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What should my budget be for a used bike?

Old 04-24-16, 08:28 AM
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morgothaod
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What should my budget be for a used bike?

I'm considering buying a used bike from a bicycle shop and I need some advice. What is a realistic minimum that I could spend and still have quality parts? What are some brands that I should look for at that price point? Is rust on a bike, a deal breaker? Does lower gears mean less maintenance (Example 3 gears versus 21)? Do you think most bike shops will be honest with me or try to take advantage of my limited knowledge?

I looked at some new bikes at Wal-Mart but I would have more peace of mind with a bike shop mechanic going over the bike.
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Old 04-24-16, 09:16 AM
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I'd say that a good useable used bike could be bought in most markets for $150 or so, with the expectation that you'll need to spend another $50-100 getting new consumables and some tuning. So, I believe a good budget is under $250. Obviously, the more you pay, the lighter weight and more advanced the components are. But $250 is very serviceable as a starting point.
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Old 04-24-16, 09:22 AM
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When you decide to start a new activity, often times you're at a loss as to what exactly you want to do with the activity. Because there are many choices in cycling, I suggest you visit with as many Local Bike Shops (during off times) as possible even if only to pick their brains as to the choices of what you'd be interested in. If you have made this choice, understand that your LBS is in business, and they probably have a limited supply of used bicycles. Will you get a screaming great deal? No, but you could get a fair deal. If you decide on a lesser amount of gear changing possibilities, you will not necessarily limit your maintenance. As far as rust and quality of parts, I feel you should first get a feeling as to what is available in your price range, then you'll be able to make those decisions.
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Old 04-24-16, 09:31 AM
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The one shop near me that deals in any significant number of used "late model" bikes (i.e., not stuff 20+ years old), $300 is about the starting point for something that has been looked over and tuned up.

Minor surface rust is not a concern, especially if you are looking at bikes older than a few years that got any sort of use. I don't have a single bike that doesn't have multiple nicks and scratches with some of them rusting. For a late-model bike shop offering, that'll probably be minimal to non-existent though. Less gears can be less maintenance, if you don't need the extra gears, but don't expect to find many sitting on the used rack.
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Old 04-24-16, 09:37 AM
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I went by the bike shop two times with two different price maximums ($150 and $300). Both times, my choices were two used bikes. On the outside, they looked beat up and had some rust. They also weren't ready to ride and needed to have air in the tires as well as a check list of things the shop does. The guy at the shop said the bike would be ready for me in an hour but I didn't commit because I need to see a finished product.
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Old 04-24-16, 10:23 AM
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Seems like around here in the Atlanta area the really nice bikes start around $350.
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Old 04-24-16, 10:59 AM
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Sounds like you don't have a great idea of what makes a bike worth buying. I'd never pay $300 for something that is beat up and rusty. I'm surprised the bike shop is offering to sell you something that hasn't already been worked over to make it roadworthy so you could test ride it and see if it fits you. Doesn't seem like a good shop.

Is there a bike club in your area? If there is, contact them online (most bike clubs now have websites) and ask if someone will help you find a decent bike. An older, well maintained bike, is much better than a newer poorly maintained bike.

The advantage of a multi-speed bike over a three speed bike is your ability to find a gear that is comfortable for the terrain. If you intend to ride any distance and not just tool around the neighborhood a bike with a decent gear range and many gear choices is far better.

The actual brand name doesn't mean much these days as many older familiar brands have gone belly up and the name was bought by the few companies still producing bikes, mostly in China or Taiwan. If you see a brand name that you also see at Target and Walmart (Roadmaster, Force, Huffy, most Schwinns and Next) that's a good bike to stay away from. Most of them come in only one frame size which is a good indication of how poorly thought out that choice is. If you want the best bang for your buck, look for a standard diamond frame with no useless suspension and weighing 30 pounds or less. Good bikes aren't obese so that's one easy way of separating the gems from the trash.
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Old 04-24-16, 11:10 AM
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You have to kiss a lot of toads before you find your prince.

The used market is hard because you can never compare apples to apples. I think that you just have to look at a lot of bikes comparing condition and price. I'm also suspecting BIG differences among metro areas so advice you pick up here might not be too relevant to your case.
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Old 04-24-16, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
The one shop near me that deals in any significant number of used "late model" bikes (i.e., not stuff 20+ years old), $300 is about the starting point for something that has been looked over and tuned up.

Minor surface rust is not a concern, especially if you are looking at bikes older than a few years that got any sort of use. I don't have a single bike that doesn't have multiple nicks and scratches with some of them rusting. For a late-model bike shop offering, that'll probably be minimal to non-existent though. Less gears can be less maintenance, if you don't need the extra gears, but don't expect to find many sitting on the used rack.
Except there's no reason to disregard stuff that's 20-35 years old. Some great steel bikes were made in the 1980s that may have been unridden for the last 20 years, and are in every bit as nice condition as the typical 10-year-old used bike. Maybe they have friction shifting, but really, those bikes are some of the best values out there.

Originally Posted by VegasTriker View Post
Is there a bike club in your area? If there is, contact them online (most bike clubs now have websites) and ask if someone will help you find a decent bike. An older, well maintained bike, is much better than a newer poorly maintained bike.
This ^
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Old 04-24-16, 11:41 AM
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There is a bike club in my city. I could go to one of their rides and talk to the people. I wonder if I would need a high performance/expensive bike to keep up with them on group rides
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Old 04-24-16, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by morgothaod View Post
There is a bike club in my city. I could go to one of their rides and talk to the people. I wonder if I would need a high performance/expensive bike to keep up with them on group rides
It depends on your age, weight, and conditioning. How active are you? What other sports or physical activities do you do?

Last edited by MRT2; 04-24-16 at 11:49 AM.
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Old 04-24-16, 12:27 PM
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Under 30, a little bit overweight, I walk several miles a day. The club has 3 group rides: ◦20+ mph ("A") 35+ miles, 16 - 20 mph ("B") 20 - 35 miles, and
14 - 16 mph ("C") 15-20 miles
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Old 04-24-16, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by morgothaod View Post
Under 30, a little bit overweight, I walk several miles a day. The club has 3 group rides: ◦20+ mph ("A") 35+ miles, 16 - 20 mph ("B") 20 - 35 miles, and
14 - 16 mph ("C") 15-20 miles
So you want to try to hang with this group? Budget for a road bike.
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Old 04-24-16, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
So you want to try to hang with this group? Budget for a road bike.
I may want to join. How much money do you think I'll need to set aside for one of these bikes and how long do you think they'll hold up for? If the bike will last me a long time then I guess a big initial expense won't be so bad.
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Old 04-24-16, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by morgothaod View Post
I may want to join. How much money do you think I'll need to set aside for one of these bikes and how long do you think they'll hold up for? If the bike will last me a long time then I guess a big initial expense won't be so bad.
It really depends on the bike, the age and condition of the bike, what if any parts have been replaced, and how well you maintain the bike once you buy it.

As as for the price, that depends on the market. I can give you a real world example of a bike I passed on last year. So one of my favorite bike shops had this older road bike, an early 2000s Trek 2200. Aluminum frame, carbon fiber fork, and a whole bunch of parts that were clearly non original. If memory serves, it had new or newish shifters and derailleurs that were a level or two lower than what was original to the bike. Same with wheels and tires. Bike shop said it had new brake pads, chain, and cassette and was tuned and ready to go. Asking $350. This was originally a $1,600 bike 14 years ago, but some of the replacement components were lower end. I told the guy I had to think about it.

Call the the guy back a couple of days later and it turns out a guy walked in and bought the bike just a couple of hours after I left the shop. Snooze and you lose.
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Old 04-24-16, 02:47 PM
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"Budget for a used bike?"
Not enough info or details of the type of bike you want, or bikes available.

If you put your location in your profile, then the local Craigslist bikes could be discussed.
Can you take a picture of the used bike at the shop ?
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Old 04-24-16, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by D1andonlyDman View Post
Except there's no reason to disregard stuff that's 20-35 years old. Some great steel bikes were made in the 1980s that may have been unridden for the last 20 years, and are in every bit as nice condition as the typical 10-year-old used bike. Maybe they have friction shifting, but really, those bikes are some of the best values out there.
There's certainly not, as you'll see in my sig that is about all I own. That said, I generally realize most here do not want that sort of stuff, and to be honest most of the CL sellers and shops that deal exclusively in that around me I wouldn't direct anyone to who didn't know exactly what they were buying and somewhat mechanically inclined.
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Old 04-24-16, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by morgothaod View Post
Under 30, a little bit overweight, I walk several miles a day. The club has 3 group rides: ◦20+ mph ("A") 35+ miles, 16 - 20 mph ("B") 20 - 35 miles, and 14 - 16 mph ("C") 15-20 miles
I'm about the same age/fitness. I can keep a 14-15MPH pace over 20 miles on my old bikes, in a group, barring massive hills, I could probably keep 16. I don't push myself too hard when riding alone, and I don't do many group rides, so I can't say for sure what I could do. That is on me, not the equipment. There will be a learning curve starting out, a fancy carbon bike is not going to move you from C to A from the get go. What it may do is allow you to progress without buying a new bike in the future. Then again, it may also show you a lot of things you don't like about the bike, and require you to buy a new one to go faster anyhow, and be out that much more money than a basic road bike would have set you back.
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Old 04-24-16, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by morgothaod View Post
I'm considering buying a used bike from a bicycle shop and I need some advice. What is a realistic minimum that I could spend and still have quality parts? What are some brands that I should look for at that price point? Is rust on a bike, a deal breaker? Does lower gears mean less maintenance (Example 3 gears versus 21)? Do you think most bike shops will be honest with me or try to take advantage of my limited knowledge?

I looked at some new bikes at Wal-Mart but I would have more peace of mind with a bike shop mechanic going over the bike.
First, make sure you know what size bike that will fit you. Riding an ill fitting bike is not fun.

Dont limit yourself to buying used from bike shops. Check your local Craigslist, garage sales, etc. However you must know what you are buying. Gain knowledge and learn......the internet is your friend and this forum as well.

And do set a budget. Dont always assume a newer bike is better/faster or turn you into a super rider than an older bike-

Good luck
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Old 04-24-16, 08:11 PM
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What city do you live in or near? We could look at Craigslist for you and point out the good ones, they may or may not fit but at least by us showing you you'll get an idea what to look for.
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