Best Road Bikes Under $500

There are few things better than speeding down the road on your bike with the wind streaming across your face. The freedom of riding your bike down an open road is like no other experience in the world, and can easily be the most freeing and liberating part of your week.

If you are in the market for a new road bike, you know how important it is to find a great quality bike that is fun to ride. Even if you find a road bike that was a great deal, if it is clunky and you don’t enjoy riding it, you aren’t going to be encouraged to get out and enjoy the ride. You also probably recognize that finding a great road bike isn’t the cheapest venture on the planet. Quality road bikes can cost thousands of dollars, and that doesn’t even include ongoing maintenance and repairs.


Thankfully, there are also some really great road bikes on the market that you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to get. To give you better idea of all the affordable road bike options on the market, today we are going to look at some of the best road bikes that you can buy for under $500.

The 5 Best Road Bikes Under $500

How to Choose the Right Road Bike

When choosing the right road bike for you, especially in this price range, there are some features that you want to be aware of to make sure that you get a reliable bike that you enjoy riding.

Components

One of the first things that you want to make sure to check on any road bike that you are considering purchasing is that it is made with quality components. Most experts will say that Shimano components should be standard on any bike that you are seriously considering, because they provide for smooth and easy transitions between gears. Make sure that you have reliable brakes and brake pads. The last thing that you want is to be riding on a bike that isn’t safe.

Materials

The materials that your bike is made out of is going to make all of the difference in the world when it comes to pedaling, transportation, storage, and the like. Just to give you an idea of some of the materials that you will look at with these road bikes, here’s a quick breakdown.

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    Steel: These are going to be the heaviest and most cumbersome, but also the most
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    Durable. They will definitely be harder to pedal than lighter bike materials.
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    Aluminum: Aluminum frames are the happy medium that provide for a lightweight ride plus plenty of durability.
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    Aluminum with carbon fiber: Some of the bikes you will see in this review will have aluminum frames with carbon fiber forks, which make them even more lightweight without sacrificing durability.

Design and Functionality

You will notice that most of the bikes in this review have shifters that are integrated into the handlebars, but some that will actually have them in the fork or the stem. Having shifters that aren’t integrated into the handlebars near where your fingers are can make shifting more difficult, but can sometimes knock a few bucks off of the price. Take notice to the placement and functionality of the shifters, brakes, and their placement on the bike.

Company or Manufacturer

Typically, the more well-known the manufacturer and the longer they have been around, the better quality of bike you are getting. That isn’t always the case though. You can find some great deals on some awesome road bikes, from lesser known companies.

Wheels and features

You also want to make sure that your bike has quality wheels and tires. The last thing that you want is a seemingly nice bike that gives you a bumpy ride and is prone to popping tires.

The 5 Best Road Bikes Under $500

1. Giordano Libero 1.6 Men's Road Bike-700c

Giordano Libero 1.6 Men's Road Bike-700c

Editor Rating:

This Giordano Men’s 700c road bike may be just the road bike that you are looking for. It sports a durable and lightweight 6061 aluminum frame that makes it enjoyable and functional to ride. This bicycle is also equipped with with a 16 speed Shimano STI drivetrain so that you have plenty of gears for conquering hills and a changing environment on the open road.

PROS

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    This bike is made from a handcrafted 6061 aluminum frame, which is both lightweight and durable
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    It has 32 spoke quick-release high profile alloy wheels that easily absorb the terrain of the road beneath you, and provide an easy way to remove your wheels and rack or transport your bike
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    This bike is equipped with a 1 ⅛ threadless stem, for a low profile feel with easy turning
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    You know the components are solid on this bike because they include a 16 speed Shimano STI drivetrain, which is great for climbing hills and taking on any kind of roadways
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    You expend a lot of fluids while sweating when you are riding, so this bike is loaded up with not one, but two convenient water bottle mounts so that you always have plenty to drink

CONS

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    You may want to replace the hard seat with something softer
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    Great entry level bike, but not great for experienced cyclists

2. Schwinn Phocus 1600

Schwinn Phocus 1600

Editor Rating:

This is yet another great value when it comes to road bikes with one of the most reputable companies in cycling history. This Schwinn road bike has a 16 speed Shimano claris derailleur and an alloy crankset for being able to take on any road. 

What’s unique about this bike is the integrated microshifters that overlay with the brakes, so that all of your control mechanisms are very close together. No reaching is necessary.

PROS

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    This awesome bike from Schwinn offers a lightweight and durable aluminum road frame
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    What’s different about this bike is that it actually has a lightweight and sturdy carbon fiber fork as well. This makes the bike considerably more durable and even lighter than if it were aluminum.
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    This road bike is loaded up with a 16 speed Shimano Claris derailleur so that you have plenty of gears while riding out on the road
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    It also has integrated micro shift levers that include a brake lever combo, so that all of the valuable controls on your bike are just within a finger’s reach
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    This bike sits on high profile, durable, double-walled alloy rims with a quick release front wheel for quick and easy locking and transportation
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    Promax dual pivot alloy brakes give this bike great control and braking power
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    This road bike features a durable alloy crank which gives you access to the wide range of gears on this bike.

CONS

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    May need a change of brake pads after assembly
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    Could use a softer seat

3. Giordano Lobero Acciao Road Bike

Giordano Lobero Acciao Road Bike

Editor Rating:

This is a durable tensile-steel framed bike that is filled with Italian style and performance. It has a heavy-duty frame that is great for any road, and has a 14 speed Shimano Tourney drivetrain and derailleur for smooth and effortless shifting.

PROS

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    This bike is built on a sturdy and heavy steel frame and fork, so this bike is built to last for years of riding
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    This road bike features a 14 speed Shimano Tourney STI drivetrain that gives you plenty of gears for being able to tackle the tallest hills and any roadways that you want to ride on
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    This bike also features a downtube water mount so that you have plenty of room to store your water on your bike for those long, hot rides during the day
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    This road bike is a great choice for riders of any size because you can get it in a small, medium or large.
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    This durable Italian-inspired bike also features a Shimano Tourney A070 rear derailleur for smooth and easy shifting between gears
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    This model also features alloy side pull front and rear brakes for maximum control and safety

CONS

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    May need a tuneup right out of the box for safety
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    You may also want to adjust the brake pads after you assemble it

4. Vilano Aluminum Road Bike 21 Speed

Vilano Aluminum Road Bike 21 Speed

Editor Rating:

This Vilano aluminum road bike is great because it expands on the greatness of so many bikes in the under $500 category. This bike comes with a 21 speed Shimano drivetrain that gives you even more gears for tackling the roadways that you love to ride.

It is also built on a lightweight and durable aluminum frame to make riding and storage easy.

PROS

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    This Vilano road bike is also built on a lightweight and durable 6061 aluminum frame which makes it really easy to ride, store, and transport
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    This road bike is equipped with handlebar mounted Shimano A050 SIS handlebar mounted shifters for quick and easy shifting while you ride
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    The wheels that this bike sits on are 700c double walled CNC with machined sides for maximum durability and the versatility to ride on any kind of road
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    It is equipped with an urban comfort handlebar which makes the handles really easy to grip onto so you don’t wear out your hands quickly, while riding
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    This road bike goes to new heights of road domination by giving you a 21 speed Shimano drivetrain, which gives you even more potential for riding huge hills and all kinds of road conditions

CONS

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    The only major downside with this bike is that the shifters are integrated into the middle of the handlebars, not where your hands naturally rest. That can making shifting a bit annoying.

5. GMC Denali Black

GMC Denali Black

Editor Rating:

GMC is no longer just a name that is known for cars. The GMC Denali road bike is built to last on a durable and lightweight aluminum frame, and has alloy brake levers and calipers for great braking capabilities and maximum control, while riding. It also features a 21 gear Shimano drivetrain and shifters for easy and smooth shifting.

PROS

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    This GMC Denali road bike is built on a lightweight and durable aluminum frame which will last for years
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    The bike is equipped with alloy calipers and brake levers to give you more control, support, and power when braking
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    This road bike sits on high-profile Vitesse alloy racing rims which give it a really smooth and comfortable ride
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    The Shimano derailleur and REVO shifters on this bike makes it really easy and smooth to change gears
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    This bike has a 21 gear Shimano drivetrain which gives you a lot of versatility on the open road for tackling hills of any size
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    This bike comes in 4 different sizes ranging from extra-small to large, so that it can accommodate and suit riders of any size
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    Comes in two different colors.

CONS

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    Great for beginners, not for experienced cyclists
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    The frame has an unusual shape, so it is hard to fit it with other components

6. Vilano Shadow Road Bike

Vilano Shadow Road Bike

Editor Rating:

The Vilano Shadow is another great beginner road bike that you can get for under $500. It is built on a 6061 double butted aluminum frame, features all Shimano components, and 14 gears for tackling any hills. 

What’s nice is that this bike also includes integrated brake/shifters into the handles so that you don’t have to move your hands around to access your gears or brakes.

PROS

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    This bike sits on a 6061 double-butted aluminum frame which is wildly durable and really lightweight as well
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    The wheels that it sits on are 700c double walled with machined sides for an incredibly smooth and effortless ride
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    This bike is equipped with Shimano STI integrated brake levers and shifters that are built into the same unit, so that you don’t have to nervously move your hands around your bike to shift or brake
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    One of the best parts of this bike is that it comes with free pedals so that you don’t have to worry about getting your own separately
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    The derailleur and all of the shifting and braking components on this bike are Shimano, so that you don’t have to worry about having mediocre components
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    This bike has a 14 speed drivetrain which is plenty for tackling a wide variety of hills and roadways

CONS

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    The crank arm can get loose and need regular adjusting
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    The bike will probably need an initial tune up after it is assembled to eliminate any clicking or tightening issues

7. Schwinn Men’s Prelude Bicycle (WINNER SO FAR)

Schwinn Men’s Prelude Bicycle (WINNER SO FAR)

Editor Rating:

This is another great men’s commuter road bike from Schwinn. It is built on an aluminum drop bar frame and fork which make it really lightweight and easy to ride. It has 14 gears which make it great for tackling any hill, and has Shimano A050 shifters for smooth transitions between gears.

PROS

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    This bike is the perfect commuter option for guys, sitting on an aluminum drop bar frame and road fork that makes this bike both light and sturdy
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    This bike has plenty of versatility for hitting the open road or getting you around town with its 14 speed Shimano drivetrain
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    This road bike also has Shimano A050 shifters which make for super smooth and easy shifting
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    This model has dual pivot road brakes which give your bike maximum control and stopping power to keep you safe
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    It sits on 700c alloy wheels that are also really lightweight and durable, so that they reduce the impact and bumps that you feel from the road beneath you
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    The really nice feature that this Schwinn bike comes with is a paddle sadded. Most bikes in this category come with a hard saddle that needs replacing, but with this model, you are all set

CONS

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    It will definitely need a tuneup after you assemble it
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    The pedals and straps can be a little difficult

8. Takara Kabuto Single Speed

Takara Kabuto Single Speed Road Bike

Editor Rating:

The Takara Kabuto Single Speed is a little different than any of the other bikes that we have looked at up to this point in the review. Besides the fact that it is built on a durable and heavy-duty tig-welded steel frame, it is a single speed commuter which makes it ideal for riding around town with a minimal amount of incline. This is a basic, reliable, and cool bike that is great for riding to work or around town.

PROS

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    For something a little different than the rest, this single-speed road bike is built on a sturdy and heavy tig-welded steel frame
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    This bike is built for low-maintenance commuting, and has only one gear so it is ideal for urban riding or riders who want a little more of a workout out of their ride
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    This unique road bike has integrated pull brakes for for quick and easy braking to maximize your safety while riding
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    It has a rear flip-flop hub that you can use for fixed gear or freewheel riding
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    To comfortably accommodate as many riders as possible, this bike is sold in small, medium, and large frames

CONS

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    Does not offer multiple gears, so this bike can be very difficult to ride on hills and inclines
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    Heavy steel frame that makes this bike harder to pedal and transport

9. Merax 608XC Racing Bicycle (OTHER POTENTIAL WINNER)

Merax 608XC Racing Bicycle (OTHER POTENTIAL WINNER)

Editor Rating:

This Merax Road Bike is yet another undeniably great value for a reliable bike that you can get in the Under $500 price range. It gives you 21 gears of shifting versatility, with Shimano shifters and a Shimano derailleur for smooth and easy transitions between all of those gears. It sits on a lightweight aluminum frame and fork so it is really easy to pedal, transport, and store anywhere.

PROS

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    This Merax road bike has an interestingly designed frame and vibe to it, but uses the standard 6061 aluminum frame which makes this bike both lightweight and durable
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    It is really easy to ride, transport and can store just about anywhere
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    This road bike comes with a quick-release front wheels that is really easy to install, with no tools necessary
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    This bike features Shimano shifters and Derailleur for smooth and easy shifting
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    It also has a 21 speed Shimano drivetrain which are all the gears that you need for tackling any roadway and hills of any incline
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    This bike even comes with a kickstand, which makes it even easier to stand up and store your bike. Keeps it in better condition over time.
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    This model also has front and rear brakes that are integrated into the handles to give you maximum stopping power.

CONS

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    You may want to get a more comfortable seat, because this bike comes with a seat that is pretty hard

10. Poseidon Sport 4.0 Entry Level Road Bike

Poseidon Sport 4.0 Entry Level Road Bike

Editor Rating:

This is another great beginner road bike that is perfect for either men or women. It comes in a variety of sizes that accommodate riders of all different heights, and it is built on a sturdy aluminum frame with a carbon fiber fork. Smooth and effortless shifting are guaranteed with the Shimano Claris Groupset components.

PROS

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    The Poseidon Sport 4.0 road bike was any for any size of rider, and can be ordered in a variety of different sizes that range from 49 to 58 centimeters.
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    This durable and lightweight bike sits on an aluminum alloy 6061 frame, making it easy to pedal, store, or take anywhere
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    Another great feature about this bike is that it has a carbon fiber fork to make it even more lightweight and durable
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    This compact road bike uses a Shimano Claris Groupset so that you can smoothly and easily access all of your gears
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    This bike comes in a sleek, matte black finish which makes it look great on the road
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    Great for both men and women

CONS

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    It’s tough to tell how many gears are actually included with this bike
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    This is one of the smaller companies that we are looking at in this review, so there
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    aren’t as many years behind the design as other bigger bike companies.

Final Verdict

Out of all of the bikes that we have taken a look at today, there are a few specific road bikes under the $500 price point that rise to the top. We are thinking of one in particular, and that is the Schwinn Men’s Prelude Bicycle. Based on performance, components, and materials, we believe that this is the highest performing and best value for any of the bikes in this review.

About the Author William Peters

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