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Should I buy a 2008 GT Force 3.0 for $600?

  • What are you, stupid? I ought to slap some sense into you. BUY IT!

    Votes: 1 33.3%
  • You're borderline retarded for even considering this... DON'T BUY IT!

    Votes: 2 66.7%
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Howdy all, first post here! I've been looking to replace my 1990's ParkPre and have been on the hunt for a good mountain bike for awhile. I've almost pulled the trigger on a new hardtail Giant/Specialized/Trek a few times now at the local dealers but have hesitated hoping to find a better deal on a used model. The other day I saw a listing for a medium 2008 GT Force 3.0 for $600 which seemed like a pretty good deal on a full suspension bike with hydraulic disc brakes. The seller states it hasn't seen much use and that it still has the original tires on it, albeit they are now dry rotted. An online search for sizing shows I need an 18" seat tube which is supposedly what the medium GT measures out to be. I've also read the forks are junk, not that it will be affecting me much until I get some experience behind the bars. So assuming it is as stated, is $600 a good deal on this bike? Has anybody owned one they'd care to comment on? Thanks for the input!
 

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Clueless genius
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First...ask to see real, physical pictures of the bike.
Second, the GT Force and Sanction frames of that era have a bit of an odd fit. They have a very high bottom bracket and high stand-over height, which means that your seat will look like it's a mile in the air and makes them a bit tricky to get on in some cases! For example, I stand next to my sanction and the seat is up to my ribs. yeah. Also, you don't need an 18" seatpost, you'd need an 18" seatTUBE. Or a medium. Just look for a medium frame bike as every frame will fit differently and every manufacturer sizes things a little different.
Third, the suspension is a big high-maintenance. The bearing are very exposed to dirt and debris as you ride along, and once it gets in there, they start to make the most horrendous creaking noise which sounds like the metal's shattering! (Fortunately that's not the case!) Although relatively easy to service, it's still a bit of a pain!

That said, they are nice-riding bikes, if a bit quirky, and while the frames are a bit overbuilt and heavy, they're pretty darn tough too!

Now...the low price on it has me thinking there may be some rather dubious secrets hiding in that bike. Personally...I'd probably pass and keep looking for something else to pop up, and also increase my budget when looking for full-suspension bikes. You can certainly get lucky and get a nice one for not much money (I landed a 2007 prophet in practically new condition for 700 bucks 3 years ago), but you need to be patient. Also, when looking for used full-suspension bikes...Simpler is better. Sure a fancy multi-linkage frame may ride really nice, but you don't know for sure the condition of those bearings, if bushings are super-worn, and if you need to replace them all...not cheap! As much as I like the way the GT's ride, I suggest looking for something simpler and a little more conventional. IE a prophet, rush, heckler, pitch, slayer, element, fluid, etc. Good luck to you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Not too worried about him sending photo's as I'd rather see it in person anyhow( which I will be doing later today. On that note, If it has been abused, where would it show the most? Also, I assume from your reply that the price is too low and the deal seems a bit fishy...? Thank you very much for your reply.
 

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Clueless genius
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Look for dents in the wheels, bent spokes, cracks in the frame, check the chain for rust. He mentioned dry-rotted tires so you know about those already. Bounce around on the fork and look for signs of heavily leaking oil. Stand up and pedal hard to check for the telltale I-drive creak, shift through all the gears, look if the teeth on the chain rings are worn down, rounded, bent, broken, etc. Look at the cassette to see if the gear teeth look like shark's teeth, indicating if they're worn out. (which would mean you'd need a new chain and a new cassette) Rock the wheels side to side to check for play in the hubs. Grab the front brake and rock the bike forward and back, feeling for play in the headset and listening for knocking sounds. Look at the pulley wheels in the derailer, if they're pointy then they need replacing. Lift the frame by the toptube, feeling for a small clunk, which means the shock bushings are worn.

Ask LOTS of questions! When was the last tune up? What parts have they replaced? have the shocks been serviced? if so, when? What problems have they had with the bike, and how were they fixed? stuff like that. But ask LOTS of questions. Memorize some info on the bike before you drive over to see it, and if the owner really doesn't seem to know much about the bike, or is dodging questions...I'd pass on it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Alright, so I had a good look at it today and found a few issues... every sprocket has "shark toothed" teeth, one of the front fork seals is weeping, needs a rear tube, front rotor is bent and the front derailleur has a bit of a hard time downshifting. On the plus side it didn't have any odd creaks or groans, the bearings in both wheels felt good, the suspension felt solid and since it was used as a commuter, the frame is in really good shape, no scratches, dents or cracks to speak of.

So assuming I need to replace the;
-tires
-tubes
-chain
-cassette and all sprockets
-fork seals
-front rotor
and have a general service performed, does this still seem like a good deal? Thanks again for all your input.
 

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Clueless genius
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Making some rough price guessing, and ignoring labor costs for the most part...
Bike: $800
Tires: $60-100
Tubes: $5-10
Chain: $20
Cassette: $30
Chainrings/Crank: $50-100/$75-250
Fork seals + service: >$100
Rotor: $10-25
Tune-up: $50-80
Gear cable + instal: $30

I'd say...that's a no! If the bike was in good condition and didn't need a lot of work, I'd say go for it, but as you described it, you'd be spending a large sum of money on top of the cost of the bike to get it into proper riding condition.

Don't be discouraged though! Keep hunting around your local craigslist and something is bound to pop up! Also, if you want, post a link to your local CL, and people on the forums here, myself included would be more than happy to help look and suggest bikes to you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you again for your responses so far. One last question, If it didn't need any thing and was in "very good" condition, what, in your opinion, would the approximate street value be? Thanks again!
 
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