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Getting a road bike (Beginner)

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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

Getting a road bike (Beginner)

Old 11-28-11, 05:18 PM
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Getting a road bike (Beginner)

Hey, so I am kind of new to road bikes.
I rode this mountainish bike for about three years commuting to school everyday. I want something that is faster. There is hills where I commute and I want something that is able to get over the hill fast. I will be mostly riding on road/pavement.

I am around 5'5" ish and I am looking foward to buying a bike on craigslist. However, I don't know a lot about bikes like parts and stuff. From what I gathered over the last two weeks of browsing on craigslist is that there are old (vintage) bikes and relatively new bikes. Titanium is hella expensive and carbon is pretty expensive as well. I want something that is durable and won't break easily like those really thin frames. I also want a bike that will last a long time and is not a entry level bike. I want something that I could use until I get enough money to buy a really hardcore good bike.

What should I be looking for when I'm browsing on craigslist? (brands, parts, etc)
P.S. my budget is like $360
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Old 11-29-11, 12:58 AM
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In that price range you will likely be getting an aluminum frame or steel frame which is fine. They are very durable so you can get a bike that's a bit older and it's still got a lot of life in it. Maybe others can give you some advice on specific models but an older Cannondale CAAD can be had in that price range. I'd recommend figuring out your size and scouring CL. Others in the same boat as you have posted links to the CL ad here to ask advice. People on here can tell you if the bike is worth it or not. Since you will be riding to school, you dont' have to invest in expensive shoes, bike shorts and all that. I assume you have a helmet already. You can ride with tennis shoes and use flat pedals. Invest in a good lock if you will be riding it to school.



Post some links when you find a bike you are interested in. Remember, a lot of people on CL ask way more than is realistic, knowing that a potential buyer will offer less. If you have 360 to spend you might to able to seach for bikes in the near 500 range.
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Old 11-29-11, 01:24 AM
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If your budget is that low, you might as well get a single speed. You can't really have anything better than an "entry level bike" at that price point. You mentioned your height. I guess that's you hinting that you have no idea what size bike you should be riding. Here, use this: https://www.competitivecyclist.com/za...LCULATOR_INTRO
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Old 11-29-11, 12:09 PM
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Are you mechanically inclined and willing to do research on how to properly fit yourself to a bike? If so, with your situation and price limit - I think BD is your best option. When I just started riding, I got a Wellington 1.0 for $299. It lasted me over 1000 miles, several racing events and a century ride. I'd say bang-for-buck, bikesdirect is great for a someone on a budget and not a bike snob/weight weenie/brand *****. Just be sure you DO NOT buy a downtube or stem shifter bike (the cheaper ones). When you look at the product description, make sure they are the integrated brake/shifter (aka brifters).

https://bikesdirect.com/products/road_bikes.htm

If you are set on getting a bike that will last you and will be good enough until you get a "hardcore" bike, spend the money on a bike that has decent components and a carbon fork. Truth be told, at this point (since you're new) you wouldn't feel the difference between a good bike and a GREAT bike besides your wallet being a hell of a lot lighter.
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Old 11-29-11, 10:21 PM
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I'd try to get an old CAAD...
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Old 11-29-11, 10:43 PM
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$360, is well below an entry level bike. You can get a cheap walmart bike and put slick tires on it. It will be fast for what you are doing and will be an great bike to train on. I have a dual suspension walmart bike like this https://www.canadiantire.ca/AST/brows....jsp?locale=en it is actually really fast, you can easily average 30kph on it.
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Old 11-29-11, 11:02 PM
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Look for a steel chromoly touring road bike with the 3 chain rings up front. they come in 15 speed , 18 speed , 21 speed. they have the same kind of gearing as mountain bikes , but the speed of a road bike. The lower gears will make hill riding a snap. Try to find a bike that is 25 lbs or lighter, which shouldn't be to hard, since most touring bikes are close to that. Stick with steel because its strongest, and best price to buy. Japanese bikes from the 80's were really good, like Univega, Panasonic,Fuji, ect. Treks were very good as well.
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Old 11-29-11, 11:08 PM
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Location, location, location! That matters a lot!!!!! My bike market.. 360 yeah your not gonna get much some places you can find some nice CL gems for that. Where you at?
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Old 11-29-11, 11:53 PM
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I really think you can get an old Caad for R500 Cannondale for that. In fact I know you can because I paid less than what you've got for a late 90's R500 with complete Shimano 600 components. It's still a nice bike. Shimano 600 was the Ultegra of it's day and it still is a nice group. Drive a hard bargain and you can sell the bike in a year or two without losing much or any money. Don't get me wrong, there is something really nice about a new bike, but a bike in that price range will be heavy, sluggish and have coarse, low quality components. Resale value will be poor as well.

Trek, Centurian and Raleigh also made good quality road bikes that should be available in your price range as well.

Last edited by lhorn; 11-30-11 at 12:06 AM.
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Old 11-29-11, 11:53 PM
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For $360 you can find a decent older steel roadie that should prove fine for your daily school commutes. Since you're 5'5" you would be looking at a 50-52cm. I'd suggest you just don't buy anything that's too rusty or says "fixer upper"
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Old 11-30-11, 07:11 AM
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I'd be looking at 80's and 90's steel frames. While you can still get a Trek for that money, the Japanese bikes - Centurion, Bridgestone, Panasonic, Miyata, Fuji can be found for less money. I found a Miyata 310 7-speed for $40. Put new cables, tires/tubes and bartape on it and it was good to go.

The Classic and Vintage forum has a lot of threads on used bikes.

The Mechanics forum is for all those "how do I fix this?" questions.

Good luck.
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Old 11-30-11, 09:10 AM
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Craigslist should get you a decent bike. For example, I've got a three year old Giant OCR1 (no, it's not your size and this is not an ad!) that I've replaced. This is a pretty decent Shimano 105-equipped Al road bike in excellent condition and I doubt I'll ask more than $550 or $500 for it. It's winter, the economy stinks, demand is down. Shop hard. good luck
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Old 11-30-11, 09:25 AM
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+1 for Craigslist. In my area you can find decent 5-10 year old aluminum road bikes with Sora level components (i.e. shifters integrated into the brake levers) in your price range.

If you are OK with older bikes with downtube shifters, you can find them all day long for under $200.
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Old 11-30-11, 10:29 AM
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The problem most of you guys don't seem to realize is that he's 5'5". It's very hard to find used road bikes in a size appropriate for a shorter, male rider.

OP, where are you located? You're going to face an uphill battle to find the bike you're looking for at that price point, I'm afraid. Most used bikes that you'll find will be too big for you.

My sister bought a small road bike with DT shifters for $80 a few weeks ago. If you're okay with DT shifters you can paint with a pretty broad brush.

Personally, I'd up the budget a bit to $5-600 where you can and will be able to buy a lower end, new road bike in your size.
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Old 11-30-11, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by twodownzero
The problem most of you guys don't seem to realize is that he's 5'5". It's very hard to find used road bikes in a size appropriate for a shorter, male rider..
I know the feeling

I'm 5'6". Short legs. 49cm road bike. It's hard like a mutha****er to find a bike that size, reason why I get giddy everytime I see a nice frame for sale in my size.
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Old 11-30-11, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by donaldmax
I want something that is durable and won't break easily like those really thin frames. I also want a bike that will last a long time and is not a entry level bike.

P.S. my budget is like $360
I think these are almost mutually exclusive, especially given that you're looking for a small frame. I hate shopping craigslist even if I do know what I'm looking for.

In your case, I'd probably just get a new entry level road-style bike that fits well. A good fitting frame is important and the frame quality won't vary that much even with bikes that cost hundreds more, so you could always upgrade wheels and other components later as you see fit and have more $.

Before I had a road bike I had a 700c x 25 hybrid (road bike wheels/tires), weighing about 25lbs that cost £300 new from a LBS. It was a lot faster than my MTB and served me well for my road commutes, or even longer rides. I don't miss the flat bars but even with entry-level Shimano components it was a huge step up and it actually has wider gearing than my road bike (triple crankset). I imagine you could get something similar for less $ these days, as I hardly did any research before buying that bike.

My hybrid:
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Old 11-30-11, 12:10 PM
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Don’t assume that thicker tubes = stronger frame. The steel bikes will tend to have narrower tubing because the other materials have to be made with thicker tubing to compensate for the fact that they aren’t as stiff or strong as steel. It took frame manufacturers a while after they first started building with aluminum to figure out how to build frames with a decent ride quality. If you want something durable with better than entry-level parts in your price range, (unless you can find a smokin’ deal), you will probably have to get something old enough that it is from the time when steel was the best option.
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Old 11-30-11, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by LOGICK ONE
I know the feeling

I'm 5'6". Short legs. 49cm road bike. It's hard like a mutha****er to find a bike that size, reason why I get giddy everytime I see a nice frame for sale in my size.
Me too. I'm 5'5". One of my bikes is a 50cm with conventional geometry, and my new one is a 47 cm with a sloping top tube. I get excited when I see small frame bikes, too, but they're rare! My most recent ebay purchased frame turned out to be a disaster; it was too big.
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Old 11-30-11, 06:26 PM
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I remember in a different post someone showed a lady donate a 50cm cannondale track to a shop, while at the same time I saw posts on posts in CL for 49cm GT GTB track frames. That was when I was a student and poor. Now when i have a job and can afford it, nada
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Old 12-01-11, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by LOGICK ONE
For $360 you can find a decent older steel roadie that should prove fine for your daily school commutes. Since you're 5'5" you would be looking at a 50-52cm. I'd suggest you just don't buy anything that's too rusty or says "fixer upper"
I'm 5'6'' and I ride a 48cm bike so those frames will prob. be a little to big on you.
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Old 12-01-11, 10:35 AM
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I assume people have longer legs than I do. My buddy is the same height, rides a 52cm fine.
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