What to look for in a second hand road bike?

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by NohowOn, Jun 4, 2006.

  1. NohowOn

    NohowOn New Member

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    I bought a cheap Avanti flat bar road bike 2 months ago to ride to uni, not realising how much I would love cycling.
    I am commuting about 10-25km every day and I am thinking about upgrading to a real road bike.

    I was wondering what to look for... and look out for when buying a second hand bike.

    how much can you expect off a bike that is a few years old?

    ...Or would I be better off getting a new bike. I have only about $700Au to spend...but time to look.

    I realise that there are a lot of variables, but any thoughts would be appreciated, Cheers.
     
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  2. Velo Steve

    Velo Steve New Member

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    Quick thoughts:
    1. It has to fit correctly. No deal is worth riding the wrong size. I'm sure there are good threads on these forums about bike fit.
    2. Check under the down tube behind the fork. This is one of the most common places for damage if the bike has been crashed. Any cracks or distinct warping of the metal should mean "no sale". Little dings in the middle of tubes are usually okay.
    3. The tube junctions around the bottom bracket are another "hot spot".
    4. Try turning the wheels, cranks, and headset with the bike off the ground, and see if they have any roughness or side to side play. These can be fixed (for a price), but indicate poor maintenance.
    5. Another maintenance indicator is the chain. If it's "stretched" or full of heavy grit or rust, it may have already damaged the chainrings and cogs. A rule of thumb for wear is to measure between chain rivets about a foot apart. 12" is like new. 12 1/16", replace the chain (no big deal). 12 1/8", there's likely damage to other things.
    6. How many cogs on the cassette? If you want to move toward high-end equipment, try to get 10-speed so it will be compatible with the next thing you get. Otherwise, 9-speed (even 8?) may give you more options in lower-priced or used parts.
    7. Check the tires. Replacement is easy of course, but still a factor if the budget is tight.
    8. Ride it. Use the brakes and shift through all the gears. If something doesn't feel right, it's probably not.
    9. (Really 6b) If you are really new to road bikes, see if you can borrow a road bike and do a ride on it. This will help you evaluate the others you test ride. Try to borrow a bike in great condition, but not too much more expensive than your budget. Trying someone's $X,000 dream bike will just make everything else look bad :).
    One comment on new bikes. My usual comment to riders here (USA) is that the cheapest bike in a real bike shop is still a good bike, because they have a reputation to uphold. The best bike in a discount chain (K-Mart, Target) is often junk, so stick to the bike shops. This may or may not apply in Australia. [I have never worked for or owned a bike shop, though I have friends who do.]

    I'm sure others will add more things I have forgotten.
     
  3. NohowOn

    NohowOn New Member

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    Thank you very much...
    Your help is much appreciated.
    I am going to take my time with it and try to find something decent and to get a feel for the kind of bike I like, size, speed etc.

    Cheers
     
  4. gclark8

    gclark8 New Member

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    What model is the Avanti flat bar? Blade or blade sport, Blade pro?

    If it is in good condition, just buy some better tyres for now while you decide on what you like. The tyres will make more difference to performance than changing to an entry level bike with drop bars.

    Example, I have a friend I cycle with on Sat mornings, He rides an Avanti Blade, 28/28/48 crankset, 8 speed, 11-30 cassette. We recently put Red Michie Pro Race 23mm tyres on it, they lasted one weekend, 5 tubes in two days, the tyres were cut to ribions with glass. But the bike went like a rocket!!

    I then fitted a pair of Conti Ultra Gator Skins with Kevlar, 23mm, the speed is almost as good (58kph) and no punctures in 4 weeks! Having said that, if you have a good bike then good fast tyres will change that bike more than a different style of bars.

    I have 4 28mm Kenda Tyres in the bike room, free to anyone!
     
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