Bike Advice : What to Look For in a used bike

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Henry Chinaski
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Bike Advice : What to Look For in a used bike

Postby Henry Chinaski » Thu Aug 21, 2008 7:45 am

I am making the transition from clueless pedestrian on the bike path to clueless biker on the bike path. I just need something to get me from Olin Park to one of the Government re-education centers on Wilson Street.

I was planning on checking out the Bike Sale at the Willy St. St. Vinnie’s on Sat. Is it too much too wish for that it would be filled with like-new bikes tossed out by spoiled college students?

What should I be looking for? Any advice would be appreciated.

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Postby Henry Vilas » Thu Aug 21, 2008 8:57 am


Bunny Chow
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Postby Bunny Chow » Thu Aug 21, 2008 10:04 am

There is a guy who fixes up bikes and sells them in his backyard near Milwaukee St. and Fair Oaks.

How much do you want to spend?

My advice is to look at the components. Name Brands really don't mean anything if you don't know what you are looking for.

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Postby Frank Booth » Thu Aug 21, 2008 11:28 am

If you have any friends/cohorts who know anything about bikes, I would try to lure them along with you (beer, snacks, ?). Not to tell you exactly what to buy, but to show you the important things. With bikes, a little hands on knowledge is far superior to the internet.

I haven't been there in awhile, but St. Vinny's used to have quite a mixed bag. Some good deals to be found, but also some overpriced and barely functional 10-speeds. If you do pick up something there, I would strongly recommend spending the extra $50 or so and getting it tuned up at your local bike shop.

Henry Chinaski
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Postby Henry Chinaski » Thu Aug 21, 2008 11:30 am

I was looking to spend $100 or less.

It seems like every other listing on craiglist is 'Don't buy this bike because it was stolen from me."

I'll definitely check out the fixer upper dude.

Thanks.

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Postby snoqueen » Thu Aug 21, 2008 11:31 am

If you're just using it for that little commute, why not be cheap? You don't know yet how much you'll get into the bike lifestyle. Maybe in a year you'll want a much better bike and will have defined your requirements enough to know what you want.

I got a perfectly good short-commute bike-path bike at St. Vinnies for $35. I put $65 worth of tires on it and it has been just fine with minimal cleaning, lubrication, and basic adjustments I can do myself. It's good to realize if someone steals my bike I haven't lost two weeks pay. It wouldn't be suitable for longer recreational rides, but so what.

I was lucky because I had basic mechanical sense and could tell minor adjustment problems from major unsoundness. If you need to take a friend to help you shop (as suggested) definitely do it.

Oddly, since I fixed the bike all up (I also gave it a new hand brake at some point) I've had about five people want to know where I got it or if I'd sell it to them.

What you do not want: One of those 70s ten-speed "racers" with turned-down handlebars and really narrow tires. Vinnies has loads of those and they are heavy and uncomfortable.

Good luck, have fun.

Henry Chinaski
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Postby Henry Chinaski » Thu Aug 21, 2008 12:42 pm

Thanks for the advice!!

Now does anybody know how I should go about converting my videotapes to dvd? :wink:

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Postby fisticuffs » Thu Aug 21, 2008 12:50 pm

Now does anybody know how I should go about converting my videotapes to dvd?


Start buying buying some blank DVD-R+. Don't get the - they won't work. Next using two sided tape attach the VHS tape you want to convert to one of the blank DVD's. Preheat the oven to 350 and bake uncovered DVD side up for 30-40 minutes. There ya go. Or ask MadMind.

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Postby fennel » Thu Aug 21, 2008 12:50 pm

Henry Chinaski wrote:I was looking to spend $100 or less.
Less than $100 is tough. I spent $10 on an old Carlton but probably spent $150 to make it reliable. Still, a very good deal, as it had a good lugged steel frame.

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Postby narcoleptish » Wed Aug 27, 2008 11:13 am

If you're still looking I would second the milwaukee st. guy recommendation. Except he isn't too near fair oaks, he's at the corner of marquette & milwaukee, old brick house, yard full of bikes. He doesn't want people just knocking, he puts a sign out by the street when he's "open". Very reasonable prices and he does repairs too.

Also, milwaukee st is closed at starkweather creek so you have to come from the E wash side.

Henry Chinaski
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Postby Henry Chinaski » Wed Aug 27, 2008 12:25 pm

I went to St. Vinnie's and saw they wanted $45 for a mountain bike with 2 flat, bald tires.
I went to the aforementioned guy on Milwaukee street and it wasn't much better. If I wanted a rusty 10 speed that would be the go to place.
In an ultimate act of punishment I hit Budget Bikes used show room. I didn't fee like. dropping $280 on a bike that is as old as me.

To be fair to these places, I went in with a stomachfull of coffee , no patience and my 7 year old in tow. There could have very well been a diamond in the rough but I didn't dig that hard.

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Postby narcoleptish » Wed Aug 27, 2008 1:53 pm

Yeah, the milwaukee st. guy definitely leans more towards old school 10-speeds, but I do believe that anything you buy from him will work the way it's supposed to.

I have had good luck on craigslist, but I have to say that I'm pretty sure one of my stolen bikes is on there right now, stripped down and painted. I don't have the serial # so there's not much I can do. Ask the person to email you the serial # before you go see it so you can have it checked. I don't know if that's even possible but if they won't do it then you can be pretty sure it's warm.

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Postby Bunny Chow » Thu Aug 28, 2008 2:45 am

What kind of bike are you looking for? How much do you want to pay?

Do you want a hybrid? mountain?


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