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I live in Australia, and have been cycling for just over a year now. When I started (age 20), I hadn't ridden a bike since I was 12, and so my friend helped me buy a very nice Caad9 for a great price. I got cleats, learnt how to use 'weird shifting levers' and now I'm looking to start some beginner races for fun.
Unfortunately, I crashed my bike while on the roof racks. (Stupid, I know, I was running late for a meet and wasn't thinking) and I dented the down tube.
I've called around, and I'm able to get a new Caad10 for a great deal as well, so what would you do?
Check it out: the most amazing vintage Colnago, Merckx and Pinarello collection
The Weenie formally known as CAADHEAD
A good illustration of what the down tube does is on the old Slingshot bikes that used a steel cable in place of the downtube.
Disclaimer: My opinion only of what I would do. Make your own judgement of what is safe.