advice on buying a used road bike? (newbie..sorry..)
Hi. Let me preface this with an apology for my ignorance on all matters bike. All I know is that I love to ride, and I need a better bike to keep riding, and I really don't know what I'm doing when it comes to purchasing kinds of bikes. Any advice you have would be much appreciated.
I'm trying to buy a used road bike for regularly riding 50-80 mile rides or more. I don't have a ton to invest right now as I'm in grad school. I was hoping to find something 5 years old or less that I can get used for $150-$300. I know that realistically I can't get a fabulous bike for that price, but I've been riding a 1978 Fuji Sport 12 for a long time now and I need to get something newer and lighter.
I have found two used bikes for sale through craigslist. One is an Innova Giant women's bike from 2000, and they are asking $50 for it (original price seems to have been about $550). The other is a Trek Navigator 200. The thing is, I looked up photos of each of these bikes and they don't have the dropped hook-shaped handlebars that my current bike has--they have straight handlebars. I think they're touring bikes? Would bikes like these be good for 80 mile rides? Is it possible to put dropped handlebars onto bikes like these if I prefer that kind of handlebars, or is that a horrible idea? 50 bucks for that Innova Giant sounds like a really sweet deal right now because I'm poor and because the person selling it said that it's only been ridden a total of about 5 miles since its purchase--but I don't want to get a bike that I won't even like or want to ride long distances. I'm afraid it's too much like a mountain bike and too little like a road bike.
Please, please help so I can get back on the road again!
Those bikes are both what's known as hybrids, and would probably not be anyone's first choice for 80 mile rides. Both are probably fairly heavy; both have suspension forks and seatposts, which are features that mostly just add weight and are designed for people more interested in super-comfortable short rides around town.
They both have the larger wheels of a road bike (road bike wheels are 700c, mountain bike wheels are 26 inches) and gearing typically associated with touring bikes (big chainring in the front is 48 teeth...)
Swapping handlebars wouldn't be that easy. You'd also have to get new shifters and brake levers. And you'd still have the upright geometry of the hybrid frame.
It sounds like you really are looking for a road bike, and if you are willing to spend $300, then you ought to be able to find one used in that price range eventually.