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 Halfords.com

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.

20 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 road.cc, and is coming in at just under £1,000 http://road.cc/content/review/123955-verenti-insight-03-road-bike

    • 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 http://www.canyon.com/_en/outlet/list.html?type=race

  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): http://www.leisurelakesbikes.com/p/15267/trek-domane-23-compact-racing-road-bike-2014?gclid=CJemuove8b8CFcsJwwodJVsARQ

    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 http://www.triradar.com/gear/boardman-road-team-carbon-bike-review/

          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 :D

        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.

  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. http://www.dolan-bikes.com/

    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.

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