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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello to everyone. Thanks for all the information I have been able to find in this forum.

So I've been road riding for almost a year now on my hardtail mtb, doing weekend rides of up to 70 miles. I know that road is what I want to do so I'm ready to get a proper road bike. I have a limited budget, who doesnt, and would like a really good bike that I would not want to replace for a few years.

I have read a lot for a few weeks now and I'm still undecided. I would prefer a carbon frame because I understand that it transfers less of the road vibrations, which in my country is a little more than usual. However, I'm not opposed to other materials outright, it is just a preference.

Because my budget is just a few dollars above 1.000 I came to the conclusion that my options are either a used branded bicycle on ebay or a chinese carbon frame with a group in the shimano 105 price range.

Are there any options that I have overlooked? What would you do if you were in my situation?

Keep in mind that where I come from labor is cheap so going to my LBS to get things tuned and fixed is a cheap possibility.

Thank you again.
 

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I would prefer a carbon frame because I understand that it transfers less of the road vibrations.
That's not true. How a frame is made has far more relevance on how it rides than the materials it's made from. For instance - my custom titanium frame is more forgiving than the carbon frame it replaced.

And here's the biggest thing - tires (their volume) and their pressures have a far greater impact on "road vibrations" than any frame, short of a full suspension bike. Tires will deflect about a centimeter or more compared to a fraction of a millimeter of a frame. Choose tires for your road conditions, desired ride quality and your weight and then work backwards - choose a frame and components to fit those tires.
 

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Welcome to RBR, GemF89!
Since your budget is limited and you say that you'd like to own the prescribed bicycle for a long time, I think that buying a used steel framed bike would be your best option. Since labor is cheap, you can purchase a 105 gruppo and have it installed on your newly acquired bicycle. If buying used is not acceptable, then IMO, the next option would be to purchase either a brand new steel or aluminum road bike with a Sora or Tiagra gruppo. I would like to comment on "Chinese" carbon as it relates to service life and durability. However, my experience with carbon is relatively new and my experience with "Chinese" carbon is completely nonexistent. I'd put good money on steel for both durability and service life, as opposed to any other frame material.
 

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I love steel frames. That said, my carbon bike is the most comfortable ride I've had ever. I would buy an entry carbon trek, or other reputable brand, with components like campy veloce or centaur, 105, or entry SRAM. My favorite tires are continentals, but I bought a pair of Bontrager 28mm for reasonable $$ and they are working out fine.
 

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A 2011 scott cr1 team just went on ebay for 1000 exactly. Carbon frame, shimano 105 groupo... Would you consider that a good deal? I was tempted.
Buying a used carbon frame from a complete stranger is very risky. Carbon is known to conceal structural damage very easily. It can be very difficult to detect carbon damage without special scientific equipment. Whenever buying carbon, my advice would be to always buy new. Otherwise, you're just gambling. Many guys are not going to be too honest after crashing a $3000 CF bike, when they attempt to recoup their losses, at the expense of the unsuspecting public. Riding a previously crashed CF bike can be extremely dangerous!
 

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If you must have carbon (which I understand why you would go that route if you are all in with cycling), right now, you can order a brand new 2012 Diamondback Podium 5 (full carbon) with Shimano 105 through a number of online retailers for around $1,300-$1,400. The Scott Cr1 also seems like a good value as mentioned. I have heard from multiple people that the DB Podium 5,6, & 7 are very underrated and a a really good value. A new bike will come with warranty, whereas a used one won't. Other than that, you can do really well with something like a Felt F85, Specialized Allez, Cannondale Synapse or CAAD 10 or CAAD 8 (alloy), or really any major brand's alloy bike. I started with an F85 and it was a great place to start. My old riding partner when I lived in Oregon started with a Giant Defy 5 for a round $700. The compnents were pretty bad, but he was up and out there and now has a decent frame he can build around. He rode with me all the time, sometimes for 70+ miles and I was on a Cervelo R3 so riding alloy is not the end of the world. You can always improve ride quality with wheel, tire, saddle, and seatpost selection down the road if you go the alloy route or just upgrade to a carbon frame when you have more funds. Wiggle.com out of the UK has a number of new bikes in that price range as well: wiggle.com Cycle | Road & Time Trial Bikes Either way, enjoy!!!
 

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Forgive my ignorance but wouldn't steel be much heavier than other materials? Also, how much would it cost a steel frame compared to a alu or carbon?
The Jamis bicycle company makes CF, Al, and steel road bikes. The Satellite Comp, one of it's steel road bikes weighs 23 lbs. The Ventura Sport, an aluminum bicycle made by Jamis, also weighs in at 23 lbs. Of course, the Ventura comp model only weighs 21 lbs. Jamis also makes a CF road bike, called the Xenith Endura Sport, and it only weighs 19.75 lbs. As you can plainly see, there's very little difference in weight between all models. Just keep in mind that it's the combined weight of both the cyclist and the bike that should be considered, in total. If you lose five pounds in personal weight right now, you could very well win a race between yourself, with a steel bike, and some other guy who weighs more than you do, when they're riding a CF bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
All right folks, seems like there is no better or worst choice. I'm going to forget about the chinese stuff for now and focus on getting a good deal on a new or slightly used branded bike.

Thanks to all who replied. If you have any other suggestions and advices they are welcome.
 

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Check out brands like Kestrel, Fuji and Cinelli as well. You can often find their bikes and/or frames on sale online, particularly if you buy a year or two out of cycle (a 2011 or 2012, etc.). Local bike shops are also eager to move old inventory and might give you a good deal on something that is a season or two old.

Stadalli and knock off companies are another option. Carbon Bike Frames | Stradalli
Rossetti is another one of those: Road Frames - Frames
Quality control would be my concern with this option as well, but I haven't known anyone that has ever ridden one. They might be great.

Finally, for what it's worth, I have had really good experiences with buying components and wheels (new or lightly used) from ebay. If you can get a new frame you like, you might be able to build a set of Sram Rival or Apex or a Shimano 105 or Tiagra set together for pretty cheap that way. My expereince has been that piecing together a component group can be cheaper than buying complete groups on ebay. You also usually can find some Mavic Equippe wheels or something similar (Fulcrum or Easton) on there (new or close) for cheap as well. It might be a longer process, but you could end up with a better bike in the end. That's about all of the ideas I have. Hope they help.
 

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I have been checking ebay for a few days now. What I have seen is that there are better deals on complete bikes. Maybe thats just perception.
To be honest, I really don't like buying frames or complete bikes on ebay much (unless the seller is an actual retailer). If it were me, I would probably look at one of the bikes or frames I have listed above (or something similar) and only look to ebay to upgrade or purchase wheels and components. For instance, the price for that DB Podium 5 will be tough to beat for what you get (from what I've seen over the last few years). That requires that you make the alloy vs. CF vs. titanium vs. steel decision though (which in my mind all comes down to personal preference). Like others, I prefer CF for road, but I like 60-100 mile gran fondos and hilly & fast group rides. The frames you are seeing are probably higher end. Cheaper bikes tend to get sold as complete bikes on ebay.
 

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Another question I have is how old is too old for a bicycle part. Because sometimes you see 20 year old parts on ebay but they look almost new. Could that be a good buy?
It really depends on what you are looking to do. That's probably ok if you are just looking to spin around towm, but not ideal if you are looking to get out and push the bike. Technology has advanced significantly in cycling in the last 20 years, particularly on the race and/performance ride category. I would recommend staying in the last 5 years or so. Compatability could be a problem with some of the really old stuff and they will also likely be significantly heavier.
 

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Another question I have is how old is too old for a bicycle part. Because sometimes you see 20 year old parts on ebay but they look almost new. Could that be a good buy?
It looks competitive cyclist has some Ridley frames on close out. Glory cycles, R&A Cycles also have close out sales often as well.
 
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