Choosing the best bike possible on a budget

Hi guys,

I need some advice. I’m a high school student, so I don’t have a lot of money to spend on bikes. The thing I’ve been doing is buying bikes from abroad, servicing them and then selling them at a local market for a profit. Using this method I now have about 1900€ to spend on a road bike. My goal is to simply feel good on the bike - ride fast. I’m the out of shape KOM hunting amateur racer type :smiley:. Are there any particularly good models on the used market to go for?

I have the opportunity to buy a Cervelo S5 with old Ultegra DI2 (6770) and Dura-Ace tubular wheels for 1500€ - I could sell off the wheels and buy something more modern (tubeless). Do you think there’s any better option? I’m a fairly heavy rider, so I don’t think I have the right to do the weight-weenie thing :smiley:.

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I’d go used Rim brake aluminum frameset (Allez sprint, CAAD13, Ultimate AL SLX)105- R7000 group and spring for some Elite Marvel rim brake carbon wheels if you want to race on a budget. I think that takes you €300 over but I used the Allez Sprint as a benchmark for a used frameset and those things have tremendous re-sale value and are outrageously good frames.


If you can manage it on your budget, I’d recommend getting a bike fit so you can understand what size frame will suit you best and what adjustments you might need to make to what’s available to you on the used market. I can’t speak for the quality of the various phone apps that do this now but there might be others on the forum that can - it might be a reasonable option.

My experience with a well cared for 2001 Trek 2300 with an Ultegra groupset was great. Only issue really was the frame was probably a little big for me.

And there’s really nothing wrong with running tubes, they’re cheap, plentiful and effective :slight_smile:


For nuance, I want to point out that 1900€ is a lot of money. It may not be enough for the latest and greatest, but you can get an amazing used bike for that kind of money.

The S5 sounds like a good deal. You can get pretty good deals on rim brake bikes these days.


I just want to point out - the Cervelo S5 is a 2015 model, built with older Ultegra.

Thanks for the response. I did do a lot of research about bike fitting and had a basic motion capture bike fit, so I think I should be somehow within range.

If the S5 is from a source you trust it’s a good deal, well the frame is. Di2 is great but that’s 10 speed so you might struggle to get replacements if anything goes wrong. Skip the tubs, even if they’re DA - you’ll probably find it hard to sell them. Basically, if you can just buy the frame (and it’s in good condition) go for it. If not look for a high-quality alloy frame (CAAD 10 or 12) and a good mechanical groupset.

May be quite tricky to shift those wheels for decent money even if they’re Dura Ace ones. No one wants tubs anymore.

What would you consider a good price for the allez sprint frameset?

if your goal is to go fast, the bike is not the first place to spend the money. First priority is tight clothing, aero socks and the most aero helmet you’re happy to be seen in. After that, the tyres, tubes and wheels. Then then handlebars. After that the frame.

So I‘d look for things that are top in terms of performance, but last generation tech. Also non prestige brands that have lower resale

  • Specialized Evade II helmet (50% deals available now as new version released).
  • Vittoria Corsa Speed+latex tubes
  • Any deep toroidal rim brake wheels available locally so you can check them.
  • Any 1kgish non prestige brand carbon rim brake frame, e.g. Giant. Aluminium or steel also OK if you dont mind a few 100g extra. Priority is that its uncracked, straight and fits. Aeroness matters very little.

I‘d also join a club and talk to middle aged guys about your project. They often have a shed full of old bikes that they’d be happy to pass on to a good home for not much money.


Also if you are not racing and ride mostly alone, a TT/triathlon bike or any bike that allows you to have a time trial position will be faster than a regular road bike on anything but double digit gradients.

A quick check on ebay show me a lot of <1500€ <10y old time trial/ triathlon bikes that would be much faster than the latest Specialized Tarmac nearly everywhere but the hardest climbs once your position is dialed.

I once put a Look ergostem + TT extensions and swapped my seatpost to a straight one on my regular road bike for commuting duties and my average speed raised a few kph higher without making more efforts. Same by riding my track pursuit bike on the road even with a fixed gearing I got a KOM several years ago in a flattish 15km segment. Granted it was rocking a 88mm deep front wheel and a disc wheel at the back but I was cruising at 45kph while commuting without killing myself. Dialing for an aero position is just the best bang for the buck you can get.

Used carbon, not aluminum, pay for a lightly ridden one, the frame being most important and as newer model as possible. Buy it from someone you can trust, at their home, who can explain the history of the bike. It may take a while before something pops up, but I’ve had really good luck doing this for friends. If it has cheap components, even better which can be upgraded over time. Any of the top brand names, make solid carbon frames now, including Trek, Specialized, Giant, and Cannondale. Good luck!

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Can’t go wrong with Allez, or the cad. Best bang for the buck.

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Depending if you can get one, Cube offers some of the best value for money. The Cube Attain SL for example is priced at 1600 Euro with an alloy frame and full 105 Disc. For 300 over your budget (2200 EURO) you get a carbon frame with full Ultegra (Attain GTC SL)

I agree that Cube has good value for money for new bikes, but it would be harder to sell in the future. This is also true for an older bike like that 2015 model, it would be harder to sell it in 5 years’ time.

The last generation Speedmax with rim brakes is popping up with insane discounts at the moment. While some people might laugh at you for not having disc brakes, you literally won’t be able to hear their laughter since you’ll be blasting past them anyway.

Honestly, if you ride alone and you have nice roads just get a TT/Tri bike. Food for thought, brakes are much closer on a road bike but a TT bike will allow you to ride much faster.

Where do you see them popping up with these discounts?

Second hand market like eBay or eBay Kleinanzeigen.