specialized giant cube cannondale Mavic Castelli endura altura
high mountain road riders

Best Road Bikes Under £1,500

The best road bikes under £1,500 take advantage of the recent advances in carbon fibre composite frame design for a lighter, stiffer and more refined ride.

Carbon fibre has many advantages over traditional materials like aluminium. As well as allowing a lighter frame build, carbon fibre composites can be manipulated to provide stiffness and compliance in specific areas. Lateral and torsional stiffness means that the frame doesn’t flex when pedalling so that more power is transmitted to the wheels. Vertical compliance, in areas like the seat stays, absorbs vibrations from uneven road surfaces leading to a more comfortable ride. Carbon forks also add performance by offering precise steering characteristics as well as improving vibration damping. Carbon bladed forks feature an alloy steerer tube while full carbon forks are 100% carbon composite.

Modern road bikes are designed for specific purposes and can be quite different in character. Some are designed for riding on uneven road surfaces and are more compliant while others are stiffer with a more aggressive riding position for speed and efficiency. Aero features enable the bike to slice through the air more efficiently. An endurance or sportive bike will have a slightly shorter top tube and longer head tube when compared to a road race bike. This gives a slightly more upright riding position than the tuck position you get on an aero race bike.

When choosing the best road bikes under £1,500 we considered the quality of the frame and fork, as well as component spec and the overall ride characteristics. All the road bikes in this review feature carbon fibre composite frames which, at this price point, tends to outperform the components giving you plenty of scope for future upgrades.

Cube Attain GTC

Giant Roam 2 Disc 2017


Quick look

Frame  GTC monocoque carbon

Fork  Carbon blades

Drivetrain  Shimano 105 2x11 speed

Wheels  Mavic Aksium Elite

Brakes  Shimano 105 calliper


Designed for long fast rides the Cube Attain GTC is quick, efficient and comfortable as well as being lightweight. Cube may not have the same race pedigree of some of the bikes mentioned here and don’t have a bike in the pro peloton, but this may be the reason why they can spec such a great bike at this price point.

The lightweight carbon fibre frame provides great torsional stiffness combined with vertical compliance which reduces fatigue on long rides. Cube achieve this with a twin mould process which allows them to control wall thickness for compliance where you want it and stiffness where you need it.

It is the full Shimano 105 11 speed groupset that makes the spec on the Agree GTC stand out. Often manufacturers will mix components, spec’ing higher end components where they are most visible and lower ones where they are more hidden. This is not the case with Cube and the Attain even has 105 brakes. Mavic Aksium Elite wheels are solid performers with a quality build, reliable running and weight comparable to others in this class.

This is a bike that will appeal to those who want endurance road characteristics and quality components at a very competitive price point.

High quality carbon frame with a component spec that is hard to beat at this price point..

Cannondale Synapse Carbon Tiagra 6

Cannondale Synapse Carbon Tiagra 6 2017


Quick look

Frame  BallisTec carbon

Fork BallisTec carbon blades

Drivetrain  Shimano Tiagra 2x10 speed

Wheels  Maddux rims Formula hubs

Brakes  Tektro dual pivot calliper


With its perfect balance between raw power and all-day ride-ability, the Cannondale Synapse Carbon 6 offers endurance geometry with road-smoothing comfort in a lightweight package. Race-proven at the highest level the Synapse offers speed and efficiency while keeping you comfortable in the saddle.

Cannondale’s BallisTec carbon offers all the usual composite frame benefits with improved impact resistance for long term dependability. The SAVE PLUS micro-suspension system features balanced compliance in the frame and fork which allows the wheels to track the ground over rough road surfaces including handling as well as comfort.

The Shimano Tiagra 2x10 speed drivetrain offers dependable shifting performance with a similar look to 11 speed 105.

The Synapse Carbon Tiagra 6 gives you world class frame performance with dependable components..

Giant Defy Advanced 3

Giant Defy Advanced 3 2017


Quick look

Frame  Advanced-Grade carbon composite

Fork Advanced-Grade carbon composite

Drivetrain  Shimano Tiagra 2x10 speed

Wheels  Giant SR2 Disc wheel set

Brakes  Shimano hydraulic discs


Giant’s popular endurance road bike, the Defy Advanced, offers an incredibly smooth ride and features hydraulic disc brakes as standard. The geometry of the Defy is ideal for long rides over challenging terrain and the impressive vertical compliance offered by the rear triangle and D-fuse seatpost helps to dissipate road vibrations. As well as making the ride much more comfortable this tends to reduce fatigue meaning that you can ride efficiently for longer.

Lateral stiffness isn’t compromised by this extra compliance and the Defy Advanced accelerates quickly when you put the hammer down. The tapered steerer on the carbon fork adds stiffness and helps to provide precise steering characteristics.

Disk brakes offer more stopping power than traditional calliper brakes and work reliably in all-weather conditions. Giant’s S-R2 wheels are disc specific and use DT Swiss technology - they are strong and competitive weight wise at this price point.

Incredibly smooth endurance racer for pounding out the miles all-year-round

Giant Propel Advanced 2

Giant Propel Advanced 2 2017


Quick look

Frame  Advanced-Grade carbon composite

Fork  Advanced-Grade carbon composite

Drivetrain  Shimano 105 2x11 speed

Wheels  Giant P-A2 Wheel Set

Brakes  Giant SpeedControl calliper



The ability to reduce aerodynamic drag is another great feature of Carbon composite frames and the Giant Propel does this particularly well. Extensive wind tunnel testing has resulted in a bike with impressive aero credentials.

All the tubes are shaped to reduce drag. This is most noticeable on the seat tube which has been drawn out to provide the best aero profile. The bike has been designed with real riding in mind and the down tube changes shape part way down to move the air efficiently around a standard round bottle - the rear bottle mount has been lowered so that it shares the same smooth air space as the front.

The brakes are a V-brake design - similar to those found on a mountain bike - as well as offering a stealthier profile they are actually more powerful than conventional calliper brakes. The front brake has also been hidden away behind the fork to further reduce drag.

The aero credentials continue to the P-A2 wheels which have a deep rim profile and bladed spokes which help to cut through the air. The 11 speed drivetrain is Shimano 105 combined with an RS500 chainset and the gear ratios are race oriented.

An aggressive race geometry marks the Propel out as the full-on racer that it is. The handling is precise and the bike is nimble without being twitchy. Designed to cut through the air with ease compliance is minimal but the carbon construction does reduce some road vibrations.

With its race-ready aero performance, the Propel is built to slice through the air so you can ride faster.

Specialized Tarmac SL4

Cannondale Quick CX 2 2017


Quick look

Frame  FACT 9r carbon

Fork  S-Works FACT full carbon

Drivetrain  Shimano 105 2x11 speed

Wheels  Axis Elite

Brakes  Shimano Tiagra calliper


The Specialized Tarmac SL4 is an all-round road race bike that is lightweight enough to fly up the climbs and stiff enough for finish line sprints. The FACT carbon frame and full S-Works FACT carbon fork are both the lightest and stiffest in this review and offer a superb platform for rapid cycling everywhere.

Rider First Engineering is a feature of all high performance Specialized bikes. Each and every frame size is tunes to offer the same level of performance for every rider so you get the same balance of stiffness, lightweight and compliance no matter how short or tall you are.

The Shimano 105 2x11 speed drivetrain is combined with a Praxis Alba semi-compact chainset which offers plenty of high gears so you can really put the hammer down. Axis Elite wheels offer dependable performance and are shod with fast rolling 23mm tyres.

Race proven at the very highest level the Specialized Tarmac has been ridden to victory in all three Grand Tours.