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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am asking for opinions about purchasing a used carbon fiber frame. I have found this bike at my LBS. The bike originally lists for about $2300. (The frame alone is about $1400). The components are new but the frame is used...and it shows. Every tube has chips in the clear coat (about 1/16 inches deep). These chips look like they could have been made by bb's...about that size. The chainstay is particularly chiped. Frankly, I can't imagine how so many chips could be acquired unless the bike was transported via a rear carrier and road rocks were allowed to do their work. So cosmetically, the bike is a thing with acne. The question, what deeper concerns should I have? The store, of course, is sure the frame is sound. They are asking $1400. I suppose I should add that it is a reputable european manufacturer, though there is no warranty on used frames. Any ideas or opinions will be greatfully accepted.
 

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I wouldn't bother with a used frame of any material if it showed that kind of cosmetic damage. If you're set on it, I would ask for a lower price.
 

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I don't care what it's made out of a used $2300 bike covered in dings such as you mention for $1400 is crazy in my opinion.

For argument sake let's say the frame in perfect structurally that wouldn't make it a decent deal IMO. I'd walk away from this one.
 

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stampadams said:
I am asking for opinions about purchasing a used carbon fiber frame. I have found this bike at my LBS. The bike originally lists for about $2300. (The frame alone is about $1400). The components are new but the frame is used...and it shows. Every tube has chips in the clear coat (about 1/16 inches deep). These chips look like they could have been made by bb's...about that size. The chainstay is particularly chiped. Frankly, I can't imagine how so many chips could be acquired unless the bike was transported via a rear carrier and road rocks were allowed to do their work. So cosmetically, the bike is a thing with acne. The question, what deeper concerns should I have? The store, of course, is sure the frame is sound. They are asking $1400. I suppose I should add that it is a reputable european manufacturer, though there is no warranty on used frames. Any ideas or opinions will be greatfully accepted.
I wouldn't buy a used CF frame simply because what you don't see could be more important than the scratches and chips you do see, and you'll get no warranty, so IMO it's too big of a gamble.

But beyond that, if your LBS is so sure the frame is sound, ask for a written guarantee that they'll refund your money in the event of frame/ fork failure (excluding crashes) within 12 months. If they won't do it, they're not that sure.
 

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That Soul frame looks pretty nice, but how would you know if its something you would want to ride versus a Trek, Cervelo or whatever? I couldn't really find any reviews on it. Can you return if you don't like it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks to everyone. Interestingly, my instinct has been supported by all who have answered. I can tell you now, the frame is an Orbea Onyx. It is set up as a Shimano 105. As I read the threads, Orbea is a good company, standing behind their product. I think, like I believe you do to, the price is too high, given the cosmetic condition of the frame. I am new to the town, and am using the bike as a sort of litmus test for the bike store. I would be interested in what you think a fairer price for the bike would be, if in fact, the components are new. If the components are new, then the frame has been discounted from 1400 to 500.

With respect to the Soul, well, it is a nice frame, but then 1400 is really about the total I have to put into a ride at this time, and building out a cf frame always takes the total out of my price range.

By the way, now that I have some of you here, your opinion on tiagra, 105, you know, at what point is the lesser priced shimano components not worth the money?
 

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stampadams said:
I am asking for opinions about purchasing a used carbon fiber frame. I have found this bike at my LBS. The bike originally lists for about $2300. (The frame alone is about $1400). The components are new but the frame is used...and it shows. Every tube has chips in the clear coat (about 1/16 inches deep). These chips look like they could have been made by bb's...about that size. The chainstay is particularly chiped. Frankly, I can't imagine how so many chips could be acquired unless the bike was transported via a rear carrier and road rocks were allowed to do their work. So cosmetically, the bike is a thing with acne. The question, what deeper concerns should I have? The store, of course, is sure the frame is sound. They are asking $1400. I suppose I should add that it is a reputable european manufacturer, though there is no warranty on used frames. Any ideas or opinions will be greatfully accepted.
Used frames are great (i own one) IF they have been taken care of. If the frame does not "look good" i would not go any further to investigate other aspects. When I bought mine, the frame looked almost new so I had my LBS check it out (cracks, chips, etc). I think you have to be happy with bike and how it looks is a big part of it.
Certainly it's possible to refinish the clear coat IF the frame is structurally sound.
 

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I think..

I'd ask them for a warranty.. Orbea isn't going to warranty a used frame you bought 2nd hand.. Call them yourself.. LBS may say they will, but in most cases, they don't know, they just want to make a sell.. How about the new Giant Defy? I saw one at the LBS yesterday.. Think looked super sweet and I think it had 105.. Price was 1800 I think..
 

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I would never buy or ride a used CF frame; as has been pointed out; it is not like metal; and what you can not see is the real issue often with CF

This is why Trek says clearly on their site " if a carbon part or frame experiences an impact, more expertise is required to determine its integrity than is needed for a comparable metal part. If you impact your bike and the force of the impact is absorbed by a carbon part, we strongly encourage you to replace the part, even if there is no indication of damage"

BTW - there are plenty of new bikes with 105 or better in the $1400 range; and those would be less risky and carry a warranty
 

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bikesdirect said:
I would never buy or ride a used CF frame; as has been pointed out; it is not like metal; and what you can not see is the real issue often with CF

This is why Trek says clearly on their site " if a carbon part or frame experiences an impact, more expertise is required to determine its integrity than is needed for a comparable metal part. If you impact your bike and the force of the impact is absorbed by a carbon part, we strongly encourage you to replace the part, even if there is no indication of damage"

BTW - there are plenty of new bikes with 105 or better in the $1400 range; and those would be less risky and carry a warranty
+1... especially on the last part. Is there any particular reason you have to have a carbon fiber bike? At 1400, you'll just be paying for carbon fiber to say you have it in most cases. The really good ones cost quite a bit more. In all honesty, I would buy a $1,400 higher quality aluminum bike before I buy a carbon bike at that price.
 

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I think Orbea has a lifetime guarantee on their carbon frames - get your LBS to call Orbea in the U.S. and get that cleared up. I'm not sure if the warranty will cover a second owner. Orbea frames are so overbuilt (just like Colnago - which has a 1-year warranty on its carbon frames). Giant, Cervelo, and Time warranty their carbon frames for life. Usually, most LBS sell used carbon bikes on consignment...
 

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Here is the warranty from the www.orbea-usa.com web-site. The key part is "The warranty applies solely to the original purchaser for bicycles and framesets purchased new from, and assembled by, an Authorized Orbea Dealer and is not transferable.". This is pretty typical for the industry. I would run away from this bike.

The constant effort which we make from day to day to achieve the highest quality in our bicycles allows us to offer you the following terms of warranty: Orbea USA, LLC (“Orbea”) gives a lifetime warranty for each new Orbea brand frame and factory installed rigid fork. Downhill mountain bike frames which have in excess of 170 mm of travel are warranted for two years from the original date of purchase. Paint finish and all other original Orbea brand components, and all Orbea brand repair parts, replacement parts, and accessories, are warranted to be free from defects in material or workmanship for a period of one year from the original date of purchase. The warranty applies solely to the original purchaser for bicycles and framesets purchased new from, and assembled by, an Authorized Orbea Dealer and is not transferable. The warranty form must be completed by the purchaser and received by Orbea. It is essential for us to receive said warranty form for its processing. All warranty claims must originate through an Authorized Orbea Dealer. Failure to comply will void the warranty claim. Every warranty claim will be extensively reviewed by Orbea’s technicians and subject to their discretion. This warranty does not cover elements which are non-durable or subject to wear with normal use, such as tires, brake shoes, handlebar grips, chains and the like. All warranties are void if the bicycle is modified from its original condition, which includes the use of non original accessories, inappropriate maintenance or repair, or if it is used for other than normal activities, including, but not limited to, failing to follow the owner’s manual or using the bicycle for commercial purposes. Damage from an accident voids the warranty as well. In no event shall Orbea be responsible for direct, incidental, or consequential damages, including without limitation, damages for personal injuries, property damage, or economic losses, whether based on contract, warranty, negligence, product liability or any other theory. Due to our commitment to offer our customers a satisfactory and technologically innovative product we reserve the right to change the specifications listed in our catalog and web site without prior notice.
 

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That does not sound like a good deal at all.

I bought my 2004 Trek 5900 Super Light in 2007. It has some chips in the clearcoat on one blade of the fork (It had been laid down), but perfect otherwise. Full Dura-Ace, Rolf Prima Elan wheels, EC90 bars and carbon cages and Speedplay x1's. I paid less than $1,300. I have put 11,000 miles on it with no issues.

Deals are out there, you just have to look and be patient.

In my opinion the "fear" of carbon frames is pretty irrational. If a frame is in it's original paint and there is no visible signs of damage, odds are very good the frame is fine.
 

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Blue CheeseHead said:
That does not sound like a good deal at all.

I bought my 2004 Trek 5900 Super Light in 2007. It has some chips in the clearcoat on one blade of the fork (It had been laid down), but perfect otherwise. Full Dura-Ace, Rolf Prima Elan wheels, EC90 bars and carbon cages and Speedplay x1's. I paid less than $1,300. I have put 11,000 miles on it with no issues.

Deals are out there, you just have to look and be patient.

In my opinion the "fear" of carbon frames is pretty irrational. If a frame is in it's original paint and there is no visible signs of damage, odds are very good the frame is fine.[/QUOTE]

Rational & Irational are in the eye of the beholder.
We have friends that will not let their kids near a ATV: but the mom works in an ER.
However, we have no issue with an ATV if we are present.

If safety is your number one issue: "no visible signs of damage" is a very good standard on metal frames; however, "no visible signs of damage" is not enough data on a CF frame as CF frames that look perfect can have concealed damage much easier than any metal frame.

This is not to say CF frames are not great; they are. But they are not the same as metal; and I personally would never buy a used one of any model or any brand; as it would not be worth the worry to me.


Everyone has to make their own decision about the risks; and to that end; information & research are great.
 

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While I have no problem buying a used CF frame (one of mine is a 1998 Caflee), I would not buy one in the condition you describe. That much external damage tells me that the owner didn't care about his bike. I've put more than 5000 miles on my used bike and you'd be hard pressed to find a single mark. And it was that way when I bought it.

I don't think it's a matter of price, I think it's a matter of whether you want to buy something that's been abused.
 

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I bought a lightly used carbon-framed whole bike (Synapse Carbon) off of Ebay after conversing with the seller by email several times. I got it in writing that the frame had "nothing wrong" with it, had "no cracks, paint chips, or flaws". Although on the surface those words from an unknown seller seem worthless, I got it in writing because the item was Buyer Protected by Ebay.....i.e., your money back if not as described.

I had to use that Ebay feature on a different item I had purchased in the past, and Ebay and Paypal stood behind it faithfully. The item I had received was broken and did not work, so they voided the sale and got me my money back.

So at least I had some assurance that the bike seller would be legit.....and it all worked out great.:thumbsup:

**
 

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You know, half of the deal with me is how the bike looks. The way a bike looks hanging there on the rack will dictate weather or not I go out riding. It'll get me out on the cold days, and on the really hot ones too. If a bike doesn't look good, and there's a question that may be asked by a stranger like what happened to your bike?...then I don't want it. The bike has to look good and that's part of the appeal, part of the love. If not, then I would just ride an old beater with tennis shoes on. There's nothing wrong with that, but you're the one that brought the carbon up.
 

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terry b said:
While I have no problem buying a used CF frame (one of mine is a 1998 Caflee), I would not buy one in the condition you describe. That much external damage tells me that the owner didn't care about his bike. I've put more than 5000 miles on my used bike and you'd be hard pressed to find a single mark. And it was that way when I bought it.

I don't think it's a matter of price, I think it's a matter of whether you want to buy something that's been abused.

+1...I have no issues buying used but I wouldn't buy the frame the OP mentioned..

I find it very ironic that people with carbon bikes are saying don't buy a used carbon frame. I sure hope they never plan on selling it.....:)
 
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