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Most to least important factors when buying used

Old 04-21-24, 04:53 AM
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Most to least important factors when buying used

When buying a used bike, you're bound to have to compromise somewhere, so I'm just wondering, what is your personal hierarchy of points when buying used e.g. condition, correct size, colour, components etc... what are you willing to compromise and what is a deal breaker? For example, if you found a bike in mint condition, good price, desired components but it was perhaps a size too big, would the sizing matter more to you than everything else? Or you found one the right size and colour but was SRAM and you're loyal to Shimano XD
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Old 04-21-24, 05:40 AM
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Size is important. If the frame is a little small, you can adjust for it, if the frame is too big, you may not be able to lower the seat and/or stem enough to fit you.

Structural damage can be a deal breaker; cracks, corrosion between metal and carbon parts, large dents in aluminum, bad misalignments, etc.

Then there is the era the bike was made. Older bikes with narrow dropouts will be hard or impossible to upgrade to more modern components, though you may prefer your more vintage bike to have vintage components.

The “perishable” parts of the bike, the cables, tires, brake pads, bar tape, etc, are easy enough to replace, and if they are bad, that’s not a deal breaker.
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Old 04-21-24, 05:51 AM
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1. Need (to fill an unmet niche or have a backup)
2. Fit (bike's not much use if it won't fit, unless a parts donor)
3. Color / frame style (why this one and not another one?)
4. Componentry / features (this can go to #1 if buying a parts donor)
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Old 04-21-24, 06:23 AM
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Fit, first and foremost. If it hurts to ride you will not ride it. A lot can be done with seat post, bars, and stem, but a lot cannot. As @50PlusCycling mentioned, too big is too bad. No way to fix too big.

Condition, next. If the bike looks like it has been used hard, then you cannot expect that it has also been maintained well Appearance is not so big a deal---bikes can be repainted---but scratches and scrapes, cracks if visible .... dents and dings .... Also, some stuff, like the bottom bracket .... shake everything, spin everything, because if the BB is not right---maybe the BB can be replaced, but maybe the threads are toast .... headset bearings can be replaced, but also, one could buy a bike which had a good headset .... if the head tube is ovalized .....

I assume from the outset that something about the bike attracted you ... whether it is a type of bike you don't own, or a brand or model yo have always wanted, or the price seemed phenomenal for the specific bike .... no need to consider that. If you didn't want it based on name, age, and/or price why would yo even consider the rest.

As for componentry ... I like Shimano shifters but have used others. No big deal. Com-ponents can be replaced (in fact, I might be buying the bike for its components---switch them out with stuff from an older bike in the stable, sell the new-to-me frame with the old parts, put the parts on the old frame ....

So really, fit and condition.
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Old 04-21-24, 02:04 PM
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Most important to me is color and graphics. I like bikes that either stand out with striking color and conntrasts or subtle unusual colors. Chrome lugs and fork ends are a plus. Heraldry and comemorative decals, world champion stripes, checkerboard stripes are all good stuff.
Fit of course. Within a centimeter or two of desired tube and wheelbase. Short top tubes are my preference as well
Components I'm going to customize to my liking. Handlebar, pedals, saddle...the contact points. And generally Campagnolo or french combos, Stronglight, Simplex, Mafac.....sew-ups always desired.

Last edited by big chainring; 04-21-24 at 02:13 PM.
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Old 04-21-24, 03:16 PM
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1) fit IME you can't make a bike that is too big for you work as good as it should
2) does it make me smile and get me excited? (at this point I don't need another bike so can be picky)
3) is it 'interesting" I know interesting if i see it, but can't define it
4) high or higher end
5) components are not a big deal for me as I am mostly considering framesets
6) depending on all the above condition is the least consideration......

these execept for fit are super personal and subjective
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Old 04-21-24, 03:45 PM
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Looks/style/intrigue. Has to be interesting or something I don't have. Otherwise I have a bike I can already ride.
Fit, although I have found anything from a 54 to a 62 ctc(seat tube) I can fit. Found I just need taller and longer stems+longer seat posts on the small side.
Quality frame+componentry. I mostly do this so I don't end up with a million bikes.
Lives rent free in my brain for a couple days. Found this to be a good test on whether I really want a bike. If I wake up the next day or two still thinking about it.... then that's the sign.

I am okay with using my parts bins to get bikes running, or bad paintwork since I just treat that as a way to improve my painting.
Deal breaker would be cost so many deals are out there I am okay with waiting for something interesting to show up at an okay price.
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Old 04-21-24, 07:51 PM
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Unless you have an expert friend that can accompany you to see used bikes, my opinion is to AVOID all private sellers, and buy only from a reputable reseller with history, or new from a LBS.

Private sellers will lie thru their pinoccio nose to dump off a bike they don't want anymore that is plagued with a whole range of problems that requires repairs that exceed the fair market value of that bike. What kind of problems? Just browse BF.

Even if you can score a "used" bike for $50, there's still the time and legwork needed to figure out the bike and give it everything it needs. You've basically spent one entire season "fixing it".

If you can not find, nor trust any resellers, no problem. Your LBS is there for you.

A new bike can be costly, but you only have to do it once and you want your time spent cycling, not creating threads here in BF to fix a poor decision from a sucker's used deal.

Note: I do not advertise nor sell here in BF.
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Old 04-21-24, 08:11 PM
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Places to compromise:

Size too small - You can always adjust later
Price - If everything else is exactly what you want/need, nothing wrong with paying extra to get the bike
Consumables - Worry about the parts you'll be stuck with the longest, and compromise on the rest
Mechanical issues you know you can deal with - Perhaps someone tried an upgrade, gave up without finishing], and kept all the original parts to put it back
Rust - It's a rare bike that actually becomes too rusty to ride
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Old 04-23-24, 07:39 AM
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Over the last couple years I have become incredibly selective. If it doesn't check every box, I pass. There is always another one or something else.

I've bought my last problem. No need to do it again.
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Old 04-23-24, 07:47 AM
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Interesting to hear how different people's priorities are. What about brand name? Does anyone stick exclusively to a particular manufacturer or take into account if any warranty passes to second owner?
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Old 04-23-24, 12:52 PM
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personality, then good looks, then a rich daddy
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Old 04-23-24, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Steel Charlie
Over the last couple years I have become incredibly selective. If it doesn't check every box, I pass. There is always another one or something else.
This is where I am now. I don't Need any more bikes ... I need more miles on bikes, which I cannot buy. for a new (or another) bike to attract me, it would have to be really special in every way.

As for sticking to a brand ... why? If I am buying used, I am not supporting the factory ... and none of them do enough for me that I would care. Each bike is individual ... size, components, color, range of use .... what does the decal on the down tube do?

About fifty years ago I owned a Ford Capri I, a German-built 2-liter four-cylinder fun machine. Excellent little economy sports car.

About 25 years ago I bought an old Ford Taurus. I needed basic transport on a really tight budget. it had some tiny engine, so unremarkable I forget what it was, and an automatic transmission. It was blandness personified.

Upon which experience would I justify buying another Ford? neither, for neither car is relevant to the cars made today.

In the same way, the bikes produced by Raleigh and Cannondale 35 or so years ago are nothing like what they sell today. What would brand loyalty mean?

Growing up I rode a total tank Schwinn Suburban--46 pounds of mild steel--for almost a decade, delivering papers, running errands,., running wild, going to school and work and everywhere a bike could go. Why would I buy another Schwinn?

Of course, I am sure there are people (looking towards C&V (and looking away quickly)) who by old Lemonds or Peugeots or something ... Univegas or Bridgestones (I had an awesome old Bridgestone .... now they make tires.) But unless you collect a brand .... Honestly all the companies seem to make bikes with about the same quality ... it's not like all Treks break or all Specialized do .... in most cases, change the decals and most people couldn't tell them apart, and probably, there isn't more than a few percent difference in the frames across companies ... because they were mostly made by the same couple companies, under different contracts.
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Old 04-23-24, 09:10 PM
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Bike size obviously, but I like uniqueness in a bike. Fun to ride something that you donít see very often. Started that as a kid!
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Old 04-23-24, 09:36 PM
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Pretty much I would be shopping for a frame. Beyond an appropriate frame size and no structural issues, I look for a frame with horizontal or semi-horizontal dropouts that will work for SS or FG. Also, I look for the ability to install a crank with relatively narrow (no more than 150 mm) Q factor or tread factor.

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Old 04-24-24, 05:03 AM
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Folks that often ask what bike to buy, simply haven't biked enough at all, and should start with anything, really.

Even a BSO can be a helpful gateway to a better bike. Folks might find them heavy, sluggish, inaccurate shifting, wrong geometry, the rider has to have done enough cycling on that one BSO to be aware of all these issues.

At this point, they sorta know if they want something for road, commuting, comfort cruiser, upright, as they are all different bikes.

Now they are ready for a real bike from a LBS that will so their routine to find the right bike for the buyer.

I may as well ask BF members here what I should look for in a dating profile for a wife. I'd be outright trolling folks about who I should marry.

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Old 04-24-24, 11:41 AM
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#1 does it fit and feel right because if not the others don't matter

after that do I like the color, do the gears and brakes work, and what's the brand (to me that matters)
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Old 04-24-24, 11:42 AM
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oh and is the price right
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Old 04-24-24, 11:55 AM
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Very choosy. If it was once owned by Jon Voight, it is a must buy.
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Old 04-24-24, 12:27 PM
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Locally, there are a lot of used bikes for sale at great prices. Iíve only bought one, for my wife.

What stops me every time is that I donít have a need for the ďnewĒ bike. Definitely cool, great deal sure. But so many of them are a version of what I already have. Space is limited and regardless of the price, Iím not a hoarder.

So for me to buy a new bike right now would probably mean trying to sell one of the others or finding something so desirable (to me) that I just canít let it get away.

Beyond that, itís got to fit. Iím done messing around with trying to make it fit. Itís perfect or itís not for me.
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Old 04-24-24, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Mother_of_birds
Interesting to hear how different people's priorities are. What about brand name? Does anyone stick exclusively to a particular manufacturer or take into account if any warranty passes to second owner?
Good questions.

For brand, there are certainly brands I always look for as they are my favorites, for one reason or another, but I'm largely open to most any company. I'm selective but not inherently a brand loyalist. It also depends on what niche in my fleet is not filled. My preferred list for mtb, road, cross, touring, etc., are all a bit different. I'm sure many others here are the same.

Far as the expectation of a warranty passing from one owner to the next, I have zero experience in that field. I tend to shop old enough that warranties never cross my mind as even a possibility. Others here will have to chime in on how that could work.

Lastly, back to the original question, I'll echo what several others have said and that is for me, any bike at this point really needs to stand out. It needs to catch my eye or be a project I know I can produce an eye catching result with. It needs to make me want to send a photo to my brother because of how cool it is.
I'll make the caveat that I would give this advice to the those who have already been biking for a bit and have a decent idea of what they want in a bike. For someone who's just looking to get a beater to tool around town or to college, then my advice isn't especially useful. In that case, just about anything will work in a pinch.
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Old 04-24-24, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by rosefarts
What stops me every time is that I donít have a need for the ďnewĒ bike.
It will take one of the following for me to look for something different:

1) Continental stops making the Race King Protection tire in 26Ē size, or

2) My 26er frame rusts to a point of concern.

Otto
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Old 04-24-24, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by ofajen
It will take one of the following for me to look for something different:

1) Continental stops making the Race King Protection tire in 26Ē size, or

2) My 26er frame rusts to a point of concern.

Otto
My newest bike is 2 years old. My oldest, almost 40. I have a "need" for all of them. I don't have any deep seeded retro need keep old bikes forever but my 3 main bikes intentionally are exactly what I wanted them to be, they won't last forever but I'm off the market for quite a while. My 4th is more sentimental than practical. I can't see parting with any of them. I also don't see finding something on Craigslist or Marketplace that could fill the same spot (in my soul).
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Old 05-01-24, 11:41 AM
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Is it stolen?
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Old 05-03-24, 09:51 AM
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To me sizing is the most important factor. Having said that, we generally fit a range of sizes. In my case between 54-56 works just fine. I have bought a couple bikes from the Pro's Closet. I feeel a sense of security knowing they have a good warranty.
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