Reviews

Best Road Bicycles (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021

Take your bike riding up a notch with a road bike built for speed.

Entering our 7th season of /DRIVE on NBC Sports, and with millions of YouTube and Facebook followers, The Drive is a leading authority of all things automotive.

The Drive on NBC The Drive on YouTube The Drive on Facebook

The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.

BY Andra DelMonico / LAST UPDATED ON February 26, 2021

You pedal and pedal, trying to keep up with your friends, but they’re always ahead. You’re drenched in sweat, working like crazy, and you can’t seem to get ahead. It isn’t because you’re out of shape. It’s your bicycle. You’re riding the wrong type of bike, and it’s sabotaging your performance. 

 

It’s time to switch out your old bike for a road bike. These lightweight bikes feature aerodynamic frames, thin tires, and high-performance gears. Everything is designed for low resistance rolling, speed, and performance. You’ll be able to keep up or even pass your group and exert less effort doing it. However, there are several types of bicycles within the road bike category, and you’ll need to know what you’re looking for. This guide will help you find the perfect road bike to fulfill your riding desires.

Best Overall
Schwinn Fastback Performance Road Bike
LEARN MORE
Summary
Summary

Fly like the wind on this 700C road bike. It has a bright blue aluminum frame, 28-inch wheels, and 16 speeds.

Pros
Pros
  • Shimano Claris drivetrain and shifters
  • Promax aluminum caliper brakes
Cons
Cons
  • Meant for riders under 5 feet 3 inches in height 
  • Thick and heavy tires
Best Overall
Schwinn Fastback Performance Road Bike
Best Value
Max4out Road Bike
LEARN MORE
Summary
Summary

Feel and look like the pros on this aluminum frame road racing bike. It has 26-inch wheels, 14 speeds, and disc brakes. 

Pros
Pros
  • Ergonomic seat
  • Quick-release front wheel
Cons
Cons
  • 85 percent assembled 
  • Generic parts
Best Value
Max4out Road Bike
Honorable Mention
Outroad Aluminum Alloy Road Bike
LEARN MORE
Summary
Summary

This sleek road bike has 700C wheels, a 14-speed grip shifter, and an aluminum frame. For increased durability, it has a steel fork.

Pros
Pros
  • Long tread life tire
  • Easy assembly
Cons
Cons
  • Feels heavy 
  • Uncomfortable seat
Honorable Mention
Outroad Aluminum Alloy Road Bike
Road Bicycle Close Up
Amazon

Why Trust Us


All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

Learn more

Benefits of Road Bicycles

  • Improved performance. Riding a road bike will give you better performance stats, whether you’re looking to go faster or further. The lighter bike frame and lower resistance tires will help you exert less energy per pedal. This lets you perform better for longer. 
  • Better health. Riding a bicycle improves your physical health. This low-impact cardio activity will get your heart pumping and your blood flowing. It will burn a lot of calories, helping you to stay in better physical shape. 
  • Faster commute. If you’re currently walking to work, riding a bicycle is a faster alternative. A road bike will be comfortable and make your commute better. The smooth-rolling tires and durable frame make it a smart choice. 

Types of Road Bicycles

Racing

These lightweight and stripped-down bikes are designed to go fast. They have a lower front end and put the rider into a lower position to make you and the bike more aerodynamic. The gearing is higher to help you reach faster top speeds with reduced effort. You’ll also enjoy more responsive handling and a stiffer frame. 

Endurance 

If you aren’t concerned with going top speeds but want to bike long distances, then you’ll want an endurance bike. They have a lot of the lightweight benefits that you’ll find in racing bikes. The difference is the increase in comfort. These bikes have a more upright riding position for all-day comfort and reduced lower back strain. It also has a lower gear profile. It won’t help you go fast but will come in handy on the hills.

Commuter

These bikes are the tough workhorses of the road bike world. They’re durable and strong so that they can withstand the daily abuse of your commute. These bikes are heavier, and they aren’t the fastest. However, they have a lot more creature comfort features. They also have sturdier wheels and frames to handle uneven terrain better.

Top Brands

Schwinn

Founded in 1895, Schwinn motorcycles are known throughout the world as reliable and high quality. The company produces innovative and reliable bicycles. It produces several types, including a line of road bikes. The Schwinn Fastback Carbon Road Bike combines quality materials with expert craftsmanship. 

Savadeck

Founded in 2008, Savadeck focuses on manufacturing mid to high-end bicycles. It recruits the world’s top designers to develop performance-minded bicycles. The bikes use top-quality components to ensure impressive performance. The Savadeck Phantom 2.0 Carbon Fiber Road Bike is a high-end bike that will give you the boost in performance you’re looking for. 

Trinx

Founded in 1992, Trinx Bikes are durable and affordable. The company has headquarters in Taiwan, Russia, Iran, and the Philippines. The bikes are shipped worldwide to over 40 countries. If road riding isn’t your thing, then check out the Trinx MTB Men’s Mountain Bike.

Road Bicycle Pricing

  • Under $500: These are affordable, budget-minded bicycles that are perfect for the beginner rider. They use durable and reliable parts, but they may not be brand-name manufacturers. 
  • $500 to $1,500: You’ll find decent quality road bikes in this price range with a few name-brand parts. They’ll come in a variety of types, sizes, and designs. You can easily upgrade parts as you wish. 
  • $1,500 and up: Bicycles at this price are considered high-end with top-quality materials and components. You’ll find innovative features, and specialized professional quality builds. 

Key Features

Frame Material

The design, construction, and material of the frame greatly influence the bike’s overall weight. Quality road bikes have either an aluminum or carbon fiber frame. Both materials are lightweight and corrosion-resistant. Aluminum is heavier than carbon fiber. However, it’s also more durable and affordable. Most people only opt for carbon fiber if they are doing some serious riding or racing. Titanium and steel are also used. Steel is the heaviest material and not ideal for speed or endurance.

Handlebar Style 

You’ll have to choose between a flat bar style and drop handlebars. A flat-bar handlebar looks like a traditional bike and is best if you want a more upright riding position. Drop handlebars will have you leaning forward. This is good for speed and aerodynamics but not great for visibility in traffic or for long distances. The style you choose will depend on your comfort and the type of riding you want to do. 

Size

The right size bike will be comfortable and allow you to perform at your best. The wrong size bike can make the experience miserable and possibly cause injury. The frames are measured in centimeters, but every manufacturer has its definition of small, medium, and large. The right size will correlate with your inside leg length and overall height. It also helps to sit on a few to get just the right fit.

Other Considerations

  • Gears. Road bikes have different gear ratio setups. Most road bikes have two sets of gears, front, and back. The front set will have one, two, or three chainrings. You also need to look at the number of teeth that are on the chainrings. The number of teeth will affect your bike’s performance. Look for a bike with smaller chainrings on the front and larger ones on the back to give you the largest spread of gears.  
  • Accessories. Some road bikes don’t come with pedals, so you’ll need to purchase them separately. You may also want to add a bottle cage for water on the go. You can either budget for buying these separately or negotiate to have them included in the purchase of the bike. If you plan to ride at night, you’ll need to add lights to the bike to make it legal. 
  • Price. The price of a road bicycle can range from cheap to expensive. Don’t let yourself get sold on a bicycle that’s out of your budget. Determine what you’re willing to spend, and then look for the best quality bike you can afford. If you’re a beginner, you don’t need to pay for a top-of-the-line professional racing bike. 

Best Road Bicycles Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall
Schwinn Fastback Performance Road Bike

This aluminum frame bike is ideal for beginners and intermediate riders looking to get more serious about their riding. The bright blue triple-butted aluminum frame sits on 28-inch wheels. You’ll love the smooth-shifting Shimano Claris 16-speed drivetrain with Schwinn 50/34T compact crank and Claris shifters. These are high-quality and reliable components. The wheels are Alex X2200 double-wall rims with Schwinn aluminum road hubs. Every last detail is thought of, including the handlebars with cork bar tape for increased cushions and comfort. The 16 speeds will make it easy to tackle both flat and hilly roads. 


Unfortunately, this bike is small and only fits riders who are 5 feet 3 inches and shorter. Thankfully, the bicycle comes in different sizes, so you can size up if needed. The tires on this bike are thicker and heavier than other road bikes.

Best Value
Max4out Road Bike

This bike stands out with its black and white styling with red accents and three-spoke wheels. The wheels are nicely sized at 26 inches. Switch through the 14 gears with the nicely placed shifters located on the drop handlebars. The frame is made of lightweight aluminum with an adjustable seat post and handlebar position. For additional stability and durability, the front fork is steel. You’ll appreciate the quick-release front tire, which makes maintenance, transporting, and storage easier. For stopping power, this bike has aluminum alloy disc brakes. 


The downside of this bike is that it’s on the heavy side at 33.29 pounds. However, this will work fine for those looking to use their bike for exercise. It also doesn’t have Shimano components like many of the other bikes.

Honorable Mention
Outroad Aluminum Alloy Road Bike

Conquer the road with this 700C wheeled bicycle with its aluminum alloy frame. Choose from blue and black, red and black, or red and white for your bike’s styling. The aluminum frame sits on 26-inch wheels. It’s outfitted with a 14-speed gear system. Riders that are 5 feet 3 inches to 6 feet tall and weigh 220 and under will comfortably fit on this bike. You’ll love the soft and cushioned seat with its ergonomic design for increased comfort and reduced fatigue during long rides. This bike stands out with its anti-skid tires, giving you a stronger grip on dry roads. 


Unfortunately, you’ll need to assemble the bike upon arrival. Thankfully it comes with all the required tools and instructions. The brake levers are also in an uncomfortable position, making them awkward to use.

Best Lightweight
Savadeck Carbon Road Bike

Choose from blue,  grey, orange, and red for the color of your bike. The frame and wheels all feature bright coloring and bold branding. The frame is constructed of carbon fiber and is outfitted with an 18-speed gear system. The shifters, front, and rear derailleur are Shimano SORA. The wheels measure 62.2 centimeters. You’ll appreciate how lightweight the bike is at 21.83 pounds. The ultra-thin 700C tires give you traction and stability while reducing road drag. This bike stands out because it’s designed in a wind tunnel for aerodynamic contouring. It also has full internal cable routing.  


The downside of this bike is that it comes mostly assembled, so you’ll need to put it together before you can start riding it. The brakes aren’t as powerful as what is on other bicycles.

Most Versatile
Tommaso Fascino Sport Road Bike

This all flat black bike with yellow accenting looks sleek with its lightweight aluminum frame and Shimano gears. It puts you in a forward-facing position with the drop handlebars. It has a 3 x 7 Tourney Triple drivetrain to give you 21 gears, making both flat and hilly rides enjoyable. Paired with the frame are Corsa TC20 rims for durable and lightweight performance. The fork is constructed of SST steel for strength and durability. There are several sizes available to perfectly fit riders that are 4 feet 9 inches to 6 feet 5 inches in height. 


One drawback of this bike is that it can feel clunkier than other racing bikes. There’s also very little clearance between the rear tire and the seat tube. It requires assembly and professional tuning upon arrival.

Honorable Mention
6KU Urban Track Bike

This blacked-out bicycle has a sleek look that you don’t commonly see. The frame and fork are aluminum. It has 30-millimeter deep V double-walled alloy wheels. This is a fixed-gear bicycle with a flip-flop hub. The handlebars are a flat top design to give you a more upright riding position. There are four sizes to choose from based on your height. Front and rear caliper brakes will give you plenty of stopping power. While the bike doesn’t come fully assembled, there’s a helpful YouTube video that will walk you through the assembly process. Because this bike is meant for commuting, it’s lightweight, durable, and well-made. 


Unfortunately, the single-speed design makes this bike less than ideal for exercise. The plain black design can look boring and limit your visibility during your commute. 

Honorable Mention
Trinx Tempo 1.0 700C Road Bike

Choose from 53 or 56 centimeters for the size of your bicycle. You’ll love the bold black and neon yellow color scheme. It’s a 21-speed bike with 700c wheels. The frame is an aluminum alloy. Riders between 5 feet 6 inches and 6 feet 2 inches will be able to ride one of the two available sizes. This bike stands out because of the Trinx-Hi-Ten steel fork that gives it stability and more precise handling. The shifters, rear derailleur, and cassette are Shimano A050. The wheels are on alloy double-wall rims. The saddle on this bike has a sport geometry for increased comfort while aggressively riding. The bike weighs 25 pounds. 


One drawback of this bike is that it doesn’t come fully assembled, and the instructions are confusing. The ride can be a bit unbalanced if you don’t have a professional set it up for you after assembly. 

Honorable Mention
Savadeck Carbon Road Bike

This lightweight bike has a carbon fiber frame, fork, handlebars, and seat post. It weighs only 18.3 pounds. It comes in three color combinations, black and grey, black and red, and red and white. The wheels measure 26.8 inches. This 22-speed bike is outfitted with Shimano 105 7000 parts for the gears, derailleurs, crankset, and flywheel. The brakes are also a Shimano double V design. What makes this bike stand out is the wind tunnel design with an aerodynamically contoured seat tube, stays, and seat post. The cables are fully integrated to reduce drag. 


The downside of this bike is that it doesn’t come fully assembled, so you’ll need to finish it upon arrival. It can also be challenging to adjust the derailleur, making this bike less than ideal for beginners.

Honorable Mention
Eurobike OBK XC550 Road Bike

This stylish bike has a classic racing design with three-spoke wheels, a sleek frame, and dropped handlebars. The bike has a bold black, red, and white design. The wheels are aluminum alloy or magnesium alloy. It has a Shimano 21 speed gear setup that helps you to customize your ride and make shifting smooth. The frame comes in two heights, 49 and 54 centimeters. The smaller size fits riders  5 feet 5 inches to 5 feet 8 inches in height and the larger sized frame fits riders 5 feet 8 inches to 6 feet inch in height. For stopping power, it has front and rear dual disc brakes. 


Unfortunately, the frame is made of steel, making this bike heavier than other options. It can also easily scratch on the frame and wheels, which doesn’t affect its performance but does degrade its looks.

Tips

  • Adjust the bike before you get on the seat and start riding. Check the seat, pedals, and handlebars to ensure your body is in the right position at the right angles. 
  • Clean and grease the gears to protect them from grinding and wearing down prematurely. The grease will help the chain and gears glide smoothly.
  • As you get more experienced and confident, consider upgrading the individual parts on your bike. You can purchase higher quality and better performing components and replace the stock parts on your bike. 

FAQs

Q: What are the best road bikes?

The best road bikes are durable and made with high-quality parts. It’s also designed for the type of riding you want to do. A commuter bike is best for riding to work or the grocery store. A racing bike is best for competing. An endurance bike is best for long-distance riding. 

Q: What is a good cheap road bike?

A good cheap road bike will have an aluminum frame, a decent number of gears, and working brakes. It won’t be the most aerodynamic, but it will be comfortable to ride and fit your size. 

Q: What is a good road bike for a beginner?

Look for a mid-range bike that’s in the $1,000 to $2,000 range. These are quality-made bikes that have a few features. These bikes have durable parts and are reliable enough to get a feel for riding. 

Q: How much does a good road bicycle cost?

A quality road bike can cost as little as $200 and as much as $10,000. The lowest end will be a basic bike that lacks any features but will get you from point A to B. At the top end, you’ll find luxury and professional quality racing bikes. 

Final Thoughts

The Schwinn Fastback Performance Road Bike is a reliable bike with quality parts that will be a pleasure to ride for beginners and intermediate riders. 

The affordable alternative, the Max4out Road Bike, has a quick release wheel and ergonomic seat for easy transport and comfortable riding.