Get Fit With The Best Road Bikes Under 500$ (A Buyer Guide)

Do you want to get fit but lack the motivation or the budget for a gym membership or your own home gym? Road biking might be the solution, and this article is here to help you find the best road bikes under 500!

Road biking has many benefits as any of its other counterparts. It can improve your physical and mental health without having to go too far from your house or invest time in planning because of its light, road-friendly design. However, road bikes prices can be high!

But don’t worry! The good news is, with a budget of 500 dollars or less, you don’t have to limit your choices to weak, short-lived or low-quality road bikes. Keep reading for tips on how to choose the best road bikes under 500!

**Below, you'll find more detailed reviews, but you can also click links above to check current prices and read customer's reviews on Amazon.

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Benefits Of Cycling

Best Road Bikes Under 500

Like any other form of physical exercise, cycling comes with a wide array of benefits for your overall health. You can get the cycling benefits listed down here with just two to four hours of cycling in a week, so check them out!

  • It Is A Low Impact Activity

It causes less muscle and joint strain, giving you more protection against injury than most other forms of exercise.

  • It Is A Good Workout

When riding a bike, you use all major muscle groups while you pedal and maintain your balance.

  • It Is Relatively Easier

Unlike most sports or recreational activities, cycling does not require you to have high levels of skill, physical or mental. Most people, even children and the elderly, know how to ride a bike. Plus, you are most likely not to forget this once you learn to do it.

  • It Develops Your Strength And Stamina

Cycling boosts your stamina, strength and aerobic fitness by working up your muscles as well as your heart and lungs, or your cardiovascular system. This is great if you’re an athlete, someone who takes part in triathlons and other sports, or if you just have specific fitness goals.

  • You Can Adjust The Intensity

When it comes to cycling, you can modify the track or your position to make it as intense as you would like it to be. You can start with low intensity as a beginner or if you are recovering from some sort of injury. Then, you can make your way up to higher intensity, so you get a demanding physical workout.

  • It Is A Fun Way To Stay Fit, Active And Healthy.

For most people, there are tons of advantages in cycling outdoors instead of using stationary bikes at home. You get a buzz of adrenaline and adventure while cruising through hills or even just your neighborhood.

Doing it outdoors also encourage and help you maintain regular cycling schedules, versus other physical activities that require specific places or time and lock you indoors. Being active and spending some time outdoors are also found to improve your mood and help with depression and anxiety.

  • It Is A Time-Efficient And Healthy Mode Of Transportation

Whether you cycle for transportation, recreation or both, you exchange sedentary or sitting time spent indoors or driving your car, or riding trains, trams or buses with healthy exercise. You can also save a lot of time usually spent while waiting for public transportation because you can start cycling whenever wherever you like.

Why Buy A Road Bike?

Best Road Bikes Under 500

Now that you have an idea of the many benefits of cycling, why choose a road bike over cruisers, hybrids or mountain bikes? Apparently, road bikes share several traits and advantages as these counterparts but are defined based on specific traits.

The following are the important features of road bikes that set them apart. Sure, these are not exclusive to road bikes, but they are found to do the best job of having and maximizing these qualities.

  • Speed

Road bikes receive the top honors compared to any other bike style when it comes to speed. The wheels with large diameters and narrow tires contribute mainly to the swiftness of road bikes. This is because the wheels and tires are relatively light, aerodynamic and smooth, which allows you to go down the road with less drag as possible.

In this kind of surface, the bulky, lugged, heavy tires and mixed-surface design of mountain bikes make keeping up extra hard. The same goes with comfort, hybrids, or cruiser bikes, whose tires and wheels are intended to absorb bumps and shock instead of prioritizing durability.

Think of it as kind of like the difference between running while wearing hiking boots versus a pair of lightweight running shoes. Both work great in their particular area of use.

  • Lightweight

Since road bikes are designed to perform solely on smooth and hard surfaces, they can be very light. Whether you use it on asphalt or concrete, it does not matter because it will perform well. However, road bikes are not meant for riding down rocky paths, gravel, sand, or for jumping over rocks and logs.

These other bikes are made with greater durability and weight for mountain trails. Road bikes, on the other hand, are cut down to their barest minimum weight for smooth and consistent roadways.

  • Efficiency

The combination of lightweight frame construction, fast riding wheels and a functional, forward-leaning athletic position increase the efficiency of road biking to a higher level. With minimal drag and weight, a road bike does not weigh a rider down.

You can also be as comfortable as possible for longer periods of time on a road bike since you can lean forward and into the wind current and you can also put your hands in multiple positions.

This is much more efficient than having to sit upright like a sail which increases your air resistance and slows you down. What I’m saying here is that road bikes are a notch higher than its counterparts in efficiency mainly also because of its two other characteristics previously mentioned.

Tips To Remember When Choosing The Best Road Bikes Under 500$

Best Road Bikes Under 500

Although road bikes are generally fast, lightweight and efficient, no two designs are the same. Some have different degrees of these qualities, while others possess, or lack certain valuable features. So how do you find the best road bikes under 500 and how can you make the most out of it?

  • Set Your Budget

When buying any product, the first thing you must consider is your budget. This narrows down your choices and helps you focus more on models that could work for you in your set price range. This also prevents you from spending too much or getting a purchase that’s not worth it.

For this guide, we have already established a price limit of 500 dollars, so we’re off to a good start.

  • Choose Your Bike Frame

Road bikes can either have aluminum, carbon, steel or titanium frames. Each material have its own advantages, so let me give you a bit of information about them.

Aluminum is recommended for racing as it is one of the lightest frame materials available in the market. Professional cyclists usually prefer an aluminum frame rather than a carbon frame. Aluminum frames are to an extent more resistant to rust and cracks.

Carbon frames, on the other hand, are lightweight, durable and generally makes for comfortable rides. Probably the biggest advantage of carbon frames is that they can be molded to fit any shape and size without sacrificing durability.

Next is steel, another great, comfortable, affordable, and durable frame material. High-end steel frame models offer very lightweight designs, but the best thing about them is the comfort level. Racers or long-distance bikers often buy steel framed bikes.

Titanium gives you all the benefits of all other frame materials but is the most expensive. This is not the usual choice when you have a limited budget since you could end up with a low-quality product. So in this case, we’ll go with other good options.

  • Tires And Rims

The next thing you should take into consideration is the type of tires and rims. They affect the bike’s acceleration, climbing ability, and handling. Choose tires and rims that are aerodynamic or have minimal air resistance, durable, and lightweight for faster and more efficient rides.

Box-section rims have quick acceleration, are lightweight and offer the most comfort. Aero-shaped rims, on the other hand, have less wind drag, are stronger, more durable, and stiffer which makes bikes with this type of rims less comfortable. So, the rim choice really comes down to personal preference.

However, if you are relatively light and like riding on rough pavement at a leisurely and reasonable pace, the box-section will probably be your best choice. If you’re on the heavier side and prefer to ride fast on smooth roads, then the stiff aero rims will best suit you.

  • Stick With Familiar, Proven brands.

There’s always a reason big brands are famous and successful, but the best thing about choosing well-known brands is that you’ll always have a secure company to turn to in case of product or component failure. Bigger brands can also get better parts in lower prices, which makes you save more money in the long run.

  • Avoid Plastic Parts

Plastic also has its advantages as a material for bike parts, but I’d rather avoid primary components made entirely of plastic for safety and longevity. Good quality road bikes should not have plastic brakes, shifters, or derailleurs. They simply do not have the durability and resilience of steel and aluminum alloy components. Plastic parts also break, snap, bend, and wear out easily and quickly.

  • Make Sure To Set Up And Use Your Bike Properly.

Sometimes the flaws of a bike are not results of the parts or the bike itself, but the assembly or set up. Choose models that come with great set up guidelines and instructions and follow these closely.

If your bike does not feel right or comfortable, you’ll probably have to adjust the handlebar position, standover height, and stuff like that. Useful guides can even be found online. Even cheap choices can improve so much and benefit from such adjustments.

So when you are looking for or considering to buy the best road bikes under 500, keep all these in mind and decide which specific features are important to you.

Reviews Of Five Of The Best Road Bikes Under 500$

**Below, you'll find more detailed reviews, but you can also click links above to check current prices and read customer's reviews on Amazon.


Best Road Bikes Under 500

Via: Amazon.com

If you’re a city street rider in need of an affordable bike for riding around or commuting to school or work, the Takara Kabuto Single Speed Road Bike is worth looking at. It gives an excellent durability and ride quality at its low price and comes in unique color schemes.

It also has a rear flip flop hub which allows quick and easy alternate shifting between riding freewheel or in fixed gear. It has a tig-welded heavy-duty tubular steel frame and fork for durability. This makes it a little heavier than most road bikes, but the use of alloy material compensates for the extra weight and adds a sturdy quality.

It comes with a simple single speed drivetrain for riding on roads and flat terrains. It weighs 30 pounds and has a 33” stand over clearance that accommodates riders with a height of 5’10” to 6’2”. It also comes with heavy duty rims and larger, thicker 700x32c Kenda tires for a smooth, fast and comfortable ride.


Pros

  • Great value for money
  • Simple single speed bike (no derailleurs) for less maintenance
  • Offers smooth, comfortable rides
  • Sturdy and strong frame 
  • Flip-flop hub

Cons

  • Plastic brakes
  • A bit on the heavy side

Best Road Bikes Under 500

Via: Amazon.com

This entry level 21 speed road bike is another affordable candidate among the best road bikes under 500. It has a lightweight 6061 Aluminum frame (Double Butted), making it strong yet much lighter than every other bike in its class at only 24 pounds.

It also comes with a Shimano drivetrain, and A050 handlebar mounted shifters for easy, flawless shifting and smoother rides. The 700c threadless fork, 700c x 25c tires, and Shimano derailleurs make it suitable for a comfortable urban road riding.


Pros

  • Extremely lightweight
  • Smooth shifting
  • Durable, sturdy, quality construction
  • Aesthetically pleasing color schemes and design
  • 21 speeds with a 7-speed freewheel
  • Free pedals included 

Cons

  • Poor tire quality
  • Adjustment issues with brakes 
  • Uncomfortable seat

Best Road Bikes Under 500

Via: Amazon.com

The GMC Denali Road Bike is a great beginner road or racing bike, and it’s a few hundred dollars less than what you might expect. Despite the low price, however, this bike has still a lot to offer.

It has a stylish, well-built, welded standard steel aluminum tubular frame which makes it durable and easy to the eyes as well. This also makes it lighter, at only 29 pounds. It has 21 speeds like most road bikes and is great for daily riding.

It has a Promax BL-250AP Aluminum brake levers, Shimano Revo shifts, Promax 501A Alloy Caliper Brake and Shimano derailleur for easy shifting and secure rides. The tires are Kenda Black With Grey Band 700X28C, and the rims are Vitesse Alloy black 700C X 14G X36H. All of these make up for the bike’s endurance, accurate control, comfort, and power.


Pros

  • Great price point
  • Stylish
  • Includes a water bottle holder
  • 21 speed-route bike with an aluminum frame that is lightweight
  • Shimano derailleur for fast and easy upgrades

Cons

  • Non-quick release wheels
  • Non-adjustable handlebars and seat position
  • Requires heavy upgrading of parts

Best Road Bikes Under 500

Via: Amazon.com

Another one of the best road bikes under 500, the Vilano Aluminum Commuter Road Bike. It shares a few features of the Vilano Aluminum 21 speed road bike but costs a few hundred dollars less.

It also has a 6061 aluminum frame (double butted), making it lightweight. It has the same Shimano A050 type of thumb shifters and Shimano derailleurs. It has a 700c CNC machined sides (double walled) and black anodized wheelset that comes with 700c x 25c tires.

It comes with alloy caliper brakes and hi-ten 700c threadless fork. This bike also comes with 21 speeds and is perfect for commuting or riding around town and a campus. It is simple, cheap, and durable for a beginner and commuter bike.


Pros

  • Easy to assemble
  • Reasonably priced
  • Great quality at its price
  • Conveniently fast and lightweight enough
  • The bike’s detailed design looks great 
  • Has great customer service and online instructions, assembly help, maintenance tips and product information

Cons

  • Needs tons of part upgrades
  • Becomes uncomfortable through long rides

Best Road Bikes Under 500

Via: Amazon.com

Best suited for younger and smaller riders than the GMC Denali Road Bike, the GMC Denali Road Boys Bike is still not short of good qualities. It is a 21-speed, 24-inch road bike made with a high quality, durable, robust and light aluminum frame and forks. Th forks are made with GMS series 7000 steel.

The Shimano Revo shifts and Shimano derailleur allow the users to swiftly and smoothly shift through the gears. The alloy brake levers, Vitesse racing rims, and alloy calipers, also complete the bike for a fast, secure, and smooth ride each time.


Pros

  • Suitable for growing kids
  • Durable and strong frame and parts for a small price
  • Lightweight
  • Can compete with much more expensive bikes with proper tuning
  • Adjustable seats
  • Efficient wheels and gears 
  • Available in different colors

Cons

  • Pedals need replacement for users with large foot size
  • Slightly heavier than standard road bikes

Conclusion

If you’re a beginner and needs a basic road bike, your best option among the five best road bikes under 500 reviewed here is the Takara Kabuto Road Bike.

Although a little heavier and despite the plastic brakes, this bike can perform well for comfortable and smooth rides at the lowest price. It also has a sturdy frame and does not require as much maintenance. You can probably replace the weak components with higher quality ones, and the overall cost still won’t be too expensive.

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Emily Brathen
 

Hi there! I'm Emily Brathen. I am a fitness and yoga instructor and a mom of one. Despite my hectic schedule, I still find time for doing the thing I love most - fitness and yoga. I love doing and teaching fitness and yoga because in my own little way, I am able to encourage people to take health and fitness back into their own hands.

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