|Jr. tries to climb on board. Just a few more years son!|
You can do this too, but first I recommend learning everything you can about bikes so you aren't a total ignoramus like I was, and a great start for me was this awesome blog post entitled "how to buy a bike" from http://www.healthytippingpoint.com Here's some things I would add:
http://www.searchtempest.com and checked it every day with different search terms. In my case I used different combinations of 54, road bike, drop down bars, etc. I also tried the app "Craigspro" on my iphone but it only gave me a headache. As time went by and I learned more about components I put those terms in as well. As a newbie, I wanted an aluminum frame + carbon forks, and my shifting goals changed from "don't care" to "would prefer not to have thumb shifters". In the HTP blog and in your journeys, you will hear people discuss better components and think "what's exactly does better mean?"
Here's the run down! With road bikes, it all depends on what you are going to do. If you are just starting out racing or commuting a tiny bit of weight isn't a big deal. You don't need a 100% carbon frame and fork.
Most manufacturers (Trek, Specialized, Raleigh etc) all have aluminum frames and carbon forks. Some have fancier types of aluminum tubing, but by and large the sub 1000 dollar bikes are about the same.
Shifting systems/derailleurs etc go from worst to best in this order 2300, Sora, Tiagra, 105, Ultegra and Dura-Ace. There are levels above that even but again if you are starting out they don't matter! For me, Tiagra was a great choice - it works as well as the 105 (I can shift from in the drops or on top) and still is better than the 2300 (baseline) components or Sora thumb shifters. If you really want to nerd out on shifters, here's a link to the wikipedia on Shimano. Other than that, haggling wise my best advice is to set limits for yourself on how much you are willing to spend before you go to meet your (potential) new bike and old owner.
|Score! Looks like I saved more money than this guy.|
Not sure how much your used bike from a year or two or three is worth? Try checking craigslist listings in other cities to find a general idea of how much my bike was going for. You can also check Ebay's ended auctions. Most good road bikes are like Hondas and retain their value after a year or two. That said, don't forget that you can always haggle down!
|Yay! I paid less than this one as well!|
PS I'd also like to thank my man Patrick Piccolo. He not only got me the 'road bike bug' but also invited me down to ride some bikes and patiently explained a lot to me. Thanks again !