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Hi i'm new to road bikes and i'm looking at 2 bikes on craigslist, they are both $650. The first one is a 51 cm 2009 cannondale 6 triple and the second is a 53 cm 2005 cannondale R700 triple. I like the 2009 model because it's newer and looks better IMO but the 2005 model has shimano 105 FD and shimano Ultegra RD while the 2009 has Tiagra RD and a Sora FD. Which one is better overall for the price? I've read that every 4 years shimano gives the lower components some qualities of the higher-end components. If that is true then the 2009 tiagra should be the equivalent of the 2005 105 right? Oh yeah almost forgot, i am 5' 6" with a 30 inch inseam so I need a 52 cm frame right? Here are the pictures of the bikes. View attachment 279820 View attachment 279821
 

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IMO, you need to be very knowlegedeable about bikes, if you're going to buy used. If you aren't that bike savy, then you need to have someone to accompany you who "knows bikes".

Also, nobody can advise you concerning frame size or fit over the internet with any confidence. The most we can do is give you pointers and general guidance. However, any specific advice about your correct frame size or fit should be considered as practically useless. The only way to correctly assess your correct frame size and fit will be for you to test ride the bike and evaluate the level of comfort that you experience yourself, personally. So test ride both bikes and make your own determination.

Also, frame sizes vary from model to model and from company to company. There is no industry standard for frame sizes. A size 56cm on a Giant road bike could very well be a size 58 on a Schwinn model. You just simply have to judge for yourself when buying used. You'll mostly have to go by standover height and your personal comfort experienced whenever purchasing a used bicycle, independently..
 

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Given your height and inseam, very generally speaking, you'll be in the 50-52 cm frame size range. Or, maybe more accurately, a 525-530mm effective top tube.

However, as was mentioned, frame sizes can and do vary, so (when buying used) it's best to shop around, test ride a few, find the one that fits/ feels best and ask the seller to bring the bike to your LBS for mechanical and fit assessment, along with getting a ballpark on value.

This service may incur a small fee, but it may also save you from a more expense mistake, so (IMO) an investment worth the cost.
 
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