Originally Posted by purplekrayon
I am 5'0" and have found two 14" bikes on craigslist, a Cannondale M200 14" Mountain Bike and Centurion Road Bike for really good price. However, I don't know much about either brand. Would these meet my needs? What are good questions to ask the sellers? I plan on visiting lbs to see what they have.
I agree with the recommendations for the Cannondale. The Centurion is likely a mid-80's early 90's bike. It could work fine but the drivetrain components will be older and maybe harder to find replacements when they wear or at least give you fewer options than something newer.
Basic questions to ask are:
- Has the bike been wrecked.
- If so was the frame damaged or any parts bent, broken, replaced
- Are the wheels true
- Any bottom bracket or crank problems
- Any derailleur problems
- Any headset problems
- If a shock fork, are there any problems with the shock
- You'll want to know how worn the chain and cassette is
If you like the bike and want to buy it, I would try to arrange so that you can have a 3rd party bike shop look over the bike (probably at your expense) to look for any problems that might be hidden. It will cost you maybe $50 max but would be well worth the piece of mind. Derailleur and headset problems are not too bad. Chain and cassette are fixable also. I'd stay away from a shock or frame problem. Bottom brackets can be tricky, not too bad if it is just the BB but it could be an indication of other problems. Cranks aren't bad but they can be expensive.
You may find that you need to modify the setup of the bike to make it comfortable for you. Something like a new stem and handlbar. A new seat might be needed also. With all the changes, it might push the cost of the bike to near new. Good luck, I hope the bike works for you.