Use the sliders to select your target price range and bike frame sizes. Then click on "Search" and QBike will find you a selection of road bikes from the top online bike shops, from eBay, and from an assortment of classifieds sites.
Or, you can try some of the handy links below to quickly find your next road bike by price range or by selecting from the top bike manufacturers.
There are two main considerations in choosing a road bike: frame material and componentry. The frame material is a big contributing factor to ride quality as well as to cost. Similarly, you will often find significant price differences on otherwise equal road bikes based on the choice of components.
Bikes are generally made of one (or sometimes a combination) of these materials:
In general, bikes costing $1,000 and less will be made of aluminum. You can find a bike with a carbon fiber frame in the sub-$1,500 range if you look hard enough, but there are likely some tradeoffs involved. Titanium made frames - as well as other exotic materials like Scandium and even bamboo - sell as complete bikes for over $2,500 in almost all cases. There is a "sweet spot" right between $1,200 and $1,800 where, if you look around enough, you can usually find a great bike - solid frame, very good components - for a great price. Some websites have road bikes sale prices most of the year round, so there are good road bike buying deals to be found.
Litespeed Firenze - titanium road bike
The next thing to know about selecting a road bike is components. There are three main component manufacturers: Shimano, Campagnolo, and SRAM.
Choosing the components (or "grouppo") is important because you want shifters that feel right in your hands, that respond when you click them; you want brake levers that you can grip from multiple hand positions and that feel solid when they are bringing you to a fast stop; you want derailleurs that move the chain into gear smoothly without clunky shifting. Also, components wear over time - higher end components will last longer.
Shimano Dura Ace Group
Why are there such big price differences between component groups? The higher-priced components are machined as finely as possible to save weight; they use titanium screws and bolts in some cases; they are machined more precisely than lesser components. That is to say, what makes components better quality is better materials going into them, more time spent to machine them to exacting standards, and weight savings.
Road bike forks are made of carbon fiber, aluminum, or steel. But realistically, aluminum and steel forks have an effective resale value of $0. Any road bike you look at today should have a carbon fiber fork.
Finally, there are all the other bike parts to consider: saddle, seatpost, stem, handlebars, wheels, tires, and pedals. Most bike manufacturers buy bike kits in bulk in order to save on their bike builds. So it's typical to get a "family" of bike parts from Ritchey, Profile, or another top parts maker on a new road bike. The quality of parts certainly matters, but for the purpose of this buying guide, we won't get into too much detail here. Suffice to say that you will want a saddle that feels good, so you may want to do a little research on the saddle listed to see what others have said about it. Frequently, one swaps out the stem on a new road bike in order to get the right bike fit, so keep this in mind. Most new road bikes do not include pedals, but if yours does, that's a bonus.
Armed with the information above, and disregarding name brand (although it is certainly important), here is a rough guideline for pricing road bikes (assuming very good to excellent quality):
As you can see, it is much easier to gauge prices for aluminum and steel than it is for carbon fiber and TI. Prices vary widely for the more exotic materials.