5 of the Best Starter Road Bike Under 500
As you begin your cycling journey, the first thing you need is a road bike. Being a beginner, you need not spend a lot of money on your ride, but of course, you only want the best starter road bike that you can afford. Luckily, I’ve prepared a detailed review of the best starter road bikes, plus a few other vital factors to consider in your search for your road bike buddy.
5 of the Top-Rated Starter Bike Under $500
What to Look for in a Starter Road Bikes Under the $500 Mark?
- 1 5 of the Best Starter Road Bike Under 500
- 1.1 5 of the Top-Rated Starter Bike Under $500
- 1.2 What to Look for in a Starter Road Bikes Under the $500 Mark?
- 1.3 Choosing the Right Size for the Best Starter Road Bike
- 1.4 Bikes with Quality Components
- 1.5 Chainsets
- 1.6 Wheels
- 1.7 Disc Brakes
- 1.8 Pedals
- 1.9 5 Of The Best Starter Road Bike Full Product Reviews
Aluminum is a standard frame material because it is corrosion resistant, lightweight, and affordable. It has a high strength-to-weight ratio. Most beginners prefer this material, especially if they are on a tight budget.
Aluminum frames are excellent because the bike can accelerate quickly.
They offer snappy handling as well. However, aluminum is stiff, which means that you can have a harsh ride quality. Unlike the other frame materials, it can become uncomfortable riding an aluminum frame bike, especially for long distances.
An aluminum frame is best for starter road and mountain bikes.
Carbon Fiber Carbon fiber frames are best for high-end road and mountain bikes because they are lighter than titanium, steel, or aluminum.
Since they have a lower density than the others, they are perfect for absorbing road vibrations that result in comfortable rides. Bike manufacturers can have creative designs with this kind of bike frame, especially if they want to maximize its aerodynamic efficiency.
They can vary the alignment of the fibers in different areas of the bike. Carbon fiber also resists corrosion better than metal. However, it is also the most expensive material for bike frames.
Furthermore, structures made from carbon filter are more susceptible to fracture than metal. A fractured bike frame becomes unfit for use.
Titanium Titanium bike frames have similarities with steel. Both of them offer better resistance to fatigue and corrosion. Both are lightweight and long-lasting.
Thus, most manufacturers of titanium bike frames provide lifetime warranties. If you have a titanium bike frame, you can have a smooth ride quality that equals that of carbon fiber. Titanium can absorb road vibrations and is snappier than steel.
Thus, performance bikers prefer a titanium frame. Moreover, because it is noncorrosive, it does not require paint. However, it is a rare material and labor intensive. If ever you find a titanium bike frame, you can expect it to be costly.
Steel Steel was the favorite material in previous decades. However, because of aluminum and carbon fiber, it has taken a back seat primarily because it is massive and costly.
High-end bikes do not use steel frames because of their weight. On the other hand, low-end models do not use steel frames because they are more expensive than the others.
However, steel is famous for custom bike builders because it offers a smooth ride quality, especially for long distances. It is stronger and denser than aluminum, and less expensive and easier to work with than carbon fiber.
It is also very robust and fatigue resistant. If the frame has fractured, it is easy to repair.
Choosing the Right Size for the Best Starter Road Bike
Nowadays, people buy their bikes online because it is convenient to do so. However, if you will order online, you need to know the bike size that will fit you. Fortunately, there are various ways of selecting the right bike size.
Bike Size Depending on Rider’s Height
Rider’s Height/Bike Size: 4’11” – 5’3” / 13 – 15 inches
5’3”- 5’7” / 15 – 17 inches
5’7” – 5’11” / 17 – 19 inches
6’ – 6’2” / 19 – 21 inches
6’2” – 6’4” / 21 – 23 inches
6’4” and taller / 23+ inches
Leg Inseam Method Stand barefoot with your legs apart by 15 to 20 centimeters. Then, you need to measure the height between the ground and your crotch.
If you want to buy a road bike, you need to follow this simple formula: Road Bike Frame Size = Leg inseam in centimeters x 0.70 For instance, if your leg inseam (height between your crotch and ground) is 76 cm, then your road bike frame size is 53 cm.
Bikes with Quality Components
Brakes Some bikes can have at least one brake. For most biking activities, the following are most common:
- Caliper brakes
- Linear-pull brakes or V-brakes
- Cantilever brakes
However, for high-performance biking, disc brakes, which can be either hydraulic or mechanical, are preferable. Drivetrain The chain of the bike runs from center’s crankset to the rear cassette found at the rear hub. Often, cranksets have two or three chainrings. You can shift to any of the chainrings through coarse gearing adjustments. On the other hand, moving between sprockets at the rear cassette requires fine gearing adjustments. To compute the bike speeds, you need to multiply the number of chainrings by the number of sprockets found in the rear cassette. For instance, a bike with 27 speeds means that it has three front chainrings and nine sprockets in its rear cassette. In general, a bike with more gears than the others have more flexibility on different grades. Handle Bars A high-rise handlebar allows you to sit in an upright position. On the other hand, a bike with drop bars will enable you to sit in a fully bent seat. You can improve your riding position by swapping handlebars and stems. Since different riders prefer different handlebars, you need to know the kind of handlebar that you want. You can always buy a replacement handlebar if you do not like the original that comes with your bike. Saddle The choice of saddle depends on the rider’s preference. Some riders may prefer the narrow and firm type, while the other bikers may prefer the full and soft saddle. You may want a suspension seat post or a rigidly mounted type. Just like the handlebar, you can purchase the kind of seat that you want for your starter road bike. The narrow and firm saddle for road bikes offers more control than the broad and soft type. It allows you to pedal and change your position more efficiently. Shifters A road bike has two derailleurs: the front and the back. The front derailleur brings the chain in between the crankset’s sprockets. On the other hand, the rear derailleur moves the chainring in between the rear cassette’s sprockets. A shifter controls a derailleur. You can find the twist shifters on the handlebars. If you want to change gears, you twist the shifters. On the other hand, the trigger shifters have two levers: one for upshifting and another for downshifting. These shifters click whenever you shift gears. Therefore, you easily know where the next gear is.
A chainset is a component of the road bike’s drivetrain. It connects through the belt or chain to the bike’s drive wheel. The bottom bracket supports and houses the chainset as it rotates. The clockwise movement of the chainset propels the bike to move forward. The crank is equivalent to a car’s accelerator pedal or a boat’s throttle. If you want to turn the bike’s wheels, you must set the cranks. A chainset must withstand the stresses and motions of cycling, so it must be robust. Manufacturers prefer carbon and aluminum alloys for the crank arms. If you want to upgrade the chainsets, but want to maintain the size of the chainrings, you must look for the marking on your existing chainset. The chainrings will have a stamp on how many teeth each rig has. You can also count them. You can find the crank length inside of each crank. It is near the pedal’s threaded hole. The road bike’s chainsets can range from 165 mm to 180 mm. You must select the appropriate chainset for your bike’s frame. If you are in doubt, you can consult a road bike enthusiast or professional.
Different kinds of Tires for Road Bikes:
A clincher tire is a standard. It holds in different inner tubes. Road bikes use this tire type.
A tubeless tire is perfect for mountain biking, although some road bikers prefer it as well. It has an airtight clincher structure without the inner tube. Unlike the clincher tires, the tubeless wheels have backward rims.
A tubular tire is uncommon because it is difficult to assemble. Similar to a clincher tire, it has tubes. However, the tubes are in an enclosed casing and glued to the rim. Professional racers prefer tubular tires. If you want to replace a wheel, you need to know the clincher’s features.
Clincher tires are durable and usable in different weather conditions.
Manufacturers of clincher tires are serious about the aerodynamic effects. When a tire has excellent aerodynamics, you will experience a smooth ride even if you are on the heavy side or even in the presence of strong winds.
A clincher tire is agile and light. You get a feeling of flying whenever you use it.
- Good friction
Some manufacturers use the UB technology because it produces more stable brake friction whenever you make a stop in any weather condition.
Clincher wheels are inexpensive, except when you buy them for specialized bikes.
- Ease of repair or adjustment
You will find a clincher tire easy to repair or adjust. You do not need fancy tools.
Even if your road bike has the conventional side-pull rim brakes, you can replace them with disc brakes, which are common on mountain bikes. A disc brake utilizes a metal rotor on the hub of the wheel with a fixed caliper that compresses the rotor. It can be either a hydraulic or a mechanical disc brake. A mechanical disc brake has a lever like a rim brake. You release the cable’s tension through the gear to compress the rotor’s pads. On the other hand, a hydraulic disc brake has a brake fluid inside the lever body. The fluid moves through the caliper through a hydraulic line to compress the rotor’s pads powerfully. A disc brake provides substantial stopping power even during the wet weather. You get outstanding modulation precision between light and powerful brakes. A disc brake is also efficient because it requires reduced pulling force when applying the brakes. It does not heat the rim even on long descents. However, a hydraulic disc brake is difficult to maintain. Both types of disc brakes add weight to the bike because they use the extra equipment.
Road bikes use clipless pedals with a 3-hole design. These pedals have larger plastic cleats, which protrude from the sole of your shoe. The 3-hole design spreads the force over a wide area and reduces the pressure for a secure connection during pedaling. These pedals give you ultimate control as you ride your bike. It keeps your feet in place even when you ride through bumps or apply power. However, you need practice in getting in and out of these pedals, especially if you’re a beginner.
5 Of The Best Starter Road Bike Full Product Reviews
Now that I’ve gone through the basics of what you should consider when looking for a road bike. here’s what I think is the best starter road bike regarding feature and performance.
1. Giordano Libero 1.6 Men’s Road Bike-700c
The Giordano Libero 1.6 is a beautiful bike designed for durability and convenience at an affordable price. For less than $500, I was able to use this as my first road bike.
Lightweight aluminum frame
2. Tommaso Imola Endurance Aluminum Road Bike Review
The Tommaso Imola is one of the best road bikes under $500. It is lightweight with excellent shifting gears. It is perfect for the terrain of any consistency or steepness.
Lightweight Aluminum Frame
3. Vilano Shadow 2.0 Road Bike
The Vilano Shadow 2.0 is an inexpensive road bike for beginners. The company has been in existence since 2008. Shimano and Prowheel provide the parts for this bike.
Lightweight aluminum frame
4. GMC Denali Road Bike
The Denali Road Bike carries the name of GMC, a well-known brand of trucks. Thus, the guarantee of quality is the same as the other GMC products.
Lightweight Aluminum Frame
5. Merax Finiss Aluminum 21 Speed 700C
The 21-speed Merax Finiss Aluminum road bike weighs 28 lbs. It is a perfect beginner bike for people who want to try biking but do not want to spend a hefty amount on it. Its lightweight and sturdy frame can carry people who weigh a maximum of 330 lbs.