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  1. #1
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    $800 Road Bike - new or used?

    I need advice. I am 54 and never really stopped ridding bikes - mostly to the beach or to get around the neighborhood. Well, while biking for rehab after ACL replacement I got the road bike bug. My normal ride is about 25 miles on fairly flat roads. I am currently riding an old Nishiki mountain bike and would really like to go faster and longer. I am looking at road bikes with a budget of $800 +/-. I have ridden a 58cm Trek 1.2, and a “large” Giant Defy 3 at two different LBS. Neither LBS took measurements – is this because these are low end bikes? I rode each bike for about 15min and they both felt ok - the Giant maybe a little better than the Trek, but neither one was adjusted for me other than the seat height. I am also considering a 61cm 2005 Lemond Alpe D'Huez available locally on craigslist. I am about 6'2"+ and my barefoot standing inseam is a bit over 90cm. Here are just two of the many questions I have rattling around in my head.

    Is a new 3-4 year old bike with 105/Ultegra components better than a new one with Sora components?

    Is a 3 or 4 year old aluminum frame / carbon fork different than a new aluminum frame / carbon fork?

  2. #2
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    I think used bikes are great buys if you have an active used-bike market in your town, you're patient, and willing to do a bit of wrenching and/or save enough in your budget to pay for necessary maintenance on the bike you buy. For $800, if you're looking at a 3 or 4 year old bike, you ought to be able to get something that listed for $2000-ish new. Check eBay for closed listings on the Lemond if you want to get a better idea of what it's worth.

    You questions:

    Q.Neither LBS took measurements – is this because these are low end bikes?

    A. No, it's because the folks at the bikeshop you tried are poor sales people. If you are a serious buyer (sounds like you are) they should have taken you seriously (sounds like they didn't). You're pretty tall - you should be careful the bike shop put you on a bike too small just because they have it in stock (I'm tall, too, and this has happened to me in the past).

    Q. Is a new 3-4 year old bike with 105/Ultegra components better than a new one with Sora components?

    A. Assuming it's in good condition - In my opinion, yes. Likely the frame is better, too.

    Q. Is a 3 or 4 year old aluminum frame / carbon fork different than a new aluminum frame / carbon fork?

    A. In my opinion, not likely. As long as you are confident that neither has been abused, dented, cracked, or otherwise damaged.
    Last edited by BengeBoy; 03-08-09 at 10:35 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Crank57's Avatar
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    In 2006 I bought a new GiantTCR2 road bike for me and a new FCR2 fitness bike for my wife. These cost about $795 each back then. At that time these were equipped with 105/Ultegra and Sram X7 grade components.They were almost identical aluminum bikes, carbon forks, about 23lbs. The TCR had drop bars and the FCR had flat bars. I just looked at the Giant website and aparently the TCR2 is no longer made but the FCR2 is still made. Might be able to swap out the bars. Here's a link:

    http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-US/...ad/2268/32200/

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    Thanks for the input. There is not a great used market here in NE Florida, patience is definitely required. It seems like most of the used bikes I have looked at are priced at around 60% to 80% of there new value. I will check the closed listing on e-bay for pricing on the Lemond - I didn't know you could do that.

    The FCR2 now has R4XX/Tiagra components which is about the same as their road bikes of the same price range. I am leaning toward getting a used bike with better components. If I buy a new low end road bike, I think I would be wanting an upgrade after a short time.

  5. #5
    tsl
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    I have an older entry-level Trek that I rebuilt with 2007 Sora components. I also have a 2006 mid-level Trek that came with 105 components.

    Near as I can tell, there is no difference in quality between the two. Ask me in few more years about longevity differences. Yes, there are aesthetic and finishing differences--the 105 parts are prettier-- but in day-to-day riding, the shifting action is identical.

    The Sora bike shifts every bit as smoothly and quietly as the 105 bike. Adjusting the derailleurs is no less precise on the Sora bike, nor does it require more maintenance than the 105 bike.

    In my experience, Sora-bashing is just plain sour grapes.

    That said, I didn't use the Sora levers because I wanted their usage to be the same between the two bikes, so the Sora thumb-lever shifters were out. The Sora bike has ST-R500 levers, which are supposed to be Ultegra-level. Even so, the levers don't make the Sora derailleurs shift any differently.

    The only difference between the two when riding is that the 105 bike has two more cogs to play with. When riding the Sora bike, I sometimes miss my 18-tooth cog, but it means I can train for higher cadence using the 19-tooth one, or train for leg strength using the 17-tooth one. (Newer Sora is 9-speed, I could get an 18 on the new one.)

    Due to differences in geometry and wheels, the Sora bike is the faster of the two, BTW.

    Where the Sora bike has a real advantage is replacement chains. I use the Nashbar ones that (until they raised their prices this year) cost less than $10 each. This is compared to $28 for Nashbar's 10-speed chains for the 105 bike. There's a similar pricing spread between cassettes for the two as well.

    Edit: The bigger difference between the two bikes is the frame. The entry-level one is heavier than the mid-level one, and is not as forgiving over harsh pavement. The wheels that came on the entry-level bike were fairly cheesy, and I replaced them within two months.

    In my experience, the frame and the wheels make a larger difference between the two bikes than the drivetrain components ever will.
    Last edited by tsl; 03-09-09 at 07:39 AM.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member CACycling's Avatar
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    In the current economy I would think you could do better than Sora for $800. Heck, Performance Bicycles had a Fuji 105 equipped full CF road bike last week for $999. Last year I bought 3 new bikes. Sora/Tiagra equipped 2007 Schwinn Le Tour GS w/ aluminum frame & CF fork for $500. Ultegra equipped 2006 Fuji Finest 1.0 WSD aluminum frame w/ CF seat stays and fork for $900. Ultegra equipped 2008 Fuji Roubaix RC w/ aluminum frame, CF seat stays and CF fork for under $1,000.

  7. #7
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    Nothing wrong with cheap bikes.

    Take the Defy range. The 3 will have the same frame as the 1 so the frame is not a problem.

    But components will be lower grade. I still ride an OCR (Occasionally) with Sora 8 speed and there is nothing wrong with it. In fact it was the bike that converted me from mountain biking to road and the bike worked fine-----Except for the wheels. After 16 years of working the grade of my Mountain bikes upwards- Those wheels were just too low a grade for me.

    So $800 this year and start saving. 25 miles now and even on a low quality road bike- by the end of the year you will be able to do a Metric century- or even a true 100 miler. They are easier on a better bike- but saying that- it was the OCR that got me up Ventoux.
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  8. #8
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    I have owned numerous bicycles in my life. One was purchased new as a gift for me when I was 12, another I purchased new when I was 20, and every other one has been a second-hand purchase. If you can find what you want, there is no substitute for a used bike.
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  9. #9
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    Don't forget that one option under "new" is to buy older clearance bikes. If you can find your correct size, then you will usually get, A) A bike that was selling for $1200 a year or two ago, and B) A bike that has better components than today's $1200 bikes.

    Last year I purchased a new '06 model that had listed for $1200, for $800. And back in '06 this bike had a Shimano 105 groupset. No way are you going to find an '09 with 105 for anything close to $800.

    Then last fall I picked up a new '06 recumbent that had listed for $1699 in '06. Got it for $1000. That same bike would be over $2000 this year if it hadn't have been cheapened.

    Sometimes clearanced older models are barely more expensive than buying something that has been used for 2-4 years.
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  10. #10
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CACycling View Post
    In the current economy I would think you could do better than Sora for $800. Heck, Performance Bicycles had a Fuji 105 equipped full CF road bike last week for $999. Last year I bought 3 new bikes. Sora/Tiagra equipped 2007 Schwinn Le Tour GS w/ aluminum frame & CF fork for $500. Ultegra equipped 2006 Fuji Finest 1.0 WSD aluminum frame w/ CF seat stays and fork for $900. Ultegra equipped 2008 Fuji Roubaix RC w/ aluminum frame, CF seat stays and CF fork for under $1,000.
    They have a house brand XCross bike that looks pretty good at $1049 w/105.
    http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...estore_ID=2065

    And a K2 road bike at $999 with carbon fork & seat stays, with Tiagara grouppo
    http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...estore_ID=2065
    "Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen." Louis L'Amour

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  11. #11
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    Couple of things:

    The bike shops you used are'nt treating you seriously. Tell them to adjust the bike so it fits right. 58cm for a 6'2'' guy sounds small.

    The difference between high end used and lower end new is all about what you want and condition. If you can't tell the difference between the two, high end makes no sense. As posted lower end components aren't necessarily lower quality. Most of the price differece is in the machining of the parts to reduce their weight. So, quality isn't the issue when it comes to the drive train. The wheels could be a different story if you are heavy or if you are going to ride the wheels off any bike. better wheels are an easy fix, better yet if the bike comes with them.

    The Lemond you are considering may be a bit too big. I'm 6'2'' and ride a a 59cm Lemond Zurich. it's a try iyt and see thing. The Lemond you are considering is an excellent bike. It was in the lower middle part of the Lemond line up. Essentially i'd have a hard time paying $800 for a used one when brand new old stock could be had for about $1000.

    Lastly, the Lemonds have a different frame geometry than do most race/sport touring bikes. They are made with a longer top tube. This accomodates those with longer torsos than the norm. Not that a normally porportioned person couldn't ride one, just know that's how the frames are made. The Lemonds are excellent bikes.
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  12. #12
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    Hi Bill,

    I'm in N fl as well and looking for a road bike,again, as well. My budget may be a smidge higher than yours..maybe 1200 at top so I am cruising the CL ads and e-bay most of the time. I saw the Lemond but it is too big for me. I have found the biggest selection on the Gville craigslist. I was hoping to score a CAAD or maybe a low number Trek Madone but that is not likely to happen with my budget..I am ever hopeful however and I do have a nice vintage road bike so I am covered for a while. I just want some new technology to play with.

    Mike
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    Definitely look for some close-outs. I bought my daughter a 105 equipped Specialized Dolce Vita for much less than the price of the lower end Sora equipped version we looked at. It was sold as 'used' by the online shop but was actually brand new, still with the little stubs on the tires, the tags on frame, etc... When it came she couldn't believe how nice it was compared to the one she wanted at the store. Now if I could get her off the computer and onto the bike some more...

  14. #14
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill1 View Post
    Thanks for the input. There is not a great used market here in NE Florida, patience is definitely required. It seems like most of the used bikes I have looked at are priced at around 60% to 80% of there new value. I will check the closed listing on e-bay for pricing on the Lemond - I didn't know you could do that.

    The FCR2 now has R4XX/Tiagra components which is about the same as their road bikes of the same price range. I am leaning toward getting a used bike with better components. If I buy a new low end road bike, I think I would be wanting an upgrade after a short time.
    Used bikes around here are no more than 50% of new. Go older, and you can get at about 25% of new.

    I picked this one up on Craigs List earlier this year. It was on there for several days, and cost well under your budget. All Ultegra. A new Sora bike or this one for significantly less? I know what I would pick.

    The key to Craigs List is that you have to be willing to drive. Monitor your local Craigs Lists, as well as ones within 100 miles of you or so, and you will find a deal.


  15. #15
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    It would appear from your dimensions that a traditional 60cm bike would be an approximate starting point. If the design is a modern compact, then look for a 60cm virtual top tube length.

    This size can then be adjusted up or down a size after test rides to accomodate your "feel" of the situation.

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    Great suggestions by several posts to look for close-out models and expand the territory of my craigslist search - thanks.

    I still like the look of that 2005 Lemond and plan to give it a ride this weekend. What would be a good offer price?

    I also saw two other listings today - any thoughts on these compared to the '05 Lemond at $800
    2001 Klein Quantum Race, 61cm, $700
    2003 Giant OCR1 Compact, Large, $500

    Maddmaxx - What is "virtual" top tube length?

    I am still looking and trying very hard to be patient.
    Last edited by Bill1; 03-10-09 at 09:47 PM.

  17. #17
    Senior Member gpelpel's Avatar
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    "Virtual" top tube is the length the top tube would have if the bike had a traditional geometry meaning that the top tube would be horizontal. The new compact bike design has sloping top tubes.
    The ride difference is negligeable, some say a sloping tube allows a slightly lighter weight and a bit more stiffness. The main advantage is for manufacturers as it allows them to produce less size varieties as one size may fit different people sizes, so instead of offering frames in 2cm increments the sizes are limited to S, M, L, and XL.
    The "virtual" top tube size is what defines your reach (distance between saddle and handlebars) and is thus the most important factor in choosing a frame.

  18. #18
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill1 View Post
    I also saw two other listings today - any thoughts on these compared to the '05 Lemond at $800
    2001 Klein Quantum Race, 61cm, $700
    2003 Giant OCR1 Compact, Large, $500
    Kleins do have a reputaion for being a very stiff frame that can be harsh to ride. That was when they were independant but were taken over by TREK so perhaps others can verify if the bike is ridable.

    The OCR1 would have to be in very good condition at that price for the age. Good bike for starting but think you could do better with a later bike.
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  19. #19
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    Is there a measurement that I can do (other than sitting on the bike) to determine if the virtual top tube and the frame are the correct size for me?

    stapfam - I saw a photo of your quiver on another thread and counted about 8 bikes - nice!

  20. #20
    Senior Member gpelpel's Avatar
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    First I would recommend using a Fit Calculator such as Competitive Cyclist (http://www.competitivecyclist.com/za...LCULATOR_INTRO) to determine what size you are looking for.
    Then measure the bikes you are seeing along the top tube from the center of its intersection with the head tube to the center of its intersection with the seat tube (or seat post for compacts). Make sure the measuring tape is horizontal to the ground. If the top tube is right (or close) you can fine tune your fit by moving the saddle forward or back and by varying the stem length.
    Another measurement to make is the Stand-Over Height. Stand over the top tube, grab the bike by the stem and by the saddle and pull it towards your crotch. The tires should clear the ground by at least one inch. This is an important concern if your are short legged, and this is why compact frames may be fitted to different size people.

  21. #21
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    Thanks qpelpel - great stuff. Is there a graphic (online maybe) that shows the measurement points of the top tube that you are describing? Since the top tube wraps around the head tube, I am not sure exactly where the center of intersection is.

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    I took measurements (with much help from my wife) and entered them into the "fit calculator". The results say the seat tube range c-c
    should be 58.4 - 58.9 for a "Competitive Fit"; 59.6 - 60.1 for an "Eddy Fit"; and 61.3 - 61.8 for a "French Fit". The corresponding top tube lengths are 57.1 - 57.5; 57.1 - 57.5; and 58.3 - 58.7. It looks like my frame size should be somewhere between 59cm and 61cm.
    Last edited by Bill1; 03-11-09 at 09:15 PM.

  23. #23
    Senior Member gpelpel's Avatar
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    Here is a graph: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bi...asurements.svg

    When measuring c-c you imagine the top tube extending all the way to the center of the seat and head tubes.

    Regarding Competitive Cyclist Fit, the Competitive Fit is for racers, very aggressive aerodynamically. The Eddy Fit is probably what you should look at. The French Fit would be good for touring where comfort is more important than speed.

    The values you got from the calculator make me think you are around 6'1" - 6'2" tall.

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    I am starting to get it thanks to you bike forum veterans. It appears that the used bikes I am looking at (61cm Lemond and 61cm Klein) are too big, particularly the top tube length. Using the "Eddy" fit I should be looking at a 60cm+/- frame with a TT length of around 57.1 to 57.5cm. Here is the numbers for the new entry level bikes I am considering:
    Trek - 58cm frame w/ 57.2cm TT or 60cm frame w/ 58.6cm TT.
    Giant - "Large" frame has 57.5cm TT.

    It looks like even more patience is required to keep scouring the used market - some of you have gotten some really good bikes that way.

    I also want to look at new clearance/closeout bikes as mentioned in an earlier post. When do they go on clearance and where can you find them? Any other suggestions for a starter bike on a budget?

    qpelpel - you have a good eye for fit values, I am now just under 6'2" (and shrinking every year).

  25. #25
    Senior Member gpelpel's Avatar
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    Now another thing to confuse you more. Brands use various ways to measure their bikes... so a 58cm is not necessary the same size as another 58cm from a different brand.

    Most brands measure center of bottom bracket to center of top tube, some (Trek, Lemond, Bianchi) center of bb to top of top tube, and some others center of bb to top of seat tube.

    Top tube is always measured center (of seat tube) to center (of head tube) though.

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