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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 07-30-14, 05:29 AM   #1
heymatthew
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Buying Used: Red Flags and Things to Look For?

Hey y'all... I'm currently in the process of getting back onto a SS/FG (more SS Freewheel than FG as the roads here aren't the best and there's no bike culture here so people aren't exactly great at giving right of way to cyclists and what not). I don't have an LBS, but there are a couple about an hour from me that I visited to see what I'd be looking at getting into. One shop is definitely out as they don't really have anything in SS/FG other than some leftover Trek T1's (I have a whole thread about that fiasco elsewhere). The other shop really only carries State Bicycle Co. I'm not opposed to State. In fact, I looked at the Contender and liked it, but it's right at the very top of my budget, which leaves me no room for anything I might need/want to change.

So, I've turned to Craigslist and have found, what I think, is a decent SS to get me started. I haven't ridden SS/FG since I lived in Charleston a few years ago. I built my own about 2 years ago or a little less and it was fun, but I'd like something ready to go and I'm thinking I'll do a build later, or build off of whatever I buy.

All that being said, I'm going to do the grocery store parking lot once-over tomorrow at lunch and wanted to know, from your point of view, if there were any immediate red flags I should be looking for. I realize that with a SS/FG, there is very little that can be wrong with them (which is why I want one), but you guys are way smarter than me with this stuff so I'd love to hear your thoughts and insight.

For what it's worth, the bike is a Masi Uno with Riser Bars. The chain, pedals, grips, brakes and tires have been upgraded and the wheels are from a Bianchi Pista Sei Giorni (I really dig the wheels as they're white, but not super-deep V's. The guy is asking $425, which leaves me a lot of room in my budget to sort of make it my own. I know I'm going to be swapping the saddle immediately as the one on there looks like it came from an early 90's Walmart special. And I may want to grab some different bars as the ones on it are risers, but they've been cut down "slightly" (his word, not mine). I don't know how narrow they are, but I prefer a more standard grip on a bike.

I'd be glad to hear what you all have to say... Good, bad or indifferent. I'm not super interested in BD bikes, but if this Masi doesn't work out, I may be doing the Kilo Stripper dance. For now, though, let's just assume I'm going with the CL find.

Thanks,
Matthew
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Old 07-30-14, 06:37 AM   #2
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With a relatively new FGSS my main concern would be the wheelset. Spin the wheels and make sure they look true. Squeeze the spokes to make sure they have good, uniform tension and that there are no broken spokes. Check the hubs for play by holding the frame while trying to move the rim side to side. If you can feel any movement while doing this the hub needs adjustment and/or replacement if it is in terrible shape. Engage the brake levers and look to make sure the brake pads haven't been rubbing the tire. Otherwise, take a test ride a listen for any creaking, knocking, or rattling.
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Old 07-30-14, 07:09 AM   #3
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With a relatively new FGSS my main concern would be the wheelset. Spin the wheels and make sure they look true. Squeeze the spokes to make sure they have good, uniform tension and that there are no broken spokes. Check the hubs for play by holding the frame while trying to move the rim side to side. If you can feel any movement while doing this the hub needs adjustment and/or replacement if it is in terrible shape. Engage the brake levers and look to make sure the brake pads haven't been rubbing the tire. Otherwise, take a test ride a listen for any creaking, knocking, or rattling.
Thanks for the response! I'll check all of those things. I'm hoping, at least as far as the wheels are concerned, that they'll be fine considering they're Bianchi wheels with sealed hubs. If those are wobbly or lose, something seriously bad has happened. I'll check for the sounds though and make sure everything looks true. I got some of those Vuelta wheels from Bike Island one time and had to have one of them trued. It wasn't horrible, but it was out enough that it made a difference.
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Old 07-30-14, 09:57 AM   #4
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dookie on the seat. dont want no dookie on the seat.

and all that stuff they already said.
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Old 07-30-14, 10:32 AM   #5
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dookie on the seat. dont want no dookie on the seat.

and all that stuff they already said.
Yeah... I prefer my seats (bike or otherwise) sans-dookie.
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Old 07-30-14, 10:49 AM   #6
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Craigslist has a disproportionate number of frames with a bent fork. Any crack or bend the frame are definitely deal killers but almost everything else can be replaced. A minor scratch is not something to necessarily worry about, however.

Also, #KiloTT
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Old 07-30-14, 11:01 AM   #7
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Craigslist has a disproportionate number of frames with a bent fork. Any crack or bend the frame are definitely deal killers but almost everything else can be replaced. A minor scratch is not something to necessarily worry about, however.

Also, #KiloTT
Yeah... I've looked at hundreds of Kilo threads, it seems. I'm not opposed to a Kilo, but I think this Masi I'm going to look at has some decent components that I would have to add on to a Kilo later. Assuming everything is good with the Masi, I would think they were fairly comparable bikes. I'll make sure to check the fork, frame to make sure it's straight and true. From the Craigslist photos, I'm not really seeing any major flaws in it, but for all I know, he took the photos and then threw it under a train.

I've sort of made a mental checklist to work through when checking it out. I appreciate all of the help you guys offer up. It's really nice to have people give a hand.
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Old 07-30-14, 11:18 AM   #8
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Ride it with no hands on flat ground.
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Old 07-30-14, 11:54 AM   #9
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Ride it with no hands on flat ground.
That would tell me a lot more about my abilities than the abilities of the bike. LOL!
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Old 07-30-14, 12:19 PM   #10
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It will tell you if the fork out frame is bent that isn't visible, if it won't track straight and tries to flop to one side or the other there is probably damage.
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Old 07-30-14, 12:21 PM   #11
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It will tell you if the fork out frame is bent that isn't visible, if it won't track straight and tries to flop to one side or the other there is probably damage.
Wow... The things you learn on the internet. Is there anything about bikes you guys DON'T know?
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Old 07-31-14, 01:53 AM   #12
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Ride it with no hands on flat ground.
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It will tell you if the fork out frame is bent that isn't visible, if it won't track straight and tries to flop to one side or the other there is probably damage.
That's a really good test. Any bike that darts out from under you waves red flags. Of course, it might just be you panicking but it's more likely to be the bike.

Frame damage at any level is a no-no. Yes, you see lots of people saying 'Dings in the frame. Only minor, nothing to worry about'. They lie. If you ever get to see how thin frame tubing is (think soft drink can thickness), you'll understand why you don't need dings in your tubing.

Apart from that, anything can be fixed or replaced, all you have to do is factor it in.
eg, if the wheels are knackered, you need to know what a set of wheels will cost you, which is why checking such prices before you look at bikes is a good idea (is it BikeIsland that people on here keep recommending?).
Wheels can be trued and a broken spoke or two replaced easily and relatively cheaply but if you can't do it yourself, ask at your lbs first (just as a query, a good shop will give a rough answer).
Cranks shouldn't need replacing but the bottom bracket might ... but they're cheap.
You'll need pedals so what are the ones that come with the bike like?
Handlebars can be changed and retaped ... at a cost that varies from not all that bad to bloody frightening, it's up to you.
Some things don't have to be done immediately - a duff wheel needs replacing but if you can live with the colour while you save for new ones, that's a cost delayed. Same with bars, it'd be silly to pass on a really good bike with bars you don't like but could live with for a few months.

Before looking at the bike, you need to know what it costs to do the bits and pieces so you can look at the second hand bike and work out what it's going to cost you to get it right - THAT's the real cost of that bike and only then can you decide if it's decent value ... FOR YOU. We can't answer that for you.
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Old 07-31-14, 06:51 AM   #13
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That's a really good test. Any bike that darts out from under you waves red flags. Of course, it might just be you panicking but it's more likely to be the bike.

Frame damage at any level is a no-no. Yes, you see lots of people saying 'Dings in the frame. Only minor, nothing to worry about'. They lie. If you ever get to see how thin frame tubing is (think soft drink can thickness), you'll understand why you don't need dings in your tubing.

Apart from that, anything can be fixed or replaced, all you have to do is factor it in.
eg, if the wheels are knackered, you need to know what a set of wheels will cost you, which is why checking such prices before you look at bikes is a good idea (is it BikeIsland that people on here keep recommending?).
Wheels can be trued and a broken spoke or two replaced easily and relatively cheaply but if you can't do it yourself, ask at your lbs first (just as a query, a good shop will give a rough answer).
Cranks shouldn't need replacing but the bottom bracket might ... but they're cheap.
You'll need pedals so what are the ones that come with the bike like?
Handlebars can be changed and retaped ... at a cost that varies from not all that bad to bloody frightening, it's up to you.
Some things don't have to be done immediately - a duff wheel needs replacing but if you can live with the colour while you save for new ones, that's a cost delayed. Same with bars, it'd be silly to pass on a really good bike with bars you don't like but could live with for a few months.

Before looking at the bike, you need to know what it costs to do the bits and pieces so you can look at the second hand bike and work out what it's going to cost you to get it right - THAT's the real cost of that bike and only then can you decide if it's decent value ... FOR YOU. We can't answer that for you.
Thank you. I'll definitely give the frame a really good once-over. I know that small scratches and stuff are probably not an issue, but I definitely don't want any dings in the frame. Structural integrity issues aside, I'd just always be wondering about the dent.

Judging by the specs on the bike, I'm happy with how it's currently set up so I wouldn't need to do anything right away. I may want bullhorns as that is what I had on my bike before, but I know how much I can expect to spend on those. I also will probably change out the saddle right away, but I have a Selle that I already own that I'll stick on there (I love those Selle saddles). Otherwise, I think it's fairly good to go. The wheels are actually a bonus for me as they're from a Bianchi and have sealed hubs, which are essentially maintenance-free (or at least that's what I've picked up from my light reading on the forums here).

You guys have given me some great stuff to look for. Now, I just gotta get up the courage to tell the guy "No" if I feel the bike isn't for me.
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