Looking to get back into cycling, need some suggestions on which used bike to buy


New Member

I am looking into getting into road cycling as an exercise/hobby.

A little bit about my cycling background. Growing, up I went everywhere on my bike. I had no hesitation biking for 30-40 miles when I was in 13 years old. However probably about when I was 15, my schedule changed and for the last 18 years, I have not been biking at all.

Recently I started working on getting back into shape. I lost 40 pounds and I am now in my target weight. But I am still not active at all. There is a group of my neighbors who go biking a lot (40+ mile day trips), so I would want to start joining them. But I first need to get a bike.

Just in case my interest dies in it, I do not think it would be smart for me to purchase a brand new bike. My budget though allows me to spend more for something that will benefit me. I wouldn't spend more just for a name if its not really better, but if there are real benefits then I can spend a few thousand dollars. I do live in the northeast of the united states, so the biking will be a season activity.

I am just under 6 ft tall so I would need a bike with a larger frame.

I did do some basic research and based off what I saw, these are the best one out on Craiglist in my area currently. I am trying to decide if it is worth spending more money on the more expensive ones. It could be that none of these are the right ones for me and I should be looking at something else:

  1. Cannondale Men's Road Bike SERIES 3.0 - Was tuned up last years, in great condition - 25 inch wheels - $350
  2. Cannondale R600 - A bit older, I dont have the age, in pretty good condition - 22 inch frame 700c wheels - $350
  3. Cannondale CAAD9 bicycle - Excellent condition, - 54cm frame, 700c Wheels, no suspension (rigid) - $750
  4. Specialized Roubaix pro Race SL4 2014 - excellent condition - a few upgrades 54cm frame 700c wheels - $2300
  5. Cannondale Synapse 105 Disc Road Bike 2017- Excellent Condition - Size 54 700 c ties, no suspension - $989 - This one is coming from a bike shop so may have a warranty
  6. BMW Carbon Racer - Brand New - 54CM -$1600
  7. 2013 CANNONDALE SUPER SIX EVO - good condition - 54cm frame, 700C wheels no suspension SRAM derailleur and other SRAM parts- $1200
  8. 2014 Raleigh Militis Elite - Excellent condition - 53 frame, 700c tires, no suspension, Sram Rival and Apex fron derailleur - $599 - I am concerned about this one as he says its the equivalent of a 52 on other companies, so maybe to small - Also from a bike shop
  9. Cannondale Evo Ultegra Di2 electronic shifting - Excellent condition two years old, less then 50 miles on it - 51cm frame 700C tires - This has electric shifting but may be too small as is 51cm. - $2000
Thank you


Legendary Member
I’d say if you’re 6ft a 54cm frame is going to be small, let alone a 51cm...assuming the measurements are the top tube
The only way to know if they’re right for you is to go chuck a leg over and have a test ride


I wouldn't buy any of the bikes on your list, especially as a first bike in nearly 20 years! Like you, I used to go everywhere by bike before I was old enough to drive. I had a steel framed, 5 speed Raleigh "racer" with a downtube friction shifter which I rode and rode until I outgrew it. Then I bought a 3-speed hub-geared roadster and rode that a lot too, including using it to go to work on every day. Both were totally dependable and cost nothing to run apart from basic maintenance items. The fact that neither was in any way fancy did not stop me doing some serious mileage on them and I still have the 3-speed 35 years later.
You can get into cycling, or back into cycling, at very little cost and the truth of the matter is that an expensive bike, or something equipped with electronic shifting, is not going to make you go any faster or further, if you start out from a relatively unfit and inactive state. You will be wasting your money dropping two thousand bucks on a bike with Di2, because the same human engine will still be powering it regardless, and inactive people don't go from no riding to doing 40 miles overnight.. You might as well scour the bargain basement end of the market and pick up a nice old steel machine from a garage sale and start to build up some mileage and fitness on that. At this stage you don't even know how much you will enjoy riding as an adult and how much time you will be willing or even able to commit to it. Plenty of people jump in at the deep end from the outset, don't stick at it, and end up selling their bikes and cycling gear at a large loss.
I've got a whole shed full of bikes to choose from, but the one I actually do the most miles on, cost me a total of £10 to put back on the road. The reason it gets used so much more than the others is because I can leave it anywhere and not worry about it getting stolen, because it is essentially worthless. That means I cycle much more often and do more miles overall than I would if I only had the sort of bike I would not want to leave unattended. All those relatively short distance casual journeys like going to post a letter, or get something from the shop, or popping down the road to see a friend, all start to add up and they all contribute to being active and maintaining a decent level of fitness that you will need for the 40+ milers.


A couple of ideas....
Ask your neighbours if you can try one of their bikes, they might even have a spare bike that you could buy or borrow. If any of them are your height, find out what size frame they are riding.

Next, go to your bike shops, pretending that you want to buy. Milk them for all the information and help that they can offer, then use the info to look at the 2nd hand market. Might seem a bit improper, but I'm sure you will use them in the future if they give you good advice.
Good morning,

....There is a group of my neighbors who go biking a lot (40+ mile day trips), so I would want to start joining them.....

Unless they are a really, really, really relaxed group and have invited you to join knowing you level of fitness, I suspect that this may be a bit of a disaster, cycling is harder than you probably remember it. :-)

If your level of cycling fitness doesn't match their's you may be disruptive to this group, do they have to stop at the top of every hill for you, ride slower, cut the ride short or leave you behind?

Also many people who enjoy cycling don't enjoy cycling in a group anyway as you lose the freedom to do the ride the way that you want to.

....But I first need to get a bike......

I agree with the principle of not spending lots of money, but if you are out of touch with cycling it is easy to buy an apparent bargain that is not what it seems with so many things needing fixing that you don't enjoy the the rides as you discover the defects.

Something a few years old but virtually new will get you a better spec for your dollars but less of a warranty on consumables such as tyres, tubes and that brake/gear cable that has rusted up half way inside its outer covering meaning that the brakes stick or the gears don't change as well as they should.

So a new bike with bottom of the range equipment e.g. Shimano Claris means a warranty, no worn out or damaged parts allowing you to just ride.

Yes you may get hammered on price if you don't like cycling, but you have indicated that you are willing to spend a couple of thousand, so if you spend $500 hate cycling and sell for $250 is that too much of a loss for you?

My steel bike came of ebay and has needed; wheels (end of life, spoke tension all over the place meaning lots of breakages and 7 speed hub anyway), brakes (they were the wrong drop and never fully met the rims), shifters (friction material had worn out), all cables, chainrings (outer completely worn, inner had some miles left but might as well replace both), chain and cassette replaced very soon after buying. I also ended up replacing the chainset later as a pedal failed and I could not remove the spindle and didn't want mismatched cranks.

I suspect that someone put together something out of spare parts and sold it as a whole bike.

I am a slowish rider and ride for fun and my experience is that my steel bike with downtube shifters is about half mile an hour slower than my carbon bike with Di2 over a whole ride for the same level of perceived exertion. As you ride harder this gap increases but if you get semi serious this gap probably represents be 4-6 weeks of training.




I would do it in two stages. Get a hybrid bike 56cm for general riding, get back into riding, building up distance and duration. Enjoy the riding. After a 3-6 months look at getting a gravel bike-do it all road bike. This will elevate you into faster riding to join a club or locals in group rides.
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