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Help! Are my expectations reasonable? (Buy vs build)

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Help! Are my expectations reasonable? (Buy vs build)

Old 05-26-20, 09:24 PM
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Nixhex
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Help! Are my expectations reasonable? (Buy vs build)

So I'm getting into road biking.... done a lot of mountain biking, but only just got into road biking bc of the covid quarantine thing. Borrowed a friend's Spec Allez and turns out I love road biking and being the obsessive person that I am, I've spent the past 2 weeks or so scouring FB marketplace and CL for a used bike. However, I've become very confused about what I actually want. So I'm hoping someone can help guide me to what I'm after.

I have about $800 to spend. Here is my list of wants:

- Classic/minimalist frame, probably a horizontal top tube
- at least shimano 105 components or better
- 130mm rear spacing for modern 2x10 (or 11) gearing
- threadless headset preferably
- brifters. Dont want downtube shifters.

So I have a couple of questions. 1.) For $800 on a used bike, can I get 105 or better? And 2.) For the frame style/look that I'm after, should I consider buying a frame and building?
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Old 05-26-20, 10:05 PM
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It's all going to depend on who in your area has a bike they're selling and what it is, but yeah, there's no reason to think you can't find that.

It's one useless data point from years ago, but as an example 2012 when I decided to get a road bike after not having one for a long time I found one on CL that I bought for $475 from the original owner. He'd ridden it enough to mostly, but not completely wear out the original tires that came with the bike. It was full Ultegra. It wasn't the then-current Ultegra, since the bike was 9 years old, but it was in fantastic shape. That was one of many listings.

Btw, don't tell the sellers that you have $800 to spend on a bike unless you want to get a bunch of offers for $800. Chances are good if you look around and are willing to look at bikes with previous-generation groupsets that you can do much better than that.
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Old 05-26-20, 10:07 PM
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The used market has been heavily hit with the increase in demand for bikes due to quarantine. There may be an uptick in supply when all this is over and non riders sell their bikes, but expect to wait for awhile for the right used bike to come along.

In regards to a build, do you already have some of the components? I don't see you staying under $800 without already having some of the parts (wheels, drivetrain, etc...). Also, look for 135mm (QR) or 142 (TA) rear spacing if buying a frame. Thru axle has taken over most of the market.
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Old 05-26-20, 10:21 PM
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Anyplace with a decent used bike market should have quite a few used bikes with your specs for $800 or less, perhaps quite a bit less if the bike is older and doesn't have the latest/greatest components (e.g., it might be a nine-speed). It would help if you would relax your horizontal top tube requirement as this will open up your choices. You may have to be patient and wait until the right bike shows up as the market is small right now with sellers and buyers both a bit gun shy with the virus thing.

Unless you have unused parts laying around, you won't save any money building a bike with a frame and parts. Store-bought bikes sell almost for the price of the components - the frame and assembly comes for free.

The Allez you rode is actually considered one of the best "affordable" road bikes.

- Mark
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Old 05-27-20, 03:31 AM
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You can buy a lot of bike for 800 bucks, even new. As someone who has a fleet of Italian and Belgian made road bikes I'll offer you this; get a road bike with disc brakes, they're that much better. Especially in the wet. There, I said it out loud in public.
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Old 05-27-20, 06:11 AM
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Wow, thanks, guys. Didn't expect so many responses.

I think if I build, it likely will be a bit more money, but that way I get exactly what I want. And if I buy used I get what I get, which is likely still good and will suit me well, I just need be a bit less picky on the physical appearance of the bike.

I'm also wondering if anyone has an opinion on whether it's better to buy a few generations old 105/Ultegra, or newer claris/sora? Obviously older components will be worn somewhat, but will they still be "better" and hold up longer than newer lower end pieces?
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Old 05-27-20, 06:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Nixhex View Post
Wow, thanks, guys. Didn't expect so many responses.

I think if I build, it likely will be a bit more money, but that way I get exactly what I want. And if I buy used I get what I get, which is likely still good and will suit me well, I just need be a bit less picky on the physical appearance of the bike.

I'm also wondering if anyone has an opinion on whether it's better to buy a few generations old 105/Ultegra, or newer claris/sora? Obviously older components will be worn somewhat, but will they still be "better" and hold up longer than newer lower end pieces?
If you build, itll cost well north of $800 unless you know what you are doing, what you need, and where to get what you want. Even then, it could turn into a hodgepodge of parts on a bike(instead of a working system) if planning isn't the best.
Building a bike also means needing tools, which cost $.

I've built all my bikes and all my family's bikes besides one- I'm the last to talk someone out of it, but you need to be sure you know what you are getting into because its a lot of problem solving and planning.


As for older 105 or new Sora, besides condition of the used components, it probably matters what generations are compared.
105 5800 is one gen old and I think it works great. Its nicer than current gen Sora(r3000) and I would buy it in a minute at the same price.
But 3 gets old 105 5500 or current Sora for the same price?...sure, I could see Sora being considered.

I have 9 speed Tiagra 4500 shifters on my indoor trainer bike- the hoods are comfortable, shifting is fast and light, setup is easy. Point being- older generation and less than 105 isnt necessarily worse.

Lots to consider and seemingly endless options if you build.
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Old 05-27-20, 06:55 AM
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I'm definitely leaning towards building bc having something that's "my own" is very appealing to me. Full disclosure, I did buy a 2008 Felt Z90 about a week ago from a guy I know for cheap. It's a bit of a heap as far as the components are concerned, but the frame/fort/seatpost are all in good shape, so I could accumulate some parts and swap on there. I know that's an entry level frame also, but any reason I shouldn't consider putting some OK parts on it?

Also, how about a CX or gravel bike as a road bike? I've seen several come up for sale near me for decent prices. Specifically a 2016 specialized Diverge.
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Old 05-27-20, 08:15 PM
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So I didnt expect this to happen so quickly, but I was on FB marketplace today and found my new steed.

It's a 2003 spec allez with cro-mo frame and carbon fork, ultegra components. It is in absolutely amazing condition. Shifts like a dream, paints in great shape. Picked it up for $320. And came with 2 additional cassettes and some other spare parts. I'd show pics but I dont have 10 posts yet....

I'm so jacked up. Too bad it's supposed to rain tomorrow. Ugh.
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Old 05-28-20, 12:29 AM
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Congratulations.

Here is the OP's gallery if you want to see the photo of his bike now

https://www.bikeforums.net/g/album/17981888
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Old 05-28-20, 06:17 AM
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Thanks, katsup!
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Old 05-28-20, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Nixhex View Post
So I didnt expect this to happen so quickly, but I was on FB marketplace today and found my new steed.

It's a 2003 spec allez with cro-mo frame and carbon fork, ultegra components. It is in absolutely amazing condition. Shifts like a dream, paints in great shape. Picked it up for $320. And came with 2 additional cassettes and some other spare parts. I'd show pics but I dont have 10 posts yet....

I'm so jacked up. Too bad it's supposed to rain tomorrow. Ugh.
Nice score. I picked up a 2013 Spec Allez for $300 a couple of weeks ago. Love it!!!

Rain Spain. Unless it's pouring, just ride it out.
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Old 05-28-20, 03:52 PM
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Dude. New (old) bikes! Haha. Not a bad price on that bike either. Most of those around here are going for $4-500.

Went for a ride over lunch today, and it was too short....
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Old 05-28-20, 04:43 PM
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Dude, that bike looks awesome! Grats! The 2003 Trek 2300 I bought back in 2012 had the same generation of Ultegra on it (6500), and it worked great and still does now, only just for my wife now and not me.

I'm personally too heavy to ride such low spoke count wheels as the ones you have, but if you're light enough for them, they look really nice. I hope you ride the heck out of that bike.
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Old 05-28-20, 05:44 PM
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Thanks, Seth! Yea, I plan to put some miles on her for sure.
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Old 05-28-20, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Nixhex View Post
Went for a ride over lunch today, and it was too short....
ha, took me 3 times to realize you weren't saying the bike is too short.
glad you found something that works in your budget and makes you want to ride.
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Old 05-28-20, 08:14 PM
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It is on the smaller side, but in this case the ride was too short. Haha. I'm 5' 10" and am kind of on the line between a 56 and 58, and it's a 56. Might get a longer stem, or might just not worry about it.
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Old 05-29-20, 08:00 AM
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Congrats Nixhex! I recently sold my 2010 Specialized Allez Comp w 105 on FB marketplace. I priced it at $450 figuring I'd have to negotiate some. I had so much interest it was a bit overwhelming. Perhaps I underpriced it a bit, but the first guy that showed up paid full asking price. The funny thing is the bike was a 58cm and I'm 6'0 and the guy that bought it was maybe 5'8". I told him this bike was probably too big for him. He didn't care, just liked the way it looked. I'm chalking it up to Covid and stimulus money.

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Old 05-29-20, 08:06 AM
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Thanks! Yea, I think the Allez is right in that sweet spot for price/performance so they're super popular, especially for people who are just trying to see if they like road biking before spending a ton on a higher spec bike. I borrowed a friend's 2010 for a couple of weeks which is what got me into this whole mess to begin with.
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