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Seeking advice on a USED bike

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Seeking advice on a USED bike

Old 10-25-04, 01:04 PM
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peripatetic
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Seeking advice on a USED bike

Hi all,

I'm just looking to riding a bike here in Brooklyn, NYC. I would really like to get a road bike, because mountain bikes are just way too clumsy. I found a used 1990s Trek 1400 in excellent condition, being sold by the original owner. It's got the new style, handlebar shifters and Shimano RX100 components. I test rode the thing; I'm 5'9", it's a 56cm bike, which my hardcore, fixed-gear-riding friend arrived at as my size. I test-drove the bike yesterday, and it was a beautiful ride, seemless shifting, quick and easy up the hills. My question is, this bike will probably cost me about 300 bucks, plus 100/150 more for a helmet and locks, and I'm wondering if this sounds reasonable. Another friend of mine thinks that 300 bucks is way too much to spend on a used bike, but he really has no interest in road bikes. This bike seemed way nicer than any new 300-dollar mountain bike or city bike that I might buy.

The bike is in pristine condition with shiny, clean components and convertible/clipless pedals (I'm not comfortable enough on a road bike to wear clipless shoes right now, but the small pedals seemed fine.)
Also, a brand new Bontrager saddle and tires that he said were about a year old, light wear.

But still, is this too much to spend on a first bike in years? (I used to own a Specialized Rockhopper comp back in the early 90s, but that got stolen. 300 bucks back then.) Should I just go with the 200-dollar or less 'vintage' road bikes that seem to be the easiest to get? The advantages to those are that you worry a bit less about having them stolen.

I read some other posting that said not to have an aluminum frame for city riding; but the aluminum is really nice in terms of carrying it up and down stairs (I live in an apt. 4 storeys up.) Does it really matter that much?

Finally, a bike like this, is it possible to add on practical things like a basket or fenders? Would it be stupid to switch over to straight handlebars for city riding? Is this price too much to pay for a good city riding bike?

Any advice is sincerely appreciated, thanks in advance!
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Old 10-25-04, 07:58 PM
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first and foremost, how much riding do you want to do? If you're talking about 10 miles or less commuting, I'd really recommend a no-suspension older mtb. One that rides well, but is visibly beat to heck -- reducing theft chances.

As for the bike you asked about, you're probably not getting any replies cuz it's really difficult to comment. But here's some things to focus on...

-- frame and fork. Is it in good shape? No dents or repairs?
-- wheels. Will the seller answer honestly about how many spokes have been replaced? Spokes are like dog years each spoke is 25 yrs on the bike. Okay, I just totally made it up, but a general rule is three spokes blown and the wheel is nearing the end of it's useful life.
-- components. It's difficult to know how much stress they've been under. You can measure the chain from pin-to-pin over a 12 inch distance. If the pin around 12" is actually at 12 1/8", then you should have some concern. If it's 12 1/4", then there's a chance that the teeth on the cassette and cranks are getting stretched. More than 12.25" and you might have to replace the entire drivetrain.

I'm thinking $300 is too much.

I also think 56cm is too big. Standover height is the first criteria on a traditional frame. It's obviously too big or too small, but that's just the first thing to check. IMO, top-tube length or how much you stretch from saddle to handlebars is more important. Did you feel too stretched out on the 56? I'm 5'10" and a 56cm is too big for me, but maybe we have different body dimensions. I mean, my neck is like a foot long!

Good luck, have fun!
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Old 10-25-04, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by LordOpie
first and foremost, how much riding do you want to do? If you're talking about 10 miles or less commuting, I'd really recommend a no-suspension older mtb. One that rides well, but is visibly beat to heck -- reducing theft chances.

As for the bike you asked about, you're probably not getting any replies cuz it's really difficult to comment. But here's some things to focus on...

-- frame and fork. Is it in good shape? No dents or repairs?
-- wheels. Will the seller answer honestly about how many spokes have been replaced? Spokes are like dog years each spoke is 25 yrs on the bike. Okay, I just totally made it up, but a general rule is three spokes blown and the wheel is nearing the end of it's useful life.
-- components. It's difficult to know how much stress they've been under. You can measure the chain from pin-to-pin over a 12 inch distance. If the pin around 12" is actually at 12 1/8", then you should have some concern. If it's 12 1/4", then there's a chance that the teeth on the cassette and cranks are getting stretched. More than 12.25" and you might have to replace the entire drivetrain.

I'm thinking $300 is too much.

I also think 56cm is too big. Standover height is the first criteria on a traditional frame. It's obviously too big or too small, but that's just the first thing to check. IMO, top-tube length or how much you stretch from saddle to handlebars is more important. Did you feel too stretched out on the 56? I'm 5'10" and a 56cm is too big for me, but maybe we have different body dimensions. I mean, my neck is like a foot long!

Good luck, have fun!
There is too much baloney in this response to try and comment on...just ignore it.
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Old 10-25-04, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by sydney
There is too much baloney in this response to try and comment on...just ignore it.
so don't comment on what I wrote, give the guy some info you think he can use to make an informed decision.
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Old 10-25-04, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by peripatetic
Hi all,

I'm just looking to riding a bike here in Brooklyn, NYC. I would really like to get a road bike, because mountain bikes are just way too clumsy. I found a used 1990s Trek 1400 in excellent condition, being sold by the original owner. It's got the new style, handlebar shifters and Shimano RX100 components. I test rode the thing; I'm 5'9", it's a 56cm bike, which my hardcore, fixed-gear-riding friend arrived at as my size. I test-drove the bike yesterday, and it was a beautiful ride, seemless shifting, quick and easy up the hills. My question is, this bike will probably cost me about 300 bucks, plus 100/150 more for a helmet and locks, and I'm wondering if this sounds reasonable. Another friend of mine thinks that 300 bucks is way too much to spend on a used bike, but he really has no interest in road bikes. This bike seemed way nicer than any new 300-dollar mountain bike or city bike that I might buy.

The bike is in pristine condition with shiny, clean components and convertible/clipless pedals (I'm not comfortable enough on a road bike to wear clipless shoes right now, but the small pedals seemed fine.)
Also, a brand new Bontrager saddle and tires that he said were about a year old, light wear.

But still, is this too much to spend on a first bike in years? (I used to own a Specialized Rockhopper comp back in the early 90s, but that got stolen. 300 bucks back then.) Should I just go with the 200-dollar or less 'vintage' road bikes that seem to be the easiest to get? The advantages to those are that you worry a bit less about having them stolen.

I read some other posting that said not to have an aluminum frame for city riding; but the aluminum is really nice in terms of carrying it up and down stairs (I live in an apt. 4 storeys up.) Does it really matter that much?

Finally, a bike like this, is it possible to add on practical things like a basket or fenders? Would it be stupid to switch over to straight handlebars for city riding? Is this price too much to pay for a good city riding bike?

Any advice is sincerely appreciated, thanks in advance!
$300 is probably not unresonable if in pristine condition and it needs nothing.It's older 8 speed stuff which is ok. $200 'vintage' road bikes are more likely to be junk. Aluminum is ok,but steel will probably take more hard knocks if that is what it is likely to be subjected to. If you want fenders, basket and flat bars,look at something else. You might be better off with a ridid MTB with narrower slick tires on it.
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Old 10-25-04, 09:50 PM
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I am also looking for advice on a used bike. I don't want to hijack this thread, but don't want to start a new thread either.

Guerciotti 56 cm Columbus SL Dura Ace/Campy Record AWESOME! - $500
56 cm square c-c Awesome paint job/pantograph frameset/ Very low miles(original receipt)
Dura ace brakes/levers/crankset/BB/front der./rear der./aero seat post/chain
Campy record hubs/GP4 rims/silk italian made vittoria CX 19mm tires/silka impero pump
Tires alone were $120./ITM super Italia bars/Modolo stem/selle Italia flite saddle
Campy record shift levers/7 speed sachs alloy freewheel/cinelli wrap. Clean exc. condition
The bike is amazing. It is fast and comfortable and it will last a long time.
Good deal? A little smaller than I would like (I'm 5'11" and like 58cm), but it should be fine. Are these components going to be terribly expensive to fix? Looking around, it seems like this type of frame goes for $350. Not sure about the components.

Here is my opinion to the original poster. If you want the road bike, get it. I really wouldn't worry so much about aluminum and all that. It will be more fun than a $200 vintage bike (that sucks money when it breaks). In terms of the bike being stolen, hopefully you can judge this yourself. Be realistic, though.
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Old 10-26-04, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by tie
I am also looking for advice on a used bike. I don't want to hijack this thread, but don't want to start a new thread either.



Good deal? A little smaller than I would like (I'm 5'11" and like 58cm), but it should be fine. Are these components going to be terribly expensive to fix? Looking around, it seems like this type of frame goes for $350. Not sure about the components.

Here is my opinion to the original poster. If you want the road bike, get it. I really wouldn't worry so much about aluminum and all that. It will be more fun than a $200 vintage bike (that sucks money when it breaks). In terms of the bike being stolen, hopefully you can judge this yourself. Be realistic, though.
If it's got tubular tires/wheels,you might want to reconsider. Bikes like that are worth what the seller can get.It's neat,but nothing that special. I've bought much better older frames for $200 and under. You'll have to troll ebay for alot of replacement parts if you want to keep things identical,but most everything can be replace with something else that will work as well.It's a sound classy ride and if it spins your beanie,and fit's, it's worth it.
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Old 10-31-04, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by sydney
$300 is probably not unresonable if in pristine condition and it needs nothing.It's older 8 speed stuff which is ok. $200 'vintage' road bikes are more likely to be junk. Aluminum is ok,but steel will probably take more hard knocks if that is what it is likely to be subjected to. If you want fenders, basket and flat bars,look at something else. You might be better off with a ridid MTB with narrower slick tires on it.
Hi,

Thanks for the advice. The poster before made me think I was totally off the mark, but it seems like a really nice deal. I like the lightness of the road bike, along with the maneuverability factor--my last bike was a mountain bike, and it was so cumbersome. I'm not an accomplished cyclist at all, but I think I'll pick up actual riding skills quicker, better and more easily if I ride a 'rider's bike.' Am I wrong about this? Also, as a skinny guy (only 120lbs.), more maneuverable really helps me. I also wear really lightweight running shoes.


I just want to know if I can put fenders on to prevent mud getting all over me when I ride in the city. Do they make them for road bikes?

So it turns out that the bike is in such good shape because it was stored in the guy's parents's garage for four years. Very little mileage. It's got new-style shifters (by the brake levers)--do you know what year, at the earliest, that would put it? It's a Trek 1400. I asked the guy about the wheels, he said he just checked them last week and they're very true. He hasn't replaced any spokes. The saddle is a brand new Bontrager, and the pedals are brand new. He bought it new, and he's a little shorter than me, so I'm going to assume the frame is fitting the way it's supposed to; on my test ride, it felt great, but as I say, I have no experience with road bikes. My feeling is that the bike is basically little-used and would be quite a bit more if it were just a new model.


Other option is an 80s Trek frame with Campagnola comps that needs work: leaky tire and I don't know about the chain/derailleur. I'll assume that it'll soon need work. This one is only 150--less than half the price of the other bike. But I would think that all the work it will need could add up. Is a frame like this worth it? I like fixing things, but since I have no experience with bikes, and since winter is coming, I really don't cherish the idea of putting in a lot of work before I can ride the thing. I guess it's basically the allure of the quality-vintage ride. And since it's older, it's less flashy. Am I being tantalized by a false enticement?


By the way, can someone explain the difference between a city bike, a commuter bike, a road bike and a touring bike? I know that components are part of it, but is it also frame geometry?

Thanks again.
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Old 10-31-04, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by tie

Here is my opinion to the original poster. If you want the road bike, get it. I really wouldn't worry so much about aluminum and all that. It will be more fun than a $200 vintage bike (that sucks money when it breaks).
You think an STI/index shifting bike won't suck money when the shifters and other parts go TU? The vintage friction stuff may well last forever and parts can be generally replaced cheaply due to fewer compatibility issues.
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Old 10-31-04, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by peripatetic
Hi,




I just want to know if I can put fenders on to prevent mud getting all over me when I ride in the city. Do they make them for road bikes?

So it turns out that the bike is in such good shape because it was stored in the guy's parents's garage for four years. Very little mileage. It's got new-style shifters (by the brake levers)--do you know what year, at the earliest, that would put it? It's a Trek 1400.

Bikes vary in their ability to accept fenders. Generally, modern stuff with short reach calipers like the 1400 likely has is not receptive. STI integrated shifting was introduced in 1990 as DA 8 speed.The 1400 has been around a long time so the model and STI do nothing to date it other than post 91.
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Old 10-31-04, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by sydney
You think an STI/index shifting bike won't suck money when the shifters and other parts go TU? The vintage friction stuff may well last forever and parts can be generally replaced cheaply due to fewer compatibility issues.
THAT's the kind of info that is GREAT to know in advance.

I thought it would be hard or more expensive to fix/replace older Campognola components; was I wrong?


So what would you advise for a rookie looking for fun getting his feet wet? The fixer-upper Trek w/ Campy comps, 150 bucks, or the newer model in pristine condition, 300 bucks?
(I have to factor a 100-dollar bike lock into the equation.)
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Old 10-31-04, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by peripatetic
THAT's the kind of info that is GREAT to know in advance.

I thought it would be hard or more expensive to fix/replace older Campognola components; was I wrong?


So what would you advise for a rookie looking for fun getting his feet wet? The fixer-upper Trek w/ Campy comps, 150 bucks, or the newer model in pristine condition, 300 bucks?
(I have to factor a 100-dollar bike lock into the equation.)
Well, exact replacements of old campy stuff CAN be expensive. But the beauty of friction shifting is that almost any of it can be replaced with something else that can be found relatively cheaply and with almost no compatibility issues.
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