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Author Topic: Used high quality or new budget bike?  (Read 1648 times)

jmdavis984

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Used high quality or new budget bike?
« on: June 18, 2014, 01:55:48 PM »
I am to the point where I am ready for a new bike, and am doing a little classifieds surfing.  With a $500 budget, I am pretty limited to either used or budget-level bikes.  My current ride is a well-used 2005 Trek 820 that I bought new.  Other than a new rear derailleur (I replaced the Tourney unit with an Alivio I think), it is unchanged from stock.  It is currently in need of a new cassette/freewheel, chain, and crankset.  I typically use it to pull a bicycle trailer with kids in it around the neighborhood, but have also taken it through the Brown county trails, Rangeline, and Westwood.  I would like to set up my 820 as an on-road-only bike and have a dedicated offroad bike.

WIth that background, I have been looking at new and used bike ads.  I am perfectly happy with a hardtail ,but wouldn't kick a FS out of the garage if the right deal came up.  That leads me to my basic question.  I have seen some ads for VERY nice bikes (at least to me) like a Gary Fisher Paragon or Hoo Koo E Koo, but they are older (2007, 2009).  Would I be better off buying a bike like that, that may have some wear ad miles on it, or would I be just as well served with a new Diamondback Overdrive Sport or a Trek 3500 Disc?


Do you really get a "better" bicycle with more $, or do you just get better components?  Is a bicycle more than just a sum of its parts?  Any advice regarding new budget vs used quality would be much appreciated.  Thanks.

Hocky

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Re: Used high quality or new budget bike?
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2014, 02:23:49 PM »
I think that if you're capable of maintaining the bike (therefore know what to look for and how to fix them when shopping), you're better off buying used.

jmdavis984

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Re: Used high quality or new budget bike?
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2014, 02:46:08 PM »
I am getting comfortable with doing my own maintenance.  I am more than capable.  I do all of the work on my motorcycles.  There is a lot to learn that is rather intimidating, and I am especially struggling with BB's and cranksets and all the associated measurements (offset, spindle length, different square tapers, etc.).  I am trying to learn all that as I look for replacement parts for my Trek.

Zinjanthropus

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Re: Used high quality or new budget bike?
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2014, 01:39:45 AM »
I'd say for the money if you shop smart and really know what you want/what something is worth and what to watch out for, your best value is to buy used. Buying relatively local you can inspect the bike, test ride it, and perhaps determine how soon you'll need to replace anything that the seller has chosen to avoid investing in but possibly hasn't mentioned to you.

If you want a better guarantee of a trouble-free ride for at least the first year, go new with a hardtail in your price range. You'll sacrifice components at that pricepoint but they'll be new and won't need replacing for some time and any failures should fall back on the manufacturer. One perspective of used vs. new is: Will you be stuck tinkering in the garage more often than riding because you bought a used ride? Or will you be on the trail all the time with a new bike, having few concerns knowing you've got some trickle down from the biggest brand names coming from their best tech that smokes what went into your Trek, as great as it was at the time? Obviously one can never predict what happens the day after you buy a bike much less 6 months later.

Mountain bikes in general require care and maintenance so it's silly to not invest time to learn the basics, unless you always ride with a mechanic carrying a small bike shop on his back. What kind of peace of mind can you live with while riding? I think you're pushing a bit of the boundary for high expectations on a used bike for that amount but there will be exceptions to the rule- there are gems among the average and common findings.

Buying new at that level you're seeing a compromise of sorts in every area. But it really ends up that the components matter the most, assuming no crazy geometry that yields difficult riding regardless of elevation. You may find one brand gives you an above average brakeset, and another brand ups the ante in the drivetrain. Perhaps consider what you may have worn out the fastest (or fought with the most) on your current Trek and aim to find a model that offers a more robust version of that component in its package. Some shops may let you upgrade a component or two for less than retail cost so you walk out with a more robust part X rather than the stock part X.

If you buy used, make a checklist of what to inspect and walk through each item for any bike you test ride. You may not get to test it on a trail, but take it off a curb and make it earn your respect. Buying used and sight unseen can be risky, only you can determine the integrity of the seller. Current pictures are essential- people put pics in their ads of their 5-year old bike from the day they brought it home from the shop. Annoying.

A little background- I have bought 2 used mountain bikes in the past year- one off a bike site classified, the other off eBay. Budget was a bit higher, but overall I received what I expected. Some sellers have to be prodded to get info, others offer it readily. Anyone that acts cagey about questions you ask should probably be removed from consideration. I would buy used again, mostly because I always want to feel like I'm saving some $ by doing so. A future exception would be a closeout of models during an off-season/clearance sale.

Just my opinions. Take what sounds logical to you and disregard the rest. :)

Good luck in your shopping quest- it's a fun chore!


~Yet another Dave

jmdavis984

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Re: Used high quality or new budget bike?
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2014, 11:23:32 AM »
Thanks for the response Dave.  I realize that buying a "budget" level bike is a compromise, but for my skill level and the fact that I only trail ride once or twice a year (until the little ones are a little bigger, at least), a Budget-level bike would do me just fine.

Frankly, I have yet to over-ride the 820, at least in my own mind.  I do try to push my limits, but other than wear on the drive system and bending the rear hanger, I haven't had a crash that I could attribute to the bike and not the rider.  I figured if I need to put $150 into the Trek to keep it moving, I might as well spend a little more and get a whole new bike.  I really want disc brakes, a better fork, and I want to try 29" wheels.

 

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