Need some advice on what to buy (road bike that has to live outside)

MeltingDog
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Need some advice on what to buy (road bike that has to live outside)

Postby MeltingDog » Thu Feb 08, 2024 11:02 am

Hi all, new here. I am looking for advice on what kind of bike to buy next.

I cycle to work and occasionally do longer rides on the weekend. I used to ride a hybrid commuter bike, but changed to a road bike and don't think I can go back to anything slower. I would say I am an intermediate level cyclist - I've commuted by bicycle for years (covering about 1,800km a year according to Strava) and am generally pretty fit, but am not into racing, hugely long rides, or anything too serious.

The problem I have is I live in an apartment with limit space - the bike unfortunately must live on the balcony, exposed to the elements. Because of that I've only ever bought sub $400 2nd hand bikes. I don't want to spend lots of money on a good, new bike only to have it degrade over time because I don't have anywhere to properly store it. I also ride rain or shine, so it will always get wet.

The bike I have now is a 20 year old Trek road bike (don't know the model, but it has carbon forks and Ultegra gearing - think it would've been expensive back in the day) and sadly it is reaching the end of its life. The gears, cassette, chain and sprockets are complete worn out. For $200 I was very happy to get 4 years of regular commuting out of it.

I thought I'd ask for advice here on what to get next, given my level of riding experience, requirements and storage arrangements.

My (flexible) preferences are:

- 2nd hand
- Road bike, but doesn't have to be a superfast race bike
- Don't need to be able to attach carry racks or panniers
- Doesn't matter too much if it lives outside - eg a little bit rugged
- Looking to spend a max of $700

Is it worth getting a cheap, old bike like the Trek and replacing it every few years, or spending a bit more money for something newer?

For the price I'm looking at are there any brands/models to avoid? Any brands that have a good reputation?

Alternatively, would it be worth just replacing the drive train on the Trek?

Many thanks in advance!

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MattyK
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Re: Need some advice on what to buy (road bike that has to live outside)

Postby MattyK » Thu Feb 08, 2024 3:47 pm

Welcome!

I can't imagine you'll get much for $700 that wouldn't have lots of low grade steel parts on it that will rust outside. A more expensive bike is more likely to have aluminium parts or stainless steel screws, plus generally be better featured and more enjoyable to ride, in addition to lasting longer. Chains are nearly always a problem though.

Is there no option to find some inside storage (car park?)

Otherwise, restore the current bike with a fresh groupset, tyres, brakes, bearings etc. However for me a 20 year old road bike is likely going to have less tyre clearance than I would want on a commuter (30-32mm tyres that a modern bike will easily fit).

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OnTrackZeD
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Re: Need some advice on what to buy (road bike that has to live outside)

Postby OnTrackZeD » Thu Feb 08, 2024 5:50 pm

You could just spend 3 to $400 and get another four years out of it.

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Retrobyte
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Re: Need some advice on what to buy (road bike that has to live outside)

Postby Retrobyte » Thu Feb 08, 2024 6:44 pm

Buy a cover to protect the bike from the elements on the balcony. Something like this costs $20 ... https://www.amazon.com.au/CBYARN-Bike-C ... 257&sr=8-5

MeltingDog
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Re: Need some advice on what to buy (road bike that has to live outside)

Postby MeltingDog » Fri Feb 09, 2024 9:31 am

OnTrackZeD wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2024 5:50 pm
You could just spend 3 to $400 and get another four years out of it.
Thanks OnTrackZed.

Guy at the bike shop (99 Bikes) said it would be minimum of $800 to replace all the parts (as well as the rear wheel that has a slight bend). Was I over quoted?

MeltingDog
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Re: Need some advice on what to buy (road bike that has to live outside)

Postby MeltingDog » Fri Feb 09, 2024 9:32 am

Retrobyte wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2024 6:44 pm
Buy a cover to protect the bike from the elements on the balcony. Something like this costs $20 ... https://www.amazon.com.au/CBYARN-Bike-C ... 257&sr=8-5
Good idea! The only issue I have with those (after using them on my cars) is that they tend to trap moisture inside as well.

MeltingDog
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Re: Need some advice on what to buy (road bike that has to live outside)

Postby MeltingDog » Fri Feb 09, 2024 9:34 am

MattyK wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2024 3:47 pm
Welcome!

I can't imagine you'll get much for $700 that wouldn't have lots of low grade steel parts on it that will rust outside. A more expensive bike is more likely to have aluminium parts or stainless steel screws, plus generally be better featured and more enjoyable to ride, in addition to lasting longer. Chains are nearly always a problem though.

Is there no option to find some inside storage (car park?)

Otherwise, restore the current bike with a fresh groupset, tyres, brakes, bearings etc. However for me a 20 year old road bike is likely going to have less tyre clearance than I would want on a commuter (30-32mm tyres that a modern bike will easily fit).
Thanks MattyK!

Would there be no good 2nd hand bikes under $700?

Andy01
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Re: Need some advice on what to buy (road bike that has to live outside)

Postby Andy01 » Fri Feb 09, 2024 10:13 am

MeltingDog wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2024 9:31 am
OnTrackZeD wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2024 5:50 pm
You could just spend 3 to $400 and get another four years out of it.
Thanks OnTrackZed.

Guy at the bike shop (99 Bikes) said it would be minimum of $800 to replace all the parts (as well as the rear wheel that has a slight bend). Was I over quoted?
I have no experience buying Ultegra parts, but for my 10 spd Deore (MTB), I recently replaced the cassette & chain at a cost of $95 (Shimano cassette and KMC X10 chain), but there was no labour charge because I did it myself.

You refer to gears, cassette and sprockets, so I am not sure if you are talking about the front chain rings and rear cassette both needing replaced ? It would be rare for the front chain ring to wear at the same rate as the rear cassette. Did you run the chain until it was very badly worn ? Usually I think a cassette would probably last as long as about 3-4 chains, and the front chain rings as long as 2-3 cassettes (as a very rough estimate). But if you run a badly worn chain then it will wear the gears (especially the cassette) very prematurely.

It is always a good idea to have some basic tools (even an Aldi toolset) and use YouTube videos (Park Tools) to help with basic maintenance tasks, and lube the chain every ±200km (depending on weather & conditions). Maybe you do this already ?

I have no idea what the cost of getting a "wheel with a slight bend" fixed would be ? It might just require some spokes tightened which is fairly easy with a spoke spanner, or something more serious that needs a bike mechanic ?

MeltingDog
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Re: Need some advice on what to buy (road bike that has to live outside)

Postby MeltingDog » Fri Feb 09, 2024 12:27 pm

Thanks @Andy01

I took the bike in to get looked at because I was hearing a slight rattling sound coming from the rear gears. According to the bike mechanic all the teeth and all the sprockets front and back were worn. To me, a layman, I couldn't tell other than the teeth still looked uniform in shape and didn't have a sharp 'wave' shape like worn motorcycle sprockets do. Same with the chain - although it is 4 years old I couldn't tell if it was worn or not (I lube it weekly).

I did discover the rattling noise was because of loose sprockets in the cassette, so I'm assuming I can just tighten them back up again.

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MattyK
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Re: Need some advice on what to buy (road bike that has to live outside)

Postby MattyK » Fri Feb 09, 2024 3:08 pm

MeltingDog wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2024 9:34 am
Would there be no good 2nd hand bikes under $700?
You could probably get a great used bike for that much*, but it may take some research, luck or good inspection to ensure it's not too worn or needs money spent.

*The new bike market is currently flooded and cheap, but the message hasn't really gotten to the used market that their bikes are worth very little...

Where do you live? Sometimes the friendly folks here (eg me in Melbourne) might be willing to check the bike out and assess what it would cost to restore.

kilroy
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Re: Need some advice on what to buy (road bike that has to live outside)

Postby kilroy » Sat Feb 10, 2024 10:45 am

Personally I think there are plenty of great deals on FB Marketplace for $500-$700, particularly if you are happy to wait a week or two for the right one. A mate just picked up a 8 year old carbon Cell bike with 105 in pretty much new condition for $450. All he needed was some new pedals and a service. I would think you would be much better off looking around and finding something like that. I’ve seen heaps of rim brake Tarmac’s, Roubaix’s, Domane’s for around $700 as people just aren’t as likely to buy rim brakes these days.
2020 Specialized Roubaix Comp Di2; 2021 Trek Powerfly 5.

MeltingDog
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Re: Need some advice on what to buy (road bike that has to live outside)

Postby MeltingDog » Mon Feb 12, 2024 9:56 am

I ended up buying a Giant OCR Zero for $250. All it needed was the front derailleurs dialled in. It has slight rust on the bolts on the brakes, but seems to be in excellent condition for its age.

CmdrBiggles
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Re: Need some advice on what to buy (road bike that has to live outside)

Postby CmdrBiggles » Tue Feb 13, 2024 7:29 am

MeltingDog wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2024 9:56 am
I ended up buying a Giant OCR Zero for $250. All it needed was the front derailleurs dialled in. It has slight rust on the bolts on the brakes, but seems to be in excellent condition for its age.

My first "road" bike, many years after my first true road bike built especially for long distance rides e.g. AUDAX Australia (I was active with AA from 1983-1987) was a GIANT CRX-ZERO — all that I could afford at the time; it was an oddball flat-bar affair with splayed forks, surprisingly sharp but cheap disc brakes and general heaviness throughout that did not endear itself to me as a long-term tool for fast, long distance road riding. It also rusted easily around the brake levers, bidon lugs. QR levers, BB and spindle, seat post securing lug and cheap and nasty miscellaneous bolts on handlebar. Sold away in 2011.

Some road bikes have been adapted to fit inside walk-in-robes (!) in small flats and apartments. I could certainly do that — but first I would need to get rid of clothes! :lol:

Covers designed for large BBQs can work very well, but still will not prevent rust in very humid conditions or where the balcony is subjected to winds coming directly off the coast — carrying with them the terror of salt which has wrought havoc on anything from steel bird cages to uber-pricey alloy wheels on cars.

Examples of creative bike storage, albeit crude and begging for theft, can be seen on balcony railings around the Melbourne University precinct in Parkville. Space is as a serious premium in those tiny Victorian terrace houses with hallways no wider than 0.8 metre in many.
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