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Hey,
I have around $400 to spend and was of course thinking about buying from ebay or craigslist. Should I be looking for any component group or specific bike as I browse?
This will be my first roadie but I've been riding mountain bikes for the past 4 years.
Also, since this will be an online purchase and its my first roadie, how should I go about determining size.
I'm about 6ft and lanky and ride a 19 or 20in mtn bike depending on the type of bike.

And before anybody suggests a fixie, I've been seriously considering a Bianchi Pista but I'm fanatical about hillclimbing and it looks like the two dont go together.

Thanks for any help
 

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Here are some examples that I'd put a friend on.

You would probably fit a 58 or 60cm frame / 23 inch 'merkin. I'm 5'11" w/ 32 inseam on my jeans and I ride a 58 by most maker's measurements.

Item number: 300235018867 - $400 buy it now price, which I would do without hesitation.
http://cgi.ebay.com/59cm-Diamondbac...ryZ98084QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

This one's ok but'll probably go for more than $400
http://cgi.ebay.com/Centurion-Pro-T...ryZ98084QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

this one's ok but the biopace cranks might drive you nuts
http://cgi.ebay.com/Centurion-Accor...ryZ98084QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

old school steel Trek. New bar tape and a tune-up
http://cgi.ebay.com/TREK-412-ROAD-B...ryZ98084QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

see, this one's considerably nicer for just a bit more. there's a real difference in the market between a $400 and $600 bike
http://cgi.ebay.com/Trek-1400-60cm-...ryZ98084QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

this one's a 61, maybe a tad large for you but schweeet classic Italian steel
http://cgi.ebay.com/Rauler-Special-...ryZ98084QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem


a nice Specialized in 61, but that crack in the seat tube concerns me.
http://cgi.ebay.com/2007-Specialize...ryZ98084QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

a race-ready C-dale. Like all these bikes, expect some maintenace work, maybe new chain and brake pads, and swap the stem to fit you better
http://cgi.ebay.com/Cannondalre-R40...ryZ98084QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

this one, besides being butt-ugly, just sounds sketchy and the guy only has 2 feedback. pass
http://cgi.ebay.com/Nishiki-Bicycle...ryZ98084QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

Specialized. cherry. buy it.
http://cgi.ebay.com/SPECIALIZED-A1-...ryZ98084QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
 

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I don't know what $400.00 will get you on EBay. I'm the same size as you. I ride a 59mm c-t or 58mm c-c. A 57mm c-c would work too. Some mfgs use the c-t (center to top), some use c-c (center to center). Top tube should be some where around 57mm.
 

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that Atala is a nice old school Italian steel. Never seen that paint job before. It you want old school Italian steel (which I happen to dig) it's a good deal. Looks a bit beat up so when you go to see it, look very closely for cracks at all tube junctions, especially on the right rear dropout itself, and where it joins the stays.

The Specialized is nicer IMO, modern etc.
 
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