Best carbon road bikes for under £1000

A new friend recently sent me a message:

“Hey Andreas – you run London Cyclist right? Can you recommend me a road bike for under £1000?”

It’s a good question. There is a dazzling amount of choice available. The £999.99 price point is particularly competitive, as it qualifies under the governments cycle-to-work scheme. If you have that kind of money to spend, the nice thing is that you can get a carbon frame road bike, which provides extra comfort and low weight.

Browsing through websites like Evans Cycles, you may find yourself wondering just what is the difference between bike A and bike B?

Fortunately, you’ve got your pal here Andreas who has researched the different options.

If you’re researching a carbon road bike purchase, start here!

Planet X Pro Carbon SRAM Rival Road Bike

Planet X road bike

Planet X have been winning praise for their £1000 carbon frame road bike for a while now and each year they keep making small improvements. Through careful selection of components, such as the SRAM groupset, you’ll get lightweight and excellent performance at the price.

Available through the Planet X website, you’ll have to do a small amount of assembly yourself when the bike arrives. If you can’t get the adjustments quite right, then a visit to the bike shop for a tune up might be an idea.

Based in Sheffield, Planet X has been building a dedicated following in the cycling world for the past 25 years. The Pro Carbon Road Bike was recently featured in the Guardian who were impressed by the value for money offered. Their review is really worth a read if you are shopping for a road bike at this price point.

Ribble R872 Carbon Road Bike

Ribble carbon road bike

Another beautiful carbon frame bike that really provides excellent value for money is the Ribble r872.

Rigid, responsive, light and certain to turn some heads, you’ll squeeze every penny of value out of your £1000 here. In fact, without any customisations, the grand total comes to £921.95. Giving you a little extra cash if you wish to upgrade one of the components, which you can do through the Ribble website.

BikeRadar gave the bike a 4/5 and it featured in Cycling Plus magazine’s bike of the year feature.

This is a really serious contender, worth looking at.

Boardman Road Team Carbon Bike 2014

Boardman road bike

At £1000, you’d be hard pressed to beat the value. Even second hand, these bikes are still selling at £500-£600.

They are sold exclusively by Halfords in store and through their website. This has some conveniences, such as the fact that they’ll build the bike for you in store and they’ll also service it after six weeks.

Depending on who you ask, you’ll hear a mixture of opinions on Halfords. There are horror stories of badly assembled bikes, but there are also plenty of satisfied customers.

A handy chart on the product page will let you know what size frame you’ll need.

The Boardman frequently wins awards in head-to-head shootouts in cycling magazines. If I was shopping around for a road bike, this would be my first choice.

£1000 from

You can get cheaper road bikes, such as the excellent B’Twin Triban for example at £350, but if you can stretch your budget, then a full carbon road bike is a real pleasure to ride and you will notice the difference each day. The three options above offer incredible value for money.

I’d be interested in hearing from you in the comments below if there’s another carbon road bike beneath £1000 that you’d personally recommend.

A special thank you to Hanry from Lunar Cycles for all his advice while I was writing this piece. His years of experience in the bike industry really helped me pick out these top choices.

If you do buy a £1000 road bike and will be leaving it unattended around London, I’d recommend bicycle insurance. I tend to use either ETA or Protect Your Bubble.

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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

34 Responses to Best carbon road bikes for under £1000

  1. Mario 01/08/2014 at 10:11 am #

    Wiggle’s own-brand Verenti Insighght 0.3 had a great review at, and is coming in at just under £1,000

    • Andreas 01/08/2014 at 10:27 am #

      That looks like a rather nice bit of kit too. Cheers Mario for recommending 🙂

  2. John 01/08/2014 at 10:16 am #

    I got one of the Planet X bikes nearly 7 years ago on the cycle to work scheme and have never regretted it for a second. I got mine through a deal with Halfords & I guess I got lucky with the mechanics who set it up for me perfectly.

    You might also be able to get a good deal on the Canyon site, especially in their outlet section

  3. Andy Ball 01/08/2014 at 10:26 am #

    Personally, I wouldn’t buy one of these. The Ribble seems like good value with the upgrades options too but the Boardman one is awful – AVOID.

    It’s a bit of a contradiction in a way to purchase a budget carbon bike as it is essentially the mark of someone who is starting to take it seriously. though the frame is carbon, the components are entry level – best to do it the other way round with an aluminum frame and better quality groupset. Then completely upgrade to carbon when you’re ready.

    I’ve got this (albeit with a full 105 set):

    Which gives you more bang for your buck at £1100.

    • Ian 01/08/2014 at 7:34 pm #

      Andy. Awful?

      I do love it when the bike snobs come out. They never reccomend a cheaper bike.

      Andy your bike is £1200 rrp. So £200 off the mark. Plus its not available on 0% for 12 months like the other three are.

      But please explain what’s so awful about it and I’ll stop riding mine and go back to my 20 year old Raleigh.

      • Andy Ball 04/08/2014 at 9:39 am #

        Hi Ian,

        I wasn’t trying to show one for exactly under £1000, just around the budget given. I also got it second hand so only paid £540.

        Sorry to have offended you if you have a Boardman, I wouldn’t like to think of myself as a snob at all. the price of the Boardman versus the quality of the build are not great value. Perhaps I was a little extreme in ‘awful’, I just don’t think (and following advice given to me when I was purchasing a bike a little over a year ago) that they’re worth it. It’s my opinion, tis all!

        Happy riding!

        • Ian 04/08/2014 at 3:03 pm #

          Hi Andy.

          I’m always suprised, that given you can remove all the components from a boardman, throw the frame away, and still have components that cost more than £1000 that the “quality” is poor.

          I was also a little disappointed that when you look at the advice and guidance for people looking to get these sort of bikes, the answer is always spend more money.

          What was nice about this article was that there were three bikes to choose from. Usually, the Boardman is the £1k option and everything else is more money, yet “serious” cyclists then advice people they need to spend £1600 to get a “decent bike”

          One of the other things to consider, which I fortunately got some good advice on, was what sort of riding you want to do. For lots of people, the boardman suits them better, as it’s less arse in the air head down, than a slightly more relaxed sportive type position. This is often forgotten about. FWIW The other bike that came highly reccomended was the Giant Defy, which I’d have gone for, except for two reasons. No LBS was prepared to give me a test ride on one, even with a desposit. 2 The Carbon one has gone up in price to £1300. So I’d have had an Ally framed one, or had to find a shop discounting it.

          I appreciate it’s your opinion Andy, but perhaps you’d like to elaborate as to WHY your opinion of the boardman is “Awful” when

          Who ride some seriously expensive bikes rates it as

          “+ An impressive and rewarding carbon frame
          + Light and comfortable
          – Modest wheels could do with upgrading
          – Light and comfortable”

          Which seems reasonable, as the wheels are an easy upgrade later.

          But, I’m keen to hear your review that backs up Awful, how long did you ride it for to come up with the Awful review, or were you just passing on comments from other people who haven’t ridden them either?

          Yes you have to buy them from Halfords, yes Halfords employ spotty yoofs, yes you have to get to know the manager and make sure no spotty yoof touchs bike and only the qualified bike tech does.

          But that doesn’t make the actual bike, a bad bike.

      • Mik 04/08/2014 at 3:13 pm #

        > FWIW The other bike that came highly reccomended was the Giant Defy, which > I’d have gone for, except for two reasons. No LBS was prepared to give me a
        > test ride on one, even with a desposit.

        Sorry this is out of synch, but I could see a ‘reply’ option to your post.

        Did you manage to get a test ride on the Boardman? One of the things that has put me off of going that way is our local Halfords refusing to give test rides.

        • Andy Ball 04/08/2014 at 3:16 pm #

          I think we can leave it here, like I said before, I was extreme in using awful, so you don’t have to keep going on about it, I take it back etc. Jeez.

        • Ian 05/08/2014 at 1:47 pm #

          Yes Mik, no problems at all. I avoided the “yoof” element of the staff and waited until I could speak to the Bike Hut manager, who said no issues. What did I want, I said round the carpark, and they put pedals on (ok “normal” pedals) but fine for a few laps round the car park to get a feel for size etc. For a longer test ride (outside of their site/sight) they would want a non-returnable deposit) ie. you’d commit to buying a bike through halfords, which given you can order any bike in through the cycle to work scheme, not an issue)

          Andy – Apology accepted 🙂

      • Andy Ball 05/08/2014 at 2:59 pm #

        Yeah, I’ve looked into a bit more and they do have a great rep, it’s just Halfords itself that has a a questionable service/build. I might buy a carbon bike for next summer’s trip to the alps, so will explore all avenues 🙂

        • Rossco 08/08/2014 at 1:44 pm #

          I had a bad experience with halfords. To be fair the staff bent over backwards to help me but loose wheels on more than one occasion and general lack of experience and knowledge shone through. I go to a small local bike shop now. I pay a little more but am confident my bike is safe to ride when I leave.

      • Darren 08/08/2014 at 3:45 pm #

        Heh? What’s wrong with a twenty year old Raleigh. Mines just started taken me to work every other day. Round trip of just over 20miles 😀

        Still wouldn’t mind something light.

        • Andy Ball 08/08/2014 at 4:05 pm #

          Can’t argue with that Darren!

          Yeah, I got a tire blowout on the way to work once and was luckily near a Halfords. Popped in to get a new tyre and inner tube and the guy asked me if I wanted it putting on. I absentmindedly said yes whilst he began the work. I then saw a price sign, ‘£8.99’!! I immediately shouted at him to stop and just fixed it up myself outside. He didn’t even confirm the charge or anything! £8.99! Crikey.

        • Mark 01/03/2015 at 8:39 am #

          Hi Darren, I don’t think there is anything wrong with a twenty rear old Raleigh. I’ve got a Raleigh 531c frame that’s even older. I’ve also got a Bob Jackson hand built touring bike that’s got to be thirty years old .I’ve had it from new. It’s taken me lots of places. I like the carbon bikes, they really are light and well engineered, maybe I’ll get one, one day. I was so tempted to get a Trek Roubaix, it was so light. But then I looked at my middle that was definitely larger than it used to be, and I figured I’d save a load of money if I lost a bit of weight. And it would be still be a lighter man/bike combined weight, than just straight out buying the carbon. I’m a stone lighter now fitter and I still like my old bikes, can’t seem to let go of an old bike that still functions like it did when it was new. I must be sentimental or something?

  4. Mike Head 01/08/2014 at 2:18 pm #

    Wiggle have a MEKK bike for £650, full carbon and a mix of Sora 9 speed and their own finishing kit on it. Wheels are entry shimano but do the job for someone under 80kg. Brought this for my partner and she is more than happy.

    I have the PX pro carbon which i got with full ultegra group set for £999 a few months back. I rate the frame and the Ultegra group set but had to change the bars, stem, seat and wheels. The wheels which came with it were FSA Vision 30’s which at first look looked like a bargain they proved near impossible to take the tyre off and a new one on. Even an old Conti tyre took 20 minutes! I sent them back and eventually got a set of Ultegra hubs which i am building up with Mavic Open Pro rims. Their customer service quality depended on who you spoke / emailed with.

    If you invest in one of these bikes for a £1000 be prepared to part with more money to get better parts.

    • Andreas 02/08/2014 at 5:49 am #

      Thanks Mike for the useful feedback – much appreciated 🙂

  5. Paul9243 01/08/2014 at 4:12 pm #

    I bought a Moser 111 from Wiggle for under a grand and it’s a fantastic bike, full Shimano 105 including brakes which to me is always the point where shimano components become not just good but great, the FSA Gossimer crank is sturdy and reliable as is the rest of the FSA finishing kit. All in all I’m very satisfied with it.

  6. martin 01/08/2014 at 4:44 pm #

    Not sure about carbon as prob too heavy for one but have just bought a ridgeback world tour with mudguards, rack etc and added brookes saddle as was recommended to change this, all from Moore’s in isleworth for £599 great for money

  7. Pete Williamson 02/08/2014 at 7:05 pm #

    I’ve read this article with great interest as I’m looking to buy a new carbon road bike using a cycle to work sceme. Terry Dolan makes/sells carbon bikes in the magic sub £1000 price range AND he seems to accept most cycle to work schemes including Halfords.

    However, as I haven’t ridden a Dolan I can’t give a personal recommendation but I would imagine his bikes are every bit as good as a Ribble or Planet X with a similar group set.

  8. Roger 01/10/2014 at 5:14 pm #

    I gave up cycling about twenty years ago, the traffic and roads made it a nightmare. I had cycled all my life from three wheelers up to my beloved ‘Jack Hateley’ in the fifties and a few others since. About four years ago I bought a ‘trail/mtb and started to quite enjoy cycling again and found myself back riding on the roads again and doing a few miles.
    I decided that it could be an idea to buy a decent road/sportive bike, but had no idea where to start and found most websites added to my confusion. I think I need a good lightweight and because I live in the South Pennines/ Derbyshire Peak District with some pretty steep climbs a good set of gears. (I was a Campag man in the past).
    Next year I will be seventyone and it may not be a good idea to over invest, being a Yorkshire man I look after my dosh and wouldn’t want to spend a small fortune and then hand in my drinking bowl.
    I could do with some genuine, independent advice on what to buy……..please.

    • Les 17/06/2016 at 9:15 pm #

      if you like trail mtb then go for the cheap boardman cx cross 499 it has same cassette as mtb and sora gears that have now improved. i am 60 and you wont be disapointed if you can afford the more expensive then that will see your cycling days with you regards les

  9. Joe 04/11/2014 at 4:56 pm #

    I recently bought the Planet X Pro Carbon, and so far I’ve been very impressed with it. It’s very light, the geometry means that it offers an aggressive but comfortable ride, and it’s accommodating for the taller rider (I’m 6’4″). It’s also nice that Planet X give you the option of having it with either SRam or Shimano 105 groupsets (I went for the 105). Occasionally it even crops up on the website for £1000 for Ultegra which seems like staggering value, unfortunately I missed this when I ordered through Cycle to Work – doh!

    HOWEVER, there are some compromises to the bike, it seems. The bars and seat tube are both on the cheaper side of things, although I’m not too concerned with this because both do the job and if I want to make marginal improvements on weight then they can be changed later on down the road. The main issue though is the wheelset. The FSA Team30 wheels are very light and strong and look great, but they have a very high lip on the rim, it’s almost impossible to change the tyres! A non-folding tyre is basically not going to happen, and even to get a folding one back on I had to use levers and a lot of elbow grease. Hopefully the tyres will stretch a bit after a few hundred miles, otherwise I think the wheelset will need changing. That’s a real shame because it’s an otherwise superb bike for £1000.

  10. Carl 16/01/2015 at 11:00 pm #

    Don’t forget that if you buy the Boardman under the Cycle to Work Scheme, you won’t be paying anything like £1000 anyway.

  11. Aidan 11/02/2015 at 4:18 pm #

    Could you review the Canyon Endurace AL 6.0? Thanks

  12. JP 13/04/2015 at 12:15 am #

    I actually bought a bog standard Ribble R872 “still in packaging” off eBay for £600! Little by little I’ve upgraded components and the wheels which have been worthwhile. It’s a truly great bike and has taken me on quite a few sportives and covered many hundreds of miles. The other thing worth bearing in mind is that the R872’s frame and forks are identical to the much more expensive and highly regarded De Rosa R838!

    • Jason 05/08/2015 at 7:06 pm #

      I have The ribble 872 105 myself and love it, so certainly not putting it down….but….although many would have you believe its the same frame as the De Rosa, its not. Very similar but the ribble has a higher resin content i believe. So the De Rosa is actually a higher quality carbon frame

  13. Chas 17/05/2015 at 5:35 pm #

    Hi There

    Interested in all your comments and welcome your feedback on my next purchase, I am selling my 3 year year old Specalized Allez which was bought second hand and just noticed on the Ribble site the following bike on promotion this week.

    Ribble Sportive Racing Di2 Carbon Road Frame and included in the price of 999.00 is the Shimano Ultegra 6800 groupset with the price on various online sites ranging from 450 to 499. The rest of the spec is high on the bike and you can upgrade various items, so I may buy this as the equivalent at the specalized bike store in bristol with a similar spec is well over 2000


  14. Bob 30/05/2015 at 8:16 pm #

    To buy or not to buy, board man team carbon v cube peloton sl/ race?

  15. Gareth James 03/06/2015 at 12:25 pm #

    Got a Boardman Team Carbon. Very happy with it. It was a returned to the store bike (wrong size) and they offered it to me for £500! Very happy with a (as new) Team carbon for half the price. Go to the right guy in Halfords, but avoid the yoofs (as previously mentioned).

  16. Les 17/06/2016 at 9:01 pm #

    Well ive cycled expensive bikes and cheap bikes. Seriously carbon teaman 400 excellent value ribble with 105 excellent value boardman full carbon with tiagra gearset 800 pounds light as feather flexes well brilliant bike. ive got to agree you are a bike snob

  17. Les 17/06/2016 at 9:08 pm #

    Some great bikes out there at the moment everybody is upping their game . Due to the biking boom. Just because its not ridden by team sky doesnt mean you cant have 3 or 4 seasons of fun with it. Nothing pleases me better than to burn off the snobs on pinerellos with my 450 pound full carbon teaman. Unless your racing pick the one you like with good group set and there is not much difference. Enjoy all

  18. Adrian 29/09/2016 at 2:21 pm #

    Well, after looking at a few bikes, I ended up with a Boardman Road Team carbon, which I picked up for £674! Halfords have 20% off all Boardman bikes, 10% discount for British Cycling members (£20 membership) and 7% discount buying a Halfords gift card through Edenred. Haven’t done many miles yet, but for the money it seems like a lot of bike and solid foundation (haven’t seen a bad review of the carbon frame) for upgrading at a later date. To be fair to Halfords, they did a reasonable job putting it together, and it only needed a minor adjustment to the rear gears.

  19. paul 04/10/2016 at 10:44 pm #

    Hi Y’all

    thought Id put my tw penneth worth into the frey…

    I bought an aluminium bike second hand several years ago from a friend who had pruchased it from new. The bike is a Peugeot Richard Virenque vintage racing road bike with Campagnolo group set. The ride is hard but fair, gear changes smooth as silk, and it gets me to 30 mph plus no problemo. Ill have to upgrade some day, but until then Im happy to keep my vintage bike on the road, A few trips to get is serviced and its as good as new, cant say the same for my working parts… knees tum, thighs , eyes etc…. Although I did dip into the world of new bikes when I bought my new Cube Analog 27.5 Mountain Bike 2015 – Hardtail for some riding in Cumbria….. thoroughly recommend to anyone who want a combination of style, reliability and a solid ride. happy biking….

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