We take a look at the best options if you're looking to spend under £1,500 on a new road bike
The constant march of progressive technology in the bike industry, coupled with the effect of trickle down technology where we see high end innovation appearing on lower priced options, means that you can get an impressive road bike for under £1500.
At this price point, there are often two very clear options: buying a bike with a high quality frame that will be nigh on identical to those featured on much more expensive machines, with lower end components; or opting for a bike with a higher end groupset, but a slightly less pro-worthy frame.
The choice in entirely up to you, of course – a quality groupset will be lighter, will shift more readily and will usually stay in good nick for longer.
However, we’d usually advise that you put the emphasis on the frame – because you’ll be able to upgrade components over time, giving you a bike that you could still be riding many years down the line.
At the £1500 price point, almost all bikes will come with lower end wheels. A road bike wheel upgrade can genuinely transform the ride quality of an entire bike, so it’s well worth budgeting to upgrade entry level hoops as the first priority.
Looking for something else? Check out:
- The best road bikes under £2000
- The best road bikes under £1000
- The best women’s road bikes
- The best hybrid bikes
We’ve gone into more detail on exactly what you can expect at this price point below – but first, here are some of our favourite bikes under £1,500…
Road bikes under £1500 for 2017: our pick of the best
B’Twin Ultra 720 AF road bike
Winner of the 2017 best value bike in the 2016 Cycling Weekly Bike of the Year awards, the B’Twin Ultra is an excellent option if you’re after a comfortable aluminium frame with some really impressive components.
The Ultra AF comes dressed in Mavic Cosmic Elite wheels, with a Shimano Ultrgra groupset – which in its most recent iteration really isn’t that far off Shimano Dura Ace in terms of performance. The frame is lightweight and responsive, and we felt it was a match for most carbon machines. All in, the claimed weight is 8.3kg.
Ribble Gran Fondo road bike
If you’re looking for a bike that can provide all-day comfort, then the carbon frame Gran Fondo from Ribble would be a sensible place to start.
A taller head tube than you’d find on most road racing bikes means this is a bike that’s in it for the long (club) run.
Ribble’s sales method means that you can use their bike builder to choose components that suit you and your budget – but their recommended build features Shimano 105 components, with Mavic Aksium hoops for £1,249.
Deda finishing kit is cited in the recommended build, but you can swap this for something that suits your own tastes if they differ.
Fuji Roubaix 1.1 Road Bike
The ‘Roubaix’ from Fuji happens to share the same name as the endurance focused Roubaix from Specialized (the big S licenses the name from Fuji) – but it’s a completely different machine. This aluminum frame is a purpose designed race bike.
The overall frame weight has seen a reduction for 2017 (to 7.2kg), and Fuji provide Oval cranks with Praxis chainrings (in a 52/36 mid compact) and Shimano Ultegra shifting.
Canyon Ultimate CF SL 7.0 road bike
Canyon’s Ultimate frame is a fantastic all rounder: it’s racey, sprint capable, yet comfortable enough for all day rides. The higher end Canyon Ultimate CF SLX 8.0 was indeed our Cycling Weekly Bike of the Year for 2017.
Due to their direct sales method, you can pick up an Ultimate with a carbon frame and Shimano 105 grouspet plus Mavic Aksium wheelset and Continental Grand Prix 4000s II tyres for just £1,349 – which is a very tasty deal which tips the scales at 7.6kg.
Vitus Bikes Zenium SL Pro Disc – Superlight Ultegra
When we reviewed this bike, it had rim brakes – but for 2017 Vitus have added Shimano Hydraulic disc brakes alongside the Ultegra groupset.
The frame is aluminium with a carbon fork and seatpost, and you’ve got a pair of FSA Vision Team 30 Disc Brake wheels shod with Michelin PRO 4 Service Course tyres in 25c. The finishing kit is largely Vitus’ own and the final weight is 8.6kg.
Pinnacle Arkose 4 2017 Adventure Road Bike
Humour us with an outside choice. Perhaps you’re not 100 per cent convinced that you want to spend all of your time cycling on the road? In that case, the Arkose adventure road bike is a fine example of a multi-use bike you can tackle a little bit of everything on. It’s an aluminium frame, with Shimano 105 shifting and hydraulic disc brakes.
Initially a cyclocross bike, the Arkose has seen some tweaks to make it a tiny bit more road friendly – but it can still perform well on proper off-road trails. Kenda Flintridge tyres in 35c will roll well on bumpy off-road paths, though you’ll need something more mud-ready for proper woodland adventures and will likely want a skinnier tyre on the road.
The disc brakes, beefy tyres and robust tubing means this bike does weigh more than most in the collection – at 9.2kg.
Boardman Road Pro Carbon Silver
Another disc brake version, this time built around Boardman’s SLR Endurance frame that features in the higher priced Elite range, the Road Pro Carbon offers a comfortable ride, with a Shimano 105 groupset alongside including Shimano hydraulic brakes.
Boardman have specced their own wheels, in this case the Boardman Aero Profile hoops, with puncture resilient Vittoria Zaffiro Pro tyres in 25c. A Medium comes in at 8.3kg.
KTM Revelator 3300 road bike
A carbon road race frame with a race ready geometry at a pretty stunning price. The Revelator 3300 we tested was a little cheaper, but came with Shimano Tiagra components. This year, the model sits just under £1,500, sporting Shimano 105 – a groupset that will keep you going for years to come.
The chainset is a 50/34 compact, and there’s an 11-32 – that provides a lot of extra gears for the hills, though is perhaps more than most riders might need.
Giant Propel Advanced 2 Road Bike
The Propel Advanced from Giant began its model life as a top of the range, aero race machine. And now, it’s available as a top of the range, aero race machine with very slightly cheaper components at a much lower price.
A carbon frame is combined with a Shimano 105 groupset and Giant’s own semi deep aero rims to provide a speedy bike that’s hard to fault at this price point.
Specialized Allez Dsw Sl Sprint Comp 2017 Road Bike
We last reviewed a Specialized Allez road bike in 2016 – in that case the Specialized Allez SL Comp. However, the brand has since overhauled the higher end versions of the model to provide something completely different.
The Allez itself has long been one of the stand out entry level road bikes on the market, and now the standard model tops out at £900 for the Specialized Allez E5 Elite with an aluminium frame and Shimano Tiagra groupset.
The models over the £1k threshold are now out-and-out crit racing bikes – including the Specialized Allez Dsw Sl Sprint Comp at £1,500. A full on race orientated machine, Specialized claim this is the “stiffest alloy bike” they’ve ever tested. The groupset is largely Shimano 105, with a mid compact (52/36) Praxis chainset. The wheels are Axis Elite and could perhaps do with an upgrade.
This is a bike for a racer after an aggressive machine that they can thrash (and crash) around on without too much concern.
Road bikes under £1500 for 2017: what should you look out for?
At this price point, we could be looking at an aluminium frame with Shimano 105 or Ultegra components (or equivalent), or a carbon frame with Shimano 105 (or equivalent) – unless there’s a clear reason to be offering something lesser, such as a really excellent pair of wheels.
The split between disc brakes and rim brakes is beginning to swing closer and closer to discs, but at this price point you’ll get a health smattering of both.
The weight will probably be in the region of 7-8kg, though there may be exceptions – such as the Arkose above which is heavier due to its disc brakes, chunky tyres and more robust tubing.
You’d always expect a bike at this level to come with a carbon fork and seat post – this drops the weight, and also offers significantly more comfortable and responsive handling at the fork.
Road bikes under £1500 for 2017: what to consider when buying
The number one question to ask yourself is ‘what do I want this bike for?’
If you know that long distance sportives and all-day adventures are your thing, then look for a bike with a fairly relaxed geometry – a taller stack and a slightly shorter reach to help you stay on the bike in comfort for all the hours you’d like. If you’re thinking of racing, or simply love a fast and aggressive ride, then look closer to the race bike pedigree with a shorter stack and often a long reach.
If you’re just getting into cycling – then a happy medium is a sensible idea – giving you the opportunity to grow in either direction.
It’s aways a very good idea to buy a bike from a reputable retailer, who will allow you to test ride the bike – unless you’re absolutely sure what size you need.
Most bike shops will offer to help you set up your saddle height and overall position. Being set up correctly has a huge impact upon your enjoyment of the ride, and a bike fit can cost upwards of £100 when purchased independently – so it’s a good idea to choose to buy from a shop that offers this.
Many retailers offer you the chance to return a bike after 30 days if it turns out not to be your cup of tea (though not if you’ve discovered this through a write-off inducing crash) – which is a nice-to-have feature to look out for.