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lordofthemark
07-09-2012, 05:40 PM
I've been trying to bike a couple of hours every week or so. I am more interested in transportation biking, eventually commuting (combined with transit based on my current location) than in stuff like racing. To the extent that matters.

As it happens the only bike we own is a mountain bike. While I'm glad I have it for Cross County Trail excursions, I think I really need a road bike or hybrid (others in my family could use the mountain bike).


I was thinking of looking for a used bike. A friend said "the bike is an extension of your body, buy new" but at this point I'm not comfortable on spending a lot, and fear what I would get new for a nominal amount would not be good. IF I continue to be obsessed, I can get a fancy new bike later (and pass the used bike on to family, I guess).

Your ideas are appreciated.

jopamora
07-09-2012, 06:52 PM
The Bicycle House has a used bike buyers guide (http://www.scribd.com/doc/81330112/Buying-a-Used-Bike)

Also, Greenbelt shared his notes and tips (http://bikearlingtonforum.com/showthread.php?1790-Peer-Review-Personal-Notes-on-Longer-Distance-Commuting) on bikes/gear and commuting.

Good luck. I was thinking it would be cool to build a bike from spare parts from what people have lying around. All I have to contribute are some handlebars/stem and a couple of kid bikes.

off2ride
07-09-2012, 10:57 PM
Bike Club in Falls Church sells used bikes and spare parts. (703) 532-4116. (How do I know their number? I have the water bottle here in front of me) That place is cramped with bikes and parts. Watch your step. There's another store that just opened in Annandale. They are on Little River Turnpike. I think they've only been open a few days so I guess just Google it. Best of luck.

americancyclo
07-10-2012, 07:44 AM
Bike Club is a great place, and they recently cleaned up everything! You can see the ceiling now. Great customer service there. Phoenix Bikes is also an option, they sell used bikes and teach kids how to repair them. They are a non-porift that I would definitely consider giving my money to, but the selection varies.

Dirt
07-10-2012, 07:55 AM
I too love Bike Club. I've bought a few bikes from them over the years. They were "encouraged" to clean up a bit by the fire marshal. It is a cool shop, but a little less so now that you're no longer taking your life in your hands by walking through.

When buying used, it really helps to know what you're looking for. Things can work fine and look good, but if the cogs, chainrings and chain are worn, you'll be spending $100-200 to replace all of that.... more if you have to pay someone to install all of that for you. That's one example.

Good luck.

GuyContinental
07-10-2012, 08:22 AM
When buying used, it really helps to know what you're looking for. Things can work fine and look good, but if the cogs, chainrings and chain are worn, you'll be spending $100-200 to replace all of that.... more if you have to pay someone to install all of that for you. That's one example.

A good tool to have anyway is a basic chain measurement bar- I use the Park CC-3.2:
http://www.aawyeah.com/park-tool-cc-3-2c-chain-wear-indicator/

Yes, it's not perfect and yes if you know what you are doing you can use a caliper but it's cheap and easy. Buy one for $10 and check wear before you buy. Note that a new chain with a worn out cassette will quickly kill the new chain. A worn cassette might have lateral motion or more visually have "hooked" cogs.

Also, if you happen to be tall (6'3" +) I've been ordered to clear out a well cared for 60cm road bike with lots of nice bits.

EasyRider
07-10-2012, 09:32 AM
You might also check out Papillon Cycles on Columbia Pike. Last time I was there, I saw a small selection of practical used bikes for reasonable prices. I find that used bikes on Craigslist are usually overpriced or have things wrong with them. There's a ton of competition for the halfway decent ones on there, especially in the warm months.

Another option for used bikes is Phoenix on Four Mile Run.

DaveK
07-10-2012, 09:49 AM
You will not save money by building a bike from individually bought components. You will, however, learn a ton and have a great experience.

jabberwocky
07-10-2012, 09:50 AM
Buying a used bike is a bit of a crapshoot. There are some great bikes and screaming deals out there, but there are tons of overpriced bikes that aren't worth the asking price (or require enough repairs to be rideable to eat up any savings you get over a new bike). Telling the difference requires a basic level of knowledge, which has always made me nervous recommending used bikes to new riders. The difference between a great deal and a bike that is going to require a few hundred dollars in parts isn't always immediately apparent.

Whats your budget, roughly? Your transportation needs, are they going to be all pavement, or some mix of pavement/gravel/trail? About how far do you intend to ride? Carrying cargo, or just yourself?

Dirt
07-10-2012, 09:52 AM
You will not save money by building a bike from individually bought components. You will, however, learn a ton and have a great experience.
Amen to that. It *is* possible to save money that way, but you really gotta work for it and be very patient. eBay can be great, but it takes time to live by the killer deal.

rcannon100
07-10-2012, 10:14 AM
I have not bought a new bike in 25 years.

First, I agree with what the peanut gallery is saying. It really helps to know what you are looking for... and it helps to know a bit about bikes. That said, what are you looking for??? If you are looking for a high performance, going to do centuries, extension of your self bike... yeah, you might want new. If you are looking for a beater that you are going to chain up at the metro stop... pthhh.... you can get that at any yard sale.

I use to make my wife furious. We both do yard sales. I would declare that we needed a new bike, and within a week I would be home with a new bike from a yard sale. Bikes are a bit like exercise equipment. People tend to over buy thinking that if they spend a lot of money, they will be lance armstrong. Money dont make you lance any more than buying expensive clubs makes you Tiger. There is an abundant supply of used bikes floating around, as can be demonstrated by the boat loads of bikes the suburbs keep shipping to africa.

In my mind, bikes are like cars. You are paying a real premium to buy it new, and the value drops a few thousand dollars the second the wheels leave the lot. I dont know anything about cars; I buy them new and drive them into the ground. Bikes, I buy used.

Arlington Farmers Market Court House has a guy who sells bikes out of the back of his truck. Phoenix bikes is good Friday eve and Saturday Morn. First Saturday of every month there is a flea market in the garage over 66 at Washington & Lee. There is a guy there that sells bikes. Try Velocity bike coop.

My previous bike met its demise on Lincoln Memorial Circle. With the money the GEICO gave me, I went on craigslist and had my dream bike in a couple of weeks. I was able to look up the guy I bought it from and was fairly confident he had not stolen it. He let me test ride it for probably like an hour (round and round his block). I have been window shopping for a new bike, and knew what I wanted, when the need to replace arose.

Speaking of which, hey GuyContinental,


Also, if you happen to be tall (6'3" +) I've been ordered to clear out a well cared for 60cm road bike with lots of nice bits.

Tell me more about your bike... I'm interested.

mstone
07-10-2012, 10:38 AM
Step 1: identify whether you have time, money, or both

vvill
07-10-2012, 07:33 PM
If you are considering new at all, I'll throw in a plug for Bikenetic. They have a good range of bikes that aren't aimed at the road racer crowd and should suit your transportation/commuting aims, and based on my impressions, won't try to upsell you so you should be able to get good value. They also have a lifetime basic maintenance policy with new bikes. The only other place that does that is Performance Bike and their customer service and sales staff are ordinary, at best.

lordofthemark
07-14-2012, 01:17 PM
I went to the bike shop that just opened off Little River Turnpike. Hole in the wall place. All bikes for sale are used, some on consignment I think. The woman there seemed knowledgeable (though she said her husband knew more - literally mom and pop business I guess) Said bikes were refurbished, looked good - she seemed to grasp what I was looking for. I went there by bike after an hour ride around Annandale, so I did not feel like test riding just then, but I will go back. I saw bikes that looked like they would fit my need for $200 to $300 or so.

lordofthemark
07-15-2012, 03:01 PM
Toward the end of my ride today (on the old mtn bike) I felt the brakes were not working very well - so instead of coming home I took the bike in the (to the annandale bike shop) for new brake pads, and while its in for that, a "tune up" which I am told is adjusting the derailers, safety check, etc $10 for the pads and $25 for the tune up. I figure its a local business, and I really want there to be a bike shop in this neighborhood.