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Beginner! Please help!

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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

Beginner! Please help!

Old 05-30-20, 12:47 AM
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enigma895
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Beginner! Please help!

Hello, I want to get into road biking. I was looking to buy a good used road bike on craigslist but I keep hearing all this technical jargon. Can someone please help me understand what does all this mean? For example -

Cannondale R1000 Slice Ultra 56cm with Shimano Ultegra components - 600$
This is a 56cm R1000 Slice Ultra with Shimano Ultegra components and Mavic Ksyrium wheels.
This is a super nice road bike.
The Ultegra components and Ksyrium wheels are huge upgrades to it’s performance.

Also, is 600$ fair for this bike? The picture looks good
Is buying a used bike a good idea or should I just pay a bit extra and get a new one?
Any other tips?

Appreciate all the help and Thank you in advance!!
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Old 05-30-20, 02:21 AM
  #2  
HTupolev
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Originally Posted by enigma895 View Post
Hello, I want to get into road biking. I was looking to buy a good used road bike on craigslist but I keep hearing all this technical jargon. Can someone please help me understand what does all this mean? For example -
Cannondale R1000 Slice Ultra 56cm with Shimano Ultegra components - 600$
Cannondale is the brand of the bike. R1000 is a range of road bikes that Cannondale used to make.

"Slice Ultra" is a fork that Cannondale used to make. The seller probably saw the "R1000" on the frame and the "Slice Ultra" on the fork and wasn't sure what to call the bike, so they just duct-taped all of the words together into "R1000 Slice Ultra." Pretty normal craigslist behavior.

56cm is a size number for the frame. Here's a photo of a bicycle where I've labeled the top tube and seat tube:



Historically, size number referred to the length of the seat tube. So a 56cm bicycle had a seat tube that was 56cm long. There are a few different ways to measure the length of a seat tube, so the number wasn't always consistent between manufacturers, but it gave a rough sense for how large a frame was.

In the bicycle above, the top tube is level with the ground. Vintage steel road bikes all used to have level top tubes. A lot of modern bikes have top tubes that slope up from the seat tube to the front of the bike:



You'll notice in this photo, I've drawn a purple line to represent roughly where the top tube would go if it were level with the ground. On modern bikes with sloping top tubes, the "size number" is roughly equivalent to what the length of the seat tube would be if the top tubewere level. (I say "roughly" because size number on modern bikes is more a matter of intention than exact measurement.) (Also, there are some exceptions. I know of at least one brand - Black Mountain Cycles - that uses physical seat tube measurement even on their frames with sloping top tubes.)

The Cannondale R1000 had a level top tube, so the seat tube is probably actually ~56cm long.

Very roughly speaking, with how most bikes get sized, a 56cm is around the ballpark of what a 5'10" man might be sold.

This is a 56cm R1000 Slice Ultra with Shimano Ultegra components
Shimano is a company that makes and sells bicycle components. They're the biggest bicycle component manufacturer out there by far.

"Ultegra" is a brand name that Shimano uses for one level in their road bicycle component heirarchy. Currently, Shimano's top-level road components are sold under the "Dura Ace" name, and "Ultegra" is the next level down, then "105", then "Tiagra", "Sora", "Claris", and finally "Tourney" for the lowest-end stuff that they put a name on.
Comparing groupset hierarchy over time is a bit weird. Tech features (such as the number of cogs that a drivetrain has on the rear cassette) trickle down relatively quickly, while build quality trickles down fairly slowly. Dura-Ace components from the 1970s are very primitive compared with even modern Claris, but they're fairly well-constructed even by current standards.

and Mavic Ksyrium wheels.
Mavic is a wheel brand. Ksyrium is a name they apply to a range of wheels they sell, generally in the midrange.

This is a super nice road bike.
The Ultegra components and Ksyrium wheels are huge upgrades to it’s performance.
It's super nice! Wow! Amazing!
Upgrades to IT IS performance? Incredible!

Also, is 600$ fair for this bike? The picture looks good
On the used market, fair is a matter of perspective.

But, to my January 2020 brain, $600 seems pretty steep for a bicycle of that age and not-quite-top-end-ness. My May 2020 brain has no clue what's going on with craigslist right now.

Is buying a used bike a good idea or should I just pay a bit extra and get a new one?
If you don't know what you're doing, new is certainly the safe-ish bet.
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Old 05-30-20, 07:14 AM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
Very roughly speaking, with how most bikes get sized, a 56cm is around the ballpark of what a 5'10" man might be sold.
This can't be emphasized enough. No bike will be a "good deal" if it doesn't fit properly.
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Old 05-30-20, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
If you don't know what you're doing, new is certainly the safe-ish bet.
Yep. OP, even today,$600 feels steep for a bike that old with an array of possible issues you won't know how to check for, or fix. If there's a good bike shop around, and if you can afford it, a new entry-level bike is probably a better idea.
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Old 05-30-20, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by enigma895 View Post
Hello, I want to get into road biking. I was looking to buy a good used road bike on craigslist but I keep hearing all this technical jargon. Can someone please help me understand what does all this mean? For example -

Cannondale R1000 Slice Ultra 56cm with Shimano Ultegra components - 600$
This is a 56cm R1000 Slice Ultra with Shimano Ultegra components and Mavic Ksyrium wheels.
This is a super nice road bike.
The Ultegra components and Ksyrium wheels are huge upgrades to it’s performance.

Also, is 600$ fair for this bike? The picture looks good
Is buying a used bike a good idea or should I just pay a bit extra and get a new one?
Any other tips?

Appreciate all the help and Thank you in advance!!

I had this exact same bike. I paid 300 for it, and hind sight I think I paid too much. I sold it for 180.00.
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Old 05-30-20, 05:52 PM
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This was the one that I bought, and sold.
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Old 05-30-20, 11:54 PM
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If you don't know what you're doing, new is certainly the safe-ish bet.[/QUOTE]

Wow! Thank you for all the detailed answers.
Really appreciate it.
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Old 05-30-20, 11:55 PM
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Any safety tips for a beginner? Do you ride as close to the shoulder as possible?
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Old 05-31-20, 05:29 AM
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Originally Posted by enigma895 View Post
Any safety tips for a beginner? Do you ride as close to the shoulder as possible?
There can be a lot of debris right along the shoulder. And If you are right on the shoulder then you won’t have room to maneuver if need be. I’m typically about 3 feet from the shoulder.
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Old 06-01-20, 12:05 AM
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Originally Posted by enigma895 View Post
Hello, I want to get into road biking... I keep hearing all this technical jargon...help me understand what does all this mean?
...buying a used bike a good idea or should I just pay a bit extra and get a new one?
Any other tips?
I think buying used is a good idea, alternatively, borrowing a bike also works. Remember your first bike? What did you like or dislike. Translating the good and bad is how you can learn the jargon. You may already know the parts of the bike: frame, wheels, saddle, drivetrain, brakes, handlebar, stem and seat post etc. Then there are all of the specifications for gearing (eg., single, 3 speed, and the original 10 speed road bike standard). There is the traditional road rim brakes, and popular doc brakes. You will see 27 inch, 650C or 700C road rim sizes. There are different road frames geometries base on usage. The sport has marketing jargon associated with component hierarchy, Ultegra vs 105.

All the jargon aside, there is the emotion of owning a nice bike. Balancing ownership enthusiasm with riding expectation is essential to have a positive experience. Even when you make a purchase, you should continue to try other bikes to experience the pros and cons of a particular specification.
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Old 06-01-20, 12:57 AM
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Originally Posted by enigma895 View Post
Any safety tips for a beginner? Do you ride as close to the shoulder as possible?
Most beginners don't use the shifters enough. They make it easier. 🙂
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