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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been looking at used bikes to get into this game more seriously, I've been riding my father's Windsor from the late 80's to see if I would like it. I fit a 58cm in most cases and there are slim pickings used (everyone and their mother is selling a 56). I found a 2005 Trek Madone SSL 6.9 with 105 and indoor trainer for $1200 and a 2011 CAAD10 with 105 and 300 miles for $1000 but he's flexible. Besides those two, things are either very out of my budget or need a lot of tlc and new parts. I hadn't even considered new until my buddy went to the LBS and looking around bored I found a leftover Supersix 105 for $1500. My question is, is the extra $300-500 worth it for the warranty and brand new bike that I won't have to replace for awhile? From what I've read the CAAD10 is the best aluminum bike out right now but people like Dale's new carbons a lot. I only rode it around the parking lot for 5-10 minutes but I liked it a lot and the team colors look really nice. I know I'm not talking a $5k bike but it's still a big decision.
 

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I've been looking at used bikes to get into this game more seriously, I've been riding my father's Windsor from the late 80's to see if I would like it. I fit a 58cm in most cases and there are slim pickings used (everyone and their mother is selling a 56). I found a 2005 Trek Madone SSL 6.9 with 105 and indoor trainer for $1200 and a 2011 CAAD10 with 105 and 300 miles for $1000 but he's flexible. Besides those two, things are either very out of my budget or need a lot of tlc and new parts. I hadn't even considered new until my buddy went to the LBS and looking around bored I found a leftover Supersix 105 for $1500. My question is, is the extra $300-500 worth it for the warranty and brand new bike that I won't have to replace for awhile? From what I've read the CAAD10 is the best aluminum bike out right now but people like Dale's new carbons a lot. I only rode it around the parking lot for 5-10 minutes but I liked it a lot and the team colors look really nice. I know I'm not talking a $5k bike but it's still a big decision.
Whatever you decide on, make sure the bike suites your intended uses/goals and anatomy.

Beyond that, IMO because CF can fail differently that alu or steel - and requires special equipment to 'see' those defects - I never recommend buying used CF.

Used steel or alu are less risky, but (given your price range) another option would be to buy new. In the ~$1200 range, there are a number of good choices, with a warranty and LBS services.
 

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I disagree, it's not a big decision. Way back in 1984, I bought a new Cannondale road bike for 800 American dollars. It was a great decision and shaped the rest of my life. I was only 18 years old. A big decision would be something in the 10 to 20 thousand dollar range. When I was 22 I bought a 24 thousand dollar car. That was a big decision.

Used bikes are great, but I've never seen a CAAD 10 with only 300 miles. Used bikes can have cracked frames, been in crashes where you can't find that damage, or have shifting mechanisms that are about to fail. I've bought used bikes that I had to buy wheels for, because the wheels will no longer stay true due to high mileage. A good quality set of wheels can run you 500 dollars. Are you prepared to dish that kind of money out after buying used? I put in 3000 miles a year, there's no way to tell what a used bike has already been through. My bike has 13 thousand miles on it and looks brand new. Do you wanna buy it? I didn't think so.

If something is out of your budget, then it's time to save up some money. Be patient and really get what you want.

Pretty much anything you choose is going to be way better than that 1980's Windsor. Yes Cannondale makes some incredible aluminum bikes. I would tell you to buy a new one. The new one you mentioned is a real deal.

The warranty card on a new bike is priceless. I bought my 2009 brand new and it was fitted to me by the LBS where I bought it. I know that my rep is standing behind me just in case the frame fails. That's a good feeling, especially when your bike is the most important thing you own.

My TCR looks brand new, but it's not. Over 13 thousand miles. Beware!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
This is the exact reason I passed up on a 2012 SS on ebay, it was the same exact bike the shop has but used and it had some odd wear marks on the rear derailleur and stuff. It ended up going for $1135 shippeed which I think was a bargain but like you guys are saying there is no way to tell what it's been through. I think the warranty is worth the added expense and the way I look at it is if I buy a used bike like that 2005 I'll end up with a new bike in five or less years, if I buy a brand new SS I can see having it for a long time. I've had my Gary Fisher Sugar since 2004 and the frame replaced a Joshua that snapped under warranty which was bought in 2006, even with new bikes coming with hydro disks and air forks it has stood the test of time and I've never seen a reason for a new bike. The only thing I'd look to replace on the SS is the stock Shimano rims, at 190 with gear I've never heard good things about the RS-10s.
 

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I don't think the warranty is worth $300-$500. If we're talking about an aluminum-framed bike, I can break even a big-ticket part, replace it, and still be ahead. Up to and including the frame. But then, I'm getting more and more over a lot of the high-dollar stuff people on this forum like to bolt to their bikes. I didn't even stay with integrated shifters on my commuter when one of them broke, although I do prefer them on a training or competitive bike.

That doesn't mean that it's not worthwhile to buy at a shop. There are a bunch of value-added aspects to buying new or closeout or whatever from a shop.

Try a bunch of different new bikes and see what you think. If you have a shop near you that carries used, try some of their bikes too. For me, trying a lot of different bikes was a really important part of buying my 'cross bike. I'd been a little too quick in my purchase of my first nice road bike, and I could never really get it to fit me; the 'cross bike has been a real improvement and I think it was taking a little more time and doing the retail process that did that.

When you buy a new bike, you get to start with something that has all the service life left on all the parts, and that has everything working properly when you buy it. IME, it's a lot easier to learn to maintain a bike with a baseline of knowing how it's supposed to work, and I think it's also nice not to get dragged into any of the more major projects within a few months of ownership. While I still feel I made the right choice in buying a nicer used bike over a cheaper new bike when I bought my commuter, I did have to build a new wheel for it pretty early on. That was a real irritation. That's not something that should come up buying new.

Buying used from a shop should get you something that has had any major mechanical issues addressed and has everything working when you buy it. But you're not guaranteed a new cassette or even a new chain or brake pads, if those parts met the shop's standard of good enough when it prepared the bike for sale. I think it's a good way to stretch a dollar, but one does sacrifice the "honeymoon" period.

Buying used from a private party can be a real minefield. There's no guarantee that the seller took care of the bike. I've bought three bikes that way. The first needed a new chain right away (recognized it, bargained the price down) and didn't have a ton of life left on the freewheel. The second was a nice bike but had the SRAM garbage my friend prefers to the 105 the bike shipped with, and reflected Trek's (and SRAM's, come to think of it) refusal to hire mechanical engineers or at least to listen to them. The third has worked out brilliantly - it was a track bike the previous owner bought to race and pretty much only used on the track. While "racing only" doesn't sound like light use, she doesn't appear to have crashed it, and going around the velodrome at high speed but not hitting anything is really pretty light use. Point being, if you're going to buy a used bike from a private party, IMO you need to know enough to recognize mechanical problems and either pass on the bike or negotiate appropriately.
 

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Personally, I think buying new for an extra 3-500 is worth it. The LBS will help with sizing and probabyl offer discounted fit service and at least 1 free tune up. And, they sometimes offer 15% or so off merchandise in the store for a period of time.

If you bought a biekfrom an LBS and they offered a warranty for an extra 3-500, I would say no thanks but that's not the only thing an LBS offers over used. And $1200 will get you a nice bike. Nothing wrong with aluminum, absolutely nothing. And don't focus too much on 105 to much either. Tiagra is nice too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Andrw, the bike in question is a carbon frame, which is why I was so resistant to buy without a warranty. The cheapest I've found the frame besides that single auction on eBay is the same price as the brand new full bike from this shop, so that makes me feel like it is a good deal in itself. I like new things and it has cost me money over my life so I just wanted to hear from other people.
 

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I have bought 3 new bikes......GT avalanche, Trek madone 5.2, and older Trek 2100 all new and never a problem.

I have also bought 4 used bikes and one used frame from Trek and Specialized.....aluminum and carbon.......all I have to say is if you buy used buy local check for any damage and go have fun.

All my used carbon bikes were mint not a scratch and still have it today.....never a problem not even mechanical.
 

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I thought the CAAD was still an aluminum bike. Guess not all the models now. You even say something about the Cannondale you thought about being aluminum.

Dear Bike Manufacturers,
When you go to a lot of trouble to build up something's product identity, releasing a new and different product under the same name may not be the best way to get your message out. Just sayin'.
Also, if you like new things and you're willing to pay the premium, why are we having a discussion about used?

Anyway, I can't decide how I feel about carbon. One of my bikes (down from two) has a carbon fork. Two have steel forks. One has a suspension fork, which is a whole different issue entirely. I don't know that the fork really matters to me. Both transmit some rattle into the bike when I ride a sufficiently rough section of road. Both send a shock to the handlebars when I drop a curb badly. The bike with the carbon fork has a disc brake that it doesn't deal with as well as it could, though it's fine when I brake with reasonable form. I suspect that's more a design thing than anything else.

I guess my instinct is that while I respect the frame uber alles view, I've found that I typically maintain my bikes pretty much as a package and when I price it, it doesn't make sense to me to do a significant makeover on an existing bike. A particular bike I want is available in both carbon and aluminum versions, which makes it easy to make an "other things equal" comparison on price. So I know the price premium to do the same thing in carbon is $1400 for that bike. I don't know that that would be worth it to me. And having a frame that expensive to replace myself if I do something to it not under warranty - this is something I ride in rain and snow, sometimes launch, occasionally crash, may race... Whatever bike you start on, sooner or later you'll end up on the specs that individually seem worthwhile to you, or don't induce too much sticker shock when you destroy whatever they're replacing, most of which you will if you ride the bike much.

You're not really comparing apples to apples, I realize, but rather a few qualitatively different options. So I think you need to decide if your number is $1000 or $1500, and then what the relative importances of a carbon frame, "new bike smell," your time looking at older bikes vs. the ability to walk into a shop and have a new bike today, and the component group are.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The CAAD10 is aluminum, I may have jumped around a bit too much as I usually have an ADHD issue with typing on forums. The new bike in question is a Supersix, I have been dreaming about it since I've seen it, but I didn't know whether the extra money for a new carbon over a used aluminum bike was worth it. That's a 50% increase for the same gruppo, but it has a warranty and I was the first person to touch the pavement on it since it came out of the box. I think I'll probably be taking it home this weekend but I value the opinions of experienced riders when I've only ever ridden mountain bikes.
 

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I value the opinions of experienced riders when I've only ever ridden mountain bikes.
Experience aside, I think the fundamental question you're asking (new versus used) has more to do with folks willing to take a risk versus those who are not. Considering a couple of statements you've made along the way, like...
"I was the first person to touch the pavement on it since it came out of the box" tells me that (like me) you are not a risk taker.

I think you should go with your gut on this one and buy the new bike. Because it's your first, it probably wouldn't hurt to test ride a few others (just for exposure), but that's my standard advice.

That, and stay at the lower end of your price range. Although, you seem to keep your 'stuff' awhile, so that advice may apply more to those with upgraditis.
 

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The CAAD10 is aluminum, I may have jumped around a bit too much as I usually have an ADHD issue with typing on forums. The new bike in question is a Supersix, I have been dreaming about it since I've seen it, but I didn't know whether the extra money for a new carbon over a used aluminum bike was worth it. That's a 50% increase for the same gruppo, but it has a warranty and I was the first person to touch the pavement on it since it came out of the box. I think I'll probably be taking it home this weekend but I value the opinions of experienced riders when I've only ever ridden mountain bikes.
I don't think there's a lot more or less value in a carbon frame on a road bike than a mountain bike. So if it would be worth it to you (or already has been) on a mountain bike, then have at it.

While mountain bikes do have the advantage of suspension to help absorb a lot of the high-frequency stuff, it's still tires that do most of the work there. I imagine you've already found "your" tire pressure on a mountain bike. It's pretty much the same deal on a road bike. You'll just end up with a higher number. The biggest wrinkle is that while most contemporary mountain bikes can fit big enough rubber for most riders, a lot of contemporary racing-styled road bikes are pretty limited, which can lead to heavy but well-funded riders torturing themselves with beautiful skinny-tired bikes that they ride with a lot of air pressure to avoid pinch flats. Since the SuperSix is Cannondale's flagship racing bike, be prepared to have trouble fitting more than a 25 mm tire in there if "heavy but well-funded" is you. Think of that as being kind of like being restricted to a 2.1" tire in a mountain bike - can be fine, and maybe even worth whatever advantages the bike kept by making that compromise, for a guy who weighs 140 lb and gets most of his joy in riding from training to be faster and from pinning a number on and trying to beat some people and limiting for a guy who's closer to 180 and rides with friends on the weekends with lots of stops to regroup and/or banter.

Depending on what you want from the bike, I think that the "endurance" class is the bike industry's apology for cramming racier and racier bikes down the throats of the road riding public. Think "trail" in mountain bikes.

Note also that you should read the spec lists for bicycles with a skeptical eye. Even at high pricepoints, you're relatively likely to end up with a crappy crank, off-brand (but perfectly good, IMHO) brakes and wheels that put function well behind form. I think this is driven largely by people who say they want xxx group but also are attracted to unusual looking wheels and really only look at the marque on the shifters when they look at bikes. (And the marketing folks who have identified that pattern, of course.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
To update, I bought the Supersix, I called and they said cash is king and we'll cut you a deal. They got a special deal through Cannondale to buy these so I got the bike for $750 less than any other place was selling that exact year, model, and color around here so I'm happy enough. I have a few accessories to buy, including pedals and shoes but everything else will be on an upgrade as necessary schedule. Cranks look okay after reading reviews, carbon looks nice but I'm not experienced enough to notice yet. Rims and tires are eh but I'm not a racer so I'll run them at least until they wear out so I have a baseline.
 

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I bought a used carbon Trek 5200 last October. I have put 575 flawless miles on it since I got it. I have never even changed a tube on it. I did replace the end cap on rear derailuer cable because it was cracking. My mtn bike did that and cause shifting issues so I replace the road bike one before it failed. Other than a couple tweaks for fitting I have done nothing to the bike. I did lube the chain of course.

I don't know how many miles are on the bike, but it doing exactly as I want. I figure the bike is 12 years old by now. I will say however that I am not too concerned about maintenance as I will do it all myself.
 

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Carbon is both light and strong. It also has a unique kinda feel when riding. For some, it's an acquired taste. For others, it's love upon the very first ride.


Carbon is a great bike frame material. However, it needs much tlc...
 

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Like what? It is obviously not good to throw it around and bang it up, but TLC can do you even do to it?
Like don't lean it up against a rough brick building, or lock it up too close to other locked bikes, and don't have any falls on rough surfaces. Abrasions are to Carbon what Kryptonite was to Superman.

Don't get me wrong, I believe that Carbon is one of the strongest bicycle frames ever known. However, it does have one major quirk, and that's abrasion. Carbon just hates to be scratched! That's why it's so important to have scratched Carbon frames repaired immediately. That's what I mean by tlc, my friend.

OTOH, a scratched Carbon frame under arid desert conditions, most probably wouldn't matter that much. It's the combination of scratches and water that can weaken Carbon in time.
 

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The outer resin layers are pretty thick. It takes a pretty serious gouge to do more than cosmetic damage. Bear in mind also what you're actually talking about - a composite material. It's the resin that's vulnerable to this type of damage. Carbon fibers don't abrade that easily, or they would probably not be a suitable reinforcing material for a composite material that can make a frame lighter than metallic frames.

FWIW, I wrap the main wear spots on my aluminum-framed commuter in inner tubes. It's okay not to want to chew the paint too fast. But if composites were as vulnerable as how you see them, they probably would never have been allowed to market. I also doubt that they'd be getting the kind of market penetration they are.
 

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My TCR looks brand new, but it's not. Over 13 thousand miles. Beware!!!
So, do you still ride your TCR? If so, why? You say it has 13k miles and one should "Beware". Why? My guess your TCR has many more years of service in it for either you or someone else if you decided to sell it.

To the OP, generally speaking I would not let the issue of a warranty be the main factor. My Time frame was purchased used for ~$800. If it fails I can buy 4 more at that price before I would have reached the $4k "new" price.

The 2005 Madone seems over priced given it's age and that it has been downgraded to 105.
 

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I have bought numerous new and used bikes both aluminum and carbon fiber. I have not had a problem with any of them. I do all of my own maintenance and can generally tell the difference between use and abuse. However unless you feel comfortable making a decision and living with the results, I suggest the new route.
 
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