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Best all-around road bikes under $3,000

These bikes offer stiff and compliant frames and go easy on your wallet.

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You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to get a great bike. Reasonably priced bikes are better than ever thanks to trickle-down technology from top-of-the-line designs that offer similarly stiff and compliant frames with more affordable component packages. Sure these budget bikes weigh a bit more than the super tricked-out models, but they ride surprisingly well and will get you on the road for a fraction of the price. So if you’re looking for a new ride that doesn’t break the bank, check out our favorite all-around bikes under $3,000 that we’ve tested this year.

Specialized Allez Sprint

Photo: Specialized
Photo: Specialized

Price: $2,600
Overall Score: 90.2/100

Specialized’s aluminum race bike has the stiffest head tube we’ve tested this year, which translates to remarkably agile handling. The frame shines under power with stiffness numbers better than Specialized’s carbon Tarmac. And while aluminum has a reputation for harshness, the Allez is in no way uncomfortable. It does transmit more road vibration than a good carbon bike, but it also feels more alive than even a high-end carbon bike. There’s just a more direct connection to the road.

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Orbea Orca M30

Photo: Orbea
Photo: Orbea

Price: $2,600
Overall Score: 82.7/100

The Orca is a race-worthy platform, stiff and somewhat unforgiving but thoroughly enjoyable at speed. The handling, in particular, sets the frame apart. This is one of the best-handling road bikes available in 2016, at any price. It inspires confidence in fast corners and is perfectly controlled in slow ones. A stiff head tube and wide-set fork legs provide a planted, solid feel when wrenching on the bars. Sprinters and climbers will struggle to find a better bargain.

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BMC Teammachine SLR02

Photo: BMC
Photo: BMC

Price: $2,600
Overall Score: 81.5/100

The Teammachine is made for the way most of us ride: Lots of long, sometimes fast miles for fun and fitness, with the occasional race thrown in. There isn’t a lot of wow to the SLR02, but this carbon bike is a remarkable value and offers an acceptably comfortable ride. Consider it your everyday training bike and you’ll love it.

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Jamis Xenith Race

Photo: Jamis
Photo: Jamis

$2,899
Overall Score: 80.3/100

Jamis’ Xenith Race is such a screaming deal that we had to double-check the price. This is a stiff, predictable, and raceable carbon fiber frame paired with an all-carbon fork. And it boasts a full Shimano Ultegra build, save for the rear derailleur, which is top-shelf Dura-Ace. While by no means the lightest bike around, the Xenith is a steal. If you’re looking to get into racing on a budget, you could do a lot worse.

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