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Surly Cross Check--Used from Craigslist or New from REI?

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Surly Cross Check--Used from Craigslist or New from REI?

Old 04-18-13, 05:52 PM
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NYCBikeDude
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Surly Cross Check--Used from Craigslist or New from REI?

Longtime lurker, first time poster.

After a few years of exclusively riding vintage junkers I've decided that it's time to buy a real bike. I've spent the past month trying all sorts of things (various cruisers, fuji road bikes, bianchi road bikes, bianchi touring bikes, vintage racers, various single speed... This site has been very helpful sorting through it) the bike that stands out the most to me is the Surly Cross Check. It might be more bike than what I need but rather than overthink it I want to go with the bike that is actually the most fun to ride and that has by far been the Surly.

I've talked myself into it about 95% of the way into it (there's still a shred of doubt WRT the subject of bike theft in NYC so if anyone thinks I'm making a mistake or have missed out on something please speak up). But the other decision I'm facing is this... Does it make more sense to buy a used Surly with some upgraded components or a new one from REI?

The used one he's asking for $1250 (but offered to go down to $1200). Includes fenders, interrupter brakes, a rack, dual shimano SPD pedals and Continental Grand Prix 4 season tires. He says that he barely road 200 miles on it and from the looks of it I believe (just has some minor scratches in one spot on the frame... Also he took the Surly decal off). I don't ride clipless so I actually don't like the pedals that much but the tires seem nice, I like the interrupter brake and the rack... Fenders I'm indifferent to.

REI sells new Cross Checks for $1149 (without pedals). I know that once I get those and the components it's going to be more expensive than the used one, but I also get the REI return policy which seems like an almost laughably to good to be true policy... (especially since the only other bike I've rode that I almost liked as much as the cross check was the Novara Randonee).

So I guess the question is which way do you think I should go? And if your answer is REI is there a lower price point for the used bike at which you would change your answer?

Thanks!
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Old 04-18-13, 06:05 PM
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Nice bike! I love my Surly Crosscheck and Troll. Excellent steeds.

Hmmmm, tough! I'd say go with REI because you're guaranteed a working bike. You also have a receipt and a place to take it to for tuneups. Fenders and rack don't cost much ($100 less together).

The used price is too high. I don;t believe many CL sellers who say bikes are "basically new" "under 200 miles "just rode it three times tops". Ive investigated many iof these claims and found tons of evidence that suggests 1000+ miles of riding.

if you know what to look for, maybe.

But around here Crosschecks are selling used for $800-1000. I'd never pay 95% MSRP for a used bike.

You live in NY? How does sale tax affect your decision to buy new?
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Old 04-18-13, 06:12 PM
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Used bikes depreciate quickly just like cars. I think he is asking way too much for it. What year is it, 2013?

This is is SF but it is probably indicitive of the value of a 2012 Surly Crosscheck.

https://sfbay.craigslist.org/sfc/bik/3749846387.html

It's got nice tires, Racks fenders and brakes are fairly inexpensive upgrades. I would offer him something like $900 and be willing to settle a little higher. Who is this guy anyway? I hope he is not a friend cause he is trying to rip you off, especially if it is older than 2012.
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Old 04-18-13, 06:13 PM
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Remember that you get 10% ($115) off as an REI member and can layer on another 5% ($50) off by using an REI credit card.
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Old 04-18-13, 06:16 PM
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1200 is ridiculous for a used crosscheck
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Old 04-18-13, 06:17 PM
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I agree--at that price point, defintiely buy it new. Its got "upgrades" that you neither particularly want nor need, and he's asking more than new? Yeah, uh, right...

A return policy on a bike to me is redundant--I've done the research and made sure it fit by the time I laid out my cash. But free tune-ups would be nice...

I'd buy a used Surly, at around $700 - $800, then make it the way I want...
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Old 04-18-13, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by agent pombero View Post
How does sale tax affect your decision to buy new?
Hadn't even thought about sales tax. Whoops! But as a member yeah I would get 10% back. Didn't know about the REI card though, that's good to know. Are there any catches to the credit card?

Yeah $900 was about what I was gonna offer him. I think he's just thinking about what he paid for it and trying not to feel like he completely lost his dough (he road it a bit but then realized what he really wanted was a folding bike).

And no, this isn't someone that I know, it's a CL stranger...
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Old 04-18-13, 06:32 PM
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I would go new, just for that service and advice . You want to upgrade something in the future ask the REI guys . Need a tune up take it to the REI guys etc etc
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Old 04-18-13, 07:07 PM
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lowball first, if he rejects then rei.
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Old 04-18-13, 07:07 PM
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new. tune ups alone are worth the difference
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Old 04-18-13, 07:17 PM
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Check the year & components on the used one, too. In 2011 the CC came with "road"/race gearing -- 11-27 rear cassette and mid-length rear derailleur. For 2012 they switched to a mountain rear cassette, 11-32 or 11-34, I forget which, and a long-cage RD that could handle the slack with a triple up front (the 2011 required a new RD to properly use a triple crank). If you care much about the gearing specifics, check that out.
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Old 04-18-13, 08:05 PM
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On CL, someone once told me that a Surly Cross Check frame he was selling was a 2009. I asked him to look for the serial number and he did. I checked it. Turns out it was a 2003 or 2004. Holy hell, right? He said he didn't know that because he bought it second hand from someone else who told him it was a 2009. Who knows? Anyway, always check the serial number.
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Old 04-18-13, 08:20 PM
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Thanks a lot for all the advice everyone. Seems like a pretty clear consensus for REI (unless I can get him to lower the price to $800 but based on his demeanor today I don't think he's anywhere near that... yet). Buying CL bikes is a strange world... at least with a new bike it's a lot more straight forward. Still a bit worried about the security issues around having a bike that nice in NYC but ultimately I'd rather have a bike that I actually enjoy riding (and that will get me out riding more) than a cheapo that is a pain in the knee to ride over the bridges...
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Old 04-18-13, 09:01 PM
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I've bought two used bikes on CL and wont do so again. even if you test-ride, etc, it's hard to detect how worn components are and new cassettes are not cheap. plus, if you buy a bike at a LBS they will take care of you. it's worth more $, take it from someone who has bought multiple bikes used and multiple bikes new
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Old 04-18-13, 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by DrakeSuperbus View Post
1200 is ridiculous for a used crosscheck
Yeah! My Surly Long Haul Trucker cost less than that brand-spanking-new! And Long Haul Truckers tend to be (slightly) more expensive than Cross-Checks!
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Old 04-18-13, 09:25 PM
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I just got a cross check in February, and I commute on it every day. I love it. I say don't waste your time with the lowball offer, because he's not going to take it. Go to REI, and have them put on a rack and fenders while they're getting it ready.
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Old 04-18-13, 09:48 PM
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In this case, I will join the crowd in advising new, although it seems like you've made it to that decision already. Usually I'd opt for CL, but this price is too high. I don't care if the guy says he only rode it 200 mi. CL is full of ads that say "I thought I was going to enjoy biking, but...", and the going market rate is 50%. I like to say, don't be the guy that pays too much for a new bike, never uses it, and ends up ditching it on CL for half price. Don't be that guy, take advantage of that guy! But if you're not finding what you want at a really good price on CL, then REI is as good an option as any; you will get a reliable, enjoyable bike.

Another consideration I didn't see mentioned above, is the CL one the _perfect_ size for you? Because at REI you can buy whatever size you want.

And I wouldn't necessarily plan on upgrading components on the new bike immediately; ride it for a good long while and see whether any of the stock components actually give you a negative impression riding.

Myself, I bought a CrossCheck frame&fork off eBay, built it up from a donor bike, and am in the process of gradually buying replacement parts so that in the end my donor bike will be complete again, and I'll have a sweet CC. In the end, I don't know whether I'll come out cheaper than a stock new bike or not, nor am I sure whether I'll end up better-componented than stock or not. I'm actually going to be finished in the next week or two, and then I'll make a big long post with a complete parts/costs list, and let the collective BF brain help me decide whether I came out ahead or not.

Then again, there's the intangible entertainment value of being able to take things off of bikes and put other things on bikes -- but that's just me!
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Old 04-18-13, 10:28 PM
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Ordinarily I'd say go new with REI. OTOH, NYC is a haven for bicycle thieves!

I think I'd keep searching CL for a $300 - $400 used bike.
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Old 04-18-13, 10:59 PM
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I've bought a lot of bikes from Craigslist over the last few years. Personally, I would never pay more than 60% of the value of the bike when it was new. If you cast a wide-enough net, have several bikes in mind, and are willing to drive a ways, you can ALWAYS find a killer deal on Craigslist. Buying used makes a lot of sense to me--if you decide the bike isn't for you it's easy to recoup the cost by selling it for the same price you got it for (sometimes even more). Also, the money you save lets you reinvest in tailoring the bike to your specific needs (different tires, racks/fenders, new stem, whatever). The other benefit of buying used is that it takes out some of the sting if something were to happen to it.

I did a couple of searches of my area in Southern California. I see several Cross Checks between 700-800, several containing Brooks leather saddles. My brother and me just drove down to San Diego last weekend and were able to get a Soma Double Cross (very similar bike) with a Cardiff leather saddle for 450!
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Old 04-18-13, 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by NYCBikeDude View Post
Thanks a lot for all the advice everyone. Seems like a pretty clear consensus for REI (unless I can get him to lower the price to $800 but based on his demeanor today I don't think he's anywhere near that... yet). Buying CL bikes is a strange world... at least with a new bike it's a lot more straight forward. Still a bit worried about the security issues around having a bike that nice in NYC but ultimately I'd rather have a bike that I actually enjoy riding (and that will get me out riding more) than a cheapo that is a pain in the knee to ride over the bridges...
IF you frame it as a choice between that specific CL find and REI, I would go REI. IF you frame it as a choose between finding a used CC and buying new, I definitely say go used.
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Old 04-19-13, 05:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Cfiber View Post
Ordinarily I'd say go new with REI. OTOH, NYC is a haven for bicycle thieves!

I think I'd keep searching CL for a $300 - $400 used bike.
Ok, so definitely not going to buy the used Surly. But after reading the above and a few other posters perhaps I will not go running to REI so quickly. I'm growing impatient with CL (I want a bike!), but I can give it another little while I suppose.

Part of the problem is that I'm not familiar with so many bikes so looking on CL takes a long time because I have to look up a lot of things. But again I suppose that patience is the key.
In looking for a $300-400 bike what should I be on the lookout for on CL? I've been trying to look for lighter weight vintage Japanese racers but I don't know so many brands (I tried a Shogun which was nice but the frame was too big). Also many of them seem to have down tube shifters, which I find a bit inconvenient (one of my current bikes has stem shifters which I kind of like but I know that Sheldon Brown isn't a fan).

But beyond that, any guidance to offer on what I should be looking for on CL? Is Ebay worth it? Any other advice?

There is also an argument to be made that the time spent going around looking at bikes and scouring CL for a deal could be spent doing actual work and making money... (the hidden cost of used bike shopping)

Last edited by NYCBikeDude; 04-19-13 at 05:43 AM.
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Old 04-19-13, 07:02 AM
  #22  
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Are you of average height? I know for me, being small and female, finding used is really difficult for a good quality bike for cheap. I spent 3 years of constantly checking before one came up for sale,in my size, of the kindof bike and materials I was looking for at the right price. Purchased it, rode it for a year, and decided I didn't like it after all. So in the end, it really wasn't worth the time and effort I spent looking.
So my replacement bike was purchased new, from a local shop and I am much happier. I felt like I had choices in front of me and could mull over the best deal and what each ride felt like in comparison. It is hard to compare when your test rides were months in between prior!
Bikes around here go for quite a bit(Lincoln Nebraska), I would say you get 75% back on your purchase from new if it is a good quality bike. I am jealous of big cities and their low prices for used bikes! But probably not jealous of the theft issues....I can ride my Pugsley and Casseroll around town, lock them up and come back to my bike in an hour and have it still be there.

Just buy new OP, if you can. Breaking in a new ride is part of the fun.
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Old 04-19-13, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Nakedbabytoes View Post
Are you of average height? I know for me, being small and female, finding used is really difficult for a good quality bike for cheap. I spent 3 years of constantly checking before one came up for sale,in my size, of the kindof bike and materials I was looking for at the right price. Purchased it, rode it for a year, and decided I didn't like it after all. So in the end, it really wasn't worth the time and effort I spent looking.
So my replacement bike was purchased new, from a local shop and I am much happier. I felt like I had choices in front of me and could mull over the best deal and what each ride felt like in comparison. It is hard to compare when your test rides were months in between prior!
Bikes around here go for quite a bit(Lincoln Nebraska), I would say you get 75% back on your purchase from new if it is a good quality bike. I am jealous of big cities and their low prices for used bikes! But probably not jealous of the theft issues....I can ride my Pugsley and Casseroll around town, lock them up and come back to my bike in an hour and have it still be there.

Just buy new OP, if you can. Breaking in a new ride is part of the fun.
I'm 5'10" according to the online measurements my ideal frame size is 54 cm, most bikes that I've seen on CL have been slightly larger or slightly smaller. The 56 I rode the other day was definitely too tall for me, I think I have short legs (but long arms). CL listings here in the city seem to be a LOT of either cheap '70s and '80s steel frame bikes or expensive racing bikes, with not a lot in between (don't know if that is true in other locations too). There also seems to be an inflated sense of what a used bike might be worth but that's probably universal. I might keep looking for a little bit but I'm certainly starting to wonder if the CL search is worth it.

Thanks for your advice! Glad you got the bikes you wanted in the end.
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Old 04-19-13, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Ns1 View Post
lowball first, if he rejects then rei.
Yeah, lowballers.....everybody loves lowballers
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Old 04-19-13, 09:18 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by NYCBikeDude View Post
I'm growing impatient with CL (I want a bike!), but I can give it another little while I suppose.
So in the OP, when you say "I've spent the past month trying all sorts of things (various cruisers, fuji road bikes, bianchi road bikes, bianchi touring bikes, vintage racers, various single speed... This site has been very helpful sorting through it) the bike that stands out the most to me is the Surly Cross Check." do you mean test rides around the block, or owning any of these bikes, or borrowing for a few days?

What I would do if I were you (which may not be what you would do if you were you), is spend like $100-200 for some MTB off CL, almost anything with a name brand in your size; Trek, GT, Giant,... Put some slick tires on it (Nashbar slicks on sale for $10.99 right now), and that will give you a bike that you can ride in the meantime, so that you have more time to shop CL and look for the Right Deal. Then if you want you could sell the MTB for probably the same price you paid (as dvald001 notes above).

I once read this fantastic concept that CL is "cloud storage". If you want something, you take it out of the cloud. If you're not using it, you put it back into the cloud. So just "check out" a bike from the CL cloud storage for a few months, and check it back in when the right bike comes along.

Also, keep in mind how much cheaper and less-risky a bike purchase is than a car purchase. And the less risk is not just because the investment is smaller, but also because bikes are so much simpler, all the parts are on the outside, most likely a bike that runs smooth on a test ride is in good shape.
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