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Need Advice Regarding a New-to-Me Bike

Old 08-08-19, 11:39 AM
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Debba1C
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Need Advice Regarding a New-to-Me Bike

Hi everyone,

I'm new to the group. I just tried in another post to share photos of some used bikes I'm considering, but apparently I have to have 10 posts before I can share photos. Weird.

Anyway, I'm looking at 2 Norco bikes, that appear to be from the 80s and/or 90s and am also looking at a K2 Trailhead (not sure of year, but looks fairly modern). The K2 is on a police Auction site, the 2 Norcos are from Facebook Marketplace. One Norco is a Bush Pilot, 17" frame which would be perfect for me and I believe it's mid 90's. The other Norco I'm not sure about, I haven't been given any details other than what I can see in the photo (the bike is pink including the handlebars) and I suppose I'll have to take a look at it in person to get more info.

There were a couple of Treks on FB Marketplace over the last few days but they sold super fast and I lost out. :-(

I'm specifically looking for an entry level mountain bike or hybrid.

Can an older bike still be good for regular riding? I don't know much about bikes at all except for the different types (road, mountain, cruiser, etc.)

Does anyone have any advice for me in buying a used bike? Are any of the aforementioned bikes any good?

Does anyone know
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Old 08-08-19, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Debba1C View Post
Hi everyone,

I'm new to the group. I just tried in another post to share photos of some used bikes I'm considering, but apparently I have to have 10 posts before I can share photos. Weird.
Welcome to Bike Forums.
That rule has helped Bike Forums greatly reduce spam posts. We realize it's inconvenient. You can easily get to 10 posts, by introducing yourself in the "Introductions" forum, greeting others, and perhaps contributing to a few other threads of interest.
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Old 08-08-19, 11:47 AM
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That makes sense. So they don't all have to be new posts that I've created?
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Old 08-08-19, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Debba1C View Post
That makes sense. So they don't all have to be new posts that I've created?
No, they can be responses to existing threads.

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Old 08-08-19, 08:56 PM
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In re: buying used--how versed are you in bicycles in general? Will YOU be able to assess any repairs necessary? Do you do your own wrenching? If "No" to the above, having problems repaired professionally can be costly and maybe make a "deal" a not-so-good purchase.
Just my $.02 worth.
Jon

Last edited by Jon T; 08-08-19 at 09:04 PM.
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Old 08-08-19, 09:34 PM
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I'm not familiar with the bikes, however, in response to your question "Can an older bike still be good for regular riding?" the answer is yes, provided that it's in good mechanical order and fits you accordingly.

Making sure that it's the right size for you will be the important part.

cheers
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Old 08-09-19, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Jon T View Post
In re: buying used--how versed are you in bicycles in general? Will YOU be able to assess any repairs necessary? Do you do your own wrenching? If "No" to the above, having problems repaired professionally can be costly and maybe make a "deal" a not-so-good purchase.
Just my $.02 worth.
Jon
Well I'm definitely not an expert but I have been reading articles and watching videos and I feel like I have a pretty good idea of what to look for. My brother in law is super handy and if I bought a bike that needed minor repairs I know he'd be able to do them.

Unfortunately I can't afford a new bike, not even the least expensive one at a bike shop, so buying used is my only option.

I'm pretty open minded in what I'm looking for. A hard tail mountain bike in good condition, for around $100, and preferably not a department store bike. I don't really care how old it is if it still works and I'm not opposed to some repairs.

My issue is the bikes that I like sell as quickly as I notice them. It's frustrating.
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Old 08-09-19, 03:14 PM
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you might want to consider a WANTED ad in where you are looking to purchase bikes. or maybe in your local store bulletin board or other areas where people advertise things for sale.
MOST of the responses will be people looking to get more for their bike than it's worth. and quite a few will be people selling what should be scrap.
but you might get lucky and get someone thinking of selling that old bike that's in the corner of the garage that hasn't been used in years but it's actually a nice bike. or better yet they respond to you instead of advertising something that will sell before you get a chance to reply.
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Old 08-09-19, 03:39 PM
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I've nothing specif to offer except that my first bike, about 9 years ago, was from a consignment store in my town and cost me $65. Tires were in very good condition but I did buy a new chain. Not knowing any better, it was too big for me and I never was able to adjust the fit to be comfortable. I still rode it for many months and got substantial miles 'under my belt' with it.
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Old 08-09-19, 04:15 PM
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Since you have an idea on what you would like, check out Craig's List in your area, but be careful when you meetup. Bring your brother in law and meet at your local police dept. parking lot. Make sure the bike fits you without major adjustments. Trek, Specialized, Marin, Fuji, are some bikes to check out....
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Old 08-09-19, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by berner View Post
I've nothing specif to offer except that my first bike, about 9 years ago, was from a consignment store in my town and cost me $65. Tires were in very good condition but I did buy a new chain. Not knowing any better, it was too big for me and I never was able to adjust the fit to be comfortable. I still rode it for many months and got substantial miles 'under my belt' with it.
Luckily I have a rough idea what size I need. My current bike is a 17” and a touch too big. I know I could get a better fit with a shorter stem. So if I find a good used bike and have to buy a shorter stem I’m not concerned. I think a smaller frame might be too short. My torso length is average but I have short arms. Lol
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Old 08-09-19, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Debba1C View Post
Hi everyone,

I'm new to the group. I just tried in another post to share photos of some used bikes I'm considering, but apparently I have to have 10 posts before I can share photos. Weird.

Anyway, I'm looking at 2 Norco bikes, that appear to be from the 80s and/or 90s and am also looking at a K2 Trailhead (not sure of year, but looks fairly modern). The K2 is on a police Auction site, the 2 Norcos are from Facebook Marketplace. One Norco is a Bush Pilot, 17" frame which would be perfect for me and I believe it's mid 90's. The other Norco I'm not sure about, I haven't been given any details other than what I can see in the photo (the bike is pink including the handlebars) and I suppose I'll have to take a look at it in person to get more info.

There were a couple of Treks on FB Marketplace over the last few days but they sold super fast and I lost out. :-(

I'm specifically looking for an entry level mountain bike or hybrid.

Can an older bike still be good for regular riding? I don't know much about bikes at all except for the different types (road, mountain, cruiser, etc.)

Does anyone have any advice for me in buying a used bike? Are any of the aforementioned bikes any good?

Does anyone know
Well we don't know what your sort of terrain is and what sort of riding you intend to do. I have only very seldom bought new bikes but it is usual for you to at least get a bike you THINK will fit your riding style and terrain. Then riding that would educate you in the shortcomings or not of your choice.

I would make one suggestion - get a first bike in good condition so that you could resell it. This could mean having a bike shop inspect it before purchase.
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Old 08-09-19, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by RiceAWay View Post
Well we don't know what your sort of terrain is and what sort of riding you intend to do. I have only very seldom bought new bikes but it is usual for you to at least get a bike you THINK will fit your riding style and terrain. Then riding that would educate you in the shortcomings or not of your choice.

I would make one suggestion - get a first bike in good condition so that you could resell it. This could mean having a bike shop inspect it before purchase.
I fo currently have a bike. A cheapie mountain bike from a discount department store. It’s ancient but it works. I like mountain bike “style” bikes. I ride on a mostly paved trail and with my 4 year old son. I may at some point get a trailer or a tag along for longer rides. His little legs don’t go far :-)
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Old 08-09-19, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Debba1C View Post
I fo currently have a bike. A cheapie mountain bike from a discount department store. It’s ancient but it works. I like mountain bike “style” bikes. I ride on a mostly paved trail and with my 4 year old son. I may at some point get a trailer or a tag along for longer rides. His little legs don’t go far :-)
A hybrid might suit you better.
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Old 08-10-19, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by 2cam16 View Post
A hybrid might suit you better.
Aren't the older "mountain bikes" pretty much the same as today's hybrids?
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Old 08-10-19, 08:58 AM
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Have you looked on Craigs List? You can get some decent bikes on there if you're patient.
I don't recall seeing your budget.
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Old 08-10-19, 11:26 AM
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Frame sizes

I agree with the verdict of a hybrid. They're relatively common on craigslist, but your sizing will really limit the number of frames available, unless you don't care about women's specific frames and mixte. It's true that older rigid atb frames share the sloping top tube, but you might be better paying attention to the virtual top tube length on any frame you're considering. There are various fan sites for bike models no longer archived by the manufacturer that list the geometry.
Having a mechanical inclination is a good start, but having the correct tools makes the work of restoring a bike less time consuming. It is nice to have a crank puller for square taper cranks, a set of Allen wrenches, cone wrenches for hubs, etc, etc.. Refurbishing a bike can easily put you over your budget with shop labor. Buying tools will do that too sho se if you have a bike co-op near you where you can work on your bike and have someone knowledgable (maybe?) on hand.
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Old 08-10-19, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Unca_Sam View Post
I agree with the verdict of a hybrid. They're relatively common on craigslist, but your sizing will really limit the number of frames available, unless you don't care about women's specific frames and mixte. It's true that older rigid atb frames share the sloping top tube, but you might be better paying attention to the virtual top tube length on any frame you're considering. There are various fan sites for bike models no longer archived by the manufacturer that list the geometry.
Having a mechanical inclination is a good start, but having the correct tools makes the work of restoring a bike less time consuming. It is nice to have a crank puller for square taper cranks, a set of Allen wrenches, cone wrenches for hubs, etc, etc.. Refurbishing a bike can easily put you over your budget with shop labor. Buying tools will do that too sho se if you have a bike co-op near you where you can work on your bike and have someone knowledgable (maybe?) on hand.

I'm ok with women's specific frames, given that I'm a woman ;-)
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Old 08-10-19, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Debba1C View Post
Aren't the older "mountain bikes" pretty much the same as today's hybrids?
In some ways, yeah, they pretty much were. Back in the 90's I used to ride lower-end $350 "mountain bikes" like Specialized Hard Rocks and similar bikes from Trek and GT. They had rigid forks, and wider wheels/tires, but were more robust than a road bike, but weren't really hard-use off-road machines, either. I'd put road-friendly tires on them and use them as urban commuters, I eventually started moving into better and better bikes, got into racing, yadda,yadda, but in recent years, have kinda come full circle, and recently built a simple, rigid-fork, hybrid type bike, that's not much different than those basic, semi-mtn bikes I used to ride.
I'm perfectly content these days, doing short 60-90 min. exercise rides, (especially in winter, or when weather is approaching), fairly close to home, and this type bike works really well for that.
So, as has been pointed out above, one of these modern hybrids is probably best suited to your riding needs, too. If you don't need a super-light,long distance, racing machine, or a heavy-duty off-road thrasher, there's no point in paying all the extra money it'll take to avoid getting junk. I used to dislike hybrids, but a lot of the ones I'm seeing now seem well thought-out and practical for "normal person" riding.

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Old 08-10-19, 11:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Debba1C View Post
Aren't the older "mountain bikes" pretty much the same as today's hybrids?
If you’re talking about ‘90s era rigid MTBs, then, yeah, not much functional difference besides 26” wheels. They’re simple and rugged, which is nice for tooling around town and path riding. In fact, since you’re looking for small frames (15”-17”) you will find a 26” wheel bike to be more manageable than a 700c wheeled hybrid.
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Old 08-11-19, 06:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Ironfish653 View Post
If you’re talking about ‘90s era rigid MTBs, then, yeah, not much functional difference besides 26” wheels. They’re simple and rugged, which is nice for tooling around town and path riding. In fact, since you’re looking for small frames (15”-17”) you will find a 26” wheel bike to be more manageable than a 700c wheeled hybrid.
Yes, I’m looking at rigid mountain bikes. Doesn’t have to specifically be 90s era but those are what seem to come up mostly in my price range

EDIT: this one is for sale locally for $75. Nots rigid fork though
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Old 08-12-19, 04:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Debba1C View Post
Yes, I’m looking at rigid mountain bikes. Doesn’t have to specifically be 90s era but those are what seem to come up mostly in my price range

EDIT: this one is for sale locally for $75. Nots rigid fork though
(Picture of hardtail Giant)
That looks like it's in the size range you say should fit you, and is a good bike for your purpose. That's actually a horrible picture though - the picture is taken from the non-drive side, so detail of the drivetrain is hard to see, and the rear hub and dropouts are blocked.

If the drivetrain and fork function, there aren't any 'purely cosmetic' cracks in the frame, that looks like a good option.
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Old 08-12-19, 10:26 AM
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A new poster in August looking for a cheap mountain bike or hybrid. Is this for a college campus bike? If that's the case, I think you are going about it the right way. You want something semi-expendable so you won't feel so bad if it gets stolen.

1. As you are aware, bikes, just like shoes, come in sizes. Size is the most important single factor because it affects your comfort efficiency and performance every single minute that you are on the bike. You only shift every now and then so you can learn to tolerate a clunky shifting system. Size and fit is every minute you are on the bike.

2. Age doesn't really matter with bikes. There are lots of bikes that were purchased new with good intentions that have spent the vast majority of their lives unridden.

3. You can evaluate a used bike in a couple of minutes. Are the tires cracked? Tires can easily cost as much as a whole used bike. Try to find one that has good tires. If it has gears do they work? Take it for a test ride and see. Do the brakes work? Try them. Does the bike look like it's been loved?

4. The price negotiation. If it looks pretty much like a brand new bike, offer 1/2 the cost of that bike new but stay below $150.00. (Semi-expendable remember) If it looks used but still serviceable, start at around $50.00.

5. All bikes college campus bikes weigh the same. A 20 pound bike needs a 20 pound lock and chain. A 35 pound bike only needs a 5 pound lock. A really crummy bike still needs a cheap cable lock of some kind. The real thieves won't want it but, if you leave it unlocked somebody will grab it just to ride to their next class.
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Old 08-12-19, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
A new poster in August looking for a cheap mountain bike or hybrid. Is this for a college campus bike? If that's the case, I think you are going about it the right way. You want something semi-expendable so you won't feel so bad if it gets stolen.

1. As you are aware, bikes, just like shoes, come in sizes. Size is the most important single factor because it affects your comfort efficiency and performance every single minute that you are on the bike. You only shift every now and then so you can learn to tolerate a clunky shifting system. Size and fit is every minute you are on the bike.

2. Age doesn't really matter with bikes. There are lots of bikes that were purchased new with good intentions that have spent the vast majority of their lives unridden.

3. You can evaluate a used bike in a couple of minutes. Are the tires cracked? Tires can easily cost as much as a whole used bike. Try to find one that has good tires. If it has gears do they work? Take it for a test ride and see. Do the brakes work? Try them. Does the bike look like it's been loved?

4. The price negotiation. If it looks pretty much like a brand new bike, offer 1/2 the cost of that bike new but stay below $150.00. (Semi-expendable remember) If it looks used but still serviceable, start at around $50.00.

5. All bikes college campus bikes weigh the same. A 20 pound bike needs a 20 pound lock and chain. A 35 pound bike only needs a 5 pound lock. A really crummy bike still needs a cheap cable lock of some kind. The real thieves won't want it but, if you leave it unlocked somebody will grab it just to ride to their next class.
Haha. Definitely not a college kid! Just a mom trying to get back into cycling with my now 4 year old son. I have an old department store bike that's been sitting in the garage for years. I've just started riding again, as I've been trying to find ways to stay active, and specifically things I can do with my son.

The bike I have never did fit me well so I've been looking to get something that fits better. Any bike I get will need some adjustments I'm sure and that's fine. But I don't want to buy new things for this old clunker in my garage, when I could spend that money on a better quality bike. Whatever new-to-me bike I get I'm sure will still need to have some money put into it to get the right fit, but I'd rather spend $100 on the bike and then whatever on extras, than spend a few hundred on a bike, and STILL need to spend some on extras. I also don't want to spend a fortune on myself, because I know my son will need a new come spring (he's on a 14" right now) and there's only so much money to go around. Know what I mean?

And re the comment about it being semi-expendable - that definitely IS a consideration. I don't want to spend hundreds (or thousands!) on a bike only to have it stolen. I don't know what the bike theft rate is like in my city but I do know that 99% or more of the bikes I see people on are box store bikes. I wouldn't want to be the owner of one that stands out so much that it becomes a thief target.
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Old 08-12-19, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Viich View Post
That looks like it's in the size range you say should fit you, and is a good bike for your purpose. That's actually a horrible picture though - the picture is taken from the non-drive side, so detail of the drivetrain is hard to see, and the rear hub and dropouts are blocked.

If the drivetrain and fork function, there aren't any 'purely cosmetic' cracks in the frame, that looks like a good option.

I know it's a horrible picture, and I've asked the poster about the frame size and am waiting to hear back. I'm finding that most people don't know much about the bikes they're selling so anything I'm interested in I'll have to take a look at.
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