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Beginner Starting Out; Used 2005 Specialized P2 - good choice?

7150 Views 10 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Glide the Clyde
OK, so let me give you some background on bike riding; None. Enjoyed BMX/Freestyle riding as a kid but grew out of it by the age of 17. I'm 26 now, 6'0, 220 lbs and have a good buddy who is into riding (is that the correct terminology?) - Anyway I've been considering taking up riding as a new hobby and seems like something i'd definitely be interested in.

Going back to my opening statement; I've got no knowledge of mountain biking at all. However, Dirt Jumping, Trail riding, and Urban all seem like I'd really take a liking to.

Having said that, I've been looking for a decent deal on a used bike to test the waters. I found a 2005 Specialized P2 in new condition (according to seller) for $275.

So a couple quick questions;
1) Is this a good beginners bike ?
2) Given my size, is this a good beginners bike for me ?
3) Given the types of ride i'm interested in... does the bike fit?

Any input would be greatly appreciated.
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It would seem that with your biking background and what you seem to be wanting to try on the trails, the P2 would be a good choice for you to break into mtb-ing. It is an entry level DH/FR/DJ type of bike that may have some questionable components should one try huge drops and jumps-namely wheels and fork.

That said, it is pretty important that the bike fits you and serves the riding style you are interested in. If you are interested in some XC or All Mountain, perhaps an AM bike might be a worthy consideration. For XC, the P2 might be heavier than XC hardtails. At your size, I would say you need at least a large frame--you didn't say what size the pre-owned P2 is. If it is truly in new condition, the price seems reasonable since that bike retailed for around $900-$1000 new. I would always make a lower offer on anything used and see if you can negotiate some savings from the asking price.


EDIT: As this is a bike that may have been used for some extreme riding, query the previous owner about this and check the frame over very well for bent tubes and cracked welds--also check the fork and wheel true. The fork should move through the full range of travel without any clunking at either end.
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Thanks for the info... What exactly am I looking for when inspecting the bike - Can you give me a rundown, if its not too much trouble.

I asked the seller about the size but haven't gotten a response.
its going to be hard to pedal. short seat tube etc. not gonna be good for the long haul in the trail
Anything come to mind or better to test out MB'ing ? and preferably don't want to spend an arm and a leg.

Also, would this be decent for DownHill ?
Well you said you want to try dirt jumping and urban riding. The P1 or P2 would be great for this type of riding, as that is what it was designed for. It may not be the most comfortable for trail riding, but if you'll spend the majority of your time on jumps and fooling around on the streets, I'd look for a DJ bike.

If you'll spend the majority of your time on the trail, and try the jumps once in a while, I'd go for a stronger HT, like the P1: All Mountain if you want to stick with Specialized. There's a ton of bikes out there, and $300 for a used bike is a very realistic goal for a good bike to get started with.
Closely inspect all the frame joint welds and the tubing immediately adjacent to the welds for cracks. Small dings and dents are usually okay but larger ones can be a problem with aluminum frames as a crack may form there later on.

While test riding, shift the bike through all gears up and down to make sure the derailleurs are hitting each gear selection immediately and without grinding and excessive noise.

Inspect the brake and shifter cables looking for rusted cable, kinks in the cable or housings.

Make sure the brakes stop the bike adequately and without surging or excess vibration which may indicate bent rotors. Some noise from disc brakes is normal but grinding is not.

Inspect the wheels/tires by spinning them, looking both lengthwise and at the rim to determine how true they are. Also give the spokes a tug to check for tightness. I also will check wheel bearing preload/wear by grabbing the wheel at the top and wiggling it side-to-side to see if there is excess wobble--some lateral free play is necessary for best spin and to avoid over-tight bearing wear but I typically keep my bikes quite tight. Obviously check air pressure.

That bike has nutted wheels, I believe, rather than quick-releases. Check these nuts for proper torque--enough to keep the wheel on while you are testing it-recheck with tools if you buy it.

Check the preload on the headset bearing by braking the front wheel and rocking the bike back-and-forth. There should be no forward-aft movement at the stem or top of the fork. Some movement at the front brake may occur.

Make sure the saddle and seat post are secure.

These are the main things I look for whether looking at a used bike or picking up a new, professionally setup bike. Even pros can miss something and I know what I like and makes me feel secure.

As was previously posted, for longer trail rides and climbing, the more purpose designed DH bikes are not the most comfortable or easy because of the low saddle/seat tube height. Some All Mountain bikes can be a good compromise between a heavy bike that can be hucked and a light XC bike. They are often beefier for the drops and tricks yet the geometry is more suited to longer stints in the saddle and climbing. But if you really like the DH layout and don't mind mashing it more often, the P2 may work nicely.
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Thanks.... Well good news, I picked up the bike :) I checked everything you suggested and all looked great. To be honest, the bike looked like it was rarely ridden, which was corroborated by the sellers statement. The only major wear (which by no means was major) was small paint chips in the middle parts of the frame - perhaps from lying/standing the bike up against hard objects.

I tested the bike for a couple minutes last night and everything seemed fine. My one concern/question, and this might be just because of my lack of knowledge of bikes, the breaks to me seem a little soft ? it's been a long while since i've actually been on a bike and never a bike of this caliber (i know not the most high end, but not your everyday wally world put together).

This actually might also be because I went up an down the block and that's as far as I got with testing. To describe "soft", when I apply the back break seems like it takes a while for it to come to a complete stop ? break pads look good might just need some re-adjustment ?

I plan on taking it in to my LBS and having them overlook the bike and perform a "tune-up" if needed - unless you suggest something else ? Also, what should one expect to pay for such a service ? roughly...

I'm in the Inland Empire, So Cal area
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jaysen said:
I plan on taking it in to my LBS and having them overlook the bike and perform a "tune-up" if needed - unless you suggest something else ? Also, what should one expect to pay for such a service ? roughly...
Glad to hear you were able to make the purchase. My guess is the bike fits you well and was a pretty good deal considering the condition.

The LBS idea is right on. In addition to the check/adjust/tune, the mechanic will probably be glad to help you with a more complete understanding of the components of the bike and what you should keep an eye on as you ride. You can expect to pay $30-$50 for this level of work, obviously more if parts and install labor are required. They will likely be happy to have a new service customer even though you purchased it outside their shop.

Keep reading here and doing searches when you have questions as well as asking questions.

Enjoy the ride.
Thanks to Dave and everyone that contriuted... Now on to finding a helmet !
jaysen said:
Thanks to Dave and everyone that contriuted... Now on to finding a helmet !
Another poor soul falls victim to the sickness :D
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