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How to buy a used bike?

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How to buy a used bike?

Old 04-01-05, 11:53 PM
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rOOster14
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How to buy a used bike?

Ok, so im searching and searching for the perfect first bike that i dont have to worry about costing me every cent ive ever earned... im only 16 so i have more growing to do. ive been to the lbs a MILLION plus times. its looking likea 56-57 cm im looking for. so i keep looking harder and harder, and i want something with nice features.. is used possibly a better way to go? ive done crazy amounts of research on buying a bike... but have yet to finalize my funds for this lol. im getting closer and closer. so im trying to figure out if a used bike is right up my alley. if this is a bad idea let me know.. but i would still like soem tips for looking to buy a used bike. what do you look for to see if its in good condition, like you would buy anything else? thank you much.
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Old 04-02-05, 12:01 AM
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Buying used is a great way to go IF you know what you want. Particulary if you are very sure of the frame geometry that suits you best or if you have a particular frame or bike in mind.

Ebay is the obvious choice. Another is the classifieds at roadbikereview.com. Both can be valuable resources for finding out what is possible.

I've bought 4 used frames in the past 18 months. I've helped several other people find the right deal as well. It can be very rewarding and to a point, fun. But I wouldn't recommend it to a first time buyer.

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Old 04-02-05, 12:08 AM
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Craigslist can be a good source of used bikes; that's where I got mine. You can check the goods out before handing out the cash. It's great.

Here's an example. You say you're in Madison, OH? There's a used Felt on the Cleveland craigslist: http://cleveland.craigslist.org/bik (Nobody I know or anything, just a quick search.)
If you don't like that one, be patient and keep checking around craigslist, local bike club websites, and classified ads.

Next, go check the bike out. Look for obvious frame cracks, warped wheels, whatever. More mechanically-minded folks are better here, but if it looks like a happy, clean, well-maintained bike, that's a good sign.
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Old 04-02-05, 12:31 AM
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P-A-T-I-E-N-C-E.

It can take a long time to find the right used bike at the right price. The irony is that it's best to already have a bike when you're looking for a used bike. Otherwise who knows when you'll get to start riding?

Maybe consider an off-brand bike? I always figured the Scattantes/Motobecanes/Leaders of the world were sucker bikes, but I have read many posts on this forum from satisfied buyers, so who knows? That recent string about the guy who stripped his Scat frame was inspiring - the frame looked really high-quality! In any case you can get really good components, and then switch out the frame in a year or two if necessary.

The problems with ebay are that things tend to get overpriced - especially for brands like Trek, Cannondale, Ultegra, etc - and that you can never be sure of the quality. If you do shop on ebay, consider lesser-known brands and Campy components - for some reason Shimano components seem to earn a premium despite the fact that a large part of the cycling world considers Campy to be equivalent or better. Also, if you win a bike on ebay, insist that they have it packed by a BIKE SHOP! I have even started emailing the instructions for packing on the Park Tool website, owing to an incident earlier this year, where an apparently knowledgeable seller packed the rear wheel (cogset) next to the downtube.

The problem with craigslist, at least here in DC, is that good deals go fast. I often will email about a posting the day it appears and get no response - somebody has already snatched it up, probably without ever seeing the product.
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Old 04-02-05, 12:46 AM
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As for what to look for on-site:

Check the frame for cracks, dents etc.
Check the gear teeth for signs of wear - this can give you an idea of how much a bike has been ridden.
Look at the components for signs of wear. Are they shiny and new? Are the logos faded or worn?
Check that the wheels are true, spokes are solid, etc.
Check that the brake pads are in good shape, and check the rims of the wheels for signs of braking abuse (like grooves in the rim)
Check the shifting, and make sure the rear derailleur is not bent.
Pick the bike up by the handlebars and give it a good shake to make sure the headset isn't clunky - if it is the frame could be ruined. Also make sure the headset turns freely to either side - you should be able to turn it nearly 180 degrees without any resistance or binding.
Check the size (take a tape measure with metric markings) - check seat tube and top tube lengths.
Ask if the owner has owner's manual, other documentation. This is a good indicator that the bike's not stolen, and can help your own resale value if you decide to sell it later.

RIDE THE BIKE!! You can ride clipless pedals well enough in sneakers if necessary. And the best time to do much of the above is during your ride, when the seller isn't hanging over you. Go out for a ride, stop somewhere safe, and give it a good inspection.
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Old 04-02-05, 01:03 AM
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i understand that i sound ignorant and such, but trust me i know waht im looking for and such, i was just asking like physical things. im still on the fence as to what im gonna do. but ive got alot of looking around to do. its just been a pain to get my money organized because of my car and other active hobbies.. competitive paintball is muy expensivo.
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Old 04-02-05, 01:11 AM
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Muy caro, también!

And believe me, few people on this board bought the perfect road bike the first time out.
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Old 04-02-05, 01:39 PM
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I got a crashed roadie for free... bent top tube... rode well in speeds under 20 mph. After a couple of hundred miles on it I knew what I wanted and started to buy parts and a frame to build me my own roadie. Always a way to start
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Old 04-03-05, 04:06 AM
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You must have lots of bike clubs in Madison. Many club riders have a stash of old or retired bikes/wheels etc that you may be able to pick up for peanuts. You dont need to get anything fancy or flash. Even an old road frame with down-tube shifters will get you cycling, which is much better than not cycling.
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Old 04-03-05, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by RedHairedScot
Craigslist can be a good source of used bikes; that's where I got mine. You can check the goods out before handing out the cash. It's great.

Here's an example. You say you're in Madison, OH? There's a used Felt on the Cleveland craigslist: http://cleveland.craigslist.org/bik (Nobody I know or anything, just a quick search.)
If you don't like that one, be patient and keep checking around craigslist, local bike club websites, and classified ads.
How do you guys feel about that bike? I couldn't find much info on it online, but I've been looking for a used road bike in that price area. Is this a super deal or do you think I could find something better? Anything on this bike that stands out as being something good/bad componentswise?
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Old 04-03-05, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by KevRC4130
How do you guys feel about that bike? I couldn't find much info on it online, but I've been looking for a used road bike in that price area. Is this a super deal or do you think I could find something better? Anything on this bike that stands out as being something good/bad componentswise?
The bike has been sold. Damn.
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Old 04-03-05, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by KevRC4130
The bike has been sold. Damn.
Like I said... Good deals go quick on Craigslist.
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