Used road bike buying question


New Member
Jul 27, 2004
Was looking at buying a used 2013 Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL4 for $2000. Bike was originally $7700 new and has obviously come down in value in the past 3 years. It is my size at 54cm. Looks nice in the pictures but i know they all look good initially. Is this a good price for this bike? Is there anything i should look for when checking out this bike? Thanks!
It sounds like a good deal but does it come with Sram Red components and Roval Wheel set? If not what does it come with? What condition is the bike in?

If the bike is all original and it's in at least excellent condition than that's a good price, BUT, and this is a major BUT, I strongly recommend you take the bike to a local bike shop BEFORE you buy it and have the carbon fiber frame and fork checked for any damage. But to make this fair to the seller you offer to pay for the inspection if it passes, if however it fails the seller pays for the inspection, if he denies this request then the bike has some sort of damage he knows is there and doesn't want to pay for the inspection. Of course you do want to call all the LBS's in your area and find out who has the most knowledge in finding CF damage before you go see the bike.

The price of $2,000 seems low, I wonder if he set it low to get rid of the bike fast, maybe because he knows there is damage somewhere and just wants it gone fast? Or perhaps he replaced all the original high end components with lower end stuff so he could put the better stuff on another bike? I find the pricing odd so I'm skeptical, hopefully i'm skeptical for no reason.
Like Froze said...inspection time: carefully inspect the frame and all of the components for wear. This will provide a detailed picture of the overall condition of the bike, the approximate number of miles on the bike and the history of care given to the bike. If you don't know what you're looking at, now is NOT the time to learn. Take it to a bike shop and listen to what they tell you.

$2K is actually a bit high IMO. It would sit on Craigslist all Summer at that price in my area. Used bike value, especially high end road bikes, nose dives faster than a new Russian Sukhoi at a French air show. Like most recreational purchases, it lost 30% of its value the minute it was rolled out of the bike shop and was a $3,500 toy after its first season of use.
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Used stuff in my area is mainly dead end ads on Craigslist unless the price is as the OP found. Then, it might sell. Might.

Bluebook valuation might be realistic for Southern California or NYC. My area of Ohio...not so much. It depends on where you live, I guess.

If the $2K price was a money maker, bike shops would be snapping that stuff up for resale at higher markup percentages than most of their new stuff. my local shops are very reluctant to even take a trade-in and the used stuff they have needs frequent dusting.
Was looking at buying a used 2013 Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL4 for $2000. Bike was originally $7700 new and has obviously come down in value in the past 3 years. It is my size at 54cm. Looks nice in the pictures but i know they all look good initially. Is this a good price for this bike? Is there anything i should look for when checking out this bike? Thanks!
FWIW ...

IMO, while a 2013 bike may only have been ridden for three years, it is a FOUR YEAR OLD model, now ...

Like thoroughbred horses which are all assigned the same birth date regardless of when they are foaled within a calendar year, we can informally demarcate July 1st as the beginning of the next calendar year's bikes. ...​

Regardless, those three years could have easily seen 9,000 miles of riding ... possibly more, probably less ...

But, if the bike has seen 9,000 +/- miles, then the components could be near the end of their useful lifespan ...

And, are possibly close to worthless
So, a 2016 bike should now be considered to be NOS if you were to trundle into your LBS to look for a "new" bike ...

And, a 2017 would currently be a new bike.
BTW. Since I would never buy a bike with SRAM's double-tap mechanism, I would further devalue the bike-as-configured than some others might ...

If you are a wise shopper, then with $2000 in hand, you could easily buy the core of a new Campagnolo ATHENA group + a new set Shimano/-compatible wheels (the 10-and-11-speed Shimano Cassettes are 11-speed Campagnolo compatible as long as you adjust the rear derailleur's stops properly-and-accordingly) and have plenty of money left over for a nice new-or-used frame/fork + seatpost/saddle + stem & handlebars ... et cetera ...

FYI. It seems that something which many riders do not consider is the maximum tire size which a frame-or-fork can accommodate ...

Do you happen to know the type of tire clearance you will want in the most extreme riding condition you may encounter?

It may-or-may-not be a factor you should consider.​

All LBS's that I have ever seen, note, I said that I have seen which is a small percentage of all the LBS's in the US, will not buy a used bike, a few will take a used bike as trade in but they would never scour Craigslist, garage sales, auctions, etc, looking for used bikes to sell at their store.

Now that that is out of the way, Alfeng makes a good point, not so sure if a person could easily score a new road bike with Athena since most bike shops don't even carry bikes with Campy components, even Bianchi Intenso cost $2,500 and it comes with Veloce which is a step down from Athena, but Bianchi's are difficult to find in most LBS's unless you live in a large city, but certainly you could get a new bike with 105 which is great stuff I use it with no problems whatsoever. Cannondale SuperSix EVO or the Synapse Carbon 5 both with 105 would be under $2,000, or maybe a Felt AR5 on sale could be had at just above $2,000 with 105.

Alfeng is also correct in that coming about September and October bike stores will have their clearance sales and would be more apt to give a better deal on a bike of your liking. Where I live there aren't any bike stores that have any of last years bikes in stock, and so far 2017 hasn't come out onto display.
A Force 22 equipped Ridley Helium can be bought for $2200. New. More gears. The latest frame tech. And the difference between Force and Red is...spit. Especially if the Red has a few seasons on it. How worn is that used cassette? The chain? Chainrings? Shifters? Brake blocks? Cables? Is the headset peined? Tires half shot? Wheels need touched up? BB and hubs in need of service? Bar tape and saddle nasty? Will that stem need to be longer? Is the crank arm length a match to your legs? Is the bar width right for you? There's a lot of questions that need asked and answered when buying a good road bike. I'm just hitting the high points here.

That's exactly why that expert inspection is absolutely required as Froze suggested. Not only is the function element in need of going over with a fine tooth comb, the fit has to be right or the cost of adjusting it with new components can drive that bargain price up significantly.

A Noah Force is the same dinero. Toss on a C-note for shipping, of course. Note that with any new machine you can still be up against fit and preferred items such as a saddle or tires, but most shops and mail order outfits will more willingly swap out new-for-new and work to keep the sticker price down.

In a few weeks those linked prices are going look high as the Fall price cuts start off and accelerate. Buy your snow skis in June and your bicycles in September-October. I'm already seeing 105 groups for $380 and Ultegra under $600. Building on a budget is fun and you can generally go the exact route you want to go from stem length to saddle fit to the tire you prefer to corner on.

Athena equipped anything is going to be difficult to find without going mail order, but they are out there. It's easier, albeit more expensive, to find Chorus and Record/Super Record hanging from the ceiling in a bike shop. Bring your Black Card. You will need it.

None the less, with careful shopping I can still piece together a Chorus ride for $3K (the last one was $2200 and change) and there will be nothing used about any of it. Until that first ride. At which point it depreciates just as quickly as a Claris equipped aluminum thudder from WallyWorld.
of course price wise Sram Force 22 is a tad cheaper than Shimano Ultegra, and Ultegra is cheaper than Campy Athena; and Athena is found on slightly more expensive bikes than the other two with Force 22 being found on slightly lower costing bikes of the three, which means Ultegra sets in the middle of course. I don't think there is all that much different between the 3 groupsets, but Athena does look nicer in my opinion, but if you live in a smaller community a bike shop may have to order replacement parts instead of having it in stock.

If a person wants to go mail order they could get a Motobecane Le Champion CF Team bike with Dura Ace components for just $2200 at Bikes Direct. Or if they prefer the durability of titanium they can get a Ultegra equipped Motobecane LE Champion SL titanium bike for the same price as the Dura Ace carbon fiber bike.
Well saving 5,700 dollars is a pretty good deal, so if there is not too much wear and tear then you can certainly see the value in it. That said, though, it is still a good amount to spend at 2,000 so you want to make sure that you are getting your money's worth and not overspending for something that is not the right fit. I would just say to do your homework and shop around for the best prices.

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