A-Z Guide To Major Road Bike Brands

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reviewed by Rory McAllister
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Choosing between the hundreds of road bike brands on the market can be a challenging ordeal.

With so many different options in terms of geometry, material, price point, and everything else, it can seem like an impossible task to land on an individual brand or model.

There is a seemingly endless list of road bike brands out there, but some are held in higher regard than others.

So, what are some of the best road bike brands?

Well, to help you out, we’ve put together a list of some of the best-known and highest-regarded road bike brands around.

Before we start, we’d like to acknowledge that there’s absolutely no way this is an exhaustive list. There are hundreds of wonderful road bike brands out there, and we’d love for this list to evolve with the suggestions of our readers as we fill in the gaps!

Let’s get to it!

A-Z Guide to Road Bike Brands: Title Image


  • Founded: 1885
  • Origin: Milan, Italy
  • Known For: Racing Bikes, Mountain Bikes

The oldest bike manufacturer still in existence, Bianchi is a true icon of the sport.

Bianchi – and its instantly recognizable “Celeste” colorway – is synonymous with cycling legends such as Fausto Coppi and Marco Pantani.

Vintage Bianchis rank among the most desirable and envy-inducing bikes around, and the company continues to produce high-end road bikes, time trial bikes, and track bikes to this day – alongside a more recent entry into the mountain bike market.

Bianchi’s flagship road bike models are the Specialissima and the Oltre.


  • Founded: 1986
  • Origin: Grenchen, Switzerland
  • Known For: High-quality road bikes

BMC is a high-end road bike manufacturer based in Switzerland. After its founding in 1986, BMC largely focused on trying to make road bikes that were faster than the competition.

In their own words: “This singular focus on speed has led us to become the brand we are today: fast, unrelenting, and iconic.”

BMC bikes are truly some of the best on the market and offer amateur riders the opportunity to enjoy a flagship experience. If you’re in search of a high-end road bike to enjoy for years to come then BMC is a great option.

BMC tends to focus on the upper mid-range to professional-standard market and is renowned for its excellent build quality and aerodynamic, lightweight road bikes.

Despite the relatively young age, BMC sponsored a Tour de France team until 2018, supplying their racing machines. They even have a yellow jersey to their name, as Cadel Evans won the Tour in 2011 riding a BMC bike.

BMC’s flagship road bike model is the Teammachine.


  • Founded: 2007
  • Origin: London, UK
  • Known For: World-class carbon fiber racing bikes.

Boardman Bikes were designed to win Olympic Golds.

Legendary British racer Chris Boardman founded Boardman Bikes in 2007 before joining Team GB as the equipment and technical manager for their legendary outing at the 2008 Games.

Chris Boardman heads up R&D for the brand, whose bikes are informed by a technical approach to performance training, they manufacture world-class carbon fiber racing bikes, as well as gravel bikes, hardtail, and full-suspension mountain bikes.

Relative to many of the brands in this list, Boardman bikes are difficult to beat in terms of value for money given the quality of their design and componentry.


  • Founded: 1971
  • Origin: Wilton, Connecticut, United States
  • Known For: Excellent build quality in a range of budgets

Just like the other American road bike brands on this list, Cannondale was founded during the “bike boom” which saw a massive increase in demand for bicycles in the US due to the inability of the European brands to keep up with the increasing demand across the pond.

With a huge range of budgets and disciplines, Cannondale caters to both the complete beginner and the seasoned pro but doesn’t compromise on the frames.

Arguably, Cannondale revolutionized the road bike market by pioneering the use of Computer-Aided Design (CAD) to design road bike frames in 1992. A technique which, of course, is used by nearly every modern road bike brand today.

Using the (then) revolutionary CAD technology and finite element analysis, Cannondale created the “2.8” series (referring to the weight of the 2.8 lb frame), which was later adapted to become the iconic CAAD line of racing bikes.

Cannondale’s flagship road bike models are the SystemSix and SuperSix.


  • Founded: 2002
  • Origin: Koblenz, Germany
  • Known For: Cutting-edge, innovative frame and component designs

Canyon has made a name for itself as an excellent road bike brand incredibly quickly.

Having been founded just over 20 years ago, Canyon road bikes are some of the most desirable on the market among amateurs, known for their innovative designs and performance-focused cutting-edge geometries.

The German brand has also been a sponsor for a Tour de France team and provided bikes for riders on the grandest stage in cycling.

Perhaps the most famous line of aero road bikes on the market, the Canyon Aeroad is known to hold some of the most efficient aerodynamics of any road bike. The line began in 2011, and continues to this day, remaining one of the most desirable aero road bikes.

Canyon is also known for its innovation, not just for performance, but also comfort. The Canyon split handlebars and seatpost offer unparalleled arm comfort and compliance for a less-than-smooth road.

Canyon’s flagship road bike models are the Aeroad and the Ultimate.


  • Founded: 1995
  • Origin: Toronto, Canada
  • Known For: A plethora of Tour de France-quality racers

Another fairly young company, Cervélo is a brand that has become ubiquitous with professional road cycling success.

Their continued sponsorship of elite athletes has led to widespread recognition of them as a high-quality road bike brand, most famously with Jumbo-Visma.

In this year’s Tour de France, Jonas Vingegaard rode the new Cervélo C5 to victory for the second consecutive year.

As demonstrated by their racing success, Cervélo has concentrated its efforts on high-performance road bikes. The first-ever design, named the “Barrachi”, was made by its founders in the early ’90s as an engineering project while studying at McGill University.

The bike was so “out there” that it was rejected by many Italian bike brands and did not satisfy UCI’s strict rules for a professional racing bike. Looking at the first Cervélo in hindsight, however, it’s clear it was years ahead of its time.

From day one, Cervélo has utilized aerodynamic modeling through computational fluid dynamics and empirical analysis through wind tunnel testing.

These tools – standard in contemporary road bike design – were pioneered by Cervélo, one of the reasons that they have seen such success in the professional cycling world.

Cervélo’s flagship road bike models are the S5 and R5.


  • Founded: 1948
  • Origin: Milan, Italy
  • Known For: Road Bikes, Track Bikes

An Italian icon with a rich cycling heritage, Cinelli remains a major name in the sport.

Founded by Cino Cinelli, a decorated racer in his own right with multiple Classic victories to his name, Cinelli’s influence in twentieth-century bike design was arguably greater than the fame the manufacturer gained in its own right.

Alongside outstanding road bike frames, Cinelli also built a reputation for their innovative, outlandish “funny” track bikes with a deadly combination of speed and style – the Laser being a key example.

The Supercorsa (originally Speciale Corsa until a decal manufacturing mishap) remains in production over 70 years after its introduction and is among the most iconic road bikes in history.

Cinelli continue to produce high-quality frames and components to this day and have garnered a cult following, especially amongst fixie fanatics.


  • Founded: 1952
  • Origin: Milan, Italy
  • Known For: Legendary racing bikes

Colnago is one of the true heavyweights of elite cycling.

Alongside frame building, Ernesto Colnago built his early reputation as one of the most sought-after bike mechanics in the sport, including for the great Eddy Merckx.

With time, recognition – and then reverence – for his steel racing frames followed.

Colnago frames have a reputation for exceptional quality and creative innovation. The Colnago Master X-Light introduced in the late ’80s is widely regarded as among the greatest road bikes ever built.

It is perhaps surprising given Colnago’s rich history that the manufacturer has only two Tour de France victories to its name, both courtesy of Tadej Pogačar (2020, 2021).

Colnago’s flagship road bike models are the C68 and the V4RS.


  • Founded: 1972
  • Origin: Taiwan
  • Known For: World’s largest bicycle manufacturer

Giant began life as a manufacturer for other firms, first achieving major success by signing a deal with Schwinn to produce their bikes, providing more than 70% of their bikes by the mid-1980s.

When Schwinn took its business elsewhere in 1987, Giant decided to go it alone and began marketing bikes under their own name, achieving huge success by targeting the booming mid-range market.

The same year, Giant introduced the CADEX carbon fiber road bike – which was among the earliest to apply computer-aided design to the production of carbon road bikes.

An even more influential design innovation was the sloping top tube, introduced by Giant in 1995, which remains an incredibly common feature in road bike design.

The resulting smaller rear triangle increased the stiffness of the rear end of the bike, and made the frame lighter due to the reduction in material required.

Such innovations, alongside savvy business decisions and strong value for money, saw Giant grow rapidly into the world’s largest bicycle manufacturer.

Though Giant have no Tour de France victories to their name, Tom Dumoulin won the 2017 Giro d’Italia on a Giant bike, while the green and polka-dot jerseys at Le Tour were also won on Giant bikes by Michael Matthews and Warren Barguil respectively the same year.

Giant’s flagship road bike models are the TCR and the Propel.


  • Founded: 1930
  • Origin: Mallabia, Spain
  • Known For: Lightweight carbon fiber road bikes

Orbea has been producing bicycles for nearly 100 years and has become the most successful Spanish bicycle manufacturer in the modern era.

Orbea is well-known for its lightweight carbon fiber road bikes, often used by grimpeurs and hill climbing racers, but they produce a wide spectrum of different bikes for different disciplines.

Their most famous model is the Orca. The newest Orbea Orca comes in at just 6.7 kg, making it one of the most lightweight production bicycles in existence (and, unfortunately, UCI-illegal).

Although perhaps not as successful in professional road cycling as others on this list, the Cofidis team rode Orbea Orcas at the Grand Tours in the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

However, they also have an Olympic gold medal to their name from 2008 in Beijing, and two separate Ironman World Triathlon Championships through Craig Alexander in 2008 and 2009.


  • Founded: 1860
  • Origin: Sutton, UK
  • Known For: World’s oldest family-run bike brand

Founded by blacksmith Tom Pearson in Sutton in 1860, the firm is still maintained five generations later by William and Guy Pearson, who run the shop in West London.

Pearson is an iconic British brand known for top-quality road and gravel bikes, and they get extra British cycling cred as a Brompton retailer.

Out of their range, the HammerandTongs (a nod to their smithy origins) is Pearson’s crown jewel, a premium endurance bike that can stand toe-to-toe with its opposite number from any international brand.


  • Founded: 1952
  • Origin: Treviso, Italy
  • Known For: Performance Racing Bikes

One of the most legendary Italian cycling brands, Pinarello is known for its performance-focused, peloton-quality racers. They have a long history of success in the cycling world, arguably due to the quality of their frames.

Pinarellos have been ridden to victory in numerous major cycling races, including the Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia, and the Vuelta a España.

Some of the world’s top professional cyclists have ridden Pinarello bikes to major victories, including Eddy Merckx, Miguel Indurain, and more recently Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas, and Egan Bernal.

Modern Pinarello bikes such as the Dogma line have been commonplace in the peloton in recent years, but their older models enjoyed similar esteem through a huge number of professional road cycling victories.

Pinarello bikes are renowned for both their performance and aesthetics, with many beautiful vintage steel models, as well as their sleek and modern carbon models.

Pinarello’s flagship road bike models are the Dogma and the F9.


  • Founded: 1897
  • Origin: Preston, United Kingdom
  • Known For: Leading British bicycle manufacturer

Ribble is one of the oldest brands on this list and has been manufacturing bicycles for over 125 years. They produce a diverse range of bikes for different disciplines and budgets. Today, Ribble is the most popular British cycling brand in production.

Though Ribble has seen success in the professional cycling world, they have largely taken the British bicycle market by making slightly more accessible but still high-quality road bikes.

Unlike many of the bike brands on this list, Ribble is perhaps most well-known for their endurance road bikes. These are still high-performance road bikes, but sacrifice some aerodynamic efficiency to prioritize comfort for use on long days in the saddle.

Ribble’s flagship road bike models are the Ultra and the Endurance.


  • Founded: 1974
  • Origin: Morgan Hill, California, United States
  • Known For: Vast range of bikes across varied budgets and disciplines

In the modern era, Specialized is one of the most successful bicycle brands in the world. The flagship S-Works sub-company is widespread across the peloton and ridden by the likes of Peter Sagan, Remco Evenepoel, and Jai Hindley.

Specialized quickly made a name for themselves in the ’70s and ’80s through high-quality manufacturing largely inspired by Cinelli’s road bikes.

Though the brand is renowned across the board in cycling disciplines, Specialized’s road bikes are some of the best on the market.

Like Trek, however, if you don’t quite have the budget to ride the same bike as a grand tour winner, they cater to essentially all different budgets, and the original Specialized road bike line, Specialized Allez, is still an excellent choice for a reliable more accessible option.

Specialized’s flagship road bike model is the Tarmac.


  • Founded: 1976
  • Origin: Waterloo, Wisconsin, United States
  • Known For: A diverse range of reliable bikes for all disciplines and budgets

Trek, founded in 1976, was actually one of the latest of the bike boom American brands. However, today, they are by far the most popular brand in the States, representing a whopping 22.5% of the total bicycle market in the country.

They gained the respect and trust of the cycling market through consistently producing reliable and quality bicycles – and they now cater to any and all cyclists across a wide range of disciplines, experience levels, and budgets.

After its founding, Trek began making artisan hand-brazed upper-mid-range racing and touring bikes in the hopes of biting a chunk out of the market dominated by the likes of Bianchi and Pinarello.

The Trek Madone is a legendary line of bicycles, still ridden in the Tour today, first released during the Armstrong era and named for one of Armstrong’s favorite climbs, the Col de la Madone.

Trek once boasted 10 Tour de France victories, but all seven of Lance Armstrong’s infamous Tour de France wins were struck off, along with one of Alberto Contador’s three, for doping offenses.

They also remain a high-profile name sponsor of the Tour de France team Lidl-Trek, who rode in this year’s Tour and even picked up the King of the Mountains jersey through Giulio Ciccone.

Trek’s flagship road bike models are the Madone, Émonda, and Domane.

Any essential road bike brands you think we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below!

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Jack is an experienced cycling writer based in San Diego, California. Though he loves group rides on a road bike, his true passion is backcountry bikepacking trips. His greatest adventure so far has been cycling the length of the Carretera Austral in Chilean Patagonia, and the next bucket-list trip is already in the works. Jack has a collection of vintage steel racing bikes that he rides and painstakingly restores. The jewel in the crown is his Colnago Master X-Light.

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