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Hello, I have recently been introduced to road biking. Prior to this I have been solely a runner. I am tired of running marathons and need something new and more exciting. Therefore, I am looking into purchasing my first road bike. I was wondering if it would be better to purchase a new bike at a lower level with lower level components or buy a used higher end bike for a similar price. I understand there is a huge price range among bikes and their frames and components, but I am just looking for some general answers. I don't have a preference about frame material but would like to have a minimum of shimano 105 throughout. Also, if it is better to go with a used higher end bike- how many miles is to many miles.
 

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A used higher end bicycle wouldn't be a bad idea. I would make sure you're getting more current components so that you can still get replacement parts for it. Bicycles can last for a very long time, it just depends on how well the person took care of it. One of my bicycles has a frame that is 23 years old, it's still going strong. I know a couple of riders who started with lower-end bicycles and then ended up buying better bicycles after awhile - they really liked the improvements. So you might as well start with something better if it costs about the same.
 

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Depends on your willingness to fuss with the bike.

If you enjoy or at least feel comfortable playing bike mechanic, used is a good way to go. You can go to a shop and pay for a fitting without buying a bike, take the specs they give you, and go internet shopping. You may wind up doing some assembly and part swapping, but you can save lots.

Otherwise, I'd find a shop that has Surly or Gunnar or similarly priced frames, get a good fitting, the parts you want, and do it as right as you can from the start. You have, imho, found a pretty good price point to start looking. My preference is to start with a frame, and put what you want on it. It costs a few dollars more, but you can often come much closer to what you want than you can with an off-the-rack bike,
 

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Used is a good route. Good value. And road bikes don't get too beat up, so that's less of a concern than with a mtb. Also, if it ends up not fitting real well or you don't end up liking biking or you decide to upgrade 6 months into it, you can sell it for ballpark what you paid for it. Versus buying new and then having to sell for 60-75% of the new price you paid. Just one more opinion. S
 

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Fitting first, then consider used

As stated above, fit is paramount, but you may have a "standard" type body, which would fit on many bikes. On the other hand, if your body has unusual dimensions, you may find off the rack fitting problematic. If a certain manufacturers' geometry fits you (or a certain model's geometry fits you), you can figure that out & see if you can find the same or similar (geometry) bike used.

That's what I ended up doing & I found a great used Guerciotti with Shimano 600 (then I blew the savings & put Campy Chorus on it!). As far as geometry went, I swapped out the stem for one that was 1cm shorter & it was golden.

Oh, as far as the LBS goes, if they're helpful & cool, and you don't buy the bike from them, I'm sure you can find any number of parts and accessories down the line to keep them in business.
 
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