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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm glad Francois stopped in at the CarReview forum looking for commuter car advice. By a strange coincedence, I was looking for a mountain bike at the same time he was looking for a car. And I had been thinking of just getting one of the so-called mountain bikes at Wally World. Now I can see why this would be a really bad idea... my size puts me well into Clydesdale territory, and if I ever got a cheapo Mongoose airborn, I'm not sure what would break first.

But I'm still on a very low budget - call it $200, tops. So I guess that means a used bike from a LBS or Ebay, and from what I've seen in this forum, any bike with a rear suspension in this price range will be more trouble than it's worth. And I'm 6'2" tall, around 230 lbs. So I'll need to find a bike that can take my weight. I've been riding a Panasonic street bike for a while - maybe once a week at most, though. And I do know how to do basic bike maintenance. But I'm a total newbie when it comes to serious bikes - I have no clue what part brands out there are junk and what is good. It's only in the past day that I figured out what LBS stood for. :)

Are there any things I should be looking for or looking out for when I inspect a bike?
 

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Welcome to mtbr

Hope you find the site to be helpful and informative. Here are some things you should look for. The list is by no means all-encompassing:

1) Integrity of the frame. Check for cracks, (especially at the welds) dings, dents or anything else that could lead to structural failure. If you find any cracks at the welds, walk away fast. Small dents could be of concern based on where you find them.

2) Drive train condition: Look at the chain rings on the crankset as well as the cassette. do they look like they have been cleaned and maintained? If they have a lot of black greasy looking substance, then chances are they haven't been maintained very well. They'll never look perfect, but if well maintained, won't be covered in thick black goo. To the untrained eye, it may be difficult to tell if the chainrings are worn. Check the front and rear derailleur for the same things.

3) Wheels and tires: Check tires for tread, dry rot and any damage. it's one thing for the tires to be worn, but damage and dry rot are issues. Check the rims to see if they are true. Visually inspect the hubs. Spin the tires and look for any wobble (out of true), and to make sure they spin freely. The hubs may make a distincg "whirring" type of noice, but listen for indications of grinding or anything that would indicate that the bearings are shot, such as not spinning freely for any length of time.

4) Check brake pads for excessive or abnormal wear.

Keep in mind that signs of wear are not necessarily bad. Break pads wear out. They're supposed to. So do tires. Look for abnormal wear, which could indicate improper usage, abuse, or other mechanical problem. If the bike looks like it's been ridden hard, I'd just walk away from it. There are too many bikes out there that people have purchased, ridden a few times and lost interest. A year of sitting in the garage, and they sell it at a huge discount in almost new condition. If you do find something that looks good, ask if you can buy it contingent upon a mechanics assessment. A seller may not agree to this, but if they do, I'd reccommend having someone who is experienced with bikes take a look at it. Maybe you know someone who knows about bikes and they could come along with you to inspect it.

My first bike was a used Giant Yukon and it cost me $150. I had to sink some money into it, but it served it's purpose and got me through a couple of years. Be wise about the purchasre and you should be fine.

Let us know how you make out.

Bob
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, Bob. I'll have to print out a copy of that checklist. Unfortunately the LBS's around here don't have a very big selection of used bikes, so finding one is going to be a challenge. I may just go with a new low-end hardtail.
 

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there are some good ebay sellers

There are some good ebay sellers out there, you can purchase maybe a 3 or 4 year old trek for around $200. I purchased a used bike off Ebay, a specialized Hardrock disc comp, whihc is a $600 bike for $200. I am having to put around $100 into it for some parts and tune up etc..... But its worth the money, I couldnt have purchsed a new bike anywhere near this quality for this price, in fact the nicest SHwinn at Wal Mart is $240. I like yoruelf are new to the sport and did tons of reaserch on "what to buy" and "what to look for", and the overwheling #1 thing I found out was get a good aluminum hardtail frame. A good frame can slowly be upgraded to better parts, if you get into the sport and your skills increase. You being a big guy a good aluminum frame should be your number one priority. There are several bikes to look for, an aluminum frame Trek, Specialized, Gary Fisher and a Raleigh can be found on ebay or other places used for around $200, but dont be in too big a hurry. I personally after shopping ebay, local papers, etc. found that the specialized hardrock and rockhopper were my best choices for a good frame. If ya have a bike to ride for now use it, then when the deal comes along on a decent bike jump on it. I hope this helps, just went thru the same thing you did, wanting a good hardtail entry level bike, for a very low entry level price.
 
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