Best road bikes under £1,500 or $2,000 in 2022

The best road bikes under £1,500 / $2,000 offer value for money without sacrificing on performance

Best bikes under £1500 / $2000
(Image credit: Future)

The best road bikes under £1,500, or $2,000 in the US, will give you a nice ride without causing too much strain on your wallet.

There's been a lot of bike price inflation over the last couple of years, so whereas £1,000 (or $1,500) used to be a good entry point for the best road bikes a few years ago, the best road bikes under £1000 now often come with entry level specs. If your budget can stretch to the best road bikes under £1,500 / $2,000 you can expect a significantly higher spec both in the frame and the components. 

In this price range, you're often picking up a frame that shares the characteristics of a more expensive bike, but with a lower end groupset and wheels to bring down the price. You'll usually now get disc brakes too, in place of rim brakes. Later on, the best bike upgrades can transform your ride.

Check out as well our guide to the best road bikes under £2,000 / $2,500 if your budget has a little leeway, while if you're looking for something basic, maybe for all-weather commuting duties, the best road bikes under £500 or the best fitness hybrid bikes may serve. There are also great options among the best women’s road bikes if you want a bike that's sized and specced specifically for women riders.

The best road bikes under £1,500 or $2,000

Trek Domane ALR

(Image credit: Trek)

Trek Domane AL 4 Disc Road Bike

Specifications

Frame: 100 Series Alpha Aluminium, carbon fork
Groupset: Shimano Tiagra 10-speed hydraulic disc
Gear ratios: 50/34t, 11-34t
Wheels: Bontrager Affinity Disc, Tubeless Ready
Weight: 10.48 kg / 23.11 lb (Size 56, claimed)

Reasons to buy

+
Looks
+
Tyre clearance for 35mm tyres
+
Hydraulic disc brakes

Reasons to avoid

-
Handling not as sharp as rivals

The Trek Domane is the brand's endurance bike. Made from Trek's lightweight aluminium, it has a carbon fork, although not with the hidden welds of the brand's Emonda.

It comes kitted out with a Shimano Tiagra groupset. Although you only get ten speeds, it has plenty of gear range thanks to the 11-34 tooth cassette along with the 50/34t chainset. Plus you get hydraulic disc brakes, so there's plenty of stopping power.

The wheels are from Trek's Bontrager component brand and are tubeless ready, although you'd have to upgrade the 32mm wide wire bead tyres if you wanted t set up tubeless. But with the tyres' width, the ride should be comfortable.

The frame has plenty of clearance and fender mounts too, so you can fit mudguards or even wider 35mm tyres if you want.

At 10.5kg / 23lb, the Domane AL 4 isn't too heavy, although you can save some weight with the slightly more expensive alloy Emonda ALR.

Cannondale Synapse alloy

(Image credit: Cannondale)

Cannondale Synapse 1

Specifications

Frame: SmartForm C2 Alloy, carbon fork
Groupset: Shimano Tiagra 10-speed hydraulic disc brake
Gear ratios: 50/34t, 11-34t
Wheels: RD 3.1 on Formula hubs
Weight: Not specified

Reasons to buy

+
Sprightly handling
+
Great at reducing road buzz
+
Solid spec
+
Good value

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavy wheels

The extensive Cannondale Synapse range heads up towards superbike territory with high modulus carbon, flashy wheels and expensive groupsets. But look lower down and there are quality alloy options.

Cannondale has a reputation for well made, responsive alloy frames and the Synapse has its endurance geometry and SAVE microsuspension system in the frame, along with an all-carbon fork.

We've not ridden the alloy bike, but the pricier carbon Synapse we tested had great ride quality and sharp handling, with a sprightly response to rider input.

The Synapse 1 comes with a 10-speed Shimano Tiagra groupset with wide range and in-spec hydraulic disc brakes. Like the Trek Domane, it does break the budget at full price, but the Synapse Tiagra comes comfortably below the £1500/$2000 mark, with the main difference being Promax mechanical disc brakes instead of hydraulic.

Best road bikes under £1500

(Image credit: Ribble)

Specifications

Frame: CGR AL Aluminium, carbon fork
Groupset: Shimano 105 11-speed hydraulic disc brake
Gear ratios: 50/34t, 11-32t
Wheels: Mavic Aksium 19 DCL
Weight: Not specified

Reasons to buy

+
Looks
+
Versatility
+
Robustness
+
Handling

Reasons to avoid

-
Handlebar shape

The incredibly versatile Ribble CGR AL  is a do-it-all bike and is available in multiple builds levels, both road and gravel-oriented. The Enthusiast Build with Shimano 105 with Mavic Askium wheelset and Schwalbe G-One 40c tyres comes complete with mudguards (fenders in the US), ideal for British riding whatever the weather.

Capable of hitting tarmac or the trails, the aluminium framed bike delivers an agile and comfortable ride, but is robust enough to deal with off road life.

It's a great bike for the price and is pretty close to the one bike for all occasions, although it does break the target price barrier. 

But with the Ribble bike builder there's the option to spec it with SRAM Apex, a Shimano GRX 400 gravel groupset or Shimano Tiagra, all of which bring the price down under the £1500 / $2000 mark and which all still give you disc brakes, although on the Tiagra spec they're mechanical. The bike builder also lets you customise other components like bars and saddles and even the frame colour.

Buying from a direct sales brand, as with Decathlon and Canyon, gives you a significant discount over brands like Trek and Specialized which sell via dealers, although you don't have the same luxury of being able to try before you buy. In the UK Ribble does operate a few showrooms though.

Vitus Zenium CR

(Image credit: Vitus)

Vitus Zenium CR

Specifications

Frame: Zenium Carbon, T700 UD Carbon, carbon fork
Groupset: Shimano 105 11-speed hydraulic disc brake
Gear ratios: 50/34t, 11-32t
Wheels: Vitus Shining, DB-X21
Weight: 9.1kg / 20lb

Reasons to buy

+
Carbon frame, fork and seatpost
+
Full Shimano 105 groupset

Reasons to avoid

-
Tyres may need an upgrade

Sold through Wiggle and Chain Reaction Cycles, Vitus bikes offer really good specs for your money.

Case in point the Zenium CR. This is the only bike here with a carbon frame and also comes with a full Shimano 105 hydraulic disc brake groupset. There's even a carbon seatpost.

The Zenium CR's alloy wheels are shod with Kenda 28mm tyres and there's space to up that to 32mm. Although you can't fit bolt-on mudguards to the frame, the fork has mudguard fixing points. There's a women's version available too with smaller frame sizes or you can upspec to Shimano Ultegra for a litle more cash.

Marin Gestalt 2

(Image credit: Marin)

Marin Gestalt 2

Specifications

Frame: Series 3 Beyond Road, 6061 Aluminium, carbon fork
Groupset: Shimano Tiagra 10-speed mechanical disc brakes
Gear ratios: 50/34t, 11-34t
Wheels: Marin aluminium
Weight: Not specified

Reasons to buy

+
Plenty of tyre clearance
+
Wide gear range

Reasons to avoid

-
Mechanical rather than hydraulic disc brakes

Designed for the long distance commuter and tourer, but also for the rider who wants to stray a bit off road, the Marin Gestalt 2 comes with WTB Exposure Comp 32mm tyres, although it can handle 35mm rubber. 

They're a semi-slick tyre, which might serve on drier, easier paths but you'd want to change up to more serious gravel tyres if you wanted to head off-road in the winter or on trickier terrain.

Like many bikes at this price point, there's a Shimano Tiagra 10-speed groupset. It's an option that gives you plenty of range, down to 1:1, and so helps you on steeper ascents and tricky off-road rides.

The mechanical disc brakes provide plenty of all-weather stopping power, but step up to the Gestalt 2.5 spec and you get full Shimano Tiagra hydralic disc brakes rather than the out-of-series Tektro dual piston calipers fitted to the 2 spec. There are also cheaper specs in  the Gestalt range.

Van Rysel EDR

(Image credit: Decathlon)

Van Rysel EDR road bike

Specifications

Frame: 100 Series Alpha Aluminium, carbon fork
Groupset: Shimano Ultegra 11-speed rim brake
Gear ratios: 50/34t, 11-32t
Wheels: Fulcrum Racing 500
Weight: 8.6 kg / 19.0 lb (Size M, claimed)

Reasons to buy

+
High groupset spec for the price
+
Quality name brand wheels and tyres
+
Lightweight

Reasons to avoid

-
Rim brakes rather than disc
-
External cabling can lead to poor shifting

At a price point where many brands, including Trek and Specialized equip their bikes with 10-speed Shimano Tiagra, Decathlon's Van Rysel brand offers 11-speed Ultegra, two notches up the Shimano road bike groupset hierarchy, It is the rim brake version of the groupset, but nevertheless it's impressive.

The EDR gets an alloy frame with a fork with carbon legs and an alloy steerer and is equipped with name brand Fulcrum wheels and Hutchinson Fusion 5 tyres - again high spec options at this price. 

The EDR has external cabling for the gear cables, something of a double edged sword. It makes for easy maintenance, but increases the likelihood of contamination, which can result in poor shifting performance.

The combination of rim brakes and quality components brings the Van Rysel EDR's claimed weight down to just 8.6kg which again is very competitive for the price. You can shave even more off your purchase cost by opting for the Shimano 105 spec.

Giant Contend Sl Disc 2

(Image credit: Giant)

Specifications

Frame: ALUXX SL-Grade Aluminium, carbon fork
Groupset: Shimano Tiagra 10-speed hydraulic disc
Gear ratios: 50/34t, 11-34t
Wheels: Giant S-R2 Disc, Tubeless Ready
Weight: Not specified

Reasons to buy

+
Full Tiagra hydraulic groupset
+
Plenty of tyre clearance
+
D-shaped carbon seatpost to help smooth the road

Reasons to avoid

-
Compact geometry not to everyone's taste

The Giant Contend SL Disc 2 is Giant's alloy endurance bike with Giant's signature compact road geometry, with its sloping frame designed to give you a more rigid, lighter bike. There's also Giant's D-shaped carbon fibre seatpost, which the brand says helps to dissipate road vibrations for a more comfortable ride.

It comes with a full Shimano Tiagra 10-speed groupset with hydraulic disc brakes and plenty of gear range, down to 1:1. For a little more, the Contend SL Disc 1 is equipped with a Shimano 105 hydraulic groupset.

The bike comes specced with Giant's own 28mm tyres, but there's plenty of room to head up to 34mm rubber if you want extra comfort or grip, so like the Ribble CGR AL it's a bike that you can kit out for gravel riding as well as on-road outings.

We've previously reviewed the Giant Contend SL1 in its rim brake form, selecting it for our Editor's Choice awards for its quality ride feel and handling. That bike spec too has now gone disc brake.

Canyon Endurace 6

(Image credit: Canyon)

Specifications

Frame: Endurace AL Disc alloy, carbon fork
Groupset: Shimano Tiagra 10-speed hydraulic disc brake
Gear ratios: 50/34t, 11-34t
Wheels: Fulcrum Racing 900 DB
Weight: 9.44kg / 20.8lb

Reasons to buy

+
Ride quality
+
32mm tyres and disc brakes
+
Planted, assured handling
+
Confidence inspiring
+
Healthy weight

Reasons to avoid

-
Nothing much!

We reviewed the Endurace AL 7 model a while back. Equipped with a Shimano 105 hydraulic disc brake groupset, it still remains a great option if your budget will stretch a  little further. 

The Endurace AL comes with an aluminium frame and carbon fork and seat post combo. The alloy frame does help keep the overall package price down, but not the enjoyment thanks to the use of Canyon's top spec material which yields a low weight for a disc equipped bike.

The geometry is labelled 'sport' - but as the model name would suggest, endurance is the focus. Don't let that make you think that the nippy ride quality is sacrificed though.

As with the Cannondale and the Trek you get a Shimano Tiagra 10-speed hydraulic disc brake groupset. There's gearing down to 1:1 to help you up hills and a decent Fulcrum wheelset.

All-in-all Canyon, as with all its bikes, offers you excellent value with the Endurace alloy bikes. 

best bikes under 1500

Specifications

Frame: E5 Premium Aluminium, carbon fork
Groupset: SRAM Rival 11-speed rim brake
Gear ratios: 50/34t, 11-32t
Wheels: DT Swiss R460
Weight: Not specified

Reasons to buy

+
Superb quality frame
+
Confident and stable ride
+
Full carbon fork

Reasons to avoid

-
Budget brakes
-
Sluggish wheels

We rate the lowest spec Allez so highly that it's one of our best road bikes - regardless of price. Further up the Allez tree, the Allez Elite ups the spec on the excellent alloy frame with internal cable routing and an all-carbon fork.

You get a SRAM Rival 22 groupset - a rarer choice than Shimano but which still gives you excellent shifting. Unlike the Trek Domane, you are getting a bike with rim brakes rather than disc brakes, but the DT Swiss wheels, in place of the lower spec own brand offering on the Allez, should sort our one gripe with the Allez, its rather ponderous wheels.

We really liked the handling of the lower spec Allez's lightweight alloy frame, with its all-carbon fork. The internal cable routing is a bonus, protecting the cabling from the weather and adding to the bike's quality looks. With 11 speeds down to a 34x32 lowest gear, there's plenty of range for whatever the road throws at you.

Specialized's own brand components tend to be good quality, so you can expect a comfortable ride from the Body Geometry Bridge saddle.

What to consider when buying a sub-£1500 road bike

What frame material should I expect in a bike under £1500 / $2000?

Time was you could get a carbon framed road bike at this price point. Now, with a few exceptions, you'll find an alloy frameset. 

That's not necessarily a bad thing. A quality alloy frame - which at this price point you should expect - can be better than a budget carbon frameset and manufacturers have years of experience of building lightweight, robust alloy frames. In fact a high end alloy frame can be lighter and stronger than a low priced carbon frame, due to the lower cost of manufacturing allowing better materials to be used.

You'll almost always get a full carbon fork too, which is a feature that helps alleviate road chatter for a more comfortable ride.

What groupsets are normally fitted to road bikes under £1500 / $2000?

There's quite a mix of groupsets around this price point. As a minimum you should expect 10-speed Shimano Tiagra. With disc brakes taking over, you may get in-series hydraulic disc brakes or third party hydraulic or mechanical disc brake calipers.

If you go for rim brakes, the cheaper price of the groupset should mean that you get a higher spec like 11-speed Shimano 105 or even Ultegra. Some direct sales brands will even manage to squeeze the hydraulic disc versions onto their bikes at this price.

What wheels can I expect on a road bike under £1500 / $2000?

Wheels are somewhere, along with components like handlebars and saddles, where bike makers look to economise to hit a price point. You may get a decent set of name brand wheels from the likes of Mavic or Fulcrum. 

In other cases wheels will be own brand. There's a lot of variability in quality and the wheels may or may not be tubeless ready. Giant's wheels, for example, tend to be well made and the match of name brands.

Once you've used your bike for a while, it's worth considering a wheelset upgrade. The best road bike wheels don't have to cost a fortune (although they can), but may dramatically improve the quality of your riding experience. Even fitting the best road bike tyres can instantly improve your ride over budget stock tyres.

What road bike geometry do I need?

The number one question to ask yourself when looking for the best road bike under £1500 / $2000 is 'what do I want this bike for?'

If you know that all-day adventures or long distance sportives 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 longer reach, so you're in a lower, more racy position.

If you're just getting into cycling then a happy medium is a sensible idea, giving you the opportunity to grow in either direction.

Where should I look for a road bike under £1500 / $2000?

It's always 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. On the other hand, if you buy direct you'll usually get a better spec for your money.

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). It's a nice-to-have feature to look out for.

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