8 Great Road Bikes for 2020 under $500
If you are a serious bike rider, and you are looking for the best road bikes under $500 for riding, commuting, and even training, you have come to the right place. Five hundred dollars can acquire a solid bike that can serve your purposes, and which can last you for a long time.
1. Schwinn Volare 1300 Men’s Drop Bar Road Bike – $352
A well-known brand in all types of bikes is the Schwinn Volare 1300 Men’s Drop Bar Road Bike. Coming in at the mid-range price, this bike provides a quality ride without breaking your budget. This bike combines a lightweight aluminum frame with a rigid, steel fork for a balanced ride and plenty of control. Also adding to its smooth ride are 28” double-wall alloy rims, which feature a wider surface for gripping a variety of road surfaces. Standard, mechanical rim brakes provide for a clean stop when you need it most. This bike’s 14 speed (2×7) gearing system uses Shimano A050 shifters to change gears on a fully integrated Shimano gearing system for more reliable shifting from one speed to another.
2. Giordano Libero Acciao Bike – $399
A solid road bike is the Giordano Libero 1.6 Men’s Road Bike. It is a step down from the Libero 2.0, which brings it under 500 dollars, but still has some impressive features. This bike is built on a handcrafted 6061 aluminum frame with a high tensile steel fork. The Libero comes in men’s sizes small, medium and large. It runs on 700C Vitesse 32-hole alloy rims, which allows for narrower 23mm tires. The brake and gearing systems on this bike is what makes it a solid consideration. Its brakes are alloy side-pull rim brakes, which are mechanically operated. This bike’s 16 speed (2×8) gearing system uses Shimano STI shifters along with a Shimano FDA050 front derailleur and Shimano Claris cassette, making the top entry level components included on road bikes.
3. Pure Cycles Classic 16-Speed Road Bike – $549
4. Takara Kabuto Single Speed Bike – $243
This is a single-speed gear and many people are opting for this model because of the various benefits it offers them. It can be used for different purposes and many of the users prefer to use it for commuting. Featuring a strong, handcrafted steel frame and horizontal dropouts that can handle abuse of riding through the city and roadways, The new Kabuto also contains a “flip flop” hub so the rider can run it as a fixed gear or in a standard free-wheel, single speed mode. This eliminates the worry for adjustments of temperamental components. The 32 hole alloy wheels support the Kendra 700 x 32 tires, which are excellent for withstanding less than ideal road conditions. The front and rear pull brakes are made of alloy and will fit riders from 5 feet 8 inches to riders 6 feet 2 inches tall. With a stand over clearance of 31 inches, it provides the room needed for men and women of a variety of heights. The design of this road bike is very bright and sturdy. No matter what color scheme you choose, this bike will stand out, making it safer for commuters and riders on the roadway. The Tech Specs:
- Intended as a commuter bike/long-distance
- Single Speed
- 31 inch stand over clearance
- Fits riders: 5 feet 8 inches to 6 feet 2 inches in height
- Rear Flip Flop Hub for fixed gear or freewheel options
- Tig-welded steel frame and fork
- Rims with alloy hub
- Alloy side pull brakes
The frame is made up of ultra light aluminium. At this price, it’s hard to find a good light aluminium which is necessary for reducing the overall weight and this bike does it perfectly making it a good choice for budget bikers. The gear system is a Shimano EF-500 shifter and Shimano derailleur which are top quality gear systems and the mostly used one among different types of bikes. The shifters are easy to use and operate like breeze. So when we compare the gear system to any other bike at the same price, it really is worth the price. The bike is available in three different sizes. 48cm, 51cm and 54 cm. For a person like me who is 5’7″, the 51 cm bike is the perfect fit and for persons taller than me, like 6 feet, 54 inches bike will be perfect match. The three different sizes provided by the company are benefit for every biker who wants to ride this, be it short or tall. The brakes are disc brakes which are top grade Shimano but will require some tuning before you start your first ride. The bike comes 90% pre-assembled but you just need to attach pedals and adjust the derailleurs at first. It’s good that you don’t have to worry about assembling it via a mechanic and you can do it all by yourself. Some parts like brakes, derailleurs, seat need to be tweaked a little before the first ride in order to make things work smoother. Do not forget to read the manual and ask the customer service if you have doubt on anything.
6. Schwinn Phocus 1600 Men’s Road Bike – $500
Marketed as a beginner’s bike, it has a lot of great features that you typically only see on more expensive models. The frame is a pretty standard 6061 aluminum setup. It’s a pretty traditional frame size, so there is nothing funky going on with the sizing. Our standard sizing charts should work pretty well for you on picking the right size. They also make this in both a Men’s and a Women’s specific model. The front fork (the two bars that hold the front wheel) is carbon fiber. This is every exciting to see on a beginner’s bike since carbon fiber is known for driving the price up and not normally available at this level. The beautiful thing about carbon fiber is that it helps absorb road vibrations, creating a smoother, more comfortable ride. The shifting mechanisms are the Shimano Claris level. At this level, the shifters are fully integrated with the brakes which means all of your bike’s controls are in one place. You don’t have to take your hands off the brakes to shift, which means you are in control at all time. I’m a big fan of integrated shifters. While these are Shimano’s lower-end integrated, they have been on the market for several years, and we see good longevity with them. There are eight gears on the rear and two on the front (commonly called “16-speed”). It appears to be a “compact” crankset which means it is geared with plenty of low-end gears for hill climbing. (Don’t worry, cruising at 16-20 miles per hour on the flats will be completely do-able if your legs have the “engine” for it) The wheels are another solid selling point. They use the double-walled wheels which give you extra strength in the wheels. I’m not a big fan of the funky spoke spacing. Sure, you can get away with it, but it weakens the wheel. I do wish that these wheels had more spokes. As with all road bikes, be careful going over bumps and potholes, and you should be just fine. Here’s the downside, the Phocus model does not appear to be part of the Schwinn Signature series. Which means they only make one size that they call “700c”. Frame size is everything. Without the correct frame size, you can screw up your back, neck, and knees. I dug around, and best I can tell, this one is a “Medium” (56 cm frame). So if you are between 5’8″ to 5’11”, I’m confident that you can ride this bike with no problems.
7. Vilano Shadow Road Bike – Shimano STI Integrated Shifters – $329
Though this bike will cost a bit more than the average in the under 500 dollar group, it has some quality components that set it apart from the field. The Shadow 2.0 is also built on a double-butted 6061 aluminum aero frame and comes with an integrated aluminum fork. Its rims are double-walled, machined-alloy 700C x 23mm, making this bike a bit faster than the others over hard surfaces. The difference in quality is seen in the breaking and gearing components, which are together in this model’s Shimano STI integrated shifter system. Its brakes are mechanically operated dual-pivot alloy rim brakes. Its gearing system steps things up a couple of notches with Shimano Tourney level components, which are well above what is common on bikes in this price range.
8. GMC Denali Road Bike – $200
Even though this bike has a GMC badge it’s produced by Kent International. They are a family-owned company dating back to the early 1900s. Kent possesses the licensing rights to 5 external brands, as well as their own. These brands are Jeep, GMC Razor Cadillac and Little Miss Match bicycles. The GMC Denali Road bike is clearly an entry level bike, that is available in 3 sizes (Large, Medium and Small). Many people have commented that they are sized a bit larger than normal, but a sizing chart is available on their website that clears things up.
The GMC Denali road bike is built around an aluminum frame and fork. Component-wise it’s pretty much what you would expect for a road bike under $200. Shimano derailleur and shifters are stock on this bike and the brakes are advertised as alloy calipers but there are no other markings that can be used to identify them. The bike rolls on 700 cc size wheels which is great since it’s the most common size and there are plenty replacement tires and tubes available. The alloy rims are what’s known as high-profile, this means that they are taller than regular spoke rims. The added height gives the wheel more stiffness and better aerodynamics. High-profile rims can be considered the middle ground between disk and regular spoke wheels.
The biggest pro for this bike is its price. It’s one of the cheapest options available. It’s relatively lightweight and strong considering the price point. The different sizes available make it easy to find the right size for you.