With top racing bikes regularly costing $10,000 or more, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that they are prohibitively expensive. The good news is that once you start getting close to $1000 mark, there are some excellent choices available.
With that in mind, we break down the best road bikes priced under $1000 in 2016. The high cost of professional racing bicycles has accelerated the reduction in price of components for bikes under $1000. The “arms race” between manufacturers at the top of the professional biking scene has caused higher quality components to filter down into the amateur market. These components often provide spectacular performance – and many are available on bikes in the sub-$1000 range.
These models offer much of the speed and performance of a more expensive model at a fraction of the cost – but you need to be smart about which hone you buy.
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Our Top Three – Under $1000
1. Vilano FORZA 2.0 Aluminum Road Bike
If you want a bike with a high-quality frame in this price range, then the FORZA 2.0 might be the perfect choice. It is built with an aluminum double butted frame and carbon front fork, providing a solid, comfortable ride and responsive performance. It also includes Shimano Tiagra 9 speed shifters and derailleur.
Aside from the fork and frame, the FORZA 2.0 doesn’t have any stand-out components. This isn’t a major problem, as the frame is probably the most important part. Other components can be upgraded in the future if needed. We recommend taking it for a professional tuning after assembly, and you probably want to add a new seat (it’s rare for one under $1000 to come with a comfortable seat, and the FORZA is no exception).
If you’re looking for a bike with solid performance that’s suitable for the occasional race, then the FORZA 2.0 is a great option. It has a stylish design and provides a smooth, fast ride.
2. Diamondback Bicycles 2016 Century Complete
The Diamond Bicycles Century 1 has always been a popular entry-level choice, and the 2016 model is their best so far. It’s built with a custom aluminum frame, Shimano drivetrain and high performance alloy fork.
The Century 1 is perfect for casual riding and the occasional longer ride. The frame is designed for an upright position, taking the strain off your back and letting you ride all day in comfort. Whether you need it for commuting, or for long weekend trips, it’s a great option that provides an exceptional value.
3. Vilano FORZA 3.0
The FORZA 3.0 is another excellent choice. It’s built with a lightweight aluminum frame and carbon fiber fork to absorb any bumps in the road. It also comes with a Shimano Sora derailleur and integrated shifter.
Unlike many cheaper models, Vilano have focused on the little details to make this bicycle fun to ride. It’s easy to assemble and the microshift gear levers provide a smooth performance. Components that are often sub-par on cheaper models, such as the brakes, are lightweight and perform well on the FORZA. A bonus is that almost all the components can be easily adjusted with an allen key.
The Vilano FORZA 3.0 is a great option for club riding, general fitness and training for races. While serious racers may want a bike with a few extra features, the FORZA is more than capable of being ridden in competitions. If you’re just getting started with road biking and want a high-performance model that will last years, or are looking to upgrade from your first purchase, then the FORZA is a great option.
Under $1000 Buyer’s Guide
Models that cost more than $1000 might be slightly lighter or have a higher quality groupset, but the difference is often marginal for most riders. To put this in perspective, your water bottle could weigh more than the difference in weight between a $1000 and a $2000 model.
The biggest downside to bikes under $1000 is that you probably won’t find a carbon fiber frame. As a general rule, models under $1000 are built with a steel or aluminum frame, although many come with a carbon fiber fork for extra comfort.
You can also expect reasonable quality wheels – although these vary greatly between models. Models that cost close to $1000 should mostly be built with components from reliable and known brands such as SRAM and Shimano.
The reduced price of components has made it possible to find the best road bike under $1000. While you have to make some sacrifices on component quality, and you probably won’t be able to afford titanium or full carbon fiber frames, there are models available in this price range that can match more expensive models for performance.
Once you start looking at prices over $600, the quality of components and performance increases dramatically. You should be able to find a high quality aluminum or steel frame, carbon fork and branded components. Keep in mind that you can always upgrade specific parts in the future – most cyclists view their bicycle as an ongoing project rather than a one off purchase.
You shouldn’t assume that a more expensive model is always better. While a 5% boost in performance is essential for professional cyclists, for most riders this increase simply isn’t worth the money. Each listed in this article provide the performance of much more expensive options, and all are available for less than $1000.