So I'm looking for a second hand bike for touring, just did London to Brighton on my old Bianchi racer and having picked up my friends Giant TCR (carbon) I was truly amazed at how light it was! I'm looking to do more of these sort of rides (day trips and maybe longer)

I want a light bike, the idea of carbon appeals to me. I will probably fit a pannier rack, and mostly use the bike for longer trips as I have the Bianchi and also an alloy fixie for city riding.

My budget is around £800 and I'm looking for a second hand bike (seems like if I take my time I can find something around half the price of a new model)... Alternatively I could be persuaded to buy new, but it seems like an expensive option (like buying a new car!).

So far the following brands have stood out to me:
Giant - TCR and others
Cannondale - Synapse, CAAD 8 / 10 and others
Focus - Cayo, others
Bianchi - Vertigo, others
Trek- Madone, Domane, others
Cube - Attempt, Agree

You might have guessed that I am fairly new to bikes (at least modern ones)...

I have read this guide: /content/buyers-guide/70802-best-%C2%A31000-%C2%A31500-road-bikes
which I found useful.

I'm going to try out a few new models at a shop this weekend and get a feel for the various brands and also the difference between carbon and steel frames. So far the things I'm looking for are Shimano 105 groupset (as I believe its better than Tiagra), lightweight frame, not too 'flash looking'.

Any advice is greatly appreciated. Are Tiagra parts really that bad? Am I silly to go after a carbon frame at this price point? Are any of the brands / models I have listed particularly good / bad?

Many thanks,
Will  16 16 16


petertaylor123 [30 posts] 4 years ago

Why not save an extra £200 and get a brand new Planet X pro Carbon with FULL ULTEGRA 6800 GROUPSET?

AND customise it to your own needs, stem length, tires etc,,,
You would have to wait 21 days for delivery though,,,,,

I'm sure you can get a new ribble bike built up for about £800.

Enjoy your bike shopping! It's confusing with soooo much bewildering choice, but heaps of fun!!!

MKultra [393 posts] 4 years ago

Second hand?

Get thee to Decathlon instead

willbiggs [5 posts] 4 years ago

Isn't there a price advantage of buying used? Has technology really come on that much in the last 5 years?

What is the story with Planet X? Are they a newer cheaper brand?

Thanks for your comments.

petertaylor123 [30 posts] 4 years ago

Decathlon,,,,,good shout. They let play on the bikes too!!
If you can hang on a little bit longer, they are releasing a new bike the, Alur 700, which seems a bit of a steal.
I've had (and still use) a B'Twin Sport 2 for about 5 years, as a 'odd-job/run around town/not THAT bothered if it gets stolen' bike. The wheels go around when you push on the pedals. It's served me well. It's all the bike i really 'need' as I don't race etc..
The triban bikes have a fan club and web page so they can't be too bad!
You could get one of those with money left over for a pannier rack/bags/clothes etc.

But stick to a budget, whatever it is.
I found it so tempting to say, 'weeellll, for an extra £75 i could get,,,xxx,,,which is sooo much better.'
Before you know it you've spent £2,000 on something you don't really need!

The bikes you listed originally are all good. Not tried them all to be honest.
That can be your job!!

Planet x and ribble are both mainly mail order places. They do have bricks and mortar shops that you can go to, but the are in Sheffield area and Edinburgh, and ribble are in Preston. So if you can't visit the shop, they are a bit more of a gamble in terms of sizing and fitting if you are not clued up.
You tend to get more for your money in terms of headline groupsets and kit, but (probably????) use open mould Taiwan-ese or chinese carbon frames.
Not necessarily a bad thing. My Planet X is ace in my eyes. Some don't like them. Each to their own.

Just go and spend a few weeks sitting on as many as you can. See which you like best. You'll always get someone telling you that;
'x' bike is rubbish, and get 'y' because I have one and I think its ace.
Listen, absolutely, but only as a guide, not a rule of thumb.
(In my opinion  3 )

Hence go and try for yourself and then make your mind up.

Neil753 [447 posts] 4 years ago

If you're after a second hand touring bike, do NOT buy carbon; you just don't know how it's been treated. Also, it's easy to be swayed by the weight of a carbon frame, but the difference in total weight (the rider and the bike when weighed together) is often less than 1 percent.

If you're on a budget, I'm assuming that you'll want to save money on maintenance too, and if you buy anything that's nine speed or up then you'll be setting yourself up for wallet busting bills on a 2nd hand bike. Unless you're racing it isn't necessary to have such small gaps between gear ratios. 800 quid can buy you a seriously good steel framed tourer from the late 80's or early 90's. Go for one with a 7 or 8 speed cassette and indexed bar end shifters and spare parts like chains and cassettes cheaper, last longer, and are more reliable when you're off the beaten track.

Apart from anything, if you go touring on carbon road bike a lot of riders who tour will secretly laugh at you.

willbiggs [5 posts] 4 years ago

Thanks for the comments, all helpful and appreciated.

I take your point, I have, up until now, always bought old racers from the 80s / 90s, ridden them hard on London commutes and occassional longer rides and had cheap maintenance and running costs (and not been too stressed about them getting nicked as I have 2x good D-locks).

I don't know why but the BTwin bikes just don't appeal to me, same for the Boardman ones. Maybe I'm just a snob?!

I'm going to visit a couple of bike shops this weekend and test ride a few makes / models, get an idea for the bikes and the market. Even just understanding how each brands range works can help me in my second hand hunt.

Although, I do have the opportunity to buy a 6/7 year old Giant TCR Pro Carbon with full Ultegra / Dura Ace and decent Mavic wheels in great condition for £500 from a friend.... This was a £3000 bike in its day. I'm tempted to buy that... Thoughts?

What's the story with 'Focus'? Are the Cayo bikes any good?

Thanks all.

oozaveared [937 posts] 4 years ago

Well for £920 you could get a new bike. A brand new Jamis Bosanova from Evans. Just got one for commuting and some touring my self. Steel frame, Tiagra gears, disc brakes, sturdy mudguards, all the lugs, 28 tyres that are virtually puncture proof it's a triple. It's very comfortable and rides like a dream. Bang on for extended distances.


jollygoodvelo [1706 posts] 4 years ago

That sort of budget, for touring, puts you right in line for a Genesis CroixdeFer / CdF, or a Charge something.

willbiggs [5 posts] 4 years ago


Haven't heard much about Genesis, have heard bad things about Charge tho, will investigate further. Cheers

Joeinpoole [457 posts] 4 years ago

Crazy buying a carbon frame with the intention of sticking panniers on it. It's not what was designed or built for.

For the budget you have there are a wide range of new bikes available that will likely do the job better than any carbon-framed secondhand bike.

CX bikes are ideal general purpose or touring bikes. The modern ones nearly all have disc brakes too nowadays which are a huge advantage for a heavily-laden bike. Check out the Speccy Tricross series amongst the other suggestions. I think they're excellent and I would buy another for my recreational cycling without hesitation.

willbiggs [5 posts] 4 years ago

Ok so I have decided more clearly which model I'm after...

I tried out a TCR and a Defy 1 (both carbon), but found the TCR to be too racey and leaned over for longer distances.

I loved the Giant Defy, I tried the 'Defy 1 Composite' with full Ultegra groupset, I was amazed at the difference between the 105 and the Ultegra although that could potentially be just in the fine tuning / setup.

So I think I'm after a second hand Composite 1, preferably with Ultegra groupset.

I've also given up on the idea of attaching a pannier rack to such a beautiful / light bike.

Thanks for help all.

willbiggs [5 posts] 4 years ago

One question I do have actually. Some of the bikes I'm looking at have SRAM Apex groupset, I have read that these are a bit less smooth changing than Shimano 105. What are the general opinions of this groupset?

I'm also torn between getting a newer alloy model with 105 groupset or getting a slightly older carbon model with Tiagra / 105.


therevokid [1020 posts] 4 years ago
Forester [125 posts] 4 years ago

Genesis Equilibrium is a lovely bike, got mine on 28 conti Touring tyres and it is an ideal Audax/Sportive bike, as long as you aren't too competetive; it isn't the lightest bike around but I dieted to lose 7kg for my recent metric century, weight of the bike isn't a big issue unless you are very skinny!

notfastenough [3729 posts] 4 years ago

Question - if you've got the light Bianchi off your friend, plus the fixie for the city, and you were after something for Touring, why now switch to a carbon bike that is closer to racing? Or have I got that all wrong? Assuming that I've not got it wrong, what kind of riding will you be doing, if not touring?

Glad to see you're dropping the idea for the rack with it though - that's like buying a Porsche then towing a caravan!

I have SRAM Apex on my winter/commuting bike, and Ultegra on my 'nice' bike. I was quite happy with SRAM, save for the fact that it seems very fussy with the indexing. It's 2012 Apex, and I can't get it to run all 10 gears smoothly, despite spending a lot of time with it on the workstand. Anyway, having bought my new bike with Ultegra and demoting my first bike to 'hack' status, I can't help but notice how much smoother and easier to adjust it is than Apex. The shift action is also lighter. I would expect 105 to be extremely similar to Ultegra, just a little heavier.

With regard to the rest of the bike, I would STRONGLY recommend buying from a shop that will include a half-decent bike fitting. I say this because you note that the TCR was too stretched-out for you. This may well be true, but it may also be the case that the bike you sat on was the wrong size, or the stem was too long etc. If you're just looking to get out for some long fast rides/join a club/ride a couple of sportives etc, then either the Defy or the TCR will be great, but if you can stomach the more stretched-out position, then it will generally make for faster riding.