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  1. #1
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    Need help picking out an entry level USED road bike

    Hi, good folks,

    I've opened a thread here recently asking advice about a mixte road bike, and the bulk of advice was to ditch mixte and go all out . So now I am in the market for a used entry level road bike.

    So far on CL I have found a

    2008 Trek 1.2 WSD 43cm Road bike - $250 (http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/2008/archive/12wsd). This bike looks well used, but all the wear seems cosmetic.
    2009 Specialized Allez sport for $979. The Specialized is way above and beyond my price range, but it has higher end components. Do they justify a $700 price hike? It seems to be in a slightly better shape cosmetically, at least judging by the pictures. What would be considered a fair price for this bike?

    What do you think about the two options so far?

    I might post a few more options as I scout it out...

    I don't want to buy from a LBS, as I think I could get a better bang for my buck used, and I'm nervous buying online from bikesdirect, etc, as I'm afraid to misjudge the fit.

    Thank you for your input.

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    $979 for the Allez is pretty unreasonable, unless it's been heavily upgraded with aftermarket components. You can buy a _new_ Allez Sport (Sora components) cheaper than that. If they make it $600, I'd talk.

    The situation with your size is unclear. If Trek in 43 cm is right for you, even the smallest Allez will probably be too large. Conversely, if Allez in, say, 49 cm fits you well, 43 cm Trek will be too small.

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    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    like he sayz
    need more info
    don;t be afraid of the 41, you can get some godo advise and lots of opinions here.
    might wanna start with height and 'inseam' (flat feet , no shoes, against a wall, take a hardback book and shove ui up between the legs as far up as possible, can mark wall with pencil, measure floor to mark = inseam - someone helping makes this easier...)
    Golden rose, the color of the dream I had
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    $979 for the Allez is pretty unreasonable, unless it's been heavily upgraded with aftermarket components. You can buy a _new_ Allez Sport (Sora components) cheaper than that. If they make it $600, I'd talk.

    The situation with your size is unclear. If Trek in 43 cm is right for you, even the smallest Allez will probably be too large. Conversely, if Allez in, say, 49 cm fits you well, 43 cm Trek will be too small.
    He justifies the price by the fact that 2009 version has better components than new ones. But I don't think the price is justified as well. Thank you for your input.

    The size is unclear to me as well, LOL. I am 5'1" or so, and the owner told me it would fit me just fine. I've seen online that different brand bikes of the same size are recommended for people of different heights, so I figured that a 49cm Specialized and a 43 cm Trek might both work for me.

    The owner of the Trek bike is also a 5'1" woman, and that gives me more confidence.

    Quote Originally Posted by cyclezen View Post
    like he sayz
    need more info
    don;t be afraid of the 41, you can get some godo advise and lots of opinions here.
    might wanna start with height and 'inseam' (flat feet , no shoes, against a wall, take a hardback book and shove ui up between the legs as far up as possible, can mark wall with pencil, measure floor to mark = inseam - someone helping makes this easier...)
    Thank you. I'm not afraid of the 41, but it's always a bit awkward for noob's to enter a community of well versed folks. But I've been reading a great deal here and all info is very very good.

    I'm 5'1.5", to be absolutely precise (I don't know whether half an inch makes a difference). Inseam is 28".

    Thank you!

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    I suspect that you're between those sizes, 43 will be a tad bit too small and 49 will be a bit too big.

    I'd try both bikes. If you're comfortable with one more than with the other, I'd pay 250 for Trek or 600 (ok, 700 tops) for Specialized. (I doubt that the original buyer of Specialized himself/herself paid more than 1200 for it in '09) If you're torn, look for a bike in the middle, like a 47.

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    5' 1.5", that 43 should work
    with a 28 inseam, you could go bigger...
    my guess is that the 5' 1" woman selling the trek prolly has a shorter inseam...
    $250 for that Trek is an OK price, even if you need to get new chain, tires, cables and bar tape, the overall price is good.
    but always best to have someone, who knows, inspect the bike for what it might need.
    you might be able to get away with a 49/50, bu that would likely be the top borderline...
    Golden rose, the color of the dream I had
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  7. #7
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    There's absolutely no need to buy a used bike, when you can get a brand new bike, complete with a warranty.

    Buying a used bike requires some knowledge concerning basic bicycle mechanics and structure. Otherwise, you're just gambling. You should also know what a bicycle should feel like when cycling comfortably. Therefore, locating the proper frame size and being properly fitted is most important, as well.

    This one is a sure bet!
    www.performancebike.com/bikes/Product_10052_10551_1130866_-1_400309__400309

    Performance bike shops are located near many urban centers.

    Find a Performance bike shop and actually test ride a bike, before making a purchase!
    Last edited by Cfiber; 05-15-13 at 12:23 AM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclezen View Post
    5' 1.5", that 43 should work
    with a 28 inseam, you could go bigger...
    my guess is that the 5' 1" woman selling the trek prolly has a shorter inseam...
    $250 for that Trek is an OK price, even if you need to get new chain, tires, cables and bar tape, the overall price is good.
    but always best to have someone, who knows, inspect the bike for what it might need.
    you might be able to get away with a 49/50, bu that would likely be the top borderline...
    She does have a shorter inseam, I asked! I was hoping not to have to spend much more on the bike.

    Now question - how bad would it be if the bike is smaller than it should be? Can 1" difference be comfortably compensated for by adjustments?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cfiber View Post
    There's absolutely no need to buy a used bike, when you can get a brand new bike, complete with a warranty.

    Buying a used bike requires some knowledge concerning basic bicycle mechanics and structure. Otherwise, you're just gambling. You should also know what a bicycle should feel like when cycling comfortably. Therefore, locating the proper frame size and being properly fitted is most important, as well.

    This one is a sure bet!
    www.performancebike.com/bikes/Product_10052_10551_1130866_-1_400309__400309

    Performance bike shops are located near many urban centers.

    Find a Performance bike shop and actually test ride a bike, before making a purchase!
    You know, I don't have a good experience with a LBS which sold me my current bike. I think I seriously overpaid for what I got, and I think they were more concerned by moving the stock then helping me out. That's why I'm looking at used now and trying to make all my own choices, not trust some salesman. I think I can stretch my budget much more.

    But you're right, I don't know much about it, so it would be a gamble. I was just hoping that with $250, even if it's not the steal of a lifetime, I'd still end up with a decent bike for a decent price after all the necessary replacements.

    No Performance bike shop in NY

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    Well Elanamig,

    If you must buy used, try to at least join a bicycle co-op, first. Volunteer for a few days and try to make friends. The co-op might even have a donated bicycle there that you can build up for your own. If not, that's alright too. You can always have the used bike seller meet you there at the co-op. Have one of the mechanics there evaluate the bike, before you make the purchase, and after you've test ridden it.

    Old steel framed bikes are practically fool-proof, if they fit. As long as your steel framed bike fits and most of the components are in good condition, the bike should make for a good buy. Watch for dents, gouges, cracks, and rust. If the components show signs of rust, chances are, that the external part of the frame has been cleaned up, but inside the tubes are partially oxidized. It doesn't matter about the age of a steel frame. Therefore, the year won't matter. Component replacements will be easier to find, if your steel bike is from the 90's or 2000's.

    Avoid used carbon at all costs. Be careful about buying old used aluminum bikes. If the aluminum frame looks new (without any scratches and not repainted), the components look good, and the bike performs well, you should most probably be willing to risk it, as long as it fits.
    Last edited by Cfiber; 05-15-13 at 09:31 AM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cfiber View Post
    Well Elanamig,

    If you must buy used, try to at least join a bicycle co-op, first. Volunteer for a few days and try to make friends. The co-op might even have a donated bicycle there that you can build up for your own. If not, that's alright too. You can always have the used bike seller meet you there at the co-op. Have one of the mechanics there evaluate the bike, before you make the purchase, and after you've test ridden it.

    Old steel framed bikes are practically fool-proof, if they fit. As long as your steel framed bike fits and most of the components are in good condition, the bike should make for a good buy. Watch for dents, gouges, cracks, and rust. If the components show signs of rust, chances are, that the external part of the frame has been cleaned up, but inside the tubes are partially oxidized. It doesn't matter about the age of a steel frame. Therefore, the year won't matter. Component replacements will be easier to find, if your steel bike is from the 90's or 2000's.

    Avoid used carbon at all costs. Be careful about buying old used aluminum bikes. If the aluminum frame looks new (without any scratches and not repainted), the components look good, and the bike performs well, you should most probably be willing to risk it, as long as it fits.
    Thanks, Cfiber! Good pointers.

  11. #11
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    Now question - how bad would it be if the bike is smaller than it should be? Can 1" difference be comfortably compensated for by adjustments?
    1" is not a problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by elanamig View Post
    She does have a shorter inseam, I asked! I was hoping not to have to spend much more on the bike.
    Now question - how bad would it be if the bike is smaller than it should be? Can 1" difference be comfortably compensated for by adjustments?
    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    1" is not a problem.
    inseam not only impacts the saddle height, but also the amount the saddle is pushed more over the rear wheel - 'setback'. Other things impact this also, like femur length - but not getting too tech...

    1" = 2.54 cm - so my initial guessitmate would have started you (28" inseam) looking at 45 to 47 cm sizes - Trek labeled sizing being a little on the 'smaller' side

    it's also about the amount of 'stretch' (reach) from the saddel to the bars ... there are many ways to adapt that also - different stem sizes
    for bigger people the amount of headtube (tube holding the fork) varies a bunch in larger sizes, but at about 47 and smaller, the Headtubes are all the same becuase they need a certain size to accommodate a std 700c wheel size, unless a bike uses a smaller 650c wheel up front...
    that said, the 43 should work for you, and allow you many miles as you develop a better understanding what you'd like/need for the inevitable... next bike
    I'm usually a stickler about 'position' (fit) and don;t make an exception here, but with these smaller size the changes are not real large, so fitting differences should also not be a big issue.
    I do highly recommend that you find someone who can help getting your position in a good, comfortable place to start, no matter what you buy. There a lot of that kind of chatter on the 41, but it can be confusing to many. Best to find someone local who can help get the basics set well for you.
    When you say NY, do you mean 'the city'? there are a lot of expereinced riders in the city, find the race crowd in Central or Prospect park and they'll help a bunch...
    Golden rose, the color of the dream I had
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    Guys, I have another candidate. 2002 Specialized Allez Elite. Asking price is $400, negotiable. It's 50cm, but the frame sticker says XS. IF it fits, would it be a good deal?



    PS - how does this bike compare in quality to the 2008 Trek 1.2?

    Thank you
    Last edited by elanamig; 05-15-13 at 06:14 PM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclezen View Post
    inseam not only impacts the saddle height, but also the amount the saddle is pushed more over the rear wheel - 'setback'. Other things impact this also, like femur length - but not getting too tech...

    1" = 2.54 cm - so my initial guessitmate would have started you (28" inseam) looking at 45 to 47 cm sizes - Trek labeled sizing being a little on the 'smaller' side

    it's also about the amount of 'stretch' (reach) from the saddel to the bars ... there are many ways to adapt that also - different stem sizes
    for bigger people the amount of headtube (tube holding the fork) varies a bunch in larger sizes, but at about 47 and smaller, the Headtubes are all the same becuase they need a certain size to accommodate a std 700c wheel size, unless a bike uses a smaller 650c wheel up front...
    that said, the 43 should work for you, and allow you many miles as you develop a better understanding what you'd like/need for the inevitable... next bike
    I'm usually a stickler about 'position' (fit) and don;t make an exception here, but with these smaller size the changes are not real large, so fitting differences should also not be a big issue.
    I do highly recommend that you find someone who can help getting your position in a good, comfortable place to start, no matter what you buy. There a lot of that kind of chatter on the 41, but it can be confusing to many. Best to find someone local who can help get the basics set well for you.
    When you say NY, do you mean 'the city'? there are a lot of expereinced riders in the city, find the race crowd in Central or Prospect park and they'll help a bunch...
    Thanks for the info and for taking the time to spell it all out!

    I'm on Long Island. There are plenty of experienced riders here too . I will be sure to ask for advice!

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    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elanamig View Post
    Guys, I have another candidate. 2002 Specialized Allez Elite. Asking price is $400, negotiable. It's 50cm, but the frame sticker says XS. IF it fits, would it be a good deal?

    PS - how does this bike compare in quality to the 2008 Trek 1.2?

    Thank you
    like Hamster said, 43 is on the small side, 49 is on the big side...

    quality wise, a Spec allez is a well put together machine with components that are equally matched.
    When fit is not the issue, it's all about the wear of the drivetrain components. Some 10 yr old bikes have seen very few miles, so the stuff is almost new. Some have been riddden hard and put away wet...
    Pics can't tell much. Bikes usually look better in pics than they are in real life. My bikes all look great in pics, but when you see some of them, they obviously have had some hard mileage...
    If a bike looks worn in pics I expect a basketcase in real life...

    bottom line - we can't give the definitive answer, online. If you're not clued enough to make a decision on a used bike, then you need to have someone fill that need, locally. OR, take a chance... and if the bike needs more work than you expected - expect to have it done or do it yourself.
    OR
    find a LBS whom you can trust to steer you properly in buying a new bike.

    every day, your type of query pops up on the 41, the bottom line is always the same...

    if you're set on buying a used bike (which can be a great way to go... or not...) then I would say the best possibility for fit will be in sizes 46-48. Then if it looks well maintained in real life, it'll likely be the best chance for no big surprises...

    best of luck
    let us know how it all comes out
    Golden rose, the color of the dream I had
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclezen View Post
    like Hamster said, 43 is on the small side, 49 is on the big side...

    quality wise, a Spec allez is a well put together machine with components that are equally matched.
    When fit is not the issue, it's all about the wear of the drivetrain components. Some 10 yr old bikes have seen very few miles, so the stuff is almost new. Some have been riddden hard and put away wet...
    Pics can't tell much. Bikes usually look better in pics than they are in real life. My bikes all look great in pics, but when you see some of them, they obviously have had some hard mileage...
    If a bike looks worn in pics I expect a basketcase in real life...

    bottom line - we can't give the definitive answer, online. If you're not clued enough to make a decision on a used bike, then you need to have someone fill that need, locally. OR, take a chance... and if the bike needs more work than you expected - expect to have it done or do it yourself.
    OR
    find a LBS whom you can trust to steer you properly in buying a new bike.

    every day, your type of query pops up on the 41, the bottom line is always the same...

    if you're set on buying a used bike (which can be a great way to go... or not...) then I would say the best possibility for fit will be in sizes 46-48. Then if it looks well maintained in real life, it'll likely be the best chance for no big surprises...

    best of luck
    let us know how it all comes out
    I hear what you're saying, and I'm trying to make the best choice possible. I'd like to pay little enough for the bike so that if I do have to replace something, it'd still be a decent deal. I just don't have the budget for a new bike now. I'll take a look at that specialized. I expect it would be too large, but who knows?

    Thanks for the input..

  17. #17
    L-I-V-I-N dtrain's Avatar
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    That Specialized looks like a pretty solid deal for under $400.
    "The older you do get, the more rules they're gonna try to get you to follow. You just gotta keep livin', man, L-I-V-I-N." - Wooderson

    '11 Fuji SL - '04 Bianchi Imola - '99 Gary Fisher Big Sur

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    Comparing an old used aluminum frame with a newer frame is grossly unfair to the older frame, unless that older frame hasn't seen much action.

    That would be like comparing Mike Tyson of yesteryear, with Floyd Mayweather of today. At one time Tyson was the best. That time has long since passed. It's now Mayweather time! So is the way with aluminum!

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    Quote Originally Posted by dtrain View Post
    That Specialized looks like a pretty solid deal for under $400.
    Thanks! I just hope it fits, will be trying it this weekend!

    Quote Originally Posted by Cfiber View Post
    Comparing an old used aluminum frame with a newer frame is grossly unfair to the older frame, unless that older frame hasn't seen much action.

    That would be like comparing Mike Tyson of yesteryear, with Floyd Mayweather of today. At one time Tyson was the best. That time has long since passed. It's now Mayweather time! So is the way with aluminum!
    You're right, but then there are some used things that have better value than new ones. That's what I meant when I asked that question.

    That frame has seen action from 2002-2006, and then again in 2010 for a couple of months. The drive train is 2 years old, and owner had regular tuneups.

    The Trek has been sold to someone else, BTW, so it's off the table anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by elanamig View Post
    Thanks! I just hope it fits, will be trying it this weekend!



    You're right, but then there are some used things that have better value than new ones. That's what I meant when I asked that question.

    That frame has seen action from 2002-2006, and then again in 2010 for a couple of months. The drive train is 2 years old, and owner had regular tuneups.

    The Trek has been sold to someone else, BTW, so it's off the table anyway.
    Then I'll answer this way...

    The Specialized Allez Elite was a much better bike at its debut, than the Trek 1.2 was upon its debut. That said, neither one of them could ever have been better than a 1993 Schwinn Paramount Team 3.

    "Why?", you say...

    Because the service life of the thirty year old steel framed bicycle, was never limited by the accumulation of stress cycles.
    Last edited by Cfiber; 05-16-13 at 08:57 AM.

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    Good folks,
    I've been babysitting craigslist, and today two more bikes popped up... What price would make these a good deal? And which is a better bike?

    http://newyork.craigslist.org/fct/bik/3815551054.html
    http://newyork.craigslist.org/brk/bik/3816038458.html

    Thank you!

  22. #22
    RT
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    Quote Originally Posted by elanamig View Post
    Good folks,
    I've been babysitting craigslist, and today two more bikes popped up... What price would make these a good deal? And which is a better bike?

    http://newyork.craigslist.org/fct/bik/3815551054.html
    http://newyork.craigslist.org/brk/bik/3816038458.html

    Thank you!
    If I were a girl, I'd be all over that Scott. Looks brand new (clean rear der and whiskers on the business side of the tires).

  23. #23
    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elanamig View Post
    Good folks,
    I've been babysitting craigslist, and today two more bikes popped up... What price would make these a good deal? And which is a better bike?

    http://newyork.craigslist.org/fct/bik/3815551054.html
    http://newyork.craigslist.org/brk/bik/3816038458.html

    Thank you!
    I'd say a top price of $450, maybe $475 for the Scott if it's cherry
    maybe $400 for the Fuji, or more like $375 - if the tires will hold air, right now they're pretty low.
    It's hard to determine which components are on the Fuji, but having Sora on the Scott definitely puts it above the Fuji.
    Golden rose, the color of the dream I had
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    Quote Originally Posted by RT View Post
    If I were a girl, I'd be all over that Scott. Looks brand new (clean rear der and whiskers on the business side of the tires).
    It IS brand new - the owner said he bought it at an auction...

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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclezen View Post
    I'd say a top price of $450, maybe $475 for the Scott if it's cherry
    maybe $400 for the Fuji, or more like $375 - if the tires will hold air, right now they're pretty low.
    It's hard to determine which components are on the Fuji, but having Sora on the Scott definitely puts it above the Fuji.
    According to bikepedia, 2009 Fuji Finest 1.0 is this: http://www.bikepedia.com/QuickBike/B...del=Finest+1.0
    I thought Tiagra/105 were higher end then Sora. If so, Fuji actually has better components.
    The Fuji owner said that he has an offer for $650, but the offer giver is still thinking. He said he'll sell it to me for $600 if I commit now. But $600 is still inflated, no? Or a good deal for a Tiagra/105 bike?

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