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Used bike, how old is too old?

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Used bike, how old is too old?

Old 12-22-21, 11:25 PM
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Used bike, how old is too old?

For someone looking to buy a quality, maintainable used road bike, how old is too old? I know this question wont have an exact answer but Id like some opinions. I have a mountain bike background and the standards have been changing so fast a bike more than about 5-7 years old is at risk of losing support. The best parts are no longer made for 26 wheels, non-boost hubs, straight steerers, quick release dropouts, and HG free hubs.

so maybe this question isnt so much about age in years, but rather what standards might be dead or dying that would be found on a 5 or 10 year old bike. Some more context here: I am actually looking for a mechanical drivetrain and rim brakes. I expect high quality (think 105 or better) replacements will still be available for the next 10 years or so for those parts.
But Would older bikes typically limit me to under 28mm wide tires? Is there a year that carbon frames got drastically better and I should avoid something before that? What else should I look out for?
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Old 12-22-21, 11:36 PM
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I don't know that there is an age, or a cut-off date, or anything similar to go on that would ever mean anything. It's all up to the merits of an individual frame.

In any case, repair parts, replacements, substitutions, & upgrades are always available & will be so for the foreseeable future.

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Old 12-23-21, 12:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Cdst View Post
For someone looking to buy a quality, maintainable used road bike, how old is too old? I know this question wont have an exact answer but Id like some opinions. I have a mountain bike background and the standards have been changing so fast a bike more than about 5-7 years old is at risk of losing support. The best parts are no longer made for 26 wheels, non-boost hubs, straight steerers, quick release dropouts, and HG free hubs.

so maybe this question isnt so much about age in years, but rather what standards might be dead or dying that would be found on a 5 or 10 year old bike. Some more context here: I am actually looking for a mechanical drivetrain and rim brakes. I expect high quality (think 105 or better) replacements will still be available for the next 10 years or so for those parts.
But Would older bikes typically limit me to under 28mm wide tires? Is there a year that carbon frames got drastically better and I should avoid something before that? What else should I look out for?
my principal bike was built in 1999 and has a 1 1/8 steerer, a BSC bottom bracket, 130mm dropout spacing and a 27.2mm seatpost. The major limitations are that I cant install (i) a wired electronic drivetrain or (ii) disk brakes, without significant- and likely cost-prohibitive retrofitting, and using >25mm tires is just not possible with this frame. Parts are otherwise readily available for it. While Campag 10sp parts are starting to get a little scarce, the frame will take 11sp and 12sp mechanical groupset, so drivetrain upgrades will be available for the foreseeable. Anything built more recently would have even better spares availability.

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Old 12-23-21, 08:21 AM
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The biggest issue might be tire size. 23mm was the norm years ago. Some frames barely allow 25mm and not 28mm. Having 28mm tubeless tires that can be used with pressures in the 60-70 psi range creates a huge ride improvement with low rolling resistance.

A couple of years ago I could find brand new leftover carbon frames for $700-1000. There are few to be found now with all the supply shortages.

If you really want electronic on a budget, sram rival is the answer. With force levers, rim brakes are possible.
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Old 12-23-21, 09:31 AM
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How about new? You didn't say what your budget is.
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Old 12-23-21, 09:40 AM
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I started on a 25 y/o road bike. Paid $15. Had 1500 miles on it. Still Had Original Tires.
Put on New Tires and Tube and it was good.
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Old 12-23-21, 11:00 AM
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I think you are trying to get a generalized answer for something that will have many exceptions and a lot of if's and's and but's.

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Old 12-23-21, 11:07 AM
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Seems you’ve done some homework. As noted, it’s up to each frame. Space for tire size is a consideration. Other things like frame type, endurance, race, etc...
as this is your 1st roadie in a while, if you have a consideration for wet rides, I wouldn’t start/go with rim. rim will be around for quite some time, but disc will be all the new stuff.
As for real changes in frame tech, materials , as in bike weight, performance has been evolutionary. Rear dropout width has been 130 for quite some time and seems to continue for short term roadie future. Gravel is, however, propelling the change there. That and 12 sped drivetrains will likely cause rear ends to evolve.
as much as I like 10 speed, in your case, wanting a performance machine, would have get nothing lower than 11 spd.
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Old 12-23-21, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
I think you are trying to get a generalized answer for something that will have many exceptions and a lot of if's and's and but's.
I am mainly looking for big gotchas on an older frame but it sounds like there arent many besides fitting tires wider than 25mm. I will include bikes up to ten years old in my search. With the shortages these days, used bikes that are 1-3 years old are going for basically the same price as new (as Im sure you are aware). I am also considering new, but if I can get an older bike with better wheels or a higher tier lightweight frame for the same money, Id jump on it
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Old 12-23-21, 11:16 AM
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Are you confident and competent with bike DIY. If so then older might be okay. Some old components take some research to find compatible replacements for things no longer made. And some, maybe many bike shops find that time not worth their effort since you probably won't want to pay for hours of investigation.

Regardless, I'd go with a newer bike if you can get one in your budget. If this is your first road bike, then don't spend a wad on it. You'll need two or three more road bikes to really learn what you like and don't like about the minor differences.
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Old 12-23-21, 11:17 AM
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I don't think 5-7 years old is a problem. Going farther back than that can get to be more of an issue. I have a 2006 CF Bianchi, and it JUST accepts 28mm tires. There's a couple mm clearance, and it requires a bit of finesse to get the rear wheel into the dropouts.

As far as parts go, I can still find parts for bikes I own that were built in 1982. But even today, you can still buy new threaded 1" headsets for bikes with threaded forks, and brand new quill stems and handlebars that fit 26.0mm clamps. And a lot of new components and groupsets will work even on bikes 25 or more years old. Many standards have been the same for years. You'd have to go back to the early 90s for bikes with <130mm rear spacing, for example. You could run current caliper brakes on 30 year old bikes, if you're so inclined. You can't run disc brakes, but that's true of ANY bike not designed to take them.
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Old 12-23-21, 11:21 AM
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My current favorite bike is a 1983 Trek. It will *barely* take 35s but will easily take 32s. I've set it up as a 2x10 and struggle to see how something newer would really be nicer to me. It's a joy to ride.

So I'd say the answer to "how old is too old" is "pretty damn old"
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Old 12-23-21, 11:48 AM
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Looking for just a road bike, or a mixed Gravel/Hybred?

As to the OP: To make things easy for ya go with 700c wheels, Cassette (Not freewheel), Compact Crank (Not square tapper), 130mm or more spacing at the rear. So that means a bike about the late 80s or early 90s would be the oldest you could go.

Now comes the decision of what kind of brakes and bars, what kind of shifters, how many gears, what size frame and seat...

Allot could depends on what kind of experience you have. Have you been using straight bars and friction shifters with disk brakes and for how long? What kind of tools do you have?

I know two older guys who used to be BIG TIME Mountain bikers. After many trails and tribulations they settled for light weight gravel bikes and two wheel sets. One for Gravel and the other for the Road. Both of them could not get used to Drop Bars and instead have Mustache Bars mounted upside down and cut back a little for a more comfortable ride.

What ever the case, do not be intimidated by the thought of building your own bike... Fun Fun FUN
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Old 12-23-21, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Cdst View Post
I am mainly looking for big gotchas on an older frame but it sounds like there aren’t many besides fitting tires wider than 25mm. I will include bikes up to ten years old in my search. With the shortages these days, used bikes that are 1-3 years old are going for basically the same price as new (as I’m sure you are aware). I am also considering new, but if I can get an older bike with better wheels or a higher tier lightweight frame for the same money, I’d jump on it
There is a certain amount of luck with buying used things, be it bikes, cars, whatever.. If you know what you want and know what you are looking at, (condition) then you can do OK when the right thing comes along.

If something just right fell into my lap I might buy used again but I prefer to get what I want and am willing to pay a little more. I usually buy frames and pick the parts I want.

If you have a good shop they will help you with the fit and might be willing to swap some parts around for you, plus with a new bike you get at least some warranty. Having broken 4 frames a warranty can be a good thing.

As you have seen some people buy only used but it may not be for everyone. That said I have seen guys luck into awesome deals on used, but I have also seen people get screwed. On my used road bike I changed the bars, stem, saddle, seatpost, crankset, and cassette to make it work, but I knew that going in.
You still haven't mentioned your budget?
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Old 12-23-21, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by zandoval View Post
Looking for just a road bike, or a mixed Gravel/Hybred?

As to the OP: To make things easy for ya go with 700c wheels, Cassette (Not freewheel), Compact Crank (Not square tapper), 130mm or more spacing at the rear. So that means a bike about the late 80s or early 90s would be the oldest you could go.
Thanks! I do already have a gravel bike with drop bars in addition to my mountain bikes, so with this one I want something fast. I am comfortable working on my bike, but I don't want to have to work too hard to find replacement parts when the ones on the bike wear out. I am definitely looking for something newer than the 90s so it sounds like it won't be much of a problem
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Old 12-23-21, 12:28 PM
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I had a department store bike from the 70s (was trash) and the bike shops were able to service it.
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Old 12-23-21, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by big john View Post
You still haven't mentioned your budget?
$3,000 US, but I could stretch it if I find something I love
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Old 12-23-21, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Cdst View Post
Would older bikes typically limit me to under 28mm wide tires? Is there a year that carbon frames got drastically better and I should avoid something before that? What else should I look out for?
If you think that you would like to ride tires wider than 28mm, you should probably be looking at bikes with disc brakes. Most side pull brake calipers have trouble clearing tires wider than 28 mm
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Old 12-23-21, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Cdst View Post
$3,000 US, but I could stretch it if I find something I love
Lots of nice new bikes for that or less. What did you think of the Giant I linked? Giant is usually a good value and has some rim brake bikes. Also Canyon.
I think rim brakes are fine for most of us most of the time but discs can allow bigger tires.
FWIW I use 25s on my road bikes after using 23s for about 30 years. I think 25s are fine for decent roads. I tried to put 28s on my main bike but it was just too close.
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Old 12-23-21, 01:04 PM
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Ultimate CF SL 8 | CANYON US
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Old 12-23-21, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by big john View Post
Depending on how flexible you are, you could also go with the Endurace. Taller stack, shorter reach, but only just a little bit.
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Old 12-23-21, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey View Post
Depending on how flexible you are, you could also go with the Endurace. Taller stack, shorter reach, but only just a little bit.
That's the one I would choose but the OP said he wanted rim brakes. I don't think there is a rim brake Endurace?
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Old 12-23-21, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by LarrySellerz View Post
I had a department store bike from the 70s (was trash) and the bike shops were able to service it.
There was a batch of Sears Ted Williams bicycles that were a real gem in the 70's. They were made in Austria and a few of them had frames made of Reynolds 531 steel and had Shimano group set. They were most likely relabeled Puch bicycles. Very Nice!!!

I manages to save one of thier Step Through's. Its one of the favorites in our Stable...
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Old 12-23-21, 02:15 PM
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Wanting something "fast" puts a damper on things. If "fast" means modern then there are few choices that will accommodate larger than 28mm tires with rim brakes. Wait a year or two and there should be a ton of modern bikes available second hand that will take 28 or larger. Last year I decided to change frames as I had been using one for 20 years. Wanted a Litespeed, but was unable to find used or new one that would accept 28 or larger tires and rim brakes. Then I had a brilliant idea. Use one of my vintage Raleighs in my bike display.
Now I ride a 1981 Raleigh Competition GS (my first race bike) running 11 speed Campagnolo drive train, DT Swiss hubs and Mavic rims. Absolutely rides great and is no slower or faster than my body can push it.
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Old 12-23-21, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by big john View Post
Lots of nice new bikes for that or less. What did you think of the Giant I linked? Giant is usually a good value and has some rim brake bikes. Also Canyon.
I think rim brakes are fine for most of us most of the time but discs can allow bigger tires.
FWIW I use 25s on my road bikes after using 23s for about 30 years. I think 25s are fine for decent roads. I tried to put 28s on my main bike but it was just too close.
Originally Posted by big john View Post
Ultimate CF SL 8 | CANYON US
These both look like good bikes and the Canyon is particularly pretty. The reason I was looking at used was to find carbon wheels. I'm not in a rush so I will keep an eye on some used bike sites for a few months and see if anything I like pops up. I know that what I have stated I'm looking for may be a little strange. Like I clearly know disc brakes are better in every meaningful way, I have them on all the bikes I currently own, but this next bike is going to be just as much for me to have the experience of owning something like this as it is for performance. I will have the option to ride a different bike when its wet out, or when I want wider tires. I'll probably run 25s but having the option for 28s would be nice as I don't think I would get a wheelset that could fit something that narrow for the gravel bike. I know electronic shifting is more precise and I have heard it is even lower maintenance, but again, I want to hold on to a little of the old even if I do get a brand new frame.
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