Ride like a pro: tips for buying a professional team bike
In this Article
Published on February 28, 2023
Everyone wants to get their hands on a pro bike, especially one they watched cross the line first in the Tour de France. And it may not be as difficult as you think to secure such a rare prize. Before you know it, you could be riding a top spec Canyon Aeroad with the Dura Ace Di2, winning the town sign sprint on your local group ride, feeling like Mathieu van der Poel at the top of the Mur de Bretagne. So, if you want to find out the pros and cons of buying a second-hand pro bike, as well as what to look for and where to purchase these coveted models, keep reading.
With a price point starting at around €8,000, owning a top spec Scott is little more than a dream for many of us. And yet, looking at second-hand pro bikes is a great way to find these top models without the hefty price tag. With the marginal gains of pro team bike you going to feel the difference weather on the hills or on the flat, if speed is more you thing read our in-depth review of today's best aerodynamic bikes.
In fact, a quick Google search finds Vuelta-winning Simon Yates' Addict for just€4,000, complete with carbon bar and step, alongside Dura Ace wheel and carbon saddle, weighing in at 6.4kg.
Essential Checklist for Buying a Second-Hand Pro Team Bike
However, there are some things you should consider when purchasing a second-hand team bike. Here is a list of some of the most important points:
- Training bike - World Tour pros will have a few different bikes, some for racing and some for training. Training Bikes will have been used throughout the winter, clocking up thousands of hard km’s. It’s worth noting, therefore, that these bikes may not have been checked by a pro bike mechanic as the responsibility to do so lies with the rider.
- Race bike - Unlike training bikes, these bikes are used for races only; however, that could mean they have been involved in more crashes. Although cleaned after each race, these bikes are mostly viewed as work tools and are not treated with the pride and joy that we bestow upon our own bikes. Alongside this, the constant cleaning of race bikes can remove the grease from the bike’s bearings. Another option to consider is the spare bike that lives on top of the team cars roof during races.
- Position - Although it looks great having a slammed stem which is 140mm long, you need to think about how the position will work for you. It’s important to find out as much information as possible before purchasing a bike. This is especially key in the case of integrated bar and stems, as these can be very expensive to replace.
- Components - Other than the bar, stem and saddle, which you may need to replace to fit your needs, there may be a worn chain, cassette or chainrings. The chainrings may also be too big, as pros usually use no smaller than 53/39. Replacing these could significantly increase the price of the bike, especially if they are Dura Ace, Sram Red or Campagnolo Super Record. Lastly, check if the bike comes with tubular wheels, as you may want to stick with clincher.
- Warranty - It’s unlikely that a second-hand pro bike will come under warranty, so always check company terms and conditions before purchasing. However, if you are looking for a second-hand bike more generally, The Cyclist House offers a one-year warranty on all their products.
Where to Buy: The Best Places to Find Second-Hand Pro Team Bikes
So, now you know what to look for when purchasing second-hand, it’s time to learn when and where to buy these bikes. There are a few methods that are considered particularly reliable when searching for reasonably priced pro bikes in good condition. Notably, it’s important the bikes have been checked in advance to ensure everything is working well and they are free from problems, so this is a priority when finding the right vendor. The first place to look is on Canyon website, as they offer a range of second-hand bikes from all their teams over the years. It’s also worth noting that you cannot beat the Aeroad, so make sure to read more about the best bikes of the Tour de France. In fact, a friend of mine recently found a Katusha Alpacine Canyon Aeroad for a great price. As a light, stiff, aero bike with just a few small marks, it was an absolute bargain. Or if you have some climbing goals for this summer, they have a range of the lightweight Canyon Ultimate’s which would be perfect in the mountains and one mountain all on our bucket list is Alp d’Huez which you can find some info about this mythical climb.
It can be difficult to find Women’s specific Pro bikes however with Canyon sponsoring a few women’s teams it’s not impossible. For an insight of the first edition of the women’s Paris Roubaix go to our dedicated article. And on the topic of bumpy roads you may be more interested in a more comfortable endurance bike which is a great option for more social riders. Find more information on endurance bikes here, however it may be difficult to find as many second hand pro endurance bikes as they are not used by teams throughout the year.
Other methods for finding second-hand pro bikes include checking out teams’ social medias. This is especially effective around the months of October to January as this will be when teams are receiving new bikes for the next season. Pay particular attention to teams that are changing bike sponsors, or if a new model is being released by their current sponsors, for example, Arkea changing from Canyon to Bianchi, or Trek Segafredo swapping to the new Madone. However, it is usually smaller teams that seem to promote bikes most on social media, including the likes of St Michel - Mavic - Auber93, and other Continental teams. A lot of French amateur teams also sell their bikes, and although not top spec, they can be slightly more affordable.
Concluding Thoughts on Buying a Pre-Owned Pro Team Bike
Buying a second-hand pro bike gives you the opportunity to ride your dream bike, and maybe even the bike of your favourite rider, for a fraction of the price. Remember to give it the love and attention it deserves, here is a list of tips for maintaining your new pro bike. Just remember to conduct as much research as possible before making the purchase and to ask plenty of questions about the condition of the components, the geometry and the bike’s usage before committing. It’s not that difficult to find a great bike that has been ridden by the likes of Tadje Pogacar or Julian Alaphilippe.
If you enjoyed this article and want to learn more about buying second-hand bikes, check out our dedicated article.
And who knows, that extra cool factor could even give you a few extra watts (but I’m making any promises!). All in all, if you find the perfect match, you should be securing a brilliant bike for an even better price, and that is one smart way of ensuring you’re riding faster than ever.