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I realize that fit and personal comfort, etc. are most important, but, I need some advice. I just got into duathlons and triathlons this year, and started with a very low end bike. I'm now looking to upgrade, but not trying to go crazy.

My question is regarding good versus average components. Are older great components better than new average components? For an average rider, with some racing goals, etc, does new outweigh better, or does quality always outweigh age?

None of the items are bad, just older or better.

I'm specifically comparing a used 2007 bike with a Shimano 105 groupset and a 2016 bike with a Tiagra groupset.

  • Generally speaking, an older bike will be "good enough" and the price reflects that, adjusted for wear. Used carbon bikes should be given a good clean and a close inspection first. A used bike that fits you will get you there better and faster than a new bike that doesn't fit. We don't do specific shopping recommendations though because they're of limited use in the long term. A new bike would be "best" but we can't all just do that. My race bike is a 1998 alloy frame, its good enough. – Criggie Sep 25 '16 at 23:49
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    Welcome to Bicycles @Dianna. We recommend that new members take the tour to make best use of the site. In it's current form this question doesn't have long term value to others, but you can edit it to be better. See, for example a related question: bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/5209/…. If you recast the question to specify the frames and groupsets, and ask how the 2008 versions compare to the 2016 versions then question can have more lasting value. – andy256 Sep 26 '16 at 1:46
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    Consider, if you're riding in the TT position (and your race routes aren't mountainous) - you would be better off with a TT specific bike. Position is everything - and although you can put clip-ons onto standard bars - the geometry of a TT bike is somewhat different. Secondhand TT bikes with reasonable spec don't look all that expensive - I guess a lot of the expense is in road STI shifters - which TT bikes don't have (bar end shifters). – OraNob Sep 26 '16 at 15:31
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    Cannonballs and Fujimount and Fred's handmake bikes will generally use components from 2.5 main suppliers. That's Shimano, Sram, and the higher end also has Campagnolo. The quality of a Shimano 105 is the same across different bikes for the same year, plus wear. HOWEVER a 2016 105 component will have some "trickledown" from higher models, and may very well be the equivalent of an ultegra class from 2010 or a dura-ace class from 2005. Really depends how much of your disposable income you can afford to put against this hobby. – Criggie Sep 27 '16 at 0:06
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    If you're buying an older bike with a better quality groupset make sure it's not worn out too. The derailleurs shouldn't be the problem but check the chain stretch and if it's excessive it's probably worn the cassette out too. Look for the the teeth on the chainring and cassette resembling sharks fins or hooks. It might negate any saving from buying one over the other. – Chris Oct 30 '16 at 8:08
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Trying to remain general - and assuming both bikes are a good fit for you, I'd base the decision on Warranty.

The older bike is a decade out of date and will have a decade of use on it... but that could be anything from 0 km up to 50,000 km of travel. So it should be in the "couple of hundred dollars" range at most.

The new bike will have a store warranty. If you feel you will need that support, then a new bike is a reasonable idea. But the new bike will cost you five to ten times as much as the used bike.

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2007 components are pretty old. I really like the newer ones. So many great bikes now. In your price range I'd go Cannondale CAAD12 or Trek ALR aluminum frames. Should be able to find one cheap right now before new models come out.

  • Welcome to Bicycles @RGRHON. We recommend that new members take the tour to make best use of the site. It's not a chat site. Also check out How to Answer. – andy256 Nov 8 '16 at 7:37

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