Best road bikes 2024: A bike for every budget (2024)

Best road bikes 2024: A bike for every budget (1)

Jump to:

  • Road bikes under £1000 / $1500
  • Road bikes under £2000 / $2500
  • Road bikes under £5000 / $6000
  • All-rounder race bikes
  • Lightweight bikes
  • Aero bikes
  • Endurance bikes
  • Electric road bikes

If you're looking to choose between the best road bikes, there's a bewildering array of choices.

The best budget road bikes are still very affordable. They're usually endurance all-rounders, but once you look further up manufacturers' ranges you'll usually find bikes designed for different purposes.

There's still an array of endurance bikes at higher prices, but you can also choose between the best lightweight road bikes and the best aero road bikes. It's not a simple choice either; although a lightweight bike may feel livelier, aerodynamics is usually more important if you want to go faster.

Read our guide on how to choose a road bike if you want more guidance. The best electric road bikes are also an option if you value the assistance of a motor but want a bike that still looks and rides like a road bike.

All road bikes are getting more tyre clearance as well. That means that whereas a few years ago 25mm wide tyres were the norm, many newer bikes, even performance models, will allow you to fit 32mm tyres or wider.

That makes for a much more comfortable ride without appreciable loss of performance. It also leads to increasing overlap with the best gravel bikes - which often are getting more like road bikes as gravel racing takes off and gravel race bikes become an important category.

Here at Cyclingnews, our job is to test and review bikes, so you can be sure that our selection of the best road bikes below won't let you down. If you want more guidance on how to choose the best road bike for you, there's a useful buyer's guide lower down the page too.

Best road bikes available today

You can trust Cyclingnews Our experts spend countless hours testing cycling tech and will always share honest, unbiased advice to help you choose. Find out more about how we test.

Best road bikes under £1000 / $1500

If you're looking for a bike in this price range you should be able to find an alloy-framed bike, usually with a carbon fork to help absorb some road chatter that will perform well. You should find one of Shimano's lower spec groupsets, either 8-speed Claris, 9-speed Sora or 10-speed Tiagra, although the best budget road bikes may stretch to middle tier Shimano 105.

Best road bikes 2024: A bike for every budget (2)

1. Triban RC 520 Disc

Best budget friendly road bike

Specifications

Frame: 6061 T6 aluminium

Groupset: Shimano 105 11-speed

Brakes: Mechanical/hydraulic disc

Weight: 10.6kg

Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL

Reasons to buy

+

Comfortable, relaxed ride position

+

Great spec for the price

Reasons to avoid

-

A little on the heavy side

Decathlon makes some excellent value bikes with well-chosen components. The Triban RC520 Disc is a good example. At a price at which you'd expect to find 8-speed Shimano Claris, you get an 11-speed Shimano 105 groupset with a good gear range from its 50/34-tooth chainset and 11-32-tooth cassette and much smaller jumps than you'd get with Claris.

Not only that, you get disc brakes in the form of TRP HY/RD calipers that are cable operated but with hydraulic actuation for better modulation and power. Decathlon specs a lot of its own brand components including the wheels, which are tubeless-ready.

The bike comes stock with 28mm own-brand tyres, but you can swap these out for rubber up to 36mm wide, which would add an extra dimension of plushness to the already comfortable and relaxed ride. You can add mudguards for all-weather riding and a rack for load-lugging duties.

As you'd expect at this price, the Triban RC520 Disc isn't particularly light, but it's on par with the competition.

Read our full review of the Triban RC520 Disc.

Best road bikes under £2000 / $2500

Spending twice as much cash as the bikes above will get you some significant upgrades - usually a more sophisticated frame, often hydraulic disc brakes and better components.

You'll still usually find an alloy frame, although carbon fibre will sometimes make an appearance. Don't think that carbon is essential though as quality alloy frames on the best budget bikes can be lighter and ride better than a lower-priced carbon number.

Best road bikes 2024: A bike for every budget (3)

2. Specialized Allez Sport

Best road bike for versatility

Specifications

Frame: E5 Premium aluminium

Groupset: Shimano Tiagra 10-speed

Brakes: Hydraulic disc

Weight: 9.5kg

Sizes: 44-61cm

Reasons to buy

+

Disc brakes provide good stopping power

+

Space for 35mm tyres or 32mm with mudguards

+

Frame suited to future upgrades

Reasons to avoid

-

Upright ride position won't suit aspiring racers

-

Slightly uninspiring looks

Specialized's stalwart entry-level alloy road bike comes with a rich history that stretches back for years and it gets some trickle-down tech from the brand's high-end road bikes like an all-carbon fork and a frame with butted tubing to save weight. There are also dropped seat stays and internal cable routing, although we found the bike's design and colour slightly uninspiring.

The Allez has had an upgrade for the 2024 model year and now includes disc brakes and enough space for 35mm tyres or 32mm tyres with mudguards. We've ridden the higher-spec Allez Sport with 10-speed Shimano Tiagra and hydraulic disc brakes; the base model has a Shimano Claris groupset and mechanical disc brakes.

The range of Specialized components is designed for comfort, like its Body Geometry Bridge saddle and shallow drop bars. Specialized fits its own Axis Sport wheels with 30mm tyres.

There's lots of versatility built into the Allez, with rack and mudguard mounts, so you can use it for the commute or light gravel riding as well as faster recreational rides.

Read our full review of the 2024 Specialized Allez Sport.

Best road bikes 2024: A bike for every budget (4)

3. Giant Contend SL Disc 1

Best alloy all-rounder

Specifications

Frame: ALUXX SL-Grade aluminium

Groupset: Shimano 105 11-speed

Brakes: Hydraulic disc

Weight: Not specified

Sizes: S, M, ML, L, XL

Reasons to buy

+

Quality all round spec

+

Carbon seatpost dampens road buzz

Reasons to avoid

-

A little on the heavy side

The Contend is Giant's alloy entry-level road bike, but the SL is the top end of the range, with a lightweight frame with Giant's trademark sloping compact geometry, an all-carbon fork and a D-shaped carbon composite seatpost designed to dampen road vibrations.

It's well-specced, with a Shimano 105 hydraulic disc brake groupset and a wide range cassette that goes down to a 1:1 ratio for easy hill climbing, and is finished with an array of Giant components.

The Contend SL 1 is equipped with a Giant S-R2 Disc alloy wheelset. Tyres are 28mm but Giant says that they measure 30mm on the wide rims and the frame has clearance for 34mm.

Best road bikes 2024: A bike for every budget (5)

4. Trek Émonda ALR 4

Well appointed alloy all rounder

Specifications

Frame: Ultralight 300 Series Alpha aluminium

Groupset: Shimano Tiagra 10-speed

Brakes: Hydraulic disc

Weight: 9.3kg

Sizes: 47-64cm

Reasons to buy

+

Lightweight

+

Quality aluminium frameset

+

Wide range of sizes available

Reasons to avoid

-

Tyres need to be swapped straight away if you want to go tubeless

The frameset of the alloy Émondahas a quality look with smooth welds that make it appear to be carbon at first sight. It's also lighter than many carbon framesets at this price point and even ones that are in the next price band above.

This spec of the ÉmondaALR headlines with Shimano Tiagra 10-speed shifting and Tiagra hydraulic disc brakes for great shifting and stopping power. There are tubeless-ready Bontrager alloy wheels, although the 28mm wire bead tyres would need a swap-out if you want to set up tubeless.

Other kit includes Bontrager bars and a Bontrager stem that's compatible with its Blendr system, so you can bolt on lights, computers and other accessories.

There's a huge range of frame sizes available, with the Émondacoming in nine sizes from 47cm up to 64cm.

In April 2023, Trek launched an update to the Émonda ALR range, with aero tube profiles and integrated cabling for an aero boost.

Best road bikes under £5000 / $6000

Spend this much money on the best road bike and you can expect a high-quality, performance machine. You'll invariably get a carbon frame and fork, often with higher-grade carbon fibre to help keep weight down.

Many bikes at this price will include a 12-speed electronic groupset, although don't discount mechanical options. You should also find lightweight, carbon wheels with tubeless-ready rims and tyres.

Best road bikes 2024: A bike for every budget (6)

5. Canyon Ultimate CF SL8 Disc Di2

High spec and light weight

Specifications

Frame: CF SL Disc carbon

Groupset: Shimano Ultegra Di2 12-speed w/ 4iiii power meter

Brakes: Hydraulic disc

Weight: 7.4kg

Sizes: 3XS - 2XL

Reasons to buy

+

Great spec including aero wheels

+

12-speed shifting with a power meter included

Reasons to avoid

-

Direct sales model means it's difficult to try before you buy

Kitted out with Shimano's latest 12-speed Ultegra Di2 groupset complete with a lightweight, compact power meter from 4iiii, the Ultimate is Canyon's all-rounder lightweight performance bike. The bike's frame is designed for aerodynamics without the all-out aero design of the Canyon Aeroad (see below). The ride position is set for all-day comfort on longer rides, but is still aggressive enough that higher spec Ultimates are ridden by the WorldTour pros.

Canyon bikes usually have great specs for their price and highlights here include Canyon's width-adjustable CP0018 Aeroco*ckpit carbon integrated bar/stem, as fitted to the Aeroad, and a Selle Italia SLR Boost Superflow Ssaddle.

This spec is equipped with DT Swiss ARC 1400 Dicut db 50mm deep front/62mm rear aero wheels with Continental Grand Prix 5000 25mm front/28mm rear tyres, again quality options that exceed what you often get at bikes at this price.

Read our full review of the Canyon Ultimate CF SLX 8 Di2.

Best all-round race bikes

A race bike should do everything well. Expect tuned aerodynamics for more speed on the flat, paired with a light enough ride for efficient climbing and handling that's race-ready while still being predictable enough for all-day riding. You'll want the comfort for long days in the saddle too.

Best road bikes 2024: A bike for every budget (7)

6. Cannondale SuperSix EVO 4

Fast all-rounder with aero credentials

Specifications

Frame: SuperSix Evo Carbon

Groupset: SRAM Red AXS

Brakes: Hydraulic disc

Weight: Not specified

Sizes: 44 - 61cm

Reasons to buy

+

Fantastic handling

+

Quality Cannondale component spec

Reasons to avoid

-

Increasingly expensive

The fourth generation of the Cannondale SuperSix Evo has had a subtle makeover from its predecessor. The geometry remains the same, but there's a swap from a PressFit bottom bracket to a threaded one. Weight has also dropped a little bit, particularly for the expensive LAB71 bikes.

Cannondale says that its refinements to tube shapes save 12 watts, although at heart the SuperSix Evo remains a climber's bike, despite the Hollowgram wheels not having quite the performance edge of the DT Swiss wheels on the Canyon Ultimate.

Otherwise, our first ride review bike was fitted out with a separate bar and stem rather than Canondale's more aero one-piece option. Cannondale has upped its paint game, moving on from the underwhelming colours of the last generation.

Read our first ride review of the Cannondale SuperSix Evo 4.

Best road bikes 2024: A bike for every budget (8)

7. Boardman SLR 8.9

Great all-rounder on a budget

Specifications

Frame: C7 Carbon

Groupset: Shimano 105 mechanical

Brakes: Rim

Weight: 8.9kg

Sizes: SM - XL

Reasons to buy

+

Carbon frameset

+

Aero tube profiles

+

Quality spec for the price

Reasons to avoid

-

Rim brake model

-

Only available in the UK

At a price where alloy frames and Shimano Tiagra are the norm, Boardman somehow manages to give you a carbon frame complete with Shimano 105, although this is the rim brake version with the calipers swapped out for Tektro units rather than 105 brakes. There is a model with in-series 105 hydraulic disc brakes available in the range too though.

The frame comes with aero tube profiles as well, with features like dropped seat stays and a recessed seatpost clamp.

Boardman even gives you tubeless-ready wheels, although you'll need to swap out the folding Vittoria Zaffiro Pro 25mm tyres to take advantage. But that does give you the option to fit 28mm rubber at the same time, taking advantage of the larger frame clearance.

Best road bikes 2024: A bike for every budget (9)

8. Pinarello Dogma F

The ultimate all-rounder race bike

Specifications

Frame: TORAYCA T900 3K Carbon

Groupset: SRAM Red eTap AXS

Brakes: Hydraulic disc

Weight: 7.0kg

Sizes: 430 - 620

Reasons to buy

+

Very comfortable for long days in the saddle

+

Fantastic handling

+

Lighter than the older F12

+

Great looks

Reasons to avoid

-

Very expensive

The Pinarello Dogma has been the quintessential all-around race bike since Team Sky first raced the F8 model in 2014. Now, three generations later, it's better than ever, with increased integration, more tyre clearance and disc brakes.

The F8 was one of the first bikes to mix aero tube profiles with a light(-ish) overall weight, while the latest Dogma F manages to shave that down to 7kg even with its disc brakes. There are a host of 3D-printed titanium parts, like the seat post's saddle clamp, that help keep that weight off.

Pinarello has upped the Dogma's aerodynamics too, with its Flatback tube profiles, integrated bars and stem with hidden cable routing and redesigned down tube and seat stay profiles claimed to improve aerodynamics by 5 per cent.

It all adds up to a bike that's good at everything: climbing, flat-out downhill runs, fast twisty roads... It's comfortable to ride longer distances too.

Read our full review of the Pinarello Dogma F.

Best lightweight bikes

Gone are the days when lightweight bikes and aero bikes were two non-overlapping categories; the best lightweight bikes will nowadays include truncated aerofoil tube shapes to give you an aero advantage, while still edging towards or undercutting the UCI's notorious 6.8kg weight limit for bikes used in competition.

That's despite additions such as disc brakes - still heavier than rim brakes - and often deeper section aero wheelsets.

Best road bikes 2024: A bike for every budget (10)

9. Van Rysel EDR CF Ultegra Disc

Best budget lightweight bike

Specifications

Frame: EDR carbon

Groupset: Shimano Ultegra 11-speed

Brakes: Hydraulic disc

Weight: 7.7kg

Sizes: XS - XL

Reasons to buy

+

High spec for the price

+

Full Ultegra hydraulic groupset

+

Quality Fulcrum alloy wheelset

Reasons to avoid

-

Low availability

Although Decathlon says that EDR stands for "endurance", the EDR is also lightweight thanks to its sub-kilo frameset made from high modulus carbon fibre.

As with all Decathlon's bikes, you get a high spec for the price point with a Shimano Ultegra R8000 mechanical groupset with a semi-compact 52/36t chainset and an 11-28 tooth cassette. You also getUltegra hydraulic disc brakes, while the Deda co*ckpit and Fizik Antares saddle add to the quality spec.

The EDR CF comes with good quality Fulcrum Racing 3 DB alloy wheels as well. Along with the Hutchinson Fusion 5 25mm tyres, they're ready for tubeless running. At 7.7kg claimed weight, it's a bike that's light without breaking the bank.

Best road bikes 2024: A bike for every budget (11)

10. Wilier Zero SLR

Lightweight road bike with Italian flair

Specifications

Frame: 0 SLR Carbon

Groupset: Shimano Ultegra Di2 12-speed

Brakes: Hydraulic disc

Weight: 6.8kg

Sizes: XS - XXL

Reasons to buy

+

Light and stiff frame

+

Plenty of frame integration

Reasons to avoid

-

Integrated brake hoses will require more maintenance time

Hitting the UCI's 6.8kg weight limit, even in a road-going consumer spec with 28mm tyres, the Zero SLR is Wilier's pro-level climbing bike with a claimed frame plus fork weight of just over a kilogram.

Despite the low weight, Wilier says that it's increased the frame's stiffness-to-weight by 24 per cent over its previous generation climbing bike, thanks to features like asymmetric chainstays and fork legs.

Like many of the new crop of lightweight bikes, the Zero SLR doesn't compromise on aerodynamics though, with flat-backed tube profiles and an integrated, aero co*ckpit with hidden cable routing. You can get as flashy as you like with the spec, with options that range from Shimano Ultegra Di2 12-speed up to Campagnolo Super Record EPS.

Best aero bikes

Although some brands have stopped making separate aero and lightweight bikes, many still offer machines specifically designed for aerodynamic performance. The best aero road bikes typically have deeper cross-section tubes and are kitted out with deeper carbon wheels too. That can make them a little heavier than a climbing bike or an all-rounder but ensures the best possible aerodynamics.

Best road bikes 2024: A bike for every budget (12)

11. Vitus ZX-1 Evo CRS

Full-on aero without the price tag

Specifications

Frame: SL UD Carbon

Groupset: Shimano Ultegra 11-speed

Brakes: Hydraulic disc

Weight: 8.3kg

Sizes: XS - XXL

Reasons to buy

+

Responsive ride

+

Good value spec for the price

Reasons to avoid

-

Stiff frameset can feel harsh on rough roads

Vitus took the ZX-1 to the wind tunnel and refined its tube shapes, adding a Vision-integrated co*ckpit to the highest spec models. The frame's chunky tubing certainly looks aero, though we found the bike a little harsh when riding over rough road surfaces.

All specs get the same Reynolds deep section aero wheels, with differential profiles and rim depths front and back to mix front-end aerodynamics with rear-end power delivery. They're shod with Michelin Power Road TLR 25mm tyres.

There's a choice of groupsets, with everything from mechanical Shimano Ultegra up to SRAM Red eTap AXS on the menu. The Ultegra spec tested came with a Sunrace cassette; it won't match an in-series piece for shift quality, but higher specs get better cassette options.

Read our full review of the Vitus ZX1 Evo CRS.

Best road bikes 2024: A bike for every budget (13)

12. Canyon Aeroad CFR

Pro-level aero race bike

Specifications

Frame: Aeroad CFR Disc

Groupset: Shimano Dura-Ace 12-speed

Brakes: Hydraulic disc

Weight: 7.3kg

Sizes: 2XS - 2XL

Reasons to buy

+

Comfortable ride

+

Light weight

+

Width adjustable bars

Reasons to avoid

-

Slightly jittery on rough roads

The Aeroad CFR (for Canyon Factory Racing) is raced by a quiver of pro teams, including Movistar, Alpecin-Deceuninck, Movistar, and (unsurprisingly) Canyon-SRAM.

The frame lay-up includes Toray M40X carbon fibre for a stiff, lightweight build, but despite this, the Aeroad CFR is surprisingly comfortable. It's well-priced for a pro-level bike too.

There is a range of Canyon-specific parts, including the adjustable width CP0018 Aeroco*ckpit which lets you alter the bar width by 20mm and height by 15mm without needing to cut anything. It's also handy for travel, as the bar can be disassembled.

Wheels are DT Swiss ARC 1100 Dicut, with a 25mm Continental Grand Prix 5000 TL tyre at the front and a 28mm at the rear. The saddle is a Selle Italia SLR Boost Superflow Kit Carbonio to top off the Canyon seatpost, so Canyon has addressed our major gripes about spec from when we reviewed the bike.

There appears to be a new Canyon Aeroad in the works, which we've spotted being ridden by Mathieu van der Poel in early-season races in 2023.

Read our full review of the 2021 Canyon Aeroad.

Best endurance bikes

The best endurance road bikes are designed around long-distance comfort and usually have a more upright ride position and increased stability over more race-oriented machines. Expect plenty of tyre clearance so you can fit wider tyres, an important promoter of ride comfort. You'll often get specific comfort features built-in like micro-suspension or a seat post or front end designed to add compliance.

Best road bikes 2024: A bike for every budget (14)

13. Cannondale Synapse Carbon 1 RLE

Comfort-oriented carbon frame

Specifications

Frame: Synapse Carbon

Groupset: Shimano Dura-Ace 12-speed

Brakes: Hydraulic disc

Weight: Not specified

Sizes: 51 - 58cm

Reasons to buy

+

Smooth riding carbon frame

+

Integrated lights and rearview radar

+

Quality Cannondale carbon wheels

Reasons to avoid

-

Limited size range

The Cannondale Synapse Carbon RLE bikes are equipped with lights and a rearview radar, powered by a single frame-mounted battery, upping your visibility and all-around awareness.

It's the fifth iteration of Cannondale's endurance bike and is equipped with Cannondale's own-brand HollowGram 45 SL KNØT wheels and Hollowgram Save handlebars for all-day ride comfort. As well as a top-end Shimano Dura-Ace groupset Cannondale says that the frame is even plusher than its predecessor.

Best road bikes 2024: A bike for every budget (15)

14. Cervélo Caledonia

Best endurance road bike

Specifications

Frame: Cervélo Caledonia-5

Groupset: SRAM Force eTap AXS 12-speed w/ power meter

Brakes: Hydraulic disc

Weight: 8.5kg

Sizes: 48 - 61cm

Reasons to buy

+

Stable handling

+

Holds flat speed well

+

Includes Quarq power meter

Reasons to avoid

-

Slightly on the heavy side

Raced at Paris-Roubaix by Jumbo-Visma, the Cervélo Caledonia looks to blend performance, aerodynamics and comfort for a ride that can handle everything well. The geometry is designed for stability and comfort over rough terrain and you can fit 34mm tyres.

At the spec level we tested, there's a SRAM Force eTap AXS groupset with SRAM's 10-36t cassette and a Quarq integrated power meter.

The finishing kit includes Cervélo's AB07 bars, which have a slight back sweep for a comfortable hand position for long days in the saddle and allow hidden brake hose routing. The higher specs are electronic-only, but lower-spec models can accommodate the cables for a mechanical groupset.

To up its endurance capabilities, the frame has a range of mounts, including for lights, and removable mudguard mounting points.

Read our full long-term review of the Cervélo Caledonia.

Best electric road bikes

The best electric road bikes combine race-bike-like handling and specs with a motor and battery that often are hard to spot without a closer look. The quality spec means that on the flat you can usually ride them above the speed at which the motor cuts out and this in turn saves battery power and increases range. The motor is still there to support you when you hit a hill though, making tougher terrain much more manageable. They are also just downright fun to ride.

Best road bikes 2024: A bike for every budget (16)

15. Ribble Endurance SL e

Well specced and lightweight electric bike

Specifications

Frame: Endurance SL e

Groupset: Shimano 105 Di2 12-speed

Brakes: Hydraulic disc

Weight: 11.8kg

Sizes: XS - XL

Reasons to buy

+

Stealth motor system

+

Lightweight

+

Quality specs for the price

Reasons to avoid

-

Mahle system isn't the easiest to use

The Ribble Endurance SL e lets you choose from a variety of specs from mechanical Shimano 105 or SRAM Rival up to Dura-Ace Di2 and including the latest electronic 105 Di2 12-speed. As with all Ribble's bikes, you can choose to up-spec certain components too via the Ribble BikeBuilder app.

Ribble uses the Mahle e-bike motion motor/battery system that's a popular choice due to its low weight and stealth format and is found in many of the best lightweight electric bikes. It contributes to an electric bike that doesn't weigh a lot more than many non-assisted bikes, while the 40Nm output from the motor helps out without giving you too much of an assist.

The range is decent, particularly since it's easy to ride the Ribble SL e above the motor's cut-off speed. You can buy a battery extender if you want more range still. The single-button controller mounted on the top tube is slightly tricky to keep tabs on and use while riding though.

Best road bikes 2024: A bike for every budget (17)

16. Specialized Turbo Creo SL Expert

Well specced and lightweight electric bike

Specifications

Frame: FACT 11r carbon

Groupset: SRAM Rival eTap AXS 12-speed

Brakes: Hydraulic disc

Weight: Not specified

Sizes: XS - XXL

Reasons to buy

+

High spec frame

+

Plenty of power on tap

+

Extra range available with the optional bottle battery

Reasons to avoid

-

High retail price

The Specialized Turbo Creo SL range heads up to the very expensive S-Works version. Stick to the Expert spec and you get something a little more affordable but with the same frame, tuneable Future Shock 2.0 headset and lightweight motor.

There's a SRAM Rival eTap AXS 1x groupset and Roval C38 Disc carbon wheels with 30mm tyres, along with Specialized's comfort-oriented bars and saddle.

If you want more than the 80 miles claimed range, you can fit an optional extra bottle cage range extender battery to add another 40 miles.

As well as the standard spec, there are EVO versions of both the Turbo Creo Expert and the S-Works Turbo Creo that are specced for gravel riding.

How to choose the best road bike for you

We're well aware there are a bewildering array of options out there. Aero, lightweight, endurance, it can be a confusing landscape so it's natural to have a couple of questions.

Fortunately, we have a whole guide on how to choose a road bike, so if you're absolutely awash with confusion then head there, but otherwise, we'll cover the basics below.

Do I need a road bike?

This is the most important question and one that will depend on the type of riding you intend to do. If you are only going to ride on the road then a road bike is a natural choice, but if you're going to be riding a bit of gravel then perhaps one of the best gravel bikes will be a better choice.

Likewise, if you're primarily going to use it for commuting then you may well be better served by one of the best hybrid bikes designed for the purpose of transport rather than speed.

What sort of road bike do I need?

Another question that you'd do well to answer honestly. Are you going to be racing? In which case an aero road bike or all-around race bike may well be the ideal choice for you. However, if you're just riding for the fun of it, doing long miles, or just weekend club runs you may get more enjoyment from the additional comfort offered by an endurance road bike.

Likewise, the minor weight savings offered by a lightweight climbing bike can make all the difference if you're heading up Alpe d'Huez, but if you live in Norfolk or somewhere else flat as a pancake then you'll not really gain any benefit.

Which groupset is best?

At the top end of things, where 12-speed, all-electronic shifting is the norm there is little to separate the main players, so it's all a matter of personal preference.

At the mid-range, now Shimano has introduced electronic shifting at 105 level, there is still nothing significant between Shimano and SRAM, and while Campagnolo is specced as standard on far fewer bikes it'll still compete perfectly well.

At the lower end, you'll likely find only Shimano and its Claris, Sora and Tiagra groupsets. For the price they provide excellent performance, and while they don't have 12 speeds or electronic shifting they are a little more user-friendly and cheaper to maintain.

Many of the best road bikes now offer gear ratios going down to 1:1, if you're concerned about cresting ascents; on the other hand, you can find bikes with narrower ranges, if you don't need such low gearing.

If you're still concerned we've a comprehensive guide to road bike groupsets to help you.

What other components are important?

Road bikes are rarely sold with pedals or will come with basic flat pedals, so choosing the best road bike pedals and pedal system for your needs is step one.

Obviously, getting the best road bike saddle that's right for you is important for comfort, as is finding the right handlebars. They're both items which can be upgraded easily and without too much expense, as are road bike tyres.

The most attractive upgrade is often to the best road bike wheels though. Many brands now fit quality wheels to their bikes, which match the price and quality of the bike. But you'll still find bikes across the price range that would benefit from a wheel upgrade.

How do we test?

The only real way to get a feel for a road bike is to put plenty of miles into it, which is what we do. Collectively we're ridden enough bikes here at Cyclingnews to know what's hot and what's not.

We'll pay attention to the handling, and see how the geometry affects things day to day and when going hell for leather. Are the tyres any good? We'll find out. Is it comfy over eight hours, or even over 18? Moreover, we'll find out if it's easy to live with too; can you swap parts easily or is it away with proprietary bits?

There's no substitute for time on the bike, in all weathers, so if we've given a bike a review you can be sure we've put it through its paces thoroughly to find the hidden gems and highlight any duds so you can spend your hard-earned cash with confidence.

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Paul Norman

Paul has been on two wheels since he was in his teens and he's spent much of the time since writing about bikes and the associated tech. He's a road cyclist at heart but his adventurous curiosity means Paul has been riding gravel since well before it was cool, adapting his cyclo-cross bike to ride all-day off-road epics and putting road kit to the ultimate test along the way.

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