Spending up to $2000 on a road bike is a big commitment. It shouldn’t just be an impulse buy some sunny weekend. A little bit of research will make sure that you buy the perfect bike for your budget.
You don’t want to spend $2000 and realize that you’ve made a mistake. That is why we’re bringing you a guide to the 13 best $2000 road bikes available in 2020.
Race or endurance
One of the first questions you should ask yourself is do you want a race bike or an endurance/sportive model. Race bikes are honed for speed, and endurance bikes are honed for comfort. You might think you want the fastest bike, but if you can’t get comfortable on it, you’ll never ride it or be fast on it.
That leads to the next important point for buying a road bike. Buy one that fits correctly. You’ll spend extended periods in the same position on a road bike. If your bike is too big, you’ll overstretch yourself and can even do long term damage to your body.
If a bike is reduced from $5000 to $2000 and might be a smidge too big for you, it is not a bargain. The $2000 bike that is $2000 and fits you is the bargain.
Should I buy based on the spec sheet?
Manufacturers have felt that many of us will buy bikes based on spec sheets. They will list a 105 groupset but might drop 105 brakes for a no-name brake in the hope that you don’t notice. So if you’re going to go and buy a spec sheet make sure you check it properly.
For instance, does the carbon fiber fork have an alloy steerer or is it a full carbon fork? The full carbon will be lighter and more expensive, so you might not be getting that. Does the frame tell you what type of aluminum or carbon fiber it is constructed from and can you tell the difference between the different types?
Spec sheets also don’t tell us how the bike looks. You might be looking at two bikes with identical prices, and one has a higher groupset but is in a color you don’t like. I’d buy the one in the color you like. That way you’ll enjoy riding your bike and actually want to go out and ride it.
What we are saying here is don’t get too stuck on a spec sheet and if you want to go for function over fashion make sure there are no hidden surprises in the spec sheet.
Editor’s note: This post has been updated in January, 2021. Unfortunately, many bikes on the list are no longer available. We’ll keep looking for alternatives and updating the list.
Cannondale 2021 Synapse Alloy 105
The Cannondale 2021 Synapse Alloy 105 is light, stiff, fast and comfortable. For longer rides, in particular, it’s superb. Built for endurance, it’s race geometry brings you forward enough for speed but upright enough for lengthy cycling stints.
The Synapse also comes with SAVE micro-suspension technology in the frame and fork to lower the impact of bumps on the road. It has full carbon forks with internal routing, a SmartForme C2 Alloy frame with internal cable routing, and an 11-speed Shimano 105 groupset.
The Cannondale Synapse is pretty lightweight, despite the alloy frame, making it quick enough for climbing, but also very stiff for sprinting, thanks to its asymmetric design. Its refined tube shapes and dialed carbon layup give it a faster and more responsive feel.
Cannondale CAAD13 105 (instead of CAAD12 105)
Update: We used to recommend the CAAD12 but, as it’s no longer available, it’s time to replace it with CAAD13.
While keeping the best parts from the old model the new one benefits from aero features, extra versatility and increased comfort. Below is the previous description of CAAD12.
One of the big arguments around $2000 bikes is do you want low-end carbon fiber or high-end aluminum. Cannondale has tried to end the debate by releasing one of the best aluminum bikes ever at our review price point.
Some people might feel that they have been shortchanged by an aluminum bike at the price of the CAAD 12, but the second you press the pedals on this bike their opinion will be changed. The CAAD 12 flies.
It’s razor-sharp handling only matches the speed that the CAAD 12 generates. Its all about performance. The CAAD 13 is a great bike if you want to smash Strava KOMs or outsprint people on the local chain gang.
The CAAD 12 almost comes with a full Shimano 105 groupset but ditches the 105 chainset. Instead, you get Cannondale’s own SI crank. The change here is not a downgrade. The SI crank with a 30mm spindle is super stiff and adds to the speed of the CAAD 12.
It is not all about performance though as Cannondale have used their SPEED SAVE system. The SPEED SAVE system is a flattened profile for the seta and chain stays on the frame.
The profile helps to absorb some of the road chatter. The system is topped up with a 25.4mm seat post. The seat post flexes just enough to remove what is left of the chatter.
2021 Masi Vincere 105
While they share the same frame construction and geometry, the Masi Vincere 105 gets a few key upgrades compared to its less expensive sibling, the Vincere Tiagra.
Drivetrain duties are handled by Shimano’s 105 2×11 groupset, and braking performance is upped a notch to the improved power and modulation offered by hydraulic systems (also Shimano 105).
The paintwork is slightly more colorful, with a light blue with black gradient accents. Both bikes share the same wheels and tires, but the Vincere 105 gets a carbon seatpost, which makes for a more compliant ride.
2021 Orbea Avant H40-D
The 2021 Orbea Avant H40-D features an alloy frame and carbon fiber fork with an endurance-focused geometry with generous tire clearance up to 35mm (factory spec tires are the basic yet reliable Vittoria Zaffiro wire bead 700Cx28mm).
This affordable model from Orbea offers mounts for mudguards and fenders, which makes it possible to pull double-duty as an efficient, fast and practical commuter. The Shimano Tiagra 2×10 drivetrain offers reliable performance while keeping the cost down, and the Sunrace 11-34 cassette, coupled with the 34/50t crankset, provides a substantially low-end gear ratio to conquer the steepest of hills.
The Avant H40-D also offers a very neat integrated cable routing system not commonly seen on similar bikes at this price point. It is worth noting that Orbea’s paintwork, with a classy dark silver finish on the 2021 Avant H40-D, is peerless within this segment of entry level road bikes.
2021 Cinelli Veltrix Caliper 105
The 2021 Veltrix Caliper offers a very attractive package for road cyclists looking for a stylish and fast bike with a solid component spec at a relatively accessible price point.
Both frame and fork feature a Columbus Carbon Monocoque construction, and the paintwork is a playful blue with subtle pink striping.
Geometry is optimized for endurance road riding and offers versatility for a variety of riding or racing scenarios. Gearing is provided by Shimano 105 2×11, and Cinelli opts for classic rim brakes handled by a pair of Miche Performance calipers which provide stopping power by biting on the Vision Team 30 rims, which are wrapped in a pair of Impac RacePac 28mm tires.
While the Veltrix Caliper comes with a mechanical groupset, it is future proofed by being ready to accept electronic groupsets should you consider a future upgrade to Shimano DI2 or Campagnolo EPS.
SAVADECK Phantom 2.0
The Savadeck Phantom 2.0 is a gorgeous looking carbon road bike. It only weighs 7.8kg and features some fantastic components. The Shimano Ultegra 8000 groupset is one of the best you will find on a road bike of this price.
This system sits below the Shimano Dura-Ace groupset but performs pretty much identically, thanks to its high-quality components. The Ultegra 8000 groupset provides seamless and reliable shifting through its 2X11 drivetrain.
This wide range of gears is excellent for people that love fast road riding and want to climb easily.
When it comes to staying in control, the powerful rim brakes instill confidence for charging down long descents.
The carbon frame is aerodynamically designed in a wind tunnel to make you as slippery through the air as possible. This frame is also super stiff, providing excellent power transfer to the rear wheel and responsive handling.
Combining this frame and groupset gives you an excellent road bike suitable for fast riding and racing. Therefore, this superb road bike is ideal for riders starting to get serious about their cycling, especially if you want to start entering races.
Trek Emonda ALR 4 Disc
This bike is a great pick in 2020 at a very affordable price point. It sells for approximately $1,600 and is packed to the max with features. Some of the notable features are the hydraulic disc brakes, commonly found on bikes that cost twice as much.
With its modern and understated black paint scheme, people will think that this bike must have cost you thousands. Only you will know what a great deal this bike was.
The Emonda has a quality drivetrain with Shimano Tiagra parts, so you can be sure that as you advance as a cyclist this bike will not be holding you back.
Due to the disc brakes, you can fit wider tires on here than you’d normally be able to with rim brakes, which makes it an exceptionally versatile bike well-suited to a variety of riders.
FELT FR5 Disc Bike
Felt’s FR5 Disc Brake road bike, which is part of the FR performance bike series, presents exceptional value for tackling climbs, corners and descents. It’s got the same tubes and shapes as other carbon models in the series, making it a versatile bike for performance, pace and reliability.
It’s lightweight Felt Race Road UHC Performance carbon fiber frame makes this bike particularly excel on climbs. Plus, the addition of disc brakes vastly improves braking performance, meaning more stopping power and control on fast descents.
The FR5 features external mechanical or internal electronic cable routing, the 11-speed Shimano 105 R7000 groupset, and Shimano 105 BR-R7070 hydraulic disc brakes.
It’s also tubeless compatible and has 19mm inner width rims with 23mm depth. With superb reliability and a fast geometry, the Felt FR5 is an excellent value all-rounder for such a lightweight bike.
Vitus Zenium CR / CRW Road Bike
Carrying on our theme of road bikes running Shimano 105 we have the Vitus Zenium CR Carbon (or CRW for the ladies). Vitus is the in-house brand of one of the biggest cycling shops in the world. They have used their massive buying power to bring you a fully equipped race bike at a price your bank manager will love.
As you may have guessed the Zenium is the first model in our reviews to be made from carbon fiber. It is a remarkable feature at the price point of the Zenium, especially when you realize that the bike also comes with hydraulic disc brakes. There is also no deviation from the groupset here, and you get genuine Shimano 105 brakes.
The hydraulic brakes work well with the Vittoria Zaffiro 28c tires to slow you down. Wider tires at a lower pressure allow you to make disc brakes work the way they should. You’ll not lock up but have smooth and controlled braking that is very powerful at the same time.
The frame and fork on the Vitus are constructed using Toray T700 carbon fiber cloth. Toray is the leading manufacturer of carbon fiber in the world and used by many of the biggest brands. The quality on offer with the Vitus brings you a bike that rides well out of its price point and even puts some superbikes to shame.
Trek Checkpoint ALR 5
The Checkpoint ALR 5 is an awesome value for a gravel-oriented road bike. You know that this bike will be able to handle anything you throw at it, whether that’s gravel miles, rugged trails, or just nice and smooth tarmac. It features tons of tire clearance so you can fit whatever tire you’d like on the bike to suit your riding style (up to 45c!).
It also has extra mounts throughout the frame for attaching a variety of different things like a rack or fenders so that you will be prepared on the adventure that will most certainly ensue when you hop on this trusty steed.
The flat mount disc brakes will give you the confidence to hit that sweet descent you stumble upon during your adventures. The Checkpoint ALR 5 comes in three colors, most notably a beautiful gold that really looks great. It has an 11-speed Shimano drivetrain, and a carbon fork to make every ride a comfortable one.
Orbea Orca M40 (unavailable)
The Orbea Orca M40 is the cheapest way into the Orbea Orca family. The Orca frameset is famous for being light and being race ready. That is why the Orbea comes with a Shimano Tiagra groupset. A groupset that is one rung lower on the Shimano hierarchy than the other bikes we have seen.
The Orca is one of those framesets that has benefitted from the trickle down in high-end tech. It is designed around performance. You’ll find a wide, non-flexing bottom bracket shell and this is attached to asymmetric chainstays that can only be described as industrial looking. All of your precious watts will be getting directed to the back of the bike.
The seat stays are also more muscular than we see on a lot of bikes. They do have a small concession to compliance, and you’ll see they narrow towards their junction with the top tube. Their connection is dropped a little bit to allow your seatpost to have some flex, a small bit of comfort.
As the bike is focused on racing, you’ll find that it has an extremely short rear end, making for a smaller wheelbase. Orbea has designed the bike so it’ll react fast and dive around corners and you won’t be able to shut off when you ride it. The Orca will be most rewarding when you have put your foot down and are hammering along roads.
Cervelo P2 105 R7000 Road Bike (unavailable)
The Cervelo P2 105 R7000 is designed for aerodynamic speed. Essentially, it’s a racing bike. The steeper seat tube angle helps you get into an aero position to reduce drag.
The Cervelo P2’s focus is on aerodynamic performance, usability, and ride quality – what you’d expect from a premium racing bike manufacturer. Every aspect of the bike is built to be aerodynamic. From the head tube and fork being as small as possible to the TrueAero tube.
From a usability point of view, in addition to the standard water bottle mounts, there is an extra mount on the top tube behind the stem for another bottle carrier – particularly useful if in race position (during a triathlon or race).
The P2’s stem is stiff for speed, with a great stiffness to weight ratio that’s designed to promote more powerful pedalling. The bike is powered by a Shimano 105 groupset, and the P2’s fork is made using lower modulus carbon fibers to help cut down on cost. It’s race-ready without breaking the bank.
Pinarello Gan 105 Road Bike (unavailable)
The Pinarello Gan 105 is a part of the premium Pinarello range, known for performance and aesthetics. The Gan 105 is at the entry-level end of the Pinarello range, but still has an incredible racing performance.
It’s made with premium materials with a stiff frame, powered by Shimano’s new 105 R7000 groupset. That makes it a great option for keen racers and recreational cyclists alike, especially for the price.
Instead of Pinarello’s iconic Dogma F10’s T11001K carbon fiber frame, the Gan uses T600. The difference is a small weight gain, but it really is minimal.
The Gan shares many of the same features and designs as the Dogma, giving it a really elite feel. The Gan uses a FlatBack tube shaping, which helps to reduce drag, and comes with seamlessly integrated internal routing for mechanical and electronic drivetrains. Plus, race geometry helps in sprints and climbing. Essentially, the Gan 105 is an elite bike at an affordable price.
Bianchi Impulso 105 (unavailable)
The Bianchi Impulso 105 is the second aluminum bike in our bike reviews. The Bianchi and the Cannondale are both at similar price points, but the Cannondale is a racier prospect. The Bianchi Impulso is part of Bianchi’s endurance and sportive collection.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Impulso is that it come in the all-important Bianchi Celeste colorway. The second thing you’ll see is the hydroforming of the tube shapes; this is to bring comfort for those long days in the saddle.
Similar to the Cannondale, Bianchi has also used profiling for their seat stays. Ultra Thin Seat Stay technology (UTSS) is the Bianchi method for eliminating road chatter. The stays here are thing enough that they can flex and help dissipate road chatter as you ride along the road.
Bianchi has also thought about the front end and the carbon fiber fork, it is not full carbon as it has an aluminum steerer, has their K-VID technology. The Kevlar Vibration Isolation Device is Kevlar inserts that are woven into the carbon of the fork. They work to stop road vibrations traveling up to reach you.
The Felt FR5 is the first bike in Felt’s carbon fiber range. It is entry level only in title. The FR range of bikes have taken several pro riders to Grand Tour stage wins so you’ll have no excuses for not setting Strava KOMs on the FR.
The FR5 though uses a lower grade of carbon fiber than you’ll find on the top of the range of bike. The carbon fiber is still layed up using Felt’s MMC and InsideOut techniques. These techniques result in less resin being used in the construction of the FR5 frame. Less resin means less weight.
The other good news is that you still get the same geometry as the top of the line bikes. You’ll get a bike that is tuned for racing. The rear wheel is tucked in nice and tight to back of the bike. The front end will react to any steering input you give it.
The bike will reward you whenever you dive through corners or when you jump out of the saddle and stamp on the pedals. You’ll win all the local sprints for street signs.
Like most of the other bikes in our review, you’ll find the ever dependable Shimano 105 used on this bike. The newer R7000 105 is bringing the gap to Ultegra ever smaller. The performance you can get from well set up 105 is phenomenal for the price of it.
TCR Advanced 2 (unavailable)
Towards the top of the budget range, the TCR Advanced 2 is a premium-feel road bike. It’s made with an advanced-grade composite carbon frame, helping to reduce the road bike weight without compromising speed and stiffness.
The bike also features an OverDrive steerer system and MegaDrive downtube, which are designed for better handling through corners. A Variant Seatpost promotes efficiency and compliance to boost endurance on the longer rides.
Additionally, it comes with the reliability and impressive performance associated with the Shimano 105 groupset, and tubeless tires from the off.
- Advanced-grade composite road bike
- Shimano 105 drivetrain
- Tubeless tires right out of the box
Specialized Tarmac Disc
If you’re looking to pound the pavement and rack up the miles, then the Specialized Tarmac Disc is the bike for you. As you may have guessed from the name, this bike has disc brakes, which blow rim brakes out of the water when it comes to performance, especially if you are on a wet ride.
This bike features a 10-speed Shimano drivetrain, with Tiagra components; this bike will advance with you and won’t leave you wishing you had gotten more bike for your money. At only $2,000 it’s a real steal, and you would be hard-pressed to find a better value for a purely road-oriented bike.
The bike comes in two color schemes- “satin carbon and summer blue” or “gloss red and metallic white silver”. Whichever one you choose, people are definitely going to take notice as you zoom past them and get those KOMs.
Why no pedals?
At the $2000 price point, manufacturers think you’ll have a pedal preference for your bike. They then worry that if they supply the wrong pedals, you might be put off the bike. It’s then easier to supply the bike with no pedals and allow you to make your own choice.
Look Kéo 2 Max
Look is the original clipless pedal manufacturer and still the preferred choice for many people around the world. The reason they are one of the best selling is that they feel really stable and are pretty simple to use. They are a great pedal to start your clipless pedal voyage using.
Look is marketing the Kéo 2 pedals at sportive style riders. Whereas if you want to race, they have a Kéo Blade pedal. The main advantage the Kéo 2 has is that it is more adjustable than the Blade. You can easily adjust the tension on the Kéo 2. The tension sets how easy it is to remove your foot from the pedal.
One of the mistakes many people make when they are learning to use clipless pedals is to reduce the tension. What you’ll find is you’ll manage to unclip at the most inopportune moments, such as when your climbing. Try and stick to a decent amount of tension.
Shimano 105 PD-R7000
Shimano has dominated the mountain bike clipless market, and you can find their pedals on bikes of all varieties. With the bikes in our review mostly featuring 105 it might suit those of us with OCD tendencies to match all of our parts.
The best thing about the 105 pedals is that they have a really wide body. It almost feels like they are cradling your foot. The wider body means that your energy is being more evenly distributed across the pedal, making for a smoother pedal stroke.
The wider body also means that the bearings inside the pedal body are further apart. By having them placed further apart, they will be under less stress. Lowering the stress on the bearings means they will last longer and feel smoother for a longer period.
If you purely go on a spec sheet and price list, then the Vitus Zenium CRW is the bike to buy in our review. That though is only part of the story. The Cannondale CAAD12 might seem a lesser choice compared to the Zenium, but if you’re after pure performance, the CAAD12 might be a better choice.
If you are planning an upgrade project, then the Orbea Orca will be a great choice with a lovely high-end frame. The Bianchi Impulso will be a good choice for those of us that want to get in long miles and do so comfortably.
Featured image source: Pixabay
I’ve spent way more time in the bike trade than anyone should reasonably want to. In that time I’ve wanted to make cycling jargon and marketing easier to cut through to help people get the bike of their dreams.
When I’m not writing about bikes, I can be seen out bikepacking on single speed bikes or teaching kids how to ride.