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  1. #1
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    Used Trek 7.2 advice

    This is one of the bikes that's been on my craigslist/kijiji wish list. Unfortunately my budget is low and not too many come up in my size. So today I saw one listed for an amazingly low price. Here's the catch: it's been outside on a balcony in Canada for 2 years. I'd have about $150 left over for fix-ups but no skills or time of my own. Do you think 2 years on a balcony is something that could be overcome? Seller says chain and steel bolts are rusty.
    Thanks for your advice!

  2. #2
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    Yes, it can be overcome. Regarding the chain.... It can be replaced pretty inexpensively, or you can try to clean it up yourself. Try WD40 or "rust blaster" - you can get both in the hardware store. Liberally spray the chain and cogs with the solvent, brush them vigorously, wipe, and do it again. When you think you've got all the rust off that you can, clean with a common household degreasser like dish detergent. Wipe dry. Finally, lightly lube. The solvent works on bolts too. Hopefully the tires were not in the sunshine. Sun kills tires. Look at the sidewalls, do they look dry and cracked? If so, you may have to replace. Clean the bike thoroughly. Then lube (vaseline will work) the cables as best you can. Go through the gears multiple times. If you have a car bike rack, you can use it as a bike stand. Check your brakes. If you need tools, go to a department store or lbs and buy a multi-tool (about $15). It will have most of the tools you'll need for basic bike maintenance. Good luck.

  3. #3
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    is it near you? meaning can you go look at it easily and judge the condition for yourself?
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  4. #4
    just pokin' along desertdork's Avatar
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    ^^^Agreed. If it's near, have a look. You may not have the knowledge to thoroughly inspect the bike, but you'll be able to see if it's been thoroughly neglected or given some care.

    If you're relying on the local bike shop for service, you can expect to pay full retail for parts in addition to service. So while some of the members here can pick up an 8sp chain for <$15 online and install it, you might pay $20+ for the same chain and another $10 labor. Just an example.

    Regarding the chain, if it has a considerable amount of rust, I'd just have it replaced. A broken chain is a great way to lose control of your bike and crash. Even if you don't fall, you may still find yourself an unpleasant walk from home. But...

    There are numerous bearings on bike, and a rusty drivetrain may just be the visible signs of corrosion on a bike left exposed to the weather. Headset, bottom bracket and wheel hubs are all bearing locations that may require service (which could be $100 labor + parts). Cables and cable housings are consumables, and the latter is especially prone to corrosion. Brake pads harden and become less effective. I don't live in a locale with snowy-icy winters, so I don't know how tires are affected by exposure in such. Some cracks in the tread alone don't necessarily mean replacement; the tire's fabric casing beneath the molded tread provides integrity; the tread protects the casing and provides the rider with traction. Sidewall damage is another story.

    I'm being vebose. The "amazingly low price" may be a sign that the bike really does need genuine attention. If it's a more of a project bike, I'd let it be a deal for the home mechanic. It could require a complete overhaul (~$150 labor) plus parts.

  5. #5
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    The seller was quite far away from me, but I went anyway. It turns out it was on a covered balcony, so no snow, no rain, not too much direct sun, just lots of dust and dirt. The tires had no air so she let me take the bike to a nearby bike shop to get some, while I was there, I asked the employees how bad it really was.... and they said not bad! They're getting it ready to roll for $50. The market for used bikes here is pretty stiff: usually they are about 20-25% less than new, I'd say. I feel like I got a good deal since my total will be less than 50% of the new price.
    Thanks for all your advice.

  6. #6
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    I cannot understand why people leave their bikes exposed. Sounds like you got a decent deal.

  7. #7
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

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