If you’re an intermediate-level rider looking for a new bike, you’re ready for better components, smoother performance and quality equipment that holds its own at faster speeds and on rougher terrain whether you’re racing, training or just getting to work on time.
Even if you don’t have a massive budget, you can still get a fantastic road bike that meets your ever-growing needs as your riding skills advance. Many models that cost less than $1000 offer impressive features that will help you ride farther and smarter.
If you’re not an intermediate rider, we recommend starting your journey with an entry-level bike that costs less than $500. As a beginner, you’re probably not sure of your commitment level yet, and you probably wouldn’t be able to fully appreciate the differences between entry-level and intermediate-level bikes.
- 1 7 Most Popular Road Bikes for the Money in 2017: Quick Comparison
- 2 Reviews of Top 7 Road Bikes Under 1000 Dollars
- 2.1 Vilano FORZA 4.0 Aluminum Integrated Shifters Road Bike
- 2.2 Vilano FORZA 3.0 Aluminum Carbon Shimano Sora Road Bike
- 2.3 Diamondback Bicycles 2016 Century Complete Road Bike With Disc Brakes
- 2.4 HASA R4 Road Bike Shimano 2400 24 Speed
- 2.5 Tommaso Imola Lightweight Aluminum Road Bike
- 2.6 Giordano Libero 1.6 Men’s Road Bike
- 2.7 Giordano Libero 2.0 Road Bike
- 3 Why Are These Bikes Great for Intermediate Riders?
- 4 Conclusion: Our Number One Pick for Best Road Bike Under $1000
7 Most Popular Road Bikes for the Money in 2017: Quick Comparison
Reviews of Top 7 Road Bikes Under 1000 Dollars
If you’re already past the training wheel stage and ready to level up, we can help you find your next ride. Here are our seven top picks for intermediate-level top road bikes under $1000.
Vilano FORZA 4.0 Aluminum Integrated Shifters Road Bike
- 24 speeds to handle any road situation
- Double-walled wheelset with CNC machined sides
- Shimano STI integrated brake lever shifters
- Durable, strong 6061 aluminum frame
- Comes with free pedals
The Vilano FORZA 4.0 stands out as one of the lowest-priced intermediate bikes on the market. It’s a great option for anyone who just crossed the line between novice and intermediate rider.
The durable aluminum frame is relatively lightweight, but it’s still a little too heavy for competitive sports riding. Its build is best suited for commuting and casual use.
The FORZA is not without flaws. Its smaller parts have a tendency to break, and the handlebar wraps come off easily. The plastic seat is acceptable for short rides, but it may become uncomfortable on longer trips. If you have a heavy body frame, you may want to replace it.
Unless you’ve never ridden an intermediate bike before, you probably won’t be too impressed with the shifting performance.
Overall, the FORZA 4.0 is popular because it offers great value for its class, and it’s extremely easy on the wallet.
Vilano FORZA 3.0 Aluminum Carbon Shimano Sora Road Bike
- 24 speeds
- Strong 6061 aluminum frame
- Shimano Sora derailleur
- 12k Carbon fiber racing fork
- Shimano STI shifters
- Includes free pedals, reflectors and wheel rod
An excellent choice for training and fitness, this Vilano model is a big hit with riders who have tight budgets but still want to impress their friends. If you want to make a small investment into a bike with the option of upgrading to better components later, it gives you the perfect opportunity.
The bike is attractive, and its frame is reliable, but unless you’re into unnecessary pain, you’ll probably want to replace the seat. Riding is smooth and easy; the carbon fork is considerably helpful on rougher terrain. Brake performance is good, but the tires are sub-par and go flat easily. The bike’s handlebars seem a bit large for its frame, but overall, it offers comfortable maneuverability even on long trips.
If you change out a few of its standard parts, the FORZA Shimano Sora road bike is a solid performer that will meet your needs as an intermediate rider until you’re ready to invest more.
Diamondback Bicycles 2016 Century Complete Road Bike With Disc Brakes
- 7005 Aluminum alloy frame
- Includes enhanced performance geometry to reduce rider fatigue
- DBR Podium Air-formed disc alloy fork
- Diamondback Equation double wall wheels
- Avid BB5R disc brakes
- Shimano FSA 2×9-speed drive train
- Wheel size: 700cm
The Century Complete is light, fast and aesthetically superior to many other models in its range. It offers a smooth, easy ride and great shifting while ascending, descending and handling winding or unpredictable roads. The disc brakes are reliable and responsive. This model is one of the top contenders to quality for the best road bike under $1000 list.
One drawback is that the bike is somewhat difficult to assemble, and the instructions aren’t particularly helpful. The front derailleur is especially stubborn. As with most intermediate-range bikes, you’ll probably want to exchange the seat for something more comfortable.
If you need to make major changes or adjustments, have a professional do the work. As an affordable casual bike for exercise, commuting and fun, this Diamondback gem is ideal.
HASA R4 Road Bike Shimano 2400 24 Speed
- 24 speed with Shimano ST-24 Shifters
- Lightweight Aluminum alloy frame
- TEKTRO R315 Alloy Brake Calipers
- CH CH-51 Cartridge Type Bottom Bracket
- Stainless Steel ED Black Spokes
- HASA Aluminum 6061 fork
The HASA R4 is a beautiful bike. It rides and responds well and shifts properly although not perfectly. If you’re seeking a bike that is mostly for casual use but could also handle a race or two, this bike is a satisfactory option. Opt to have a bike shop fine-tune it for the best results, especially if you’re going to use it for sports.
Overall, riders love its performance, but it’s not without a few cons. It doesn’t have a kickstand, and the pedal bar isn’t great. The seat is incredibly hard, and it only takes a mile or two to realize it. You may also find it difficult to keep the brake wires tight.
As an intermediate choice, it gives you a little more versatility than its peers, which explains its popularity among those who are exploring their competitive nature.
Tommaso Imola Lightweight Aluminum Road Bike
- Lightweight aluminum compact frame with SST steel frame
- Shimano Claris shifters and derailleurs
- Shimano Claris brakes
- Front triple crankset and 12×25 rear cassette
- Premium compact handlebars
- Lifetime frame and fork warranty
The Imola is a timeless favorite for its great performance. The newer models offer even more premium Shimano components and comfort features that make its ride superb. You can shift and brake without moving your hands, so it’s easier to focus on the road at higher speeds, and brake response is excellent.
In an intermediate role, this bike gives you solid quality with room for upgrades if you desire. Most components are excellent, but the quality of the Imola’s wheels is a bit lacking. Some riders notice a vertical wobble even after they are trued. The saddle is not a selling point either; some riders feel that it is a bit intrusive.
Professional assembly is required, so if you were looking forward to the thrill of putting your bike together, you’ll be disappointed. However, the great value and ride you get from your Imola will be well worth the sacrifice.
Giordano Libero 1.6 Men’s Road Bike
- Frame made from lightweight 6061 aluminum
- 16-speed Shimano STI shifters and rear derailleur
- 32-spoke alloy rims
- 1 1/8-inch threadless stem
- Dual mounts for water bottles
- Professional mechanic assembly recommended
Whether you’re riding daily to improve your fitness level or you’re planning a weekend in the mountains, this bike has got your back. The Giordano Libero is known for its consistently well-crafted frame and its great price, but the rest of the package is what makes it a winner.
Although it’s not the best bike for serious racing fanatics, you can expect well-rounded performance during casual use.
Some components are superior to those of similar bikes; these include the wheel rims, cranks, seat, kickstand and shifters.
A few riders do report problems with the brakes. The single-pulley brake levers may wiggle or rub against the rim. Both the brakes and the wheels may need some adjustment.
Overall, it’s a great value and delivers a smooth, comfortable ride.
Giordano Libero 2.0 Road Bike
- Hand-crafted from lightweight 6061 aluminum
- 18-speed complete Shimano Sora drive train
- Features carbon fiber fork
- Sporty design
- Professional assembly recommended
The second Giordano Libero in our list is the newly launched Libero 2.0. Although it hasn’t been on the market long, it has already earned a few loyal fans.
The model has an attractive, well-built frame. Although it’s a great choice for training, commuting and even racing, it probably wouldn’t stand up to heavy-duty, long-term sports use.
The bike’s most annoying flaws seem to be its tires and inner tubes, but these are replaceable elements and shouldn’t deter buyers who seek overall value. The brakes are reliable and quiet, but the kickstand rattles at times.
If you’re willing to put a few extra dollars into the Libero 2.0, you’ll have a great bike at a great price.
Why Are These Bikes Great for Intermediate Riders?
When you’re choosing a road bike, it’s important to match it to both your skill set and your needs. We chose the above road bikes with intermediate riders in mind. Here’s why.
Simple, functional and reliable bikes in the intermediate range give you more versatility than beginner’s models. If you’ve been riding an entry-level bike for a few years, you’re ready to see where else your adventures can take you.
Although you’ve learned the basics, as an intermediate rider, you probably don’t have the skills or experience to get the most from high-end or professional model bikes.
The extra cost might be a waste and an unnecessary drain on your budget. Besides, once you’re ready to upgrade to a high-end bike designed for serious racing and rough terrain, you’ll want to start fresh with a new one.
Frame material is another important factor. Most of the bikes on our list are aluminum-based. Aluminum offers strength and durability for less money, and it provides excellent power transfer and stiffness for better handling.
Switching to an ultra-light bike or one that is aerodynamically optimized for racing before you’ve acquired more experience could be awkward or even dangerous.
Riding an intermediate road bike gives you the opportunity to decide what you want and don’t want in a more expensive model before you make a huge investment. The affordable models on our list introduce you to new features without causing financial distress. When it’s time to buy a high-end bike, you’ll know exactly how to find the right one.
Our top picks also take user experiences into account. Intermediate riders are the best people to determine the pros and cons of these models, so their input is valuable.
Conclusion: Our Number One Pick for Best Road Bike Under $1000
Based on our research and analysis of the above listed road bikes, we’ve chosen the Vilano Forza 4.0 as our best choice for intermediate road bike costing less than $1000.
The Forza 4.0 meets all of our expectations for a bike in its class. Despite its more-than-reasonable price tag, it has high-quality integrated shifters and styling that rivals higher-priced options.
We feel that it’s the best choice for intermediate riders because it introduces the essential next-level features of intermediate models without overwhelming those who are just starting to acquire new riding and racing skills.
It’s a great upgrade for a minimal price, and it doesn’t require you to compromise on quality.