Best Road Bikes 2017 – Top 10 Reviews for Bike Lovers
To the uninitiated, or those looking to get into cycling as an alternative to running, it can be very challenging to choose the best road bike for their needs. Not every bike is the same, and everyone will have different use needs. As keen and experienced cyclists, we have tested a large number of different bikes over the course of the year, and this article contains our best road bike reviews and opinions on the market in 2017.
Which are the Best Road Bikes in 2017?
A good bike should last you many years, so it is imperative that you spend some time doing your research before splashing the cash. Manufacturers and cyclists alike have moved away from the replication of elite racers machines, trying to lower prices and build in some more comfort in preference to the professional rider’s requirements.
We have tested all of the road bikes in this review extensively, both regarding everyday use, reliability and ease of use. Competition for your business is stronger than ever, and as a consequence consumers are getting better quality bikes at lower prices. There has never been a better time to buy a road bike, and this made it very difficult to choose our top two bikes. After many hours of heated discussion, we finally came to an agreement, although nearly every bike in this list is worthy of your consideration.
|Ridley Fenix Alloy 105(Top Recommendation)||Aluminium Frame||Shimano 105 STI 22||36.75 lbs||Buy now
|Vilano Forza 4.0(Budget Pick)||Aluminium Frame||Shimano STI||32.65 lbs||Buy now
|Giordano Libero 2.0||Aluminium Frame||Alloy Caliper Brakes||24.3 lbs||Buy now
|Kestral 4000||Carbon Fiber||18-speed Shimano Sora||18.6 lbs||Buy now
|Takara Kabuto||Steel Frame||Single Speed||35.2 lbs||Buy now
Our #1 Recommendation – Ridley Fenix Alloy 105
Ridley is one of the best-kept secrets of the cycling world, having previously specialized in dedicated bikes for elite racers. The Ridley Fenix Alloy 105 has a build quality that is second to none, cutting edge technology, and is made from light but strong materials. The ride provided by bike is stunningly smooth, with gear changes an absolute joy, almost to the point where you want to change gears just for the fun of the experience. The frame is made of lightweight, but strong aluminum and the manufacturer is confident enough in the quality of their product to offer a ten year unlimited mileage guarantee, on the frame and fork.
If you want to invest once, in a bike that exudes quality and reliability, backed up with a generous guarantee, then the Ridley Fenix Alloy 105 is virtually unbeatable.
Our Top Budget Recommendation – Vilano Forza 4.0
The Forza is a well-designed bike, that benefits from double walled wheels and double butted frame design that you would be happy to see on bikes at a much higher price point. Stems, saddles and peddles are easy to swap out to find the perfect fit, and the bike is comfortable to ride, but solid enough to cope with any potholes or other deficiencies you may come across on modern roads. This is our nominee for the best cheap road bike 2017.
This model features
- Shimano Integrated brake lever shifters
- 24 Speed Gears
- Lightweight Aluminum Frame
For anyone who has been bitten by the fitness bug, but doesn’t want to invest large sums of money to get started, the Vilano Forza 4.0 is an excellent investment and comes highly recommended. This is probably the best entry level road bike for beginners, given its affordability and comfort.
Our #2 Recommendation - The Giordano Libero 2.0 Road Bike
Building On Previous Success
Giordano has had great success in recent years with their Libero 1.6 model. This is the upgrade to that model and has built on the strengths for which the original bike gained so many plaudits. The bike has a lightweight frame paired with excellent gear ratios, which make it a great choice for anyone who likes the challenge of hills as a part of their cycling regime.
The bike weighs a mere 25.6 pounds, and with a total of 18 gears, this bike provides the capability of tackling any challenge you might care to set it.
One significant benefit of this bike is that when it arrives, it requires very little assembly, all that is required is to fit the saddle, the front wheels, and the handlebars.
This might seem like a minor thing, but it just means that you can get on your new piece of machinery and get out cycling quickly without a lot of bicycle maintenance required.
There is very little not to like about this bike, and the wheels are certainly not a deal breaker, but it is worth noting that compared to some of the competition reviewed here the wheels are sized at 700 by 25mm compared to most of the competition providing 700 by 27mm wheels. This is important because the thicker the wheel, the better the performance and the smoother the ride.
Our #3 Recommendation - Kestral 4000
This Bike Screams Quality
It never hurts to dream, and some of our readers simply want to purchase a more expensive bike. If you fall into this category, then the Kestral 4000 is a stunning piece of kit that could well meet your requirements.
With beautifully shaped handlebars and a raised seating position, the shape of the rider on the bike is aerodynamic and enables a comfortable cycling position.
For those of us who are perhaps carrying a few extra pounds, comfort makes a huge difference, because the more comfortable you are, the more inclined you will be to get out on that bike.
As you gain confidence in the bike, you will find it grips the road like a train on track, which means that you can throw it into corners hard, confident that you won’t end up sliding across the tarmac. There is great fun to be had on this bike, so if you can afford it then it should certainly be on your list of possibilities.
Just A Few Concerns To Be Aware Of
There are a few negatives to this bike, apart from the cost, the main one being getting the size just right for your body type. The company offers the bike in six different sizes, and this could be a case of having too much choice. The rise itself can also be a little hard, but this is very much a matter of opinion. The only other slight negative, although we have no personal experience of this, however there are a few reports on the internet saying that customer service isn’t what you might expect from such a prestigious company.
Our #4 Recommendation - Takara Kabuto Single Speed Road Bike
It’s All A Matter Of Taste
It might seem a strange thing to say, but the Takara is loud, bright and in your face. Few people would choose a road bike due to how it looks, but this bike’s color scheme is so loud that it may put people off from purchasing it.
This might not be a negative thing especially for commuters, as other road users will easily see you coming. Once you get over the garish colors (even the tires are bright yellow) the bike itself is an interesting choice.
The Kabuto gives you a nice option of riding a fixed gear or in a standard free-wheel, single speed mode. Make no mistake though this bike is rock solid and built to take whatever you want to throw at it.
Not The Best Bike for The Smaller Rider
For reasons best known to themselves the manufacturer makes the vast majority of their frames to fit riders between 5’8 and 6’2, therefore excluding the majority of shorter riders and many females. They do make smaller frames, but these tend to get snapped up rapidly, and consequently are difficult to come by. Other people have experienced some issues with the spokes and the tires, which are particularly, thin and do not provide the most comfortable of rides.
Overall this is a solid option, and worthy of your consideration. The steel frame and bright color schemes make it one of the best bikes on the list for commuters, and we have every confidence in the long-term durability of this bike. For those interested in a bike that can multi-task for weekend races, as well as the daily commute, this isn’t the bike for you, and there are better options available elsewhere.
Our #5 Recommendation - Schwinn Men's Prelude Bicycle
A few years ago Schwinn was seen as one of the premier makes of elite bicycles, but the company has changed ownership on at least two occasions and have changed their target market. It could be argued that they are the leading manufacturer in the “Best road bike under $500” category, so if funds are a concern, then their Prelude model could be an excellent choice.
Target Market Male Commuters
Make no bones about it this bike has been designed with one market in mind, and that is the male commuter market. This in itself is no bad thing, as rather than try to please a broad range of cyclists, the focus and design all come together with one sole purpose in mind.
Solid Dependable Reliable
A lot of thought has gone into the description for this particular bike, because although it might not seem so, we like it. However, it isn’t sexy, and there aren’t clever little touches that set it aside from the competition. Think of the Schwinn as your favorite pair of slippers, comfortable and a pleasure to wear. The Schwinn provides a comfortable and reliable ride and anyone that buys one is getting a top quality bike that uses first class components.
In many ways anyone that buys this bike is getting excellent value for money, because you are not wasting money on expensive little tweaks and additions that in all fairness you will probably never use. If you want a solid, reliable bike to get you to and from work on a daily basis, and don’t want to take out a second mortgage to achieve this, then the Schwinn should be at the top of your list.
Not The Bike For The Image Conscious
Perhaps as a young twenty-one-year-old you wouldn’t buy a bike to commute to work anyways, but for those that are considering it, the Schwinn is the equivalent of buying a Volvo. It is solid, reliable and it won’t let you down, it just doesn’t have anything to get your juices flowing, and you won’t look particularly cool cycling to work on it. If your public image is of no concern and you are on a cost cutting exercise, then the Schwinn delivers time and time again.
The Ultimate Bargain - GMC Denali Road Bike
Having just talked about getting what you pay for this little beauty proves that there is always an exception to every rule. While it is not good enough to win the runner up prize in our reviews, this is possibly the ultimate bargain.
As a team of reviewers and bike fanatics, we were so shocked to discover that GMC offers a full lifetime warranty on the frame of this bike, which at such a low price point, so shocked in fact that we verified it.
Now let’s be totally frank here you are not buying a $3000 bike here, so it would be unfair to expect that level of quality and ride, but for the money this machine costs it is stunning value for money. With a few relatively cheap tweaks, this could be regarded as the best budget road bike of 2017.
Solid Construction With Top Quality Material Used Throughout
Another surprise about this bike is that GMC has managed to use the more expensive aluminum for the frame construction, partnered with steel forks for extra strength and rigidity. Quite how they are making a profit here remains to be seen, but if you are on a limited budget and want a solid, dependable bike, with a lifetime frame guarantee, there is nothing else that comes close. As you might have gathered we are big fans of this product, the only real negatives are that it is a little heavier than we might have hoped for, but for the price charged that might be being overly critical.
Best Cheap Bike - Takara Sugiyama Flat Bar Fixie Bike
Can A Bargain Basement Bike Do The Job?
In our roundup of road bikes, we wanted to test a model at the low end of the market, just to see how it would compare with the more expensive competition. Many people will tell you that you get exactly what you pay for, and in this instance, it could be argued that you get less.
Add Some Extra Funds To Your Budget
For the purpose of this review, we will assume that the majority of readers have limited bike building experience, and this is where the Takara almost falls at the first hurdle.
It is not the easiest bike to get up and running, and for your personal safety, and sanity, the best advice would be to take it to a local bike shop and have the experts set it up for you. Budget about $60 for this task which is a hefty additional cost to anyone considering this bike.
Time For A Pit Stop
The tires that are provided with this bike are noisy and don’t produce a nice riding experience. The problem here is that should you decide to change to a better tire and setup you could be looking at an additional $250, which means that your bargain basement purchase is now beginning to look rather expensive, and the quality of the bike will be poor compared to the Vilano Forza for example.
There is very little to recommend this bike, it looks nice enough, but the underlying quality is simply not there. Now in saying all of that and being totally open and honest, there is a real likelihood that we have been spoiled, due to riding much more expensive bikes on a daily basis. It becomes difficult to give honest opinions of a much cheaper model, and many people on the web seem happy enough with this bike, so it may be worth taking the chance. Just bear in mind that this is probably unlikely to be a bike that takes a lot of punishment, nor is it ever going to give you the most comfortable of rides.
That being said, if you want a cheap bike to store in the garage for the occasional bit of fun with the kids, this bike could be just the ticket.
Vilano R2 Commuter Aluminum Road Bike Shimano 21 Speed 700c
A Good Inexpensive All-Rounder
Vilano has a long established reputation for building good quality reliable bikes at a great price, and in our opinion, they have continued that tradition with the R2.
Available in four distinctive color schemes, and in a wide range of sizes, everyone should be able to find a model that suits both their tastes and size.
Marketed as a commuter bike, this is not the bike for anyone that fancies a spot of racing at the weekend, but nonetheless, this is a solid and reliable option at a great price.
Lots Of Options
If you enjoy tweaking and are not happy with the standard bike, every one of the component parts are upgradeable, although this will obviously have an impact on the cost of ownership, and potentially moves this bike out of the budget market.
Depending on your expectations, this is a great purchase for many people, provided that you are not expecting a top of the range machine. Costs have understandably been cut, the brake levers being a case in point, but then again it is unlikely that anyone purchasing the Vilano is contemplating entering the Tour de France. There have been some strange choices made, to save money, for example the brake pads are not angle adjustable, something that probably would only add $5 to the overall cost. This can be easily rectified by a visit to the local bike store and is probably advisable unless you know exactly what you are doing to setup a bike.
For anyone interested in dabbling their foot in the cycling world, or trying to save some money on the commute, the Vilano represents an excellent entry level purchase that comes recommended provided you have reasonable expectations. For all these reasons, this bike wins the “Best Road Bike Under $1000” category choice.
Tommaso Imola Compact Aluminium Road Bike
The last bike in our roundup of 2017 Road bikes is Tommaso Imola. In terms of the bikes, we have reviewed within this list; the Imola is right in the middle price point wise. The ride is smooth, and the frame feels solid and looks great.
Not Suitable For The Novice Builder
It is a strange coincidence, which the more expensive the bike, the more setup it requires. For whatever reason, the bike doesn’t even come supplied with instructions, nor for that matter pedals.
So you either have the option of building it yourself blind, or taking it to a bike store to have it assembled for you.
That being said, once your bike is built, it is a fantastic piece of equipment, and you will appreciate the solid luxury feel, excellent gears and comfortable ride, although we would advise changing the saddle, which is rather uncomfrotable. If you want to spend a little more than bargain basement prices, but don’t want to spend silly money then this is a great all round compromise.
Many thousands of people every year start off on a new health and fitness regime, with positive ideas and enthusiasm only to find that a few months down the line, that enthusiasm has evaporated, and the expensive equipment lies unused somewhere in the home.
We understand that finding the time to exercise, and maintaining that motivation can be challenging, which is why we wanted to find the best road bikes for those considering taking up cycling as a form of exercise or sport. All our chosen bikes are of suitable quality so you wont have to regret your buying decision. Make your choice and sail through the roads with utmost confidence and pride.