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Old 04-15-14, 11:42 PM   #1
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What to look at Ina used bike?

Just got started cycling this year, haven't cycled since I was a teen. I was kind of intimidated by anything that looked like a 'serious' bike, and ended up,with a comfort bike(jamis Hudson sport DLX). Well after about 1300 so far this year...I want something a bit more aggressive and purposeful.

So I'm entertaining myself by looking at craigslist. But other than getting something big(I'm 6'3"), I don't know what to look for. So. Here I am, looking for advice.

Thanks in advance for any advice, y'all.
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Old 04-15-14, 11:49 PM   #2
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What do you define as "purposeful"? What will you use the bike for? Road? Mountain? Will you want it to be able to take fenders & racks?
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Old 04-16-14, 02:38 AM   #3
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Show us a pic of the bike you're riding, and tell us what you don't like about it.

A guy your size might be best off buying one bike of whatever size to get a bargain on groupset and wheels etc, and pay whatever it takes to get a nice frame in your size on another bike, and sell the leftovers.

You can do pretty well here and there, but generally not without buying a whole bike. And big guys have hard time finding a frame to fit... patience is your friend.

If you have enough bits left over to make a whole bike, you'd probably get a lot more for it as parts, like nearly twice.
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Old 04-16-14, 11:21 AM   #4
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Don't over think it, it's just a bicycle.

1. As you are already aware, the first cut is size. At 6'3" you'll want a bike that's bigger than average so, if it doesn't look bigger than average, walk away. Ask if you can sit on it and ride up and down the street. Leg extension is easy to adjust so think more about how your arms, shoulders and neck feel.

2. Aside from that, appraise the general condition of the bike.

3. Negotiate the best price that you can.

Don't worry excessively about whether you got a good deal. Just ride and have fun. Part of the function of your first bike is to help you to figure out what you want your second bike to be like.
My greatest fear is all of my kids standing around my coffin and talking about "how sensible" dad was.
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Old 04-16-14, 12:29 PM   #5
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I can't take a picture. My bike is in the shop right now, waiting for some fiddle IGH part to come in, which is why the n+1 bug is making its first attempt on me. But here's a link: JAMIS BICYCLES

Or just google jamis Hudson sport. I've got one with the nexus 7 IGH.

While it is a very welcoming bike for a new rider, I want something geared higher-I regularly run out of gear on downhills and flats. I also would like something intends to be fast, that rewards effort better and is intended for fast, long rides. I was originally looking at getting a touring bike, but I'm open to any sort of good deal.

I'm looking at this tomorrow: TREK 560 Pro Series (Vintage Reynolds 531 Steel Road Bike 700c

assuming it's big enough(How do I even tell that? I've never chosen a bike with drop bars...I would just ride my Dad's bikes when I lived at home). I'm wondering what to look at mechanically in order to make sure it's something I can just start pedaling on without needing any other major investment.

rack and fender mounts would be nice, but aren't a requirement. I want something that I can go on long rides with, and will let me go as fast as my legs can manage on occasion. Oh, and something a bit less lazy in its handling than my jamis.
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Old 04-16-14, 12:40 PM   #6
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Get the Trek.
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Old 04-16-14, 12:48 PM   #7
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IMO the Trek is going to be TOO small.
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Old 04-16-14, 12:52 PM   #8
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How would I tell that? I don't remember what is supposed to be comfortable with drop bars-I just rode my dad's bikes when I lived at home.
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Old 04-17-14, 05:10 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Sullalto View Post
How would I tell that? I don't remember what is supposed to be comfortable with drop bars-I just rode my dad's bikes when I lived at home.
Firstly. Not a Trek 560. As you can see here. The Trek 560 of that year (and 1986 and 88) are not grey. This is a Trek 520 sport tourer (still pretty awesome, don't worry), and you can verify this by looking at the photo of the rear dropout on the craigslist ad. Trek Pro racing frames did not have fender eyelets on them, as far as I know. My 1984 Trek 770 does not.

Anyways, bike fit can get kind of complicated and personal. Back in the day, you would judge the fit of a bike by the distance between your crotch and the downtube, as you were standing over it. If you had about an inch or two, you were good to go. Nowadays they have fancy online bike fit calculators. What I would do is use one of those calculators and use it as a very rough guide to get bike frame dimensions, and then compare it to the geometry as advertised in this catalog and see how it matches, or doesn't match. When you're in the drops, you don't want to feel scrunched up, but you also don't want to feel stretched out. You shouldn't have to lock your elbows to feel comfortable. This might be something that can only be verified over time. This will also have a lot to do with your flexibility and core strength. I certainly am still working on that myself.
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Old 04-17-14, 05:53 AM   #10
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Sullalto, The seller will need a set of pedals to test ride for fitment. It also needs a front brake caliper. Haggle on the price.

The hoods (top of the brake lever body) are roughly the neutral point on drop bars and you should feel like it's a natural hand hold. There are other factors of course, but this will help with the first impressions. Be prepared to walk away if the frame isn't a good fit.

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Old 04-17-14, 04:09 PM   #11
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Walked away. It was tiny. Had to have the seat all the way up for good leg extension, at which point I was so high up I couldn't reach the shifters and still be balanced.

i totally would've been okay, even happy, if it was a 520-I want to tour at some point. But on something comfortable!
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Old 04-17-14, 05:13 PM   #12
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Get knowledge, THEN shop.

Get knowledge =

Step 1A: google bike sizing, take some measurements, estimate your size, test ride a few bikes, and target that size.

Step 1B: Calibrate your vision, so from a craptastic picture you can estimate size. Sellers rarely/never get size right in my experience.

Step 2: Spend some time on google, learning how to inspect a used bike, what to look for, and values. With the web, its not as hard as it sounds. Many have asked this question before, and gotten hundreds if not thousands of opinions on this topic. Google will get you more information than you ever could imagine.

Step 3: Be ready to pounce when a deal pops up. If it is a deal, the seller will get inundated with responses. Keep yours SIMPLE, or you will go to the bottom of the list. There is no "dibs" on C/L. Sellers can and WILL respond to buyers out of order, based on how easy it sounds to complete the deal. I sold a bike this week. The first response I got was from someone that sent me several emails, asking for the exact weight of the bike, a detailed listing of every component, age of everything, etc. They even had a friend of theirs send me an email asking why I hadn't responded. I had five other responses. Responder #6 was the most straight forward: "I would like your bike, when is a good time to meet?"

Guess who I called back???

For some reason, some think there is some kind of dibs list, "I sent a message first, so I have dibs on the bike." Dibs went out decades ago.

The good news is that Trek was a can of worms. Even if it had fit, it was best to avoid it. So no loss on that one.

Last edited by wrk101; 04-17-14 at 05:24 PM.
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