Ride in Style: 7 Best Road Bikes Under $500 for 2023

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If you recently picked up cycling as a new hobby, and need a cheap road bike to get your feet wet, you’ve come to the right place. 

Budget road bikes can be very efficient and more durable than we give them credit for. These bikes are easy to use and maintain. And if you find the right one, you will enjoy many years of cycling adventures.

The major problem with cheap bikes is often finding a good one. Keep in mind that cheap doesn’t equal bad, and if you’re very careful, you’ll find a few gems in the junk pile.

For this, we spent several hours researching and comparing different bike brands and models to find the best road bikes under $500. This article is the result. 

So let’s get right to it …

7 Best Road Bikes under 500

  1. Vilano R2 Road Bike: See at Amazon
  2. Schwinn Mikko Cruiser: See at Amazon
  3. Hiland Road Commuter Bike: See at Amazon
  4. Brand-X road bike: See at Chain Reaction Cycles
  5. Schwinn Volare 1300: See at Amazon
  6. Vilano Shadow 3.0: See at Amazon
  7. Hiland Daring: See at Amazon

Reviews on the top 7 best road bikes under $500

We made your search easier with our review of the best road bikes on the market. We paid particular attention to bike quality, frame material, brake type, bike weight, customer satisfaction, etc. 

Here are the best road bikes we found from our research.

Vilano R2 Road Bike

Vilano R2 21-speed Aluminum Commuter Road Bike Black/Green

Key Features

  • Frame material: Aluminum
  • Brake type: Alloy caliper
  • Bike weight: 27 lbs
  • Warranty: Limited lifetime warranty
  • See more on Amazon

If you are looking for a commuter bike for your leisure time, school or work, the Vilano R2 is a good choice with great value for money. It’s a decent entry-level bike for those who don’t want to spend a lot on a bike yet.

For a simple bike, the Vilano R2 Commuter sure has some impressive features. It’s built on a sturdy, lightweight aluminum frame, with a Shimano 21-Speed groupset and thumb shifters for convenient gear shifting, plus alloy caliper brakes that bring it to a quick stop. 

The water bottle mount cage adds to its convenience as a commuter bike. Not only is the R2 Commuter incredibly lightweight, but it also has a frame size that is available in various sizes and can be adjusted to fit people of different sizes.

Price at time of publication: $305-$343

Schwinn Mikko Cruiser

Schwinn Mikko Adult Beach Cruiser Bike, 17-Inch Steel Frame, Wide Wheels for Stability, Rear Coaster Brakes, Multiple Speed Options

Key Features

  • Frame material: Steel
  • Brake type: Coaster Brake
  • Bike weight: 36 lbs
  • Warranty: Limited Lifetime warranty
  • See more on Amazon

The Schwinn Mikko cruise bike is perfect for casual rides around your neighborhood. It has a sturdy steel frame, lightweight aluminum wheels and a well-cushioned saddle that will keep you completely comfortable.

The Mikko has a single-speed drivetrain, which is great for a cruise bike. And with the intuitive rear coaster brake, you simply pedal backwards to bring it to a stop. 

It is a good bike with entire front and rear fenders that helps to keep dirt away from enjoying your trip. This may not be the lightest road bike, but it has a very sturdy build quality. It’s also easy to assemble, and ships in a very secure package. 

Price at time of publication: $340

Hiland Road Commuter Bike

Hiland Road Bike, Shimano 14 Speeds, Light Weight Aluminum Frame, 700C Racing Bike for Men

Key Features

  • Frame material: Hi-Ten steel
  • Brake type: Caliper brakes
  • Bike weight: 30.4 lbs
  • Warranty: Limited lifetime warranty
  • See more on Amazon

The Hiland Road Commuter Bike is a decent bike for everyone. It has a sturdy steel frame and fork with durable aluminum rims that provide great stability and balance on the road. 

This bike rides on 700 x 25C tires to help reduce friction on paved roads or gravel. And it comes with Shimano 14-speed shifters to help you maintain a good speed and change gear with ease.

The front and rear caliper brakes give you precise stopping power, and you can very easily come to a stop regardless of how fast you were going. The Hiland has free installation tools and is already 85% pre-assembled, but the pedals do not have a kickstand.

This is a good bike, especially for the price, but you may need to swap out some components for better quality ones. This may cost you a little extra, but it’s really worth it. 

Price at time of publication: $210

Brand-X road bike

Key Features

  • Frame material: Aluminum
  • Brake type: Rim brakes
  • Bike weight: 25.3 lbs
  • Warranty: Lifetime warranty
  • See more on Chain Reaction Cycles

The Brand-X is another entry-level budget option that offers great value for money. It’s an excellent choice for riders who want to either level-up their fitness or have an easy option for commuting. 

The Brand-X has a solid build quality with a lightweight aluminum frame and sturdy steel fork. It also features a 7-speed Shimano drivetrain and alloy double crankset for durability and improved ride quality.

At 25 lbs (for the medium size), it’s relatively lightweight, and you can choose from the 5 sizes available. It’s easy to assemble and comes in a well-packed box, plus all the necessary tools are included in the box for convenience.

Price at time of publication: $399

Schwinn Volare 1300

Schwinn Volare Hybrid Sports Road Bike, Men and Women, Aluminum Frames, 700c Wheels, Flat and Drop Handle Bar Options, Multiple Speed Drivetrains

Key Features

  • Frame material: Aluminum
  • Brake type: Alloy disc brakes
  • Bike weight: 28 lbs
  • Warranty: Limited lifetime warranty
  • See more on Amazon

The Schwinn Volare 1300 is a bike with the perfect blend of strength, comfort and good ride quality. This bike is built for agile riding with a lightweight aluminum frame, and a rigid fork for minimizing road noise. 

The relaxed geometry keeps your body in an upright, natural riding position. This not only ensures your comfort on long rides, but also prevents any form of pain or discomfort. It’s a reliable bike for daily commute and comfortable on long-distance rides. 

You will also enjoy the comfortable saddle, as it provides the right amount of support without causing you pain. And with the 21-speed trigger shifters, you can quickly change gears and adapt to your terrain.

Price at time of publication: $590

Vilano Shadow 3.0

Vilano Shadow 3.0 Road Bike with Integrated Shifters

Key Features

  • Frame material: Aluminum
  • Brake type: Caliper
  • Bike weight: 23 lbs
  • Warranty: Limited lifetime warranty
  • See more on Amazon

This is another great choice for anyone who wants an entry-level bike at a budget-friendly price. The Vilano Shadow 3.0 has all the features you’d expect from a bike in its class; a lightweight aluminum frame, caliper brakes, double-walled rims and 700 x 25c tires.

It’s a reliable bike with impressive ride quality, and great for commuting and casual rides on weekends. The caliper brakes may not be the best, but they do a fairly decent job of bringing the bike to a stop when applied. The best part of this bike is the 6061 double-butted aluminum frame, it’s definitely built to last with a lifetime warranty from Vilano.

The Shadow is a fast bike, with a geometry that puts you in an aerodynamic position. You also get a 2x drivetrain with 14 gears, which is good for beginners, and also great for experienced riders. 

Price at time of publication: $399

Hiland Daring

Hiland Aluminum Road Bike,Shimano 21 Speeds, 49/53/57cm Frame, Racing Bike for Men Mens Racing Bike

Key Features

  • Frame material: Aluminum
  • Brake type: Caliper brakes
  • Bike weight: 27.6 lbs
  • Warranty: Limited lifetime warranty
  • See more on Amazon

Hiland is known for their line-up of budget-friendly bikes, and the Daring is another excellent option from them. Daring is a great choice for daily commuters and rides solid with an ultralight aluminum frame, double-walled rims and 700c x 25c tires for improved traction and stability on the road. 

The Hiland Daring is very easy and fun to ride. The dual caliper brakes are pretty decent, but the shifting is not very smooth. It may not have the fluidity of hydraulic disc brakes, or the smoothest shifters, but it’s still a very reliable bike for the road. 

It has a very solid build quality for the price; you can put it through hundreds of miles, and it’ll still be standing. Daring comes pre-assembled and has all the parts complete, plus you get the necessary tools for putting it together. 

Price at time of publication: $350-$390

Buying Guide: Choosing the best road bike under $500

Picking a good bike can be tricky, especially with all the options available. Also, how do you know you’ve made the right choice when you finally settle for a bike? 

This section will help you understand what makes a good road bike and how to confidently choose the right one.

Frame material

Before you invest your money on a road bike, the frame is the first and most important component that you should check. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re spending $500 or $5000. 

The bike frame and fork are the very core of a bike, the foundation on which every other component of the bikes is attached to. It’s really something you shouldn’t overlook. 

The frame of a bike also contributes a great deal to the overall performance of a bike. Bike frames are made with one of these 4 materials; steel, aluminum, titanium and carbon fiber. 

Carbon fiber and titanium are mostly used for high-end bikes, and you will not see them as an option in budget bikes. So you actually just have aluminum and steel to choose from. 

Aluminum and steel are the most common frame materials used in budget road bikes. These materials are the cheapest, but they are also very strong and durable.

Aluminum alloy is more resilient and lighter than steel. Therefore, aluminum bikes have better handling and quicker on the trails. 

But steel is the cheaper, stronger and more durable material, however it is also typically heavier and may not be the ideal choice for optimal handling. For instance, carrying your bike up flights of stairs, or aboard trains will be more stressful if the bike is very heavy. 

Keep in mind that the weight capacity of a bike is not determined by the material of the frame alone. Much more significant factors are the size, shape, and thickness of the tubing. 

Sturdy wheels and tires

After the frame, the second most important parts of a bike are the wheels and tires. The frame may be the core, but the wheels and tires are what the bike rides on. 

Wheels and tires contribute to the stability and balance of a bike, which greatly affects performance, comfort and ride quality. The wheels and tires of a bike have to be sturdy and built for speed and maximum traction on the road. 

Wheels and tires come in different sizes, which also affect ride quality, performance and the portability of a bike. Make sure you choose sturdy wheels that fit you; bigger wheels are better for taller riders, while smaller wheels fit shorter riders better. 

Braking System

The braking system of the road bike is another vital part to consider, since the brakes also determine the quality of the bike. It should go without saying that purchasing a road bike with a subpar braking system would not be a wise investment.

Every rider needs a reliable and powerful braking system that will always bring their bike to a prompt and precise stop on command. Road bikes usually have rim brakes from two main brands; SRAM and Shimano. 

V-brakes, caliper brakes and cantilever brakes are common types of rim brakes. These brakes are pretty effective on road bikes, and they tend to provide sufficient stopping power. 

Comfortable saddle

Never underestimate the need for a comfortable bike saddle. The saddle is just as important as other bike components, but since it’s the main point of contact between your body and the bike, it needs to comfortably support your body.

You won’t enjoy riding a bike if the saddle is too stiff, too narrow or just uncomfortable.

If your bike seat is well-shaped and comfortably supports your body, you will be able to enjoy longer rides without any discomfort or pain, and this is what you want.

Uncomfortable saddles are not dealbreakers when buying a bike, because it’s something that you can easily change. If the saddle of a bike is not right for you, you can very easily find a replacement that’s much better.

When choosing a bike saddle, make sure you select one that’s wide enough to comfortably support your seat bones. 

Bike frame size

Finding the right bike size for you might be the single most important part of choosing a bike. This can not be stressed enough because your bike needs to be comfortable, and this comfort starts with the right frame size.

Bike frames usually come in a wide range of sizes, from extra small (XS) to extra large (XL and up to 3XL). The right bike size for you will depend on your height and inseam measurements. 

Finding your bike size can be tricky, and sometimes you may need to talk to a bike fitting professional. 

You can check this article on road bike size guide to understand how bikes are sized and how you can find the right size for you.

Included Parts

This is one thing that isn’t talked about enough. When buying a new machine or gadget, you would expect that all the necessary components are included in the package, including a user’s guide with instructions on how to assemble and maintain your new toy. 

Same thing should apply to bikes. Bikes need to be properly assembled and periodically maintained to ensure you get the most out of your investment. 

The ideal bike should come with a useful user’s guide, all bike components, the necessary tools needed to assemble the bike and instructions on how to get it done. You will be surprised to know that this is not always the case. 


How much should a beginner road bike cost?

Generally speaking, you can purchase a pretty decent, beginner road bike for about $200 and $1000. Your first bike might cost between $500 and $1500.

There’s no need to spend too much on your first bike as a beginner. You can use a cheap bike to try out cycling and learn to properly care for a bike because you upgrade to pricier models.  

How long is a road bike good for?

A high-quality can bike can last for over 30 years with proper care and maintenance. Some bikes can even last a lifetime. However, the individual components like the wheels, tires, brakes, saddle, gears and shifters will have to be replaced when necessary. The bike frame is what lasts the longest, not the other parts. 

Are road bikes good for everyday use?

Yes, road bikes are great for everyday use for commuting and casual rides around your neighborhood. But they may be unable to handle bumpy rides on rough roads. If you ride on rough pavements or roads with potholes, then a touring bike or a gravel bike with stronger wheels and wider tires will be better for you.

Do expensive bikes make a difference?

Expensive bikes generally have high-quality components and weigh less than cheaper options. This isn’t to say that cheaper bikes are not high-quality, because there are some pretty good cheap options available. If you’re new to cycling, there’s no reason to buy a bike above $1000, except of course you have enough money to spare. 

Does bike brand matter?

Yes, it does. Premium bike manufacturers, like Specialized, Giant, Trek, Cannondale, and others, use high-quality materials, parts, and components in their products.

Although premium brands are pricey, you get what you pay for. Many lesser-known companies also make bikes that can last for many years with good maintenance. 

No matter what brand you go for, always check the manufacturers’ availability to support any warranty concerns, this is very crucial.

Wrapping up

Finding a pretty good road bike within this price range with all the features you need is a challenge, especially with the ton of options available.

You can get yourself a good bike without spending thousands of dollars, especially as a beginner cyclist. If your budget is $500 or below, there are actually a lot of options for you, as you may have noticed from the product list above. 

But we have a top recommendation for you; the Vilano R2 Commuter is the absolute best budget bike because it has a very solid build-quality, with a 4.2-star rating on Amazon. 

Many people who purchased this bike reported that it’s lightweight, easy to assemble, fun to ride, and they’re happy with the purchase.

See Vilano R2 Commuter Bike.

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BikeCrunch offers the best riding tips and guides to help you get the most out of your cycling adventures. We offer in-depth bike and accessory reviews, unbiased buying guides, how-to guides, and much more. Mountain biking, road biking, commuting, touring, and recreational cycling are some of the topics we cover.