Road bike prices are often far from cheap. Superbikes can easily exceed the $10,000 mark. Are these high prices justifiable? Are superbikes worth it?
I have compiled data from almost 500 road bikes by major manufacturers, to discover whether this is the case.
Throughout this article, I will visualize diminishing returns, investigate the popularity of rim brakes, take a closer look at what road bike type is the most widespread within today’s market, and much more.
Let’s get to it.
- This research includes bikes from the following brands:
BMC, Bianchi*, Boardman, Cannondale*, Canyon, Cervélo*, Colnago*, Cube, Eddy Merckx*, Factor*, Felt, Focus, Fuji*, Giant*, Lapierre, Merida, Orbea*, Ribble, Ridley, Scott, Specialized*, Trek, Triban, Van Rysel, Vitus, and Wilier*.
Brands marked with * do not publish weights online. Therefore, they were excluded from statistics that include weight measurement.
(Pinarello road bikes were not included because they do not publish prices nor weights online).
- Prices, weights, and other technical details were taken from each product’s official website.
- Data were collected in June 2021.
- Every bike is included once (same bike in different colors = one bike). This does not apply to bikes equipped with different groupsets (same bike with Ultegra or Ultegra Di2 = two bikes).
Prices of Road Bikes
The chart below shows the total number of road bikes by material.
NOTE: Owing to the low number of titanium (3) and steel (9) road bikes, I do not examine them individually as carbon and aluminum road bikes.
Road Bikes (All Materials)
This section details the prices of 477 bikes. Most are made from carbon (78%) and aluminum (19.5%). Steel and titanium (2.5%) bikes are rare among mainstream brands.
The cheapest road bike is the Triban Abyss RC100 (499 USD).
The most expensive road bike is the BMC TEAMMACHINE SLR01 TEAM (15,999 USD).
The average price of a road bike is 4,884 USD.
Carbon Road Bikes
Of the 477 bikes observed in this study, 372 are made of carbon. This accounts for 78% of all road bikes.
The cheapest carbon road bike is the Ribble R872 – Sport Shimano Tiagra (1,291 USD).
The most expensive carbon road bike is the BMC TEAMMACHINE SLR01 TEAM (15,999 USD).
The average price of a carbon road bike is 5,821 USD.
Aluminum Road Bikes
93 of the total of 477 bikes were made from aluminum. This accounts for 19.5%.
The cheapest aluminum road bike is the Triban Abyss RC100 (499 USD).
The most expensive aluminum road bike is Cannondale CAAD13 Disc Ultegra (3,200 USD).
The average price of an aluminum road bike is 1,410 USD.
Weight of Road Bikes – Diminishing Returns Visualized
The following chart shows the diminishing returns of high-end bikes. Features like stiffness and aerodynamics are also very important when choosing a road bike, though, these cannot be easily quantified. Thus, I only examine the weight and price.
The breaking point of the diminishing returns accelerates at around 1 USD per gram. To get the best price/weight ratio, I recommend you purchase a bike that costs less than 1 USD per gram (ideally around 0.5 USD/g).
The average price per gram of a road bike is 0.603 USD (of 242 bikes).
The average price per gram of a carbon road bike is 0.739 USD (of 186 bikes).
The average price per gram of an aluminum road bike is 0.145 USD (of 53 bikes). This is five times lower than the average price per gram of a carbon road bike.
If you are interested what is your bike price to weight ratio, you can easily calculate it using the following calculator.
CALCULATE THE PRICE/WEIGHT RATIO OF YOUR BIKE
Rim vs. Disc Brakes – Are Rim Brakes Dead?
The short answer is that rim brakes are not dead, but they are an endangered species. Take a look at the following chart.
Of 477 road bikes, 83% come with disc brakes and only 17% with rim brakes.
Interestingly, though most aero road bikes use disc brakes, 4 models did not. These are as follows:
- Fuji Transonic 2.1 Rim
- Ridley Noah 24T
- Factor ONE SRAM Force eTAP AXS Rim
- Factor ONE SRAM RED eTAP AXS Rim
This chart shows how many bikes come with disc or rim brakes based on type. Endurance road bikes have the highest rim brake ratio (31.25%) while aero road bikes have the lowest (5%).
Rim vs. Disc Brake Road Bikes Weight Compared
Now, let’s talk about the weight difference between rim and disc brake road bikes. How much heavier are the disc brake road bikes? Remember, that I have only included those bicycles that have a weight published on the manufacturer’s website.
The following chart shows the average weight of road bikes in the selected price ranges and also the total number of bikes at every price range.
Most rim brake road bikes fall in the 499 USD to 2000 USD price range. There are no rim brake road bikes above 6000 USD with the weight stated by the manufacturer.
Due to the small number of samples (especially in higher price ranges), it is impossible to exactly quantify by how much heavier the disc road bikes are. However, 0.5 to 1 kg would be a good estimate.
Performance, Aero, vs. Endurance – Does it Matter?
I was also interested in the price and weight differences are of performance, aero, and endurance road bikes.
Before we dive in, let me briefly explain these road bike types:
- Aero – aggressive geometry, aero optimized (thicker tubes, deep section wheels, etc.).
- Performance (also called racing, lightweight bikes) – aggressive, racing geometry, not as aero optimized as aero road bikes.
- Endurance – less aggressive and more comfortable geometry, than performance road bikes, not as aero optimized. Very like performance road bikes.
Learn more: How to Choose a Road Bike?
The following chart shows the average, maximum, and minimum prices of road bikes based on their type.
The average price of an aero road bike (6,895 USD) is twice as high as the average price of an endurance road bike (3,166 USD). The average price of a performance road bike is 5,647 USD.
The cheapest aero road bike (Merida REACTO 4000) costs 3,107 USD* while the cheapest endurance road bike (Triban Abyss RC100) 499 USD. The cheapest performance road bike (Specialized Allez) costs 1,000 USD.
*This price was converted from 66,990 CZK (the price in USD was not available).
The most expensive aero road bike (Felt AR FRD Ultimate RED eTap AXS) costs 14,999 USD, while the most expensive performance road bike (BMC TEAMMACHINE SLR01 TEAM) is 15,999 USD. The most expensive endurance road bike (BMC ROADMACHINE 01 TWO) costs 12,799 USD.
Price per gram
The average price per gram for an aero road bike is 0.890 USD.
The average price per gram for an endurance road bike is 0.359 USD.
The average price per gram for a performance road bike is 0.723 USD.
The minimum price per gram for an aero road bike is 0.366 USD (Ridley Fenix SL Disc).
The minimum price per gram for an endurance road bike is 0.044 USD (Triban Abyss RC100).
The minimum price per gram for a performance road bike is 0.112 USD (Boardman SLR 8.8 DISC 2021).
The maximum price per gram for an aero road bike is 1.945 USD (Felt AR FRD Ultimate RED eTap AXS).
The maximum price per gram for an endurance road bike is 1.513 USD (Trek Domane SLR 9).
The maximum price per gram for a performance road bike is 1.881 USD (Felt FR FRD Ultimate Dura-Ace Di2).
The following chart shows the average, maximum, and minimum weights of road bikes based on their type.
The average weight of an aero road bike is 8.03 kg
The average weight of an endurance road bike is 9.05 kg.
The average weight of a performance road bike is 7.97 kg.
The heaviest aero road bike (Felt AR Advanced 105) weighs 8.91 kg.
The heaviest endurance road bike (Triban Abyss RC100) weighs 11.29 kg.
The heaviest performance road bike (Merida SCULTURA 200) weighs 9.92 kg.
The lightest aero road bike (Ridley Noah Fast Disc) weighs 7.22 kg.
The lightest endurance road bike (Ribble Endurance SL R Series Shimano Dura-Ace Di2) weighs 7.10 kg.
The lightest performance road bike (Canyon Ultimate CFR Disc eTap) weighs 6.52 kg.
Here are the key findings of this research:
- Of 477 road bikes, 78% are made from carbon, 19.5% from aluminum, and just 2.5% from steel or titanium.
- Of 477 road bikes, 83% come with disc brakes and only 17% with rim brakes.
- The point of the diminishing returns accelerates at around 1 USD per gram (see the chart).
- The average price per gram of an aluminum road bike is 0.145 USD (of 53 bikes). This is five times lower than the average price per gram 0.739 USD of a carbon road bike (of 186 bikes).
- Only 4 road bikes for under 999 USD (of 16 total) come with disc brakes.
- The average price of an aero road bike (6,895 USD) is twice as high as the average price of an endurance road bike (3,166 USD). The average price of a performance road bike is 5,647 USD.
- The average weight of an aero road bike is 8.03 kg, while the average weight of a performance bike 7.97 kg. Endurance bikes average at 9.05 kg.
I hope you enjoyed these statistics and that they provide a useful source of information that will help you to decide which road bike to purchase.
If you like numbers, charts, and visualized data, make sure to check out my other cycling statistics.