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Old 07-12-11, 01:01 AM   #1
megacoupe
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Is it wise to buy a used hybrid that I can't test ride due to a deflated tube?

I haven't been on a bike in at least 15 years, and even then, I had only just learned to ride before my bike was stolen.

A few days ago, I took a ride on my brother's Raleigh C30 and loved it. I've been checking craigslist and found an ad for a C30 that ran into an accident that deflated the rear inner tube. Here's how the seller described it:

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while moving I rolled it over a gutter and the rear inner tube leaked when the tire fell in between the gutter grates.
It doesn't appear that the wheel was damaged, nor the tire. Seems like it just needs a new tube.

I won't be able to test ride the bike, but I should still be able to check the brakes, the gear shifting, etc., right? Since I've tried out my brother's bike, there's no need to test this one, is there? Especially if the size is right and the rest of the accessories are working?

Is there anything else I should look out for? Money is tight and the price is right and I'm very excited about "learning" to ride all over again.
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Old 07-12-11, 01:42 AM   #2
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Especially if the size is right...
That's the big IF right there. Most anything else can be fixed (tyres, tubes, brakes, gear related problems, although it may get expensive) but if the frame is way off you size, there's not much you can do to fix that. Not all Raleigh C30s are the same frame size, and if the C30 has been in production for several years, different year models may have different frame design too.

If it really only needs a new tube, it shouldn't be too difficult to pop one in and see how it rides? That would also remove any guesswork regarding possible rear rim damage.

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Old 07-12-11, 06:15 AM   #3
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I once stuffed a front wheel into a open space along the edge of a grate. (I was crossing the street, the gap was perpendicular to the flow of traffic and did not present a hazard to riders traveling inn the normal direction.) Anyway, it went in kind of deep (to the hub) and spokes were damaged and many broke over time following the incident. So look closely at the spokes and also at the rim which maybe bent. Spin the wheel to see if it's true and round and ride the bike. When braking you may feel brakes grabbing withy each rotation if there is a spot on the rim that got dinged. There is also a possibility that the tire is damaged. Also some unrelated problems such as poor shifting, braking, bent crankarm, etc., etc. may exist that you will not know about unless you test ride.

If the guy is selling because he can't fix a flat, you might be able to get a good deal, but maybe the flat hasn't been repaired because he doesn't want buyers to discover problems that would be revealed by test riding.
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Old 07-12-11, 08:35 AM   #4
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If I were serious about buying it I'd bring a tube and change it out so I could ride it. It's worth the $5 or so to possibly save yourself from buying a lemon.
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Old 07-12-11, 06:54 PM   #5
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What dolanp said ^^. I think that you should just bring a tube along. If it works out, great! If not, you have just donated $5-6 to the seller.
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Old 07-12-11, 07:06 PM   #6
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If I were serious about buying it I'd bring a tube and change it out so I could ride it. It's worth the $5 or so to possibly save yourself from buying a lemon.
Yep. Seems strange to me that someone who has a bike (and wants to sell it) hasn't even patched the flat (5 min job). Could have been subject to constant flats? Could be just the rim tape, the real issue could have nothing to do with the wheels, who knows...the point is YOU don't know.

I'd give him a call and ask if he would mind if you changed the tube and took it for a ride? If he says "ahhh...I lost my pump in the move too" you'll have a pretty good reason to give it a miss.

Also its true you can test the brakes and gear shifting without a test ride (sort of)...but is a different kettle of fish when you test these things under weight. I test rode a second had mountain bike once that had contaminated pads...sounded fine when I just walked the bike and applied the brakes...but gee wiz did it squeel when I actually got on a rode it. The guy had actually told me beforehand they were contaminated...but I think it shows what can/could happen in your case.

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Old 07-12-11, 11:17 PM   #7
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After examining the bike and finding it to be in even better condition than I expected, I decided to take it. The rear tire tube was indeed leaky, and the tire itself was nearly new, though covered in that green SLiME grease stuff. Also, one spoke had come off of the rim. At $75, I thought it was worth the risk and will be heading to the LBS tomorrow to find out how much it will cost to fix that one spoke (and hopefully not have to replace the entire rim).
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