The best road bike should satisfy the needs of all kinds of riders. If your goal is to stay active, they are a good starting bike because they cause less impact on the body thanks to how they position you on the seat and handlebars. If you are the competitive type, a road bike is the essential race bike that emphasises a speedy and smooth ride that’ll keep you ahead of the pack.
The different types of road bike
While searching for the best road bike, you’ll come across different terms that describe a specific function that the bike can give you. Whether you’re looking for more speed on an early morning ride or to give you an advantage in your next triathlon, finding the right type of bike is key.
An aero bike features a streamlined frame that enhances the natural aerodynamics to increase speed. A race bike has a stiffer frame and has the most responsive handling. Finally, another common type that most bike brands offer is the endurance bike, which are built for comfort on those long rides and to support you up those hills.
The best materials for your bike frames
Ever since the turn of the century, the development of bicycle frames has been rapid and the biggest bike brands now have access to some of the most advanced materials. Understanding what advantages certain materials can give you is another major point to consider when finding a bike that is the right fit for you and your riding style.
Today, the most dominant material for the best road bikes is carbon fibre, because it can easily be molded into shape, making it an ideal material for bike brands to experiment with. It is also the most aerodynamic and seen predominantly in race bikes.
Another common material you’ll come across is aluminum. One of the oldest materials, it has been a pioneer for road bikes and some of the very first road bike brands in history. Over the years the material has evolved and made the most of its lighter weight making it perfect for entry-level bikes.
If you need a new road bike or just want an upgrade, these are the best road bike brands to shop from.
Price: From $3,000
One of the most historically prestigious bicycle and road bike brands, Bianchi was founded in 1885 by Edoardo Bianchi and has always approached bike design with the style and taste of artisans. They live and breath competition, housing one of the sport’s premier racing teams and regularly sponsor some of the biggest European competitions such as the Giro d’Italia.
Handcrafted in Italy, their range of road bikes will meet the needs of the professional racer and even the casual rider. That’s why they include some of the most advanced technologies such as the Countervail disk that is vibration cancelling and supports longer chainstays for a smoother ride as seen in the ‘CV Disc Force AXS’ bike.
Price: From $3,200
Gerard Vroomen was studying at the Eindhoven University of Technology researching bike dynamics before he took his knowledge abroad, and began studying in Canada. There he met his co-founder Phil White, and Cervelo was born, taking its name from the Italian word for ‘brain’ and the French word for ‘bike’. Their goal was simple, to design and engineer the best road bike in the world.
Using different fields of engineering such as computational-aid design and fluid dynamics, and even wind tunnel testing at facilities such as the San Diego Air and Space Technology Centre. Among their best road bikes is the ‘R-Series’ bike, with it’s racing geometry and disc brakes that are responsive and agile, and a squoval-shaped carbon frame that increases aerodynamics.
Price: From $8,500
Founded by frame designer and painter Jochim Aerts, Ridley has been Belgium’s largest manufacturer since its inception in 1997. The first innovation came soon after when the brand developed the first conical headset in 2001, which was applied to the ‘Damocles’ bike and became an industry standard thereafter.
To this day, they continue to commit themselves to applying the best technologies to their range of road bikes that are best suited for cyclo-cross racing and long-distance endurance rides. The ‘X-Night Disc Ultegra’ bike is a competition-level bike whose development has seen cooperation from multiple cyclo-cross world champions.
Price: From $2,050
In 1974, Mike Sinyard sold his Volkswagen bus for $1,500 to fund a cycling trip to Europe and brought back a suitcase full of handlebars and bike stems to the U.S. He began using these special parts to build his own bikes under the ‘Specialized’ banner and the first product was a racing tire in 1976, and their first complete bike came in 1981.
Being an enthusiast himself, Sinyard made sure that Specialized created road bikes for all types of cyclists, whether it was a downhill race through the mountains or a Saturday ride with friends. If you are looking to perform on the road no matter what, the ‘S-Works’ series of bikes have premier tour-level frames that sport ultra-responsive disc brakes and achieve a perfect balance between aerodynamics and weight.
Price: From $1,130
Born out of a meeting between two cycling enthusiasts, Dick Burke and Bevil Hogg, in a dimly lit bar in Wisconsin in 1975, Trek’s first bikes were designed and manufactured out of an old barn. Today, their headquarters are still nearby, only a mile up the road from the barn, and houses an R&D department that is responsible for more technological progression than any other U.S based brand.
Their best road bikes are consistently ranked as some of the highest performing and pack engineered horsepower that will have even the most novice of riders feeling the difference. From carbon race frames to refined aluminum models, you will find a bike to fit your needs and among them, the ‘Emonda’ series of bikes that is the best in class thanks to its carbon frame, aero-tube shaping and Shimano disc brakes.
Price: From $3,400
Beginning life as the Bike Manufacturing Company in 1986 until Swiss billionaire Andy Rihs, took ownership of the brand and abbreviated the brand to BMC in 1994. It wasn’t until 2004 that the brand became recognised on the circuit, when their bikes were being ridden at the Tour de France and took out the competition the following year. The standard was set and year after, the brand continues to perform at the level that the professional’s demand.
Whatever type of rider you think you are, BMC guarantees that their range of road bikes know you even better and will conform to whatever you may experience on a ride. If you are looking to push the pace, the ‘Teammachine’ series of bikes includes stiff aluminum frames and the best disc brakes technology that offers optimum control and stopping power.
Price: From $1,199
A brand catered for the entry level cyclist, Surly were founded in 1997 and first gained prominence for developing ‘fatbikes’ that were designed to be used in the snowy climates of their native state, Minnesota. Today they develop all types of bikes and exclusively use steel frames across their entire range.
Designed to counter any obstacle you might come across while riding the streets, Surly’s road bikes excel on deteriorating pavement and even across unexpected grassy patches. The ‘Midnight Special 650B’ bike will also provide maximum comfort with its tires that are optimised to absorb any and all bumps from the bitumen to the pavement.
Price: From $2,400
Pinarello was founded in 1953 by Giovanni Pinarello, a prodigious cyclist who at the age of 20, won the ‘Popolarissama’, an important circuit race that decides whether a rider will turn pro. They began handcrafting bikes for the top competitions in Italy and greater Europe, winning many of them and establishing a standard that saw their bikes consistently at the top of the podium.
With the ‘Dogma’ series of road bikes, you’ll find the highest-level performance right down to the most minute details. From the angle of the handlebars to the slope of the seat, everything has been accounted for to give you an advantage and with nanoalloy-infused carbon frames and high-grade disc brakes, there will be nothing stopping you on the road.
Price: From $1,799
Originally a rifle manufacturer founded in 1840, producing weapons for WWI. Orbea didn’t become known as a bike brand until 1934 and participated in the Tour de France with Spanish cycling legend Mariano Canardo as the face of their racing team. By the 1960’s, the brand had grown from a boutique outlet to a manufacturer that is now world-renowned.
The range of road bikes they offer include e-bike variants that will help you to push the boundaries of what you are capable of during a ride. With the ‘Gain M30’ bike, you’ll find an 11-speed drivetrain and hydraulic disc brakes that inspire with it’s stopping power so you can even ride in bad weather with confidence.
Price: From $3,549
Founded by Chris Sugai and Steve Domahidy in 2005, Niner gets its name from the brands first range of mountain bikes that had 29 inch wheels, commonly known within the community as ‘29ers’. Today they are committed to designing bikes for all ride types, proving that they are an all-rounder bike brand.
Staying true to their mountain bike roots, their range of road bikes are specially designed to transition between the bitumen to the gravel with no slack in performance. Thanks to the suspension of the ‘MCR RDO 2020’ bike, you will be able to pedal comfortably and with more control over any unexpected rough patches.
Price: From $1,485
Founded by former professional racer and winner of the Milan-Sanremo in 1947, Cino Cinelli, the brand Cinelli, started by manufacturing bike handlebars, racing stems, and the first saddle with a plastic hull. Their bikes have gained a reputation for balancing technical efficiency and elegant design, and are perfect for those riders with an active lifestyle.
The range of road bikes seek to combine contemporary materials with the legendary versatility of the old Italian tour bikes. That results in lightweight but aggressive handling and the precise geometry of racing bikes. With the ‘Superstar Disc’ bike, a dura ace groupset and carbon fibre frame allows for greater performance over long distances as well as sturdier handling.
Price: From $4,250
When shopkeeper and craftsman Pietro Dal Molin purchased the then unknown English Brand Wilier in 1906, he added the Triestina as an homage to the Italian city of Trieste. It wasn’t until 1946 that the brand would define the post-war period of the country by sponsoring many of the major racing champions of the time and become a household name in Italy and beyond.
That history has followed the brand and today they have a range of road bikes that are race ready and performance tested by the very best professionals. For the very best on offer, the ‘Filante SLR’ is an extremely lightweight aerodynamic bike that includes liquid polymer infused carbon handlebars that achieve a balance between lightness and stiffness.
Price: From $1,010
The origins of Cannondale began in 1971 and feature some of the smartest and most gifted group of engineers, designers and inventors that were working on revolutionary technologies long before they even thought about making a bike. With a team like that it didn’t take the brand long to break new ground, being one of the first brands to use aluminum and carbon fibre frames.
Their range of road bikes continues the tradition by using the most advanced technology and materials to enhance speed, stability and comfort. The ‘Synapse Carbon’ bike is the perfect example of this, and with shimano ultegra hydraulic disc brakes and a BallisTec carbon fibre frame, it will withstand any type of ride.
Price: From $799
Beginning in 1989, Polygon started out by crafting and selling their bikes to the South East Asian market, mostly with aluminum and steel frames. It wasn’t until the later half of the 20th century that the brand began to expand, selling to Australia in 2007, Europe in 2011 and finally the United States in 2014.
For over 25 years, the brand has made it their mission to create road bikes for every kind of rider and price point, having amassed one of the most affordable ranges as well. With the ‘Strattos S7, you’ll find a bike that compliments fast cycling thanks to an agile geometry and the Strattos disc brakes that allow for powerful, fade free braking.
Price: From $1,199
Fueled by passion and fulfilled by satisfaction, Marin Bikes was founded in 1986 and has been dedicated to enriching the lives of riders by providing bikes that can be enjoyed for years. Founded by avid and enthusiastic rider Bob Buckley, he based the philosophy of the brand around his home county of Marin, which is known in cycling as the birthplace of mountain biking.
With success came the opportunity to branch into different bike types and their range of road bikes are well suited to the needs of the first time racer or taking the long journeys around town. They know you enjoy riding and the ‘2021 Four Corners’ bike will keep you smiling the whole ride thanks to its steel frame that won’t crumble after a day’s ride.
Price: From $2,699
Founded by draftsmen and former amatuer racer, Ugo De Rosa, whose passion for racing led him to study mechanics and engineering before opening his first shop in 1953. With a pedigree in racing, De Rosa sought to take what he had learned and apply his technical knowledge to the manufacturing of racing bikes.
To this day, the brand remains family-owned and operated, with every model within their range of road bikes being handcrafted. The ‘SK Di2’ bike combines performance, comfort and elegant style with a carbon frame and shimano ultegra groupset to create a bike that is fit for road races, long distance events and steep uphill climbs.
Price: From $1,230
In 1993, Marcus Pruener founded Cube while assembling bikes in a small corner of his father’s furniture factory in Germany. He’s since expanded the brand to a 55,000 square metre factory of his own and sells to more than 60 countries. The headquarters in Waldershof is also home to a dedicated team of engineers that are always seeking to improve upon their bikes materials and construction.
With every model of their road bikes tested rigorously and ensured to meet the requirements you need to exceed a personal best or stand on the podium. The ‘C:68X Race’ bike sports an uncompromising combination of functionality, weight and safety with hydraulic disc brakes and a 12-speed electronic groupset.
Price: From $1,999
Born in the heart of the winding hills of Sussex, Orro handcraft each of their bikes to ensure the best possible riding experience and a design that can live up to the environment’s natural beauty. Along with access to some of the country’s top of the line testing facilities such as aerospace and even F1, the brand is firmly at the forefront of UK bicycle manufacturing.
Working with the industry’s leading technicians and mechanics, Orro have used the very best technologies and finest materials in their range of road bikes. The ‘Venturi STC 2021’ bike sports Fulcrum R400 race wheels on a Sigmatex multi-directional carbon fibre frame that provides lightweight performance suited for group races and long endurance rides.
Price: From $1,000
Taking their name after the iconic Japanese peak, Fuji have been crafting bikes since 1899 and began by exporting them throughout Asia. In 1971, they became the first Japanese bike brand to market in the U.S under its own name. When they developed their first 10-speed bike some years later, a revolution at the time, they were established as a premier brand.
If you are looking for speed and uncompromising feel, Fuji’s road bikes are among the most aerodynamic and built to endure sharp turns and steep climbs. You’ll find the very best in the ‘Transonic 1.1’ bike, which features carbon fibre technology and a 12-speed groupset, giving you the balance between gear shifting and braking performance.
Price: From $950
Getting their start as a high-end steel tubing manufacturer in the 1930’s, Vitus applied their knowledge to the crafting of high-end bike frames and became an official brand in 1970. These frames quickly gained renown in their native France for being sturdier than most frames at the time. This was due to the combination of steel and aluminum through welded bonding that the brand pioneered.
With a rich heritage in road cycling that has seen their frames in the highest positions and used by the best, including Australia’s Phil Anderson. The range of road bikes set the standard and the ‘Vitesse EVO’ bike is the best example, with the very best in Shimano groupset technology including disc brakes and a carbon fork that can withstand any unexpected bumps on the road.