Best Steel Road Bikes of 2020 – Buyer’s Guide

Cycling or bike-riding is a good hobby that keeps you active and healthy. It is also a sport that a lot of people love to compete in.

This is why nowadays we have bikes for different types of terrains and different types of biking such as dirt, mountain, and road made out of different materials.

In this post, we’ll discuss multiple types of steel road bikes available in today's market, their different features, and what makes them stand out enough to be on our list.

Our Top Picks for Steel Road Bikes

  • Chromyl steel frame
  • Shimano Claris shifters
  • Mechanical disc brakes
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  • Double butted steel frame
  • Standard disc brakes
  • External cable routing
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  • Best for the Money
  • Mechanical disc brakes
  • 21 speed shifter
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Comparison of the Best Steel Road Bikes

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Equipped with a chromyl steel frame and fork
  • Shimano Claris shifters included
  • Uses mechanical disc brakes
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  • Double butted steel frame
  • Equipped with standard disc brakes
  • External cable routing
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  • Best for the Money
  • Uses mechanical disc brakes
  • Comes with a 21 speed Shimano gear shifter
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  • Lightest Steel Road Bike
  • Durable and strong construction
  • High performance gearing system
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  • Best Steel Road Racing Bike
  • Comes with alloy caliper brakes
  • A racing seat is included
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Are All Steel Road Bikes The Same?

No, not all steel road bikes are the same. Each company that manufactures steel road bikes has some sort of standout feature they add to their model, making it more appealing.

There is also the difference of steel used in the frame, how the wheels are made, and their size. Differences also exist in the height of the frame, sizes of the bike, brake mechanism, the chain, and the fork material.

Different bikes also have different seat orientation.

Can You Really Find a Quality Steel Road Bike That's Affordable?

The price range of steel road bikes is generally from $300 to nearly $16,000. This diverse range includes all types of steel bikes manufactured by various brands with several features.

You do not have to spend every dollar in your savings account or break the bank for a good-quality bike. What it does require is research. Ask around on forums, read reviews, ask regular riders what model they have and what they started with.

So yes, you can get a good quality bike for an affordable price. You just need to know where to look.

Quick Take - Best Steel Road Bikes

Skip the review - here's a snapshot of the best steel road bikes:

  1. Giordano Trieste Gravel Bike
  2. Cinelli Hobootleg
  3. LZBIKE Road Bike LZ-550

Review of the Best Steel Road Bikes

Now that we have read a little bit about steel road bikes in general, let's get into some top products, their features, and what makes them stand out.

Giordano Trieste Gravel Bike, 700c Small

pros

  • Fork made of Chromoly Steel as well
  • Has a frame made of Chromoly Steel
  • Consists of the Claris STI Shifters by Shimano
  • Mechanical disc brake mechanism makes it easy to stop the bike smoothly
  • Equipped with high-quality and powerful 42mm tires, is 700cc, double-wall alloy rim

cons

  • Some bikes came with the wrong set of brake calipers
  • Handlebar tape melted away in one day because of hot weather

What Recent Buyers Report

People who recently bought this bike have loved it. It is a perfect steel gravel model that is a bit on the heavier side, but that's understandable because of the steel construction. It comes halfway assembled, and once fully assembled, it offers smooth riding. The gears and brakes come perfectly tuned, ensuring convenience for all buyers.

Why it Sstands Out to Us

This product stands out to us because of its Chromoly Steel construction. Chromoly Steel is one of the strongest materials in the industry and is also highly durable, ensuring that your money gets its value.

It is made with low alloy steel, which is a combination of chromium and molybdenum with steel. It is better than other manufacturing materials, so a bike frame constructed out of this material will be a lot stronger and better in performance than one made of normal carbon steel. And this is exactly what Giordano has done. The brand is already known for its high-performance bikes, so this feature just adds to their already existing good name.

Bottom Line

To conclude, the Giordano bike is a great product that consists of all the features that will make you fall in love. It is highly durable, comfortable to ride over long distances, and gives an overall smoother riding experience.

Cinelli Hobootleg Geo Bicycle - Blue Ridge Mountains S

pros

  • Comes with a bike chain from SRAM
  • Has an 11-speed drivetrain for fast and smooth riding
  • Equipped with the SRAM APEX-1 post-mount disc brakes
  • Blue exterior that has a corrosion-resistant electrophoretic coating
  • Consists of oversized Columbus Cromer double-butted steel tubing

cons

  • Bar tape was not very durable
  • Seat was not comfortable for longer distances

What Recent Buyers Report

Users stated that the construction of the frame stands out in this unit. The double-butted steel may seem like overkill, and it does make the bike heavier, but it also makes it more durable. Other reports suggest that it is a great tour bike for its value and comes with many SRAM parts that make it worthwhile.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Columbus is an outstanding company when it comes to bike components, especially in the case of bike frames and steel tubes.

The incredible Columbus Cromer double-butted steel tubes are used in this product's construction. They are a blend of chromium and steel with their signature double thickness. As a result, the bike's weight is light and offers great user convenience.

Due to the high-quality steel used in the manufacturing of this vehicle, durability will not be questioned even if you use this bike in tough and rough conditions.

Bottom Line

The Cinelli bike is a perfect balance of good construction material and versatile features. It has an 11-speed drivetrain, a set of SRAM disc brakes and a bike chain from them, and chrome-moly steel fork that all make it one of the best bikes.

Best for the Money:
LZBIKE Road Bike LZ-550

Road Bike LZ-550 Steel Bicycle disc Brake 21 Speed Road Bike

pros

  • Spoke Wheels are made of Magnesium 3 Alloy
  • Easy assembling and comes with all the parts required
  • Consists of disc brakes for smooth and non-jerky braking
  • Excellent black and white exterior made of high-quality steel tubing
  • Bike is 21-speed and has a transmission system manufactured by Shimano

cons

  • Takes effort to turn the crank
  • Not lightweight, which might be inconvenient

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of users have commended the smoothness of this bike. They also like that it does not get jerks or hiccups even on rough and uneven landscapes. While it is heavier than some counterparts, the bike looks great and comes with all the hardware required for installation. It is pretty affordable even after you get the upgrades.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The magnesium wheels are what makes this unit different from the others on our list.

Magnesium is an alloy, and the wheels made from it are lighter than the ones made from steel or aluminum. Therefore, the bike has a lightweight structure that makes riding easier. 

The unit also gives great mileage, allowing the suspension to get used to the terrain it is on and also reduces unsprung weight.

Bottom Line

To sum up, the magnesium-3 alloy tires are a great addition to this bike and make it stand out from the rest. It is smooth to ride, has an easy and smooth braking mechanism, and has an excellent black and white appearance.

Lightest Steel Road Bike:
Cinelli Vigorelli Road Bike

Cinelli Vigorelli Road Bike

pros

  • Paintwork is high in quality and durable
  • Tire clearance can take up to 28mm tires
  • Comes with formula hubs in the wheelset
  • Features the high-quality SRAM bike chain
  • Has the highly regarded Thron Frame by Columbus

cons

  • No color options available
  • Brakes are not of the best quality

What Recent Buyers Report

Other than a few minor issues in some of the units delivered, most buyers have liked the design and appearance of this bike. They report that it is lighter than most other units found on the market, which is pretty great as you can easily ride it for long distances.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The SRAM bike chain in this bike makes it worthy of your money.

SRAM is a well-known manufacturer of bike components and is known for its durable and simple products. This goes for the chain used in this unit as well. It is incredibly easy to install and remove. Most users have praised the fact that the assembly of this vehicle doesn't even require any tools.

It is highly durable, has a solid structure, and is guaranteed to enhance your performance as a rider.

Bottom Line

To summarize, this is overall a great bike that doesn't just work perfectly but also looks great. It has a durable paint job, which makes it very eye-catching. There are also features such as a high-quality chain, tire size and clearance, formula hubs, and the incredible Thron frame by Columbus.

Best Steel Road Racing Bike:
700c Men's Kent RoadTech

700c Men's Kent RoadTech Road Bike, Green/Black

pros

  • Comfortable seat for long rides
  • Consists of alloy caliper brakes and levers
  • Has a lime-green painted, welded steel tube frame
  • High-quality Vitesse alloy racing rims can hold down heavyweights riders
  • Features a 21-Speed Drivetrain with Rear Derailleur and Rev Shifts System by Shimano

cons

  • Poor quality tire rims
  • Malfunctioning brakes reported

What Recent Buyers Report

Most reviews received for this product have been positive. It has been called a great bike, with great wheels, which shifts easily, almost like a locomotive. The stable driving experience buyers had with this vehicle is impressive. Buyers love that you can make adjustments to the vehicle if you want, but most people liked it just as it was.

Why it Stands Out to Us

When buying a bike, people want to focus on the different components that it consists of, as they reflect the overall quality. Shimano is famous for good-quality bike components, which is why Kent has made this bike stand out even more by using derailleur and rev shifts in its construction.

The transmission of this vehicle depends on this robust system. It determines the amount of force required to ride the bike, how smooth the ride will be, whether it will be jerky or have hiccups, etc. The derailleur system by Shimano takes all of this into account. It provides riders with a good-quality mechanism that makes it fun to ride on different terrains without any difficulty.

Bottom Line

Undoubtedly, this product will be a great way to ensure a smooth and excellent biking experience. This unit has been received well by all its buyers. Even pro-level riders recommend this model. The Shimano shifters surely add on to the excellence of this unit.

Best Steel Road Bike Under $1000:
Giordano Acciao Road Bike

Giordano Acciao Road Bike, 700c, Medium

pros

  • Made of durable, high-tensile steel
  • Has the alloy dual-caliber pivot brakes
  • Consists of the tourney STI shifters by Shimano
  • Tire clearance to install tires of 25mm with ease
  • Most components are made of high stencil steel, ensuring longevity

cons

  • Shifters broke easily in some cases
  • Brakes are hard and require lots of force

What Recent Buyers Report

Strong, robust, and heavy-duty is how most users and buyers have described this product. People loved how strong yet lightweight it is. The variety of different sizes proved to be really helpful for most buyers. The bike is reported to perform incredibly well, even on challenging terrains, and the powerful alloy rims help with that.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Shimano STI Shifters are known for their amazing performance. They are usually used on racing bikes and are known for their quality. The inclusion of this feature in the unit is what professional bikers love about it.

STI stands for Shimano Total Integration, which is a gearshift system that combines gear shifting and braking controls into one component. This allows users to shift gears without having to remove hands from the handlebars. This is very effective when it comes to racing bikes, as you do not need to slow down or remove your eyes from your actual route while riding. This additional feature has made the Giordano Acciao even better.

Bottom Line

The bike is lighter in weight than some other conventional ones, which is good as it is easier to ride and fun. The durable tensile steel frame and fork are great features and make sure that you enjoy this bike for a long time.

Pros and Cons of Steel Road Bikes

We have described the different details of our top picks in the market. Now, let's discuss the positive and negative aspects of steel road bikes.

Pros

Some of the positive aspects of these bikes are:

Strong

Steel is a very powerful material. It is an alloy of iron that can have other substances, such as chromium, carbon, manganese, etc. to increase its fracture resistance, stretching, and strength. It is also durable and withstands different weather conditions or amounts of pressure. Therefore, steel bikes are incredibly durable and sturdy.

Easy to Repair

If there is extensive damage caused to your bike, do not fret as it can be easily repaired. Steel can be welded, especially in the case of a damaged bike. And in the case of steel tubes, they can be retightened, so your bike can be recovered to its original form.

Smooth

For the last few years, steel had been the only material used in the frames of bikes. But now other materials, such as aluminum, carbon, and titanium are also used. However, that does not mean that steel has lost its place.

It is loved for its smooth performance, which is why tourists and racing bikes are still made of steel. It is also an excellent option for those who want to customize their bike's frame.

Cons

Meanwhile, some negative aspects that you will come across include:

Heavy

Steel is very smooth, but it is also quite heavy. This is why steel bike manufacturers need to understand and find the perfect balance of steel and lightweight quality. Lower-quality steel bikes are usually heavier, and they need a lot of transmission power to move, which is why a long ride in their case is out of the question.

Rust

Steel is also susceptible to rust. If you mostly ride in wet or humid conditions, be aware of this. But this also has a solution: galvanization. Through this process, steel is coated in another metal, namely zinc, to protect it from corrosive damage.

Comparison Overview

Now that we have reviewed our products and discussed some positive and negative aspects of steel bikes, let's compare steel with some other bike manufacturing materials to see if a steel bike is the perfect option for you.

Steel vs. Carbon Road Bikes

Both of these are common materials used in the manufacturing of bikes. They both have aspects that make them differ from one another. 

So below, we have a few similarities and differences between steel and carbon road bikes.

Similarities

  • Both offer comfort for their riders, especially if you ride on rocky terrain, as they have great shock absorbency.

Differences

  • Carbon is the lightest material, while steel is the heaviest.
  • In terms of flexibility, steel is more rigid than carbon.
  • Steel is now beginning to be used in bicycle racing, while carbon has always been used in competitive cycling.
  • Carbon is more expensive than steel.
  • No bike frame is as durable as steel.

Steel vs. Aluminum Road Bikes

While steel has long been used for bikes, aluminum is a relatively new material. Both have their differences and similarities. 

Similarities

  • Both are used to manufacture bike frames, specifically city bike frames.
  • The two are highly reliable materials that offer a high level of strength and smoothness while riding.

Differences

  • Steel is heavier than aluminum.
  • Aluminum is a lot more brittle.
  • Aluminum frames are stiffer in comparison to steel and are mostly used in racing bikes.
  • Steel frames can take a hit, as they are stronger. One wrong dent or break can render a full aluminum frame useless.

Steel vs. Titanium Road Bikes

Titanium is another material that is often used to make road bikes. Let’s see a comparison between the two:

Similarities

  • These materials are preferred for manufacturing vehicles such as bikes and motorcycles. This is because they are incredibly durable.
  • Both are long-lasting in performance and offer a smooth ride, as they are great at absorbing vibrations and ensure lesser noise as well.

Differences

  • Titanium is less stiff than steel.
  • You can polish titanium, and it also has anti-corrosive properties.
  • Steel is heavier than titanium.
  • Titanium has a higher chance of being defective.
  • In terms of price, titanium is more expensive.

Conclusion

So, here you have it. This article aims to help you in picking and investing in the best steel road bike for your next bike trip. All the products reviewed above have to offer great value for your money, so don't miss out on these!

We hope that you make use of this article and choose the perfect bike for yourself.

People Also Ask

We did our very best to explain everything, but there may still be some things that are not fully clear. The following answers some common questions about these bikes. 

Are Steel Road Bikes Good?

Yes, steel road bikes are good. Steel is one of the heaviest materials in the industry, but it also has a certain springiness to its riding quality. It is highly durable and easy to repair.

Are Steel Bikes More Comfortable?

Steel bikes are comfortable to ride over long distances. Their frames are very strong and can absorb vibration, which enhances the rider's comfort.

Are Steel Bikes Heavy?

Yes, steel bikes are heavier than the ones made from aluminum, titanium, and carbon fiber.

How Do I Keep My Steel Bike From Rusting?

The one downside of steel is that it is susceptible to corrosive damage. But there are ways to prevent that. Installing fenders and frame protection equipment, lubricating your bike, washing and drying it, and galvanizing are ways to keep your bike from rusting.

How Long Does a Steel Bike Frame Last?

There is no set number of years for a steel frame. People have had bikes from 1951 that still work fine because they have maintained and taken care of them.