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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys!

So I am looking into getting a new bike. Originally I wanted a hybrid just to get around town, but there are some cool trails around here & I'd like to get a MTB & check them out, but still use a bike around town. Still a student, so $$ is a major factor, but I'd like something solid so if I get into it, I can either upgrade components on the bike or the bike itself.

I've pretty much been scoping out craigslist for things originally <200, but maybe up to 300.

A few things:

What kind of things should ask about/test out when I'm looking at these bikes apart from just riding them around and clicking thru the gears?

Easiest way to make sure they aren't stolen?

I started out looking at things like this:
http://houston.craigslist.org/bik/1505428288.html

But also any thoughts on these? (components, pricing, etc):

Kona Fire Mt.
http://austin.craigslist.org/bik/1531779114.html

'04 Rockhopper (asking 350):
"All upgrades with Juicy Seven disc brakes, Deore lx drivetrain, Mavic 317 wheels, Truvativ Isoflow cranks and Ritchey seat post. Front fork - Manitou Skareb air spring 80mm. Kenda tires are brand new and brand new front derailleur. Its a medium frame size 17. Spd clips included."

'04 Haro Escape 8.2 (althought it *might* be sold - asking 350)
"This is a great bike. I changed the original wheels with "WTB Laserdisc Trail" on Shimano LX hubs. The tires are WTB ExiWolf 2.3". I have about 50 miles on this wheelset. All shimano Deore LX drivetrain with hydraulic disc brakes. All upgrades from the original setup."

'07 Cannondale F4 (asking 370)
"Medium size. Disc brakes. X-5 front derailer. X-7 rear derailer."

Am I on the right track?

Thanks guys :thumbsup:

Also, someone suggested motobecane bikes, but I dont know anything about them. I was pretty much searching CL for brand names I recognized. I looked into them, it looks like they are chinese/tawianese made bikes which I was hesitant to consider at first, but it looks like even these name-brand bikes are made there now...?
 

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I think you are on the right track. The Cannondale F4 and the Rockhopper would be a good choice. Make sure you get the correct size bike though. If it doesn't feel right don't buy it. Check for cracks in the frame (around the welds near the seat tube and head tube), listen for any odd noises like creaking or grinding. Make sure the wheels spin true (or at least close). Make an offer for $300 and see what happens.

The Motobecane bikes are sold by Bikes Direct. If you can't find anything local in your budget then that might not be a bad option. About 95% of bikes these days come from China or Taiwan. The Taiwanese bikes are usually consider to be a little better in quality.
 

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Are you in college? The easiest way to make sure it isn't stolen on a campus, is to make sure it is harder to steal than the bike next to it. If you can keep it inside or rent a bike locker for the semester, that would be better, but still not fool proof.

You'll want the smallest U lock that can fit around the frame and what you are locking to and a cable lock around the u lock, both wheels, and anything else that has a QR. Even then, bike thefts are all too common and if someone wants your bike, they'll take it.

I second the Cannondale and Rockhopper. But you are on the right track. I know one guy with a Haro and it's a great bike too.
 

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rocket3004 said:
Easiest way to make sure they aren't stolen?
I think he means easiest way to make sure it's not a "hot" bike. Good bikes (cheap ones, too) have serial numbers and the rightful owners usually keep paperwork with this number stored in a safe place--I know I do. Ask the bike seller to show you his/her paperwork with this number verifying ownership and do the best you can to match that up to the seller's actual name. If they can't find it or otherwise produce it, I'd likely walk away. If the number has been ground off or otherwise altered, definitely walk. You could also check with the local PD-- if the bike has been stolen and the owner completed a police report with the description and serial number, that info will be in the police data base. Who knows, various CL searches may reunite bikes and owners.
 

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rocket3004 said:
Also, someone suggested motobecane bikes, but I dont know anything about them. I was pretty much searching CL for brand names I recognized. I looked into them, it looks like they are chinese/tawianese made bikes which I was hesitant to consider at first, but it looks like even these name-brand bikes are made there now...?
you're aware that taiwanese bikes are made just as good or better than american bikes right?

you're aware that even if you're not counting the frame, all other parts will 95% chance be made in taiwan. Everyone is riding them, even the pros here that race, even lance armstrong.
 

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louisssss said:
you're aware that taiwanese bikes are made just as good or better than american bikes right?

you're aware that even if you're not counting the frame, all other parts will 95% chance be made in taiwan. Everyone is riding them, even the pros here that race, even lance armstrong.
I agree that there's nothing wrong with bikes made in Taiwan,but saying Lance Armstrong's Trek's were made in Taiwan is just plain ignorant.:madman:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
First off, I just wanted to say thanks for all of the replies!

So, based on the collective input here & on one other msg board I frequent, it seemed like the Cannondale was the bike of choice here... and it was the closest one to me - the others were a few hours away from me in neighboring cities. I checked it out yesterday - the guy was older, the original owner and was helpful. So clearly it wasn't stolen (had receipts and what not) and was owned by an enthusiast. It was in good shape, (and NOT poop brown, but silver). Road it around, settled on a price, and I brought it home!! I am super excited and really want to hit the trails. I am always nervous about big purchases (I'm in school so this is a decent chunk of money for me), but I think it worked out in the end.

So yeah - thanks for the input. So know I have more questions!
First off:
Are all helmets essentially the same?
Are all u-locks the same?

And of course when I hit the trails, I might have to post in the local region forum, but ummm how do I know which direction to go in? Assuming I find some trails good for newbs, are most trails in parks clearly delineated, 'cause I don't want to get lost out there!

Oh - and this bike was made in the US. I know about manuf. these days, and I would have been fine with an overseas bike, but I guess I, like many, (unfairly?) hold onto that mentality that certain mechanical/industrial things made here are of better quality (eg. hand tools for example).
 

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rocket3004 said:
First off, I just wanted to say thanks for all of the replies!

So, based on the collective input here & on one other msg board I frequent, it seemed like the Cannondale was the bike of choice here... and it was the closest one to me - the others were a few hours away from me in neighboring cities. I checked it out yesterday - the guy was older, the original owner and was helpful. So clearly it wasn't stolen (had receipts and what not) and was owned by an enthusiast. It was in good shape, (and NOT poop brown, but silver). Road it around, settled on a price, and I brought it home!! I am super excited and really want to hit the trails. I am always nervous about big purchases (I'm in school so this is a decent chunk of money for me), but I think it worked out in the end.

So yeah - thanks for the input. So know I have more questions!
First off:
Are all helmets essentially the same?
Are all u-locks the same?

And of course when I hit the trails, I might have to post in the local region forum, but ummm how do I know which direction to go in? Assuming I find some trails good for newbs, are most trails in parks clearly delineated, 'cause I don't want to get lost out there!

Oh - and this bike was made in the US. I know about manuf. these days, and I would have been fine with an overseas bike, but I guess I, like many, (unfairly?) hold onto that mentality that certain mechanical/industrial things made here are of better quality (eg. hand tools for example).
all helmets have to meet a certain safety spec, i would trust any one sold on the market today. But not all of them are the same. Some are heavier/lighter. Some have more/less ventilation. Some feel more/less comfortable. A helmet is like an article of clothing, at least try it on and find your size (do not buy1 size fits all.) My exp with helmets is get a well ventilated one. i got mine for $80 from my LBS, it was cheaper than online. It is the Specialized Decibel. My gf got her Giro Phase online, found her size at a shop, tried it on. The net was almost half the price.

no, not all u locks are the same either. just among Kryptonite's locks alone there is a broad range of "safety" ranges. I've seen videos of cheapo U locks get broken with a simple car jack. Locks are not something u want to skimp out on. A stolen bike will make you a sad puppy.

my local trails all have arrows and "wrong way" signs for direction. Except the larger main roads are two ways

and take some pics of that F4!
 

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louisssss said:
all helmets have to meet a certain safety spec, i would trust any one sold on the market today. But not all of them are the same. Some are heavier/lighter. Some have more/less ventilation. Some feel more/less comfortable. A helmet is like an article of clothing, at least try it on and find your size (do not buy1 size fits all.) My exp with helmets is get a well ventilated one. i got mine for $80 from my LBS, it was cheaper than online. It is the Specialized Decibel. My gf got her Giro Phase online, found her size at a shop, tried it on. The net was almost half the price.

no, not all u locks are the same either. just among Kryptonite's locks alone there is a broad range of "safety" ranges. I've seen videos of cheapo U locks get broken with a simple car jack. Locks are not something u want to skimp out on. A stolen bike will make you a sad puppy.

my local trails all have arrows and "wrong way" signs for direction. Except the larger main roads are two ways

and take some pics of that F4!
HOLY BALLS! Louissssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss just posted something insightful and fact containing! I might shed a tear on this one.

Almost any U lock can be broken with a Volvo jack, but to be fair there is no lock available that can stop a thief who is determined enough to get your bike. I have a Kabeltek lock that is made from stranded fibers which is said to be very resistant to hacksaws and cable cutters, so I feel pretty good about leaving my bike places when I have to.

As far as directional trails, unless it's posted or painfully obvious, then it's probably a two way trail. If you're riding up a hill and keep getting bombed by guys with full face helmets and armor, then it's probably a good time to turn around and ride in the other direction.
 

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rocket3004 said:
First off:
Are all helmets essentially the same?
Are all u-locks the same?
Same safety - yes. Fit no, quality no. I suppose that does affect your safety. Probably spend at least $40 at a bike shop, not at Target.

U-locks? Well, ultimately locks are deterrents. Use a cheapo lock, that won't stop anyone. Put a Kryptonite NY Lock on? Lots of thieves just move onto the next bike.

The biggest mistake is to just leave it outside for days on end.

P.S. The Kryptonite Evo Mini is considered by many to be the most secure lock on the market, and it is relatively light and compact. Use it with a cable for the wheels and the seat, and you should be good.
 
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