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Old 06-30-10, 11:05 PM   #1
mburger
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Is 3000 Miles alot on a bike?

I'm looking for a nice touring bike. Initially, I'll use it for commuting, but I'm already looking into doing some touring later in the summer. The ceiling on my budget is around $1,200. One of the bikes that I'm very interested in is a Surly LHT. I'm supposed to look at a pre-owned bike tomorrow. I'm told it's only 2 months old, but already has 3000 miles on it (the guy rode it cross country). He's looking for $900. The bike has front and rear racks added, but a torn seat. The seller says it's in nice shape with some minor scratching. Assuming I could get the guy to take $800, is that a good deal, or am I just better off spending around $1,150 for a new one? Is 3000 miles alot for one of these bikes--would I need a tune up, need new brakes, etc., at this point?

Thanks for your advice!
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Old 06-30-10, 11:34 PM   #2
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My main road bike has well over 100,000 miles, so I wouldn't be too concerned about the mileage. But there are some wear items that might be due for replacement soon. The brakes and pads should be fine, but check the tires and chain for wear and take enough of a test ride to be sure everything is working smoothly with no unexplained sounds or roughness. I'd try to talk the seller down some more on the price based on the scratches and mileage and also on items you give up by buying used: frequently the warranty doesn't transfer and you don't get some of the service deals that come with new bike purchases. And, of course, make sure that the bike is a proper fit for you.
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Old 06-30-10, 11:44 PM   #3
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I don't think that 3000 miles should be a significant amount of miles on a well constructed bike -- even with little maintenance if it's not very old. But, if the price difference was only between $1150 and $800, I'd buy the new one. For $350 extra you get a brand new seat, brand new tires, etc, etc, and you might get some warranty coverage, and that's worth something too. But then, the racks on the used bike would cost a good hunk of change to replace, so the difference might actually be somewhat more than $350. Particularly if you can talk him into putting some decent panniers into the deal, for example.

Clear as mud, innit?
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Old 06-30-10, 11:47 PM   #4
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"For $350 extra you get a brand new seat, brand new tires, etc, etc, and you might get some warranty coverage, and that's worth something too"

And you get the chance to bargain for swaps like a brooks seat, or whatever you feel you need.
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Old 06-30-10, 11:53 PM   #5
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No it's not a lot.

You'll have to replace chain, cassette, brake pad, seat, bar tape? and possibly the tires are up soon. $900 is high... $800 is ok... but that replacement stuff can add up to $200 easy...
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Old 07-01-10, 12:05 AM   #6
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Talk him down or support your local LBS! Either way its a good way to get a test ride and figure out what size you like.
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Old 07-01-10, 12:12 AM   #7
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The miles are not an issue. Many of us have put many hundreds of thousands of miles on similar frames. However, check the frame carefully for slight bulges in the top tube and check carefully around the bottom bracket and seat stay attachments. Sometimes, when a bike has "stopped abruptly" by running into something these places will show some evidence.
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Old 07-01-10, 12:19 AM   #8
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Torn seat and only 3K on the ODO? How are the wheels? Are the brakes worn? What's the condition of the head set and bottom bracket? Also check chain stretch and the condition of the cassette. Pay no more than $500. I'd also fork over $20 so that the bike can be inspected by a good mechanic. A bike should drop 15-20% once it goes out of the show room floor!

Seat...$40
Tires...$50
brakes...$20
chain...$15
labor...$50

Add at least $100 if you need new rim.
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Old 07-01-10, 02:54 AM   #9
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3000 miles is less than a year's worth of riding ... on my "usual" years.
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Old 07-01-10, 03:22 AM   #10
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I agree, but look at the teeth on the rear cassette. They should all be about the same size, 4 mm flat blades on top. If the current owner has spent a fair bit of time in one gear that tops of the teeth in that gear will be starting to go towards little points.

Have a ride of it with no hands, if it hasnt crashed you should be sitting bolt upright when riding no hands. If it has crashed you might be leaning to one side to keep it going straight. This would generally indicate bent forks.

z
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Old 07-01-10, 08:19 AM   #11
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Fit is First. Test ride the bike. After stand over, pay particular attention to how comfortable you are regarding the reach, saddle to bar. If not just right, but very close, it's probable tweaks can be made. You'd need to verify with a lbs. In any case, get the bike checked over before buying. $800 max.

As to the mileage, that is a non-issue pretty much, with the exception of wear on the gear teeth and tires, as long as all else works smoothly and the cosmetics are passable.

It's not uncommon to spend considerable $$$s customizing a stock touring bike to fit the particular needs of the owner. And it can take a lot of miles to figure out exactly what those needs are. Reach, gearing, bars, saddle are the usual components that get changed.
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Old 07-01-10, 08:31 AM   #12
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Different parts on a bike wear at different rates, and the thing most people call the "bike", the frame, without crashing experiences virtually zero wear no matter how much you ride it, at least steel and carbon frames. When they say, "it has been ridden 3000 miles", are they talking about the frame with other components, or the entire bike built up?
Wheels and frames dont really wear without either crashing or beating on it(frame including fork seatpost and handlebars) and riding on unsuitable surfaces (wheels). Everything else on the bike will wear out. Drivetrains wear pretty regular but most parts are easily inspected, and not that expensive to replace.
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Old 07-01-10, 08:50 AM   #13
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So I just looked at my Garmin Connect account for year to date mileage.... it's telling me well over 4000... I don't think either of my bikes that I ride the most would tell you they are worn out. It's the bike that site behind the garage in the rain for a month in the winter that you want to stay away from....... one that is ridden on a regular basis will tend to be in proper working order.

My 2 cents...
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Old 07-01-10, 09:00 AM   #14
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I think I'm in agreement with benajah. If the frame seems okay, and the wheels, and the racks, then there's your $800-$900 right there. Most likely things to need replacement are the tires and the drivetrain components, all of which are comparatively low dollar items compared to the frame, wheels, and racks. And keep in mind that when comparing new vs. used, with the new you still don't get pedals or racks, so if those were something you were going to add then you should definitely consider them as an additional value if they're serviceable.

The mileage isn't at all concerning as far as the major and most expensive components are concerned. It just gives you an idea of what lesser components might need to be replaced.
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Old 07-01-10, 09:02 AM   #15
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You would need to over haul the hubs and wheels.
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Old 07-01-10, 03:57 PM   #16
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Thanks for all your help. I concluded that the discount from new being offered didn't compensate for the issues and concerns you guys raised. I just returned from the Los Angeles Surly dealer. I bought a new beige LHT. It was assembled for a photoshoot this morning for the shop's catalog and it fit me perfectly!
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Old 07-01-10, 05:56 PM   #17
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Good Job... You are going to love the Trucker!
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Old 07-01-10, 08:01 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mburger View Post
Thanks for all your help. I concluded that the discount from new being offered didn't compensate for the issues and concerns you guys raised. I just returned from the Los Angeles Surly dealer. I bought a new beige LHT. It was assembled for a photoshoot this morning for the shop's catalog and it fit me perfectly!

Good to hear, my rule of thumb is that you shouldn't pay more than wholesale for a used bike if it's in near new condition given that a patient shopper should be able to find a new bike at wholesale plus 10% with some searching and patience.
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Old 07-02-10, 12:53 AM   #19
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Now you have a warranty also!
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Old 07-02-10, 11:28 PM   #20
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Depending on what they are, the front and rear racks would cost about $200 or more to buy. You might be in for a new seat but it seems to me that this is a reasonable price ($800).

Be sure it fits, though. Touring can sometimes mean some long days and you will want to be comfortable.
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