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Thread: Used Bikes

  1. #1
    aka Michelle BikerDawg's Avatar
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    Used Bikes

    I posted earlier about Mart bikes, but I think my friend is going to go the used route. We are going to hit some garage sales tomorrow (not a good selection of used bikes at shops around here).

    Just wondering if there are BIG things we should watch for while scoping out bikes?? After it's purchased, it will have a tune-up and check-up, but while I'm standing there looking at it, I have no idea what is a potential problem.

    Thanks, as usual!

    Michelle

  2. #2
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    Check for any crash damage, esp frontal hits. Look for any bulging or paint flakes on the tubes just behind the head tube.
    Ping the spokes to check for even tension.
    Excessively worn cogs will show up as sharks-tooth shape.

    Make sure the seatpost is not siezed into the frame.

    On a used bike, look for the best quality frame and components you can. There is no excuse for bying a used bike which was crappy when it was new. Good bikes remain good even when old.

  3. #3
    Senior Member doonster's Avatar
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    Check for rust around the BB. Enquire (or try) about removing it - has it ever been removed, serviced, changed. About the worst job on a bike is removing a seized BB (I know, I've still got an old frame with one pretty much welded in).

  4. #4
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    All the above, plus:

    Spin the wheels front and rear with them off the ground. This check hub bearings (noise, how freely it spins) plus freewheel/freehub on the rear; trueness of the wheels (wobble from side to side); brake adjustment (pads rubbing), and condition of the tyres (tread, perished sidewalls and pressure)

    Rusty chain is not necessarily a deal-breaker, but may indicate the bike has been out in the rain and water has got into a multitude of other places (headset, bottom bracket, hubs, frame, forks). A seat post that won't move, as MichaelW says, is another bad indicator, and really is a deal-breaker.

    Check there are no cracks or dents on the handlebars if they are aluminium alloy. Check around the stem clamp in particular. Dents and bumps in an aluminium frame are not good.

    Hold the front brake on, clasp a hand around the top headset assembly (just under the stem) and try to move the bike backwards and forwards (just a little). The bike will stay stationary, but if the headset is clagged, you will feel movement in the assembly where you have your hand.

    Check gearshift (your friend will have to ride it to do so). Stand to pedal in a mid-range gear. If the chain slips, you are up for full transmission replacement (chain, rear cogs at least). If you feel movement in the crank, there is a problem there with its fit on the spindle taper.

    Any problems in these areas suggests the bike is not worth the money or effort, unless it is very rare, or you have access to cheap parts and labour.

    Finally, and most importantly, make sure the bike fits. If you don't know how to determine this, PM me and I will send you a checklist, or you can do a search on BFs here. There is no point in buying a bike that is or close to mechanically perfect if it is too big or too small for your friend.

    FWIW

    R
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  5. #5
    aka Michelle BikerDawg's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone! We are heading out in a few minutes to check out the garage sale scene. I am printing off this list to take as my "guide." I think I've got a general understanding of what you are talking about. :confused:

  6. #6
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    Get back to us and let us know how you go. Probably a bit late to add now that Patience is a virgin ... er, sorry, a virtue... and you may take a while to find the right bike.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  7. #7
    aka Michelle BikerDawg's Avatar
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    LOL, thanks Rowan. We struck out at garage sales. Bunch of crapped up bikes that have obviously seen better days.

    What I DID do, though, was stop at a NICE bike shop. She found a Bianchi Avenue hybrid that she really likes. I think she's trying to figure out how to come up with $320.

    I think the plan (while saving for the Bianchi) is to get a Mart bike and use it as the camping/beater/spare bike in the future. She wasn't happy with me for stopping at that shop, but I had never been there before, so I just HAD to!!

    I still think she should get a road bike, but they don't seem to be as inexpensive as hybrids??

  8. #8
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Originally posted by BikerDawg
    I still think she should get a road bike, but they don't seem to be as inexpensive as hybrids??
    That is one of many reasons I prefer vintage road bikes. With a few delightful (and costly) exceptions from Bianchi, Rivendell, Trek, and a couple of other manufacturers, most of today's road bikes are designed for hard-core racers.

    Be persistent. If you buy a new bike, you will probably eventually want a beater for errands and bad weather. My basic bike boom era 10-speed, a Peugeot UO-8 upgraded with aluminum rims, bars, pedals, and cranks, handles this duty very nicely.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
    Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
    Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
    Bianchi: 1981 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
    Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069

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