Author Topic: Buying a used bicycle  (Read 3409 times)

prognastat

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 781
  • Location: Texas
Buying a used bicycle
« on: March 20, 2016, 12:56:41 PM »


Hey everyone, I'm pretty new here and I am looking at buying a used bicycle and found this on craigslist:
https://austin.craigslist.org/bik/5460123072.html

I was able to talk them down to $150, but before buying it was hoping to get some opinions on it.

A little bit of a background. I grew up in the Netherlands and used to take a bicycle to school every day for 10+ years, however that was almost 10 years ago and I haven't used a bicycle in almost 7 years. I am looking for something comfortable to get back in to it. Speed isn't a foremost concern at this time, but may be further down the line. However that might be a year or more in to the future and I was thinking I might be able to sell this bike then and move to something more like a road bike.

Thanks in a advance.

bobechs

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1068
Re: Buying a used bicycle
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2016, 01:20:36 PM »
NL is flat.  Austin is somewhat hilly.

3-speeding it, with a long hiatus in pedalling, in hilly terrain will be... challenging.

On the other hand, if you just haul the bike in the back of a truck down to the river park to ride,  then back home like a lot of Austinites do you should be fine.

hyla

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 177
Re: Buying a used bicycle
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2016, 01:25:07 PM »
Bike looks like it's decent quality and has the right gearing to handle hills, but I would try to find something with a rigid fork.  Shocks are overkill if you aren't mountain biking, for roads and dirt paths wide tires are all you need to smooth out potholes and bumps, the shocks just slow you down and make it hard to mount racks and fenders. 

Yes, bikes with shocks are very abundant in America, but in a big city like Austin I expect there are quite a few craigslist listings to choose from. 

coolistdude

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 204
  • Age: 29
    • Retirement Tree (Same One I Use):
Re: Buying a used bicycle
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2016, 01:30:54 PM »
Is there an MMM guide to buying an inexpensive used bicycle? I took a babystep and sold my car and bought a new bicycle. Some year I may need to replace it and will go the used route.

prognastat

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 781
  • Location: Texas
Re: Buying a used bicycle
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2016, 01:31:36 PM »
I mostly travel around North Austin which is the least hilly part of Austin so it shouldn't be anything too serious. Still very different from NL which is definitely flat, but nothing like south Austin.

As for the shocks I'm not sure as to how much of an effect it would have on comfort versus speed/efficiency. Would it still be better to go with a rigid fork if I am looking more for a comfortable ride to get back in to it? I tried the road bike of my father in law, but after so many years of not cycling at all it was very uncomfortable to me.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2016, 01:40:38 PM by prognastat »

prognastat

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 781
  • Location: Texas
Re: Buying a used bicycle
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2016, 01:32:28 PM »
Hi Coolistdude, I found this myself which is pretty comprehensive:
http://biodieselhauling.blogspot.com/2012/01/buying-bikes-from-craigslist.html

From what it sounds it depends on what you consider inexpensive. It sounds like stuff at big stores selling for under $100 and most things used under $100 are probably going to be terrible quality bicycles. Unless you manage to find an amazing deal on a used bike.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2016, 01:34:10 PM by prognastat »

jorjor

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 351
Re: Buying a used bicycle
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2016, 01:36:25 PM »
If you're looking for a comfortable ride, then make sure the bike fits. A proper bike fit is going to be way more important than whether you have shocks or not, or just about any other aspect of the bike (within reason...a properly fitting road bike won't be comfortable on a rock-filled mountain bike trail).

coolistdude

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 204
  • Age: 29
    • Retirement Tree (Same One I Use):
Re: Buying a used bicycle
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2016, 02:02:16 PM »
Hi Coolistdude, I found this myself which is pretty comprehensive:
http://biodieselhauling.blogspot.com/2012/01/buying-bikes-from-craigslist.html

From what it sounds it depends on what you consider inexpensive. It sounds like stuff at big stores selling for under $100 and most things used under $100 are probably going to be terrible quality bicycles. Unless you manage to find an amazing deal on a used bike.

Thanks! I read a section of this and can tell it will be very helpful :)

Abel

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 56
  • Location: USA
Re: Buying a used bicycle
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2016, 05:18:29 PM »
On the other hand, if you just haul the bike in the back of a truck down to the river park to ride,  then back home like a lot of Austinites do you should be fine.

Ideally bicycle riding should be perceived as a novelty, requiring a lot of gear and deliberate planning to do in specific, authorized places during certain times of the week preferably in a pre-ordained loop with minimal thrills, uncertainty, surprises, or feelings of adventure.

Abel

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 56
  • Location: USA
Re: Buying a used bicycle
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2016, 05:29:08 PM »
Prognastat - in all seriousness, I think you've gotten some good advice here! I think for a lot of newer riders, or those that have been away from the game for a while, it should be noted how confidence inspiring a fatter tire can be for handling and overall comfort on the bike. My SO was this way when she started riding, even if a road bike would be faster and more efficient, better off to start initially on a mountain bike for those reasons. Mountain bikes can be made admirably fast with slick tires if it comes to use them primarily as road or urban commuters. Suspension forks can be locked out to mimic a rigid fork. In the end, find something you feel confident and comfortable on and then let your preferences guide the inevitable "next bike" decision. Craigslist is a great source, and when you're buying and selling used, the depreciation hit is minimal. Best of luck!

ooeei

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1143
Re: Buying a used bicycle
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2016, 06:52:00 AM »
OP I used to live in North Austin and bike commute ~1 mile to work and ~2 miles to the gym.  I browsed craigslist, and decided since I didn't know anything about bikes I'd be better off spending a bit more and getting something from a bike shop that just WORKED. I think there was an MMM article about it actually (found it, look at the "How to buy a bike" section: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/05/07/what-do-you-mean-you-dont-have-a-bike/). I spent $400 at Buck's Bikes on 183 for a Giant brand hybrid.  It was their cheapest bike if I recall correctly.  I didn't get the disc brake option (rainy weather was still fine).  I rode the crap out of that thing, and used their free tuneups for a year while I learned how to do my own work on it.  Just went out today and gave it a tuneup (moved to Houston and rarely ride it anymore...)

Compare this with my friend who got a bargain off craigslist and got a $900 bike for probably $250.  Something wasn't working right on it a couple weeks after she got it, so she put off repairing it, and eventually just quit using it. 

My point is this.  If you haven't ridden in years and don't know enough about bikes to make your own craigslist choice and fix any problems that might come up, just buy a bike from a bike shop to start.  Get into the habit of biking, where it's not optional, it's just how you get places.  That will give you much more motivation to learn to fix problems when they do come up.  It's just too easy to buy a bike off craigslist that's a little beat up that you think you'll fix, then you never end up doing it.  I know countless people who've done that.

prognastat

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 781
  • Location: Texas
Re: Buying a used bicycle
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2016, 06:59:53 AM »
I went to test drive it and ended up deciding to take it. Everything was in good condition. Slightly dusty, but no rust. Nothing felt loose. The gears were smooth. The wheels were a little flat, but that was taken care of in just a few seconds.

Not only that, but it got my SO excited and we actually ended up getting her one too.

It would mostly be used to driving around near out house. We would still need to use our car to work. It is a long trip which we are hoping to get out of within the next 1-2 years by finding a good deal on a house closer to work. Thankfully we can carpool so we only use half the gas. However I want to switch to using the bikes to do anything like going to get groceries, going by the bank. All of these things are within biking distance of us.

Ooeei, thanks for the advice. I understand something from a bike shop might be less maintenance possibly, but another benefit I do have is that due to riding a bike throughout all of my youth I can do most small repairs. I can change the chain, fix or change most minor tire issues and maintain/replace the brakes. Unless it would take a mayor repair, which I can't see happening unless I do something reckless with it or get in to an accident that shouldn't be happening.

My main concern was more about the type of bike given the one I posted is closer to what I rode throughout my youth, I mostly rode town/city style and mountain bikes.

It seems the reason he was willing to let a bike that was worth 4-5 times more new and was less than a year old go was because he was moving to Japan for 2 years.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2016, 07:03:06 AM by prognastat »