Schwinn Paramount

4
Dec/09
0

What paramount features should be considered when buying a (second-hand) road bicycle?

It's spring and to save energy, gas, and money, I am considering of getting a good road bicycle (to be use for many years to come). What are some important features that I should consider when looking for a bike? From my experience, a bike fitting to your height is the most important feature... I am 5'4".

What else should I know tech-wise? Any serious cyclist out there able to give me some professional tips? Good brand name (Trek, Schwinn??), functions I'll need to look for or ask when buying a second -hand bike. Does mileage really matter? If it's past 200 miles, but if it's tuned, then should be it good? I am interested in getting a flat tire bike, which size is appropriate to my height approximately? I will be depending on this bike for the majority of my transportation around the city and most important, for school. Thanks for any input!

I'm mainly using Craigslist to look for the bike. If anyone has suggestions to a link or anything, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Hi
My favorite brand is trek. (tour de france/ lance armstrong..)
I bought a 21 speed 3700 mountain bike in 2004, which at the time was the cheapest model which had the frame made out of alpha aluminum instead of steel (steels heavy.. makes a difference). Even if you never go off road, front shocks are great for bouncing off curbs. I wouldn't spend more to get the "soft tail"/ full suspension bikes ..(rear shocks). Makes the ride squishier. I also wanted a bike that came in a women's frame design. Trek has a number of models that come in the "WDS" I bought it on sale at the end of that summer for $280 new. I believe you get a better bike frame with better components than you do with specialized.
The miles on the bike don't really matter if it's been maintained well. I've gone hundreds on mine and it still looks brand new. The gears still shift easily. You can look at the gears and see if they look like new or if they look all ground down.
Disc brakes are a newer feature.. they're great (you can make really straight fast stops) but not necessary and add $ to the price.
I'm 5ft 3 and a half and have a 29" inseam.
I made 1 mistake when buying mine and that was buying a frame that was 1 size too small..
i got a 13 inch.. is measured from the center of the pedal attachment point (sorry don't know the techical terms.. i ride em/ don't build em) to the top of where the seat post goes into the frame. Optimally I should have gotten a 15" frame. Even so, I modified the bike to get some extra room.. added a handlebar stem that pushed the bars further forward, raised the seat to the max and slid it as far back as it can go (they're on rails and can be adjusted forward or back). While a 15" may be perfect for me, it might not be for you due to people having different inseam lengths dispite being same height. Best thing is to test bikes out.
My husband has a 16" trek 4300 mountain bike.. it's a 24 speed. It has shifters that are just a little better than the 3700 and if I was buying again I'd make that my minimum.
If you buy a trek you should splurge and upgrade the saddle with an aftermarket model unless you have an @zz of steel. That's the only bad thing about trek.. the seats are lousey. After I switched that i could ride all day. Be sure to get one that's built for your anatomy.. male or female.. the support for your bones are different.. womens are wider. I went with a mountain bike because of the more upright ride and the stable fatter tires. I rarely ever go "off road".. (tho i live on a gravel road, and I have ridden it on the jetty). The mountain bikes come with knobby tires. I eventually swapped my tires for smoother (tho still fat) road tires for a smoother ride. The shifting on the bikes are great now.. the thumb shifters click right into gear.. none of that having to "feel" for it like the old days.
Bike stores will hate me for saying this but I'd try bikes out there to see what you like the feel of then start watching craigslist for the specific ones you want.
I'll redeam myself here:
There's 1 HUGE advantage for buying your bike at your local bike shop:
Anytime you need an adjustment, you can ride in and they'll probably do it for free. Now I can put my chain back on if it happens to come off but that's the extent of the adjustments I can do myself. Even if you buy it used from them.

I bought my bike to get healthy after recovering from anemia. I could barely ride up my fairly level street at first.. in 2 months I was flying up long steep hills. LOVE those gears!
Get yourself a good lock and if you do upgrade the seat I'd remove it and put it in your locker.
If you find a bike that's outfitted with panniers (racks for bags) all the better.. less to add on later if you really go hard core and use it for all your errands. A helmet's a must and good pair of riding gloves with padded palms will help keep you from getting numb if you ride alot.
If you'll be riding in rain, add some lightweight fenders so you don't get a dirt stripe up your back.
Even if you don't have a rack, a small day pack is excellent for carrying your stuff and you don't have to stop to load and unload it from the bike. Don't use those bike messenger bags.. especially if you're hauling books. Day packs distribute the weight where the messenger bags don't.. awful for your body.
You can use treks website too look up bikes you read about on craigslist because they have an archive that shows all the models back to 2003. Don't get anything really old.. the technology is way better now.
When you try out a bike, adjust the seat so your legs are almost but not quite straight when at the lowest point of the pedals rotation. Try to spend at least 10 minutes on the bike to get a good test and see if there's anything that doesn't work in the fit. Hopefully you can find a hill to give it a go on.
Frame sizes.. some years they have 15" frames, other years not.
If I was going to get a regular road bike and had the $$ i'd get the trek pilot. Even tho it's got drop bars, it still has a more upright position. I rode one a year ago and it was a dream. But I'll never give up my 3700.
Lastly, i know it isn't technically important.. but don't get a bike that you don't like the color of.
It may seem trivial, but if don't like something obvious like the color, you'll have one more excuse not to ride. One thing that attracted me to mine was the yellow. I love it and it really makes me want to ride. Iknow if it was any other color I would not be as driven. I know it's nutty but whatever motivates is worth it's weight in gold..or yellow ;-)
A fun gadget.. you can get a cheap $10 gadget from Bell that tracks your mileage, speed, total miles etc. It even gives the approximate calories burned (you punch in your age/weight/sex). I've yet to find any of the expensive ones that have that feature.
There's one huge advantage to buying used:
There are Tons of people who have the best intentions and buy a fantastic bike and then ride it once and that's it. It sits in the garage until they decide to sell it. You can get a super deal if you take your time.
Good luck and happy riding.

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