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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My son is now 14. He's been riding a bike for years, riding a few miles to school until we moved to the country. He has always had mountain bikes. My Mother in law is a serious cyclist. EEach year she rides RAGBRAI and my son wants to ride with her. Before last week he has always worn his skateboard helmet, blue jeans, and carried a backpack full of stuff. He's in great physical condition and is in high school sports. Grandma lives several hours away. Our LBS isn't so local. I went into the closest one yesterday. It wwasn't a positive experience. I'm going to some others today. None of them are easy for us to just stop in.

My budget is $800. I also need to pick up a real helmet, gear etc... In that price. I have located 2 similar bikes on Craigslist. Both are 2010 Specialized Secteur. One is a sport with Tiagra components. They're asking $675. The other has 105s so I'm guessing it's an elite, but it's $950.

I am leaning towards the sport, meeting the seller at a LBS. Perhaps I'll change my mind after visiting some more stores.

Do you think the Tiagra is fine? He's a strong kid so I'm not as concerned about weight for him. Anythingwwill be a giant improvement. Money is very tight. The truck I bought for him to drive was $700. I can't wrap my mindaaround his bike being more expensive than the truck!

I apologize about typos. I'm on my phone and when I try to correct them it adds letters!
 

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Cycling induced anoesis
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First off, you obviously have to consider your son is going to keep growing. I'd budget (and plan) accordingly.

That's not to say this bike shouldn't fit him. It should, so take him along when visiting the shops and CL sellers so that he can try out some bikes. Since your mother in law is a serious cyclist, you may want to tap her as a resource in areas she's knowledgeable of (fit/ mechanics). But it's still a good idea to bring any potential CL bikes to an LBS for mechanical/ fit assessment. Most will also provide a 'ballpark' value.

Lastly, Tiagra is a fine choice. More importantly is getting gearing right, so depending on your son's fitness and the terrain he'll be riding, that needs to be a good match. Compact (50/34T) and triple cranksets offer good compromises in hilly areas, so something to consider.

As far as accessories, IMO a helmet and saddle bag with the essentials for fixing/ repairing flats are must haves, upfront. Everything else can wait till funds are available. Assuming it's in decent shape, your son could still use his helmet, if need be.
 

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Just a quick note... if the bikes are 2010's, the Sport has Sora 3400 (9 speed shifters) that employ a thumb tab. The Elite is equipped with 105 (10 speed) with inner/ outer shift levers.

This generation of Sora will perform well and prove durable, but the 105 equipped bike will have a higher level of refinement and improved ergonomics.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
He is 6'1. His physical was last week and his doctor said he has 1-2 more inches of growing, so looking for something that fits now, but can grow, not something that he can still fit in but will outgrow. I'm going to 4 more LBS today. My MIL suggested Carbon. But our budget has eliminated that. (She's contributing to get to the $800) I am going to take him to a shop tomorrow (after I find one I like) for a basic fitting, sitting on different sizes etc...

As to the 2 I've been eyeballing. The one says Sport on the side and you can see the word Tiagra on the mechanicals + the seller said they're Tiagra. Perhaps it's one of the sport compact etc... I saw there were different types. The other bike is also several hours away.
 

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Cycling induced anoesis
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He is 6'1. His physical was last week and his doctor said he has 1-2 more inches of growing, so looking for something that fits now, but can grow, not something that he can still fit in but will outgrow. I'm going to 4 more LBS today. My MIL suggested Carbon. But our budget has eliminated that. (She's contributing to get to the $800) I am going to take him to a shop tomorrow (after I find one I like) for a basic fitting, sitting on different sizes etc...
That's an excellent plan. And yes, finding a shop that you like and emphasizes the importance of fit is equally important.

As to the 2 I've been eyeballing. The one says Sport on the side and you can see the word Tiagra on the mechanicals + the seller said they're Tiagra. Perhaps it's one of the sport compact etc... I saw there were different types. The other bike is also several hours away.
Beware of what sellers tell you. The 2010 Sport has a Tiagra RD, but the shifters are Sora.

Here's a link to the 2010 Secteur's:
Specialized Bicycle Components
 

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I'm sure that this has already occured to you, but you have to look at this as a temporary first bike. Your son will probably--although maybe not definitely---outgrow the frame. Assuming that you get the correct size now. More importantly, he's either going to really get into cycling and want a better ride, maybe something with a more aggressive geometry than the Secteur and in CF, or he's not going to stick with it. So keeping it at the $800 level, give or take a Franklin, makes a lot of sense.

Without knowing what's available, brand wise, within a reasonable drive, you might want to look at some less ballyhooed brands than Specialized. There really isn't anything all that "special" when it comes to their entry-level A1 alloy frames, which is what the Secteur has. Look at some more under the radar brands like Fuji, Diamondback, GT, or even newer Schwinns. A new 2013 with full Tiagra within your budget isn't out of the question. If your kid is going to move on to a better ride in the next 3-5 years, you don't really need a lifetime warranty, and in any event, you get no warranty at all on a used bike.

I guess it's theoretically possible that the original owner replaced his Sora shifters with 9 speed Tiagra, but it's doubtful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
At my 4th bike shop today I found something that seems to be a good compromise. This is a small LBS. I told them what I am looking for and we went out to the used bike section. They have a 2011 Specialized Allez that they've never sold but someone had bought all the components off of. It has Tiagra shifters and parts. It's never been used. They had it marked as $1400 as original and marked down to $1000. He said he could sell it at $800. He is the shop owner. It's a reputable store. My brother in law uses them for his bikes and services and likes them. They'll include a fitting (glad I read up here first to ask for it)

This sounds like a good fit for me. Another shop has a Trek 570 that they're going to convert to a road bike they say is equivalent to a Trek 520 for $625. I didn't hear what shifters etc... That would have.
 

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Cycling induced anoesis
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At my 4th bike shop today I found something that seems to be a good compromise. This is a small LBS. I told them what I am looking for and we went out to the used bike section. They have a 2011 Specialized Allez that they've never sold but someone had bought all the components off of. It has Tiagra shifters and parts. It's never been used. They had it marked as $1400 as original and marked down to $1000. He said he could sell it at $800. He is the shop owner. It's a reputable store. My brother in law uses them for his bikes and services and likes them. They'll include a fitting (glad I read up here first to ask for it)

This sounds like a good fit for me. Another shop has a Trek 570 that they're going to convert to a road bike they say is equivalent to a Trek 520 for $625. I didn't hear what shifters etc... That would have.
There's no guarantee, but it might be this bike:
Specialized Bicycle Components

FWIW, the Allez is a race bike, where the Secteur is a relaxed geo/ endurance bike. Generally speaking, a race bike will have quicker steering and (all else being equal) a more aero riding position.

Since (from the sound of it) the Allez has to be built up, unless the shop has an equivalent for your son to test ride, you can't be sure it's the right size. But.. one step at a time.

As long as your son likes it and it fits well, I agree that it's a good candidate for you (and him). How good of a deal it is, is hard to say without knowing the specs of the build (saddle, post, wheelset, etc.), but if he's reputable dealer and your brother in law recommends them, that's a plus.

Not knowing what a Trek 570 is, I can't comment other than to say I'd advise against conversions. The results aren't always stellar, and (again) you won't know if the sizing/ fit are right till the bikes available to test ride.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The Allez is all built and ready to go, so he is going to ride it tomorrow. From what I'm reading, it came with Sora but it now has Tiagra. I saw the bike and took pictures of the components. This LBS hosts charity rides, so my son was there last week and raved about it. I like being able to buy from a shop, to forge a relationship with one. Now if only I could find someone to ride with him!
 

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Cycling induced anoesis
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The Allez is all built and ready to go, so he is going to ride it tomorrow. From what I'm reading, it came with Sora but it now has Tiagra. I saw the bike and took pictures of the components. This LBS hosts charity rides, so my son was there last week and raved about it. I like being able to buy from a shop, to forge a relationship with one. Now if only I could find someone to ride with him!
Don't know why I thought the bike had to be built, but even better that it's ready for your son to test ride.

Spec has three versions of that bike for 2011. An A1 and E5 aluminum with (both with partial CF fork) and a steel version. All are quality frames, with the difference between A1 and E5 being about 100 grams (less for E5).

If you can, post the pics you took.

Completely agree that whenever possible buying from an LBS is the preferred route - for many reasons. One being to build a relationship. They'll be a valuable resource for your son.

Lastly, you could ride with him... :wink5:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I have thought of riding with him. However, my bike is a $75 Mountain bike from Walmart that is really small. He's in much better shape than me. I'd die before getting far on that bike and he likes to go for 40-50 mile rides. He drags a friend along. That poor kid must hide when his phone rings now, he says he doesn't want to go, but always does. :) I can't afford another bike right now.
 

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Good pics. That's an Allez Comp (E5) Frameset. IIRC it (alone) sold for around $500, so getting a complete Tiagra equipped bike for $800 is a good deal.

Specialized Bicycle Components

Remember to ask about Spec's warranty, but being new, it should be included.

I hope the bike fit your son and he likes it. It's a very nice 'first bike'! :thumbsup:

Please keep us updated....
 
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