The bike is a lot of different things to a lot of different people.
For one, it’s affordable you can find a good bike for less than $500 that will be a reliable steed for years. And secondly, its dependable-most bikes in this category are sturdy and made to take the rigors of riding on roads. Be sure to get all the information you need before committing to purchase a bike!
But before, What do I need to know about road bicycles?
Most road bikes are made from a combination of lightweight aluminum or steel and carbon fiber. The bicycle frame consists of several key components: the head tube to which handlebars and an adjustable seat post are attached, the down or top tube which connects the head tube to the “seat cluster,” which is composed of the seat stays (one on each side of the seat cluster) and the chainstays (to which the cranks are attached), and usually, a pair of smaller triangular tubes known as the seat stays.
The most important components, however, are those that propel the bicycle: they include the bottom bracket, which is attached to a crank (or sprocket) on each side of it, and the front and rear wheels. For a road bike, the frame tubes are rolled in one location and later welded to form the main triangle, with the rear ends of both seats stay and chain stays often capped off with solid plugs or caps.
For most models, today, handlebars and stem components connect to this main area via “steerer tubes” contained within the head tube. These steerer tubes are more precisely known as “headtubes,” and they have both interior threading (which holds a stem) and exterior threading (which accepts headset spacers, and the top of a handlebar).
The fork, which is attached to the front wheel via a suspension mechanism, consists of the main triangle and fork ends. A rack may be fitted to, or integral with, the rear end of a frame for carrying items such as spare inner tubes, water bottles, and tools to repair flats or other problems.
A typical road bike has 700c wheels (a diameter of, in English/imperial units) and has 700c x 25 tires. These wheels are often paired with Shimano components or Campagnolo in the higher end of the market. Although other forms of gearing have been used, most road bikes use derailleur gearing.
Cable-pull brakes are common on more recently produced road bikes; however, some models have also historically used rim brakes (which consist of a small braking pad on the wheel itself) or disc brakes (which provide more control, and which have become increasingly common).
Most road bikes lack freewheels. Their cranks are designed for two chainrings. Three chainrings became normal in the 1980s; most modern bicycles feature three to five rings, with four being the most common.
The drivetrain is almost universally “derailleur” or “brifters”, although some older/mid-range bikes feature hub gears.
The crankset of a road bicycle has two chainrings, in contrast to one-speed bicycles and most other non-competitive bicycles with three or more chainrings. A chainring is a rotating plate with teeth, which the chain wraps around as it moves through the rear derailleur.
The front chainrings of most road bicycles have 52 teeth (known as a “52/42 double”) or 53 teeth (“53/39” triple); there are many additional sizes, and variations depend on the bottom bracket.
Two chainrings were the norm until the 1980s introduction of “compact” cranksets (with 50 teeth and an inner chainring with 34 teeth). The largest bottom-bracket sprocket ever used was a 70-tooth unit on a Huret Duopar, manufactured in 1938.
A typical modern road racing bicycle’s crankset has a large chainring of 50 teeth or 53 teeth and a small chainring with 34 teeth (this combination gives a 1:1 gear ratio), resulting in a 2.7 to 1 overall gear ratio.
This gear ratio offers the largest range of gears while giving adequate top-end speed (top speed) with even the smallest front chainring. (If the top gear is too easy, however, one may “spin out” before reaching the end of a racecourse.)
Ok and here are the top 10 affordable and dependable road bikes:
1. Schwinn Men’s Volare 1000 Road Bike 700c Wheels 26-Inch
For starters, let’s start with the Schwinn. The first on our list is by far one of the most high-quality and cheap road bikes that I have seen. It may be a little higher than the $500 we were shooting for but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good buy. It has some pretty neat features to go along with it such as Shimano 21-speed twist shifters, puncture-resistant tires for smooth riding, and alloy caliper brakes.
It has great specs making it a very nice overall bike. The gear ratio of Shimano 21-speed twist shifters can give you a 28 gear combination to ride with. So there’s low, high, and everything in between making it very easy to select the speed that you want to go on any given day.
It comes mostly assembled so you’ll only need minimal assembly of the handlebars, Seatpost bolt, and front wheel. If you’re a person who knows how to ride a bike, this shouldn’t take more than about 20 minutes or so.
“A classic road bike with an updated look.”
Schwinn Men’s Volare 1000 Road Bike 700c Wheels 26-Inch Price: $187.95 (on sale)
2. Vilano Diverse 3.0 Performance Hybrid Road Bike 700C Wheels
The second road bike on our list is by Vilano and it’s called the Diverse 3.0 Performance Hybrid Road Bike (700c Wheels). You’ll find that this bike offers a lot of great features such as Shimano Tourney 21-speed shifters, alloy caliper, and multi-surface Vitesse tires for great traction.
The wheels are made of double-walled 6061 alloy rims making them very strong and sturdy. It also comes in a variety of sizes ranging from 15 ~ 23 inches making it perfect for just about anyone no matter how tall or short you may be.
Some other things to like about the Vilano Diverse 3.0 Performance Hybrid Road Bike (700c Wheels) are the frame is made out of 6061 Double-Butted, Aero-Profile Tubing which makes it lightweight and very durable for long-lasting performance. The brakes themselves are designed for quick stops so you don’t have to worry about skidding, that could be dangerous.
“Great value at less than $200!”
Vilano Diverse 3.0 Performance Hybrid Road Bike (700c Wheels) Price: $199.99
3. Avalon Road Bike 20-Inch Wheel Men’s Mountain Bicycle 21 Speed Shimano Alivio
Next up is the Avalon Road Bike 20-Inch Wheel Men’s Mountain Bicycle 21 Speed Shimano Alivio.
Lots of bikes out there promise that they’re great quality and affordable but this bike not only delivers on those promises but it overshadows them all! This road bike has a very unique design, more mountain bike than your average road bike. It has 21-speed Shimano Alivio shifters for a wide range of gears to accommodate the steepest hills and fastest pedaling action!
It’s also very comfortable with its padded saddle and seat post providing you with a nice cushiony ride. It also has front and rear alloy caliper brakes.
This would be a great road bike for someone that wants to go on an adventure or even just the daily commute. This is because it’s very easy to install/ remove the front wheel with a quick-release mechanism so you can get in and out of the city streets as quickly and efficiently as possible. You can easily put fenders on this bike and carry a rack or panniers to haul your load.
“Great quality at less than $300!”
Avalon Road Bike 20-Inch Wheel Men’s Mountain Bicycle 21 Speed Shimano Alivio Price: $199.99 (on sale)
4. Merax Finiss Aluminum 21 Speed Shimano Road Bike
It’s safe to say that the Merax Finiss Aluminum 21 Speed Shimano Road Bike is a great bike for its price. It has an aluminum frame, carbon fiber fork, and riser handlebars made of 100% high-quality magnesium alloy. It also has adjustable aluminum alloy rear and front derailleur.
You’ll find that the wheels are very strong and durable thanks to the 700C wheels with a double-walled CNC machined sidewall. The multi-functional Shimano 21 speed drivetrain will give you a wide range of gears that will help you climb up those steep hills and make cruising down them a breeze!
“Bike has a great design.”
Merax Finiss Aluminum 21 Speed Shimano Road Bike Price: $199.99 (on sale)
5. Diamondback Bicycles 2020 InPower Disc Men’s Road Bike, 700c Wheels, 51cmDiamondbackk Bicycles is one of the top brands on the market for affordable road bikes. They have a wide variety of different styles from really basic and simple to extremely advanced racing models. The Diamondback Bicycles 2014 InPower Disc Men’s Road Bike, 700c Wheels, 51cm is a nice entry-level bike that has some great features!
The frame is made out of 6061 alloy which is light enough to get up hills with ease while being strong enough to handle any weather condition you may encounter. It also has a Shimano 3 piece crankset which is lightweight and will give you the pedaling power that you need to conquer those long distances without feeling worn out!
“Great bike for beginners.”
Diamondback Bicycles 2014 InPower Disc Men’s Road Bike, 700c Wheels, 51cm Price: $199.99 (on sale)
6. Schwinn Men’s Phocus 1600 700C Wheel Mid-Size 16-Inch Big and Tall Road Bicycle
The Schwinn Men’s Phocus 1600 700C Wheel Mid-Size 16-Inch Big and Tall Road Bicycle comes in a variety of different colors but what’s great is that they all come with the same amazing features! Like most Schwinn bikes, this model is made from lightweight 6061-T6 aluminum which gives it a lot of durabilities.
It also has an anatomically designed saddle and 3D forged alloy brake levers for an ergonomic ride. The front and rear alloy caliper brakes will stop on a dime! The main thing to take into consideration when buying this bike is the sizing because they come in 2 different sizes (standard & big and tall).
“Great price for a bike of this caliber!”
Schwinn Men’s Phocus 1600 700C Wheel Mid-Size 16-Inch Big and Tall Road Bicycle Price: $199.99 (on sale)
7. Tommaso La Forma Aluminum Road Bike Shimano 21-Speed
The Tommaso La Forma 700C Wheel Aluminum Road Bike is another great value for its price. It has a 6061 aluminum road frame that gives you an incredibly lightweight and strong bike at the same time. It also comes with alloy wheels, crankarms, pedals, and a lot more!
The Tommaso La Forma Aluminum Road Bike Shimano 21-Speed has great Shimano components which is one of the better road bike companies out there. In addition to this, it also comes with a KMC derailleur for fast gear changes that you can count on day after day.
“Good basic bike for the price.”
Tommaso La Forma 700C Wheel Aluminum Road Bike Shimano 21-Speed Price: $199.95 (on sale)
8. Giordano Libero 1.6 Road Bike Men’s Bicycle, 700C Wheels, 41cm/16″
The Giordano Libero 1.6 700C Wheel Men’s Road Bike is a great bike for the price! It has a lot of features that make it worth the investment like a lightweight Aluminum alloy frame with an integrated headset, handlebar, and Seatpost; aluminum caliper brakes for quick stops; Shimano 21 speeds to give you a great range of gears that will help you conquer the hills.
“Very nice looking bike and good value.”
Giordano Libero 1.6 700C Wheel Men’s Road Bike Price: $199.99 (on sale)
9. Schwinn Discover Men’s Hybrid Bike, 700C Wheel/40cm
The last great bike on our list is the Schwinn Discover Men’s Hybrid Bike! This bike has all the awesome features of a road bike like water bottles and an alloy handlebar that will give you a comfortable riding position. It also has a padded saddle that will help you keep your butt from getting sore after hours of riding.
This bike is really great for hybrid cycling! It has a suspension fork and alloy wheels that are easy to maintain, and it also comes with high-quality Shimano derailleurs and shifters that will give you the quick shifts you need while riding on the road or in the park!
“Best bike for the price.”
Schwinn Discover Men’s Hybrid Bike, 700C Wheel/40cm Price: $169.99 (on sale)
10. Vilano Shadow Road Bike Shimano 105 10 Speed
The last on our list is the Vilano Shadow 700C Wheel Shimano 105 10-Speed Road Bicycle! This bike can be found in many different colors but it’s great because they all have the same features. It has an aluminum frame and fork, a 3 piece crank system, wide tires, and a Shimano 105 10-speed derailleur system that is very reliable.
“Surprisingly great value.”
Vilano Shadow 700C Wheel Shimano 105 10-Speed Road Bicycle Price: $179.99 (on sale)
Conclusion Whether you are looking for road bikes under $500 or ones in another range, here are ten of the best options to choose from at different price levels and with a variety of features so that you can find a great bike for yourself!