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I ended up urbanizing & repairing a Schwinn Moab from the early 90s.
It's going pretty well so far as a commuter bike.
Longest run: 14.9 mi
I found my trek road bike on Facebook. I posted on a local event page "tour de Whatcom" that I was looking to take my biking up a step; and ride in the tour. I asked if the new of some used roads bikes... I was contact by someone who was selling my future bike :) it was an awesome deal, all the original paperwork etc. I have found all the local cyclist are very helpful to newbies.
+1 to what GiantSteps said about checking your local bike shops for used rigs first. If you don't know what you're doing, Craigslist can be dubious at best, for the aforementioned reasons other posters have noted (fit, shot/clapped out components) etc.
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Like BARRONVC said its not so much height that will give you an idea, but you need exact messurements of in seem, torso height...depending on the style of bike you are looking at it might have a race geometry. I have to agree with nerfherder, carbon is the way to go, but can be expensive.
Really to give more information we really need to know what you are looking for, price range, use...I started with a cheap bike intending to just lose some weight, well now I am rocking a $7500 Fuji SL1 (oh my god thats my name.) with Campagnolo Record.
Campagnolo dominates Shimano and SRAM any day.
Height doesn't matter, it's more than that. Every thing from the foot size, vargus/valgus, line for force (knees, hips, ankles), sits bones (distance), low back and hip position/pelvis, flexibility.
You'll get a picture of fit.
Wow, thanks for all of this detailed feedback.
What kind of measurements aside from height (5'8") and weight (190)?
Also, I plan on using the bike for commuting and otherwise "getting around," although over short distances (fewer than 5 miles in any given trip).
Longest run: 14.9 mi
Fit! It starts here with body position, physical strength, flexibility, etc.
I would want to have ball park measurements before even looking at something.
In my experience bike shops are often the best place to buy used bikes. Often individuals will ask for more for a used bike than a bike shop yet the bike shop will go over the bike to make sure everything works adequately. Your first concern should be if a prospective bike fits you. If a road bike is too large or small than riding it will be frustrating and uncomfortable. Look at the frame for obvious signs of damage. Forks that bend backward or a bulge in the bottom tube where it meets the head tube are a sign of the bike being ridden into an immovable object. Look for signs of impact and crashes on the rest of the frame. After that make sure the gears shift and the brakes stop. Then check bearings to make sure they turn freely without excessive side to side movement or play (some cartridge bearing components have a small but normal amount of play but otherwise there should be none).
The problem with older bikes is that some of the parts are obsolete and repairs and maintenance can be problematic. I love bikes from the 1980's (especially lugged steel) but I'm also a former mechanic so I know how to keep them rolling on my own. Most bikes from the 1980's will have friction (no click) shifting. Upgrading friction shifting to index can cost more than the bike is worth unless you have a source of cheap used parts (ebay can work if you know what you are doing).
Fixed gear is fun but I'd get a regular road bike first. Fixed gear has a rather steep learning curve. I'd save that adventure for later.
I have to ask, why do you want a road bike? To go faster, farther...or because you like that style of riding? If it's to go faster, you can always buy a set of slick tires for your mtn bike or heck, go all out and buy a set of wheels with tires on it for your mtn bike (unless it's full suspension) and ride it.
Unless you are really into bikes I would stick with a generic road/cross bike (not hybrid) with either 2 or three gears in the front. Again not knowing what type of riding makes it hard. You can always convert to a single speed later.
I would look for a good commuter, maybe a steel or aluminum generic frame with recognizable components like Shimano. I haven't had luck with Sram. Other than their chains.
I think if you ride it around the block a couple of times before buying, that's your best bet. If it's shifting good, chances are it's going to keep shifting good. But if you can find a good bike friend, drag them along.
The only way out is through...
Even though you want to buy used, I would recommend shopping around some of the Local Bike Shops to get an idea of what kind of bike "works" for you. You may even want to let them know of your tight budget and perhaps they may have some used bikes to suggest. It's important to think about what you want to accomplish with this bike...what purpose will it serve? Are you looking to strictly keep it urban, street cycling, running errands, commuting, longer journeys? All of these will factor into your choice. Take note of what the LBS suggests, recommends. Take some bikes out on short trial rides, which most LBS will agree to allow. Get a feel for the different types of bikes. Nothing trumps how you feel riding a certain type of bike.
The feedback you get from the LBS, your trial rides, internet searches all will put you in a much better position to narrow your choices on CraigsList or wherever you end up purchasing your bike.
Here are a few links which may help:
Let us know how your shopping goes and what you decide to get! :-)
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Be careful in taking a close look at the frame. Carbon cracks can be very, very minute and you will not even notice you have a crack until that initial, and critical, point of failure. And by then, you're doing a face-plant on the asphalt and it's too late.
The way to check for cracks on a carbon frame is to take a penny or nickel (a coin with no reeded edges) and gently tap on the carbon at the join points (where the frame pieces are epoxied together). Take careful attention to listen for a change in pitch - an almost dead sound in your tapping - vs. the quick, ''click'' sound you hear when you tap an undamaged area. This will not damage the paint\finish as you're gently, very gently, tapping the frame, with far less force than a piece of road debris would during a ride. So you can tell the current owner, ''This won't hurt a bit.'' Also make sure to check the top tube, at about the mid-point. Many times, the handlebars will swing around and smack the top tube (the tube where, as a man, you do NOT want to land with any force...unless you enjoy abusing the family jewels). When this happens, if there is enough force, the handlebars can crack the top tube - a critical stress point.
As for metal frames, pay close attention to the weld points and the weld itself. If the weld shows signs of fatigue, repair and or give - stay away.
Carbon has far more flex and give vs. metal, albeit stainless, aluminum or any other metal material. Therefore, carbon is more forgiving when stressed. Metal, however, can be abused to a greater degree - within reason. So both have their pros and cons.
I would buy pre-used carbon before I did metal. Just make sure the person\business seems on the up-and-up (not nervous and all too anxious to make the sale). You never really know for sure but, if you take your time, and use your Spidey-Sense, you should do fine.
Also make sure to get the frame in the right size for you. I'm 6' 5" so a 62cm frame is the smallest I could go with. Also, be aware that companies like Trek are very conservative with their frame measurements. My 62cm frame actually fits like a 61cm or so. I would recommend looking at Specialized. I can get a very, very nice carbon Specialized carbon for about $800 - and that's regular price! I'd definitely recommend looking at them if, for nothing else, than to at least get an idea about what's out there in the way of features and to find out the size frame you need. You might even get lucky and find a place selling last seasons model for up to 1/2 off!
Don't get me wrong: I LOVE my Trek! But Specialized has got some awesome bikes for about 1/3 - 1/4 the price. And I'd have no qualms about saving a chunk of change while still having a fantastic bike!!
Well, spring is here and it's time for me to get biking again. Last season I lived out in the country and used a basic mountain bike, which I still own and will continue to use for now. However, I've moved to an urban city and want to switch to a road bike.
Problem is, I don't know much of anything about road bikes (or bikes in general, for that matter).
My budget is limited, so I want to buy a used road bike. This is a college town, and the secondary bike market is HUGE from what I can tell. The Craigslist postings are overwhelming. There are so many choices that I'm parlayzed.
Which is why I come here asking for help. I don't want to overpay, but I'm also worried about how to inspect a bike before purchasing it.
What should I be looking for in terms of pricing and features (not including things like lights, helment, locks, etc.)? Should I get a single-gear or a fixed gear? What should I be leery of when buying a used bike? Some of these things are from the 80s! Does that matter? Should I look only for more recent bikes?
I really appreciate whatever advice you can give.
Edited by: YOU_CALIBAN at: 3/28/2012 (10:17)
Longest run: 14.9 mi