Best Flat Bar Road Bike Under $500 – Review in 2023
With more and more people finding interest in cycling, bikes have evolved tremendously over recent years. We all know about traditional bikes with drop handlebars, right?
Well, the new style of road bikes features flat handlebars, fast skinny tires, and a generally speed-oriented frame.
Flat bar road bikes, also referred to as fitness bikes are more like hybrids, only that they lack outstanding off-roading capabilities.
However, their geometry and overall construction promote an aggressive, aerodynamic posture ideal for riding at high speeds.
Do you want to enjoy an adrenaline rush without spending a fortune?
We can help you find the flat bar road bike.
Dive right in to unveil the top 3 models that strike a balance between performance and affordability. Ready? Let’s begin!
Best Flat Bar Road Bike Under 500
Did you know that flat bar road bikes offer a 15 MPH aerodynamic advantage above regular drop bar bikes? If you desire a bike that can provide speed, stability, and affordability in one package, hop on and check out these three models.
1. Factory F140-700c C-T 14SP Bike
Whether you need a fitness companion or a reliable commuter bike, the Factory Bicycles F140 700c is a model we highly recommend.
One of its major bragging points is that it is designed with alloy-caged pedals. They do a fantastic job of guiding your feet and ensuring they remain securely in place. The hydroformed 6061 alloy frame is comfortable, sturdy, and reliable.
Whether you are a biking beginner or a professional rider, you can look forward to enjoying an outstanding riding experience thanks to the Shimano gearing system (14-speed) which also provides smooth shifting.
It is also worth mentioning that Factory Bicycles are manufactured by Momentum Mobility. This ranks as one of the largest bicycle manufacturers in the world, based in Australia.
Momentum Mobility is renowned for producing bikes with futuristic features. This model specifically is engineered for reliability and to match truly world-class quality.
Another great feature is the 700c alloy rims and adjustment lever with a dependable Promax caliper brake set for safe deceleration and braking.
You are also likely to appreciate the slip-resistant black rubber grips for enhanced handling and safety.
This is a dependable bike that combines both comfort and durability. Compared to other models made from equally reliable materials, this one costs nearly 30% lesser.
In other words, you are assured of getting the best value for your money.
2. 700c ST Formula Men’s Bike
It is not necessary to spend a ton of money just to get a fantastic road bike. This is more so the case if you are searching for a starter bike.
The ST Formula 700c is a men-specific bike that is tweaked to suit a man’s body better. It features a sturdy steel frame and fork designed to hold up to everyday use.
If speed is what tickles your fancy, this bike is for you. It has high-profile aluminum rims that keep the wheels straight for reduced rolling resistance.
Another great feature is the flip-flop hub on the rear wheel that allows you to ride freewheel or fixed gear style.
This bike is designed for speed, so it makes sense that it also has rear and front handbrakes to help you stay in control of your riding pace.
Then again, the handlebar ensures you remain upright for enhanced control when riding at higher speeds.
By far, this is our favorite model on the list. It is built to provide maximum power transfer and also delivers excellent responsive handling coupled with the best aerodynamics in the class.
The best part is that the performance boost does not come at the expense of your riding comfort.
Unfortunately, we noticed that the braking leaves a lot to be desired. This is especially true for beginners who depend on speedy braking for their safety.
Apart from the brakes that may need upgrading, depending on your riding needs, this bike offers excellent bang for the bucks.
Related Guide: Top Hybrid Bikes for the Money
3. Gravity Ave FXD Flat Bar Road Bike
One of the major benefits of investing in a road bike instead of a mountain bike is that the former is lightweight.
This makes it effortless to lift your bicycle when hanging it on a wall rack or placing it in your car trunk.
A flat-bar road bike model that is exceptionally lightweight is the Gravity Ave FXD.
This bike features an aluminum frame that provides the perfect blend of comfort and stability without increasing the weight.
I must mention that the frame is precision welded and uniquely shaped using Gravity’s own RSeries aluminum tubing.
Performance is further enhanced by the wide gearing and overall design that supports a comfy, upright riding position.
We were also quick to notice the 21-speed Shimano drivetrain that gives you enhanced control over how the bike moves.
The Shimano shifters ensure incredibly easy switching of gears, and the brake levers guarantee you can brake at a gentle pace or make instant stops when need be.
Another feature that gives this model some serious bragging rights is the semi-compact frame geometry.
It has a lower standover and a sloping top tube that makes sizing quite easy. Just dial in your perfect fit and voila! You are ready to hit the road.
Greater adjustability makes this the perfect bike for any rider, irrespective of their size.
There are up to six sizes per series, meaning that this model can suit a 5.4 feet female and still serve as an excellent commuting companion for a 6-foot male rider.
Related Guide: Good Fixie Tires
What to Look for Before Buying a Flat Bar Road Bike?
Even flat bar road bikes are not created equal. Each model is likely to be unique in terms of its materials and components.
Let me steer you through the most vital aspects to consider when searching for the right bike.
The quality of the frame is by far the most vital aspect to consider. After all, this is the heart of your bike and where a substantial part of the budget goes. There are three primary materials to choose from:
Carbon Fiber Framed Road Bikes
Carbon fiber provides the perfect blend of comfort, stiffness, and weight-saving construction.
It is a superb modern composite material that can be molded into aerodynamic and exotic shapes with ease. This makes it ideal for making high-performance bikes.
Related Topic: Best road bikes under $3000
Steel Framed Road Bikes
The majority of traditional bicycle frames were made from steel. This material is renowned for both its strength and durability.
Even though steel provides a more robust and comfortable frame, it is considerably heavy, and this makes it harder to propel your bike forward.
Generally, steel-frame bikes are a suitable option for beginner cyclists.
Aluminum Framed Road Bikes
Currently, most road bikes have aluminum frames. What makes this material ideal is that it provides a perfect balance of performance, reliability, and comfort. It makes frames that are strong, stiff, and lightweight, without having a great impact on a bike’s price tag.
Trust me; nothing is more frustrating than choosing a bike whose size is an ill fit. It remains imperative to consider the height and dimensions of various models before money changes hands.
The size of road bikes is typically given in centimeters, although different manufacturers will measure their frames using different metrics.
To make the right choice, take the time to study the size charts on the websites of various bike manufacturers.
As a rule of thumb, make sure you can stand over the frame with just a few centimeters of space left between the top tube and your body.
If there is too much space, the bike is certainly too small. On the other hand, it’s certainly too big if you can hardly stand it.
Groupsets are collections of gear and brake parts designed to work together to make a bike more efficient.
They are also known as the bike’s drivetrain because they also consist of chains and controls.
Usually, the quality of the groupsets used can impact the function and performance of a bicycle.
The three leading manufacturers of road bike groupsets are Campagnolo, SRAM, and Shimano. All three manufacturers offer component sets that vary in quality and price.
From our research, we gathered that Shimano is the most popular manufacturer of groupsets for entry-level bikes. Fortunately, you can always upgrade the groupset of your two-wheeler for smoother operations.
Take it from me; the wheelset of a bicycle plays one of the most notable roles in dictating its overall performance.
A top-quality wheelset must be on top of your priorities because it contributes significantly to your bike’s agility, stability, weight, acceleration, speed, and deceleration.
In case the factory wheels and tires hurt how your bike feels, rides, and responds, you can always change them.
However, it is crucial to understand that a wheelset upgrade is tough on the wallet.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I use my flat bar road bike for off-roading adventures?
Here’s the deal; the tire width and rigidity of road bikes make them ill-fitted for off-road use. Even though some models act like hybrids and can handle both on and off-road riding, they may not offer the desired levels of comfort, especially when cursing through harsh terrain. If you often use unpaved roads, then perhaps a regular mountain bike is an ideal choice for you. Such bikes are built to absorb the dips and bumps, making them more suitable for off-roading adventures.
2. What is the most vital part of a road bike?
As a professional cyclist, I don’t think any feature deserves more attention than the other. Different components work together to ensure your riding experience is smooth and safe. However, one of the most underrated, yet essential features is the tires. It is crucial to ensure the tires of your bike have a good grip, especially if you will be riding on smooth on-road surfaces.
3. What is the most notable benefit of using a flat bar road bike?
One of the outstanding perks of using flat bar road bikes is the flexible riding position. They often feature a lower seat, and this gives you the ability to lean toward fitness-oriented sessions or lean back during casual riding. Because you can lean into the bike or chill out, flat bar road bikes are excellent jacks of all trades. You can use them for anything, including speed cycles around your neighborhood or daily commuting.
4. Are flat bar road bikes good commuter bikes?
When compared to regular road bikes, flat bar road bikes are an excellent option for daily commuting. First, they are lightweight and feature an efficient design for more comfortable long-distance rides. Additionally, they accept accessories that commuters typically need on their bikes, including bidons and bottle cages.
5. Are there ways to get more hand positions on flat handlebars?
Yes. You can install bar ends to get one or two additional hand positions. Having varying hand positions is essential for your comfort, especially during long-distance rides.
Flat bar road bikes are jacks of all trades. They are used by those seeking to enhance their fitness levels, aspiring athletes, and even early-morning commuters into the city.
In short, you need a bike that is sturdy enough to offer comfortable long-distance rides. At the same time, it should be light enough for you to carry it on your back when you return to your apartment.
If you need the right flat-bar road bike under $500 that can also enhance your riding speed and comfort, the three models on our list will not disappoint.