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.
mtn. biking 101
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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    Noob Guide to Buying a used MTB

    Many people when shopping for an entry level bike like to consider used options, but if you don't know what to look for you might not catch issues or problems. A used bike can be a great way to get a nicer bike at the same price as a new entry level bike, and it can also be a huge headache... This post is assuming that the bike is within your budget.

    Here is a Checklist for when checking out a used bike:

    Do your research to find a fair market price. Bicycle blue book, ebay, and craigslist are your friend.

    Get a feel for how the owner kept the bike

    Talk to owner about the history
    Check for signs of maintenance (dry rot, rust, frayed cables, dirt/grease)

    Wheels

    No loose, broken or missing spokes
    Wheels bearings have no play and rotate smoothly
    Wheels are true

    Frame
    Does the frame fit me? If it doesn't fit, it's not worth it (you can get sized at a bike shop)
    No major bends, cracks, huge dents, rust through frame
    No dings or gouges through the resin on Carbon frame
    Push against the cranks to check frame integrity
    Check the dropouts on Carbon frames

    Suspension

    No major dents or breaks
    Compression and rebound is smooth
    Seals are good (holds are pressure, no oil leakage during compression or rebound)
    All the controls function properly

    Drive Train
    If the drivetrain is working well, most likely the rest of the bike was taken care of.
    No major damage, bent front der. cage, or damaged shifters
    No broken, or otherwise damaged teeth on the chainrings or cassette
    Shifts through all gears smoothly
    Rear derailleur tension springs work fine

    Brakes
    Brake levers have no major damage
    No damage to cable housing or hydraulic lines
    Disc rotors have minimal to no warp
    Brakes actuate and return properly and without hesitation

    Other Parts

    Quick releases function properly
    No tears in the seat and seat rails are straight
    Handlebars and stem have no damage and pass stress test
    Pedal bearings are good and no major damage
    Headset bearings are smooth
    No play in the headset

    MOST IMPORTANT!
    If something feels sketch, just walk away. There are plenty of bikes out there.

    Best of luck!

    -Moe

    More info from a fellow member:

    Be ready to [possibly] spend a bit more to get a used bike in tip top shape. Buyer should expect to purchase tires/pedals/grips/saddle after a bit of riding that suit their trails and body.

    Many shops are willing to go over a bike thoroughly in front of the buyer and seller. I enjoy doing this for a few reasons. The buyer won't get ripped off. The seller will actually know what he is selling. I gain a couple customers. And if the bike needs parts I can make a sale, too. I typically don't give a price, and sometimes will give a ballpark or price range and let the buyer and seller discuss it on their own outside the shop. I do however let them both know exactly what the bike needs and make suggestions, as well. As for your guide, just add that many shops are willing to help out buyers and sellers with appraisals and professional opinions. A 6-pack for the shop guy never hurts, too!
    Last edited by moefosho; 08-01-2014 at 12:57 PM.

  2. #2
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    Good post, and some great points. Can't stress fit enough, bottom line as above, if it doesn't fit is is not a good deal. Also, if you have any friends that bike, take one along.

    Jimbo

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimbojo View Post
    Good post, and some great points. Can't stress fit enough, bottom line as above, if it doesn't fit is is not a good deal. Also, if you have any friends that bike, take one along.

    Jimbo
    Thanks man! If people have more suggestions please add them to the list and I can edit them in!

  4. #4
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    just adding how to check market price here

    Newbie - Used bikes

  5. #5
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    An easy way to get a sense of the bike's condition, beyond just looking at it, is to test the shifting during a test ride and then measure the chain for stretch. If the shifting's good and the chain's good, it's pretty unlikely that anything is wrong with the drivetrain. IMO, it also give some good insight into general condition - either this is someone who's cared for the bike or it's low-mileage.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  6. #6
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    Updated with your suggestions!

  7. #7
    Two Wheeled Terror
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    Might want to suggest that they go to their lbs to get sized in the bike they are looking for. Even if you don't buy from the lbs its cash in their pocket when you need something. The sizing is important and will help in narrowing down what bikes to look at so they aren't wasting time/gas.

    Sent from my BNTV600 using Tapatalk 4 Beta

  8. #8
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    Updated.

  9. #9
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    Made some revisions and updated with suggestions from another member.

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