Searching for the best road bikes under £2000? We outline what you need to look for, and highlight some of the best models
When you walk into a bike shop with two grand in your pocket, you’re justified in expecting to exchange that cash for a bike that will see you dancing up the hills and racing to the town signs for years to come.
Whilst there are bikes in this price point constructed from alternative materials – steel, titanium and aluminum – most riders will be after a carbon chassis, and at this price point you can expect a Shimano 105 groupset at the least, with Shimano Ultegra being a common option.
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At the £2000 mark, a road bike’s wheels will often be the key let-down, and are usually the first upgrade we’d suggest. However, there are exceptions to this rule where you’ll find race ready quality there, too.
What to look for in a road bike under £2000
Here’s our pick of the best road bikes under £2000
We’ve gone into detail about exactly what to expect below. But first – here’s our pick of the bunch…
KTM Revelator 4000 road bike
A race ready bike, that’s smooth and comfortable to ride with an impressive Shimano Ultegra 6800 groupset and Mavic Aksium hoops. We felt the overall weight was a tad on the heavy side, but loved the ride quality and value of the spec.
Read more: KTM Revelator 4000 road bike reviewed
Merlin Nitro SL road bike
Merlin sources its bikes from Belgium brand Ridley, and the Nitro bears an uncanny resemblance to the pro team climbing bike – the Helium SL.
With a largely Shimano Ultegra 6800 groupset, this light weight racer comes shod with a Fulcrum Racing Quattro LG wheelset, tipping the scales at 7.7kg. Comfort isn’t sacrificed, though the 52/36 chainset won’t suit all riders.
Read more: Merlin Nitro SL 2017 road bike review
Boardman SLR Endurance 9.2 road bike
It’s rare to see Shimano Dura Ace components on a bike under £2000, but whilst the Boardman Endurance 9.2 isn’t entirely dressed in Dura Ace, you do see glimpses of the top end groupset in the shifters and derailleurs.
The carbon frame comes with in house Boardman SLR Elite Five wheels, and a medium frame weighs 7.6kg. The handling was good, and the ride lively – though (as subjective as it is) we didn’t feel so excited by the overall spirit of this bike as we did some others on test.
Trek Emonda ALR 6 2017 Road Bike
If you’re not keen to press too closely to the £2k mark, and are looking for an aluminum option (which will be a little more durable in the case of an unplanned decoupling from the bike), then the Emonda ALR is a sound choice.
Our model came specced with Shimano Ultegra, and weighed in at 7.8kg, a pretty low number, despite the material of choice. We were impressed by the Emonda’s prowess in the hills, and the handling – and enjoyed its more relaxed geometry which will suit an all-day rider.
Read more: Trek Emonda ALR 6 Road Bike review
BMC Teammachine SLR02 105 2017 Road Bike
For 2017, this model does sit just above £2,000 – at £2,099 – and the groupset isn’t quite at the same level as others in this price bracket, at Shimano 105 level. However, Swiss brand BMC now to to make a good frame – and this one is a dream to ride.
If you’re thinking long term, and plan to upgrade components as you go along, thus placing your focus on bagging an excellent frame – we’d put this one forward as an excellent choice.
Read more: BMC Teammachine SLR 02 road bike review
Cervélo R2 road bike
Another pro worthy, top end frame with a slightly lower level groupset – the Cervelo R2 comes with Shimano 105 dressings and Shimano RS010 wheels.
However, the carbon all-rounder frame is a comfortable platform that we felt really does answer the call for a ‘do anything’ bike. Racing, sportives, all day adventures – the R2 has you covered – and opting for a frame of this caliber means the upgrade potential is immense.
Read more: Cervelo R2 Road Bike review
Scott Solace 30 road bike
Scott has divide this bike cleanly in two: there’s the ‘comfort zone’ and the ‘power zone’. Skinny seatstays and a compliant rear end contribute to the comfort whilst an oversized downtube and seat tube maximise power transfer. This is a sportive ready machine, with deluxe frame technology.
At £1799, Scott do spec the bike with a Shimano Tiagra groupset – though if you stretch the budget to £2199 you can get Shimano 105 and hydraulic disc brakes.
Read more: Scott Solace 30 road bike reviewed
Canyon Ultimate CF SL 9.0 road bike
Canyon’s online sales method means they can afford to offer a very good deal – and you get that here with a lightweight carbon frame (7kg in a size Medium), Shimano Ultegra groupset and Mavic Ksyrium wheels and nice touches such as the Fizik Antares R5 perch.
What you’ll be missing is the chance to nip into your local bike shop for after-purchase advice – but if you’re sorted in that respect, this could be a bargain ride.
Read more: Canyon Ultimate CF SL 9.0 road bike review
Giant Defy Advanced 1 2017 Road Bike
It’s unclear how long it will be before amateurs in the UK will be able to race discs brakes – so if the heady call of competitive bunch racing is in your mind, then this might not be for you. However, if you’re not after a bike to race, then the rotors do offer superior stopping power.
Giant are able to offer this endurance ready frame, with Shimano Ultegra shifting and hydraulic disc brakes. A compact 34/50 chainset and 11-32 cassette mean you’ll always have a spare gear for the hills – though the overall weight is heavier than more race ready bikes, at 8.7kg in a small.
Read more: Giant Defy Advanced Pro 2 review
Cube Agree C:62 Disc Road Bike 2017
A second disc brake option, here Cube is offering a snappy race proven geometry with their hydraulic stoppers and Shimano 105 groupset.
The forks are shaped to add an aero advantage, and the seat clamp is semi-integrated to the same goal. As per the Giant above, discs come with a weight penalty, and the overall claimed heft is 8.65kg.
Read more: Cube Agree GTC SL review (pre disc brakes)
Bikes under £2000: frame material
The vast majority of £2000 road bikes will come with a carbon frame.
Carbon is light, compliant – and it’s perfectly achievable to pitch for one at this price point. However, if you’re after resilience – for example you expect to be racing the bike in criterium races and want to know it can take a battering, you might want to look towards the high-specced aluminum market. You might find some titanium and steel at this point – both good options if you’re seeking springy comfort and perhaps a ‘bike for life’.
At this magical £2000 price point, many of the bikes you’ll be looking at will share almost exact replicas frames with those you see the pros riding – with lower end wheels and groupsets. This means that, in theory at least, you could be buying a ride experience not a million miles away from a bike of double the cost.
However this doesn’t mean that all bikes of this price point are built to be racy. If you’re after a bike that will be great to ride all day over rough British road surfaces then it’ll be worth checking out the geometry chart and looking for a bike with a taller head tube and shorter top tube for a more relaxed and comfortable fit.
Bikes under £2000: groupset
This is where you have a big decision to make.
Although many £2000 road bikes will look to impress with a more expensive groupset, this will often come at the cost of a lower-end frame. With less glamourous groupsets such as Shimano 105 offering performance that is close to the equal of much dearer options, it might be worth focussing your budget on a great frame that will do justice to more expensive components if you choose to upgrade later.
With the apparently unstoppable march towards electronic components it would also be worthwhile checking that the bike you buy has internal cable routing, in order to gracefully accommodate electronic upgrades.
While the shifters, derailleurs and chainset are probably the most important parts of any groupset, it’s worth looking at the full spec to see if you’re getting full bang for your buck. While a lower end chain or cassette shouldn’t have too much of a negative effect, many manufacturers will hit a price point by fitting budget brakes which won’t match up when it comes to braking modulation. See if you can find a bike with brakes that match the rest of the groupset.
Bikes under £2000: wheels
The wheels are often the weakest part of a lot of new bikes, wherever they sit in the market, and the story’s no different for plenty of £2000 road bikes. While the frame might be at a World Tour level, the supplied wheels are most likely to be better suited to duties as sturdy training wheels.
This could well be one of the first places to look when it comes to upgrading your bike further down the line. A lighter or more aerodynamic pair of wheels will really help you make the most of a great frame.
Warranty on bikes under £2000
Hopefully you won’t need it, but particularly with carbon frames it can be worth having one eye on what sort of warranty the manufacturer can offer. The standard warranty is around two to three years, although some manufacturers such as Specialized and Canyon go as far as offering lifetime warranties on frames.