Best road bikes 2022: top reviewed bikes for every price point

Our pick of the best road bikes we've tested at Cycling Weekly as well as our buying advice telling you what to look for in a drop bar bike

best road bikes reviewed and rated

If you're looking for the best road bikes, there are more and more options available at every price point.

Road bike prices have seen a lot of inflation over the last few years and the top end models now often retail for over $10,000 / £10,000. We've divided this guide up into bikes priced at under $2,000 / £2,000, those priced under $5,000 / £5,000 and money no object options. But if you find those price tags hard to swallow, check out our guide to the best cheap road bikes which we've ridden.

The road bike sector is more nuanced than it's ever been, with frame materials, aero features, wheel construction and tyre width all offering loads of choice. The rise of the gravel bike offers a machine that you can ride on the road but that you can also take on tracks and trails, giving you more choice in where you ride. 

Fortunately we've tested hundreds of road bikes at Cycling Weekly, enabling us to better help you navigate an increasingly busy and competitive marketplace, and ultimately find the road bike of your dreams. 

Here are our picks of the best road bikes at a variety of different price points. 

Best road bikes

Best road bikes we’ve tested at Cycling Weekly

Best road bikes under $2,000 / £2,000

Best Road Bikes Specialized Allez

(Image credit: Specialized )
Best road bike for those on a budget

Specifications

Frame: Specialized E5 Premium alloy
Groupset: Shimano Claris
Wheels: Axis Sport alloy
Weight: 9.4kg / 20.7lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Quality aluminium frame
+
Full carbon fork
+
Stable & assured ride

Reasons to avoid

-
Big jumps between gears
-
Budget brakes

Specialized’s budget road bike has a lightweight frame and all-carbon fork, with cables routed internally. The geometry was designed using Specialized's huge bike fit database, for a fairly upright ride position and a fit that's comfortable for many riders. There's room for mudguards and a rack, so we reckon it has the versatility to serve duty as either a first road bike, a winter bike or even a bike for commuting.

The Axis Sport wheels are on the heavy side though and the Tektro rim brakes aren’t the most effective, but nevertheless the ride quality and sporty feel are up there with much pricier bikes. The weight does hold you back a bit on the climbs though, despite the range down to less than 1:1 offered by the Shimano Claris 8-speed groupset, which shares a lot of the ergonomics of Shimano's top spec Dura-Ace. That range spread over eight speeds does result in some quite large jumps between gear ratios though.

A wheelset upgrade would significantly improve performance, while the bike would also benefit from an upgrade as well. But all in all it's an impressive package for the price, making the Allez very competitive against the other best cheap road bikes we've reviewed.

Read more: Specialized Allez full review

Best road bikes Boardman SLR 8.9

(Image credit: Boardman)
Best road bike for outstanding value

Specifications

Frame: SLR 8.9 carbon
Groupset: Shimano 105
Wheels: Boardman SLR tubeless-ready
Weight: 8.9kg / 19.6lb

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight - under 9kg
+
Carbon frameset that's worthy of upgrades
+
Well-specced at this price point
+
Beautifully balanced ride quality

Reasons to avoid

-
Narrow tyre clearance

For £1,100 the Boardman SLR 8.9 delivers a lot of bike for the money. You get an aero carbon frame and forks that have been wind tunnel tested, as well as Shimano's reliable 11-speed 105 groupset (albeit with a FSA crankset). The result is a bike that's lighter than its rivals. On test our size small weighed 8.75kg.

The ride is exceptional; responsive with just enough compliance. It's also a frame that's worthy of a few upgrades over time, making the SLR 8.9 a bike that can grow with you. The bike is available in men's and women's variants, with the difference being in the contact points fitted to the same frame. In all but the wettest conditions, the rim brakes work well and they're a worth trade-off on a bike at this price that boasts a carbon aero frame.

Read more: Boardman SLR 8.9 full review

Best Road Bikes Giant Contend SL1

(Image credit: Giant)
Best endurance road bike on a budget

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.

There’s bags of low gearing, down to 1:1, to tackle uphills and Shimano 105 gives you quality shifting, although the rather heavy weight doesn’t make for sprightly performance. It's a good value proposition for its price though.

Read more: Full review of the Giant Contend

Best road bikes Van Rysel Ultra CF

(Image credit: Decathlon)
Best road bike for rim brake fans

Specifications

Frame: Ultra Evo Dynamic carbon
Groupset: Shimano 105
Wheels: Aero 700 2024 BTWIN alloy
Weight: 8.3kg / 18.3lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Great value with carbon frameset and 105
+
Comfortable ride
+
Striking looks

Reasons to avoid

-
Rim brake only

Decathlon’s in-house Van Rysel brand offers great value in the Shimano 105-equipped Ultra CF. You get a carbon frameset with aero flourishes and decent alloy wheels that give stable handling and good braking from the in-series rim brakes - it's one of the few bikes that still uses rim stoppers, although Decathlon is progressively equipping its range with disc brakes. It’s not particularly light, although a wheel upgrade would definitely up performance and lower weight.

The Ultra CF is available with a range of groupset options from both Shimano and Campagnolo, so you can pick a spec to match your budget and there are men's and women's versions.

Read more: Full review of the Van Rysel Ultra CF

Best road bikes under $5,000 / £5,000

Best road bikes Cannondale CAAD13 Disc

(Image credit: Cannondale)
Best affordable race-ready road bike

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 got long and low geometry based on that of the pro-level carbon SuperSix, with aero tube profiles leading to handling which is second to none. Priced low enough to be a first bike it's a frame that you won't outgrow.

At this price point, you get a Shimano 105 hydraulic groupset with a RS510 crank set. The wheels have had a slight upgrade for 2022, so you're now getting DT Swiss R470 rims with the Formula hubs. 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: Full review of the Cannondale CAAD13 Disc here

Best Road Bikes Liv Langma Advanced Pro 1 Disc

(Image credit: Liv)
Best women's specific road bike

Specifications

Frame: Advanced-Grade carbon composite
Groupset: Shimano Ultegra 8000
Wheels: Giant SLR-2
Weight: 7.6kg / 16.8kg

Reasons to buy

+
Exceptional ride - stiff front end yet compliant
+
Lighter than many of its rivals
+
Crank-based power meter included

Reasons to avoid

-
Wide spread on gearing for a race bike
-
Could benefit from deeper section rims

The Liv Langma Advanced Pro 1 Disc has received significant upgrades for 2022. The women-specific, race-ready frameset now has a stiffer front end thanks to the upgraded SL fork. There's also room for 32mm tyres making it pretty future proof too as tyres continue to get wider. Incredibly for a bike costing under £4,000, you also get a power meter courtesy of the Giant PowerPro crankset.

As for the ride, it's stiff yet compliant and the Liv both climbs and descends with confidence. On test our gripes were minor: big jumps between gears thanks to the 11-30 cassette and rims that lacked some depth. However, both of these are subjective. 

Read more: Full review of the Liv Langma Advanced Pro 1 Disc

Best road bikes Trek Emonda ALR 5

(Image credit: Trek)
Best lightweight aluminium road bike

Specifications

Frame: Ultralight 300 Series Alpha Aluminium
Groupset: Shimano 105
Wheels: Bontrager Affinity Disc alloy
Weight: 7.8kg / 17.2lbs (52cm)

Reasons to buy

+
Great looks, similar to a carbon frame
+
Low weight for an aluminium bike, under 8kg
+
Comfortable ride suited to long hilly days in the saddle

Reasons to avoid

-
Handling not the sharpest

The sub-8kg (17.6lbs) weight is impressive for an aluminium disc brake bike at this price, better than many carbon bikes, while Trek’s Invisible Weld Technology makes for smooth welds that look like carbon too. The bike rides more like a carbon bike than alloy as well.

The lightweight Emonda gives you great braking from its Shimano 105 disc brake groupset and plenty of comfort, thanks to its 28mm tyres, carbon seatpost and comfort-oriented ride position.

It's available in a really wide range of sizes, from 47cm all the way up to 64cm. There are some great colours too.

Read more: Trek Emonda ALR 5 full review

Best road bikes Ribble Endurance SLR Disc

(Image credit: Ribble)
Best road bike for custom builds

Specifications

Frame: Ribble T1000/T800 Carbon Monocoque
Groupset: SRAM Red eTap AXS
Wheels: Mavic Cosmic Carbon
Weight: 7.6kg / 16.8lb (54cm)

Reasons to buy

+
Fantastic spec for the price
+
Great 'all-rounder' blending aero properties with comfort 
+
Sharp looks with plenty of colour options

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavier than some of its rivals at 7.6kg

As a direct to consumer brand Ribble is able to deliver great value for money. The Endurance SL R Disc is the perfect example of this, with our Red eTap AXS-equipped model costing just a little over £6,500. However, as with all Ribble framesets you can use its bike builder to create the machine of your dreams - and, importantly, your budget.

The Endurance SL R Disc is a great all-rounder, benefiting from a few aero tweaks and an integrated cockpit while still being agile and compliant. On test it proved to be quick but still capable of delivering all-day comfort. The only downside, perhaps, is the weight when compared to some of its rivals. 

Read more: Full review of the Ribble Endurance SL R Disc

Best road bikes over $5,000 / £5,000

Best road bikes Pearson HammerandTongs

(Image credit: Phil Sowels/Cycling Weekly)
Best fast endurance bike

Specifications

Frameset: Pearson high modulus carbon
Groupset: Shimano Ultegra Di2
Wheels: Pearson Hoopdrive Tooth and Nails
Weight: 8.2kg / 18.0lb

Reasons to buy

+
Great ride quality
+
Aero design
+
Room for wide tyres

Reasons to avoid

-
Fairly pricy for the spec

Coming from the oldest bike shop in the world - established in 1860 - the Pearson HammerAndTongs is nevertheless an endurance bike that's bang up to date, with an aero frame design and plenty of tyre clearance for 32mm wide tyres and more.

As with most endurance bikes, the front end is a little higher than you'll find on racier models, but otherwise the geometry is designed for fast riding, with a short wheelbase and steep seat tube angle. We liked the front end integration and the narrow aero carbon bars. 

The HammerAndTongs was a fast ride too, although we found the wheelset a little twitchy in a strongish crosswind. It's an impressive performance from a small bike brand.

Read more: Full review of the Pearson HammerAndTongs

Merida Scultura Team road bike

(Image credit: Merida)
Best aero climbing road bike

Specifications

Frameset: Scultura CF5 V
Groupset: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9200
Wheels: Metron 45 SL Clincher TL disc
Weight: 7.1kg / 15.7lb

Reasons to buy

+
Great all-rounder
+
Good value for a World Tour spec bike - RRP of £7,750 / US$10,700

Reasons to avoid

-
Wheels feel a bit twitchy in crosswinds

The Merida Scultura Team road bike has seen a few updates for 2022. Now in it's fifth generation it's adopted some aerodynamic properties from the brand's Reacto aero bike, including boxy tubing, dropped seatstays and a fully integrated cockpit. The result, Merida claims, is a few watts saved. 

However, this being a high-end all-rounder it's perfectly comfortable too, with tyre clearance now at 30mm. And as a bike that began life as a climbing machine it's still lightweight - in fact it's a little lighter than the previous model by just under 50 grams.

On test we found it to be a fun ride. With the benefits of both an aero bike and a lightweight climbing bike it balances speed and agility to create a bike that's responsive and assured. The new Dura-Ace is worthy of mention too, with improved braking to go alongside the reliability and performance you'd expect from this top-tier electronic groupset.

Read more: Full review of the Merida Scultura Team

Best Road Bikes Cervélo R5 Disc Force eTap AXS

(Image credit: Cervelo)
Best road bike for all-round handling

Specifications

Frame: Cervélo R5 carbon
Groupset: SRAM Force eTap AXS
Wheels: Reserve 34/37 tubeless ready
Weight: 7.4kg / 16.3lb

Reasons to buy

+
Perfectly balanced handling
+
Plush ride, especially at the rear
+
Traditional looks

Reasons to avoid

-
High cost - £8,999/US$8,400

The R5 is Cervélo's race-ready climbing bike. In fact it's the bike that helped Primoz Roglic to his third straight Vuelta title in 2021. As you'd expect then it's lightweight and climbs like a dream. But it also offers a supreme balance of stiffness and compliance, making it quick, agile yet perfectly comfortable too. For a bike that's built to go uphill, it descends incredibly well, providing plenty of confidence at speed.

The R5 comes in a number of high-end build options including those featuring Shimano and SRAM's top-tier electronic groupsets, Dura-Ace Di2 and Red eTap AXS respectively. 

Read more: Full review of the Cervélo R5 Disc

Best road bikes Cannondale SystemSix

(Image credit: Cannondale)
Best aero road bike for compliance

Specifications

Frame: SystemSix carbon
Groupset: Shimano Ultegra Di2
Wheels: Cannondale Knot 64 carbon
Weight: 7.6kg / 16.8lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Compliant for an aero bike
+
Responsive handling
+
Visual striking 

Reasons to avoid

-
Low spec tyres at this price point

Cannondale’s aero race bike gives you top-notch aero features and aggressive looks. It’s still comfortable enough for the usual mixed bag of road surfaces though. That’s in part due to the extra-wide Knot 64 aero carbon wheels, which increase tyre width of the 23mm tyres fitted up to 26mm. As for the tyres, the bike comes fitted with Vittoria Rubino Pro in a 25mm width and an upgrade should help add a little more plushness to the ride.

At 7.6kg (16.8lbs), the SystemSix is adequately light, although not class-leading.

Read more: Full review of the Cannondale SystemSix Carbon Ul