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Walked away from the road bike “deal” yesterday–smart choice.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012 by  
Filed under Daily Blog


Monday night I found a used Trek 2100 with Shimano 105 and Ultegra components for sale on Craigslist, and I had high hopes that I was finally going to acquire my road bike. The price was way too high at $1,200, but the bike was described as “Super Nice” and “Great looking bike that has been well cared for and always kept inside.” Further, the frame was my size and the guy selling the bike was willing to do an even trade for an item I was willing to part with. It almost seemed like kismet!

So after my morning workout I drove 45 minutes to met up with the seller. My excitement was dashed when I saw the condition of the bike. I don’t care how far you want to stretch the definition of “nice”, the bike I was looking at was so far from nice that the light from nice had not yet reached it. The seller’s choice to go a step further and adorn this heap with the superlative “super nice!” was like a rusty spoke in the eye.

The bike looked as if it had literally been tied to a truck and drug around town. Both brake levers were scuffed and badly peeling; the crank arms had so many gouges and scratches that I wondered if they’d been thrown into a Blendtec for a “Will it blend?” ad; the paint was chipped and peeling in several places; the front derailleur wouldn’t change gears; the tires looked, well… tired. This bike, in short, was a ragged out mess.

The guy selling the bike seemed nice enough, and I thought maybe he just had no idea how horribly inflated his asking price was. I said, “No offense, but you’re asking $1,200 for this? You’ll be lucky to get $600.”

He replied, “With all respect, I know bikes and I’m going to get way more than $600 for this.”

I choked back my disbelief and simply said, “Well, good luck with that, but I’m going to pass.”

He was clearly disappointed, but whatever. I was slightly irritated that the bike had been so grossly misrepresented, and that I’d wasted a couple of hours for nothing. Show me someone who is willing to pay $1,200 for the bike I saw yesterday and I’ll show you a sucker.

So you know what I did? I went home and immediately listed the item I was going to trade for the bike. Within an hour I had several bites, and I wound up sealing the deal by early evening. The item sold at my asking price, and I walked away with $1,200 cash to put towards my road bike.

I would have hated myself for taking the trade, as the bike I saw yesterday was barely worth $500.00. I would have been laughed off the planet if I’d shown up for my first group ride on that thing–and justifiably so.

Paul Lewis (one of the guys I rode with at Haile’s Trails over the weekend), has been extremely helpful as I’ve worked on the road bike project. Paul is very well-connected to the local bike scene (both mountain and road), and he’s got some feelers out for me right now. I just wanted to give Paul a public “Thanks!”, as I really appreciate his efforts.

2013 Motobecane Immortal Ice

2013 Motobecane Immortal Ice

I know there have been some very strong opinions–both for, and against–buying from bikesdirect.com. One bike there that has piqued my interest is the 2013 Motobecane Immortal Ice. It looks like a very solid bike for the money: full carbon frame, Shimano Ultegra 6700 groupset, Richey Pro Zeta wheelset, Vittoria Rubino PRO III Kevlar tires and a weight of 16.5 pounds.

All options are still on the table (local, mail order, new, used), so opinions are always welcome.

John Stone Fitness Comments

8 Responses to “Walked away from the road bike “deal” yesterday–smart choice.”
  1. I’d be interested to hear what Tommy has to say about the Immortal Ice. The Motobecane 600DS I had was junk. Just about every component on it that could fail did, including the frame. That was 16 years ago though, so I wouldn’t presume that it’s representative of the brand today. One thing that caught my eye in the picture above is the awkward proximity of the frame tube to the rear tire. The manner in which it had to be deformed to provide adequate clearance looks like an afterthought. It’s not sound engineering practice to do something like that; it means that the upper section of that tube is either stronger than it needs to be, or that the lower section is weaker than it needs to be. Very odd.

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  2. Andrew-

    This is a CF bike. The frame tube flairs out towards the top to increase the lateral rigidity of the frame. In addition, the lower section of the frame tube follows the wheel to decrease wind resistance. This is a specific design feature, not an afterthought. This type of design has become common on most high end CF bikes:


    (other example on the specialized website)

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    • I was referring to the section of tubing immediately above the indent, not the part where it abuts the other sections of the frame. On a TT bikes like the one in your link, no effort is spared to make every part as aerodynamic as possible. But that isn’t the norm for road bikes, and to have it show up in only one place on the ‘Immortal Ice’ looks very odd. Compare its frame geometry to that of the Specialized ‘Tarmac’, where, as one would expect, the frame members increase in diameter at the point where where the stresses are greatest:


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    • Thanks, madamert–I always appreciate your learned thoughts.

      The Monocoque High Modulus Carbon Fiber frame used on the Immortal Ice is extremely well reviewed in quite a few high profile publications/web sites. The components speak for themselves. It really does seem like a very solid bike for the money.

      I’ve seen very few negative user reviews from people who actually own this specific bike. I have to wonder how much of the negative stuff I’ve read about modern Motobecane bikes is just good old-fashioned bike snobbery.

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  3. CL can be frustrating. I always ask for pictures first before making a trip.

    check out eBay as well – just use common sense cautions here as well:

    or try a few of the cycling specific forums, safer in re to what you’re getting, description, etc as it’s more of a community environment – but tends to be higher priced gear:

    Paceline (formerly Serotta forum)

    Velocipede Salon


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    • I actually saw a picture of the bike before I went out there, and there were indications in that photo that the bike was not in great shape. The gentleman assured me that the bike was in amazing shape, and that I would not be disappointed. 🙁

      I’m not a fan of eBay, and pretty much swore that cesspool off a few years ago.

      I appreciate the links! Also, my friend Paul knows everyone around here, and he may be able to turn up a really exceptional deal for me. Definitely lots of options here, and I’m in no rush. 🙂

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      • It puzzles me why sellers would misrepresent items in this way. After all, it’s not as if the potential buyer won’t have the opportunity to see for himself if the owner’s representation is correct, or that he’s somehow committed to buying the item regardless of its actual condition.

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