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Old 05-15-14, 09:37 AM   #1
caspian915
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Buying advice: used 2001 Kona Major Jake (Please help?)

Hey all,

I think this is the first time I've posted, so forgive me if this thread should be in a different forum. I'm including a good bit of detail below; hopefully it's not too much and someone is willing to read through.

I've been talking with a guy about buying is old, currently unused (and according to him not much used) Kona Major Jake. He wants $600 for it in the ad, with a couple of extras included. Bike looks good, I need something to commute on (where I live the roads beat the hell out of my current road bike, and I'm all of a sudden doing 130mi/week just for work commutes, + more everywhere else since I don't own a car). And I'm new to the idea of seriously training, so I figure it could double as a "for now" training bike. Friends of mine who run a bike repair and build shop out of their house were first enthusiastic and then told me the Bike Blue Book puts the 2001 at around $360, and that they'd build me a beater commuter from a Dawes Lightening frame they have for $250.

So with all that said, this is some of the relevant info from the emails and attached are pictures of all three bikes and accessories (Kona, Schwinn cruiser, Dawes frame, etc).

Is this worth it at all? Is it worth it if I can bring him down to $500? Or am I better off with the rebuilt Dawes for $250 and saving my money for a brand new training bike?

Thanks in advance for taking the time!

Here's the ad:
Quote:
This is the bike that won the cyclocross worlds. New sells for $1400.
Rugged construction for any race conditions. Knobby tires for mud terrain.
Paddle shifters, Very streamlined.
Just been hanging in the garage for last few years, In good condition.
58 cm size.
Comes with speedometer, bag and rack on back.
After I had to decline a week and a half ago (surprise vet bill), he followed up to let me know he still had it:
Quote:
Still have the bike if you can make it over the bridge. Will throw in a Schwinn beach type cruiser (rust on chrome) if you want it. Kona Major Jake has no rust or problems, and 58cm is perfect size for 5'10".
More info:
Quote:
I believe its a 2001 or 2002. I have probably ridden it 40-50 x in that time span. So, just hanging in the shed all that time.
Attached pic of the beach cruiser.
Quote:
Here are some photos of the Kona andthe extra gear. All Tiagra components. Cateye speedometer and 2 sets front and rear Cateye lights.
Attached Images
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File Type: jpg Screen Shot 2014-05-15 at 10.27.25 AM.jpg (68.7 KB, 12 views)
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Old 05-15-14, 09:53 AM   #2
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What type of components are on the bike? Given the amount of rust on the brake bolt it looks like it may have been stored outside. It could need a fair amount of work to bring up to rideable condition. Expect some drivetrain adjustment screws to be frozen with rust as well.

Another potential issues would be fit (58 is not typically ideal for 5'10"). You'll likely need new tires as knobbies are not ideal for commuting.

$600 seems high.
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Old 05-15-14, 10:13 AM   #3
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Tell this guy that the Blue Book Value of this bike is less than $370. However, since he's been such a nice guy, you'll pay'em $400 for it. If that's not acceptable, it's ok, because your "friends" at the bike shop might have a better deal for less. If he continues, then just show him the actual bluebook value over the NET...

Leave your number and tell him to have a nice day....

Wait 5 days, then offer $450 and no more!

Did you test ride this bike?...If not, this might all be for nothing...
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Old 05-15-14, 10:15 AM   #4
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Throwing in the Schwinn means he knows he's asking way more than the Kona is worth. I also agree with gregf83 that 58cm is not the typical size for 5'10".
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Old 05-15-14, 10:16 AM   #5
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Old 05-15-14, 10:48 AM   #6
caspian915
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WestPablo View Post
Tell this guy that the Blue Book Value of this bike is less than $370. However, since he's been such a nice guy, you'll pay'em $400 for it. If that's not acceptable, it's ok, because your "friends" at the bike shop might have a better deal for less. If he continues, then just show him the actual bluebook value over the NET...

Leave your number and tell him to have a nice day....

Wait 5 days, then offer $450 and no more!

Did you test ride this bike?...If not, this might all be for nothing...
Yeah, that seems the best option. Admittedly it didn't occur to me that it was a 2001 until they sent me the bike blue book link.

Thoughts on the Dawes frame? I know it's a lower end bike, but an added wrinkle is that I live in New Orleans, so even things bolted down are subject to theft (true story: a couple of months ago someone put up wood walls on the corner and started blasting out a section of building that had a Banksy on it in broad daylight on a busy road). That being said, the components can be discussed, but the frame has to take 130 miles a week (plus non-commute miles) of aggressive riding on roads that are both pitted asphalt and poorly maintained slab concrete, littered with all sorts of debris biting into the tires. I ask here because my friends are more the hacker/diy type rather than purists, whereas I no expert but my personality tends to be somewhere in between.

Lastly, I know bike fit can be a contentious issue, but if not 58, what should I be looking at? I'm 95% sure I've ridden a 58cm bike in the past with no problem.

thanks
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Old 05-15-14, 11:05 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by caspian915 View Post
Yeah, that seems the best option. Admittedly it didn't occur to me that it was a 2001 until they sent me the bike blue book link.

Thoughts on the Dawes frame? I know it's a lower end bike, but an added wrinkle is that I live in New Orleans, so even things bolted down are subject to theft (true story: a couple of months ago someone put up wood walls on the corner and started blasting out a section of building that had a Banksy on it in broad daylight on a busy road). That being said, the components can be discussed, but the frame has to take 130 miles a week (plus non-commute miles) of aggressive riding on roads that are both pitted asphalt and poorly maintained slab concrete, littered with all sorts of debris biting into the tires. I ask here because my friends are more the hacker/diy type rather than purists, whereas I no expert but my personality tends to be somewhere in between.

Lastly, I know bike fit can be a contentious issue, but if not 58, what should I be looking at? I'm 95% sure I've ridden a 58cm bike in the past with no problem.

thanks
First of all, not all 58's are truly 58's. A 58cm made by Fuji, could very well be a 60cm made by Surly, and a 56cm made by Trek. You just can't tell the criteria that the companies are using in order to render their measuring standards. Therefore, all bikes need to get a test ride, no matter what!

If you frequent a high theft area with your bike, then you need to cut your losses. I hear that NORLeans is fairly flat. Why not invest in an inexpensive single speed that can take wide tires?

Get a single speed. Disassemble it. Paint it, and make it uniquely your own!

Just go to www.performancebike.com and checkout the SE Draft Lite single speed @ $300. It takes wide tires.

The good thing about Performance, is the fact that you don't actually have to take delivery until after a test ride. You just go to some brick & mortar bike shop, test ride the bike, and pay. They might insist that you pay, before the test ride, but if you don't like it, they WILL give you a refund. You can then order the right size bike, or start your search again.

* I would caution you about entering into anything regarding business, money, or property, with any so-called friends or relatives. Things can go South, far too badly and quickly. Business, relatives, and/or friends rarely ever mix well. Just act interested in the suggestion, but don't actually take 'em up on it...
Just say, "I'll have to think about it..."...."Still thinking..." etc..

Last edited by WestPablo; 05-15-14 at 11:21 AM.
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Old 05-15-14, 11:42 AM   #8
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New Orleans may be flat, but I've been riding a single speed as of late and don't like it for commuting. I'm in traffic and I'm constantly going between a dead stop and pedaling like a mad man to go 20-25 mph. There's no happy medium unless I stay at around 15 to 18 mph, but stop lights and cars are against me, along with serious headwinds coming off the river or lake depending on where I am. We've had an unseasonably extended cool spring, so there's a lot of transition weather days of 25 mph wind blowing storms out. I'm interested in building stamina, but I'd rather save that for purposeful workouts, not the necessity of commuting to one job from 11am to 3pm and a second job from 4pm to midnight then home.

As for the word of caution, totally relate and appreciate the concern, but we're not friends in the sense that we go way back. I know them first through doing business (tune-ups, repairs) and second through loose association with our local social ride group. We're definitely friendly and all now, but I don't suspect any issues in that regard. I'm going to check out the Dawes right now, so we'll see.
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Old 05-15-14, 12:10 PM   #9
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Provided that the end result is a safe and functional ride, the Dawes just might be the ticket...

Good Luck!
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Old 05-15-14, 12:21 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by WestPablo View Post
Provided that the end result is a safe and functional ride, the Dawes just might be the ticket...

Good Luck!
Thanks for the help!
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Old 05-15-14, 01:07 PM   #11
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The Kona looks like it's been neglected so there likely will be many hidden expenses to get it dialed in, add to that a 13 year old tiagra group and a steel fork for $600? Ridiculous. At best that's a $300 bike IMHO. Do yourself a favor, Run away! You can do better with the build.
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Old 05-15-14, 01:31 PM   #12
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I think the Major Jake is a really nice bike, but $600 is too much and a 58cm is probably a bit bigger than you'd really want.

I don't think the Bike Blue Book prices are generally reliable, but in this case it's probably not far off. That bike might be worth $400.

As for the size, I'm 5'9" and I've got a 54cm 2008 Major Jake that fits just about perfectly and I used to ride a 52cm 2008 Jake that wasn't noticeably too small. Assuming the Kona geometry didn't change drastically between 2001 and 2008, you'd probably be best suited to a 54 or a 56, but the 58 probably wouldn't be horrible.

Bikepedia says that bike came with Shimano 105 parts, and it looks like it still has them. Keep in mind that those would be two (soon to be three) generations old, so not valued as current 105 would be, but they work pretty well until they fail. The wheels are nice. The brakes are mediocre.

Edit: I missed your statement about the components being Tiagra, and now having seen it I looked closer and that seems to be right. So the original 105 components were swapped out at some point. That drops the value just a bit.
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Old 05-16-14, 12:00 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spivonious View Post
Throwing in the Schwinn means he knows he's asking way more than the Kona is worth. I also agree with gregf83 that 58cm is not the typical size for 5'10".
It's more about inseam length and arm reach than height, but I'm 5'11" and ride a 56cm Secteur that I was properly fitted for my a certified Specialized BG Fit guy. I think he's trying to take advantage.
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