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Old 07-07-09, 07:07 PM
Thrifty Bill
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Mountains of Western NC
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Bikes: 86 Katakura Silk, 87 Prologue X2, 88 Cimarron LE, 1975 Sekai 4000 Professional, 73 Paramount, plus more

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Nemesis of a steel bike is rust, internal rust in particular. Pull the seat post, and with a flashlight, look down inside the seat tube. This will cover two big problems: stuck seat post and internal rust (so its a two-fer test, and one of my favorite).

Note, I really prefer steel frame bikes, every bike I have is steel except for one carbon and one aluminum. But internal rust can sneak up on you. I have seen bikes that looked perfect externally with some serious rust, and bikes that looked pretty rough externally that were spotless internally. Sometimes the stem gets stuck, so if you want to check that too, it doesn't hurt, and doesn't take more than a minute.

Of course, the normal external stuff, particularly focused on the frame (no dents, dings, etc), and true wheels, good shifting, etc.

Light rust can usually be remediated and should result in a healthy discount on the price.
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