Author Topic: Bike advice  (Read 3440 times)

Done by Forty

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Bike advice
« on: November 27, 2012, 08:40:43 PM »
Hi there,

So I've read Bakari's excellent article on how to identify a good used bike.  After searching through Craiglist, I've come up with a list.  Might any of the biking enthusiasts here on the forums weigh in on which, if any, seems like a good value?  Sorry for the length of the list...


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Re: Bike advice
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2012, 09:58:12 PM »
Univega: looks like a good solid bike. nice gearing range for pulling heavy things every once in a while. looks like everything is in good shape. would buy if proper fit

Trek: kinda pricey. old shifter/brakes (hereafter referred to as shakes) tend to gum up with age and might not have much life left, taller gearing, clipless pedals which you'd want to swap out at  first

Centurion: ...interesting bike. a whole bunch of quirky things (most notably the weird headset locknut) that could come back to bite you. pricey too.

Technium: MONSTER gearing, fred-tastic flatbar conversion. Looks good besides that, but I think those two things kill it.

"tri" bike: impractical for nearly everything. including triathlons.

Diamondback: big gearing again, old shakes waiting to break on you, pricey, looks good otherwise.

Zebra: bucket of rust. makes me wonder what the hacksaw and rattlecans in the picture were used for.

In the end, I'd go with the Univega. It's fairly priced, and has good features for a commuter. The Trek, Centurion, Technium, and Diamondback are all decent second choices, but each has something a little off about them. I also wouldn't pay any more than 250 for any of them. Preferably $200, knowing that some of the older parts might need replacing right around the corner. Good picks overall.


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Re: Bike advice
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2012, 02:36:23 AM »
I love the centurion. Classic frame, beautiful chrome chain stay on the drive side, updated with some fairly high end components throughout, and a wide range of gears for hilly terrain or pulling some weight. I like the bar end shifters on this bike more than the downtube shifters on some of the others. The cyclocross style brake levers on the bar tops may be nice if you like keeping your hands there instead of the brake lever hoods, but I probably wouldn't use them.

I'd suggest you find someone who knows older bikes and steel frames (community bike coop?) to find out 2 things:
1) See how servicable/replaceable that locknut that Russ mentioned will be if it ever does need to be dealt with.
2) What would it cost to braze-on (similar to solder) attachments for holding a rack/fenders. You can get a much more solid attachment if those are brazed on. It doesn't look like the other bikes on your list have rack/fender braze-ons either.

All in all, this would be a great bike for longer commutes where you want to get there quickly. If you are planning to do more short trips hauling lots of stuff, bouncing off curbs, etc, I'd go for a flat bar bike with fatter tires. 

Oh, and just looking at that saddle makes my balls hurt.

Done by Forty

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Re: Bike advice
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2012, 08:15:40 PM »
Thank you both very much for the input.  It's extremely helpful.

So I went to test out/buy the Univega tonight, and the shop had just sold it before I arrived.  Now I'm leaning towards the Centurion.

Any other takes before I spend some coin?

Paul der Krake

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Re: Bike advice
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2012, 09:31:16 PM »
The centurion is by far the better looking one of all. Old, well-maintained oldies are a joy to own. Go for it.


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Re: Bike advice
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2012, 09:23:29 AM »
I'm also all about the Centurion. It looks like it was rebuilt by a hobbyist with a very sensible parts selection, which is a good sign, and means you'll need to do less rebuilding yourself. The headset looks like it just works with a pin spanner, and even if it falls apart, as a modern Japanese bike, it's probably a JIS or ISO headset, both of which are easy enough to find.

The downside to most of these bikes is they don't have clearance or eyelets for wide tires or fenders, but that's less of a concern in Phoenix than a lot of places. Things are spread out in Phoenix, so having a fast bike is nice. P-clamps do fine for rear rack attachment in my experience, as long as you're not bringing 50 pound bags of flour with you or something. Even if you do heavy hauling, having a road bike for fast fun riding and a cheap old rigid mountain bike (eg for occasional loadbearing seems like a better compromise.