8 Best Road Bikes Under $500 [2020 Update]
Road bikes are a time honored way of commuting on a budget.
For starters, bikes don’t require expensive gas refills. Also, they are highly eco-friendly and will give your body a great workout too.
If you are buying a road bike new, you will have to spend some money.
The big-name brands like Campagnolo, Giant, or Specialized cost a lot of money, sometimes over $1,000.
If you don’t have that amount of cash, don’t worry. You can buy a good road bike for a price between $100 and $500.
Here is a list of best road bikes under $500 that cyclists will love:
8 Best Road Bikes Under $500 – 2021
The frame is actually designed just like the Kinesis Industry 6061 aluminum frame, which is the frame you find in almost all bikes.
This includes brands like Giant, Fuji, Specialized, Cannondale, and so on.
Other specs include Shimano Claris 16 speed derailleur, high profile alloy double wall rims with paired spokes, and Promax alloy dual pivot caliper brakes.
This has a 2 speed crank side 8 speed cassette, so it’s a 16 speed bike.
Then men’s model is made for people over 5'8''. The 16-inch model is marketed as for women.
The women’s model is available in light blue and pink, and the men’s model only comes in black.
The bike weighs 26 pounds but rides like the wind. The seat is really comfortable too.
This model is built to last, and with proper maintenance, it will be rideable for years.
The men’s version has a dark colored frame. The women’s version is available in pink or silver.
This bike packs an aluminum frame. Alloy, as you may already know, makes lightweight bikes. And this one is definitely lightweight.
It’s not ultra-light, like some racing models are, but it’s light enough for casual and leisurely speeding.
Other specs include threadless stems, 32-spoke high profiles for the wheelset, quick release alloy rims, and dual water bottle mounts.
The drive train is a 16-speed Shimano, which is some of the best quality money can buy. Prices can vary between sellers.
However, this model is far lighter than the Kabuto, so I like this one much better.
It’s also much more visually appealing. The bike has a matte black appearance that makes it look more expensive than it actually is.
The brakes came calibrated out of the box, so that’s a big pro too. The bolts and chains were properly lubricated when they came.
The brakes are great, but the brake pads are not. I strongly suggest getting the brake pads replaced, which is ridiculously cheap.
The pedals are large, something people with big feet will really appreciate.
The tires are made for tackling rough terrain. It’s great for riding on gravelly or slippery roads.
Other than the great tires, everything else is rather standard. It’s available in three different sizes depending on the height of the rider.
The bike has an alloy frame, and most parts are Shimano.
It weighs close to 26 pounds, so it’s not exactly lightweight. But it’s sort of a specialty bike that a certain crowd will really like.
It often topped the best road bike under $500 lists back when the model was first released.
Lighter models than this have come out to challenge the Kabuto, but it remains popular as ever.
This is a single speed bike, so there’s no clumsy gear shifting to worry about.
It has an alloy frame, form, hubs and side pull brakes.
The bike is suitable for beginners and pros alike for everyday riding. It’s quite comfortable and very easy to ride.
There will be some squeakiness in the beginning, but some maintenance and new brake pads would take care of that.
It has a 6061 double butted aluminum frame, fork for 700c 1 1/8-Inch threadless tires, Shimano A050 SIS handlebar mounted shifters, and an Urban Comfort saddle.
The specs are rather basic, but it is all you need for everyday commuting and learning to cycle. It is a great purchase for the price.
The bike is available in white, black, and gray. Overall, a good investment with anticipated returns.
It features 21-speed gear set, alloy calipers, alloy brake levers, high-profile alloy Vitesse racing rims, Shimano Revo shifts, and 700cc tires.
The Shimano shifts are really easy to change, so beginners have nothing to worry.
The frame overall is alloy and rather lightweight. The bike is perfect for cycle commuting around town.
The only issue is assembly.
It can be a bit difficult to assemble, so if you buy the bike online, take it to a bike mechanic to make sure you have installed the brakes properly before riding.
It is available in a variety of colors including orange, white, and blue. There are several sizes available too (larger sizes can cost more).
It’s a bit heavy for racing, but the model overall is very durable. I recommend this as a great starter bike.
Once you get used to riding, you can easily swap out parts for better ones.
Tips for Buying a Good Road Bike with a $500 Budget
This is what you should know when shopping for bikes with less than $500 to spare:
Always, always check the height of the bike. Most bikes listed above come in three sizes: small, medium, and large.
If you are tall, you will have to go for the large size. Read the descriptions to find out which size supports your height.
Unfortunately, bike prices tend to vary depending on the size.
If you are tall, you may have to pay a bit more for the same bike in a large size.
The bikes listed above have a max price under $500 even if the size is large.
Most budget bikes listed above have alloy frames. Carbon frames are quite popular these days, and they do tend to feel lighter. But they are more expensive in comparison.
If you have an alloy frame bike, you do have a fairly light model that is easy to speed on and carry.
If the bike has carbon parts, like the Schwinn Phocus 1600 listed above, it would make the overall weight much lighter.
Most budget bikes are intended for beginner or casual riders. If you want to be a pro biker, you can buy a beginner bike and upgrade parts as you like.
When you have out-trained the bike, you can gradually upgrade parts over the years, so you don’t have to spend a lot at once on a higher-end model.
Don’t buy bikes with crucial parts made from unknown brands. Crucial parts, like the brakes, must be highly reliable.
All of the above-listed models have brakes and similarly important parts made by trusted brands like Shimano.
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