The Best Road Bikes in 2021

Whether you are a cycling enthusiast who likes to ride a bike recreationally, or a cycling professional looking for performances as the top priority, finding the best road bike for your needs can be difficult.

Choosing the perfect road bike can be time-consuming due to the many choices and many factors that you need to consider. With that in mind, we have decided to review the best road bikes and explain how you can find the one that suits you the most.

specialized crux pro
  • FACT 11r Carbon Frame
  • Proprietary Rider-First Engineered Technology
  • 72.5°-75.5° Seat Tube Angle
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Specialized took the time to come out with their new, carbon version of the CruX model and that pedantic approach has certainly been worth it. The new CruX Pro is lighter, smoother and more responsive than its predecessor. Of course, it is also more expensive since it includes a few other improved components dedicated mainly for professional cyclists.

This bike is available in many sizes but it only comes in one color- a nice looking smoke and dove grey. The most important improvement on the CruX Pro is the frame, which is made of carbon and includes a proprietary Rider-First Engineered technology. The frameset is also made to be as light and as responsive as possible.

Additionally, the bike includes a variety of high-quality components, like the SRAM Rival 1 hydraulic disk brakes, SRAM drivetrain, Rovar Terra CL wheels and Tracer Pro tires. This bike also has a well-designed, aerodynamic cable integration. One minor flaw that we experienced was the seat post that had to be leveled with the saddle on a few occasions.

Pros:
  • Stiff but Responsive Carbon Frame
  • Good Suspension System
  • Lightweight
  • Quality Disc Brakes
  • Smart Cable Integration
  • Great Choice for Professionals
Cons:
  • Expensive
  • Only Comes in One Color
  • Seat Post Might Have to Be Tightened

Cervelo Caledonia

Most Customizable Road Bike

cervelo caledonia
  • Cervelo All-Carbon Frame
  • Performance Geometry
  • 73°-74.5° Seat Tube Angle
  • Hydraulic Disc Brakes
  • Shimano 105/Ultegra Drivetrain Groupset
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One of the main reasons why Cervelo Caledonia is so popular comes from the fact that you can choose the desired configuration – the bike comes in three different models. That being said, only a few components are different, while the rest remains the same.

The biggest difference comes from the fact that the first model comes with mechanical shifting, while the other two have electronic shifting – all of which are Shimano components. Additionally, the most expensive model also has Di2 (digital integrated intelligence). Meanwhile, all models have the same carbon frame and aerodynamic design that includes good cable management.

Another component that is the same for all three models are hydraulic brakes, with the expected difference related to the type of shifting. All in all, this bike is made with performance and durability in mind and all three models deliver good results in this regard.

Pros:
  • Stiff Carbon Frame
  • Lightweight
  • Customizable
  • Aerodynamic Design
  • Good Cable Management
  • Suitable Choice for Casual Riders and Professionals
Cons:
  • Different Quality Components Depending on the Model
  • The Cheapest Model Has Rim Brakes

Canyon Endurace:ON 7.0

The Best Endurance Road Bike

canyon endurace on 7 0
  • Fazua Evation Drive System
  • Performance Geometry
  • 73.5° Seat Tube Angle
  • Hydraulic Disc Brakes
  • Electronic Shifting
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This is one of the top endurance bikes on our list, as the name itself suggests. The bike is available in four different sizes but it only comes in black, or to be more precise, asphalt black. This road bike is good for both professionals and casual riders that like to take long rides.

The frame material is aluminum, while the frame geometry is built for performance and comfort. The sleek design gives this bike a rather unique, modern appearance but the looks are not the only thing that this bike has to offer.

The aluminum frame on the bike is paired with a powerful Fazua motor, making this model the first electronic road bike by Canyon. The bike has an integrated Fazua Evation drive system combined with Shimano shifting, hydraulic disc brakes and other equally reliable components. And while the bike does come at a price that is a bit steeper than other similar models, you can pay for the bike in installments.

Of course, the aluminum frame does add a bit of weight to the bike, which is probably the bike’s biggest downside. In addition to this, the carbon fiber road bikes generally offer a smoother ride.

Pros:
  • Comes in Multiple Sizes
  • Electrical Shifting
  • Comfortable
  • Sleek Design
  • Modern Appearance
  • Good Choice for Professionals and Beginners
Cons:
  • Only One Color
  • A Bit Expensive
  • Aluminum Frame

Cannondale Topstone Carbon Lefty 3 Bike

Most Versatile Road Bike

cannondale topstone carbon lefty 3 bike
  • BallisTec Carbon Frame
  • Dual Suspension System
  • 73.1° Seat Tube Angle
  • Hydraulic Disc Brakes
  • Shimano GRX Drivetrain Groupset
CHECK PRICES

If you are looking for a road bike that you can ride on gravel and other tough terrains without having to worry about handling rough terrain, Topstone Carbon Lefty 3 by Cannondale is a great choice. It is a bit expensive but the price is more than justified by the bike’s performance. The bike is available in four different sizes but just one color.

The frame is made of carbon to provide durability and stability, while the bike’s geometry is refined and made for smooth, long rides on roads and other surfaces. This bike also comes with dual suspension to further ensure your comfort by absorbing bumps and other road vibrations. Of course, the unique thing about the bike is the single-blade fork that may take some time to get used to but it makes the bike lighter, more aerodynamic and wheels can be removed more easily.

The drivetrain set is mechanical Shimano GRX, which works nicely with the bike even though we prefer electronic shifting in general. The bike also has hydraulic disc brakes and 650b tires to make the bike suitable for tough terrain.

Pros:
  • Comes in Multiple Sizes
  • Great Suspension System
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • Powerful Disc Brakes
  • Good Choice for Rough Terrains
Cons:
  • Only Available in One Color
  • A Bit Expensive
  • Mechanical Shifting

Liv Avail Advanced 1

The Best Women’s Road Bike

liv avail advanced 1
  • Advanced-Grade Carbon Composite Frame
  • D-Fuse Seatpost
  • 74-74.5° Seat Tube Angle
  • Hydraulic Disc Brakes
  • Shimano Drivetrain Groupset
CHECK PRICES

Coming from a popular manufacturer of women’s bikes, this particular model is one of the best that you may find on the market. It is mainly an endurance road bike but you may use it on gravel occasionally as well. The bike comes in multiple sizes but just one color named echeveria.

This bicycle has a powerful, advanced carbon composite frame and fork. Thanks to this, you can expect a smooth ride and easy handling. To make things even batter, the bike includes a proprietary D-Fuse seatpost that can make long rides more comfortable.

Advanced 1 comes with mostly Shimano Ultegra drivetrain groupset, except for the crankset which is the Shimano RS510. The bike also includes hydraulic disc brakes and tubeless tires that offer less rolling resistance. That being said, the tires feel a bit sluggish, especially for a road bike.

Pros:
  • Steady Carbon Frame
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • Aerodynamic Design
  • Tubeless Tires
  • Does Well on Tough Terrain
Cons:
  • Only Available in One Color
  • Tires Feel a Bit Sluggish

Co-op Cycles ADV 1.1 Bike

Best Budget Road Bike

co-op cycles adv 1 1 bike
  • Steel Frame
  • Schwalbe Marathon 700×38 mm Tires
  • 72.5-75° Seat Tube Angle
  • Hydraulic Disc Brakes
  • Shimano Deore LX Drivetrain Groupset
CHECK PRICES

If you are looking for a good but affordable road bike that you can use for casual riding, this classic touring bike can offer all that and more. Although it does look like a blast from the past with the steel frame and other typical components, you can rest assured that this touring bike can compare with more advanced models.

This bike comes in five different sizes but it is only available in one color called maritime navy. The steel frame is strong, durable and perfect for handling heavy loads. Another component built for durability are the Schwalbe Marathon tires with puncture protection. This means that you can safely go off the road and take on a tougher terrain type.

Of course, the bike is heavier than most road bike models but it doesn’t feel as heavy as it should. This bike also has a very WTB comfortable saddle. All these components paired with hydraulic disc brakes and Shimano Deore LX drivetrain groupset provide a great mix of comfort, durability and performance.

Pros:
  • Extremely Affordable
  • Available in Multiple Sizes
  • Very Durable Tires
  • Stable Geometry
  • Perfect for Multi-Day Rides
  • Good Choice for Rough Terrains
Cons:
  • Only Available in One Color
  • Heavy for a Road Bike
  • Confusing Bar End Shifters

Orbea Avant H40-D Bike

The Best Beginner Road Bike

orbea avant h40-d bike
  • Hydroformed Aluminum Frame
  • Vittoria Zafiro V 700 x 28c Tires
  • 73°-74° Seat Tube Angle
  • Mechanical Disc Brakes
  • Shimano Tiagra Drivetrain Groupset
CHECK PRICES

For beginners and those looking for a road bike suitable for casual rides, Avant H40-D can be a great and simple choice. While the lack of electronic shifting is certainly not ideal from a performance standpoint, mechanical shifting is much easier to handle if you don’t have a lot of cycling experience.

This bike comes in a few different sizes but it is only available in one color (silver). The frame of the bike is made from a durable and steady aluminum frame. Paired with a carbon fork to absorb road vibrations, the bike is easy to handle and steer and offers a smooth ride.

Other components that are part of this bike include Shimano Tiagra drivetrain set, Tektro mechanical disc brakes and durable 700 x 28c Vittoria Zafiro tires. The saddle is comfortable and allows you to take longer rides. Overall, the bike is designed with comfort and endurance in mind, so it doesn’t have a particularly aerodynamic geometry.

Pros:
  • Comes in Multiple Sizes
  • Steady Frame
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • Good Cable Management
  • Good Choice for Beginners
Cons:
  • Only Available in One Color
  • Mechanical Disk Brakes and Shifting
  • Not Very Aerodynamic

How to Choose the Best Road Bike

Choosing a road bike is not easy – there is a plethora of options out there and it can be hard to know what the best option is. However, if you have even a vague idea of what you are looking for, you can find a road bike that suits your needs.

But before we go into detail about the most important features to consider when buying a road bike, let’s take a look at some of its basic characteristics.

What Is a Road Bike?

Road bikes are designed to be used on the road and last for a long time. While it may seem like road bikes haven’t changed a lot in the past couple of decades, especially compared to the changes that an entry-level mountain bike went through, modern road bikes have improved a lot in that time as well, despite keeping their traditional silhouette.

Of course, road bikes today are faster, more durable, more comfortable and more sophisticated when it comes to technologies used, including carbon frames and electronic drivetrains, among other things.

And while it is true that any bike can be used as a road bike, we will focus on road bikes that are made specifically for smoother roads. These bikes are often classified as endurance bikes or road racing bikes because they are supposed to be lightweight, fast, stiff, and provide vertical compliance.

Buying a Road Bike – Things to Consider

Thanks to technological advancements and other factors, road bikes today are made to perform and last. Still, it is important to find a bike that fits you personally. So, let’s take a look at the most important features to consider when buying a road bike.

Aerodynamics

Although aerodynamics is more important for professional cyclists or triathletes since it can increase the bike’s speed, it is an important factor to consider even if you are a casual cyclist. And while road bikes will not put such an emphasis on aerodynamics as a triathlon bike will, there are still many road bikes with impressive features in this area.

Depending on your preferences, you can either choose a road bike that comes with a lot of aerodynamic tuning to increase the speed, or choose a bike that isn’t as aerodynamic but it provides a smoother and more comfortable ride.

Frame Geometry

Road bikes can have different frame geometry. Although these differences may be subtle, they can also be important.

The majority of road bikes are designed with sport geometry. This is also known as recreational geometry. These road bikes are good for casual riders but they are also suited for occasional longer rides and organized events. The riding position is more upright, while the steering is more relaxed when compared to a performance bike.

Another type of frame geometry is performance geometry, also known as race geometry. This frame geometry is for competitive cyclists because it improves aerodynamics by making you ride in a more flexible, stretched-out position. These bikes also have a stiffer frame, lighter wheels and higher prices.

Flat bar road bikes are pretty similar to sport geometry bikes. However, the rider is meant to be in a more upright position. It is a popular style for commuting.

Frame Materials

Materials used to make the frame of a road bike will affect many things, including the price of the bike. So, let’s take a quick look at the most common frame materials:

  • Aluminum – Aluminum frames are, next to carbon fiber frames, the most popular material used for bike frames. These frames provide a smooth ride and they are usually cheaper than carbon fiber frames. However, most road bikes today that come with aluminum frames also come with a composite front fork (usually made of carbon fiber) that can absorb road vibrations.
  • Carbon Fiber – Frames made from this material provide a smoother ride because they can absorb vibrations better than aluminum frames. It is also more expensive due to the difficult and time-consuming manufacturing process.
  • Steel – Steel frames once dominated the market but it has fallen behind aluminum and carbon fiber today. Still, this material is not completely out of the picture since many custom and touring bikes use it today. These frames are heavier than aluminum frames but they are also more comfortable. There are some bikes with frames made from stainless steel, which can be pretty lightweight but also quite expensive.
  • Titanium – Titanium frames are the most expensive option because the material is extremely hard to work with. However, these frames can be as light as aluminum frames and as durable as steel frames, plus it is resistant to corrosion.

Other Key Bike Components

In addition to the frame geometry and materials, road bikes have many other important components. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Wheels

Wheels are important because they affect the weight of the bike, aerodynamics and acceleration.

When you buy a road bike, you get the wheels as a part of the package and you don’t get to choose. In most cases, the higher the price range the lighter and faster are the wheels. However, you can upgrade the wheels later or buy a custom-built bike.

If you are a casual or recreational rider, wheels won’t make a big difference to you. On the other hand, competitive cyclists should consider the wheels that can improve their performance.

Crankset

The next component to pay attention to is the crankset. Crankset, or chainset, is the component that converts the motion of your legs into rotational motion that drives the chain or belt, and, ultimately, the wheels.

Road bikes can have a triple, double or compact crankset. This basically marks the number and size of the bike’s chainrings, which can be found by the pedals.

A triple crankset comes with 3 chainrings. This crankset is usually combined with a 9-speed cassette located on the rear wheel to provide a total of 27 gears. This type of crankset is common on entry-level bikes and it is a good choice for recreational cyclists.

Meanwhile, double and compact cranksets have 2 chainrings, usually paired with a 10-speed cassette to provide a total of 20 gears. The difference between the two is that the compact crankset has smaller chainrings and fewer teeth than a double, which means that it has a lower range of gears.

The most common crankset used for bikes with a sport geometry is compact since it provides a similar range of gears as a triple crankset without weighing as much.

Pedals

If you are buying a road bike, you may get surprised when you realize that there are no pedals included. Of course, some basic models come with platform pedals and they usually include toe cages.

However, almost all high-end models come without pedals. The reason for this is the assumption that cyclists already have their own preferred pedals that they like to use with their existing cycling shoes. Cycling shoes and clip-in pedals are the best choices for those who want to pedal more efficiently.

Brakes

Although disc brakes have traditionally been reserved for mountain bikes, in recent years road bikes with disc brakes have become perhaps more popular than bikes with regular rim brakes.

Disc brakes are more reliable in wet weather and they offer better braking power. They also provide more consistent braking, reduce wear on the wheels and, according to professionals, provide a faster ride.

Meanwhile, rim brakes are the more affordable option of the two. They are also lighter and easier to maintain.

Groupsets

In many cases, commercial road bikes come with groupsets. A groupset is defined as a set of matching components on a bike that are all made by one component manufacturer. Road bikes with groupsets have a refined and consistent appearance and they are mostly used for drivetrain components of the bike.

This brings us to another important thing to consider – whether to go with electronic or mechanical groupsets?

  • Electronic groupsets provide more precise shifting, multi-shifting, and, generally, a much wider range of shifting options. These groupsets also require minimal maintenance and they are a good choice for competitive cyclists, especially for time-trials.
  • Mechanic groupsets are more affordable, easy to maintain and allow you to choose from a larger selection of groupsets. But the most important advantage is the lack of battery, so you don’t have to think about recharging it. If you don’t like to rely on technology and you plan to use your road bike for recreational purposes, mechanic shifting is probably the better choice.

Conclusion

Choosing the perfect road bike for your needs is not easy but with a bit of help from our reviews it is more than possible. We hope that you were able to use our advice to find the best road bike for yourself.

About The Author

Vladimir Kovacevic

Vladimir is a former journalism student and an active freelance writer. He has a lifelong passion for sports, especially soccer, basketball and tennis. His basketball playing days ended after high school but he still likes to play hoops with his friends. Vladimir also likes to ride his bike at some of the most popular green areas in Belgrade, Serbia.

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