I have a bicycle I use to get around my college campus, and it's degrading fast and not worth repairing, so I am looking for a new one. Being in a fairly large college town, it seems the used bike options on craigslist are decent enough for me to find one eventually. My issue is I don't want to pull the trigger on the first bike I see, but I don't want to be too selective either. I'm just looking for a decent road or hybrid bike, and here is my main question.
This listing just popped up; Excellent GT COMMUTER TOWNIE TOUIRING Bike
and my problem is that I don't really know enough about bikes to know if it's good or not. I'm willing to spend up to about $250, and I'm worried that if I buy something cheaper, I'm going to regret having a lower quality bike when I could have held out for something better.
So what should I look for? If I see something that has a model name, I can sometimes find reviews on it, but with something that doesn't seem to have a common maker, is that typically something to avoid?
With that bike above, if you take out the lights, fenders, and rack, it's basically just a $90 bike at most, are bikes this cheap something to avoid? I know to look out for damage and rust, but does anyone have any other tips for buying a used bike?
Santa Cruz Blur, Gary Fisher X-Caliber, Focus Arriba, Focus Izalco Ergoride
That would be a decent choice for your commute, assuming that it fits you and everything works ( check the operation of the geartrain and brakes, make sure the suspension fork is not binding or locked up). It's already got lights, a rack and fenders installed, things you would probably have to add to most other choices.
It seems to be a pretty fair price also, IMO... So I would go ride it!
Thanks, it ended up being too small, but do you have any specific tips of what to look for and what to avoid? What are the best indicators that a bike is worth what is being asked or if it's not worth it?
Frames are frames (in the entry level ranges anyway) but you can tell a bike shop quality bike from a *mart bike many times by looking at the components.
If all you see is Shimano, then it is probably a lower end bike, using components from Shimano below ther named level. If you see Shimano components (derailleurs) with names like Tiagra, Deore etc it is more likely to be decent quality. Usually, I think SRAM is reasonable.
To figure out where in the line-up something is, search the net (and the forums here) to find the hierarchy. Usually the higher in the hierarchy the components are, the better the bike. While someone might put good components on a low end bike, it is not very likely.
Most CL ads, at least around here don't list components, so once yuou get there and confirm these points, just check the bike mechanically to see that everything works, nothing looks bent (like a front end collision bending the fork/frame) and the wheels spin pretty straight.
As far as brands, look for anything offered by bike shops like Trek, Canondale, Giant, Specialized and many more. Some brands have big box level bikes and decent entry level bikes, depending on where they were sold, like Diamondback, Schwinn and others... I don't know what to tell you there.
On CL, don't believe how much they paid for the bike unless you can confirm it, nor that they know what they are saying when they talk about speed, weight, or quality. I have seen $99 Walmart bikes on CL used for $250+
And you can always ask here, but if it is a really great deal, it may not last long enough to get any good feedback... and was possibly hot anyway.