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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  1. #1
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    Finding the right bike off Craig's List

    Hello.

    I am terribly new to bikes and have been trying to find the right bike for me off Craig's List. I don't have much money to burn, so I'm hoping to score a decent enough bike for around $100. A mountain bike would be nice, though I could also settle with a hybrid or road bike. I'll mostly be riding on cement and rural roads, maybe bike trails every now and then. Here are some recent classified ads that have caught my attention:

    Schwinn S40, 21speed Shinamo Derailer Model - $135
    Schwinn Sidewinder 2.6 FS - $100
    Schwinn Frontier, 21 speed, 26" tires, 23" frame - $90

    I also checked out a customized Schwinn I can pick up for $60, but it needs break repairs and a new rear tire. Looked nice otherwise.

    I am a six foot tall man.

    Also just to be sure, are the cheapo mountain bikes at Walmart, K-Mart, Target, etc... even worth it? I'm not looking for a awesome bike or doing intensive riding, but I figured I'm better off buying a nicer, used bike than one of these.

    Would appreciate any help I can get and hope no one minds if I keep posting new Craig's List finds. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keranu View Post
    Also just to be sure, are the cheapo mountain bikes at Walmart, K-Mart, Target, etc... even worth it? I'm not looking for a awesome bike or doing intensive riding, but I figured I'm better off buying a nicer, used bike than one of these.
    Welcome Keranu. You are absolutely correct, you're better of buying a good used name-brand bike than any dept store offering. Department store bikes are heavy (= not much fun to ride) and are not built to last, they are pretty much built to be consumed.

    I'm not real familiar with Schwinn bikes these days, so I will let others offer their comments. If possible, allow your budget to increase a bit should you come across a good sounding, relatively new name brand offering on Craigslist (i.e. a Specialized, Giant, Trek, GT, Kona, etc. for $200 - $250). In the long run, starting with a little more of a good basic bike will decrease the maintenance costs down the road and offer a more reliable ride.

    Again, I know little about the current Schwinn....they may meet the above criteria just fine.

    Good luck, and don't forget that your LBS can really help, especially once you've been on your initial purchase for a while and realize you're ready to take the next "upgrade" step.

  3. #3
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    Skip 'em.

    Skip the Walmart bikes too.

    The best I've done at your price was the road bike I commuted on for a few years. It was a mid-'80s Raleigh Technium. Late '80s and early '90s bikes can sometimes be found at these prices too, but get much newer and people usually want more for things that are worth owning.

    Are you talking about mountain bike trails - singletrack - or graded trails? For MTB trails, an actual mountain bike is a must. You might be able to get something. There were a lot of Japanese brands that made nice bikes until their currency became worth too much to sell their bikes cheaply in the US. Here's an article.

    Japanese Bicycles in the U.S. Market

    Good luck! It can be frustrating to look for something reasonably well-preserved and nice, for $100. But, bicycles are a mature enough technology that you can great performance and service out of a nice old bike, once you find the right one.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  4. #4
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    $100 is a tough price point. To add to what the others said, I often see some low prices on old Trek 800/820/Antelope/Mountain Track bikes -- older mountain bikes with rigid forks, that seem to last and you can use them as no-frills workhorses. If that Frontier is newer it might be worth having, but most cheap Schwinns these days are not great (different from the Schwinns of 20-30 years ago), and I'd probably still skip the Frontier.
    I ride at night - see my tips for Night Cycling
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  5. #5
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    I have a next bike now I am looking to replace. It has an aluminum frame, 21 speed, full suspension, has been bullet proof on the trails. Just heavier, poorer in braking, slower to change gears, etc than a real bike. It has taken me all around Colorado Springs so far though and I am having a blast. Which is how I know I'll really enjoy a better bike.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for all the advice.

    Here are some more recent ads I found:

    Fuji Thrill, has 26" tires, frame17",18 speed - $85
    Trek 220 mountain track, 21 speed, frame size 13", 24" tires - $80
    Raleigh mountain bike (older with a little rust) - $100-150
    Outfitters, model is Nomad. Comes with Seat lock - $80

    The first two bikes are from a bike dealer on Craig's List, he has a website with his bikes for sale here - s336.photobucket.com/albums/n354/WOODRACER25/ . I'm willing to spend over $100, but would prefer to not go too high.

    As usual, would appreciate any input!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keranu View Post
    Trek 220 mountain track, 21 speed, frame size 13", 24" tires - $80
    !
    Your 6 ft. Tall youll be wanting Bigger bikes

  8. #8
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    Double post

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keranu View Post

    Schwinn S40, 21speed Shinamo Derailer Model - $135
    Schwinn Sidewinder 2.6 FS - $100
    Schwinn Frontier, 21 speed, 26" tires, 23" frame - $90
    all three of these are cheapo bikes from Target. Schwinn is not what it used to be.

  10. #10
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    Fuji Thrill, has 26" tires, frame17",18 speed - $85 this frame is too small for you, and I have worked on a few of these and they are horrible!
    Trek 220 mountain track, 21 speed, frame size 13", 24" tires - $80 this is built for a nine year old kid.
    Raleigh mountain bike (older with a little rust) - $100-150 what model, what size?
    Outfitters, model is Nomad. Comes with Seat lock - $80 can't find any info on this.

    here's a few pointers so you don't waste your time:

    you are looking for a bike with 26" or 29" wheels and a large frame. the frame size will be something like 19-21". be sure to look up any bike you see online and try to determine if it was something that was sold at a bike shop. older schwinn and mongoose bikes from ten years ago might be ok, but most of the more recent bikes are department store junk. your budget of $100 is going to be nearly impossible to satisfy. $250 for a used bike might be more manageable, or you're going to wait months and months to find the right deal.

  11. #11
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    Last time I rode Open Space, in Colorado Springs, ran into a kid riding a 90's Specialized HardRock, fully ridged, canny brakes, and smoked a guy on a new Yeti, and a Santa Cruze Superlight, that was a fun day. I rock a Schwinn Homegrown "Team Tomato", hand built in Boulder, Colorado by the Yeti boys, back in the late 90's.

    Check local pawn shops, a lot of the time they are over priced, but you can talk em down. I picked up some sweet bikes for under 300- that should have been tagged around the 1k mark. A rule of thumb for me, is never buy a bike where you buy laundry soap.

  12. #12
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    I picked up a cycle from walmart (don't recall the brand name) and the seat came off while I was riding. I had few other parts coming off. I got a refund . My situation might be an isolated incident, but this was my experience with walmart. I got a less expensive cycle (used - huffy ) for 50 $ on campus and used it without any problem for a year before I moved to a different university. Anyway, this was for riding on campus at univ of houston (no trails).

  13. #13
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    Thanks for the info again. I wasn't sure of the frame size I would need, just posting bikes I'm not familiar with. Here are the ads for the Raleigh and Outfitters - chicago.craigslist.org/sox/bik/2972022828.html , chicago.craigslist.org/sox/bik/2972022828.html

    I also remember seeing an Apollo mountain bike a week or two ago. I couldn't find much info on these bikes, I think they're an Australian brand?

  14. #14
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    Hey guys I'm new here and I don't wanna start off on a bad foot posting this on someone else's thread, but I'm buying a bike off Craigslist and he isn't gonna hold it for ever and u can't start my own thread. I'm 5'11" and I got him to bring the price to 325. Again I'm sorry for posting this here, but if you could email me your thoughts that would be super appreciated. I just happen to be in his area for an hour or two today(which is rare) hence the urgency.. Here's the post

    I'm selling a 2006 Giant Yukon mtb that is in great shape. I recently upgraded to a dual suspension bike, so this one has to go. That being said though, I was planning on keeping this bike up until a week ago, so I've been putting tons of my own time and money into fixing, tuning, and upgrading this bike. I guess my loss is your gain. The specs are:

    -Giant all aluminum 19" (M) frame
    -Shimano Alivio front and rear derailleurs and brake/shifter levers (front Alivio derailleur is brand new)
    -Suntour XCP 75mm magnesium fork
    -Shimano Hubs with Mavic 117 rims
    -Suntour cranks/BB
    -Hayes mechanical disc brakes
    -Kenda tires with plenty of life left
    -Brand NEW Raceface 120mm stem
    -Brand NEW Avenir 640mm oversized bars (31.8mm clampsize)

    I take very good care of my stuff, so the derailleurs are tuned, the bottom bracket and cranks have been removed, cleaned, and re-installed tightly, and the disc brakes are tuned up as well. Feel free to e-mail me using the craigslist link. $350 obo

  15. #15
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    It's not worth that.

    Maybe $150-$200. The bike was $470 new, the fork and crank on this one are disposable. He was probably thinking about the fork when he decided to cut his losses and get a new bike.

    I think for $325, you can probably find one that has either a nicer drivetrain and build, a bottom-end Rock Shox fork, or maybe both.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  16. #16
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    To the original post: Look for a frame in the 19-21 inch size and a rigid fork. I rode a rigid 'Streetstomper' for years on trails and it was fine. It is now my Xtracycle and it is still holding up just fine. I hate those bike with cheap, heavy so-called suspension forks, they just add complication, weight, and cost to the low end bike. You should be able to find something in your price range if you find an old steel rigid mtn bike. It will probably need a $20 chain.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    It's not worth that.

    Maybe $150-$200. The bike was $470 new, the fork and crank on this one are disposable. He was probably thinking about the fork when he decided to cut his losses and get a new bike.

    I think for $325, you can probably find one that has either a nicer drivetrain and build, a bottom-end Rock Shox fork, or maybe both.
    Really? Bummer when I first saw it I
    Thought it was a great deal since I can't find anything close to a nice bike for 325

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