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Best road bikes under £3000 2023 — here are the top picks for your budget

Whether you want carbon, aluminium, titanium or steel, check out our complete guide to the best road bikes under £3000

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If you’re planning to get out onto the tarmac for sport, fun, or just getting from A-to-B, now’s the time to invest in one of the best road bikes under £3000.


Three grand is a lot of money to spend on a bike but it can get you a very good, well-equipped machine. At this price, there’s a vast choice of brands offering high-quality road bikes, whether it’s for racing, sportive riding, or just exercise. To help you make your choice, we've listed the best road bikes under £3,000 that you can buy right now.

Road bikes under £3,000 aren’t quite at the featherweight pro-issue superbike level, but they're darn close without the price tag of a brand-new medium-sized car.

The mainstream spec for a sub-£3,000 road bike is a carbon fibre frame and a groupset from Shimano – usually Tiagra, 105 or Ultegra – but there are a few exceptions with steel, aluminium and even titanium frames available. Disc brakes are now practically universal in the £2,000 to £3,000 price band.

Road bikes at this level cover a wide variety of genres, so we’re covering everything from the best road bikes for racing like the Merida Reacto 6000, through the best endurance bikes such as the Giant Defy Advanced 3 to models that’ll cheerfully handle a bit of dirt under their tyres.

When we say under £3,000, we're talking about bikes in and around the £3k price bracket, most of our picks here cost between £2-3k. If you budget is considerably tighter then check out our guide to the best road bikes under £1,000, and if you're just dipping your toe and want see what you can get for your money at numerous price points, our overall best road bikes guide has options from £300 right up to a whopping £13k! 

The best road bikes under £3000

Giant Defy Advanced 3

Giant Defy Advanced 3

8
Best road bike under £3,000 for endurance
Buy now for £1889 from Tredz
Comfortable
Dependable components
Great value
Relaxed riding position won’t suit all

Giant’s Defy Advanced 3 is an endurance road bike that offers a smooth ride, a Shimano Tiagra-based spec, and very good value. It’s a dependable setup for getting in the big miles in comfort.

The geometry has a huge effect on the Defy Advanced 3’s character and comfort. If a standard race bike geometry leaves you aching, perhaps this setup, with the handlebar positioned higher and closer to the saddle, will work better for you.

Even putting geometry to one side, the Defy Advanced 3 is a really comfortable bike. It comes fitted with tubeless 32mm Giant Gavia Fondo 1 tyres, slim and tapered seat stays, and Giant’s D-Fuse seatpost that is designed to flex slightly to help reduce road buzz. Giant’s own Approach saddle is comfy too.

The sum total of all the design features is that you can ride the Defy Advanced 3 for hours without feeling too jolted, vibrated or generally shaken up.

The Defy Advanced 3 isn’t a gazelle of a bike like the more race-focused TCR but it's certainly not dull either. It handles superbly, it’s highly comfortable, and with space for tyres up to 35mm, it can take you off the beaten track too.

This bike is at its best when getting in the big miles on less than perfect roads and, with the ability to take mudguards and wide tyres, it'll happily do that year-round.

Cannondale CAAD13 Disc 105

Cannondale CAAD13 Disc 105

9
Best road bike under £3000 with an aluminium frame
Buy now for £1994.95 from Ebay
Smooth ride
Aero features
Mudguard eyelets
Some people just want carbon

The CAAD13 is the latest in a long series of well-received aluminium road bikes from Cannondale. The CAAD13 is about the same weight as the fabled CAAD12 (just over 1kg for a 56cm frame; there’s probably no more weight loss to be extracted from aluminium) but it has been extensively tweaked to be smoother.

The CAAD12 was no slouch in that department, but that bike's back-end smoothness wasn't quite matched by the front end, which was a bit firm.

Cannondale has remedied that criticism and in the CAAD13 produced a bike that is wonderfully smooth all-round. Our reviewer took a first ride on the CAAD13 in the Cotswolds and wrote: “the CAAD13 blew me away with its ability to not just provide a smooth and calm ride, but to really close the gap to a carbon fibre bike”.

Cube Attain GTC SL

Cube Attain GTC SL

8
Best road bike under £3000 for value
Buy now for £2499 from Tredz
Comfortable ride
Positive and well-balanced handling
The mix of 105 and Ultegra, if you prefer to see a full groupset

The Attain GTC SL is part of Cube’s endurance range and it delivers a very good combination of comfort, both from the frameset and the geometry, and performance. It’s not a bad weight either, and certainly feels responsive to your input, making it fun to ride fast as well as comfortable for longer, more sedate jaunts. The mixture of Shimano Ultegra and 105 components is a little odd, though it does help keep the price down.

With an all-in build weight of 8.77kg, the Cube is in the right sort of ballpark for the money but it does feel much more sprightly than the scales suggest. A kick on the pedals away from the lights or when launching into a bit of a sprint sees the Attain respond well. There is plenty of stiffness around the lower section of the frame, especially around the bottom bracket area, and you feel like you are getting a decent return for your effort.

Cube has delivered a really good frameset that’s relaxed enough in its geometry that you can really tap out the miles, but if you have one of those days when you really want to get out and just smash it about it’ll also deliver the fun factor.

Liv Langma Advanced Disc 1

Liv Langma Advanced Disc 1

8
Best road bike under £3000 road bike specifically for women
Buy now for £2999 from Tredz
Women-specific finishing kit and contact points
Tyres come already set up tubeless
Compact lever blades
Cable routing messy by today's standards
Maximum tyre clearance is only 28mm

The Langma range is Liv’s lightweight climbing and general go-faster option, filling the gap between the endurance-focused Avail and the all-out aerodynamic machine, the Enviliv. Owned by cycling industry giant Giant, Liv makes bikes specifically for women.

Liv is about the only major manufacturer still making women-specific bikes, Specialized and Trek both having abandoned their women’s lines. While there’s an argument that there’s little you can really do to tailor a frame for a woman’s body, there's plenty you can do with the contract points, and the Advanced Disc 1 nails them all, with a Liv Approach woman’s saddle, narrower bars than Giant’s men’s bikes, shorter cranks and the rare but excellent Shimano Ultegra ST-8025 brake levers. These have a 4mm shorter reach and bulge a little more at the sides so your fingers don't need to reach around as far to grab a hold.

When she rode the 105 version of these levers on the Liv Langma Advanced Pro 2 Disc, tester Anna-Marie said “it felt like I had a lot more control over the braking action both when on the hoods and when in the drops, and with this added confidence I was able to take it a little faster on the descents … I felt a huge benefit from these levers.

“The shorter reach combined with the narrower handlebar meant it was more comfortable to ride in the aero-hoods position with my elbows bent at 90 degrees than with other bikes. I could ride the flatter sections faster than on a unisex bike with a more traditional cockpit, as I was able to get, and stay, in a low position.”

Orro Venturi Evo 105

Orro Venturi Evo 105

8
Best road bike under £3000 for balancing stiffness and comfort
Buy now for £1999 from Merlin Cycles
Excellent handling
Plenty of stiffness where it's needed

Delivering the aerodynamics, awesome handling and stiffness of the top-level STC, this Venturi Evo 105 model gives a more affordable route into Orro ownership. It’s certainly a lot of bike for the money.

The Venturi has a race bike feel to it in terms of how it responds to power input. It’s a proper point-and-shoot kind of bike that repays you for riding it hard. Point it at a hill and get out of the saddle and you aren't going to be faced with any flex around the bottom bracket area or the huge down tube section.

It’s the same when it comes to sprinting. Out-of-the-saddle efforts while yanking on the bar see this thing fly down the road – it really is great for just getting out for a blast.

The geometry is just backed off a bit from a full-on racer, especially at the front end with a slightly slacker head angle of 72.2 degrees which keeps the handling just the fun side of twitchy. The medium model gets a head tube of just 142mm in height, so you still get a low-slung position for high-speed work.

Fairlight Strael 3.0 105

Fairlight Strael 3.0 105

10
Best steel road bike under £3000
Buy now for £2549 from Fairlight Cycles
Excellent ride quality
Clever design details
Massively versatile

Fairlight Cycles’ steel Strael is an absolutely stunning machine to ride, offering four-season adaptability and durability without sacrificing high speed or a racy performance. Intelligent tube choices coupled with a long and low geometry make for a bike you can blast about on all day long and the only muscles that'll ache at the end of it will be from grinning too much.

One of the best things about the Strael is the ride quality, which comes from its use of steel tubing. Fairlight work extensively with Reynolds to design a custom-drawn tubeset that takes the ride feel to the next level.

Stiffness levels are great. Stamp on the pedals and the Strael responds, not quite as sharply as a carbon superbike but not far off. It’s certainly no slouch off the line or when climbing hard.

The comfort levels are absolutely spot on and well balanced too. When you are seated, regardless of pace, the rear end really takes the bumps and vibrations out of the road; the racer becomes a cruiser.

The Strael is simply stunning. With a lot of bikes you can find yourself riding to get to the next fun bit, but the Fairlight makes it all fun.

It’s not just the ride that sums this bike up, though, it’s the attention to detail – the whole thing has been really well thought out. There is so much going on, and while you may not necessarily want or need all of the mounts and things, they’re there if you do.

Specialized Allez Sprint Comp

Specialized Allez Sprint Comp

8
Best sub-£3000 aluminium-framed road bike for handling
Buy now for £2489.99 from Cycle Revolution
Fast
Brilliant handling
Quite weighty
Price

The Specialized Allez Sprint Disc is a fast aluminium alloy road bike that provides brilliant handling. The frame is stiff enough to cope with sprints, but it won’t beat you up on a long ride.

The Allez Sprint comes built to a geometry that’s identical to that of Specialized’s Tarmac SL7 top-level carbon race bike, and this means it is perfectly suited to faster road rides.

The Allez Sprint isn’t as quick as a lighter carbon machine up the steeper hills, but it’s comparable everywhere else. Get yourself involved in a flat-out race for a town sign and this bike provides a very stiff platform to lay down all of your power. It also feels planted at speed, which inspires confidence.

Specialized has absolutely nailed the handling. Tip the Allez Sprint into a fast corner and it tracks perfectly.

Comfort hasn't been forgotten, either, and if you want more you can always swap the 26mm tyres for anything up to 32mm.

Shimano’s 105 R7020 groupset performs brilliantly, with dependable mechanical shifting alongside hydraulic disc brakes that offer tons of all-weather control.

Van Nicholas Ventus

Van Nicholas Ventus

8
Best titanium-framed road bike under £3000
Buy now for £2799 from Van Nicholas
Beautiful ride quality
Plenty of stiffness for hard efforts
Good value for a titanium bike
Standard wheels add a fair chunk of weight

Although the Van Nicholas Ventus is classed as the company’s entry-level option, the way it performs is anything but. This bike is simply great fun to ride. There is a surprising amount of stiffness in these slender tubes, though in no way does it lose that lovely springy titanium ride. It’s a looker too, and quite the bargain.

Tester Stu writes: “The Ventus is designed for fast, competitive riding – so a bit of racing, some fast group riding, or just getting out for a blast on your own. What with lockdown and all that, it was the latter that I spent my time doing, but I found it very rewarding.

“I always felt like I was ‘on it’ when aboard the Ventus. It’s got a zingy sort of character, it wants to be ridden pretty hard, to get a move on, and gives a lot of reward for your input. The more you give, the more you get back.”

Giant Propel Advanced 2

Giant Propel Advanced 2

9
Best road bike under £3000 for speedsters
Buy now for £2999 from Tredz
Stiff and efficient
Strong aero credentials
Excellent disc brakes

The Giant Propel Advanced Disc is an efficient, firm-feeling road bike with aerodynamics designed specifically with disc brakes in mind. It’s not the lightest bike available for this kind of money but it’s fast whether you're soloing off the front or sprinting for the line.

The Propel Advanced Disc is designed with efficiency in mind, both in terms of aerodynamics and stiffness. The aero side of things is difficult to discern but this bike certainly feels stiff when you stamp on the pedals, with very little flex to speak of even when you’re standing up and giving it everything you have.

You’d have to say that the Propel Advanced Disc provides quite a firm ride, and that might or might not be to your taste. This isn't a gran fondo or endurance bike, it's a race bike (even if you don't race it) and that comes through in the feel.

That said, we got on fine with Giant's Contact Forward saddle with a composite base that flexes enough to take the edge off things, and Giant's own 25mm Gavia Race 1 tyres are set up tubeless so you can run them at lower pressures than you otherwise would without the danger of pinch flatting if you hit a pothole.

Giant has updated its Propel range since our review, claiming that the new design is significantly more aerodynamically efficient than before while also being lighter and stiffer.

Merida Reacto 6000

Merida Reacto 6000

8
Best road bike under £3000 for all-round efficiency
Buy now for £2950 from Tredz
Very stiff
Quick performance
Sharp handling
Very good value
Disappointing wheels
Can feel excessively rigid at times

The Merida Reacto 6000 is a fast and stiff aero road bike at decent price. The Reacto CF3 frame has bags of potential for weekend speed merchants and racers who are prepared to upgrade the wheels.

The Reacto frame is among the most laterally stiff road frames you’ll ever encounter – maybe too stiff for some. Whether you’re ticking along in the saddle or up on the pedals for extra power, it channels all your effort into forward motion. Once up to speed on a flat road, it simply glides along.

Climbing is fun on the Reacto too, all that rigidity meaning that you get uphill fast for a given amount of energy expenditure, while the sharp and stiff front end enables you to descend with confidence.

The Merida Reacto 6000 is built up with a Shimano Ultegra (mechanical, not Di2) groupset which offers slick shifting and excellent disc brakes. The alloy Fulcrum Racing 800 wheels are sturdy and reliable enough but they’re outclassed by the frameset, so we’d be upgrading them in time.

Van Rysel EDR CF 105 Disc Road

Van Rysel EDR CF 105 Disc Road

8
Best road bike under £3000 for combining endurance and performance
Buy now for £2499.99 from Decathlon
Well-balanced steering
Impressive stiffness levels
Competitive pricing
Entry-level wheels blunt performance

The carbon Van Rysel EDR CF 105 Disc might be from the Decathlon brand’s endurance line-up but it focuses on performance and thanks to a well-dialled geometry it can be ridden hard and fast whatever your level of skill.

Don’t go thinking that this is a relaxed and upright endurance bike. The ride position and the performance of the frameset make it more like a race machine in some ways.

The designers have made the EDR close to a full-on race bike without letting it cross over into becoming too extreme or a handful from a steering point of view.

The handling is quick but not over the top and there’s plenty of stiffness in the frame and fork. The overall ride quality is good and you can fit tyres up to 30mm wide if you want more cushioning. This is a bike that responds well when you want to accelerate and it’s a good climber too, whether in the saddle or out of it.

Built up with a Shimano 105 mechanical groupset and Fulcrum wheels, you get pretty good kit for your money here; and if your budget stretches further, you can even get the Ultegra version for £3k at the time of writing. 

Overall, the Van Rysel balances performance and comfort well, and it’s ripe for upgrading as time goes on.

Cannondale SuperSix Evo Carbon Disc 105

Cannondale SuperSix Evo Carbon Disc 105

8
Best road bike under £3000 for combining stiffness and comfort
Buy now for £2279 from Evans Cycles
Stiff and efficient frameset
Comfortable
Aero features
Not the lightest in this build

The Cannondale SuperSix Evo Carbon Disc 105 is a stiff and efficient road bike that manages to offer loads of comfort and now aero features too.

The SuperSix Evo has always been known for its frame stiffness and that remains a key feature. Stomp on the pedals and everything feels taut going on solid. Getting out of the saddle and chucking everything you have at a power climb, the bottom bracket remains steadfastly central. It’s a feature you can’t fail to notice.

The SuperSix Evo is an eager bike. It gets cracking when you put in the power, that rigidity giving you the firmest of platforms from which to launch your assaults.

The handling is sharp. If you want to switch your line around other riders, the SuperSix Evo is about as precise as it gets, and cornering hard and fast feels perfectly composed, so you’re inclined to lay off the brakes that fraction longer next time around. In terms of behaviour, there’s very little to fault here.

Orro Terra C 105 Hydro

Orro Terra C 105 Hydro

9
Best all-road bike under £3000
Buy now for £2034.99 from Ebay
Great value
Fast and fun to ride
Versatile
Limited mounts for luggage

The Orro Terra C 105 Hydro is a stable carbon bike that’s quick on the road, with the strength and confident handling required for heading onto gravel and other hard-packed trails with the appropriate tyres (40mm tyres are fitted as standard – well into gravel territory).

Mudguard and rack mounts make this a versatile option that can cope with everything from commuting to adventure biking, and it’s one of the few sub-£3000 bikes that comes equipped with the electronic version of Shimano’s 105 Di2 groupset

The Terra C 105 Hydro comes with a compact chainset (with 50-tooth and 34-tooth chainrings) and an 11-30t cassette, a Deda Zero 1 handlebar with a round drop, and Continental Terra Trail tyres on Fulcrum Rapid Red 900 DB wheels.

One of the most noticeable characteristics of the Orro Terra C 5800 Hydro is its stability, and that’s apparent whether you’re tackling uneven roads or negotiating busy traffic. It has a settled, confident feel with enough agility to handle more technical situations.

Ribble Endurance AL e Enthusiast Shimano 105

Ribble Endurance AL e Enthusiast Shimano 105

8
Best electric road bike under £3,000
Buy now for £2399.99 from Ribble
Well-balanced geometry
Versatile road bike
Easy-to-use motor system
25mm tyre limit with mudguards
Can feel weighty when just above the motor limit

The Ribble Endurance AL e Enthusiast offers the fun, pleasant handling and high-quality ride of the analogue version of this bike, but with smooth electrical assistance for the hills. You get a decent spec for the money too.

We’ve ridden and enjoyed the aluminium Ribble Endurance AL Disc and the British brand hasn’t altered much here other than adding a hub motor and battery.

The Ribble Endurance AL e Enthusiast is much more relaxed than a race machine but still feels nimble through the bends and in traffic.

The Mahle Ebikemotion X35+ gives you a 40Nm boost from the 250-watt-hour battery/motor combination when using full power, which makes a real difference when you’re climbing.

What we like most is the smoothness of its delivery. When you aren’t using it there’s no noticeable resistance from the motor, and as your speed drops below 25km/h (the maximum legal speed in the UK for electronic assistance) it just gives you a gentle nudge forward, like a nice tailwind.

This is a very good choice if you’re looking for an e-bike that’ll give you the feeling of riding a standard road bike with subtle assistance.

Best road bikes under £3000: how to choose and what you need to know

faq-icon
Is it worth spending £3,000 on a road bike?

You can get a lot of bike for this kind of money. Something that’s priced £3,000 or a little under is well into serious road bike territory and it’s likely to be lighter than a model that’s, say, £1,000 cheaper, or it’ll have more features to improve aerodynamics and/or comfort.

Bikes in this price band come with at least 10-speed, often 11-speed, drivetrains – and if you want disc brakes, you’ll get hydraulic ones that perform better than the mechanical (cable-operated) alternatives you’ll find on cheaper bikes.

Bikes tend to be built with decent parts, often from standalone brands, and there are fewer compromises on spec sheets. Most bikes at this level get complete groupsets from Shimano and SRAM, rather than most of a groupset with a couple of cheaper components sneakily substituted in.

faq-icon
What frame material can I expect on a road bike for under £3,000?

You get your pick of frame materials at this price level. Carbon fibre is common and you’re looking at advanced high-quality carbon frames that benefit from the technological trickle-down effect from the very top end. Brands spend a lot of money on R&D for their top-of-the-range models, and the know-how and design features eventually find their way onto bikes that more of us can afford.

You'll also encounter titanium frames that bring a unique aesthetic and ride quality. Plus, a titanium frame can be extremely durable if it’s made right.

Don’t discount steel. While not common on bikes priced £2,000-£3,000, the latest Reynolds and Columbus tubesets can be built into excellent frames, especially if outright stiffness isn’t top of your list of priorities, and you value the traditional look of a skinny-tubed steel bike.

With increased prices over the past couple of years, aluminium frames aren’t as rare as they once were in this price bracket. In fact, they’re pretty common now. There are some very good aluminium options out there, and choosing this cheaper frame material can pay dividends elsewhere in the spec. You may be able to go up a groupset level, for instance, or add a power meter without busting the budget.

faq-icon
What groupset can I expect on a £3,000 road bike?

Shimano’s 11-speed mechanical 105 groupset dominates in the £2,000 to £3,000 price bracket. Towards the lower end of that price band, you’ll likely be looking at 10-speed Shimano Tiagra.

You might find the occasional bike equipped with SRAM’s Force eTap AXS electronic groupset in this price band but you’ll usually have to go above £3,000 for electronic shifting, including Shimano’s 12-speed 105 Di2.

faq-icon
What other components can I expect on a £3,000 road bike?

As for the finishing kit, you can expect branded components from well-established brands that specialise in handlebars, stems, seatposts and saddles.

Carbon starts to replace aluminium for items like handlebars and seatposts, but don’t automatically assume carbon is better. Some aluminium components can actually be lighter than carbon and it’s easier to tell if they’re still structurally sound after a crash.

faq-icon
Can I get a £3,000 road bike on a Cycle to Work scheme?

If you're reading this in the UK then you may be familiar with the Cycle to Work scheme, that allows you to get a bike and optional accessories at a discounted rate by taking a salary sacrifice. Before 2019 the bike value was capped at £1,000 on most Cycle to Work schemes, but now you can spend as much as you like if your employer has implemented a Cycle to Work scheme, so a bike up to and over £3,000 is fine. 

Payments for your bike on a Cycle to Work scheme are taken out of your salary, usually monthly, and technically it's a loan. You'll then have the option to pay a very small fee to take ownership at the end of the loan period. How much you save will depend on how much tax you pay, but for most people this will be at least 25%.  

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.