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  1. #1
    Senior Member mtalinm's Avatar
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    how risky to buy a used bike?

    hi, I'm sure this has been done to death but searching for "new vs used" and the like comes up empty.

    what's prompting this: my budget is around $1000-1200 for a road bike. I need upright geometry, so I've been looking at the Specialized Secteur (new). then I saw on craigslist a Specialized Roubaix (carbon version of the aluminum Secteur) for $1200obo. it's my size and everything!

    I'm just nervous about buying a used bike, having been burned on used car purchases before. of course it's easier to evaluate a bike, but I'm also mindful that buying at the LBS gives you
    + free maintenance for a half year or longer, maybe other LBS favors
    + warranty service from the manufacturer (needed that on my last bike)
    + less wear and tear

    that said, the prospect of upgrading from aluminum to carbon is REALLY appealing. I just worry that if I find $200 worth of things wrong with it, it ends up not being a lot cheaper than a new bike.

    anyone had really GOOD or BAD experiences buying used? any tips other than ask-why-they're-selling for figuring out the status of a used bike?

    many thanks!
    Trek Domane 4.5 (commute/distance), Specialized Roubaix (climber), Xootr Swift (winter/travel), Trek Soho (around town)

  2. #2
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    well i can tell you i got a used fuji del rey 1982 model for free from a friend. had to get fifty dollars work done on it as the gear cables were rusted out.
    bike runs okay so far, i suspect it was lightly used, and that is the key to a used bike methinks. if you can find a lightly used bike that fits you then i don't see buying used as a problem.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Loose Chain's Avatar
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    Used Bike Risk-O-Meter:


    Carbon fiber <-------more RISKINESS less----------> Steel

  4. #4
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    Never had a bad experience buying any bike and I've bought many carbon bikes. Be sure to inspect every inch of the frame. If no marks or cracks that you can see, test ride it. If it checks out, I'd say you're probably good. I've bought several off ebay as well. No issues. I am lucky though.
    Demented internet tail wagging imbicile.

  5. #5
    Senior Member mtalinm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loose Chain View Post
    Used Bike Risk-O-Meter:


    Carbon fiber <-------more RISKINESS less----------> Steel
    hmm...seems wise
    Trek Domane 4.5 (commute/distance), Specialized Roubaix (climber), Xootr Swift (winter/travel), Trek Soho (around town)

  6. #6
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    I bought all of my bicycles used, but I wouldn't buy a carbon bike used without knowing the history of the bicycle since day 1. Carbon failures are scary.

    That being said, I consider used bikes the way to go. If you learn how to do a little bit of maintenance yourself, its an even better suggestion.
    1993 Cannondale T700 - 1994 Specialized Rockhopper - Actionbent T1 (Electrification in progress!)

  7. #7
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    I've bought several used bikes, at least half a dozen, for my wife and me, and never been sorry. I'm an adequate mechanic (been riding 40 years, the first 20 on a VERY tight budget and the last five with two kids in college, so there's not a lot of money lying around), and i know what to check for and what it takes to fix most common proglems, which has helped. I've paid as much as $1000 for a used Rambouillet that needed nothing but air in the tires and as little as $4.95 for a Centurion LeMans that needed a rebuild, wheels and pedals.
    Like buying anything else used, results vary. You can really get screwed or you can walk away with a steal (the Rambouillet, at the time I bought it, listed for about $2100). Google something like "Buying used bike" or "inspecting a bike" and see what you get. if you're planning to spend a lot of money, hundreds as opposed to tens of dollars, you might consider taking it to a shop and paying them for a half-hour of labor to look it over. Some shops don't like to do that, but at least around here the decent ones will. Expect to pay for it, and mention to them that you'll be buying stuff from them in the future.
    If you do go to a shop, I'd suggest doing it on a weekday (they're busy on Saturday mornings), and maybe making an appointment in advance.

  8. #8
    Pat
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    You might make the sale conditional on the bike passing inspection with a decent mechanic.

    The thing is that few cyclists put on more than 2000 miles per year. Most used bikes have less than 6000 miles of wear on them. It takes about 25000 miles before you start wearing out anything on the bike and many components go over 30000 or even 40000 miles.

    If you are concerned about the frame, clean the frame and look very carefully for any damage especially at the junctions of the tubes.

    The thing is if you know what you are doing, a used bike will have 90% of its mileage still in it at about 30%-50% of the price. They can be great deals.

    Also, I have not ridden the roubaix but I have heard it mentioned quite often in pretty glowing terms. I would say give it a really close look.

  9. #9
    Senior Member mtalinm's Avatar
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    thanks pat, very good advice. the seller claimed that it belonged to his brother-in-law, which made sense given that he had two other bikes and this one didn't fit him.

    checked out the frame as carefully as I knew how to and took it on a five-mile test ride. was lovely in every respect, so I bought it.

    thanks all for your excellent advice. here is the best link I found on checking for problems: http://www.usedbicycleguide.com/Bicy...nspection.html
    Trek Domane 4.5 (commute/distance), Specialized Roubaix (climber), Xootr Swift (winter/travel), Trek Soho (around town)

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