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Giving a used bike a good once-over?

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Giving a used bike a good once-over?

Old 03-05-21, 10:55 AM
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Giving a used bike a good once-over?

i'm going to check out a used steel frame bike in a few days and wondering what issues i should look for.

the bike is a KILLER steel frame that is about 5 years old. i plan to use it for gravel riding, decking it out in Force 1x. as far as steel goes, i think it would qualify as a higher end bike.

that being said - no idea how its been treated for the last few years, so i was wondering what are some signs of abuse or things that just say 'don't buy this bike'. i know that rust is bad, but are there specific places i should look for it, or places that if i see it, it might not be a big deal at all.

thanks for the tips, everyone!
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Old 03-05-21, 11:23 AM
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Rust is only bad if it is pitting and eating into the metal in a significant way. A bloom of surface rust on bare metal or a bloom poking though a paint job wouldn't bother me. For the bloom on the paint, if it causes the paint to easily flake off, then more investigation is needed.

The big thing in getting a used bike is to get one that fits you and is appropriate for the type riding you do. Next on the list is to make certain everything is in perfect working order. If not, subtract the complete replacement of that part/component from the price, even if you or the seller thinks it's only a simple adjustment that is needed.

Then look to see what you can get a new similar bike for and compare the costs.
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Old 03-05-21, 02:35 PM
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You learn judgment through experience. Experience comes through bad judgment.

Not much help, I know, but the only reason I'd go solo to look at a used bike (instead of taking a cycling friend with lots more experience) is that I've ridden and maintained my own bikes for years.
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Old 03-05-21, 02:44 PM
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I'd be checking the headset for any hairline cracks; same thing where the seatpost enters the frame. Check for big chunks of metal missing from around the cranks/bottom bracket/chainstay, if the chain's been dropped and gouged the frame - big scratches wouldn't concern me, just check them that they're not something worse.

Otherwise, there's not much you can't replace. Check the headset bearings to see if they're obviously pitted/grinding/noisy, same with the bottom bracket, check the wheels are spinning true, look at the braking surfaces to see how worn, check the brake pads to see how worn... but if it's at a bargain price you don't have to be super fussy.
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Old 03-05-21, 04:26 PM
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Are you asking about just the frame, or the whole bike?
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Old 03-05-21, 05:11 PM
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Not familiar with the KILLER brand
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Old 03-05-21, 08:45 PM
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Check cable stops/guides for rust. Check that the seat post is not stuck. Feel for any distortion on the underside of the downtube near where it meets the headtube.
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Old 03-06-21, 07:25 AM
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Unless it was really abused or spent its entire life outside a 5 yr old steel bike should have no issues. Rust? I have a basement full of 50 yr old steel bikes....no rust to speak of.

Dents or wrinkled tube/paint from a crash would be my main concern. I always run my fingers on the top tube and downtube directly behind the headtube. Any bumps or ripples there and the frame is toast.
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Old 03-06-21, 11:09 AM
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Look for strands of seaweed. Bad sign.
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