The Best Entry Level Road Bike For Beginners In 2021 Reviewed

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Starting a new hobby with a bicycle can seem overwhelming based on all the loads of information available.

What we are going to do in this article is go over the best entry level road bikes and discuss the components of the bike so you know what to look for when shopping.

Enjoying your journey with your new road bike will be a fun and new adventure.

Our Pick For Entry Level Road Bike

Our first choice for all around performance and quality is the Vilano Shadow road bike.

What to Look for When Choosing Your Entry Level Road Bike

Frame Material

Bike frames typically come in aluminum, steel, titanium, or carbon fiber. Each material comes with its own sets of pros and cons that affect the ride and other aspects of owning a bike. We will help you understand those differences.

Aluminum and aluminum alloy are the most popular materials that you will find. Aluminum alloy is simply a combination of materials that include aluminum. Aluminum is popular because it is great across all bike types – especially racing. It is lightweight and affordable for you and manufacturers. On the downside, it is more susceptible to wear and tear and the ride can be harsh due to its inability to shock absorb.

Bikes made from steel are hardy, durable, and capable of handling repairs, unlike aluminum. It is a springy ride and comfortable, even on bumpy trails. Unfortunately, steel bikes are a bit more expensive than aluminum and are on the heavy side. Rust is also a potential issue depending on how you handle upkeep and storage.

Titanium bikes are popular with bike builders, similar to steel. It is on the pricier side compared to steel, but with good reason. Titanium is more lightweight, durable, and resistant to rust. The right quality is on the same level as carbon fiber and is great for all ride types.

High-end mountain bikes are often made with carbon fiber. Generally, carbon fiber is more expensive than both aluminum and steel. However, it is extremely lightweight with great strength and durability.

As an entry level rider, aluminum is the most well-rounded of the four. This gives you time to learn your likes and dislikes and what you truly want out of a bike. Then, if you decide later on, you can actually drop the money on something hardier.

Bike Size

Getting the correct bike size is one of the most important aspects of bike shopping. If you have an ill-fitting bike, this can lead to back and wrist pain from poor posture and your hands overcompensating the pressure. Of course, this can also lead to higher crash risks and increased fatigue due to overworked leg muscles from improper positioning.

 Most bikes are best suited to using your height to find the right size:

Size Chart
HeightRoad Bike
4’10” – 5’2”47cm – 48cm
5’2” – 5’6”49cm – 50cm
5’3” – 5’6”51cm – 53cm
5’6” – 5’9”56cm – 58cm
6’ – 6’3”58 cm – 60cm
6’3” – 6’6”61cm – 63cm


The wheels are quintessential to the bike, of course. They are more than just a circular tube of rubber, however. Each wheel is made up of hubs, bearings, nipples, and spokes. The wheels rotate on the hubs, and this is the mechanism that is behind the wheel’s bearings and axle.

Climbing wheels are great for those who live in a hilly area and need that boost. These wheels are often lightweight and more compliant against steep climbs.

Aerodynamic wheels are what the pros are using and have been popular amongst long-term hobby cyclists as well. They are pricier, but the carbon fiber rims make this a durable and light option. Some budget versions are made with aluminum so they are a bit heavier and more prone to damage.

Deep section aerodynamic wheels are perfect for those who want a more aerodynamic option that cuts through wind and lets you pick up speed.

Training wheels are durable and able to handle rough and tough cycling. They are heavier than other versions, but that is because they are made to be solidly strong.



These are the gears that are located along the bottom of the frame. There are a few different types of chainrings. Compact chainrings support those who have a sportive riding style. Standard and triple chainrings are both great for touring bikes. They have good ranges and low gears.

A bike that has two chainrings is described as having a double crank, while those with three are called a triple crank.

The chainset includes cranks, bottom bracket, and the chainring. This is what connects the ring to other parts of the bike.


The seat. Your throne whilst on your bicycle is vital to your enjoyment. An uncomfortable saddle can leave you hurting the next day. That is why they come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and different levels of padding. Some are wide and long, others are short and standard width. Wide saddles with a curve to them are best suited for those who ride in an upright position who require that support for their weight. Flat seats that are narrower are best for racers who put less weight on the saddle.  


Pedals need no introduction. However, they also come in a variety of sizes and shapes.


The bicycle brakes are the most important part of the bike because they help ensure your safety. There are four main types of brakes: V-Brake, disc brakes, caliper, and cantilever.

Bike Assembly

Most bikes come with the option to pay extra for assembly or they can ship it partially assembled. You are able to assemble it yourself or take it to your local shop to have them assemble it for you.

If assembling yourself, you will need to remove all padding and install the seatpost first. Once you set it on a bike stand, you can mount the derailleur and align and tighten it. After this, install the handlebar, brakes, and wheels. After, install your pedals and check the brakes and gears.

Give it a test drive to make sure it is good to go.

6 Best Entry-Level Road Bikes Reviewed

1. Schwinn Phocus 1400 and 1600 Drop Bar Road Bicycles for Men and Women

Key Features:

  • 16 speed gear shifter 
  • Includes dual pivot calliper brakes 
  • Lightweight aluminum frame and carbon fork 
  • Quick release front wheel  
  • Shimano speed derailleur 

This is a versatile road bike that you’ll be able to ride comfortably for years. It’s a high performer, and you’ll love the amount of speed you can pick up. While it’s technically considered a 14 speed bike, you actually get 16 speeds (since it has an 8 speed cassette and 2 side speed cranks).

It gives a smooth feel while you ride, and thousands of miles later, it still feels and works extremely well. The saddle is more comfortable than the starter saddles you’ll find on most road bikes, which is another bonus.


  • Feels fast and light 
  • Precise braking and speed shifting 
  • Comfortable even on long rides 


  • Best to replace tubes for something heavier after a while 
Schwinn Phocus 1400 and 1600 Drop Bar Road Bicycle for Men and Women, Alluminum Frame, 14 or 16-Speed Drivetrain, Carbon Fiber Fork, 700c Wheels, Multiple Colors
Schwinn Phocus 1400 and 1600 Drop Bar Road Bicycle for Men and Women, Alluminum Frame, 14 or 16-Speed Drivetrain, Carbon Fiber Fork, 700c Wheels, Multiple Colors

Last update on 2024-05-28 at 18:15 / Commission Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

2. Vilano Diverse 3.0 Performance Hybrid Road Bike

Key Features:

  • 8 gear rear cassette 
  • Uses disc brakes 
  • 24 speeds to choose 
  • Built with upright handlebars 
  • Aluminum alloy construction 

This Vilano hybrid road bike is more than enough to rival any shop bike. It’s perfect for people that like to switch up their workout routines, or just get where they need to be. It’s very easy to assemble on your own, even if you have virtually no technical abilities.

One thing that really stands out is the quality of the brakes. They’re super strong and precise. On that note, give them a light pump before you put full pressure on them.


  • Brakes are much stronger than other bikes 
  • 24 speeds for perfect cruising 
  • Frame is pre drilled for accessories 


  • Brakes can be a little tough to install  
Gravity 2024 FSX 2.0 Dual Full Suspension Mountain Bike with Disc Brakes (Matt Black with Green Wheels, 17inch)
Gravity 2024 FSX 2.0 Dual Full Suspension Mountain Bike with Disc Brakes (Matt Black with Green Wheels, 17inch)

    Last update on 2024-05-28 at 22:14 / Commission Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

    3. Vilano Shadow Road Bike

    Key Features:

    • Includes 14 speeds 
    • Brake levers and speed shifters on handlebars 
    • Drop handlebars 
    • Headset integrated into frame 
    • Durable aluminum construction 

    The Vilano Shadow is built to tackle pretty much any road, and 14 different speeds make it easy to choose the perfect pace. Not every road bike does a great job on hills, and that’s just one thing that makes this bike really stand out.

    It’s got a very ergonomic feel, and we loved that the brakes and speed shifter are easily accessed from the same place. It’s nice and lightweight, which is a ‘must have’ feature for the best road bikes. In short, it’s a great bike at a great price. 


    • Performs well on hills 
    • Good gear, easy to tune and adjust 
    • Company provides great customer support 


    • Wheels are alright, could be improved 

    4. Tommaso Imola Endurance Aluminum Road Bike

    Key Features:

    • Shallow handlebar drop 
    • Includes lifetime warranty 
    • Made with Shimano gears 
    • Includes 25 mm, 700c wheels 
    • Uses Shimano groupset 

    If you want a comfortable ride that includes high end gear, you’ll want to check out this Tommaso Imola Endurance bike. It offers a much more relaxed stance than most road bikes, even if your style is a little different. While it’s definitely budget friendly, it’s not a typical ‘entry level’ bike. Yes, you can use it if you’re just getting into road bikes, but even experts will love how it performs. Another bonus: it lasts forever, and it comes with a lifetime warranty. 


    • Very budget friendly and high quality 
    • Easy to maneuver and control 
    • Really good warranty 


    • Seat isn’t super comfortable (replace for long rides)
    Tommaso Imola - Sport Bike Performance Aluminum Road Bike, Shimano Claris 24 Speeds Road Bicycle Men Road Bikes for Men Bike Men Women Speed Bike Racing Bike Adult Bike City Bike- Black XXS 48cm
    Tommaso Imola - Sport Bike Performance Aluminum Road Bike, Shimano Claris 24 Speeds Road Bicycle Men Road Bikes for Men Bike Men Women Speed Bike Racing Bike Adult Bike City Bike- Black XXS 48cm

      Last update on 2024-05-29 at 00:02 / Commission Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

      5. Diamondback Bicycles Century 2 Endurance Road Bike

      Key Features:

      • Constructed of durable aluminum alloy 
      • Uses Shimano gear shifters 
      • Disc brakes for better control 
      • Lightweight: about 21 lbs 
      • Fast assembly 

      The best way to describe this bike is easy. From the setup to the rides, it’s smooth sailing. It definitely has one of the fastest and easiest assemblies, even for total beginners. It’s much lighter than other road bikes, but you can tell the frame is made of durable, high quality aluminum alloy. It’s very easy to handle whether you’re shifting gears or braking on a dime, which is ideal for any road bike. 


      • Very easy to setup and get started 
      • Durable but lightweight frame 
      • Feels smooth and comfortable on long rides 


      • Experienced riders may prefer to replace pedals 

      6. Goplus Road Bike Commuter Bike 

      Key Features:

      • Aluminum frame 
      • Includes 700c tires 
      • Quick release front wheel 
      • Includes updated derailleur 
      • Adjustable seat and handlebars 

      As far as value goes, this Goplus bike is one of the best out there. It’s certainly one of the most affordable street bikes you’ll see anywhere. Not only that though, it’s fast and perfect for leisure riders as well as commuters. If you need to get somewhere on two wheels, and in a hurry, this bike will get you there. It’s smooth and precise, and we’ve got to admit, it’s a great looking bike. It would be more than easy to mistake this for a bike costing 5x as much. 


      • Great value at a very low price  
      • Fast, smooth, precise handling 
      • Very nice design and color options 


      • Brakes do the job, but need to be replaced more often 

      The Top Choice

      When deciding which road bike really topped the competition, it was difficult to pick just one. We were lucky enough to be able to review several of the best road bikes out there, and it really shows. With that in mind, we had to choose a couple favorites. 

      Our first choice for all around performance and quality is the Vilano Shadow road bike. It’s just as good for a total beginner as it is for a seasoned expert. It’s incredibly precise, and just a joy to ride in general. Tune ups are fast, and easy, so there’s no hassle in maintaining it.

      If we can choose a runner-up, it’s the Goplus commuter bike. It picks up speed quickly, offers smooth riding, and it’s one of the most affordable road bikes out there, with good quality too. 

      Photo of author
      Hello, my names Perry and I've been a freelance writer for the past 5 years and a cycling enthusiastic since I can remember. I love the road, but my main passion is mountain biking.

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