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Advice desired on purchase of used bike

Old 12-01-20, 08:07 PM
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Parrotthead
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Advice desired on purchase of used bike

From my introduction thread:
I'm a 61 YO male that has recently retired. In the past year I have gone from 230 lbs to 190 and would like to get down to 180-185. I'm 6'1" with about a 34 inch inseam. I have no butt.
I scuba dive and so need to keep in shape for that as well. I don't care to jog as it is heck on my knees and I really don't want to start going down the joint replacement path. Swimming is my preferred exercise but with the pandemic situation I don't care to join up at the Y.
Wive and I travel by trailer some and had some cheap bicycles we used for that but transporting them pretty much ruined them.
My main reason for joining the group is to get hints on bike maintenance and also recommendations on best brands to shop for in a mid range used bike.
I'm looking for a mountain bike that I can still take camping and to run some of the paths near me. From what I have been able to figure out I should be looking for a 19" bike with 26" wheels. I don't need a lot of extreme gearing.
So I plan on lurking here and trying to determine what brand and design of bike would best suit my needs.
Ok, I have a lead on a SRAM IronMan bicycle. I will check it out tomorrow or the next day. They are listing it at $125 and would take less. Person selling it does not know the size. It is "a few" years old.
What is the reputation of this brand and/or model?
Any pearls of wisdom to toss before me?
The model is TriAthalon Pro....

Thanks,
Parrotthead...

Tryin' to reason with the hurricane season...

Last edited by Parrotthead; 12-01-20 at 08:17 PM. Reason: Add model designation...
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Old 12-01-20, 09:10 PM
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Welcome to BF!

Pass on this one.

While you are getting yourself back into bicycle buying mode my advice is to think about what you really want to do with the bike. You and I are the same age so no ageism here but I doubt you really want a mountain bike but rather a gravel or hybrid bike. If you are looking for something mid range quality wise used is going to be about $500 unless you get very lucky or know what you are doing.
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Old 12-01-20, 09:33 PM
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Ok....thanks... I will do some research on gravel bikes....thank you!
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Old 12-01-20, 11:08 PM
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Keep in mind that a mountain bike has a more upright seating position. A gravel bike has a drop handlebar and the attendant aggressive riding position.
If you want to lay down some serious mileage the latter is better. But it does take some commitment and getting used to. A drop bar bike is going to be uncomfortable at first.
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Old 12-02-20, 12:54 AM
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Originally Posted by icemilkcoffee View Post
....A gravel bike has a drop handlebar and the attendant aggressive riding position....
Then what are these? https://www.cyclingabout.com/best-fl...el-bikes-2021/

The term "gravel bike" is just a new way to market bikes and convince people they need one. It can be a flat bar, drop bar, relaxed or aggressive.

OP a 19" for 6'1" sounds too small. You should be closer to the 20-22" range, depending on the bike. First decide if you want flat or drop bars and go from there. I would suggest a rigid bike (no suspension) for your use, as well as ease of maintenance.
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Old 12-02-20, 01:52 AM
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Originally Posted by katsup View Post
Then what are these? https://www.cyclingabout.com/best-fl...el-bikes-2021/

The term "gravel bike" is just a new way to market bikes and convince people they need one. It can be a flat bar, drop bar, relaxed or aggressive.

OP a 19" for 6'1" sounds too small. You should be closer to the 20-22" range, depending on the bike. First decide if you want flat or drop bars and go from there. I would suggest a rigid bike (no suspension) for your use, as well as ease of maintenance.
what are you talking about , gravel bikes fill a specific role in traveling more aggressive multi terrain rides , a gravel bike will allow you to run a wide range of set ups and configurations not only in tires and wheels but bags and storage , gravel bikes can be full carbon race redy to junk yard conversion , they are not in anyway a gimmick never have been , they fill a whole left between road cyclcross and MTBs allowing people to traverse all major types of terrain in the same ride but maybe not ass good as each type individually !

i
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Old 12-02-20, 01:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Toespeas View Post
what are you talking about , gravel bikes fill a specific role in traveling more aggressive multi terrain rides , a gravel bike will allow you to run a wide range of set ups and configurations not only in tires and wheels but bags and storage , gravel bikes can be full carbon race redy to junk yard conversion , they are not in anyway a gimmick never have been , they fill a whole left between road cyclcross and MTBs allowing people to traverse all major types of terrain in the same ride but maybe not ass good as each type individually !

i
Where did I use the word "gimmick"? It is a marketing term, just like when they use to be called adventure or all road bikes.

I agree, they fill a cycling segment.
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Old 12-02-20, 01:58 AM
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if you are getting your first bike and plan on doing multiple terrain an older cyclcross bike or gravel bike will be the best , if you plan on bombing trails with jumps and rocks you might need a MTB , your frame size should be around 56cm to 61 cm tall and mostly the same for reach , if you do need a mtb bike you should look for a hard tail with 29er wheels so you can take advatage of tubeless wheels and have the widest range of options for wheel and tire combos , 26 is old for little kids but its old and not as many choices that will give you a fun ride , at your age the bigger the tires the smoother the ride will be , unless you are some retired mtb racer or bmx kid from the early 80s lolol , good luck
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Old 12-02-20, 05:55 AM
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I say it is only $125. If it checks out mechanically, brakes and shifts correctly, doesn't need tires or somethin then get the bike and start riding.

If you don't like it just re-sell it.

If riding becomes a thing, then consider adding different type of bike.

I have a gravel and a mountain bike. I also have some trails near me. The gravel bike is great at churning out miles, riding for hours. I use that for rail trails and multi day tours. The mountain bike kicks my ass riding up and down hills in the woods. Really a different kind of work out. The MTB wears me out quicker and seems to give more out of the saddle exertion due to the terrain I ride it in. It will put a butt back on your more quickly than churning out miles in the saddle.
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Old 12-02-20, 07:00 AM
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Thanks, lots of good advice here and I appreciate the frank recognition of my age. I'm not sure a more horizontal riding position would be best, I suspect a vertical position will do me better.
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Old 12-02-20, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Parrotthead View Post
Ok....thanks... I will do some research on gravel bikes....thank you!
Don't ignore a cyclocross bike. See if that will suit your needs.
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Old 12-02-20, 07:38 AM
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Wheel size is not an issue. The guy is not looking to race, he just wants to ride. If he is willing to buy used, and experienced enough to be able to know fi the bike he is looking at is worth buying, then all he needs to look for is a bike in good shape which fits him.

The most important thing the OP needs to do is define the uses he has in mind for the bike. Suspension is not needed for trails unless the trails have a lot of major obstacles (root beds, rock gardens, fair-sized step-ups and drops.) If the OP wants to go mountain-biking, a cheap MTB is probably not the way to go, unless he is really good at maintenance and can discern when a bike has been abused.

If the OP really needs suspension to do the kind of riding he likes, he probably should plan to either shop very, very carefully, because clapped-out forks are pretty much to be expected, and any cheap MTB came with even cheaper forks. If he is going to buy a used suspended MTB, he needs a budget of at least $500, I'd say .... Absolute minimum ..... and new, $1000 for something a little heavy but durable.

However ... if the OP wants to ride packed-earth trails, gravel, double-track (jeep trails,) rails-to-trials, and maybe some beginner-level single track, a rigid frame is By Far the best option. A decent entry-level fork runs a few hundred dollars .... which dollars go into everything else on a bike with out suspension. And since cheap forks are one of the first components to fail ...

Then it is just the choice between flat-bar and drop-bar ... and I'd have to say, unless the guy is planning road rides of more then 25 miles, a flat-bar might be more comfortable, since he is coming form a flat-bar background.

Naturally he should try to arrange test rides at bike shops to see how he feels with different bikes, if there are any available where he lives.

So ... first decide what the job is, then choose the tool which will best do the job. The simpler the tool, the longer it will less with less maintenance, which means the more often when the OP wants to ride, the bike will be ready.
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Old 12-02-20, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Parrotthead View Post

................................
Ok, I have a lead on a SRAM IronMan bicycle. I will check it out tomorrow or the next day. They are listing it at $125 and would take less. Person selling it does not know the size. It is "a few" years old.
What is the reputation of this brand and/or model?
Any pearls of wisdom to toss before me?
The model is TriAthalon Pro....

Thanks,
Parrotthead...

Tryin' to reason with the hurricane season...
Just as a quick review. The OP states he wants something to ride the paths.

Does he mean that he wants to shred him some gnarly technical single track or ride a rail trail? My guess is a rail trail but we don't know.

Does he want a mountain bike with a small single chainring or a "mountain bike" with a wide range triple? My guess is a triple, which if true, a gravel bike might be a better option.

The OP is looking at a Huffy Triathlon pro, the cost when new was less than the now asking price used.
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Old 12-02-20, 07:47 AM
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OP..from what you've said, you'll want to pass on any bike related to triathlons.

We're a similar age. You'll find cycling to be a good way to keep in shape and not stress your bones.

I agree with the sizing suggestion above..you're looking for a 21-22 inch frame in a MTN bike (or hybrid), or around a (56..maybe)57-58cm road bike frame(in a gravel type bike). Modern sizing likes to use S,M, L sizing (bogus in my view)..you'd be in the L range, though riding it is the only way to know for sure. If you're not sure on modern sizing..go to a bike shop and get measured..try some bikes.

For the money (and fun), I'd suggest a rigid(no front suspension) mountain bike with street tires (Schwalbe Big Bens..or Maxxis DTH two suggestions). You'll be able to ride fast on the road and handle rail-trail/gravel roads with no issues. Target higher-end rigid MTN bikes (Specialized Rockhopper or Stumpjumper, Trek 950/970/990). They can be had for $200-$300 now-days.

Older hybrid bikes (Trek Multitrack) are also an option with 38mm tires (Panaracer GravelKing slicks)..great do-everything bikes. Prices will be similar to above.

If you want to go newer..then a gravel type bike will be good. The issue with road type bikes is the limitation on tires you can run. You'll probably want to target bikes that can run 38mm(width) tires or above. Hybrids, MTN, and gravel specific designs will let you do that.

With respect to drop bars or flat bars..both can be comfortable(many people ride drop bars on the top of the bars only..drop bars offer more hand positions when you ride more miles). For a more upright riding position, you'll want to keep the bars of either type nearly level with the saddle height.

Where are you located?

Some good reading:
Vintage MTB To Upright Bar / Urban Bike Conversions

Show Your Vintage MTB Drop Bar Conversions
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Old 12-02-20, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Thomas15 View Post
The OP states he wants something to ride the paths. Does he mean that he wants to shred him some gnarly technical single track or ride a rail trail? My guess is a rail trail but we don't know.
That's an important difference. The rail-trails by me are smooth, fast and straight. But mountain bike trails? I didn't even know there were any around here until I looked on the 'ol Google this morning (obviously I ride the former rather than the latter...). But judging by the pictures, I don't think my road bike would be appropriate for them. The OP may be somewhere in-between, we don't know.
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Old 12-02-20, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Thomas15 View Post
The OP is looking at a Huffy Triathlon pro, the cost when new was less than the now asking price used.
Ho man, I didn't catch that.

I know people are really jacking up the covid prices but don't pay more than new.
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Old 12-02-20, 12:12 PM
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Again, thanks for the pearl of wisdom being tossed before me, I sincerely appreciate it.



I’ll try to answer some of the questions being asked.



The type of riding I will do will be at a public park. They have some landscaped terraces, hills and some paths in the wood that are paved with chip wood. I’m not looking for an aggressive style of riding but I would like to do some steep trails. Lower gearing will be needed. I am needing a cardio workout where my heart rate gets up a bit.



Thanks for the heads up about the TriAthlon Pro being a budget bike. I cannot make out in the photo the logo but have asked that they tell me.



I am now expanding my search a bit.



I’m now looking a flat handled bikes with a 20” frame and no suspension, just solid forks.

I am finding a fair amount of Trek, Raleigh and Cannondale brand bicycles.



The keeping in shape and not stressing bones is the primary goal.



So ... first decide what the job is, then choose the tool which will best do the job. The simpler the tool, the longer it will less with less maintenance, which means the more often when the OP wants to ride, the bike will be ready.



Good focus statement.
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Old 12-02-20, 01:18 PM
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The bike that I usually use on my local rail trail (MUP) is a 2004 Trek 4500. Some would call it a mountain bike I call it a hybrid. It has a suspension fork, not a total cheap one but not high end either. I keep the preload as high as it will go. If I find a rigid fork to replace it I will. I also use street tires on it and the bike has V brakes. The bike is a bit heavy but totally reliable. This year, ridding on my local MUP, I did 5 metric centuries (62 miles each) and one 75 mile ride with this bike, plus many shorter rides. I plan to do a century ride with it (100 miles) time being the big problem as I still work full time.

Contrary to what others say my experience is the flat bars as I have them configured make my hands numb faster and easier than on my drop bar road bikes. I do think that the two different bikes, the hybrid with an upright riding position and the road with a more aero position complement each other as I can tell if I haven't ridden the hybrid in a while my quads are sore.

I'm not recommending a Trek 4500 because I'm just not good at recommending things but it is hard to go wrong with Trek or Cannondale as a brand. I have not had one singe mechanical issue in the field with this bike but I do look after things. When I first started riding it (i bought it new in 2004 but basically never rode it), I thought I would be a better rider with a better bike. I have changed my opinion on this matter to the point that if I were to decide I do in fact need a better Hybrid MTB, the replacement will cost thousands of dollars. My primary road bike is a Cannondale which is also a reliable bike.

I'm just finishing up on my second year of riding bikes after a long vacation from them. The first 12 months I probably rode a combined 6 or 700 miles. The last 12 months I have 5800 total miles. I had read somewhere that the reason mountain bikes are so popular is because road bikes are so uncomfortable. So I started riding on the Trek but was convinced by a friend to do a charity bike ride of 65 miles so I started training on my old road bike. At first it was very uncomfortable but now it is a joy to ride. At our age using muscles that have been dormant for decades we have to expect some break-in time. Same age as the OP it seemed like it took forever for my legs to wake up. It was probably at the 1000 mile point when things started to feel normal.
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Old 12-02-20, 01:30 PM
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The "city" bike that I currently use is nothing more than a fendered, rigid mountain bike frame. It is super similar (except in tire size) to a Timberline I had years ago.

I would suggest looking for a couple of year old rigid mountain bike to "hybridize". Get something with at least decent entry level shifters. Avoid grip shift. You will be able to find anything from smooth to slightly lugged tires for use on road and light trail, and up to full on MTB tires for many of them.
An actual hybrid bike of the modern type is generally a flat bar road bike more than it is a mountain bike. It varies by manufacturer. More often the "hybrid" will have 700c wheels instead of some of the other sizes previously discussed.

By and large if you find a decent Trek, Specialized, Giant (along those lines) with sidepull/rim brakes you should find quite a few options available. The new hot is having disk brake, so a lot of people have devalued the other. Pricing and availability of all kinds of bikes is very strange. I honestly suggest taking a look at reputable local shops and peruse their used section. Found my wife a wonderful bike at ours in great condition with proper sizing at a good price for what we found. Given my previous experiences "shopping around Craigslist" we used any savings we realized in the gas tank looking for something that actually fit or was as advertised.

Good luck.
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Old 12-02-20, 02:44 PM
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Acquire a bike, any bike, for yourself. Cheap is okay. Don't worry about brands excessively. The bicycle manufacturer really only manufactures the frame and they buy all of the components. The manufacturers buy from the same component companies.

Use your bike to ride around and to do whatever you want with it. Every time that you ride it make a mental list of what you like about it and what you wish was different. You may wish you had wider tires for riding on gravel. you may wish you were more aerodynamic so you could go faster. You may wish you had a better way to carry stuff.

Use that list when you buy your next bike.
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Old 12-02-20, 03:20 PM
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Parrotthead, where are you located so we can assist in looking?

And your budget.
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Old 12-02-20, 03:22 PM
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I'm all for the idea of buying something cheap (that's in working condition) and using that to determine what you actually want out of a bike. Prices are strong at the moment so you can almost certainly buy a used bike, ride it a month and sell it on again for pretty much what you paid.

It certainly sounds like you want a flat bar mountain bike, definitely without rear suspension (heavy, expensive) and ideally without front suspension (also heavy and expensive, but very common now). As long as the tires hold air, it changes gears and the brakes work, then you should be fine.
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Old 12-02-20, 10:56 PM
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Check out this thread:
https://www.bikeforums.net/general-cy...d-posture.html

When you buy a new bike, you can order whatever size you want. When considering a used bike - size is the most important consideration. If you're going to actually ride the bike, nothing else matters if it doesn't fit
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Old 12-02-20, 11:16 PM
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Sounds like you are looking for a more casual ride. Nothing wrong with looking at hybrids. At $125, you may be missing out on some of the better used bikes.
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Old 12-03-20, 01:03 AM
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Used bikes can be the best and worst experience. The real key is to find one that fits you, is of good quality, and isn’t worn out. The best used bike is one that hasn’t been used; literally. Condition is everything.

You really should research any potential bike with reviews, original MSRP, etc. Bikepedia can provide some info on original specs.

I can’t tell you what to buy. You said cardio. If you have hills and off-road trails that’ll can your heart rate up pretty quick. If what you ride is pretty flat, you’ll probably need more miles pushing a big gear.

You might want to talk to a local shop for some guidance. Keep in mind, used bikes are getting a premium price and spending $500 used instead of $800 new may not be worth it.

John
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