Forum home Mountain biking forum MTB workshop & tech

used bike buying checklist for dummies?

diydiy Posts: 6,473
edited May 2010 in MTB workshop & tech
A friend of mine is buying a mountain bike, she has 500 notes to spend so we have been looking at bikes on ebay (used) she's watching a couple of rockhoppers at around the 300-350 mark..

I need a check-list that a non mechanically minded person can use to check the bike over before she parts with her hard earned.. as I wont be with her when she buys it.

anyone suggest any good articles? which have check lists


  • Chunkers1980Chunkers1980 Posts: 8,035
    Yes: Don't buy second hand when you don't know what to look for when there's no come back.

    If you don't know what you're looking for when buying second hand, buy from a shop then you have come back.
  • I agree with chunkers.

    I would advise her not to buy a second hand bike if she has no idea otherwise she could easily buy a bike with a cracked frame,worn out drive train and knackered wheels. Basically buying second hand is a gamble even for the knowledgeable

    £1.25 for sign up

    Cashback on wiggle,CRC,evans follow the link
  • Chunkers1980Chunkers1980 Posts: 8,035
    The point being, if the drive train is shot it could cost for the same level of kit say £200 add that the the cost of the bike, you'd be better off buying new.

    I'd also add, that as you don't know what you're doing/looking for if any bits do need replacing you won't be doing it yourself so you need to add in at a min £40 p/h labour charge on top of the parts.
  • kieronymouskieronymous Posts: 60
    edited May 2010
    Agree with most of above - and for £500 surely you can pick up a decent spec 'Hopper brand new?

    Nevertheless (not comprehensive, but a good start):

    Check year/model. Find new price. Depreciate by 25% per year to find 'average to good condition' used price. Pay no more unless absolutely spotless.

    Get friendly - Where do you ride mate? What's your new bike? Where did you buy this one? How long have you had it? Why are you selling it? Scum are pretty easy to trip up. Usually you'll know just by looking at 'em...

    FRAME (assuming aluminium!)
    If it's not clean, walk away. Check THOROUGHLY for dings, chips, cracks (esp. around head tube). Check alignment from the back - by eye only - hard but if it's proper bent you might spot it.

    Take a chain checker. Learn how to use it first. Buy one if you need to, they're like £5.
    Inspect the 3 or 4 smallest sprockets on the cassette. If the profile is 'toothy' compared to the bigger teeth (easy to tell cos brand new ones will be identical). If either test fails, you'll need a new chain & cassette. Ditto chainwheels - especially the middle one.
    Take the chain off (only if it has a SRAM powerlink) and rotate the cranks forward and back. Rattle them around, give them a jiggle, feel for 'lumpy bits' to indicate worn BB.

    Spin wheels, put a fingernail against rim. Check for lateral (kinks) and radial (bumps) true. Check rims for dings. Squeeze all spokes in pairs. Look for loose / missing ones. (should be 32/36 per wheel. Missing spokes are easily spotted if you're looking!) Check rear alignment against frame & stays (i.e. in line with front triangle, equidistant from stays)

    BRAKES (assuming disks!)
    Inspect hoses for kinks & leaks. Inspect pads & rotors. Worn rotors may be 'dished' in X-section (i.e. like a lens for short sightedness). Worn pads should be obvious.

    Apply front brake ONLY. Rock bike back & forth, feel for play. Apply back brake. Lift bike upright into a wheelie. Rotate bars. Feel for 'lumpy bits'. Check bar alignment. Check for bent bar. Check grips for scuffs, rips, wear. Dito brake levers, shifters.

    Check all components for rust, cleanliness. Get a general feel for how well loved the bike has been. Check cables for end caps, fraying etc.

    SUSPENSION (Assuming hardtail!)
    Bit of a tricky one this. Abuse doesn't often show. Check for oil leaks, marks on stanchions (the shiny shafts below the fork crown).

    Check for scuffs, rips. Undo the post collar and pull the post out. Any antiseize grease on it? If it won't come out fairly easily, leave.

    Ride bike. Try every gear. How well does it shift? Hit a few bumps, hard. How plush is the fork? Put the hammer down. Listen for creaks, rattle etc. If one click per crank rev, possible BB problems. Brake HARD. You should be able to throw yourself over the bars. Try not to though!

    Reckon that's mostly covered. Alternatively, PLAN B: Take it to your friendly LBS (maybe call ahead?), drop 'em a fiver, and they'll do all of the above in 2 minutes. Also Dodgy Seller wil be less keen to do this, even if the place is like round the corner.
    When Chuck Norris does division, there are no remainders.
  • diydiy Posts: 6,473
    Where can you get a rockhopper brand new for 500 quid?

    thanks for the replies, and the check list.
  • kieronymouskieronymous Posts: 60
    OK I'm a tad optimistic, the base spec is about £580 apparently. You might be able to find one of last year's - unsold - for a hefty discount, so yeah not completely impossible.
    When Chuck Norris does division, there are no remainders.
  • Muddy1182Muddy1182 Posts: 146
    Just a thought, why not get one on HP from a bike store offering 0% over say 12 months.

    Pay a £250 deposit and use the other £250 to make the next 6 months of payments. If you can save say £20 extra a month for 12 months you'd cover the £700 for the 2010 Rockhopper.

    Lets see if i can describe that easier.

    Bike £700
    Deposit £250 - Left to pay £450
    Using remaining £250 / 6 monthly payments of £37.50 (=£225 paid off) Left to pay £225

    Now if you have saved the £20 every month for the first six months of your payments, you'd have £120 + (£25 remaining of your initial £500), giving you another 3 months payments (leaving you with £32.50) Leaving £112.50 to pay.

    Over those 3 months you will have saved another £60 + (£32.50 which you had left)Giving you another 2 months payments, (leaving you with £17.50). Add that to your last month of saving £20, and you have yourself a bike you wanted, paid for, with a warranty.

    If you can afford to put £20 aside a month then i'd get myself a new bike. No worries of being ripped off, and theres nothing like riding a new bike of your own! (Well the HP companies until month 12) :lol:

    Hope that made sense!
  • hoochylalahoochylala Posts: 987
    I agree with the advice about being cafreful buying second hand when you are unaware of the dangers shall we say. I bought second hand when I got my first bike and I bought a bit of a crapper :( Too many things went wrong with it too quickly and subsequently I ended up buying a brand new bike. Lesson learnt.


    Thats brilliant :) sooo... Ive got £500, you may have the answer to how I can work out how I can afford a £2500 Orange/Lapierre/Trek or similar bike I have been lusting over :lol:
  • Muddy1182Muddy1182 Posts: 146
    Thats brilliant sooo... Ive got £500, you may have the answer to how I can work out how I can afford a £2500 Orange/Lapierre/Trek or similar bike I have been lusting over

    Its do able over 36 months! But you'd need £60 a month hoochylala!
  • ryan93ryan93 Posts: 186
    Why not have a look in Evanscycles summer sales? My bro bought a 2009 Commencal Combi Disc for about £549 last easter. They also had the one below, Commencal Combi, for £450ish. The Combi Disc has some decent parts, Avid Juicy 3 brakes, Tora SL 100mm fork, SRAM X-5 shifters, X-7 rear mech...etc So far his has taken everything he's thrown at it.

    Edit: Just been on Evanscycles, they have the Commencal Combi Deluxe 2009 for £529.99, should be £879.99!! Only have the XS frame size, 14" I think, depends on how tall your lady friend is.

    Spec list is:

    Frame:Updated Combi Disc NUTS AL
    Fork:White RockShox Recon SL Solo Air Lockout 80mm
    Front Derailleur:Shimano Deore
    Rear Derailleur:Sram X9
    Shifters:Sram Trigger X7 3x9
    Chainset:Truvativ Firex Giga X Pipe
    Chainrings:44/32/22 tooth chainrings
    Front Brake:Avid Juicy 3 160mm
    Rear Brake:Avid Juicy 3 160mm
    Brake Levers:Avid Juicy 3
    Handlebars:Commencal 1 inch 6061Double Butted
    Stem:Race Face Ride XC
    Grips:Commencal Kraton
    Rims:Jalco Double Wall Specific with White Powder coating
    Front Hub:Commencal Disc Brake
    Rear Hub:Shimano M475
    Front Tyre:Hutchinson Python 26x2.00
    Rear Tyre:Hutchinson Python 26x2.
    :SDG Bel Air Black and White
    Seatpost:Race Face Ride XC
  • diydiy Posts: 6,473
    thanks for the heads up - XS would be for 5'0 - 5'2? and she is 5'6 - 5'7. She has just bid and won a 2009 Spesh Hopper Disc in a 17" (med) frame. Looks like very good condition, but I am going with her now, as its down my neck of the woods. Most of her riding is going to be road/park trail, so bigger is going to probably be more comfy.

    The hopper disc is not a great spec, in terms of the dart 3 coil forks, post mount Tektro Auriga Comp brakes etc..

    but I doubt she will want to upgrade either for the next couple of years

    anyway - starting to need to drag this into the buying advice area now that its not a workshop thread anymore.
Sign In or Register to comment.