While those $10,000 steeds are plenty awesome and worth drooling over, if you’re looking for more bang for your buck, these ten road bikes priced under $1,500 offer plenty of bike for those of us not part of the pro peloton.
Specialized Allez E5 Sport$970 1 of 11
While the Allez E5 Sport's low weight or low-priced Shimano Sora components won't floor you, it is perhaps the most comfortable and best handling bike you'll find in this group.
The aluminum frame evens out the harshness of rough roads surprisingly well thanks to clever geometry and a very wide wheel. The E5 is also a well-balanced bike, which makes handling easy for beginners and fun to ride on technical descents.
If you're interested in racing, this probably isn't the best option due to its overall weight and lack of responsiveness on climbs. However, if you want a great bike for training or the occasional weekend group ride, this is about as good as it's going to get.
Cannondale Synapse Disc Tiagra$1,250 2 of 11
The Shimano Tiagra/FSA component mix makes the Synapse Disc plenty capable of handling the occasional Gran Fondo or century ride. The disc brakes are a nice inclusion and offer better performance than rim brakes at the same price point. Additionally, the discs will allow you to use a slightly larger tire should you want to upgrade for the occasional dirt or gravel ride.
The overall weight didn't seem to be much of an issue here. The bike's acceleration on climbs and sprints isn't as good as what you'll find on higher-end models, but it won't hold you back, either.
Trek Emonda ALR 5$1,370 3 of 11
If you want a bike that checks all the boxes, the Emonda ALR 5 is a great option. The Emonda's lightweight Alpha aluminum frame and full carbon fork make this a very responsive bike that's plenty capable on steep gradients without sacrificing comfort or durability.
In addition to the impressive frame, the Shimano 105 components and mix of other Bontrager componentry were the best performing of any of the other bikes listed near this price point. The Bontrager rims are also tubeless ready, which gives riders the ability to convert to tubeless tires to decrease rotational weight and add a level of protection against flats. At just $1,370, purchasing the Emonda ALR 5 feels almost like thievery.
Felt Z95 Disc$1,199 4 of 11
The Z95 from Felt is a handsome bike equipped with entry-level disc brakes and Shimano Sora components. The carbon front fork saves a bit of weight and helps offset some of the harshness from the aluminum frame.
Overall, this bike is probably suited to more casual cyclists looking for an endurance bike. The relaxed geometry will put you in a more upright position that isn't quite as fast as some of the other bikes in this group—but it will save your back, neck and shoulders on longer efforts.
Lapierre Audacio 200&780 5 of 11
The Shimano Claris wheels on the Audacio 200 weren't our favorite stock option, but the frame makes up for that lone negative. The steer tube is shorter than what you'll find on many entry-level bikes, which places the rider in a slightly more aggressive position. The shape of the top tube also makes for a well-balanced bike that's fun to ride and handles well when you're going fast.
The Shimano Sora components are a no-thrills option, and a compact crankset with a larger cassette probably would have been a better stock option than the included triple. Because of this, the Audacio is probably one of the better frame options if you're already planning to upgrade the componentry and wheels.
Bianchi Campione$749 6 of 11
If you're looking for something with a bit more old-school flair instead of the usual run of the mill entry-level bike, the Campione from Bianchi is in a class of its own.
While you probably won't be wowed by any singular performance attribute, what you'll get is a bike built to last. The nostalgia of the Campione also makes it a ton of fun to ride, and you'll find it very comfortable for long cruises at lower speeds. The Selle San Marco saddle and gumwall tires were two other nice touches that you won't find on many other stock bikes.
BMC ALR 01 Tiagra$1,399 7 of 11
The taller head tube and wider wheelbase of the BMC ALR 01 are great for comfort, but where the bike shines is in its ability to accelerate. Asymmetrical chainstays and the oversized downtube provide a slightly stiff ride that responds well when you decide to go all out.
These qualities combined with a reasonable 1,295-gram frame weight makes this another good option for those seeking a ride on the racing/fun ride end of the spectrum. The bike comes stock with Shimano Tiagra components, which is an upgrade in terms of performance from other bikes in this lineup that feature the slightly less impressive Shimano Sora.
Pinarello Neor Tiagra$1,500 8 of 11
In terms of components, there isn't much that sets the Pinarello Prima apart from other offerings. Where this bike differs is in the full carbon rear triangle, which adds a good amount of extra comfort on the bike's back end. The carbon front fork does equally well on the front, and the lighter materials combine to decrease overall weight.
The stock option Fulcrum wheels were also a nice surprise and—paired with the stock Vittoria Zaffiro tires—makes for a decent setup that furthers the bike's relatively low overall weight. The geometry is what you'd expect from a traditional racing bike except for a few extra millimeters on the steer tube, which will allow you to get low enough for racing without making your back suffer through the ultra-aggressive position of the pros.
Brompton S1E$1,255 9 of 11
Extremely popular overseas, Brompton is one of the industry leaders in foldable bikes. The S1E is one of their entry-level models, but don't let that fool you. The bike features all the necessary componentry for commuting to and from work—all in a stripped down setup.
We've tried a few different brands, and the Brompton frame folds easier, faster and more compact than their competitors. The single speed setup simplifies the experience as well, and we found the gear ratio to be appropriate for anything we threw at it.
If you want a bike that is practical, efficient and that will turn heads when cruising around town, look no further.
Specialized Vita Comp Disc$1,200 10 of 11
One of the few brands putting significant resources into women's cycling, Specialized has developed a women-specific line of fitness bikes. The Vita Comp Disc is a unique ride, pairing the performance of a road bike with the control of a flat bar setup.
The powerful disc brakes and reliable Shimano Tiagra shifters and derailleurs add to its road pedigree, and the relaxed geometry, Zertz inserts and large tires make the ride more comfortable. Whether you're out exercising or just commuting to work, the Vita Comp Disc offers some of the best value on this list for the price—and the bike is simply fun to ride.