1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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Thread: Craigslist bike

  1. #1
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    Craigslist bike

    I'm going to be going MTN biking with some friends later this month and am looking at buying my first real MTN bike (aka not a mongoose from waly-world). I found a gary fisher sugar 3 for sale in my area for $350. I was wondering if this would be a good first bike?Craigslist bike-sugar-1.jpgCraigslist bike-sugar-2.jpgCraigslist bike-sugar-3.jpg

  2. #2
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    Re: Craigslist bike

    I wouldn't pay $350 for that

    Sent from my HTC EVO LTE

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    Quote Originally Posted by ricky916 View Post
    I wouldn't pay $350 for that

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    Would I be better off with a newer hard tail?

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    Re: Craigslist bike

    I say learn on a hard tail. Plus hard tails you get better spec then full suspension for the same price.

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  5. #5
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    You would definitely be better off with a newer hardtail or even full suspension. That is a 2000 model year, and suspension technology has come a long way in 13 years.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricky916 View Post
    I say learn on a hard tail. Plus hard tails you get better spec then full suspension for the same price.

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    Are there any used fs bikes around $450 that are worth buying?

  7. #7
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    Beginners buying on Craigslist

    I understand you're trying to get a better bike for less money. However, if you're not already knowledgeable about bikes, you run a very good risk of being taken advantage of. How mechanically inclined are you?

    Have you checked out any bike shops? You may be able to find a decent deal right now, since the summer's almost over. You'll get a new bike with a warranty, and more importantly, someone to fix it when it breaks!

    However, if you're set on buying used, here are some thoughts for you.

    Looking at the twin cities Craigslist in your price range, there isn't much that's better than that Sugar. Here's a GT Avalanche 1.0, medium frame, for the same price. It has a better level of components than most of the other bikes at this price point, but the seller says it needs some love - tune-up, maybe tires. This would be my first option, if it were me. That fork is rebuildable, and I don't see any other showstoppers in the ad. Check out the bike, and see if you can get it for $250 or $300. Here are some quick tips for evaluating a used bike:

    • Cycle the fork through its travel, is it smooth, does it stick at the top of its travel?
    • Drivetrain wear - Read Sheldon Brown's notes for more information. In fact, you should read his site now anyway.
    • Condition of the shift & brake cables - frayed, corroded?
    • Check the bottom bracket bearings for wear. Grip a crank-arm by the pedal end, and try to wiggle it back and forth toward the center of the frame.
    • Ask the seller if you may remove the wheels, or at least the front wheel. Grip the axles (NOT THE QUICK RELEASE SKEWERS) and see if the wheels spin smoothly. If they feel rough, they've been neglected, and the hubs may be damaged.


    Then, I would test-ride the bike. First off, does it fit? Is your riding position comfortable? Of course, that can be adjusted with changes to the seat, stem, handlebar, etc. But the less of that you have to do, the better. Check the action of the brakes and shifters. Do they operate smoothly, or are they stiff or draggy? Can you shift into every gear? Put it in a pretty tall gear (Large chainring + middle cog in the rear) and try to ride up a moderate hill -- you'll have to mash the pedals pretty hard. Any clicking noises, any skipping of the chain? NOTE: The ad for the GT says up front that it needs a new chain, so you don't have to do the "mash in a high gear" test. You already know it will fail.

    If the GT or other hardtail doesn't work out, or your heart is set on full suspension, tread cautiously. The main risk with buying a used full-suspension bike is condition of the pivot bearings/bushings for the rear suspension. If they weren't maintained properly, the frame can be damaged beyond the point of repair.

    If I were looking at the Sugar, I would bring my repair stand with me, and clamp the bike in the stand. I would then grip the rear triangle right at the dropouts, and try to wiggle it back and forth, and up and down, to see if there's any play in the rear suspension. I would then let all the air out of the shock, to see if the rear suspension cycles through its travel smoothly, without any roughness. Don't forget to air the shock back up before test riding the bike.

    Assuming that all looks OK, I would test ride the bike. In addition to the checks I listed above, ride it off the curb with your weight firmly on the seat, to see if the suspension rebounds (bounces back) only once, or if it seems to keep bouncing many times. If it keeps bouncing, the fork and/or shock need rebuilt.

    Many of these things can be repaired, if there are problems. Cables, chains, cranksets, cassettes, all can be replaced. But they'll cost $$, so the seller will have to adjust the price. In the case of the Sugar, that shock looks like a Cane Creek AD-5. I believe those can still be rebuilt. The Marz forks on both the Sugar and the GT can definitely be rebuilt.

    A full-suspension bike certainly has more that can go wrong -- for that reason alone, many people would advise you to start with a hardtail. I'd say that Avalanche is a safer bet, but I wouldn't pay $350 for it.

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    ... and if we just ...

    Wow, thanks for that awesome reply. This really helps a lot. I'm going to my local shop today to check out what they have. I was really set on a fs bike because last time I went out with these guys I brought a 29" mongoose fs with a disk brake and pretty much destroyed it lol.

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    Re: Craigslist bike

    Quote Originally Posted by tanman855 View Post
    Are there any used fs bikes around $450 that are worth buying?
    Yes and no. If you get lucky and find a great deal then yeah but its unlikely. I found my idrive 5(gt force) for $500 it had an okay spec but I bought it for the frame and shock and swapped my parts over and used the lower spec parts to build another bike, it came with decent stuff (dart 3, x7 drivetrain, wtb rims, tektro hydros) which would be okay for a starter bike.

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by tanman855 View Post
    Are there any used fs bikes around $450 that are worth buying?
    Like I said in my version of A Tale of Two Bikes (It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...). that Sugar could be OK if the pivots check out OK. If they're OK, then you evaluate the rest of the bike just like a hardtail. I still wouldn't spend $350 on it, maybe $300.

  11. #11
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    I've bought a few craigslist bikes; generally they are either really hammered and need a lot of work and parts replacement, or almost perfect with just a few miles on them. You have to be very careful and knowledgeable to get a good bike off craigslist, or bring a careful knowledgeable friend along. There are some great deals hidden in there among all the overpriced hammered crap. I used to race a mongoose, back when they were still a real bike company, the frame is still hanging in my garage. They have made a couple of decent bikes, - it's possible to find a decent mongoose.

  12. #12
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    Craigslist bike-mong-1.jpgCraigslist bike-mong-2.jpgCraigslist bike-mong-3.jpgCraigslist bike-mong-4.jpgCraigslist bike-mong-5.jpg

    O, I didn't know that, I thought they were just a wally-world brand. Would it be worth it to rebuilt the one I have or is it just a mart bike worth its weight in scrap?

  13. #13
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    Just found this one GT LTS-2000 DS (full suspension)

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by tanman855 View Post
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    O, I didn't know that, I thought they were just a wally-world brand. Would it be worth it to rebuilt the one I have or is it just a mart bike worth its weight in scrap?
    If it's fun to ride and you can get it up a hill... then it's not scrap. lol. Is it worth it to get something better... yep (but then this is always the case).

    Shimano Deore parts aren't shabby, but the rest I don't really know.
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  15. #15
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    Yeah it's my dads old bike, he put that on there aftermarket.

  16. #16
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    Didn't a lot of the Sugars break?

    OP, most of that looks like a Walgoose to me. Is the rear derailleur stock? It doesn't really match the rest of the bike...

    You mention having friends you're planning to ride with. I bet you can enlist one of them to help you find a used bike and take a look at it. $450 on a used hardtail can get you something pretty nice in my area.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  17. #17
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    Personally I think at that price point you would be better off with a hardtail. There are some bikes however that you can check out...
    Cannondale Jekyll Full Suspension
    GT LTS 2 Full Suspension Mtn Bike
    GT LTS-2000 DS (full suspension)
    GT XCR3000 full suspension
    Might be the best deal if its still around:
    Full Suspension Mountain Bike

    I really dont think the older GTs are worth as much as they are asking but they are still descent bikes.

    Check out the used buyers guide:
    Noob Guide to Buying a used MTB

  18. #18
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    I have a riding bud that has been through several drivetrains with a Sugar of that vintage (looks like a Sugar 3 from the year 2000: MSRP: $1,529), and know of others that have owned and liked them as well. If it's in good shape as joe_blow recommended you figure out, I don't think $350 is too out of line.

    Looks like the swingarm may have been replaced (or painted black), and the fork may have been replaced too. The big chainring was swapped for a bashguard, and some cockpit items look like they aren't the original items. Those Avid v-brakes work just fine for getting into riding if adjusted correctly. Better than a crappy disc brake IMHO. If everything works well, the shock and fork don't leak and the suspension pivots are tight and don't squeak, the chain isn't too worn and it shifts well, I'd rather ride that than a $350 bike from the LBS. I might even see if you can take it to a bike shop and let them look it over for you. I would probably take him down a little on the price if I could, but no way I'd rather ride a new $350 entry level bike than that if I had a choice.

    The 2004 Jekyll 400 from the post above mine, would be a good bike too. The 2004 model year is the first year the rear shock was a platform type shock and they don't bob like the 2003 Jekyll did. That fork is a bit of a boat anchor weight wise, but for $435, it's decent.

  19. #19
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    Offer the seller $275 for that Sugar 3. All it's worth...
    "The mind will quit....well before the body does"

  20. #20
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    I think buying a craigslist bike or any second hand one for that fact, is just the same as buying a car. If you dont know much about them mechanically, then you cant judge its condition and value correctly meaning you have a high chance of getting stung.

    simply get a friend who knows their stuff to look with you, and to go look at the actual bike itself. That way you can get yourself a decent bike and a bargain.

  21. #21
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    Thanks everybody!
    Last edited by tanman855; 08-06-2013 at 10:33 PM.

  22. #22
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    Thank you

    Thanks everybody for all the help. Settled on a Haro sonix, got a good deal on it. Thanks again!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Craigslist bike-haro.jpg  


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