We all want to ride the best and fastest bikes, but that comes with a cost sometimes nudging into five-digits. If your upper-limit budget is a more modest £2,000 / $2,500, we’ve got you covered for what you should be searching for.
When you walk into a bike shop with £2,000 / $2,500 in your pocket, you’re justified in expecting to exchange that cash for a bike that will see you dancing up the hills and sprinting for road signs for years to come.
The majority of riders selecting a bike at this price point are looking for carbon as their chosen frame material. But don’t discount aluminum, for it too has its merits, offering a lively feel and resilience that will be a comfort for those looking to race criteriums where robustness could well trump weight concerns.
At the £2000 / $2500 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.
Looking for something else? Check out:
- The best cheap road bikes
- The best road bikes under £1000 / $1300
- The best road bikes under £1500 / $2000
- The best women’s road bikes
Or check out our guide to our pick of the best road bikes we’ve ridden, with prices from £650 /$850 to £11,500 / $15,000.
Here’s our pick of the best road bikes under £2000 / $2500 for 2021
With each product is a ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Best Deal’ link. If you click on this then we may receive a small amount of money from the retailer when you purchase the item. This doesn’t affect the amount you pay.
Trek Emonda ALR Disc 5
Gaining a Cycling Weekly Editor’s Choice Award two years in a row pretty much sums up how impressed we are with this aluminium bike, and now that it’s come down in price by £100 / $130, we’ve fallen in love all over again.
The disc brake-ready frameset is made using Ultralight 300 Series Alpha aluminum to create a great ride quality, as well as a strong structure, and a aesthetic finish that isn’t that dissimilar to carbon, thanks to Trek’s Invisible Weld Technology.
The alloy frame is paired with an Emonda SL full carbon fork, which when combined with the Bontrager Alloy wheels and 25c Bontrager H1 Hard-Case Lite tires does a fantastic job at road buzz reduction.
Weighing a lightweight 7.9kg / 17.41lbs for a size 52cm, the endurance style ride of the Emonda ALR Disc is both hard to fault and outstanding value.
Buy now in the UK: The Trek Emonda ALR Disc 5 from Leisure Lake Bikes for £1775.00
Buy now in the US: The Trek Emonda ALR Disc 5 from Trek Bikes for $1999.99
The wind tunnel-tested Tifosi Auriga has some enjoyed aero tweaks and a spec upgrade in the last year but it remains true to its market: appealing to a wide range of riders but also being able to be raced at an elite level, as demonstrated by the Spirit Tifosi team.
Boasting a carbon frame with aero tube profiles, we found it offered plenty of compliance to go with the stiffness on offer. A higher stack and shorter reach makes it an ideal fit for almost all riders.
Being the rim brake option, it is what keeps it below £2,000. It wears an Ultegra groupset and Vision Team 35 Comp wheels, the latter hitting the scales at a fairly heavy 1,850g. The overall weight of a large model, however, is just 7.8kg / 17.2lbs.
Read more: Our full review of the Tifosi Auriga here
Buy now: Tifosi Auriga at Tredz for £1,899.99
Cannondale CAAD13 Disc 105
Slender tubing demonstrates that aerodynamics isn’t necessarily top of the list here, but the SmartForm C1 Premium aluminum alloy put to work allows for the best low weight to high stiffness balance. Combined with the BallisTec Carbon SAVE fork, a size 52cm came in at 7.6kg / 16.75lbs.
At this price point, you get a Shimano 105 hydraulic groupset with a Cannondale 1 crankset, and FSA 52/36 chainrings, perfect for crit racers. The Formula RD 2.0 wheel build and 28mm Vittoria Rubino Pro Bright tires might be grounds for an upgrade at some point though.
We rode the somewhat higher spec’ed version, but the slightly more wallet friendly CAAD13 Disc 105 is just as fun to ride.
Buy now in the UK: Cannondale CAAD13 105 at Rutland Cycling for £1,899.99
Buy now in the US: Cannondale CAAD13 105 at Sun & Ski Sports for $2100
Giant TCR Advanced 2 road bike
Nestled within the ‘performance’ category of Giant’s range, the Advanced 2 is at the lower end of the scale but shares the same lightweight carbon frame as the more expensive Advanced Pro models.
It doesn’t sacrifice on performance, either: we found the bike’s balance of handling, compliance and punchy ride quality to be in perfect harmony – awarding the machine a near-perfect 9/10.
At just 7.8kg / 17.64lbs, it’s a lightweight machine, and the frame is strong, performance grade composite. Coupled with Giant’s OverDrive steerer, this creates a stiffer ride quality and better handling.
Equipped with Shimano 105 rim brakes, it is possible to upgrade to disc brakes and the equivalent 105-equipped bike is £300 / $350 more expensive. Whatever braking system you go for, you get Giant’s own PR-2 wheelset and Giant Gavia AC 1 tubeless tires.
Buy now in the UK: Giant TCR Advanced 2 from Tredz for £1,799
Buy now in the US: Giant TCR Advanced 2 from Giant for $1900
Specialized Allez Sprint Comp Disc
The longstanding Specialized Allez is a hugely popular entry-level road bike, but the Allez Sprint is a very different beast. With a significantly more aggressive geometry, it is an aluminum crit racer’s dream.
Its party trick is the D’Aluisio Smartweld Sprint Technology, which reinforces the welds and thus the stiffness, without adding much heft. The Tarmac SL6 full carbon fork further reduces the weight, and adds a bit of front end compliance — our size 52 came in at 8.28kg / 18.25lbs.
At this price point, you get a mostly Shimano 105 drivetrain, with hydraulic disc brakes and a Praxis Zayante crankset. The wheels are DT R470 Disc, shod with 26c Turbo Pro tires which should be grippy in the bends.
Boardman SLR 9.2 – £2,000 / $N/A
Boardman have married aggression and comfort well. The British company has its very own wind tunnel, so it’s no surprise that the bike packs in several aero goodies: aerofoil tube profiles, an aero seatpost and dropped seatstays. The C10 carbon frame adds to the racey, all-day bike feel.
A full Shimano Ultegra groupset provides quality shifting, and is a great find at this price point. The Boardman’s SLR Elite Seven alloy wheels, meanwhile, are a low budget option – but they’ll make for a good all-rounder and are tubeless compatible. If you want to really enjoy the benefits of the frame’s aero features, you’d want to upgrade the wheels to something deeper.
A medium weighs in at 7.28kg 16.04lbs and you can feel the lightness on the climbs. On descents and flat sections, the aero features come into place, and overall it’s a stable ride. Our only gripe? The lack of disc brakes represented a challenge in the wet, not helped by the slightly slippery 25mm Vittoria Rubino Pro tires.
Read more: Our full review of the Boardman SLR 9.2 here
Ribble Endurance SL Disc – £1,799 / $2060.89
These days it’s rare not to find aero features in an endurance bike, and the comfortable Ribble Endurance SL Disc is no exception, with Kamm-tail tubes, dropped seatstays and an aero seatpost.
The frame is built from Toray T800 and T1000 high-grade carbon, and at 1.15kg / 2.25 it’s pretty light for a disc brake model. Using Ribble’s Bikebuilder to create a bike to meet the price point, we opted for a Shimano 105 build, Level-1 branded standard stem and aero tops, plus 28mm Conti 4 Seasons tyres.
The Mavic Aksium Disc wheels fitted aren’t the fastest but crucially are reliable, while a size large at 8.6kg is not the lightest. The comfortable frame smoothed out bumps in the road, the handling was nimble and predictable and there’s fender mounts which mean it it’s ideal for those who live in rainy locales.
Buy now in the Uk & US: Ribble Endurance SL Disc direct from Ribble for £1,799/$2060.89
Other bikes under £2000 / $2500 we’ve tested
Of course, over the years we’ve tested plenty more bikes in this price bracket, many of which will have seen only slight alterations for the new season.
Click on the links for full reviews of models around the £2000 / $2500 price point that are still available on the market:
- KTM Revelator 4000 road bike review
- Ribble R872 review
- Canyon Endurance CF SL Disc 7.0 review
- Specialized Tarmac SL4 Elite
- Giant Defy Advanced 2
Bikes under £2000 / $2500: frame material
The vast majority of £2000 / $2500 road bikes will come with a carbon frame.
Carbon is light, compliant, and it’s perfectly achievable to opt 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 – and both are good options if you’re seeking springy comfort and a ‘bike for life’.
At this magical £2000 / $2500 price point, many of the bikes you’ll be looking at will share almost exact replicas frames with those you see the pros riding, albeit 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 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.
Looking at a second hand bike? Here’s our tips…
Bikes under £2000 / $2500: groupset
Trickle-down technology means you can easily get a Shimano Ultegra rim-equipped bike for under £2000 / $2500 now.
However, if you are looking for disc braking, it will more than likely be Shimano 105. This should by no means be overlooked, as it’s a highly rated option, and in many cases worth taking a slight weight penalty in order to gain superb modulation and stopping power.
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 at a later stage.
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 skimping on the brakes with off-brand or lower spec calipers, which won’t match up when it comes to braking modulation. That’s less likely with disc brakes, but if you go for rim brakes see if you can find a bike with brakes that match the rest of the groupset.
Bikes under £2000 / $2500: 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 bikes in this price range. While the frame might be at a WorldTour 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 / $2500
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.