Road cycling can be pretty daunting if your usual jaunt is a pedal along a flat cycle path to the local pub. The terrain can make the ride uncomfortable, and quite frankly the old road bike in the back of your shed isn’t going to cut it in today’s world of wind tunnel-tested carbon fibre rockets and lightweight aluminium frames.
Having a decent road bike will help make the ride easier and more comfortable, and as we mentioned, now is a great time to pick up a pretty good road bike for £2,000 or less.
The frame material is the main reason for this, but be warned: we have found that as frame technology has improved over the years (particularly those of the carbon fibre variety), the finishing kit that completes the bike (gears, wheels, brakes, saddles etc.) has suffered.
You need to look at the whole package. If you opt for a more expensive carbon, be sure to check out the wheels, groupset (gears and brakes) and finishing kit (saddle, bar tape and cabling), as often manufacturers will balance the books by scrimping on these fittings.
For example, an entry-level groupset such as Shimano’s Tiagra or Comapagnolo’s Veloce may not endure the punishment of a long sportive or timed weekend ride as well as other brands, but for those simply looking to rack up the miles on gentler rides or take it easy during a friendly competition, this may not be such an issue.
The same can be said for wheelsets. Ideally, the lighter and stiffer the wheel, the better for speed and handling. But don’t forget this will typically mean a compromise in comfort and budget.
Similarly, the geometry of a frame and its construction will greatly affect the way it performs and handles. A racy geometry (the angles of the tubes that make up the frame) can be a pain on longer rides, despite performance gains. A fact that’s well worth considering if you’re simply looking to add a little swag to your daily commute.
In short, that ultra, super-lightweight frame that has been tested in a wind tunnel to within an inch of its life might sound like a good idea, but the overall package may not represent good value.
You also need to think about whether a carbon frame road bike is even the best for you. Most cheaper road bikes use carbon fibre, but do note that cheaper carbon tends to flex under load and can also be less comfortable and more brittle than their steel or aluminium-framed counterparts.
With all this in mind, we’ve collated a list of brilliant road bikes that represent excellent value across the board – from their tyres to their top tubes. Ultimately, it pays to do some research, and our countdown of the best bikes for around the £2,000 mark (some may be slightly more) is the ideal starting point. If we say so ourselves.
For those serious cyclist who like to dress properly for their cycling sessions, we recommend getting a cycling helmet, a pair of cycling sunglasses, a cycling jersey, cycling shorts, a pair of cycling shoes and you’ll definitely need bike front light and bike rear lights, not to mention a bike lock. Only the essential stuff, ya’know.