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As the title suggests what should I be looking for and what kind of questions should I be asking?ie. cracks in welds, bearings.

Thanks
 

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if you are spending (bigger) money... i'd say bring it to your local friendly lbs and have them check it over. almost like a car.. but there are obvious crap to look for and i think the search on the forum still works... this type of thread MAY HAVE been done before ;) //g
 

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Probably the easiest thing you can do to check a bike when buying is to ride it. Shift through all the gears, test the brakes, test the suspension, make sure it is fully functional. If you don't have a lot of bike fixing/riding experience, ask one of your buddies who has been riding for a while to come along and help you out. If something doesn't immediately strike you as wrong, there probably really isn't anything majorly wrong. Have fun!
 

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To be honest I am less worried about bearings / bushings as they are a wear part and as long as they are not totally shot then really they shouldn't damage the frame. Its like break pads, if they are worn, fair enough, if they are shot and the backing has marked the discs, walk away.
Check the expensive parts, forks, check the damping and look for leaks, have they been serviced or left on the bike untouched from new?
Sam with the rear shock.
Cranks are they straight?, chain rings and cassette, check for hooked teeth due to a worn chain. I have seen a number of bikes come in for a new gear cable, when in-fact the shifting problems are due to a worn drivechain.
Wheels, check spokes and rims, again hub bearings might be on their way out but a new set is a lot cheaper than replacing a rim.

Best bit of advice I can think of... take a set of allen keys, check EVERY bolt that is directly into the frame and fork clamps, for some reason people seem to think they need to tighten them up to 100000lb/ft and then act surprised when they have stripped threads!
 
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