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buying a used bike(9 posts)

buying a used bikeGall
Jun 4, 2001 4:35 AM
hello all..

i finally found the bike that i want. its a used bike that the owner says has 600 miles on it. if i buy it i will not be able to see it first because the bike is in pa and i am in ca.

what things should i ask the owner about the bike to make sure i am not getting a LEMON?

is 600 miles too many for a used bike?

thanks for your help
re: buying a used bikeDrD
Jun 4, 2001 5:17 AM
600 miles is nothing - barring anything like a crash, or lots of rain riding with no maintenance, etc., everything should be more or less like new (rear tire may be starting to square off a little)

I can not recommend strongly enough that you use an escrow service to make the purchase - that generally gives you a couple of days (depending on what you and the seller agree upon) to check out the new bike and make sure all is as they said it would be before your money gets sent to them - there are alot of such services out there - I have used

Not to make you paranoid, but one thing I have noticed about the classifieds on this website - an awful lot of the bikes have under 1000 miles on them - even the older ones... always struck me as odd...
re: buying a used biketigercoach
Jun 4, 2001 6:12 AM
Anytime you buy something through the internet from another private party (I assume that's what is happening here) it's risky, but I have found that most people that do it are honest. One thing you could do is ask for a pic of the bike. That way you may be able to see the condition of the frame and parts. You could also ask about the history of the bike, like crashes it's been in, maintenance history, and so on. I wouldn't worry about the miles on the bike. If it's been well maintained, it won't matter. My first bike was used, and it had lots of miles on it, and I kept it well maintained and it rode just as well as many new bikes out there.
re: buying a used bikeCar Magnet
Jun 4, 2001 6:39 AM
I just did the same thing in reverse. I bought a used bike from a guy in California and had it shipped to the East coast. The things I would recommend is 1. Pictures (lots of them) of the bike, shifters , front and rear drivetrain. If the person is not willing to send pix via e-mail or snail mail, I would move on to the next bike. Without pix you can't pre-verify the advertisement or check to see if the bike is stolen. 2. Insurance: Make sure that insurance is purchased for the fair market value plus 10-15% for your time. Verify with seller and shipping company. 3. Insist on professional packaging. It only costs about $40 extra. 4. Use USPS!!
Without knowing brand, model, and hardware I really couldn't tell you if the bike is a good value. Good Luck!
re: buying a used bikeRipley
Jun 4, 2001 7:08 AM
I just sold a used bike in the classifieds. My buyer asked for pictures (which I provided) and also for the opinion of an independent third party (the bike shopped that shipped it). He was able to call the bike shop, talk to the shop owner, and verify that the description that appeared in my "for sale" posting was accurate.

Worked great.

Hope this helps.

re: buying a used bikeBart S.
Jun 4, 2001 7:19 AM
1. Get lots of pictures.
2. Make sure you understand the condition and history of the bike (dents, scratches,crashes, etc.).
3. Have it packed by a professional (LBS).
4. Make sure it is shipped insured to guard against damage in transit.
re: buying a used bikeMike Prince
Jun 4, 2001 7:19 AM
I did the same thing last year with the seller in California and me in North Carolina. I had him send me a digital pictures (with the date stamped on them)of the rear triangle/chainstays, a straight-on shot and a overall shot. He also threw in some pics of the shifters, etc as noted above on his own. Also ask for the serial number. There's not much you can do with it, but if he is a shady character this may make him nervous.

Have a conversation with the guy and see what he knows about bikes. I did this with my seller and found out he was quite meticulous with maintenance and upkeep of the bike. Ask your seller things like are the original tires/chain/cassette (the obvious wear items) still on the bike? Did he do any "upgrades" that you think may cause troubles? Any crashes or visible damage worse than wear-n-tear scratches? Stuff like that. If you are comfortable with that conversation, you should be OK. Using his bike shop to check the bike as mentioned is an excellent idea. Definetely have a shop pack it, even if it costs you a bit more.

If you don't use an escrow service, most sellers will wait for your check to clear before shipping the bike. Get the UPS tracking number from the seller or bike shop so you can verify it was shipped.

Good luck!
re: The BIG question....Rusty Coggs
Jun 4, 2001 7:28 AM
...from the questions you are asking, how do you even know it fits? If you think it fits, have you verified how the owner is actually measuring it? Also use an escrow service and give yourself time to check and verify all aspects of the bike before final accceptance and release of funds.
Ask for picturesDave Hickey
Jun 4, 2001 7:33 AM
As an example, look at todays classified at the 7 speed Dura Ace rear derailleur. I don't mean to be critical of the person selling it but, this is advertized as excellent condition. Without a picture you would not know this derailleur has alot of scratches and scrapes and doesn't have the original pulleys. Condition is very subjective.