In this article, we review the best road bike brands in 2015 (check out our post about the top overall bike brands). As any serious road cyclist will tell you, a poor quality bicycle can make cycling a nightmare and even destroy your love for the sport. Top rated road bike brands build bikes that are smooth to ride, durable and provide value for money. These companies know how to combine the right components to build a product with strong all-round performance.
Finding the best road bike brands can be confusing – especially if you’re new to cycling. Listed below are our top three road bike brands, along with a brief review of their highest rated product. Each of these brands provides excellent value for money and is known to manufacture reliable products. If you’re struggling to choose a bike, we recommend looking at models from these companies first.
Vilano is one of the most prolific manufacturers, with a number of highly rated models available on sites such as Amazon. The company produces a range of different models, including beginner and women’s products. Vilano is also famous for its range of fixed gear bikes.
The Vilano Shadow is an entry-level model that provides stunning value for money. It has an attractive design and frame, and is built with Shimano STI shifters and brake levers. The aluminum “Aero” frame is lightweight and comes with an integrated headset. Other features include caliper brakes and a 700c double walled wheelset.
A reviewer called “Paulus Maximus” says that the Shadow provides impressive value for money. He added that assembling the bike was straightforward, and that it appeared to be well-tuned out of the box. We still recommend getting any new bicycle professionally tuned, but this is a good indicator of quality. Other reviewers add that it is a great choice for an entry-level model, especially if you’re on a tight budget.
Unlike some other entry-level models, the Vilano Shadow doesn’t come with a carbon fiber front fork for extra stiffness and steering sensitivity. Fortunately, the Shadow does have a double-butted aluminum frame, which reduces the overall weight of the bike and makes it easier to handle.
Kestrel produces high-quality products that provide an excellent “next step up” from entry-level models. The company manufactures a range of road geared products, including the popular Talon series. If you have a budget of over $1000 and are looking for a smooth, attractive model, then Kestrel is a brand to consider.
The Kestrel Talon is a high-performance road model with a gorgeous design. It’s built for a mix of both triathlon and road cycling, making it one of the most versatile models in its price range. The Kestrel Talon is built with a carbon fiber frame, which is both stiff and lightweight, and Shimano 105 derailleurs and shifters. Other components include a Tektro brakeset and Shimano Tiagra cassette.
Reviewers have responded positively to the Talon, with most buyers awarding it five stars. A reviewer called “Amazon Fan” says that the bike is faster than his previous model and also provides a smoother ride. Another reviewer praises the Talon’s exceptional handling and easy gear changing. He also adds that it is a “bargain” compared to other models with similar performance.
One of the few downsides of the Talon is that the stock seat isn’t comfortable for riding long distances. This is a minor issue that is easily fixed, however, and is common to many road brands. We usually recommend buying a new seat for any bike, especially if you plan on going on long rides.
Note: The Kestrel Talon comes with a limited warranty, although this is only valid if the bike is professionally assembled at a cycling shop.
Schwinn is one of the most popular brands for beginners. If you’re looking for a road model that provides smooth performance for under $500, then Schwinn are one of the best options to consider.
Schwinn Phocus 1400
The Phocus 1400 is a beginner friendly model with an attractive and stylish appearance. It’s built with an aluminum road frame and a rigid front fork. This provides more sensitive steering than a regular aluminum fork. The 1400 is built with Shimano shifters and rear derailleur for smooth gear changes. Other features include an SR Suntour crank and caliper brakes.
Reviews of the Phocus 1400 are very positive, with most buyers happy with their purchase. A reviewer called “Ryan” says that the bike is definitely worth the money, and was pleased with the lightweight frame. Another reviewer called “Klino” says that the 1400 looks great and is easy to handle. He also added that he’s received a number of compliments about the bike from cyclists who assume it’s a much more expensive model!
Like most models in this price range, the Phocus 1400 doesn’t have a carbon fiber frame or front fork. While this does mean it is heavier than more expensive models, it’s still relatively light and is an excellent first-time bike.
Note: If your budget stretches to around $500, you may want to look at the Schwinn Phocus 1600. The 1600 is more expensive than the 1400, but has extra features such as a carbon front fork.
Top brands build durable, smooth products that provide remarkable value for money. Unlike inferior manufacturers, who often choose one or two high-quality components but sacrifice all-round performance, the brands listed above know how to combine components to create a bicycle that is enjoyable to ride.
Our best road bike brand is Vilano. While the company manufactures a range of bikes, including fixed-gear models, it’s standard road bikes really stand out. This is due to their high-quality components and excellent value for money. If you’re looking for an entry-level one but are having trouble choosing a model, we recommend the Vilano Shadow or FORZA 4.0. Both of these bikes are available for less than $500 and have been highly rated by reviewers.