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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Long-time reader, first time poster here. Looking for some road bike buying advice for a really tall rider. Some quick details:

-Will be my second road bike, first one was entry level (carbon fork, AL frame, Claris build) and in between race and endurance fit.
-Have a mtb and a cross/gravel bike as well and race both of them.
-Looking to get into crit and road racing next summer.
-Have been competitive runner for several years and cycled recreationally for cross training for the last 4 years.
-25 y/o, one of those "A" riders obsessed with strava KOM's and way too competitive for my own good at times.
-Kind of a weight weenie in my mtb, which I race. I seriously don't have any weight on my body to lose. I look like Chris Froome.
-Quite a bit of experience wrenching on bikes. Built my cross bike after getting the frame for free.
-Have a 37 inch inseam, which is kind of a problem when buying bikes. Current road bike is a 64cm, which is a tad on the big size but it fits. 62cm should fit.

Questions:
1. Race or endurance fit? I've ridden the Domane and thought it felt kinda slow. I've never ridden a nice race bike though. Nor have I ridden a carbon bike. But I'm concerned about fitting on a race bike. I've done several centuries on my AL road bike and was comfortable. I've never had a bike fit though.

2. Would like to spend $1200-$1300. Not many options, especially in my size. Obsessed about getting a good value. Options below:

2008 Madone 6.5 pro. Good condition, checking it out in person on Monday. Asking is $1300. It's old, but it's full dura ace and the red carbon frame. Stock everything, EXCEPT it has the bontrager race wheels from that year instead of the x lite... I might ask to buy everything but the wheels. I'll probably offer $1000 and see what his response is.

New bikesdirect. Plenty of options in that price range, and I bought my present road bike there. Do I get cheap carbon with 105, or aluminum with ultegra?

Buy a used frame and try to build it up under budget. This would probably mean looking for a Caad 9-10 frame or something similar. I don't have most of the parts, only a couple of spares lying around.

I don't think Giant makes anything big enough, nor do the Italian brands, so the used market is a bit thin. Trek and Cannondale are pretty much my options as far as I can tell.

New Trek or new Cannondale would mean emonda ALR4 or caad8 tiagra to stay within budget I think. But I'm not sure I could get those in my size either without doing a special order.

The other option is to not buy a bike now and spend $1600 next summer. Would any of the above bikes be an appreciable difference over my current bike, which is this? Save Up to 60% Off Carbon Fork Shimano Road Bikes - Motobecane Mirage S
If not, I'll just wait.

Appreciate thoughts; thanks!
 

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If you are looking to race, especially crits, I'd say go with a Specialized Allez. The DSW SL Sprint Comp (that's a mouthful) has a terrific all-rounder frame with a rock-solid 105 groupset. The only issue is it is $1700 retail, but I bet you could get close to the top end of your budget at the right LBS. Also, not sure if 61 would be large enough for you.

I went from a Cannondale hybrid to the Allez DSW as I wanted a solid road bike that did everything well. Not the lightest, not the fastest, not the most rigid, but at that price point you will find it almost impossible to find a bike that matches it, let alone surpasses it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
As far as size, it looks like the 61 cm Allez has slightly smaller stack and reach to the 62cm madone I'm looking at Monday. Both are smaller than my current bike and I'm worried I won't be able to get the bars high enough, since there is going to be a lot of seatpost showing.
 

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I would look into the Fuji SL. Performance is having a sale right now and it's on sale on the Sl 2.3 for $1,799 or the SL 2.5 for $1,599 plus 20% double points which means around $360 for stuff like wheels, shoes or other accessories you may need/want. I paid $1599 for mine so check. They also have several Transonic models on sale.

Good luck
 

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If you're confident about a 62cm frame being right for you, then I'd go with a "race" fit style frame. As long as you retain all the spacers under the stem, you'll be able to position the bars high enough for comfort, yet still be efficient. Don't get wrapped up in all that "slam that stem" nonsense. Endurance fit bikes can be fast too, if sized and adjusted properly.

If you're planning on racing, do not buy an expensive bike. Crashing will be part of racing, and you don't want to bat an eye when and if you crash and break something. A Shimano 105 equipped aluminum bike with aluminum wheels is all you need.

It doesn't sound like you have enough experience yet to risk buying a bike direct from internet dealers. I recommend you stick with a local shop or buy a brand name used bike. At least then it will be ready to roll, and you can develop more mechanical expertise discovering what parts are worn out and replacing them.

Trek, Cannondale, and Giant are all good choices. The Domane probably didn't feel right because you didn't adjust it before riding it. Handlebar height and position can dramatically affect how a bike steers and whether you feel "fast" or "slow". Next time you road test bikes, bring your own allen wrenches and tweak things during your test rides.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I would look into the Fuji SL. Performance is having a sale right now and it's on sale on the Sl 2.3 for $1,799 or the SL 2.5 for $1,599 plus 20% double points which means around $360 for stuff like wheels, shoes or other accessories you may need/want. I paid $1599 for mine so check. They also have several Transonic models on sale.

Good luck

Not big enough. The 61cm is the biggest size and the stack and reach is definitely too small. I don't think performance has anything big enough actually, nor does Nashbar.
 

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That Madone looks good to me. Check it out closely for wear to cogs, chainrings, and pulleys. That will help determine mileage and how well the seller maintained his bike - like regularly lubing or replacing his chain. Bring a rag and a flashlight with you to get up close and personal with those components.

I think you're on the right track, considering a budget of $1,300. It puts you on something used, maybe from your local craigslist. I put together a rain bike for under $1,300 with Ultegra 11sp, using an inexpensive aluminum frame (new) from probikekit. You've got the luxury of time now, with the road race season all but done. Possibly you will see some great deals over the next few months as people unload low-mileage bikes to fund their holiday spending.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Update-I bought the madone for $1,100 and have put 742 miles on it, thanks to the warm fall weather. It's a beautiful bike, and I rode 85 miles on it comfortably, albeit with some 28 spoke training wheels instead of the paired race lite aero wheels I bought the bike with. It's a much nicer bike than I expected to get for $1,100, since it had less than 500 miles on it total. Owner bought it, rode it for half a year, got hurt, bought a domane, and has been riding that ever since. The 7800 groupset is awesome.

My only worry is that it's too nice to race. I don't want to crash it. Pic with my crappy training wheels.
 

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You scored an excellent deal on a very nice bike. Crashes happen solo, group rides, or races. Just ride the daylights out of it. Dang...what are you, like 6'8"? :O
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ha, 6"4 and change. 37.5 inch inseam, 86cm saddle height. My saddle to bar drop is 12 cm on this bike, 8 cm on my cross bike. Seems like a ton, but when I look at other tall guys' bikes they look similar. I think I may actually switch the 110mm stem out for a 120. I have no idea how Taylor Phinney, who is my height, rides a 58. WTH?
 

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ideally you'd get a pro fitting done on the bike to help you learn your position for max efficiency and comfort.

I can say this - that is a teeny shorty weeny wimpy stubby stem on there! From what you descibe I am skeptical a 120mm will be any good. I am 6 3 and have used mainly 140mm stems most of my adult riding and racing years. Even with my long reach Spec SWorks Tarmac I had a 130mm stem on it and it felt about right. Drives me nuts to have too short a stem. On my endurance bike the reach is less and I have 140mm on it, and could probably use a 150mm.

But this is all very unique to an individual's anatomy. Only a fitting by a properly trained pro fitter can give you definitive cockpit dimensions.
 

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Ha, 6"4 and change. 37.5 inch inseam, 86cm saddle height. My saddle to bar drop is 12 cm on this bike, 8 cm on my cross bike. Seems like a ton, but when I look at other tall guys' bikes they look similar. I think I may actually switch the 110mm stem out for a 120. I have no idea how Taylor Phinney, who is my height, rides a 58. WTH?
Long stem. Pro riders go for smaller frames but compensate with a looong stem.


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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Long stem. Pro riders go for smaller frames but compensate with a looong stem.


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That seems unwise. Switching from a 110 to a 120 changed the ride and handling quite a lot actually. It's way more stable and less twitchy. Steering a 140 or higher would be like steering a bus, no thanks. I'm all legs too
. Bicycle frame Bicycle tire Bicycle wheel rim Bicycles--Equipment and supplies Bicycle fork
 

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That seems unwise. Switching from a 110 to a 120 changed the ride and handling quite a lot actually. It's way more stable and less twitchy. Steering a 140 or higher would be like steering a bus, no thanks. I'm all legs too
. View attachment 317146
Nice bike. If you're all legs, that reach gives a little more room for the arms and back. Brake hoods are right above the front hub, not in front of it to make it steer like a bus, or short and twitchy, like the one in the first picture. Looks like on the hoods fore-aft weight distribution would be right where you want it, over the BB.
 
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