Last Updated on November 24, 2020 by Johannes Kristjansson
The bicycle market has become highly specialized over the years and there are no shortage of competent bike makers.
These companies that continue to adapt and innovate with new technology that helps keep them at the forefront of the industry.
Following is our list of the top 10 road bike brands on the market today.
While models change consistently from one year to the next, these brand names continue to make a favorable impression on cyclists in the United States and around the world.
Number One: Specialized
Specialized Bicycle Components have been designing, manufacturing, and marketing bicycles and related components since the early 1970s.
Founded in 1974 by avid cyclist, Mike Sinyard (who still maintains majority ownership in the company), Specialized has grown from humble beginnings into a powerful force in the quality bicycle industry.
Long-time trendsetters in the field of cycling, Specialized operating principles are based on the passion of the founder and his team of dedicated employees.
Specialized was the first to turn out a mountain bike (called the StumpJumper) as a major production run.
They were also the second company to put into mass production a mountain bike consisting of a carbon frame.
Specialized has grown through experience.
With a focus on innovation through actual riding experience,
they’ve continued to develop and advance their product line.
One notable product is the all-aluminum frame light sports bike for women.
It’s lightweight and easier to move around and it delivers a more comfortable ride too.
Specialized also boasts a wide range of mountain bikes that are both dependable and budget friendly.
Number Two: Cannondale Bicycle Corporation
Cannondale is another bike manufacturer who has dramatically evolved over the decades.
They began by making accessories like bicycle trailers, complete with cloth bags and cargo containers.
In fact, their supposedly innocently-named child trailer called the Bugger,
exposed Cannondale to a global audience and helped them gain a solid foothold.
When they first displayed their accessories at bike shows, they were flooded with interest from dealers and consumers.
Later, they developed a welding process that worked well on aluminum bike frames and it’s what helped them became a serious manufacture of bicycles.
Today Cannondale offers a wide range of higher-end bikes along with several accessories.
Today, their bike frames are made out of both welded aluminum and carbon fiber alloy.
They continue to sell well to an expanding market of serious cycling enthusiasts.
They also offer several carbon-framed variations of both hard-tail and full-suspension mountain bikes.
For cyclist who prefer gravel, dirt, and pavement, Cannondale offers quality built bikes that also provide a comfortable ride.
Number Three: Giant
The Giant Manufacturing Company Limited is aptly named – since it’s likely the world’s largest manufacturer of bicycles today.
In the early days, Giant was principally a manufacturer of bicycles for other brands most notably, Sshwinn.
At one point they manufactured nearly 70% of all Schwinn bicycles sold.
But in the 1980s, the two companies parted ways.
That’s when Giant began to establish its own brand, as they continued to manufacture bikes for several other brands.
Currently, Giant bikes are sold in more than 50 countries worldwide and are represented through more than 12,000 bicycle dealers.
Giant bikes in general are characterized by the comfortable and confident feel you get, both on and off the road.
These bicycles are also known for their affordability.
Their innovative “Liv” brand was designed by women and made exclusively for women – with a frame geometry engineered to better fit the female physique.
Giant’s road bike frames are constructed from aluminum alloy and are offered in six sizes – from extra small to extra large.
They also manufacture a high-grade carbon fiber frame.
It’s a popular brand among cyclists both in mountain and hybrid bike categories.
And several of their bikes are priced to be budget-friendly, thus accessing a wider market.
Number Four: Scott
Today, Scott is a major Swiss manufacturer of bicycles. But in the early days (1970s), they manufactured a variety of sporting goods and accessories, including ski poles.
Scott didn’t get into bike manufacturing until several years later.
In the 1980s, Scott’s innovative design of their clip-on aerodynamic handlebar made headlines.
It’s the same handlebar used in 1989 by American Greg LeMond, to win the 1989 Tour de France.
Scott was also the first to develop a full-suspension mountain bike.
And at one point (in the early 2000s), they boasted the lightest bike frame on the market.
Today, Scott is best known for its sporting bikes.
For example, the Sport Foil Premium features a carbon fiber frame to provide less drag and is excellent at reaching top speeds in all weather conditions.
Number Five: Bianchi Bicycles
Bianchi has been designing and manufacturing bicycles longer than any other maker on our list.
They were founded in Italy back in 1885 and despite a decades long foray into that motorcycle market, Bianchi continues to build bikes today and is one of the best-known brands.
Thanks to its patented “Celeste” color tone (a unique turquoise exclusive to Bianchi) Bianchi’s are one of the most easily identified quality bikes in the world.
Most designs and models boast this vibrant turquoise color, although some models only feature it as an accent color on a solid black frame.
Still, some people favor an all-black color scheme and so Bianchi also offers this on some models.
One of Bianchi Bicycles most notable innovations was the integrated vibration canceling system for bikes.
They’ve remained a premium player in the sports cycling market from the very beginning and have always produced quality products.
Number Six: Pinarello
Pinarello is an Italian bicycle manufacturer founded back in the 1950s. Originally, it supplied mostly handmade bikes for the road, track, and cyclo-cross markets.
They have their own in-house brand called, “Most”.
They also produce bicycles under the “Opera” brand.
The Pinarello Montello SLX was a breakthrough model for the company as it achieved worldwide recognition with several major wins – including the 1984 Summer Olympics.
Pinarello continues to innovate with its carbon fiber frames.
It appears that one of their goals is to get the most out of a fiber frame by testing the limits of the raw material in ways that exploit its physical characteristics – particularly it’s light weight and rigid stability.
Their top line – the Pinarello Dogma has evolved into several generations of bikes and it continues to gain popularity with its asymmetrical design made entirely of carbon fiber.
Pinarello makes high-end, high-performance bicycles that are lightweight and easy to maintain.
And although Pinarello is best known for its top-quality road bikes, they also manufacture bikes designed for riding in inner cities, on mountains tracks, and for competitive cyclo-cross.
Number Seven: Trek Bicycle Corporation
Trek is another major manufacturer of bikes with various brand names represented, including: Electra, Gary Fisher, Bontrager, Diamont, and Villiger bikes.
Though headquartered in the United States, Trek sells its bikes through 1700 dealers across Europe, Asia, and North America.
Trek started by building high-end steel bikes to compete with those made by Japanese and Italian makers.
But they quickly reached capacity and found the need to continually expand and innovate.
Trek continues to expand and grow with innovative developments.
One example is their line of hybrid bikes.
These combine the comfort of mountain bikes with the quickness of road bikes.
Another breakthrough for Trek came when they opened their own retail store.
Not only did it serve as a sales training center, it also proved to be an effective outlet for testing ideas and innovations before releasing them to the broader market.
Trek is another manufacturer who recognized and responded to the specific needs of women cyclists by designing a bike specifically for women, with the appropriate dimensions, fit and style.
Today Trek is best known for its high-quality hybrid and mountain bikes – as well as their solidly-performing road bicycles.
Trek bikes offer a combination of performance, value, and reliability in a lightweight design.
Number Eight: Cervélo
Cervélo claims that it builds the lightest and fastest professional bikes for tracks and roads.
Currently, Cervélo manufactures five different lines of bikes including their C-Series, R-series And S-series of road bikes.
There’s also the P-Series of triathlon/time trial bikes, and well as their T-series of bikes designed for the track.
Cervélo has grown from a simple idea that was part of a school project into a force in bicycle manufacturing, with several brands and plenty of fans.
In addition to their own brand, Cervélo also holds the rights to and/or manufactures bikes for Raleigh, Focus, Ghost, Santa Cruz Bicycles – and several others.
Cervélo is one manufacturer that has managed to produce an aluminum
frame that has successfully competed with carbon fiber framed road bikes.
Some customers claim that Cervélo ‘s climbing bikes are among the best in the world.
Currently they are recognized as the world’s largest manufacturer of triathlon bikes and time trial bikes.
Number Nine: BMC
BMC is a Swiss manufacturer who designs, builds, and distributes road bikes and commuter bikes for the North American, European, Australian, South African, and Asian markets.
Today, BMC is one of the most highly regarded premium performance bicycle brands in the world.
High standards is fundamental to the brand and that became evident when BMC set out to build the “Porsche of racing bikes” with their Impec road bike.
What helped BMC really explode on the marketplace was the development and continuous expansion of their own carbon fiber production facility.
In-house research and development at at the core of BMC’s success.
Number Ten: Canyon
Canyon is a German manufacturer of mountain bikes, triathlon bikes, and racing bikes.
But the first Canyon-branded bike didn’t appear on the market until the late 1990s.
One thing noticeably different about CAnyon is that it was the first bike brand sold directly to consumers online.
Canyon bicycles didn’t become a serious manufacturer until the 2000’s.
From the very start, they’ve been actively involved in the elite sport of competitive cycling.
Over the years, they’ve worked in cooperation with various teams in road racing.
These days, the Canyon brand supports racing cyclists, tri-athletes, and mountain bikers.
Of note is Canyon’s own Youth Development Program aimed at cyclists 15 to 16 years of age.
Young riders can apply and if successful, receive a complete carbon fiber bike made by Canyon along with technical support for a minimum of one year.
Canyon is at the forefront of racing bike innovation with several notable achievements.
These included having the lightest racing bike (at one point).
They also had a triathlon bike that once boasted the lowest level of wind resistance – thanks to a braking system that was integrated into the frame and a drinking system that was built into the handlebar.
Canyon also developed a racing bike with full suspension that provided a higher level of comfort by relieving the pressure on the rider’s muscles.