6 Affordable Road Bikes Under $500

York Cycle Works, bike shop

Choosing a bike is like walking into an electronics store and have all these televisions staring at you. It’s a lot, and it can get overwhelming pretty fast. The next thing you know, you’re buying something that just looks good.

With tons of design technologies, features and price points, knowing what to look for helps. Furthermore, doing a little research can go a long way.

The good news is we’ve done the dirty work for you. We’ve reviewed the top six bikes under $500 in the market today as well as a handful of other buying tips you will find useful. Hopefully, you’ll find the best one for you.

Our Buying Guide

Before we get into the specifics, it’s crucial to develop a selection process. This is an effective way of ruling out those you don’t want and focusing on your most viable options.

Purpose

First, you must determine what the purpose of your bicycle would be. Do you need it for your daily commute? Do you plan on riding trails on Sundays? Are you looking to race with it?

If you want a bike you could use for everyday riding and intermediate trail riding, a single speed bike or a “fixie” is great option. If you want to join a race, you’ll need a multi-gear model.

Size

The last thing you want is developing muscle pains from riding. This is largely because you invested on a bike that doesn’t fit your size. So remember to always go for a -bike that will fit your height best.

The frame height isn’t the only thing matters here. It’s also the saddle height, handlebar height and all the other components that contribute to a comfortable ride no matter how long.

Assemblage

Another critical yet often overlooked factor is the assemblage. There are plenty of riders out there who complain about the chains feeling loose or the brakes lacking a quick “bite”. However, most of these concerns can be addressed during assemblage.

Many bicycles today come partially assembled. If you don’t have much experience putting these parts together, it’s best to bring it to the bike shop. This way, you can eliminate foreseeable problems that may come about due to amateur assembly.

Fork & Frame

The material of your frame and fork is another factor you need to consider. If you are looking for something lighter, aluminum is your best bet. However, they’re a little less comfortable to ride for a longer period of time. But don’t be fooled. They pack a strong punch on the .

Steel is heavier than aluminum and will require more maintenance. However, it’s a lot more durable and provides better comfort on bumpy s compared to aluminum.

Wheels

Next to the fork and frame, look into the wheels of your future bike. You’d want a pair that feels light and is responsive to your movements. Furthermore, going for wheels that are dependable on both dry and wet weather conditions is worth every penny.

Other Parts

It’s not just the frame, fork and wheels you should consider. Other parts like the brakes, seat, derailleur and shift gears are equally important. Try not to obsess too much about getting all the high-quality parts in one bike. Instead, consider how these components will work with the overall performance of the bike you’re looking at.

Besides, you can always upgrade these parts in the future. Many bike shops offer cheap yet efficient parts replacements to improve your bike overtime.

6 Cheap Road Bikes Under $500

Now that we’ve got those out of the way, here’s a rundown of six bikes under $500 taking over the market today. We’ve taken into account the technical details, design features as well as the plethora of customer reviews.


1. Vilano Shadow Road Bike

Features

Quality

Price

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This is an entry level bike that comes with enough features that will give you a smooth and easy ride. It’s a satisfactory daily-serving cycle without the fuss of difficult setup and complex adjustments. It’s made with an aluminum frame with an integrated headset. Plus, it arrives with free pedals. Whether you’re a daily commuter or a fitness rider, this is a dependable bike you can use everyday.

What We Like About It

The Vilano Shadow is a lightweight bike that’s easy to ride, store and carry around. Whether you’re riding uphill or lifting it towards the top of your car, you will feel just how lightweight it really is. It’s the kind of straightforward two-wheel ride that you can rely on your daily commute or exercise. Furthermore, it remains durable and reliable even after long rides.

What We Hate About It

This bike doesn’t come without setbacks. First, the Shimano shift gear isn’t that easy to operate. They’re pretty hard to reach even if you have an average body and hand size. Plus, the quality of its pedals and brakes isn’t really top-notch compared to other bikes of the same caliber. Since it’s also made of aluminum, you’re set to really feel those vibrations on bumpy s.



2. GMC Denali Road Bike

Features

Quality

Price

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GMC is a household name in the industry. Their Denali Bike is yet another brilliant intermediate rider choice for those who want to make it from point A to point B in two wheels. It’s versatile on so many s and purposes such as group riding, long distance biking and training. Plus, its color options and four size options make it an excellent choice for both men and women.

What We Like About It

What we like best about the GMC Denali Bike is that it comes with brand name parts despite its price tag. It’s armed with a Shimano derailleur and Shimano Revo shifter featuring a 21-speed setup and a Boyd Vitesse 36 spoke wheel set with 700c bike tires. It makes for a sturdy bike that boasts of a durable and solid feel despite bumpy s. To top it all off, it’s lightweight at a mere 29 pounds.

What We Hate About It

It’s easy to get lost in bikes that come with brand name parts. However, just because it’s high-profile doesn’t mean it’s top-notch. For instance, many have complained about the quality of the tires. The tire tape inside the tires could’ve been better, which is why it’s ideal to have it replaced early on. The brakes on this bike aren’t the best either. Many have commented on how slow it goes to a stop. This can be particularly dangerous when you’re traversing more challenging s.



3. Giordano Rapido Single Speed Bike

Features

Quality

Price

Giordano has been churning out bikes for many years now. Right off the bat, you can expect them to produce bikes far from mediocre. Their Rapido Single Speed Bike is a fixie, which means it runs on a single speed and eliminates the need for various gear-shifting. The best part? It comes with a flip-flop hub that allows you to switch from fixie mode to free wheel single speed.

What We Like About It

The Rapido Single Speed Bike is adorned with aluminum frame and fork, which makes it lightweight and easy to transport. Furthermore, it’s comprised of quality parts like an alloy seat collar, a steel seat post as well as alloy cage and toe clips. This is a major selling point considering it’s generously priced. Its flip-flop hub means this Giordano is a flexible bike, whether you’re riding in the inner city or off-s.

What We Hate About It

One of the first things we noticed is that this bike comes with a pivot caliper style instead of the common side pull. This could require a bit of a learning curve for entry level riders. Another thing is that many have commented on the brakes not serving its purpose well. The bike doesn’t come to a sharp and full stop really quickly so you may consider replacing the parts right away.



4. Schwinn Men's Phocus 1400 700C

Features

Quality

Price

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The Schwinn Men's Phocus 1400 700C Dropbar Bike is one of the best sellers today. No doubt it gives us nostalgia during those days we used to ride a Schwinn with training wheels. This time, they’ve put out a bike that boasts of durability, solid construction and agile riding. It truly is the kind of bike you can rely on during Sunday uphill rides, long commutes as well as uneven pathways.

What We Like About It

The Men’s Phocus 1400 is everything we want on a bike. It’s loaded with functional and aesthetic features that work great for both intermediate and more experienced riders. Its 14-speed rear derailleur and Shimano A050 bar-mount shifters ensures you’re ready for all kinds of situations. Moreover, its narrow high-pressure Kenda 700C tires minimizes rolling while its rigid fork absorbs shock exceptionally well. It also comes with very strong brakes and a drop handlebar that provides optimum support and ensures the rider is always in control.

What We Hate About It

The Schwinn Men’s Phocus is packed with benefits but it doesn’t come without minor drawbacks. First. this bike comes with thin tubes others may not appreciate. Moreover, the brake levers can use some upgrading.



5. Diamondback Insight 2 Flat Bar Road Bike

Features

Quality

Price

Whether you’re cycling over mixed terrain or jus a smooth going to your office, a hybrid bike makes for the perfect choice. The Diamondback Insight 2 is yet another competitive choice for an everyday bike that fits well with many situations. It’s earned a name for being an affordable yet durable and versatile bike equipped with commendable features.

What We Like About It

The Insight 2 Flat Bar Bike comes with 21-speed Shimano drivetrain that makes for effortless gear shifting. You simply push in to shift up and pull the level back to shift down. Furthermore, this bike is engineered with lightweight aluminum tubes and fashioned into Diamondback's performance hybrid geometry. This means you don’t have to sacrifice either comfort or proper posture. You finally don’t have to worry about long rides in different s. Plus, the brakes are a lot stronger than may bikes out there.

What We Hate About It

This bike comes with an exceptionally thicker handle bar stem. This means mounting accessories can be a pain and may require you to go for customized extras. It also makes a loud, squeaky sound that may be disruptive to other riders. Moreover, it doesn’t come with a kickstand.



6. BAVEL Ultra Light Aluminum 21 Speed 700C Bike

Features

Quality

Price

The Bavel Ulra Light Bike promises a light, comfortable and breezy journey. For the price of less than $300, this bike is well-designed for just about every kind of cyclist there is. From the smooth gear shifting and solid construction to its seat quick release, it’s a steal.

What We Like About It

We have to commend the company behind this promising bike because it comes to you neatly packaged and its parts, well sorted and individually stored in plastics. This makes for a quicker and easier assemblage. Once you’ve got that down, you can instantly feel that this is one bike that means business. It’s armed with basic Shimano features, an aluminum frame and fork as well as disk brakes that have a good “bite” to them. Oh and did we mention it weighs a whopping 26.9 pounds?

What We Hate About It

This bike comes with thin tires that may need more air and a sooner replacement for safety purposes. Furthermore, the seat can be quite small for bigger and heavier riders and it doesn’t come with a kick stand. Others have also commented on how there’s a lot of cracking during pedaling. Possibly the biggest setback of this bike is that it’s equipped with small chain wheels.

CONCLUSION & RECOMMENDATION

There is a bike out there for every rider. It all depends on what you need, which features you want to prioritize and how you perceive biking. The choices can be very different among daily commuters and budding pro riders. That’s why it’s best to weigh your options and take everything into consideration.

As for us, the Schwinn Men's Phocus 1400 700C Dropbar Bike takes the cake. It’s great for fitness riders, commuters, trail riders and even advanced cyclists. It’s loaded with exceptional design and function features that ensure a comfortable, agile and safe ride whichever terrain you find yourself in. If you’re only starting to ride but want to get your money’s worth, the Schwinn is definitely the bike you should go for.