General Question

elafler's avatar

What kind of used bike should I buy?

Asked by elafler (21points) January 3rd, 2007
I live in San Francisco, don't ride very often, but want something to get around that costs less than $100 and won't get stolen (i guess those go together).
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8 Answers

nomtastic's avatar
i have one i can sell you in berkeley for $140. it's a rad diamondback frame with lots of excellent parts. would be a fantastic commuter bike. to keep it from getting stolen, i'd reccomend the locks with the bulldog on the package.
brownlemur's avatar
What will you be using it for primarily? If it's short distance commuting in a city, then any kind of cheap bike will do the job - however, don't forget that you get what you pay for. Those cheap bikes they sell at walmart tend to be made of extremely low grade components, and they need to be fixed more often than something you would get at a local bike shop. I'd check out craigslist to see what people are selling locally - it's good that you're looking for used bikes, as you won't find a new dependable bike for under a few hundred dollars. Don't forget a helmet!
evander's avatar
One idea is to go into a bike shop and get fitted and get an idea of different brands of bikes you feel comfortable on. Then be diligent about checking craigslist and you'll eventually come across something that is your size and a brand you like. There are a lot of older bikes that are high quality and are cheaper than a newer flashier models. I have a 10 year old trek that has worked well for me.
brownlemur's avatar
True, you want to ride a bike that is fit for you, but most local bike shops frown on the idea of fitting people for bikes that won't be purchased at that store. Because of this, most shops will charge you for a fitting. In most cases, if you then buy a bike from that shop, the fitting fee is essentially waived (there will always be exceptions). The gist of this response is: your local bike shop doesn't like to fit you to a bike unless you pay them or you are buying a bike from them.
elafler's avatar
wow, thanks for all the advice! i'm probably only going to use it for short commuting in the city, but it occurs to me that if i had a better bike, i might enjoy it more, thus take more rides. is there a way to estimate what size bike i should get without getting fitted at a store? craigslist has been where i've been looking, but i just don't know how to evaluate all of them.
brownlemur's avatar
Basically it depends on a few things: what type of bike it is, the measurement from the center of the bottom bracket (BB) to the top of the seat tube, and the standover height. For a road bike, you want about 1 inch or so of standover clearance between you and the top tube; for a mountain bike, 3-4 inches will do. For hybrids, somewhere in between those distances is fine, By standover height I mean when you are placing your feet flat on the ground and straddling the top tube - you shouldn't be touching the bike at that point. That is one thing to look for. I am 6'2'' and ride 3 road bikes of varying sizes (58, 59, and 60 cm). Different bike companies' frames fit differently (some will call a 58 a 60 or vice versa). I can't get into all of the other details of bike fitting without actually showing you, but one other thing that will be important for your comfort is how high your seatpost is. You should adjust your seatpost to where your knee has only a slight bend in it at its greatest extension while pedaling. Otherwise this could lead to knee problems or worse. I hope this all helps!
emilyrose's avatar
I think you would do well with a mt bike but getting skinnier tires, or getting a hybrid....its good for commuting, and if you ever feel like going on an easy trail ride you'll be able to... also dont count on any bike not getting stolen, def get a u-lock and use it all the time. my friend lost his bianchi when he didnt lock it cuz it had a flat...and he only left it a few minutes.....
emilyrose's avatar
you can also always go to a store, pretend you are very interested in buying a bike, and get a sense of what size you are... i did that and its not a big deal...

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