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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Howdy folks,

I'm a noob to this site and I'm planning on picking up a used hardtail, though I'm not entirely sure what to look out for. I've read the reviews on components and this one that I'm eyeing seems to have the fairly good stuff on it.

Here's some details on the bike:

15.5" Specialized Stumpjumper w Judy SID XC Fork
XTR rear deraileur
XT front deraileur
Avid brakes
XT shifters
Mavic 517 rims
Dia Comp brake levers
135mm Stem,
8 speed cassette
LX rear hub
XT front hub
Bontrager saddle

Aside from checking out the obvious (i.e. inquiring about last tune up, component condition, smoothness of shifting, checking for dents/bends), what are some other things that I should be looking out for?

-ryan
 

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remember that people who buy high end usually use the stuff high end. XT is more than enough, but whatever it is ,the condition is the important bit. I use sram x7 and x9 which are excellent and another option. the high end levers etc are lighter, but not better. Put your money to the bits that matter, the shifters and rear derailleur, good headset, decent forks and double wall rims with eyelets, assuming you want to thrash it.
 

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You're on the right path

gooder77 said:
I'm a noob to this site and I'm planning on picking up a used hardtail, though I'm not entirely sure what to look out for. I've read the reviews on components and this one that I'm eyeing seems to have the fairly good stuff on it.

Aside from checking out the obvious (i.e. inquiring about last tune up, component condition, smoothness of shifting, checking for dents/bends), what are some other things that I should be looking out for?

-ryan
Sounds like you're on the right path. Examine the bike and compoennts carefully and look for signs of excessive wear or abuse. Small dings on the frame are to be expected, but stay away from larger dents. Check the welds. Any sign of a crack, regardless how small-walk away. Check the cranks and headset for play. Same with the hubs, both front and rear.

I hope this helps.

Bob
 

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Get on and ride..

...is the answer. If you're buying used stuff, you gotta ride on it. Ask questions about servicing and maintenance and you'll get a good idea of how much TLC a bike has had. If somebody is vague and trys to avoid giving solid answers you have to wonder...why? Think first about components that have a knock-on effect if they don't work, hubs being the main concern here. Even XT hubs will break down if they're not looked after and, even if the rim is OK, you're looking at many extra pennies to fit a new hub into a wheel. It may work out cheaper to replace the whole wheel.
Look very, very closely at all the components for signs of wear and tear, scratches and scrapes, and get a hold of stuff. Start of gently trying to move things in directions contrary to which they'd move in operation; wobble the rear mech in and out from the rear wheel. How much play do the pivots have? An XTR mech, for example, should have zero play. Get some weight behind the cranks to feel for play in the bottom bracket. With the bike on the floor, apply each brake by itself and wobble the bike, first forward and backwards and then grab the braked wheel at top centre and gently rock along the direction of the axle. This will check for play in the hub bearings.
Once you've gotten a feel for the bike when it's standing, give it a ride. And not just once around the guys drive. Give them some kind of deposit, or leave your friend/wife/dog with them, check the brakes work OK and take it down the street, treat it rough and listen for creaks and groans. Try pedalling hard from standing in top gear to check for chain-slip. How does it shift? Do the brakes do what they should do? Poor brakes are an excellent sign that a bike hasn't been looked after. If somebody doesn't adjust something they use on every ride, what are the chances they've had their hubs serviced? Check rims for signs of wear from maladjusted and grit-filled pads.
If you can get the bike checked over by an independent store they might tell you that the poor shifting can be fixed with new cables, or that it needs a new chain and cassette. You can then figure on walking away or knocking the price down.
It's real easy to get inadvertantly ripped off buying used stuff, as much through the sellers ignorance as your own.
If you find a bike that you like there's one final thing that often gets overlooked. Check the serial number, It'll usually be stamped under the bottom bracket shell. If there is any sign that the number has been deliberately obscured then you have to walk away, no matter how good the bike/price. You can even check with the police to see if a serial number has been registered as stolen, and Specialized have their own registration system. If an insurance company has paid out on a stolen bike then it belongs to them. If you're caught riding it, even if you can prove you didn't steal it, it will be taken off you without compensation.
Take your time, pay attention to the seller (but don't be afraid to tell them to butt out while you check the bike over), scrutinize every part of the bike yourself. If in doubt, get somebody else to check it out.
Hope that all helps,
Peace,
Steve.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you eveyone for all the advice and help. I ended up snagging a Rockhopper w/ a Fox F80RL fork. It's a little bit of an older frame, though the fork is only a couple years old and the frame is in really good condition. The seller was a real stand up guy, too. Went over every single component. It really helped that my neighbor went along with me and asked all right questions. Took it for a spin up and down the block, off of curbs, slammed on the brakes and everything checked out.

I'm going out for a ride tomorrow to put it through its paces and feel it out a bit more.

-ryan
 
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