The 10 Best Road Bikes Under $300 in 2018 (Affordable Road Bikes for Entry Label Riders)
Whether it’s for their own health, environmental concerns, money-saving measures, or simply to find a hobby, many adults are turning to an old pastime for health and happiness—cycling.
H.G. Wells once said, “Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the human race.” He would be happy to know that cycling is still providing people with exercise, transportation, fresh air, and passion for a sport that can take someone as far as they are willing to go.
For those who are interested in cycling, but are not sure if it’s a good investment of their money, there’s good news—there are now many affordable and well-built road bikes that cost under $300. These are for both beginning bikers and experienced cyclists who want a cheaper road bike for everyday commuting use or leisure road riding.
We researched 10 affordable road bikes that are popular amongst owners and compiled a list of their features, advantages, and disadvantages to help you decide which one would be the best fit for you.
After thorough consideration, we have decided that the Merax Finiss Aluminum Road Bike is the best choice in this bunch. It is an affordable road bike with all the style of a more expensive bike. Its paint job is beautiful, it comes in two sizes to ensure a perfect fit for anyone, and many reviewers commented on how well it rode. The 21 gear options are a popular choice for both professionals and commuters alike.
Best Entry Level Road Bikes Under $300
Merax Finiss Aluminum Road Bike
Vilano R2 Commuter Aluminum Road Bike
Schwinn Volare 1400 Road Bike
EUROBIKE Road Bike
Goplus Road Bike
Vilano Shadow 2.0 Road Bike
GMC Denali Road Bike
Schwinn Men's Volare 1200 Bike
Takara Kabuto Single Speed Road Bike
Raleigh Bikes Rush Hour Fixed Gear City Bike
Footnote: In this list, We have picked all 10 great road bikes with the price range $200 to $300. However, the price may change a bit depending on the vendor’s wishes at any time. Please make sure to check the availability, sizing options and the delivery schedules before ordering.
1. MeraxFiniss Aluminum 21 Speed 700C Road Bike Racing Bicycle
From Merax comes a road bike ready for commuting or weekend hobby riding. It features a 6061 aluminum frame for lightness and strength and a saddle that's easy to set up and adjust. It has Shimano shifters, a quick release front wheel, and a water bottle holder included.
It arrives almost completely assembled with a few attachments to do before it’s ready to ride. It weighs 28 lbs. and comes in two sizes.
Reviewers noted that it is well-made considering the price and is very sharp looking. Others said that the brakes are a bit sensitive in the beginning, but that a bike shop could adjust them to fit the rider’s needs. The handlebars are not height adjustable, though, which could be uncomfortable depending on the rider.
This bike comes reviewed and recommended by both novice and experienced cyclists who say this would be a great purchase for someone needing a commuter bike or the beginner hobby cyclist looking to put in some miles on a reliable bike for years to come.
2. Vilano R2 Commuter Aluminum Road Bike Shimano 21 Speed 700c
The Vilano R2 Commuter bike is another relatively cheap road bike that packs a big punch.
It features 6061 double-butted aluminum frame for as light of weight as possible with all of the strength that comes with aluminum. The bike has Shimano thumb shifters for 21 speeds, quick release wheels, and comes with pedals included (not always the case for road bikes). It is available in three sizes and weighs about 30 lbs.
Reviewers liked the smoothness of the thumb shifters but had trouble with the freewheel design and subsequently broken axles.
Many said that the seat and tires would need upgrading for maximum comfort and speed.
The Vilano R2 Commuter bike lives up to its name as a great choice for those wanting a sturdy bike that they can ride for miles comfortably and then have peace of mind about leaving chained outside their home or office. Many liked the thumb shifters and preferred them to other shifting mechanisms on other bikes.
3. Schwinn Volare 1400 Road Bike
A well-known name in the biking world, Schwinn offers the Volare 1400, a 14-speed road bike with Shimano shifter, aluminum frame, and quick release tires. It weighs a light 23 lbs. and, like all Schwinn bikes, comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
With its alloy linear pull brakes, braking will not be an issue. It is also built for speed, given its light weight and oversized road tires.
Reviewers have commented on how easy it is to assemble, but noted that the brakes need some work—they are touchy and inconsistent. The seat included may also leave marks on your pants.
Overall, it’s a great frame for an affordable road bike, and many users happily use it for leisure riding and commuting.
With its light frame weight, its limited lifetime warranty, and sharp appearance, the Schwinn is a great choice for novice and experienced cyclists alike, as long as the one size offered fits the rider.
4. EUROBIKE Road Bike
Coming with 21 speeds and two sizes, this EUROBIKE Road Bike is made of durable steel and weighs 31.5 lbs. It features 700c x 28mm tires, which many users said offer them a bit more traction on sand or dirt.
Its Dual Disc brake ensures it stops when you want it to stop, while the wheel's design gives it a more stylish look than other road bikes. It comes with a free pedal and seat, too.
Reviewers mentioned that the customer service department does a wonderful job addressing missing or damaged parts and getting them to the owner right away. Others said that the instructions for the bike are difficult to read and navigate and that they went to a bike shop to have the bike assembled.
The tube size can be hard to find, according to some users, and requires a special buy to find one that fits.
The EUROBIKE Road Bike is a great choice for a road bike that can handle a little bit of rough terrain on commutes or while riding for pleasure due to its wider tire size than the typical road bike. However, this can also be a challenge when it comes to repairs, as it may be hard to find a tire tube in its size.
5. Goplus Road Bike Commuter Bike
The Goplus Road Bike is an aluminum bike that comes in five fun color choices to match your preferences and personality. It features a Shimano 21 speed shifter, high-performance 700C tires, and weighs about 32 lbs. It comes in one size (52 cm).
Its strong but lightweight aluminum frame makes it easy to increase your speed. It is easy to install and disassemble, too, with a quick-release front tire that makes storing it quick and easy.
Reviewers noted that the bike arrived with damaged parts in some circumstances, but that the seller was very responsive and eager to send the correct parts for repairs.
For the average cyclist, the Goplus would make a great, colorful choice for an everyday commuter bike or hobby road bike for a new rider. It offers many of the important aspects of a road bike at an affordable price.
6. Vilano Shadow 2.0 Road Bike
Another inexpensive Vilano road bike, the Shadow 2.0 features 14 speeds with a Shimano A070 STI Integrated Brake Lever that provides shifting and braking in one unit. The frame is made of lightweight 6061 aluminum and comes in two sizes. The bike weighs only 25 lbs.
This entry-level road bike is great for commuting, interval training, and even hill riding. It comes with free pedals, something that not all affordable road bikes provide. It is easy to assemble, too.
Several reviewers had broken or missing parts when receiving this bike, but received great response from the Vilano customer service people. Others noted that the seat will need to be replaced and that the stem may need lengthening or shortening based on your comfort level.
While a learning curve, many cyclists find they learn to love the integrated bike lever that the Shadow 2.0 offers, making it a great choice for many riders. Its lightweight and great customer service are perks to an already sturdy bike.
7. GMC Denali Road Bike
Not to be confused with the car, the GMC Denali road bike comes in four sizes to ensure you find the perfect fit your height. Its 6061 aluminum frame is equipped with 700c x 32mm tires for a great on- or off-road ride. It comes with a water bottle holder and weighs about 30 lbs.
This bike is great for both racing or commuting. Its powerful brakes ensure you stop the moment you want it to stop, and the Vitesse racing rims are not only high-performance, they look great, too.
Assembly ease varied amongst reviewers, with many claiming it was simple while others said that they ended up having a bike shop do the assembly.
Others noted that the dial shifter can be hard for beginners to get used to and that the brakes may need professional adjusting before riding.
With four sizes to ensure a perfect fit, wider wheels for many types of terrain and dial shifters for learned shifting and control, the GMC Denali Road Bike can be great for both transportation and recreation for many years to come.
8. Schwinn Men's Volare 1200 Bike, 700c
Another Schwinn model, the Volare 1200 Bike comes in one size, has 21 speeds, and features Shimano EZ Fire shifters that make riding easy, safe, and enjoyable. Its frame is aluminum and weighs a light 26 lbs. As with all Schwinn bikes, it comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
Being lightweight and fast, this bike is not only good for city riding but great as well for athletic training.
Users noted that the paint job is excellent—no stickers and that the brakes are very good for a bike of its price. The handlebars are not height adjustable, though, and some reviewers suggested that the freewheel design, seat, and handlebar grips may need upgrading.
The Volare 1200 is a road bike with a good frame that can be added to an upgraded but is also a great ride as it is. The limited lifetime warranty that Schwinn offers is enough to make this a top contender for a bike that can take many miles of wear and tear on the road.
9. Takara Kabuto Single Speed Road Bike
One of two single-speed road bikes featured in this article, the Takara Kabuto comes in three sizes. It has a steel frame which will hold up under frequent use.
It features 700c x 32mm tires which can handle the smooth, open road and also any rugged terrain. It weighs 30 lbs. which is to be expected with the steel frame and the durability it offers.
It has both freewheel and fixed gear capabilities, depending on your preference. It comes in three fun color combinations, too, so you can choose one that best fits your personality.
Some reviewers noted that it has 18 tooth freewheel and not the 16 tooth as stated in the description. Others suggested replacing the seat for added comfort during use.
If interested in single-speed road bikes, the Takara Kabuto would be a great choice to try. With proper maintenance and a knowledge of possible improvements to add, it will last a long time and provide a great ride for any commuter or leisure rider.
10. Raleigh Bikes Rush Hour Fixed Gear City Bike
Another bike in the fixed gear bike category, the Raleigh Bikes Rush Hour City Bike is a fun bike that comes in four sizes, so you can choose one that best fits your height. It weighs a light 24.5 lbs. and offers a more aggressive height handlebar, great for those wanting to get low and ride fast.
The frame is well-constructed and sturdy, with a good paint job consisting of multiple layers of color beneath the glossy finish.
While the seat is slightly cushioned, it would be more comfortable to upgrade it if you are planning on going on hour-long rides. The free pedals are made of cast aluminum, so you might want to consider upgrading them, too.
While users raved about the beautiful paint job, they point out that the paint rubs off the rim when braking.
Both beautiful and functional, the Raleigh Bikes Rush House Fixed Gear City Bike looks like a great bike for those wanting speed and style. It’s ready to use after minimal assembly and can get you where you want to go or take you on fun, leisure rides for relaxation.
What to Look for When Buying a Road Bike Under $300
When it comes to road bikes, a lightweight frame is essential. The goal is speed and ease when pedaling, as opposed to the shock absorption and traction you might want in a mountain bike. As there is a variety of heights and styles to choose from, make sure to choose one that best fits you.
You would also want a composite (carbon fiber) front fork for shock absorption as it will help with smoothness when you do encounter rougher road terrain. Many road bikes also feature large, skinny tires for speed and momentum.
When it comes to handlebars, a drop or curled handlebar is preferred by most users. Some road bikes do come with a straight handlebar, but they are usually associated with mountain bikes.
Road bikes are best for those interested in commuting and fitness because of their speed and lightweight. They are intended for smooth, paved surfaces, although some bikes do offer wider wheels that can handle some light sand or dirt terrain.
These bikes can definitely be used in day-to-day life as a vehicle replacement, but cannot carry heavy loads. The rider’s backpack and the personal items in it are about all these types of bikes will be able to handle.
Road bikes come in different frames. The following is a brief description of each:
Sport (recreational) Geometry is the most popular setup in a road bike for part-time cyclists who want to ride up to 150 miles a week and participate in a few events a year. These bikes feature a more upright riding position and more relaxed steering than a performance bike.
Performance (race) geometry is for the serious cyclist. They require a longer and more stretched out form for the rider, improving their speed with aerodynamics. However, this posture could be tiring for newer riders or those using their bikes for commuting.
These bikes are usually very sensitive to steer, will feature pricier and well-made parts, and will be the most expensive of the road bikes.
The flat bar road bikes are the most popular for commuters, as the handlebar position lends itself to a more upright posture which works well for looking at the surroundings (like traffic). These bikes will still be sensitive to steering compared to other types of bikes, but their components will be on the lower end, price-wise.
These bikes are a great choice for those who want an easy-to-use bike without the unnecessary features of a competitive, performance-style bike.
Road bikes also come in different materials, each one with its own advantages and disadvantages.
Aluminum frames are lighter than steel and less expensive than carbon fiber. They won’t oxidize like steel, so they are more suited for use in humid climates.
Aluminum isn’t necessarily a great material for shock absorption, so many aluminum bikes will have a carbon fiber front fork to absorb some of the vibrations of the road.
Carbon fiber bikes are more expensive than aluminum but will absorb more vibrations and provide a more comfortable ride. These bikes will be pricier but worth the expense for someone who wants as a light of a bike as possible while still having a solid, comfortable ride.
Titanium offers the strength of steel but is the lightest weight material—and also the priciest. If you’re a heavier rider, you’ll want to consider a steel or titanium bike for maximum strength and longevity.
Wheels will affect the weight of the bike, how well the bike accelerates and carries momentum and the traction it has over varying surfaces.
Most bikes come with their own wheelsets, but experienced cyclists will say that investing in a wheelset upgrade will improve your biking experience tremendously.
Wider tires will provide more traction when riding over rougher road terrain but will weigh more and be harder to get started and maintain momentum. Thinner tires, on the other hand, will perform better on the open road and greatly increase speed and reduce the user’s fatigue.
It’s not uncommon for road bikes to be sold without pedals—many manufacturers assume that experienced road bike users will have their own set of pedals that they prefer. Here are some pedals you can buy or upgrade your bike with.
Platform bike pedals are the most common pedals associated with bikes. They offer treads for shoes to grip onto while in use. There is no obstacle in removing the foot from these pedals, as in other types of pedals, which can be helpful for newer riders or those worried about crashing.
Pedal toe clips and straps allow the user to not only pedal down into the stroke but also pull up on the pedal. They feature a toe “cage” with a strap that goes around the ball of your foot.
Clipless bike pedals actually do “clip in” to the pedals in a similar way to skis and ski boots. They feature all of the benefits of the pedal toe clips, with the flexibility of being able to remove your foot quicker and easier. In fact, clipless bike pedals will actually release in the event of a crash.
The 3-hole design is more popular for road bikers and weight distribution, but many new users find it helpful to start with the mountain biking style with 2-holes.
One of the biggest helps to your road bike’s braking system is to use high-quality tires that aren’t overinflated. Here are some kinds of brakes your bike may come with.
Caliper brakes are the most common, with the dual pivot brake being the most popular. It comprises two “arms” mounted on the central pivot mounting bolt.
V-brakes are gradually finding their way onto commuter and touring bikes after being primarily on mountain bikes for many years. They are mounted onto bosses on the frame and offer great stopping power and some advantages for off-road use.
Cantilever brakes are each mounted to a boss on the frame, and use a center pull cable linked to a straddle cable which is connected to the two brake legs. They are lightweight and offer more moderate braking power, which is enough for certain racing-friendly environments.
Disc brakes, on the other hand, are becoming more popular amongst road and commuter bikers. The brake disc is mounted to a specific hub and a brake caliper attaches to the fork. These types of brakes are excellent in wet conditions, as the braking is not happening on a wet rim, but instead on a disc rotor.
There is no better day than today to start getting out on the open road on two wheels, and now with the various affordable and well-made road bike options available, it’s easier than ever. A bike can provide health, energy, an environmentally-friendly means of transportation, a community, and a hobby to be enjoyed for many years to come.
Many cyclists claim the open road can become addicting, in the best of ways. With all of the affordable road bike options available on the market, it’s also something the whole family can afford to enjoy together.
The most important aspect of a road bike is that it has a durable and strong frame because a road bike can be personalized and upgraded to meet each user’s individual needs and wants.
There are many experienced cyclists who highly recommend the bikes in this article and will say that it’s not about having the most expensive equipment to start to enjoy biking, it’s about being willing to get out there and fall in love with the ride.
There’s a reason they say that when something comes back easily to you, it’s like “riding a bike.” A bike is a portal to a new world for many children, and plenty of adults are finding the same magic happens when they get back on two wheels and just start to ride.