Best road bikes 2024: top reviewed bikes from our testing

We choose the best road bikes we've ridden, from budget models to grand tour-proven race machines

A group of cyclists riding a selection of the best road bikes
(Image credit: Future)

Buying a new road bike isn't a simple task. The category today is full to the brim, with plenty of options for most budgets. The sheer number of bikes in your price bracket might leave you feeling spoilt for choice, if not a little confused. But we're here to help.

We've tested hundreds of road bikes, from entry level options ideally suited to road-riding newbies to superbikes, ridden on the pro tour and often coming with a five-figure price tag. By riding across such a range, we're well placed to understand the many nuances that dominate this sector of the market. And more importantly, we can guide you through the many elements that help define a bike's ride quality, from frame material to tube shapes to components.

If your budget sits at either end end of the scale, you can also check out our guide to best cheap road bikes as well as our Race Bike of the Year (RBOTY) 2023 awards, some of which feature here. Likewise if you're after more of an all-road machine, you can read our guide to the best gravel bikes. Otherwise read on for our picks of the best road bikes for 2024.

The quick list

Best road bikes we’ve tested at Cycling Weekly

You can trust Cycling Weekly. Our team of experts put in hard miles testing cycling tech and will always share honest, unbiased advice to help you choose. Find out more about how we test.

The entry level

The best entry-level road bike overall

Specialized Allez Disc on a yellow background

The Specialized Allez now has disc brakes and extra tire clearance

(Image credit: Future)
Best entry-level road bike overall

Specifications

Frame: Specialized E5 Premium alloy
Groupset: Shimano Claris
Wheels: Axis Sport alloy
Weight: 10.0kg / 22lbs (claimed)

Reasons to buy

+
Quality aluminium frame
+
Clearance for 35mm tires
+
Full carbon fork
+
Stable & assured ride

Reasons to avoid

-
Indifferent mechanical disc brakes
-
Getting expensive for an entry level bike

Specialized's 2023 update of the Allez has added disc brakes in place of the rim brakes on the older model. That has allowed it to increase tire clearance to a more substantial 35mm or 32mm with mudguards. That in turn has provided an extra dose of comfort to the ride and means that the new Allez can handle light gravel duties and isn't confined to smoother tarmac. 

We enjoyed this new found versatility when testing - and it even has rack mounts should you fancy throwing in some touring or commuting as well. Vitally though the Allez has still manage to retain its sporty profile, and with a slammed stem in place, we found it to be fast and playful companion.

The base model bike has Shimano Claris 8-speed shifting and mechanical disc brakes. Claris has big jumps between gear ratios on the 11-32t cassette, while we found that , as expected, the mechanical disc brakes just don't have the stopping power of hydraulics.

The Allez line-up now consists of just two models (plus the Allez Sprint). The higher spec Allez Sport has ten speeds and hydraulic disc brakes, but there's a big jump in price for what's otherwise the same spec as the base model.

A wheelset upgrade would significantly improve performance, but all in all it's a decent package for the price, making the Allez reasonably competitive against the other best cheap road bikes we've reviewed.

Read more: Specialized Allez first ride review

The best entry-level road bike for racing

Caad 13 Disc

Cannondale is a master of alloy bike frame fabrication

(Image credit: Future)
Best entry-level road bike for racing

Specifications

Frame: SmartForm C1 Premium Alloy
Groupset: Shimano 105
Wheels: RD 2.0 alloy
Weight: 9.0kg / 19.9lb

Reasons to buy

+
Fast and agile
+
Frame ride quality - stiff yet comfortable
+
Well-specced at this price point
+
A frameset worthy of component upgrades 

Reasons to avoid

-
High front end is a bit out of character with the bike's racy feel

Cannondale has long been a master of performance alloy frames and the CAAD13 follows in that vein. It's fairly long and low geometry is based on that of the pro-level carbon SuperSix EVO - in fact it shares the same stack height and reach numbers, with a 54 size equating to a stack height of 55.5cm and a reach of 38.4cm. 

The aero tube profiles are also borrowed from the WorldTour bike and we found that the combination resulted in superb handling as well as a smooth ride - one that we felt closely resembled that of a carbon frameset. Granted we tested a high-spec model with decent wheels and tires that certainly didn't hinder the experience as some entry level components somehow can.

However, at the lower price points the CAAD13 is affordable enough to be a first bike but with a frame that you won't outgrow - and one that we believe warrants any significant upgrades you make, whether it be wheels or groupset.

That said, even if you opt for a 'cheaper' model you can get a Shimano 105 hydraulic groupset with a RS510 crank set, while the wheels match DT Swiss R470 rims with the Formula hubs - all perfectly good kit. Below this in the pecking order is a Tiagra equipped offering, while rim brake fans will pleased to know that you can get the CAAD13 with calipers!

As per usual, the size range starts at 44 and goes all the way up to 62, with six sizes inbetween. We see this as another big plus point for the CAAD13, making it available not only to a range of budgets thanks to the build options but also wide range of rider builds.

The only thing that we found fault with was the rather high front end stack. It's easy to rectify but means you'll have to have your head tube cut down to avoid an ugly stack of spacers above the stem. 

Read more: Cannondale CAAD13 Disc full review

The best entry-level road bike for value

Giant Contend SL1

The Giant Contend SL1 is a quality entry-level option

(Image credit: Cycling Weekly)
Best entry-level road bike for value

Specifications

Frame: ALUXX SL-Grade alloy
Groupset: Shimano 105
Wheels: Giant P-R2 alloy
Weight: 9.0kg / 19.9lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Full carbon fork
+
Great ride quality, offering comfort over long distances
+
Assured yet nimble handling

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavy - a tad over 9kg for a size small

Sharing features of Giant’s more expensive bikes, the Contend has a compact alloy frame with a sloping top tube. The D-Fuse seatpost and carbon fork are designed to add compliance at the rear and the front end respectively. Along with the endurance frame geometry this gives great comfort and handling, letting you ride for longer and inspiring confidence. 

We were particularly impressed with the bike's ability to eat up the road chatter, which isn't always the case with aluminium frames. Combine this with the sensible geometry (a longer wheelbase for stability and higher stack) and wide tire clearance (room for 34mm) and you get a set-up that sits squarely in the endurance category, ready to eat up the miles in comfort. For an entry level bike we feel it's the right recipe, one that's better suited to a wider range of riders than a more aggressive riding position.

The Contend SL hasn't been updated for a little while but you can still get both a rim and disc brake option. Both use's Shimano's impeccable 105 groupset with a Shimano RS510 chainset, with the rim brakes using Tektro calipers and the disc brake option fitted with 105 hydraulic.

Again befitting both the entry-level and endurance tags, there's bags of low gearing, down to 1:1, to tackle uphills and Shimano 105 gives you quality shifting as always. Naturally at this price point it's not the lightest bike by any means, which we found didn't always make for sprightly performance. That said, It's a good value proposition for its price and a genuine 'contender' for any entry-level road bike prize out there.

Read more: Giant Contend full review

The best road bike for versatility

Vitus Venon Evo 105 Di2 road bike on a pink background

The Vitus Venon Evo is available in road or gravel specs

(Image credit: Future)
Best road bike for versatility

Specifications

Frame: Venon Evo Carbon
Groupset: Shimano 105 Di2
Wheels: Prime Attaquer alloy
Weight: 7.8kg / 17.2lbs

Reasons to buy

+
40mm tire clearance adds versatility
+
Comfortable but sporty endurance ride
+
Capable on fast gravel trails

Reasons to avoid

-
28mm tires look swamped in the large clearance frame

While versatility has always been desirable for some of us when shopping for a new road bike, the evolution of the category has seen more and more sub-sections emerge. The result is a slew of bikes designed with specifics in mind, whether it be aero race machines or featherweight climbers. 

But Vitus has decided to buck the trend somewhat. And the Venon Evo has a trick up its sleeve to make it a bike for more than one purpose. With its wide tire clearance of 45mm it's not glued to the road and you can buy the same frame specced out for gravel duties, with a series of models with a GR suffix; we've also reviewed the Vitus Venon Evo-GR gravel spec bike.

The carbon frame weighs under 1kg and we found that it had plenty of compliance built in. The road-going specs are fitted with Michelin Power Cup 28mm tubeless tires on Prime Attaquer alloy wheels. We tested the 105 Di2 model of the Vitus Venon Evo, but there's a whole range of electronic and mechanical groupset options from Shimano and SRAM. 

When reviewing the bike on the road, we found the  ride to be well balanced and firm but still really comfortable. Continuing the versatile theme, there's plenty of room to fit mudguards on the hidden mounts, making the Venon Evo a good option for year-round use.

Read more: Vitus Venon Evo-RS full review

Swipe to scroll horizontally
BikeFrame materialGroupsetTire clearance
Specialized Allez AluminiumShimano Claris35mm
Cannondale CAAD13 Disc 105AluminiumShimano 10530mm
Giant Contend SL1AluminiumShimano 10528mm
Vitus Venon Evo-RSCarbonShimano 105 Di240mm
Cervélo S5CarbonSRAM Force AXS35mm
Giant PropelCarbonSRAM Rival AXS30mm
Trek Madone Gen 7 SL 7CarbonShimano Ultegra28mm
Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi Mod 2CarbonShimano Ultegra34mm

SUPERBIKES

Superbikes: Overall winner

Cervélo S5 on a yellow background

The Cervélo S5 mixes a fast, aero ride with comfort and handling

(Image credit: Future)
Best superbike overall

Specifications

Frame: S5 Carbon
Groupset: SRAM Force AXS
Wheels: Reserve 52/63
Weight: 8.2kg / 18.0lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Space for 35mm tires
+
Quality wheels plump up the tires for better handling
+
Smooth, fast ride

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the lightest of high-end bikes

The Cervélo S5 garnered top spot in our Race Bike of the Year awards in 2023. We rated its straight line speed, but also its cornering ability and superb ride quality. It's the handling that sets it apart from other aero bikes though: fast to respond to a change of line but never twitchy.

Likewise, we were impressed with the Reserve wheels, which are 52mm deep at the front and 63mm deep at the rear. Their internal width of 24.4mm really helped to add comfort to the tires (they plumped up our 28mm Vittoiria Corsa to over 31mm)  as well as progression when cornering and additional grip.

If there is any downside to the S5 then it the weight: it's not the lightest bike, tipping the scales at over 8kg. This makes it around 1kg heavier than the Scott Foil for example. But again the sheer ride quality of the S5 manages to negate any additional grams on even moderately steep gradients.

Naturally superbikes are primarily designed with the pros in minds and if you want some validation of the bike's qualities then how about 2022 and 2023 Tour de France yellow jersey wins, the TdF green jersey in 2022 and a slew of one day race triumphs? While these wins are testament to the talent of Jonas Vingegaard, Wout van Aert and others, they also point to the S5s ability to be ridden across a range of stages and races. For us, this only confirms what we felt when riding the bike - that it's as well-rounded a race bike as you'll find.

Read more: Cervélo S5 full review

Superbikes: Best value

Giant Propel on a orange background.

The Giant Propel offers a lot of bike for its price

(Image credit: Future)
Best value superbike

Specifications

Frame: Giant Propel Advanced Pro
Groupset: SRAM Rival AXS
Wheels: Giant SLR 1
Weight: 8.5kg / 18.6lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Great value, particularly for lower specs
+
Quality builds
+
Now lighter and more agile than its predecessor

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as smooth handling as some of the other bikes tested
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