all about aerodynamics. The seat post, seat tube, and even the stays are built with the specific purpose of reaching the highest top-end speeds possible. Even the cable routing system is built with this goal in mind.
So why is it so comfortable to ride on the Kestrel Talon? The EMS Pro Aero seat post lets riders mount their saddles in a multitude of ways that fit their riding style best.
But my favorite addition to this Talon Triathlon model is the handlebar system. It comes with an Oval Concepts aero base bar that includes clip-on aero extensions, bar-end shifters, and (my favorite) an Oval Concepts tri saddle. The tri saddle is essentially a padded part of the handlebars that allow you to rest your arms comfortably while holding onto the aero extensions.
What is a Road Bike?
Road bikes (as their name would imply) are made specifically for use on the city streets. They are extraordinarily lightweight (which is why carbon bikes offer great benefits) and have skinny tires. Road bikes are generally used for fitness enthusiasts, commuters, and of course, competitive bike riders.
These bikes are designed to be used on paved roads or bike paths, and it is highly recommended not to take them on unpaved surfaces or rough terrain. Why? Because road bikes have no front fork or rear suspensions, and the wheels aren’t nearly as durable as wheels built for off-road riding.
Road bikes are great for longer rides because they allow cyclists to travel longer distances, and do so at faster speeds than you can on other types of bikes.
Since we’ve now got an idea of what a road bike is, and where it excels, let’s take a look at what makes a good road bike.
Makings of a Good Road Bike
When buying a bike, the number one thing to keep in mind is; it’s all about having the right tool for the job. You wouldn’t use a hammer to change the oil in your vehicle. Similarly, you shouldn’t use a mountain bike for road travel. At least, not if you are looking for efficiency. But what exactly makes a road bike good or bad?
A road bike is essentially a “sport” bike. These are the types of bikes that racers use (thing Tour De France or Olympic cycling). Although, I should warn you; if you want a bike that is Olympic cycling caliber then you shouldn’t be looking at bikes under 1500 dollars. You’ll need to spend significantly more on that type of bike.
Being that these are racing bikes, road bikes should be very lightweight. This makes pedaling infinitely more manageable, and it also allows your equipment to top out at higher speeds than most bikes.
This is new for those of us coming over from the mountain biking side of cycling, but road bikes should not have a suspension system on them. That goes both for the front, and the rear suspension. They may sound counter-intuitive at first (I mean who wants to feel every bump in the road or every rock and pebble you run over) but it is necessary for road bikes.
The reason is simple. Road bikes are built for speed, so they absolutely have to be light in weight. And suspension systems add far too much-unwanted poundage to the bike.
The frame of a road bike can take on many different forms, but at the end of the day, they are all similar in one aspect. The structure should be stable and made of materials that don’t weigh a lot.
The sports bike is meant for the more casual rider, the ones that are only riding to destinations, or maybe just hop on the bike a couple of times a week. These bikes have frames that allow the rider to ride in a more natural and relaxed position.
The performance bike is made for competitive riding. It has a frame that requires much more flexibility, as well as a skill than your average casual riders. These bikes are also more responsive to steering adjustments.
Of course, wheels are vital to any bike, without them you aren’t going anywhere. But the wheels on a road bike have huge impacts on what it is capable of. This includes acceleration and the way your bike is able to carry its momentum.
As a side note, it is often said that the most useful upgrade you can make on your road bike is a new set of wheels. Stock wheels are generally a little heavier (especially on bikes in the price range we are looking at today) than higher-end tires. A good set of wheels will make your bike significantly lighter and therefore, faster. Who wouldn’t want to get to their destination more quickly?
Did you know that many of the road bikes being sold come without pedals? Yeah… neither did I. The concept behind this is that bike makers assume that cyclists already have a pedal system that they prefer, so there is no real reason to put pedals on the bike.
This means that pedals have a significant impact on how well your bike rides, but what are those impacts? Bike pedals can affect your pedaling efficiency, that is why many road bikes have toe cages to keep your feet firmly on the pedals ensuring every time you pedal you are getting the best push.
Okay, now that we’ve got what makes a good road bike out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the best carbon road bikes under 1500 dollars.
Wrap up – Best Carbon Road Bike Under 1500
My recent delve into road bikes taught me a few things. First, just because a bike doesn’t have dedicated suspension systems doesn’t mean they aren’t useful. Second, road bikes are far more comfortable to ride than their appearance suggests.
There are great aluminum frame options available if you like these frames, you can find some of them here. Carbon road bikes are highly efficient; they offer riders higher speeds, lower weight, and a plethora of other benefits for riders who spend most of their time on paved surfaces.