Advice on used road bikes
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  1. #1
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    Advice on used road bikes

    Hi all! I’m new to distance riding and road bikes, and am also starting to train for a half Ironman. I currently have a fixie that I ride around the neighborhood with the family, but want something that will leave me the ability to run the last leg!

    Anyways, I’m looking at two bikes from the mid 80s: Trek 400 (https://detroit.craigslist.org/okl/b...213981713.html) and Schwinn Tempo (https://annarbor.craigslist.org/bik/...206879109.html)

    I really appreciate any advice you all can share. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    The one in annharbor has a new seat & tires, the rest looks about the same. The other one has very narrow bars.
    OK for training, when you get serious you'll need another bike.
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  3. #3
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    Probably not a good sign that you are considering on that doesn't list a size. Maybe you talked to the seller and know that but if not you really need to learn what size you need and make that your #1 criteria.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the advice! If both were to fit me well, is anything objectively “better” about one bike over the other?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwrice5 View Post
    Thanks for the advice! If both were to fit me well, is anything objectively “better” about one bike over the other?
    Not really. The Schwinn started out life with a somewhat better level of components than did the Trek, but that's been about thirty-five years, so a lot of miles, differing wear/maintenance/riding habits/etc. make that no longer a consideration.

    The advice of others, i.e., to concern yourself first and foremost with the bike that fits you, is paramount. They do not appear to be the same size, so let that inform your choice.
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  6. #6
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    Check for tire clearance. If one can only take 23mm or less that is the one you probably don't want.

    I don't know squat about either but they both probably ride pretty rough so you will want some room to adjust the ride with tires options. (assuming fit isn't a differentiator)

  7. #7
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    If they both fit fine, I would just pick the one that needs less work - stops better / shifts better and has wheels that are true better tires etc. If that's all equal pick the one that looks the nicest.
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  8. #8
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    just on principle, I'd pass on the one called 'collectors bike'...it's not.

    and the guy can't even spell Schwinn correctly, so...
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  9. #9
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    If you're concentrating on an ironman competition, you'll probably be the only entrant who cares anything about their bike. Most people who do triathalons and the like beat the living daylights out of their steeds, run them hard and put them away wet. I've seen quite a few tri-bikes that are worn out at only 5 years.....
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  10. #10
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    How tall are you and what is your inseam length. The Trek looks to be between a 48 and 52 cm length which is a pretty small size. The Schwinn is a 56 to 58 probably nearer a 56. Before you buy a bike know what you're looking for. A 50 cm bike is for someone that is probably 5'2" or so while the other 5'6" to 5'9".

  11. #11
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    Those both look like great bikes if you are looking for something to hang on a wall for decoration or for very casual riding.

    If you are looking for something to do an Ironman competition, I suggest you look on.
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  12. #12
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    Those 80s bikes are antiques and arguably not worth close to the asking price. Look for a bike made in the last 20 years imho. I've been riding since the mid 70s but would not choose to ride a bike older than 2000 just because of the many advances made by that time. Even beyond 10 years old there can be difficulty getting maintenance parts (tires, chains, shifters), and size-adjusting parts to fit (stems, bars etc) Find a cycling enthusiast with at least a basic understanding of bike fit and mechanical operation to go look at it with you.
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  13. #13
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    Agree with BCSaltchucker.
    As a former triathlete (ironman finisher) you will need a bike that is of modern efficiency and that you can easily find wear item parts for (chains, cassettes, etc.). Training for a long distance tri demands a bike that fits you well and stands up to long miles of training. Forced to choose between these two I would favor the Trek, although I would keep looking. I would not trust 30 yr old used wheels for long distance bike training. In a major metro there should be a number of more recent vintage road bikes in better condition cropping up from time to time. Local bike shops may even know of someone looking to sell a decent bike in your size and price range.
    Trust me that a "cheap" bike can get very expensive as replacement parts add up. A $200 bike easily can turn into a $700+ bike even if you shop carefully for parts and do the wrenching work yourself. Take a friend with you who knows bikes when you look at any bike you are seriously considering. The time to find major problems like a hidden crack in the frame is NOT after you have paid and taken the bike home.

    Good luck in your search!

  14. #14
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    Sometimes your budget is your budget and you just have to go with something you can afford, especially right now. However, if you can be patient and/or have some flexibility in your budget, I almost always advise people to save up a bit more and get something more modern like the bike below. It's not a ton more, but it is going to be a vast improvement over something that is 30-40 years old and makes upgrades and repairs a lot simpler. There's nothing wrong with getting an old bike to start, just make sure you do the full cost benefit analysis if you plan to stick with the sport long term.

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