12 Best Road Bikes in 2017

Road bike is a term thrown around rather loosely in some circles although it means touring or speed for serious cyclists. The terminology can be confusing to newcomers, especially with words like “Cruiser” thrown in as all road bikes will most certainly cruise down the road. Some just do it at breakneck speeds.

Our list of the best road bikes is comprised of bicycles that are built for racing or touring although some can certainly do both. We’ve included a nice mix for both amateurs and professional cyclists along with a guide full of quick tips to help speed up your buying decision.

Top 12 Road Bikes Comparison Chart

DesignNameMultiple SizesFrame MaterialRating (1-5)
  1. Tommaso Imola Compact Aluminum Road Bike Yes Aluminum 4.6
  2. Vilano Shadow 2.0 Road Bike Yes Aluminum 4.4
  3. Kestrel Talon Road Shimano 105 Bicycle Yes Carbon Composite 4.4
  4. Schwinn Phocus 1600 Men’s Road Bike No Aluminum 4.3
  5. Merax Finiss Aluminum 21 Speed 700C Road Bike Yes Aluminum 4.1
6. Critical Cycles Harper Single-Speed Fixed Gear Urban Commuter Bike Yes Steel 4.0
7. Giordano Libero 1.6 Men’s Road Bike Yes Aluminum 4.0
8. Schwinn Men’s Phocus 1400 700C Drop Bar Road Bicycle No Aluminum 4.0
  9. Vilano R2 Commuter Aluminum Road Bike Shimano Yes Aluminum 4.0
  10. Giordano Libero Acciao Road Bike Yes Steel 3.9
  11. GMC Denali Road Boys Bike No Aluminum 3.9
  12. Aluminum Road Bike Commuter Bike Shimano Yes Aluminum 3.7

Buying Tips for Road Cyclists

Cruisers and Mountain Bikes have their place in the cycling world, but it takes a special breed to opt for a road bike. While there are plenty of options, our guide below will help steer you in the right direction.

Bike Size

Depending on where you live and your access to bike shops, this one could be tricky. Whenever you buy a new bike, it’s always best to sit on it and test out the size. If you’re buying online, that isn’t an option although you can sometimes find your choice (or a comparable one) locally to test out before you buy online. If that is not an option, there are still ways to deal with size.

Most manufacturers will have an official sizing chart on their website to go along with general dimensions in a product’s listing page online. You will want to check both, as they don’t always line up, so go with the manufacturers listing when in doubt. You can measure yourself for a seat as well, but there is no real replacement for sitting on a particular style before you buy.

Brakes

How do you plan on riding? Are you going for endurance and plan on touring across the city or countryside? If that is the way you roll, you will want to pay close attention to the style of brake on the bike you’re looking at. Disc brake systems are becoming increasingly popular on road bikes built for endurance, but are heavier due to the system involved. They are not common on racing bikes.

If you have a need for speed, you are better off with Rim brakes which come in several different styles. The main two are the newer V-Brake and the classic caliper system. Unless this is your first road bike, you have probably used caliper-based brakes as true cantilevers have slowly died out although you can’t throw a stone without hitting a V-Brake.

Build Difficulty

If you have children, you have probably put together a bike or two in your time. While you can be them prebuilt at a bike shop or department store, when ordering online you will have to fend for yourself. When it comes to road bikes, you may have to call a friend with some experience or even head to a shop to let a pro put it together.

That is, of course, not ideal for some, and won’t be necessary for every bike on our list. Some are far more difficult to build than others, and many manufacturers will give you a heads up on the difficulty level. Even if you can master the build, you will want to take your shiny new road bike to a shop and have it professionally tuned if you want to be safe on the road. It’s not an old-school dirt bike.

Top 5 Best Road Bikes Reviews

1. Tommaso Imola Compact Aluminum Road Bike

Tommaso may not be a name casual riders will know, but trust us when we say they put out quality cycles. The Tommaso Imola is in the mid-range bike in the company’s lineup, and it’s lightweight with a sturdy SLA 6061 aluminum frame. It’s been predrilled in all the right spots so you can strap on aftermarket accessories if you so desire, but the bike has plenty of style sans any extras.

While the frame is strong, the rest of the parts are top notch as well. The handlebars are TRS Ultralights, which are compact with flat tops while Shimano pops on a Claris shifter and derailleur. They also take care of the crankset, cassette, and brake calipers as well. The seat is even solid as they’ve used a WTB Volt saddle along with their TRS performance seat post. Even when you count the steel fork, rims and tires the total weight of this bike is only 23.8 pounds. That is impressive.

The Tommaso Imola Compact is available in six different sizes from an XX-Small all the way up to an XL frame. The former is for riders between 4’10” and 5’2” while the latter can handle riders up to 6’ 5” so there is a size for everyone. The colors available are black, white and burnt orange.

2. Vilano Shadow 2.0 Road Bike

Vilano produces bikes in a variety of classes including ones built for the road. Deemed an entry-level bike, the Vilano Shadow 2.0 is a 14-speed road bike with 50/34T rear cogs and a 6061 double butted aluminum frame. It has an integrated headset with an internal cable routing system which links up to STI A070 Shimano brake levers.

The front and rear derailleur are from the same company while the tires are listed as CST 700c x 25c’s that sit on doubled walled alloy wheels. Despite it being in the “entry level” class, you can’t argue with the quality of the components used. It’s not quite as light as the Imola but certainly isn’t heavy at 25 pounds. While you can build this one yourself, you may want to have it tuned up at a shop if it’s your first road bike or you’re new to cycling in general.

We think the Vilano Shadow 2.0 is an excellent choice for beginners just getting into road bikes. It’s not going to break the bank, and you shouldn’t need to upgrade anything out of the box aside from the seat. Those are always hit or miss depending on your backside, but everything else on this one is solid.

3. Kestrel Talon Road Bike 105

We wanted to include something for everyone on our list. That includes folks that have been riding for years and consumers that want the best. That last part is still up for debate in the wild world of road bikes, but nobody will dispute the fact that the Kestrel Talon is a fantastic road bike.

This road bike is built for endurance and triathletes in general. That’s because it allows you to practice two disciplines at once without having to shell out hundreds (or thousands) of bucks for a separate cycle. Whether you want to race at breakneck speeds or are going for endurance, the Kestrel Talon has you covered. As you would expect, the components are top of the line and include an EMS Pro seat posts which adjust for multiple riding positions and Kestrel H-stays, which are vibration dampening custom seat and chainstays.

We save the best part of this bike for last – the frame. The Talon has an Enhanced Modulus Hybrid Carbon frame, which is a mix of 700K and 800K carbon fibers. It’s going to be strong and lightweight between 17 and 20 pounds or so depending on the size you choose. The company has a chart to assist you on that front as they range from Extra Small to Extra Large.

4. Schwinn Phocus 1600 Road Bike

Schwinn is a classic brand we like to touch on whenever we can, and the Phocus 1600 was a lock for our list of the best road bikes. This is an affordable 16-speed road bike decked out with solid parts that are geared more towards beginners than seasoned pros. That said, experienced riders will still appreciate this one, they may just want to swap a few components out.

This bike offers up a smooth ride thanks to Shimano Claris derailleurs and the SR Suntour Alloy crank. You’ll get smooth transitions and an extended gear range while the Promax alloy brakes will let you stop a dime. Well, not literally although the caliper-based setup is nothing to scoff at. The frame is made from aluminum, so it will be light on the road and strong while the fork is actually carbon fiber. Other features to note include quick release rims and a saddle with quick release for easy adjustments on the road.

This bike is available in black or silver, but only in one size at 56CM/18’. That is going to rule it out a perfect ride for cyclists on the short side as that size is better for folks around 5’9” to 6’3” in height. It also comes with toe clips and straps although we found the pedals themselves  to be less than stellar.

5. Merax Finiss Aluminum 21-spped 700cc Bike

The Merax Finiss is an interesting road bike that’s in the middle of the pack when it comes to its weight and size. It’s not exactly light at 28 pounds, but far from the heaviest cycle on our list of the best road bikes. The lightweight aluminum frame has something to do with that as do the 21-speeds.

This is a racing road bike decked out with Shimano components and built for speed. There is a Shimano TZ-31 front derailleur, a Shimano RD-TZ50 rear derailleur, and Kenda 700 x 28C tires. The seat post and frame are both crafted from aluminum while the fork is listed as being made from 700C threadless steel. Shimano comes back to handle the brakes and drops an SA050 shifter system onto the bike as well. Like we said, top-notch although there are a few negatives.

The kickstand is not going to be ideal for everyone and cannot be removed. Not everyone is a fan of drop handlebars as well and may have a hard time with the length on these although it’s a matter of riding style and arm length to a degree. This bike is available in 50cm, 54cm and 58cm. You can also choose from three different hues with  red & white, yellow & gray, and green & black.