Road bikes under $1500 make capable commuters or an easy transition from a flat-bar road bike, while remaining more than capable of hanging with a bunch ride. As technology gets better and trickles down through the models, the bikes in this price range have improved over the years. Starting with the basics, you can expect an alloy frame which combines strength and durability for a capable ride, which is used on a lot of higher end bikes as well.

Some bikes will come with a vibration damping carbon fork for a smooth and reliable ride. They will typically have a slightly more relaxed and comfortable geometry than some of the more speed oriented road bikes. While the groupsets will differ from bike to bike, most will be provided by SRAM or Shimano and they are likely to be 2x setups on the front and 7 to 11 speeds at the back.

Road bikes in this price range will usually feature traditional rim brakes which are light, simple and reliable. While disc brakes are certainly gaining popularity, you’ll be hard pressed to find a bike under $1500 with disc brakes as the cheapest will usually sit around $1600. When buying on a budget it’s best to keep it simple and make sure the bike ticks the right boxes, without paying for any unnecessary extras that you won’t utilise.

1) Cube Attain

The Cube Attain brings sleek and well thought-out design concepts from German brand Cube. It starts with the double-butted High Performance Alloy frame which is light and stiff, matched with a Cube Race Full Carbon Fork which smoothes out the ride. The 2x8 Shimano Claris Drivetrain is serviceable for the weekend warrior and more than capable for most riders out there. The Continental tyres are matched with a reliable Cube wheelset that is solid and good enough to get the job done. Overall this bike fuses pace with easy handling and comfort which is something any ride will be happy with.

2) Merida Scultura Rim 100

The Scultura 100 is a versatile road bike that comes in male and female sizes to maximise comfort and performance. The alloy frame is designed with aero profiled tubing for added efficiency, while the carbon fork offers precise steering and smoothes out the bumps. As with the Attain, theis bikes also rolls with a 2x8 Shimano Claris Drivetrain for dynamic performance on every climb or descent. The Maxxis Pursuer tyres offer a combination of speed and traction, which you can control with the reliable rim brakes. The 100 does the basics well and ticks a lot of boxes for the recreational riders, the main reason to step up would be for disc brakes and a slightly better drivetrain which might appeal to the more serious riders.

Cycling outdoors

3) Pedal Pursuit

The Pedal Pursuit comes at the bargain end of the price range, for under $700 you get a capable road bike with drop bars and a can do attitude. The 6061 Alloy frame is similar to the frames previously mentioned however this bike does have Hi- Ten steel fork to keep the price down and probably means this bike is best for fast commuting and first timers. The 2x7 speed drivetrain made up of mostly Shimano components is sturdy and reliable without the efficiency or frills of a higher end drivetrain. The alloy Dual Pivot Caliper rim brakes are simple and trusty, while the double wall alloy rims are tough and light for a smooth ride in combination with the 700c tyres. If you expect to race the Tour de France on this bike you might be disappointed, but when it comes to value and reliability this bike does a great job of giving you a comfortable and smooth ride that is great for fitness or transport.

Garmin Cycling Computers

4) BONUS: Merida Scultura 400

This bike is a bit over the $1500 mark so we’ll count this as a bonus as it is hard to go past a road bike with hydraulic disc brakes in 2021. This will give you an insight into the more expensive road bikes as disc brakes are now standard on the Scultura range for 2021 models, with rim brakes existing as an alternate model. This bike will fit right in the sweet spot for a lot of riders, quality across the board that won’t break the bank. You get a great alloy frame which is optimised to combine comfort geometry with speed, add in the CF2 Carbon fork for excellent steering and a great riding experience. The 2x11 speed Shimano 105 Drivetrain is crisp and fast, perfect for dropping your mates while you ride. While the 105 Hydraulic Disc Brakes give you responsive and powerful control in the dry and the wet, a real difference maker. All in all the Scultura 400 is an outstanding bike, it maybe be over $1500, but with 2x11 speed 105 and hydraulic disc brakes it’s hard to argue.

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