Want to start riding again as an adult- What to look for in a used bike?

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by JosephTakagi, May 16, 2013.

  1. JosephTakagi

    JosephTakagi New Member

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    Hi everyone, I loved riding my BMX as a kid (put ~50+ miles a week on it for 5-6 years) and I want to get back into riding. I'd really appreciate info about buying used, so I can pick up the right bike the first time.


    Rider info:
    -Male, 5'10, 140lbs, 30x32 pant. Physically fit & active.

    Type of riding:
    -"Commuting" is probably most accurate. I just like riding for fun. I used to pick somewhere new & at the edge of my physical limitation and use the day to see new things. Back then it was ~20 mile round trips, I'd like to get ~60+ mile round trips in with a better suited bike. 99% road, 75% relatively flat. City/suburban riding mostly. (Southern California)

    Preferences (in order of importance):
    -Something that's enjoyable to ride for 20-60 miles.
    -Under $200. It'll be locked up at & left for up to 12 hours almost anywhere- so if it's stolen/vandalized I don't want it to be a big deal (I'd really like something closer to $100 if it exists). I'm fine with covering up any logos/paint to make it look like a beater, it doesn't have to be pretty.
    -Lightweight. I'm a skinny guy, 30lbs is >20% of my bodyweight
    -Speed, and ability to maintain high-ish speed. Being passed by cars at 30+ MPH differences on my BMX as a kid wasn't fun.
    -Gears & brakes. Sorry to the single gear fans out there, I've done enough single gear riding for awhile:)
    -Something nondescript for the theft reason (like a 1990's Saturn). It doesn't have to look fancy or impress people; just pure functionality.


    Basically I want to step up into something deserving of presta valves & drop handlebars.


    I understand I'm not going to get all that in my price range, but I'd be happy to get a high end 20 year old bike, somebody's used DIY with good components, etc. I'm not in a rush to buy, within 6 months, so I think with time on my side I can find something I can enjoy for 5+ years.

    If you could replace my pipe dreams with realistic expectations I'd appreciate it. I'd love to get something capable of 20-25MPH (with ~$75 in modification if it helps) and under 20lbs. I'm guessing that's unlikely. If you can tell me what I should get for $100, and for $200 I'd appreciate it. I'd really like to find an old 2nd/3rd place capable ~1990s bike that is still relevant but unpopular.


    Couple of questions:
    -Any brands/era/specs/search terms I should look for? Ex: road/touring, 10/21/27/30 speed, aluminum, cassette, trigger shift, etc.? I've been searching mostly craigslist for "bicycle -fixed -fixie - beach -bmx -mountain -kids -womens -lowrider"
    -Anything I should avoid? Or other specs I can use to quickly eliminate potential buys?



    Experience so far:
    I've basically been coming across a lot of this: Men's Schwinn 10 Speed Bicycle- $105. I've ridden a 1980's Motobecane (33lbs), it was alright but wayyy heavier than what I'm looking for. I've also ridden a friend's ~1990's Allez (~20lbs) which was a bit more enjoyable, seemed like more of a short distance city bike than what I'm looking for I think.

    Thanks everyone, I'm looking forward to riding again.


    TL;DR: what is the lightest/fastest used bike I can get for <$200 for long range road riding. looks/age/brand unimportant
     
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  2. vspa

    vspa Active Member

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  3. JosephTakagi

    JosephTakagi New Member

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    *shrug* I found a Miyata 912, & I think it'll be enough bike to last me many, manyyy years. Maybe it was my lucky day/img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
     
  4. Volnix

    Volnix Well-Known Member

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    Ok, first that price range you will have to get either something very used or something very very bad... I would go for the very used option but:

    -Dont get anything that is too old. Its not just because of fatigue damage on materials. You could get a steel bike which doesnt have too many fatigue damage issues, its also the safety requirements that have changed in the recent years. I remember reading a thing on Sheldon Browns website that said that older bikes allthough pretty good did not have the best welding (sometimes with flanges) and the most safe forks compared to now days bikes. I would suggest a cheap cro-mo steel road frame. There are a few peugeot ones (the carbolite ones) in bad shape for sale around and they start pretty cheap. These were racing bikes too I think so they might be a bit stiff too.

    [​IMG]


    -Dont get a refurbished frame (as in re-sprayed). The first cracks usually appear on the paint. If you get a frame with its original paint, even if it got burned by the sun and its in terrible shape you can check for cracks. You can always re-spray later (but it might add weight and its costly), or ride it around like that, or just scrape the paint and just re-spray with a clear cover.

    -Try to get a complete bike that is functional. When you get something that is no longer functional and need new parts you might only find cheap parts (as in bad quality ones) or no parts at all. You might want to check for compatibility issues as in thread styles and bolt diameters.

    -Forget about STI shifters, they cost about 200 euro for the pair, you can easily go for bar-end shifters, they are much cheaper and as easy to operate as STI. They sure are easier to operate then top tube shifters.

    -Find something with enough gearing for your needs. A 2*8 should be fine. If the wheels and shifters can accomodate a 2*10 thats even better because there is a very big availability of different cassetes in the 10speed range.

    -Get a good chain and padlock lock, or a D-lock. Kryptonite makes some mini-chains with an integrated padlock. Advantage over D-locks is that you will definetely need to cut the chain in two parts to release the bike, whilst with a D-lock you might get away with just cutting one side of the shackle and then twist it to brake the lock and release the bike.

    -Get some new tyres. Even in the cheap you can always get some pretty light fast rolling tyres. But dont use a bike with bad tyres.

    -If you can find some mudguards that would be great too.
     
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