Best Entry Level Road Bike

When it comes to finding the best entry level road bike there a few things to consider. Since cycling may be new you may want to keep a budget at the top of your list. However, it’s difficult to understand being newer to cycling on what you’re looking at and whether you’re getting a great value or not. That said, we have compiled a list of what to look for when finding the best entry level road bike and some of our top picks.

What To Look For In The Best Entry Level Road Bike –

When it comes to finding the best road bike you need to pay attention to a few details to ensure you get the right bike. However, if you’re new and unsure of what you’re looking for you may not know what to look for. As a result, we have put together the top bike parts and components to look for in order to get the best value.

Road Bike Frame –

best entry level road bikeThere are two main things to keep in mind when looking at a road bike frame; construction and material. When it comes to entry level road bikes you’re going to find that the most common material is aluminum alloys. Typically, aluminum alloys have a lower density making them lightweight and extremely strong. Of course, higher end bikes will be made of carbon fiber frames. Which is an even stronger and lightweight material made for speed and performance? However, it’s not common to find in an entry level bike due to the cost to construct it.

Since aluminum is going to be the most common frame choice for an entry level bike. It’s always nice to pay attention to the construction details. What I mean by that is aluminum frames are typically TIG welded at the joints. Some manufacturers will sand and smooth the lines and welds providing a more aesthetic appeal. Whereas, others may not, not that any style is weaker or stronger. Instead, it’s details like this that pave the way to finding the best entry level road bike.

Road Bike Components –

best entry level road bikeA road bike wouldn’t be much fun if it wasn’t for its components or groupset. This is commonly referred to as the drivetrain, shifters, and brakes. Without these, a bike is basically useless. Now from a new cyclists eye, it would seem they all look and function the same. However, there is a large spectrum of choices based on price, weight, and technology. Let’s start with the high-end first, of course, they cost quite a bit more.

But it’s usually due to the fact that they are lighter and again made of aluminum alloys and carbon fiber. Some of the higher end groupsets are even electronic meaning that instead of a mechanical shift they use a battery pack to create a push-button shift. As you can see these are built for higher-end races and riders. Typically groupsets of this caliber can be found costing more than a complete entry level bike.

As for an entry-level groupset, these are going to perform quite well and if you’ve never owned or ridden with a high-end groupset you won’t notice the difference. Typically there are many models to choose from as for entry-level groupsets. If you’re looking at Shimano these would be Claris, Sora, Tiagra, and 105. If you’re looking for a bike equipped with Sram these would be Apex or Rival. What you want to try and find is a bike that uses a complete groupset. Some manufacturers will try and decrease the cost by using a cheaper crankset.

Road Bike Wheels –

It’s where the rubber meets the road, wheels! These are important, but there are fewer options when it comes to wheelsets for entry level bikes. A lot of times manufactures select wheelsets that are durable and strong. They may not be the lightest, but they will be the most forgiving when it comes to all types of road terrain. It’s best to consider a quality rim, but in many cases, you more than likely won’t have a choice from the factory on a wheelset.

best entry level road bike

Road Bike Pedals –

The last thing to consider is a set of road bike pedals. Now all bikes entry-level or high-end will come with factory non-clip-in pedals. These are typically inexpensive plastic pedals. If you’re not confident you want to try clip in pedals you will be all set with the factory ones. That said, you won’t be able to grab the performance and efficiency of a pedal that isn’t fixed to your feet. That is why having a set of pedals and road shoes is a great addition to any entry level road bike.

Best Entry Level Road Bike – Trek Domane AL2

best entry level road bikeFrame – Aluminum
Sizes – 47, 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60, 62
Color – Matte Black & Blue
Groupset – Shimano Claris

Trek is one of the leading manufactures for making high-quality road bikes. That said, Trek has incorporated a lot of their innovative racing and endurance designs into the Domane AL 2. This bike is a great combination of comfort and performance. As a result, it’s exactly why we selected it as the best entry level road bike option from Trek.

Details –

Trek built the Domane AL 2 to accommodate all kinds of riders. From entry-level racers to entry-level endurance riders looking to attach plenty of cargo equipment.

Best Entry Level Road Bike – Giant Content 1

best entry level road bikeFrame – Aluminum
Sizes – S, M, M/L, L, XL
Color – Blue/Black, Charcoal/ Orange
Groupset – Shimano Sora

The Giant Contender 1 is a great bike for the new cyclist looking to jump into the sport head first. It’s built for comfort, yet it still boasts performance and endurance-oriented body position. As a result, you get a bike that allows you to ride on weekends for training and joy-rides, yet aggressive enough to respond to an entry level race or triathlon even. Constructed in Giant’s leading aluminum forging facility it has a frame that is designed to handle bumps and road cracks for many years to come.

Details –

The Giant Contender is a bike that makes it easy for an aspiring cyclist to enjoy the aspect of the open road. As the bike was constructed with Giant’s ALUXX lightweight 6061 aluminum alloy which provides speed and performance. However, the geometry is made to still provide a rider with an endurance ride. What allows the Contender to handle such performance for an entry rider is their overdrive technology. This gives the bike an oversized steer tube for added control.

This bike is a great bike that comes in under $1,000 which is pretty surprising considering the groupset is a full Sora and the bike is equipped with such performance. If you’re in search of the best entry level road bike, the Giant Contender is by far our number one pick. All you need is a new helmet, a set of cycling clothes, and a route to ride.

Best Entry Level Road Bike – Raleigh Merit 2

Frame – Aluminum
Sizes – 52cm, 54cm, 56cm, 58cm, 60cm, 62cm
Color – Red/White
Groupset – Shimano Claris

The Raleigh Merit 2 is the best entry level road bike for anyone looking to own a bike that you won’t grow out of. Designed for speed and endurance the Merit 2 is going to be a beginner bike, but it gives you a bike that can easily be the mid-level bike you’re looking for.

However, don’t be alarmed the Merit 2 still offers responsive control, superior stopping, and wider tires for additional stability. That said, you have a bike that can help any newer rider feel in control and safe.

Details –

For the Merit 2 Raleigh designed this bike to be a great all-around bike. The frame is made of 6061 lightweight aluminum making to extremely fast and light. Matched with Shimano Claris 8 speed shifter system, the bike offers plenty of range for climbing or descents. One of the most unique design features Raleigh choose to incorporate on the Merit 2, is the disc brakes. If you’re unsure of your reactions to braking being a new rider, disc brakes are going to be the quick responsiveness you need. Therefore, no matter the conditions rain, snow, or sunshine, the Merit 2 will stop.

When it comes to finding the best entry level road bike that offers just a few more features than the rest. The Merit 2 is hands down the winner, it’s hard to find another entry level road bike that can match it’s design features and specs.

Best Entry Level Road Bike – Felt VR60

Frame – Aluminum
Sizes – 43cm, 47cm, 51cm, 54cm, 56cm, 58cm, 61cm
Color – Blue
Groupset – Shimano Claris

When looking for a bike manufacturer that is filled with innovative and passionate members. Felt is by far one of the best, founded in California in 1991, it’s lived up to being one of the most innovative companies that have not lost its fingerprint. Felt strives to create the absolute best bikes for every level of rider.

That said, their best entry level road bike is the Felt VR60. Built for performance and endurance it matches the needs of so many entry-level riders.

Details –

I can’t lie my first ever road bike was a Felt bike, and I still own that one today. Felt serves to be one of the best offerings for entry-level riders, yet their entry bikes offer plenty of intermediate and advanced options for riders. That said, the VR60 has a full aluminum frame with a carbon fork system. This provides the rider with lightweight performance and plenty of stability.The VR60 is equipped with Shimano’s new Claris complete groupset that gives it top shifting for mastering any hill or open road.

Similar to the Raliegh Merit 2, Felt offers the VR60 with disc brakes to give entry level riders the responsiveness they need. This way no matter the road conditions or the weather you’ll have the braking power you need as a rider. Disc brakes are becoming a lot more common in road bikes, they may be a little heavier compared to a typical set, but they offer great performance.

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