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Old 01-27-12, 04:08 PM   #1
JC1977
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Need advice on buying Craiglists mountain bikes...

Hey guys...First of all, I'm new to the forum and excited to be here...Well after coming back to biking after about 7 years off...I'm looking at mountain bikes for primarily riding around the city and maybe the the occasional bike trail here and there...As I'm not very knowledgeable at all on mountain bikes, and my budget being no more than $150 right now...I was going to just settle on the Roadmaster Peak at Walmart for now and learn more about mountain biking and then if it's something I seriously want to get into to, get a more durable and better quality bike in a year or two...

Having said that tho, I just thought of looking thru my local Craigslist to see what I could find...Thru my research I've learned that Trek and Giant are two of the best manufactures of mountain bikes (If I'm wrong, plz correct me, lol) So I came across these used bikes from Trek:

http://losangeles.craigslist.org/sgv...821067313.html
http://losangeles.craigslist.org/lac...780202483.html

The first one I called about, and they told me that it was bought used, and owned for six months after, but told me that it was in really good condition and would be willing to go down to $110

If I do go with one of these, I figured I could take it to my local bike shop and get it tuned up and properly inspected....

So, I would like opinions on these two models of Trek's and advice on buying used from Craigslist overall....Would I be wasting money on buying use with the possibility of more problems than a brand new? How reliable is it to buy a bike from Craigslist..or, should I just stick the $90 Roadmaster at Walmart fro now and buy a better reliable new one in a couple years...Thanks in advance for any advice and opinions guys...
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Old 01-27-12, 04:29 PM   #2
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If you are patient, I would think that you will find a better used bike of CL than you will get out of WalMart. Also, if you need ANY form of adjustment on your bike, your Local Bicycle Shop ("LBS" from here on out) will either not work on the Wally bike, or will charge you through the noser.

Both of those bikes that you have posted are very basic, with the first one looking a bit newer than the second. I'd ride them both, if possible, and see if either feels better, or seems to have been maintained better.

You will get a bike for $100, but nothing great. Take care of it, and you will likely get most of that back when you are ready to step up to something else.

Cheers!
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Old 01-27-12, 04:33 PM   #3
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For any bike, fit is very important, of the 2 you have linked to, the 820 is a 22", and the 800 looks to be a 18", really they are not comparable due to the size difference. (the 800 is from around 1994-6 the 820 early 90's, perhaps very late 80's)

For you budget you aren't going to get anything which will hold up or realistically be any good off road, if you are talking about a nice man made flat trail, the 800/820 will be ok, if you mean really going off road, these won't cut it.

For the questions you have asked, are Trek and Giant the best manufactures? no, there are plenty of others just as good, and it depends on what sort of bike you want.

Both bikes look clean and lightly used from the photos, but that's all you can really tell from the photos, would also be looking at how much a tune up will cost, as this may be equal to the cost of the bike.

Would consider both the 800 & 820 even though 20+ years old to be a better buy (if in good mechanical condition) than a similar priced new bike from Walmart.

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Old 01-27-12, 07:04 PM   #4
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Both bikes are older as described above. If the price is fair to you, then you can get them and give them a try. BUT as has been mentioned, compared to what is available today, the experience will be way different. But back in the 90's those were real nice bikes.

Most bike frames for the lower, entry level bikes are mass produced in China by Giant. Giant and Trek are two of the classic, long time names in the Mountain Bike industry. They are by no means the best. For the type of used bike you are looking at, they are as good as anyone.

I buy stuff off of Craigs list, even a bike. the good thing is that if you buy it right, you can always resell it and recoup your money. My thought on Craig's List is that they can always come down a little more. Do some bargaining, who knows.

As far as actually buying a bike, be sure to check the frame and fork real well. Run your hand up and down the tubes to feel for touch up paint, cracks and dents. Cracks would be my biggest concern. Ride the bikes to see how they fit for comfort. The bikes you showed are totally different sizes. When you stand over the bike, you want a couple inches of clearance for ummmmm, well, the comfort zone. Try the brakes on a steep drive. DON"T grab the front brake and cartwheel over the handlebar. In mountain biking, being able to control the bike on downhill trails is very important.

That is just my .02 worth. I enjoy riding a ton. I hope you do as well.
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Old 01-27-12, 08:24 PM   #5
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If $150.00 is your budget go with a new bike from Walmart or Target, like you said if you really get back in it in a year or two you can buy a better bike. I was going to buy a bike from Target for the same price but I ended buying a bike from my lbs. The reason I had was that I live in a apartment so I don't really have a place where to work on my bike, but since I got it from my lbs they do my tune ups for me for free. Go for it and have fun.
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Old 01-27-12, 08:55 PM   #6
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Both of those frames are made of chromoly steel...Get one and build it up to whatever you want. At the end of the day, you'll have a bike that will last you for decades.
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Old 01-28-12, 12:44 PM   #7
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Both of those frames are made of chromoly steel...Get one and build it up to whatever you want. At the end of the day, you'll have a bike that will last you for decades.
I second that.

I got a '96 Gary Fisher Mamba from my bro for nothing and have spent maybe $150.00 over a 18 month span and have a really nice bike. It is cro-mo and plenty strong. Cool thing is, you can find parts that will work with these older bikes for cheap if you look around.

As the others said, make sure it feels good when you ride it. 18" and 22" is a pretty good size difference, so make sure you ride them both. And not just to the end of the driveway. Around the block or something. I ride about like you plan on riding, but have started getting in the dirt more, and my bike is handling it well. Thing is, it feels great after switching out a few parts, and I can ride pretty decent distances with no ill effects.

My one suggestion would be to start working on it yourself. You will save some bucks and if you are anything like me, you will get some great satisfaction out of it. This site as well as others are a great source of information.

Feel free to hit me up any time you have any questions, as I would be more than happy to help.

Keep us posted on what you decide.
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Old 01-28-12, 02:28 PM   #8
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(the 800 is from around 1994-6 the 820 early 90's, perhaps very late 80's)
Actually the 820 is post-1996 and the 800 is pre-1996, note the fonts.

I'll see if I can find exact years, back in a second.

The 800 is a 1995 model.

820 is tough to tell. That could be possibly be Inkwell Blue 1999 model or black 2000 model and vintage trek doesn't have color info for newer ones than that.

After a glimpse @ bikepedia, I'd say the 820 is a 1997 in black.

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Old 01-28-12, 07:28 PM   #9
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I used to flip used bikes for fun and bike spending money before I picked up my latest working gig. All I can say is, I'd stay away from ANY Wally World bike. When I used to search for used bikes, I passed up dozens of Roadmasters and Magna bikes. Of the few I picked up, most were stripped for a few parts or if they were usable, I'd donate them to charity. I did flip a few department store Schwinns but many of those were stripped and tossed as well. However, I NEVER passed up a good Trek 800 that was available at a reasonable price. The reason is, even though they may be older, those old mountain bikes with decent components were easier to tune and ran better than almost all late model department store bikes of any brand.
If possible, try to identify a good quality bike flipper in your area. Someone who knows how to relube the bottom bracket and hub bearings, check the chain and cassette for wear and replace if needed and tune the bike to run perfectly. Any used bike that you are buying for more than $60 should run perfectly. If it needs a tune, keep on looking.
Finally, used, old mountain bikes are usually not in too much demand. They're not sexy like an old road bike but the rugged frames and components usually hold up well for many years. Some brands to consider are: Trek, Specialized, Giant, Nishiki, GT, Fuji, and Bianchi. They all made MTBs in the 90's and all were solid bikes.
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Old 01-28-12, 07:35 PM   #10
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I'd go for this 2000 KHS Comp SoftTail over either of those Treks.

http://losangeles.craigslist.org/wst...822145207.html

Whoever mentioned size is on the money. You really need to figure out what size you are. That 800 is pretty small and that 820 is gigantic.

This KHS is pretty small.

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Old 01-28-12, 07:43 PM   #11
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I've got a Trek 800 from around 95, maybe 96, just like the one pictured. I am very happy with it, no real problems with it and it rides pretty good. I put some skinnier road tires on there and use it all the time.
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Old 01-29-12, 08:22 PM   #12
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Hey guys, sorry I haven't been around to respond, been busy and fighting a cold...First of all I wanna thank everybody for their reponses and advice...I can already tell I'm gonna enjoy being a member here...

Well, after doing more research and thinking and more research and thinking, lol...I think in the end I'm going to just going to get the Roadmaster Peak for now and just enjoy riding again and in a year or two, upgrade to a better mountain bike when I really learn more and want to get into trail riding...

I really really wanted the Diamondback Outlook, as it looks like it's getting pretty good user reviews, but at $249, that's over my budget right now (unless someone wants to lend me $300?, lol) So yeah, I think I'm just going to settle for the Roadmaster for now for mainly bking around town and hopefully everything works out and doesn't give me too much trouble...Thanks again guys and feel free to give any more advice...
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Old 01-29-12, 08:30 PM   #13
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That KHS is still up. I'd roll over and take a test drive. It's so much better than a Roadmaster it's not even funny.

http://losangeles.craigslist.org/wst...822145207.html
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Old 01-29-12, 08:45 PM   #14
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Hi,
Did not want to open the separate thread since the question is the same - vintage MTB from CL.

Is is a good deal 1984 Ross MT Whitney in perfect condition according to the series of pictures for $250.



I'm not looking for some special purpose bike - I have 4 on every occasion. I just liked it very much and wanted to have an extra toy.
Is is a good toy for the money?
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File Type: jpg MT01.jpg (102.1 KB, 9 views)
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Old 01-29-12, 11:31 PM   #15
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. . . At the end of the day, you'll have an old bike with some newer parts that will rattle your teeth out.
Fixed.
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Old 01-30-12, 01:33 AM   #16
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Fixed.
I'm NOT Fixed!

I'm still quite verile! ....Thank you very much!
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Old 01-30-12, 07:47 AM   #17
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If $150.00 is your budget go with a new bike from Walmart or Target, like you said if you really get back in it in a year or two you can buy a better bike.
fAIL, FAIL, FaIL.
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Old 01-30-12, 11:10 AM   #18
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fAIL, FAIL, FaIL.
Not everyone is involved in this sport 100%. What if he spent a good amount on a bike and a month later the bike is just sitting in he's garage.
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Old 01-30-12, 11:22 AM   #19
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Not everyone is involved in this sport 100%. What if he spent a good amount on a bike and a month later the bike is just sitting in he's garage.
No one's telling him to spend $3000 on a bike. All we're saying is that there's a better chance he'll even want to get into the sport if he starts on something semi-decent.
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Old 01-30-12, 11:30 AM   #20
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+1.

No need to spend the big bucks, just don't waste the little bucks on a Walmart bike.

Around here, if you're a rigid '90s Trek fan you can score a 9xx series for $100 or less with a little patience.
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Old 01-30-12, 11:41 AM   #21
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Guys the fact of the matter is...I know I'm going to love biking again, I always have... I just lost touch with it the past 6 years or so...I would love, love to get a more reliable bike, like that Diamondback I mentioned in my earlier post, or even a Trek for $300 something dollars at my local LBS...But I unfortunately don't have the funds...I know $200 and up is really not much, but when u don't have the budget, there's nothing u can do...As far as Craigslist goes, I feel more comfortable getting a new bike from Walmart for now, albiet not the best, but I'm sure it will do me just fine for now...
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Old 01-30-12, 06:05 PM   #22
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You can get a 6 month old Walmart bike on CL for $60.
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Old 01-30-12, 06:24 PM   #23
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I'm all for getting certain bike types from WALMART, if the budget is thin. However, I would never recommend any kind of mountain bike from WALMART!

Never buy a MTB bike from WALMART!

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Old 01-30-12, 06:36 PM   #24
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Let's keep things in perspective, folks. The OP stated: "I'm looking at mountain bikes for primarily riding around the city and maybe the the occasional bike trail here and there..."Even that Wally bike is up to this simple task. Maybe not with aplomb or for the long term but that's not what he needs right now.
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Old 01-30-12, 06:51 PM   #25
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Let's keep things in perspective, folks. The OP stated: "I'm looking at mountain bikes for primarily riding around the city and maybe the the occasional bike trail here and there..."Even that Wally bike is up to this simple task. Maybe not with aplomb or for the long term but that's not what he needs right now.
I hope that occasional bike trail is not in Whistler!
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