So, any hints for the rather inexperienced?
try and get one that fits closely, if its way too big or too small it doesn't matter how good it is it will be no fun
What's a good estimate for % depreciation each year?
i think its like 25% off per year if its in immaculate condition and 50% off if its well used but well taken care of each year, and 75% off if its heavily used and treated like crap all year
Any things to look for that would make a used bike not worth buying (deal breakers even if it's a great price)?
if you don't wanna deal with repairs, any seriously malfunctioning part or physical damage (wheel taco, large dent in frame) would be dealbreakers for me. perhaps stuff like worn brake pads would be ok, worn tires would be useable, torn seat perhaps, but if it's something $20 can't fix i'd keep looking. unless its a sweet bike then maybe $50 would be my limit on repairs
Any great bikes from the last five years that would be a great buy (maybe they were under-appreciated or have great frames with crappy parts that can be upgraded)?
nothing specific comes to mind, just watch Fit, Condition and Quality. you don't need another 35 pound junker. anything from a known brand should be ok for a starter bike i'd think. I rode a $30 goodwill bike for a year as my tester bike, it's still a good backup bike too.
Thanks! And feel free to state the obvious (it might not be obvious to me)[/QUOTE]