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Opinions on sub-$600 road bikes?(13 posts)

Opinions on sub-$600 road bikes?STEELYeyed
Apr 5, 2002 6:21 AM
I am looking for a road bike for my 17 year old daughter to ride on RAGBRAI,but new bikes in that range look pretty cheesy and I don't want to her on an undependable junker. Any opinions on these cheap Chinese AL frames w/Sora?
Or should I take a chance on used?
as abba souciently sung...Spirito
Apr 5, 2002 6:57 AM
"take a chance on me"

my opinion...SteveO
Apr 5, 2002 6:57 AM
600 bucks will buy you a trek 1000; not at all an 'undependable junker', I'm of the school that you needent spend a coupla mortage payments for a freakin bicycle; ESPECIALLY for beginners, and to a lesser degree for advanced riders who yield little-to-no benefit (other than materialistic) from the upgrade.

If your concerned about dependability, for a little piece of mind, spend a saturday with her and teach her the basics of bike mechanics. There's nothing you cant fix on a bike with just a wrench, key, or ziptie.
wrench, key or ziptie?floatch
Apr 5, 2002 7:05 AM
"There's nothing you cant fix on a bike with just a wrench, key, or ziptie."

Has anyone seen the new Trek 1001? It can be repaired almost exclusively with ordinary housekeys and bubblegum!
opinion and Ragbrai rant...floatch
Apr 5, 2002 7:00 AM
First of all, I can't vouch for the "cheap Chinese AL frames", but I do have sora levers on my 'cross bike (because they were cheap). They are working out just fine, and I'm sure they'd be fine for Ragbrai as well.
By the way, my Ragbrai team this year is called "Los Bubble Vatos", after a scene in the awful movie "Bubble Boy". I'm very excited already, because I LOVE riding Ragbrai.
Anyway, if I were you, I'd put that $600 into a used bike. Most of the folks in the classified section are probably good people, and would be able to fix you up with a reliable bike for the money.
Get your daughter a used steel or aluminum bike, and then have it checked out by your LBS to get it ready to go. Alternately, you could have the seller do this for you, if you trust them.
By the by, one of my teammates bought a used carbon Aegis with Ultegra for a around $850. Good luck!
re: Opinions on sub-$600 road bikes?sharkey
Apr 5, 2002 7:22 AM
I'd look at some used bikes . . . I recently sold my first road bike (a GT Z4, which normally retails for about $1000) for $475(I probably coulda' gotten more for it). It had about 3,000 miles on it, but was in new condition. You will find there are a lot of folks who either upgrade quickly to a better bike, or ride a bike a few times, loose interest, and then want to sell it. Either way, you can get a decent bike, usually with good parts (at least Tiagra and sometimes 105), for what you're looking to pay. At least with a road bike, you can tell right away if it's been abused or crashed . . . mountain bikes require a little more scrutiny.

Good luck!
Apr 5, 2002 7:25 AM
Try a Fuji Dealer. They make Sora equiped road bikes that start under $500. They have some nice serviceable Taiwan made frames that look good and ride well. I think they have a choice of 4130 Cromly and Alunimum frames under $500. THey also had a 14 speed STI equipped road bike in one shop I was in for $419. I have a couple of friends with higher end Fuji Team models who are raving about them. They are great bikes at that pricepoint. Good Luck!!!
Mike Y.
A few ideasdjg
Apr 5, 2002 7:46 AM
They retail for a good bit more but I've seen the Lemond Nevada City on sale for about 600 lately. Also check out the Trek 1000. And I've heard good things about Felt's low end offering--supposed to be a good value (although I have no personal experience there). Other companies known for giving good value at moderate prices: Fuji, Marin, Jamis. Look around, you may be able to get last year's models on sale.

Another idea: you're a cyclist--why not hunt for a used bike that will fit her. For 600 bucks you can probably get something pretty good. I don't think you need be relegated to junkers at all. Frankly, there are some pretty high-end, older steel road bikes that sell in this range--like a 10 year old Serotta or Guerciotti or etc. These will have down-tube shifters, but could offer a much nicer ride than the lowest end AL bikes out there.
tough question...g-money
Apr 5, 2002 7:51 AM
My thoughts are to get the most bike for the money. Generally you can find a great bike used on Ebay or something for around that $$$ figure. If you go new in that range, you can wind up with a frame that is marginally worth upgrading later. If your daughter really wants to ride and wants to do it a bit more than leisurely then before long she will want upgrades. Plus the simple reality that the cheap parts wear out faster. I'd say do some research, get her sized then go from there. Look for a bike with a minimum of Shimano 105 with a decent steel or aluminum frame. The key no matter what you buy is size. "If the glove don't fit, you must aquit." You get my drift...

Key comps to look for on a bike are... Wheelset, probably the most bang for the buck in terms of performance. Most other parts function well and the biggest issue then is weight. Be prepaired to buy a couple of stems and possibly a couple different seats to find the most comfy. Don't go ad-hoc into a gooey gel seat. Look into some of the female specific models, and ask some of the girls at the shop what they prefer. Buying a road bike can be a process... Especially for a newbie... It took me three bikes to find the right one all the way around...

Good luck..
re: how about steel?cyclopathic
Apr 5, 2002 8:27 AM
you can get a decent Sora level steel bike for 400-500$.
Granted it won't be light (22-23lbs) still it will make a good beater when she is ready to step up.

a few ideas:
- KHS Flite 300 (prices on those go down to ~400$)
- Motobecane Super Mirage (425$ shipped at

Granted you'd need to buy new tires, saddle and clipless pedals.
"Buy used"Elefantino
Apr 5, 2002 11:05 AM
You can get a lot of bike for the money you'd spend on a Sora bike.

Get her fit at a place like and then go shopping, either at the LBS or online.

Good luck!

re: Opinions on sub-$600 road bikes?Walter
Apr 5, 2002 11:25 AM
If you could find a left over Univega you would probably do pretty well. I bought one about 2 years ago for about $600. Columbus Thron steel frame and Campy Mirage triple. Derby (the parent company) has discontinued Univega and the current "Raleighs" look to be the identical bikes. Check to see if they've kept the price point. Good bike for the money. Reliability is not an issue, even at this pricepoint.

For an already experienced rider buying used to get better equipment for the $ is a good move. If your daughter is new to the sport though the appeal of the "brand new" bike is hard to beat.
re: Opinions on sub-$600 road bikes?RadicalRonPruitt
Apr 6, 2002 7:10 PM
Giant OCR 3 is a fine bike for her to ride.