Used older higher end bike or newer lower end bike?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Used older higher end bike or newer lower end bike?

    Just sold my road bike and looking to get into MTB. Currently browsing Craig's List and I would like to know if it's better to buy an older (10+ years) higher end bike or a newer (<5 years) lower end bike for the same price. My budget is around $400.

    For example I saw GT STS XCR 1000 Carbon and Klein Attitude Race for around $300 but obvious these are pretty old bikes.

  2. #2
    Yes, that's fonetic
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    I'd stay away from a 15 year old carbon fs bike...dated suspension design and out of production/hard (if not impossible) to find replacement parts. Those seat masts were notorious for cracking at the welds.

  3. #3
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    (Think "Jaws") .... you're gonna need a bigger budget!

  4. #4
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    I recently chose a 2010 Specialized Era Expert for my wife over a 600-800 dollar new bike. The components are much nicer than I could have gotten new. I probably would have gone for a hard tail had it been a new bike. She hasn't mountain biked before. If she doesn't like it, i figure we can sell on the used bike and lose less money than we would if I bought her a new bike.

    Plus, that it's used means that she can't as easily look up how much money I spent on a bike for her... ha

    My bike is the same. I went for a used FS rather than a new hard tail, though there the components were a bit more similar.

  5. #5
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    For $400, it's all about compromise and not over-reaching.

    Some of the older high-end bikes that might show up for a price like that were kinda weird. Full suspension, especially. What happens when something breaks? And, a lot of the full suspension bikes that will now sell for $400 are going to be models that never worked all that well. Until somewhat recently, FS bikes were really not all that great. I think the only thing that kept them around long enough to mature was the cool factor.

    On the other hand, on a basic level, hardtails haven't changed all that much over the years. You can still get parts to maintain V-brakes, still get wheels with brake tracks, etc. If the bike has a 1-1/8" head tube, you can still get reasonable forks, though that's getting harder.

    You can also get a late-model entry-level bike, which will have crappy parts that interchange well with other contemporary stuff. That's a bit of a pick-your-poison decision. Basically, how attached you are to having some of the new refinements, particularly disc brakes. If you get a nice old bike that has V-brakes, it may not be possible to go disc, ever. A lot of us have been doing this long enough to have survived many seasons with V-brakes. IMO, it's not worth dealing with cantilevers or U-brakes.

    I guess to me, the best compromise is probably something new enough to have disc brakes and high-end enough to have a name-brand fork. RockShox, Manitou, Marzocchi. It won't be one of those brands' best forks, but it'll at least be a step above the RST and low-end Suntour stuff that the cheapest bikes have. I'm not sure if that'll fit into $400. But I bet with a little patience, you can find it. Some of the worst forks are really worse than just riding rigid, but nobody ever gets traction trying to market rigid bikes so the availability is pretty non-existent. The worst mechanical disc brakes are really not as good as V-brakes, but disc brakes have pretty much taken over the market, so availability of parts is much better if that's the system you're using. Look for at least an 8-speed cassette.

    Good luck!
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  6. #6
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    At the $400 price point, you might find a more modern entry-mid range bike. There was an Airborne Guardian (29er hardtail) with a couple of upgrades posted on my local Craigslist for $450 last week. If you could find something like that, you'd end up with a very functional bike in your price range that is still very easy to find parts for, etc..

  7. #7
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    Don't forget that if you buy used, you'll probably be replacing some parts a lot sooner than with a new bike.

    Case in point, I was researching to buy a new bike (FS in the $2000 to 2500 range probably) and an '05 Santa Cruz Blur popped up on Craig's list. I went & checked it out, it is loaded with top quality components (though it's 5-10 year old technology) and everything seemed pretty good, so I bought it. Needless to say, when I got it home I was having some shifting issues, and couldn't get it tuned, plus I suspected the prob was in the dual XTR brake/shifter lever because I would have to shift twice for one gear change every time I changed direction from shifting up to shifting down.

    Anyway, I got the bike shop to go through it and make a list of priorities. It needed (badly) a new drivetrain and the rear shifter was bad. Everything worked, so I could have kept riding it for a little while. I got such a good deal on it, that I went ahead and replaced the drivetrain with the XT and XTR components that were on there and replaced the shifter/brake levers with individual levers XT brakes and XT shifters. I could have gone a LOT lower budget, but figured I'd stick with the higher end stuff and still come out ahead.

    Short version, I'm thrilled with my new (to me) bike, even though I've spent almost as much on components as I originally spent on the bike, but it's because I've got a great bike that does what I want it to for about $1000 less than I was going to spend on a new one. Just be aware that you could end up needing to spend some unplanned money on a used bike.

  8. #8
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    For that price range, I'd patiently watch craigslist and see what pops up, but that's just me.

  9. #9
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    Like road bikes, MTB technology trickles down. Features found in XT/XTR eventually wind up in Deore/SLX. And compared to road bikes, the MTB technology especially suspension and brakes have been consistently improving. As long as the components are real MTB components (Deore and up, avoid any Shimano starting with A) you should get a solid bike. I would try to stick bikes with at least 9-speed rear cassette.

    The main issue with used bikes is that you can virtually count on spending an extra ~$100 just to get things setup correctly. It could be tires, new chain, worn brakes, etc. A used bike is a lot like a used car, rarely do you find one in truly mint condition.

    I had a similar experience as Spec44. In my case it was a 2010 Yeti. Previous owner had installed a brand new drivetrain, so that was good. One brake lever had been damaged in a crash (mostly cosmetic) but I elected to replace it, but it cost $175 (could only buy a pair of XTR levers). I could've dropped to XT for ~$100, but wanted things to match (blame OCD).

  10. #10
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    Keep watching cl fall is here and good deals can be had. I recently picked up a used 2005 epic FSR for 300.00, changed bars and stems gave it a minor tune and can't stop riding it, sweet and smooth. Good Luck

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