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Best road bikes: Best bikes from under £1,000 to over £10,000

Will Strickson
26 Nov 2021

A breakdown of the best bikes of 2022 – plus what you should consider if you are looking to buy

Buying a new road bike can be one of life's bigger decisions. For many, it's as large a commitment as getting a new car or going on a big holiday and you'll hopefully have it for a long time. So it has to be right.

And there are so many questions! How do I know what's right for me? Do I need a carbon frame? Do I go aero? Do I go lightweight? Do I need disc brakes? Should I consider tubeless-ready wheels?

If you need some help with the basics, head to our beginner's guide to road cycling and don't miss our guide to the parts of a road bike to help get your head around any technical jargon.

To make it easier you should break down this process into some simple steps. Firstly, how much money are you able or willing to spend on a new bike and secondly what do you want from this bike?

Once you've decided on these criteria for a new road bike, you should be able to narrow down your options considerably. Then you will be left with smaller decisions like aesthetics and brand heritage to make your final decision.

Unfortunately, the bike boom brought on by the pandemic has been so big that most bikes – road and otherwise – have found themselves fresh out of stock. You can read our in-depth investigation of the inside story on the industry stock crisis.

Below Cyclist has chosen some of the best road bikes on the market from under £1,000 to over £10,000 that you should consider when looking for a new road bike in 2022. After something under £1,000? Read our dedicated guide to the best budget road bikes.



The best road bikes under £1,000

Best road bikes under £3,000

Best road bikes under £6,000

Best money no-object road bikes

Best road bikes under £1,000

Don't miss our extended rundown of the best bikes under £1,000.

1. Boardman SLR 8.8

  • Price: £800

Chris Boardman has done it all: pro, pundit, politician. His bike brand also makes some tidy bikes at incredibly affordable prices.

This aluminium SLR 8.8 comes with the new frameset – redesigned for 2021 – and now has jumped on the disc brakes train for stronger braking in all conditions.

It's also sold with 28mm Vittoria tyres on its tubeless-ready rims to truly bring home the fact that this is a properly modern bike with all the trickle down tech you could ask for.

Groupset-wise it's fitted with the Shimano Tiagra groupset – one step below 105 and found on many bikes over that magic £1,000 marker – with a 10-speed cassette, which is plenty for British roads.

2. Triban RC520

  • Price: £850

Sold through Decathlon, the Triban range is accessible, but won't alienate more experienced riders. A Shimano 105 groupset, disc brakes, carbon fork, tubeless-ready wheels and space for 38mm tyres or mudguards. The Triban RC520 isn't just great value, it's a very forward-thinking collection of parts too.

Using a compact 50/34T chainset and wide 11-32t cassette the range of gears is huge. There's also plenty of stand-over, while the short and shallow bars mean it's easy to keep a hold of.

The frame's heavily worked tube profiles probably do something towards the eternal goal of being laterally stiff and vertically compliant, but of more interest to the average rider, they look like they've been pinched from a much more expensive bike.

Best road bikes under £2,500

Read our roundup of the best endurance and sportive bikes.

3. Boardman SLR 8.9 

  • Price: £1,100

We often wonder if Chris Boardman had a sexier surname – say Merckx or Pinarello – would his bikes be more desired? Probably.

As it stands, Boardman produces some pretty good bikes – like this SLR 8.9. Recently upgraded to Shimano's wonderful 11-speed 105 groupset, this latest version both is fully carbon and sports a huge 11-30t cassette to cover both the ups and the downs. Two very solid party tricks on a bike costing exactly a grand. 

Built around an endurance-focussed frame, this sports skinny stays, an integrated clamp and seamless looking cable management. This is backed up by a matching all-carbon fork.

Weighing a claimed 9kg, it's quicker than most bikes at this price point, something you can boost further by ejecting the tubes from its tubeless-ready wheelset.

4. Ribble CGR Ti Sport

  • Price: £2,299

This one's a bit off-piste. The CGR is Ribble's Cross-Gravel-Road hybrid so while we're classing it as a road bike for the purposes of this piece it actually will do the business off-road too.

That means that when it is deployed as a road bike it excels in the comfort department thanks to its wide 40mm tyres, relaxed geometry, carbon seatpost and fork and titanium frame.

It also comes with disc brakes for powerful and easy stopping even in tougher conditions and on rougher surfaces – whether that's dodgy tarmac or gravel – and is equipped with a wide-ranging Shimano 105 groupset.

5. Giant Defy Advanced 2

  • Price: £2,299

A racy frame, big 32c tyres and a Shimano 105 disc groupset. What more could you ask for? 

The Defy has long been a trusted frame for the masses and this latest incarnation is bang on trend with tubeless wheels, hydraulic disc brakes and an 11-34 cassette. For 2021, its formerly ugly cable routing has also been sorted. 

This bike has been designed for long days in the saddle and while it is not the lightest, it is a definite contender for those looking to ride in the mountains for the first time. Like all of Giant's bikes, it also works hard to wring everything from its medium-sized budget.

6. Merida Reacto 4000

  • Price: £2,300

Aerodynamics are often seen as a luxury, an expensive addition reserved only for those paying the real big bucks. Merida's Reacto 4000 begs to differ, bringing racy riding down to more affordable price points.

And it's virtually identical to the top tier Reacto Team-E aside from the material – it's built from Merida's second-tier carbon fibre – and spec with aero design perks all over the frame.

The spec would do the job for most of us too, with a Shimano 105 groupset with hydraulic disc brakes, cable integration, the brand's own Expert aluminium clincher wheels and 30mm clearance

To top it all off it has an integrated rear light on the seatpost and a multitool tucked under the saddle. Neat.

7. Canyon Endurace CF 7 eTap

  • Price: £2,849

As the name suggests, the Endurace is Canyon's 'endurance road' range, which, in 2022, means it's extra comfortable and isn't incapable of being adapted into a lite gravel bike thanks to clearance for 35mm tyres.

The Endurace CF (carbon fibre) is the entry-level carbon model below the CF SL and CF SLX but above the aluminium Endurace AL in the range. A size medium frameset, according to the brand, weighs 1,020g, which is only 200g more than the top end CF SLX.

This model is specced with SRAM's electronic Rival eTap AXS gearing with DT Swiss Endurance LN XDR wheels and 30mm Schwalbe One tyres, providing slick shifting and a super smooth feel, fit for all kinds of road surfaces, that will bring confidence into corners, too.

Its aesthetic is slick and a big selling point for many but its comfy but capable ride wins more fans for the Endurace and web editor Matthew Loveridge described it as 'a great introduction to road cycling or a brilliant upgrade from an entry-level bike'.

    Best road bikes under £5,000

    Read our extended rundown of the 20 best aero racing bikes.

    8. All-City Zig Zag

    • Price: £3,300

    Carbon fibre is everywhere these days, especially on this list, but that doesn't mean it's a must for your bike. American manufacturer All-City produces lightweight steel bikes to its own custom spec.

    The Zig Zag – which weighs in at a respectable 9.4kg for a 55cm frame – thrives as a modern road bike made from a classic material. With 30mm tyres as standard alongside a fairly long 1,019mm wheelbase it goes all in on comfort and would even do light off-tarmac adventure if you needed it to.

    This one is equipped with Halo Devaura wheels and a Shimano 105 groupset, which certainly aren't high end but offer plenty of performance and reliability in this price range and if you do want to shed more weight and pick up the pace a little a fresh set of wheels would do the trick.

    Although carbon has taken over, there's a reason people love to say 'steel is real' and there's certainly a real feeling that it evokes that space-age materials just can't match.

    9. Bianchi Sprint Ultegra

    • Price: £3,373

    Bianchi’s bikes don’t come cheap but – aside from the famous celeste colour – there's good reason for that. A bit of a departure for the Italian maker, the Sprint’s build is actually very different from the style of bike the company is known for. 

    It's able to handle 32mm tyres and you can even squeeze in mudguards if you want. However, don’t imagine all of Bianchi’s racing heritage is gone. With dropped seatstays, a short head tube and a 73-degree head angle, the Sprint lives up to its name.

    Providing a ride that's on the racier side of endurance, this is tempered enough to make it perfectly suited to long days in the saddle. Low in weight and boasting a Shimano Ultegra groupset with a pro-compact 52/36T chainset and 11-32t cassette, it also excels on long climbs.

    A great all-rounder, with a top build-kit and a famous name attached. What more can you want, except maybe a bit of dosh off the headline price? 

    10. Vitus Vitesse Evo

    • Price: £3,749

    Every cyclist loves two things: carbon fibre and Sean Kelly. Vitus were one of the first brands to make carbon frames and took King Kelly to many a victory in his illustrious career.

    The Vitesse Evo is the brand's headline racing bike with maximised stiffness, lightweight and a progressive geometry and the latest model went down a treat when we tested it earlier in the year.

    It's also incredible value for a 7.6kg (size L) bike that comes with a SRAM Force eTap AXS electronic groupset, hydraulic disc brakes and Reynolds AR29 carbon wheels.

    11. Cannondale SystemSix Ultegra


    • Price: £5,250

    If it's aerodynamics that you want look no further than the Cannondale SystemSix, which has its own 52-page white paper to prove just how fast it is.

    It beats lightweight climbing bikes up gradients as big as 6% and saves a pretty hefty 50 watts at 30mph. And on top of that it's also incredibly comfortable, what's not to like?

    With a Shimano Ultegra groupset, a carbon fibre cockpit, hydraulic disc brakes and Vision SC55 carbon wheels it's also specced out to the max.

    If you want to splash £5k on a bike it might as well be one that you know will make you fast, right?

    12. Condor Super Acciaio Disc

    • Price: £5,500

    A bike brand ridden by the likes of Channel 4 news anchor John Snow and Mick Jagger from the Stones, Condor has been a staple of the British cycling scene for 70 years.

    The Super Acciaio is the London-based manufacturer's 'performance steel' frameset which couples endurance geometry for comfort with a lightweight, tig-welded frame for a supple yet spritely ride on the climbs.

    Condor allows you to build your bike to spec with the frameset starting at £1,899 We are also number one fans of the classic paint job too – how classy can you get?

    13. BMC Roadmachine 01 Three

    • Price: £5,700

    Brands are always banging on about how fast their bikes are, after all riding a bit faster would be nice for the ego right? If what you're after is a nicer, more comfortable ride then look out for endurance-focussed bikes like BMC's Roadmachine.

    It's been designed to soak up all the bumps and vibrations that you'll encounter and the geometry has been honed to sit the rider a little more upright so it's a lot more comfortable over long distances.

    This model is built up with Sram's second tier Force eTap AXS wireless electronic groupset with hydraulic disc brakes as well as Zipp 303 S-Series wheels so it's packed with quality from top to bottom.

    For a bit less, you could also go for the BMC Roadmachine X, which is not only more comfortable on the road, but even has some off-road capability if you want to dabble in gravel. Maximising versatility means that you'll struggle to find something more equipped for on-tarmac comfort.

    Best road bikes when money is no object 

      14. Festka Scalatore

      • Price: £6,640

      Festka creates some of the finest carbon fibre frames in the world and the Scalatore, its super light and stiff road bike, is award winning.

      The Czech brand offers a wealth of options to make your bike unique to you and will even offer custom geometry for just a few hundred euros more.

      With the right spec choices Festka says it can create you a disc brake bike that's under 6kg, making it a dream for cllimbing.

      15. De Rosa Merak

      • Price: £6,800

      What better advert is there for De Rosa than it being the bike of choice of Eddy Merckx? The Italian manufacturer has been doing the business at the highest level for as long as most of us have been alive.

      These days the Merak is ridden by French outfit Cofidis and while they might not be winning as much as The Cannibal, the bike certainly packs a punch.

      It was only recently updated with carbon fibre but when we reviewed it in May it was a revelation, with a blend of traditional and modern marvels creating an elite racing bike with top tier stiffness and handling.

      16. Condor Acciaio Stainless

      • Price: £6,864 (£3,799.99 frameset)

      You've had the Condor Super Acciaio, now feast your eyes on the Acciaio Stainless, described by deputy editor James Spender as 'the kind of bike you will never tire of, simply because it rides so incredibly well'.

      Provided weight isn't a deal breaker for you – at 1,700g for the frame, which isn't crazy but compared to the carbon creations in this section it's certainly a different class – its Columbus XCr stainless steel tubing and classic racing geometry means it's an outstanding road bike. James called the Acciaio Stainless 'A contender for the bike I'd choose if I could only have one bike,' and he's ridden more top-end bikes than you'd have the time to imagine.

      Being stainless helps save weight compared to the Super Acciaio as well as prevent corrosion but it also means that you can get the stunning shine of stainless tubing around the bottom bracket and chainset, and with custom paint coming as standard, you can personalise the rest of the tubing to your tastes.

      17. Vielo R+1 Alto

      • Price: £6,999

      Many bikes on this list boast of Grand Tour victories, legendary founders and cult status, Vielo is but a foal among prize studs but its bikes belong in any conversation of the best around and its fans include one of the greatest of all time, Alan Shearer.

      The R+1 Alto is a road bike that does it all: lightweight, stiff, comfortable, fast and agile. And isn't it beautiful?

      Intelligently shaped tubing is paired with a 1× groupset – normally reserved for off-road bikes – for an incredibly clean aesthetic with that 12-speed Sram Force eTap AXS group providing simple but effective performance.

      It certainly impressed us.

      18. BMC Teammachine SLR01 Four

      • Price: £7,600

      BMC's Teammachine is an all-conquering bike. It's a do-it-all bike that with each iteration finds more and more fans.

      The SLR01 Four is virtually the same bike as the pros ride – the SLR01 One, which also scored highly in our review – with a slightly more affordable spec list.

      Its aerodynamically refined frame is paired with Shimano's Ultegra Di2 groupset and CRD-351 SL Carbon wheels. To label this a 'mid-tier' bike doesn't do it justice.

      19. Cervélo R5

      • Price: £8,599

      The R5 sells itself. When you're paying this kind of money for a bike you want to be certain it brings with it performance benefits and has a pedigree that you can brag about.

      How about the double Mont Ventoux stage of the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España GC? Before the latest iteration of Cervélo's climbing specialist was even announced Wout van Aert, Primož Roglič and pals were getting the job done for Team Jumbo-Visma in 2021.

      That could just be the talent of the riders, you say. Well, wed editor and esteemed bike tester Matthew Loveridge described it as 'preternaturally stiff', 'silky smooth', 'extraordinarily effective' and 'one of the most rewaring climbers I've ever ridden'.

      20. Basso Diamante SV

      • Price: £8,949

      While many manfacturers have their bikes built in the Far East, Basso has always kept its operations completely in Italy so part of this price tag is for the care and attention each bike is given.

      The Diamante SV is the company's refined racing bike with years of geometrical tweaks making it a true marvel that really packs a punch, delivering both speed and comfort to the highest of levels.

      Although it's available with a few groupset options, this one has Shimano's top of the range Dura-Ace Di2, which offers an unparalleled service. Alongside that it comes with DT Swiss PRC 1400 Spline disc brake wheels and a 56 weighs just 7.48kg.

      21. Merida Reacto Team-E

      • Price: £9,000

      One of the many reasons people love cycling is that it's actually possible to put yourself in the position of the pros: riding the same roads, wearing the same kit and riding the same bike. Merida's Reacto Team-E is the culmination of that.

      Decked out in Bahrain Victorious colours, its the team's aero bike with every element carefully selected for its drag-minimising qualities including the sleek tube shapes and Vision Metron handlebars, stem and wheels.

      Merida claims that only 209 watts are needed to get it to 45kmh, which is nuts. Just got to work on your aerodynamic body position and you're away.

      22. Liv Langma Advanced SL Disc

      Price: £9,999

      Although many companies say their bikes are unisex, men's and women's geometries are different, so having a frame designed specifically for women is definitely worth thinking about.

      The Langma Advanced SL from Liv, Giant's sister company, has similar elements to the latter's popular TCR and is a high-end climber with low weight (6.65kg for a small), high levels of stiffness and minimal drag.

      It's also specced out to the max with SRAM's top Red eTap AXS wireless electronic groupset and Cadex 36 Disc wheels and there are more affordable models available if it's above budget.

      23. Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7

      • Price: £11,500

      Going fast on a bike you'd be happy to ride all day has never felt so good as it does on the Specialized Tarmac SL7. In recent years the all-round Tarmac has become ever more aerodynamic.

      It’s now so slippery that Specialized has finally killed-off its brother the Venge. Leaving this as the remaining dedicated 'fast' bike from the big-S, it promises to offer riders the best of the two former lines.

      Fast on the flats, rigid enough for race-winning accelerations. Yet somehow not obnoxious to ride all day, there's even clearance for tyres up to 32c. Even more radically, this electronic SRAM-equipped version has switched to a single chainring. 

      Already racking up WorldTour wins in its more conventional form, it also won over our former in-house racer, Stu.

      24. Colnago C64

      • Price: £11,590

      The new Colnago C64 could be Colnago's best bike yet.

      It's what Tadej Pogačar rides so there's no debating that it deserves its spot on any list of the best road bikes and sure enough it was picked by deputy editor James Spender for our best all-rounders list earlier this year.

      However that also means it's in incredibly high demand, even for the current market, so any chance to bag one surely has to be jumped at.

      Plus you would probably also need to pick up a bike to ride for all those days of the year when it isn't wall to wall sunshine.

      25. Specialized S-Works Aethos

      • Price: £11,750

      Anything with the S-Works moniker is always going to be popular and the chances are it's going to be good too, as is the case with the Aethos.

      Upon release it was claimed to be the world's lightest production disc brake bike weighing just 6.23kg for a 56cm equipped with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset and Roval Alpinist CLX wheels. Yes, that means that it's not UCI legal so you can ride it but the pros can't.

      It has the geometry to match the Tarmac SL7 but with weight shed at every available opportunity without sacrificing on performance.

      Those weight savings mean this is an absolute monster uphill. If that's your thing, this is your bike.

      26. Bianchi Specialissima Disc

      • Price: £12,000

      It doesn't get more iconic than a celeste Bianchi bike, that's a fact. Many would pay the hefty price for that privilege alone.

      But beyond that, the latest Specialissima is a ruddy good bike with top tier stiffness and handling combined with being just 7.14kg for a size 55.

      That makes climbing and descending where it excels and boy does it.

      There are multiple different spec options available but we reviewed the Campagnolo Super Record EPS Disc version and it was certainly a hit.

      27. Pinarello Dogma F

      • Price: £12,400

      Pinarello has been proven time and time again to be a world-beater. You can't write the story of cycling without it.

      The Dogma F is the Italian brand's all-round racer and there aren't enough words here to describe how good it is, so you'll just have to trust deputy editor James Spender's five-star review.

      This generation saw a mass of clever weight saving and aerodynamic refinement – including the funky tube shapes – so watts have been saved and speed has most certainly added.

      28. Spoon Customs Vars Disc

      • Price: £12,900

      All you need to know about Spoon Custom's Vars Disc sits at the top of deputy editor James Spender's review (link below). Five stars, no negatives and if you're still reading this far down the guide you're at least considering the price tag (or just here for fun anyway).

      The next thing to note is that it's a custom bike, meaning that you can not only choose the full spec that you want but it will be made to measure, so there's no doubt it will tick all boxes in that department.

      It's also important to emphasise that this is a carbon fibre custom bike, with tubes moulded, cut, mitred and bonded in Italy – with a few 3D printed parts added in – before being painted and built up in Surrey.

      On this 56cm frame – without custom geometry – it hit the sweet spot of stiffness, smoothness and speed to bring an out-of-this-world ride quality that, if you can afford it, can't go wrong.

        What should I consider when buying a new bike?

        Can I afford replacement parts?

        It's all well and good saving up to buy a sparkly new top-of-the-range bike but ask yourself, when something needs replacing, can you afford it?

        We ask this question because bike parts do wear with time and it can cost a lot to replace things like-for-like.

        How do I usually ride?

        If you consider yourself an aggressive whippet who focusses on smashing out power hours on your lunch break, then you should go for an aero bike.

        Are you a more relaxed rider who enjoys banking long, slow days in the saddle? An endurance road bike with relaxed geometry would likely be the ticket here.

        Buy a bike that complements how you ride a bike, not how you think you should ride.

        Where do I ride?

        Where do I envisage riding my new bike? Am I buying this to venture into the world of gravel bikes? If so, you need to look for a bike with generous tyre clearance.

        Are you buying this bike with the plan of multiple trips to the high mountains abroad? Then you might consider a lightweight climbing bike.

        Pinpoint where you see yourself riding most, then buy a bike suited to that.

        Am I looking to upgrade?

        Going into a bike purchase, you will have a rough figure in your head of how much you want to spend. And within that, there will be many options fitting the bill.

        If you have grand plans of wheel and groupset upgrades in the near future, opting for the best frame you can buy for your budget isn't a bad idea.

        But if you do not, you may find that the best option for you, in the long term, is not the most expensive bike you can afford.

        This guide includes contributions from Joe Robinson and the wider Cyclist team of bike experts.

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