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Is there a check list I could use when buying a used bike? What are the crucial things to check? How does one go about testing the used bike?


There is a checklist but there are a few guide lines that can be followed very closely.

1. Determine the purpose for which you are purchasing the bike and what type of rider you might turn out to be

If you think you will commute or tour with minimal downhill, cross country or singletrack, then a road bike or a hybrid might be a good idea.  Looking to build and ride a chopper?  Then your choices of frame type will be different.

2. Weight of the bicycle

Weight relates directly to how much energy it takes to ride a bicycle.  For instance, if you ride for long distances, get a very light bike and load it for touring (fenders, waterbottle brackets, etc).  Gear for your bike will add some weight, but again, it comes down to considering what type of riding you will be doing - commuting? touring? downhill? cross-country? cruising? Each type of bike has different components, gears and purposes.  Keep this in mind when choosing your bicycle.

3. Your budget

There are major differences between a $40 bike and a $400 bike.  The draw back to an expensive bike is that you become a HUGE target. I ride my $40 bike most of the time because it is safer from thieves.  Keep in mind, if you purchase a $40 bike and upgrade components (seats, lights etc.) these items can be targets themselves.

4.  The Fit

Does the bike you are about to purchase fit you?  If it is a “regular” bike (not a cruiser or a chopper etc) then the top tube of the bike should be approximately 1-2 inches from your genitals when you are straddle the bike.  Your legs should have a slight bend in them when you sit on the seat and extend the pedal to the bottom of the crank.  If your knees are too bent or you have either too much air or no air between you and the top tube,  your ride will be most uncomfortable. 

Our last suggestion is just to try a few bikes out until you find the one you love. If get a bike you don’t love, chances are you won’t ride it.

posted May 10, 2006

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