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Road cyclists on the road

Best First Road Bike

Want to get into road biking but unsure which bike will be best for you? To make the choice easier we have picked out the very best models for new cyclists in this best road bike review.

Road bikes are available in a range of different types, each best suited to different types of cycling. Road race bikes offer nimble handling with an efficient tucked riding position and are best for shorter rides on good road surfaces. Sportive or endurance road bikes offer a slightly more upright riding position with comfort features built in which makes them ideal for longer rides over less than perfect road surfaces. The other option is a flat bar road bike that combines the speed and efficiency of a road race bike with a flat handlebar for easier handling – especially useful for urban cycling.

Aluminium alloy frames are lightweight, strong and affordable which makes them ideal for a first road bike. Butting and hydroforming are manufacturing processes that reduce weight so are worth looking out for. Compact chainsets with wide range cassettes offer plenty of low gears for easy climbing as well as higher gears for rapid cycling when the road flattens out. As you go up the price points, the number of gears tends to increase which offers smaller gaps between each gear so you can find the ideal gear to match your pedalling speed. All the bikes featured in the best of review have aluminium frames with compact chainsets.

Carbon fibre has natural vibration damping properties so most road bike now feature carbon forks which help reduce fatigue in the arms, especially on rough road surfaces. Disc brakes are becoming ever more popular on road bikes. While they add a little weight hydraulic disc brakes work far better than traditional calliper brakes, especially in wet conditions, so we have included a couple of disc equipped bikes in this review.

Specialized Allez

Specialized Allez 2018
Specialized logo


Quick look

Frame E5 Premium Aluminium

Fork FACT full carbon

Drivetrain Shimano Claris 2x8 speed

Brakes Tektro calliper

Best for General road cycling


The Specialized Allez is a classic road race bike that offers nimble handling combined with a great ride quality. The E5 Premium aluminium alloy frame is built from hydroformed tubes which increase strength and reducing weight, while the smooth welds and internal cable routing give the frame a slick look. For 2018 the Allez gets a slightly taller head tube for a more comfortable endurance style riding position. You also get a full carbon monocoque fork which reduces the bike weight by over 500grams compared to last years model.

The Allez features wide rims which help the 25mm tyres to offer a larger contact patch for a smoother ride. BlackBelt puncture protection in the tyres helps to reduce the chances of a flat tyre.

The finest ride and handling balance for the money – Bike Radar.

Cube Attain

Cube Attain
Cube Logo


Quick look

Frame 6061 T6 aluminium

Fork Carbon blades, alloy crown

Drivetrain Shimano Claris 2x8 speed

Brakes Shimano Claris calliper

Best for Longer rides and sportives


Offering a slightly more upright endurance riding position than a full-on road race bike the Cube Attain offers the comfort you need on long distance cycle rides and Sportives. The double butted 6061 aluminium alloy frame features slim, cross ovalised seatstays which offer vertical flex (compliance) for a smoother ride over rough road surfaces.

It is great to see Shimano Claris dual pivot calliper brakes to match the Claris groupset and these offer composed stopping power. Wide 25c Continental Ultra Sport tyres are also a nice touch on this entry level road bike.

The Cube Attain offers endurance road bike comfort and efficiency at a competitive price point.

Giant Contend SL 2 Disc

Giant Contend SL 2 Disc 2018
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Quick look

Frame ALUXX SL-Grade aluminium

Fork Carbon blades, alloy steerer

Drivetrain Shimano Tiagra 2x10 speed

Brakes Giant Conduct hydraulic disc

Best for All-weather cycling


The Contend is Giant’s new alloy road bike that combines the endurance riding position and comfort features found on the popular Giant Defy Advanced with slightly shorter chainstays for nimbler handling characteristics. The seatpost and seatube feature a D-Shaped profile that is made to flex slightly to help absorb the bumps from riding on rough roads.

Often disc equipped road bikes at this price point feature mechanical disc brakes rather than the better performing hydraulic discs. This is because mechanical disc brakes use conventional shifter/brake levers while hydraulics need a special lever. Giant have developed an ingenious system that combines the two, so you get the improved performance of hydraulic disc brakes with conventional levers.

With a wide range cassette and a compact chainset the Contend offers a broad spread of gears for cycling on varied terrain..

Merida Speeder 200

Merida Speeder 200 2018
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Quick look

Frame 6066 aluminium

Fork Full carbon

Drivetrain Shimano Sora 2x9 speed

Brakes Tektro hydraulic disc

Best for Urban cycling


Ideal for rapid urban cycling and fitness training the Merida Speeder 200 combines road bike speed and efficiency with a flat handlebar for easier handling when cycling in traffic. The flat handlebars also give you a more upright riding position for improved visibility on busy roads.

The high-quality alloy frame is triple butted and hydroformed to reduce weight while keeping things stiff for efficient pedalling and responsive handling. A full carbon fork is a nice touch that helps to keep the ride nice and smooth.

Wide 32mm tyres offer extra cushioning on rough road surfaces, the grooved tread pattern is good for wet weather riding while the dual compound rubber combines rapid rolling characteristics with extra cornering grip. Tektro hydraulic disc brakes offer powerful all-weather stopping control while the Shimano Sora 2x9 speed drivetrain gives you slick shifting with a good spread of gears for rapid cycling on the city streets.

Fast and assured in all-weather conditions the Merida Speeder is a great city bike for those who like to ride quickly and efficiently..