Best Road Bikes Under 500

Best Road Bikes Under 500

by Jean Whitehead - Last Updated: November 15, 2020

The road bike is considered to be one of the lightest and fastest bikes on the market today. It generally works best on road surfaces due to the narrow tires and small designs. However, these bikes can be very expensive when compared to mountain bikes. The best road bikes under 500 are affordable to help anyone get on the road and test these bikes. The Schwinn Phocus 1400 and 1600 Drop Bar Road Bicycle is our number one pick for the features and quality design.

In the following article, we will have a look at a few of the top road bikes and help you make a decision when it comes to selecting the best one for your needs. There are tons of affordable road bikes on the market today, but not all of them have the same features. Since we look to find the best, you should find the best road bikes under 500 in this article.

Best Road Bikes Under 500 Rated And Compared

Frame Materials Drivetrain Brakes Price Final Rating
Schwinn Phocus 1400 and 1600 Drop Bar Road Bicycle Aluminum 14-speed Shimano/16-speed Shimano Caliper $$$ ★★★★★
Vilano Shadow 3.0 Road Bike Aluminum 21-speed Shimano Caliper $$$$ ★★★★★
Vilano R2 Commuter Aluminum Road Bike Aluminum 21-speed Shimano Caliper $$ ★★★★★
6KU Aluminum Fixed Gear Single-Speed Track Bike Aluminum Single-Speed V-Brakes $$$ ★★★★
Schwinn Volare 1400 700C Road Bike

 

Aluminum 14-speed Shimano Caliper $$$$ ★★★★★

Best Road Bikes Under 500 On The Market Today

Before we dive into the buyer’s guide and show you some of the main features you need to look at, you might already be excited to see the top bikes. The following section is dedicated to finding the top road bikes on the market today. Now, you have the tools and means to take on some of the best road trail available.

Top Pick: Schwinn Phocus 1400 and 1600 Drop Bar Road Bicycle

Schwinn is one of the leading brands when it comes to affordable bicycles. They can compete on top stages and they are not overly expensive with their prices. The first bike on our list is the Schwinn Phocus 1400 and 1600 Drop Bar Road Bicycle, which features a 14-speed drivetrain and caliper brakes for decent stopping power.

What We Like

  • Brand: We don’t often rely on the brand for a pro, but when you are strapped to a tight budget, Schwinn is one of the top options to consider.
  • Drivetrain: The 14-speed Shimano drivetrain is highly recommended and often used in some of the top budget bikes.
  • Lightweight: Due to the combination of carbon fiber and aluminum for the frame, it is one of the lightweight options.

What We Didn’t Like

  • Cheap Pedals: The one thing you might need to upgrade in your spare time is the cheap pedals, which lack durability.

Best Value For The Money: Vilano Shadow 3.0 Road Bike

Made from durable aircraft-grade aluminum, the Vilano Shadow 3.0 Road Bike is one of the most useful options you can buy. The features a unique design when it comes to the brakes and shifters. The STI shifting method can be used for controlling your brakes and shifter in a single unit. It will enable you to have more confidence at higher speeds.

What We Like

  • Wheelset: The durable 700cc wheels are common for the top road bikes and since they are double-walled, they remain durable.
  • Shifters: As mentioned, the real money lies in the comfort of the unique shifting and braking levers.
  • Design: Aside from the durable materials, the bike also looks stylish and will draw a few heads from the crowd.

What We Didn’t Like

  • Price: Unfortunately, it is slightly more expensive than some of the competitor options on the market today.

Best Commuter Road Bike: Vilano R2 Commuter Aluminum Road Bike

Once again, we have another Vilano bike on the market today. However, the brand delivers great aluminum bikes made for beginners. Additionally, the Vilano R2 Commuter Aluminum Road Bike features a 21-speed drivetrain that will make it more of a road bike than a commuter bike when comparing the bikes.

What We Like

  • Drivetrain: The 21-speed Shimano drivetrain is from one of the top brands on the market today and offers lots of value.
  • Wheel Set: Once again, you will have access to the double-walled 700cc wheels for additional durability.
  • Price: When looking at a road bike, you rarely expect to pay these affordable prices for all these features.

What We Didn’t Like

  • Uncomfortable Seat: One of the downsides is the uncomfortable seating, which tends to be narrow and small for some riders.

Best Track Bike: 6KU Aluminum Fixed Gear Single-Speed Track Bike

If you don’t feel like taking on the winding roads outdoors, you might want a bike that is made for the track. The 6KU Aluminum Fixed Gear Single-Speed Track Bike is one of the top options. While it will not compete with bikes like those in the Tour De France, the single-speed drivetrain means you only have to focus on the control and handling.

What We Like

  • Track Tires: When compared to some similar bikes, this one features a pure track design, with slightly wider tires.
  • Single-Speed: The single-speed design is not always bad and it can allow you to focus on bike handling.
  • Price: Since it does not have a sophisticated drivetrain, the bike is one of the most affordable on the market.

What We Didn’t Like

  • Single-Speed: The drivetrain is both a blessing and setback, as you might need different gears when riding on the road.

Best High-End Road Bike: Schwinn Volare 1400 700C Road Bike

The Schwinn Volare 1400 700C Road Bike is one of the most expensive options on this list. When you are looking for the best road bikes under 500, you don’t want to exceed that price. However, this bike might make you want to reconsider due to the high-end features. It could also last you a couple of years due to durability.

What We Like

  • Drivetrain: The 14-speed Shimano shifter is great for beginners and will give you all the speed options you need.
  • Caliper Brakes: Much like the others, this bike features caliper brakes, but the brakes are built into the shifters for easy management.
  • Lifetime Warranty: The Schwinn customer support is always great and here, you will have access to a limited lifetime warranty.

What We Didn’t Like

  • Price: Unfortunately, all of these features will cost a couple of bucks and it is one of the most expensive options on our list

Key Features To Consider When Buying The Best Road Bikes Under 500

We have selected five of the top road bikes on the market today. However, there are many more in different price ranges. When looking for high-end road bikes, you will need to be more specific with the features you need. The following buyer’s guide can be used for affordable road bikes and some of the top options.

Bike Frame

All bikes have a specific frame that is commonly used and patented by the brand. However, the materials used in the construction of these frames will vary from one another. You will need to choose between the aluminum and steel frames. Here is a small breakdown of the different frames and why you might consider them.

  • Steel Frame: The steel frame is one of the most durable, but it is used for affordable mountain bikes. Unfortunately, it can be too heavy for road bikes.
  • Aluminum Frame: Aluminum is one of the most common materials used in cycling. The aluminum frame is affordable and lightweight but does not have the durability of steel.
  • Carbon Fiber: Lastly, you might want a durable and lightweight bike, which means that carbon fiber will be the material of choice. However, carbon fiber is one of the most expensive materials.

Regardless of your budget, you need to understand what you are using the bike for. As a beginner, there is no use going for the carbon fiber bike. However, those with cycling experience might need to consider a top of the range bike.

Drivetrain

The drivetrain in cycling is very important. Since you will spend all your time on the road, you can generate much more speed than on a mountain bike. A top drivetrain will keep you in control of the bike and ensure that you have the right resistance. A good Shimano or SRAM drivetrain is not only great for speed but also safety.

Brakes

When you have generated fast speed, you will need to look at the brakes to slow you down. Budget buyers might need to look at the V-brakes and the caliper brakes. However, disc brakes are the best option. Nowadays, you can easily find affordable mechanical disc brakes, but the hydraulic alternative could be a bit expensive.

Accessories

Since you might be on a tight budget, the accessories will not be at the top of your priorities. However, the best accessories can make your bike more comfortable. A top dropper seat post is comfortable and allows you to make adjustments on the fly. However, this will be up to your personal preference and whether you need it.

Wrap-Up

The best road bikes under 500 dollars will make your life easier as a beginner. Instead of spending thousands, you will have the ability to start small. Most of the bikes we have selected are great to improve over time. This means that you can slowly add upgrades and transform the bike into a top-quality road bike.

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