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Tips for buying used?(5 posts)

Tips for buying used?Geds
Apr 17, 2002 11:34 PM
Can anyone suggest some tips for buying a used bike - what to look for and avoid?

I'm thinking of a 2-3yr old Shimano 105 spec Giant or similar.

(Sorry if these has been done before - I tried the search engine without success)

re: Tips for buying used?SteveO
Apr 18, 2002 4:40 AM
there's really not much to go wrong on a bicycle.
inspect the frame for bends/misalignment. inspect steel frames for rust. Cycle the compenents to ensure they work and are smooth. Make sure the frame fits (you). Testride it.
some tipstarwheel
Apr 18, 2002 8:40 AM
You can get some great deals on used bikes, but you need to be patient and thorough. First, know what size and geometry is best for you and stick to it. Don't buy a used bike in the wrong size thinking you can make it fit. You can spend a lot of money on stems, seatposts, handlebars and other parts and still have a bike that doesn't fit right. If you're not sure what size is best for you, pay a good bike shop to have a professional fitting done. It is money well spent.

EBay is a great source for finding used bikes. However, you need to be patient and ask the sellers a lot of questions. Some sellers posts ads with minimal info (sometimes not even the seat tube lenghth) and no photos; those people usually don't sell their bikes or get low bids. If an ad doesn't contain enough info, send the seller an email with all the questions -- stuff like seat and top tube length (by some consistent standard, such as center to center in cms), component group, wheels, better photos, etc. If the seller doesn't respond, don't bid on it.

I have bought one bike used over the internet (actually here at RBR) and just bought a frame through eBay. The bike was a good deal but I had to replace a lot of parts and then it still didn't fit -- so it wasn't such a great deal in the long run, but I still saved money. I have since switched all the gear to another frame. The frame I bought for 1/3 of retail cost and it's about 4 years old with only one year of actual use. I sent the seller three e-mails with different questions, which he answered diligently, and it turned out to be just the right size with all the features I was looking for. You will save yourself a lot of time and energy on eBay if you have specific models or makes you are looking for. Then you can just do a search in the bicycles section without clicking through pages and pages of ad listings.

You should try to pay no more than half the full retail price for a used bike unless it's in topnotch condition, fits you perfect and you are able to inspect it in person. There are several reasons not to pay more: 1) you will have no warranty; 2) you will probably have to replace some parts, like the stem and saddle, to get the right fit; 3) you will probably have to replace parts that wear out, like the chain, tires and cassette. Some sellers are under the delusion that they can sell a used bike for nearly what they paid for it. Don't fall for that. Why buy a used bike with no warranty for nearly retail? A bike shop also will generally swap parts like stems, saddles and cassette for little or no cost if you buy from them new, and most also offer free service for a period.
re: Tips for buying used?jagiger
Apr 18, 2002 6:25 AM
First thing is to make sure that you understand what bikes are available in your price range. Check the reviews here to understand exactly what you want & find out what others think. You'll learn alot & you'll be better able to find the best deal for you. Next, you need to know what size frames will work for you, as you want a good fit. You may have to replace the stem to get the exact fit, but this is minor if you get the right bike at a good price.

To get the best deal, you have to be patient, as there are some great deals out there.

I was lucky to find something with 45 minutes of my home, so I got to go out & inspect the bike. It was obvious the bike was hardly riden & I spent about 40% less than the going price at lbs for a current model bike.

If you're buying at a distance, ask for pictures, damage, and payment methods(COD may be a good choice). You should also know that warranties generally are not transferrable.

E-bay is an option for locating bikes & they have a buyer rating systems, which gives you an idea of other buyers experience with the seller. You should make sure to read these.

Happy hunting!
RBR Classifieds vs. EbayKenS
Apr 18, 2002 1:54 PM
I have purchased 2 used bikes online. (They were so lightly used as to count as new.) The other posters made good points about patience, buying the right size, asking the seller questions, getting lots of pictures, etc.

One point worth considering is where to buy your bike. Ebay has lots of bikes for sale but you need to consider the typical bidding sequence. Someone will offer some hi-zoot bike like a C40 for sale and the bidding period will last a week. For the first 6 days, the bids may work up to a $1000 or so. The offers will be well below its legitimate value. And then in the last 6 hours, the bids will pour in. Depending on how greedy, crazed, or whatever, the price may go up to anywhere from $2000 - $3500. Depending on what you need to do to the bike, your final cost could range from good-deal to why-didn't-you-buy-it-new?

On the other hand, the bikes in the classified sections are priced at what the owner hopes to get. They don't go up, and may come down over time.

So decide in advance on how much you are willing to pay for a bike. Bid on Ebay. Hope to get a good deal. But don't get suckered into a bidding war. And don't forget about places like RBR Classifieds. I see what I consider good deals to be had in those ads also.

(PS: I have nothing for sale in the classifieds and am not affiliated with RBR, etc.)