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Looking to get my first road bike on Craigslist, would like some input on a listing

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Looking to get my first road bike on Craigslist, would like some input on a listing

Old 05-05-15, 07:14 PM
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pandaman
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Looking to get my first road bike on Craigslist, would like some input on a listing

Hi! I'm looking to get my first road bike after using a Trek 7.3FX hybrid for years. I'm a recent college graduate so money is somewhat tight, hence my decision to go the Craigslist route. Currently I'm seriously considering this: 53 CM Marin Portofino Road Bike CLEAN

it seems like this bike is right in line with other entry level road bikes that I've been reading about (Specialized Allez, Trek 1.2). I spoke with the seller who said the bike is 4 years old and barely used. It has the stock parts but was brought in for a tune up less than a year ago and has no rust. What do you guys think? Is it worth jumping on this or will I get that much more out of waiting for a couple months to save up more cash for a bike (500-600 as opposed to the 300 I am willing to part with now)? Lastly, while I know I'll have to try the bike to be sure, I should be able to get away with the 53cm size as a 5'8.5'' male. Thank you!
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Old 05-05-15, 11:37 PM
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Anyone? I would love some guidance
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Old 05-05-15, 11:44 PM
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Looks pretty good for the price. Not a bad way to start.
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Old 05-06-15, 12:24 AM
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Originally Posted by pandaman View Post
Hi! I'm looking to get my first road bike after using a Trek 7.3FX hybrid for years. I'm a recent college graduate so money is somewhat tight, hence my decision to go the Craigslist route. Currently I'm seriously considering this: 53 CM Marin Portofino Road Bike CLEAN

it seems like this bike is right in line with other entry level road bikes that I've been reading about (Specialized Allez, Trek 1.2). I spoke with the seller who said the bike is 4 years old and barely used. It has the stock parts but was brought in for a tune up less than a year ago and has no rust. What do you guys think? Is it worth jumping on this or will I get that much more out of waiting for a couple months to save up more cash for a bike (500-600 as opposed to the 300 I am willing to part with now)? Lastly, while I know I'll have to try the bike to be sure, I should be able to get away with the 53cm size as a 5'8.5'' male. Thank you!
Seems to be a nice bike for the price, if it's genuinely in the condition described. Personally though, I'd be concerned it's just a tad too small for you. I'm 5'8" tall, and I am comfortable in frames from 53.5cm up to 56cm. Obviously, it's worth checking out, but don't be too eager to convince yourself that it fits, if it doesn't. It's a good value, but not so spectacular to force it.
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Old 05-06-15, 05:56 AM
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Thanks! Is there a way I can easily tell if the bike is too small? It'll be right on the cusp regardless.
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Old 05-06-15, 06:09 AM
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Looks good for the price. Probably a good fit. A bit on the small side is easier to compensate for than too big.
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Old 05-06-15, 06:11 AM
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Go take a look in person. I'm 5'8 and a 54cm bike is good for me, in fact it is what I ride. But see how it feels. If you feel too upright: drop that stem (its an adjustable stem).

<$300 for a Sora equipped road bike that looks in pretty good shape, that's not a bad deal! I'd say IF it fits, no reason not to buy it now. Its spring, its riding season. Prices won't go down any!

So, have you gone and looked yet?
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Old 05-06-15, 06:48 AM
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Going to look at it and buy it tonight if it fits! Can I upgrade parts of this bike in the future? Also, any quick and dirty sizing tips for when I go look at the bike?
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Old 05-06-15, 07:11 AM
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Yes, you can upgrade parts if needed.
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Old 05-06-15, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by pandaman View Post
Also, any quick and dirty sizing tips for when I go look at the bike?
If you can straddle the top tube with your feet flat on the ground and it clears your groin then it's not too big. If it's too small your knees might touch the bars when you get out of the saddle. I wouldn't worry about it being too small because there is plenty of adjustability and a 53 should be fine at 5'8".

As a rough starting off point, you want the saddle high enough that your heel can just touch the pedal with your leg fully extended. You also want the saddle set back so that the front part of your knee is approximately vertically over the pedal spindle when the crank is at 3 o'clock. Bar height is tricky, as you want to get low for aero benefits, but you also want to be comfortable. You don't want to much weight on your hands or your backside, but be nicely balanced between the two. Another rule of thumb is that, looking down, the handlebar should obscure the front axle when you're sitting with your hands on the drops (some say hoods). These are just rough guides on getting somewhere near the right position on the bike, so don't take them too literally, but if you get near them, the bike probably fits you fine.
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Old 05-06-15, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by pandaman View Post
Going to look at it and buy it tonight if it fits! Can I upgrade parts of this bike in the future? Also, any quick and dirty sizing tips for when I go look at the bike?
No quick and dirty only detail! See Bike Fit Calculator | Find Your Bike Size | Competitive Cyclist

Be very careful about CL. At least in my area there were pros who would take advantage of newbies lack of expertise. In particular they would swap out cheaper components or conceal damage. If the bike has a carbon fork really look closely to make sure there are no cracks.

Do you have someone who is very knowledgeable about bikes? It maybe a good investment to buy them a case of beer if they'll help you look bikes over.
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Old 05-06-15, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by bobones View Post
If you can straddle the top tube with your feet flat on the ground and it clears your groin then it's not too big. If it's too small your knees might touch the bars when you get out of the saddle. I wouldn't worry about it being too small because there is plenty of adjustability and a 53 should be fine at 5'8".

As a rough starting off point, you want the saddle high enough that your heel can just touch the pedal with your leg fully extended. You also want the saddle set back so that the front part of your knee is approximately vertically over the pedal spindle when the crank is at 3 o'clock. Bar height is tricky, as you want to get low for aero benefits, but you also want to be comfortable. You don't want to much weight on your hands or your backside, but be nicely balanced between the two. Another rule of thumb is that, looking down, the handlebar should obscure the front axle when you're sitting with your hands on the drops (some say hoods). These are just rough guides on getting somewhere near the right position on the bike, so don't take them too literally, but if you get near them, the bike probably fits you fine.
Thank you! I'll keep all this in mind when I go check out the bike later tonight.
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Old 05-06-15, 08:04 AM
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Oof, I didn't even think about this. I don't have anyone who is knowledgeable to go along with me, but I'll definitely look out for a cracked carbon fork.
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Old 05-06-15, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by pandaman View Post
Oof, I didn't even think about this. I don't have anyone who is knowledgeable to go along with me, but I'll definitely look out for a cracked carbon fork.
Also go to the manufacturers website and get the specs list for the model/year. Then when you go to check out the bike, be sure to make sure those parts are still on the bike. Sometimes unscrupulous sellers will change out parts for lower quality parts.

Insist on a test ride around the block to ensure it shifts well and everything is in order.

CL doesn't have any warranty or recourse if things fail afterwards despite what people will say.

I hope it works out for you.
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Old 05-06-15, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by pandaman View Post
Thanks! Is there a way I can easily tell if the bike is too small? It'll be right on the cusp regardless.
I doubt it's too small. I'm 5'11 and ride 54-56 comfortably. I would think you would be in 52-54 range but everyone is different. You should be able to put a longer stem on it if need be to make it fit. But you won't know without sitting on it
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Old 05-06-15, 08:31 AM
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Yep, got it. The guy said it was four or five years old but wasn't exactly sure; just said it had very low miles on it, was super clean and brought in for a tune up less than a year ago. I guess that makes the bike a 2011 or 2010 model.
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Old 05-06-15, 08:50 AM
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Update: Looks like the bike is older than the CL seller indicated, he may have bought an older new bike on the cheap. Comparing the shots he took (53 CM Marin Portofino Road Bike CLEAN) with the listing of the 2007 on Bikepedia (2007 Marin Portofino - BikePedia) lead me to this conclusion. If the bike is indeed in the great condition he purports it to be, is this still a decent option for someone who wants a decent road bike on a budget?
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Old 05-06-15, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by pandaman View Post
Update: Looks like the bike is older than the CL seller indicated, he may have bought an older new bike on the cheap. Comparing the shots he took (53 CM Marin Portofino Road Bike CLEAN) with the listing of the 2007 on Bikepedia (2007 Marin Portofino - BikePedia) lead me to this conclusion. If the bike is indeed in the great condition he purports it to be, is this still a decent option for someone who wants a decent road bike on a budget?
Just bumping, want to make sure I'm not getting a bum deal. I imagine a 2007 (if it's in excellent condition) is still probably worth it?
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Old 05-06-15, 10:38 AM
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You're probably right, it looks like the 2007.

2007 Marin Portofino - New and Used Bike Value

Note the blue book prices may be a tad high or a tad low -- depending on your local market.

That being said, ~$250 for a drop bar road bike that's functional from top to bottom is a decent deal.

The first thing I'd do is replace that weird stem. That sort of adjustable design makes me paranoid that it'd decide to pivot just while I'm screaming down a hill at ~40 mph... It'd probably run you $20-$50 to switch it out for a generic stem of the appropriate length/angle. Of course, the adjustable one can help you to figure out where, exactly, you'll want the bars, initially, so keep it for a month until you have a better idea of your fit.
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Old 05-06-15, 10:44 AM
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Ok, thanks! I'll see if I can haggle the price of the bike down, $290 is a bit overpriced. If the bike is truly in excellent condition (which it appears to be) then I'll probably cave even if he doesn't want to budge, but I'll have to see it first. This looks like a perfect bike for me to get into road biking coming from my Trek 7.3FX.

EDIT: Should I look into replacing the tires before the stem maybe? If so, what are some good and inexpensive tires I can purchase that will fit this bike?
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Old 05-06-15, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by pandaman View Post
Ok, thanks! I'll see if I can haggle the price of the bike down, $290 is a bit overpriced. If the bike is truly in excellent condition (which it appears to be) then I'll probably cave even if he doesn't want to budge, but I'll have to see it first. This looks like a perfect bike for me to get into road biking coming from my Trek 7.3FX.

EDIT: Should I look into replacing the tires before the stem maybe? If so, what are some good and inexpensive tires I can purchase that will fit this bike?
One thing to do is ask him to meet you at a LBS, and have the LBS do an inspection. That also puts both of you on neutral territory. If it needs new tires or stem, you can get them there. I'm guessing that since you're into MTB's, that you have a LBS near you that you trust.

GH
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Old 05-06-15, 11:01 AM
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Hm, we're meeting tonight around 9pm due to our schedules not lining up, and I'll be going away for the weekend tomorrow. I'd rather roll the dice a bit then miss out on this if someone else were to snatch it up. I have a rough idea of problem areas to look for (worn tires, cracked carbon fork, worn down teeth, rust) so I think I should be able to roughly evaluate if I'm getting what he's purportedly selling. Also I'm not into MTB's, my trek 7.3FX is a hybrid bike
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Old 05-06-15, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by pandaman View Post
Update: Looks like the bike is older than the CL seller indicated, he may have bought an older new bike on the cheap. Comparing the shots he took (53 CM Marin Portofino Road Bike CLEAN) with the listing of the 2007 on Bikepedia (2007 Marin Portofino - BikePedia) lead me to this conclusion. If the bike is indeed in the great condition he purports it to be, is this still a decent option for someone who wants a decent road bike on a budget?
Look I hate to be the voice of doom because nothing beats getting a bike! But warning bells should be going off.

In your initial post you said he told you it was 4 years old. Now he's telling you its an "older new" bike and it seems to be 8+ years old. if he's BSing about the age, he maybe BSing about other stuff as well. Some of it you can work out but what about if there is a serious problem with the bike. You don't want to be doing 20mph and find out about the problem!

There are a lot of good starter bikes on CL by genuine one-off sellers but there are also serial sellers who will try to con you.
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Old 05-06-15, 11:09 AM
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Yeah, this crossed my mind. I mean it is possible he simply bought the bike on clearance for cheap and doesn't actually know the age, I am definitely going to bring this up with him tonight. I have no issue buying an older bike though if this one really is in great condition. Other than the things I mentioned before, is there anything I should look out for as telling signs that I'm being taken for a ride? Thanks.
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Old 05-06-15, 11:19 AM
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I wouldn't make a big deal out of the year. These things aren't like cars where you would clearly know. I'd say that's somewhere between an innocent mistake and a poor attempt to fudge the value a little. Pretty far from a scam or major warning flags if you ask me.
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