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I'm in the market for a new or used bike in the $1000 range and am trying to figure out whether it is worth it to buy a nicer bike with better components if they are already used and worn.

For specifics the used bike i'm considering is a specialized tricross comp and it has supposedly been well taken care of and only ridden about 1500 kms. I know i like the tricross frame as i used to have one before it was stolen and the components (shimano 105s) are better than anything i would get in that price range new... But would they still be better or would i probably be replacing them soon? Or does it completely depend on the actual wear and maintenance?


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I'm a fan of used bikes. I'm pretty much a fan of used anything like this because I end up kicking the crap out of it anyways. It's never as upsetting to put the second ding in a frame. – Jason Lydon Aug 17 '13 at 4:36
Has the technology improved on your '98 Cannondale or '98 Specialized? What year were improvements significant? – user18912 Mar 31 '15 at 23:15
currently March of 2015 – user18912 Mar 31 '15 at 23:16
up vote 17 down vote accepted

For the most part, bicycles have terrible resale value, which means that you can usually get a really good deal on a used bike. As for the condition of the components, one can't say without actually seeing them, but quality components should have a much longer life than 1500kms. That said, inspect for obvious signs of wear (there should be almost none), and see if you can find out why the bike is being sold.

As PeterH points out, some parts do need to be replaced with greater frequency, such as brake pads and maybe even the chain and rear cassette. Also, check to see if the bike is stolen with the local police or ask the seller for their original invoice / receipt.

Used really is a great way to get the most bike for your buck.

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Yes I'd go along with that. I'd maybe budget for a new chain, regardless, possibly a new cassette or brake pads, depending on wear. Consumables, if you like. Anything over an above this (at that mileage) would be unusual. I'd also point out about taking steps to avoid something stolen. If possible, before you buy, make a note of the frame number and run it by your local police. Or, if the seller has an original invoice or user manual...people will steal bikes but generally not the paperwork that comes with them. – PeteH Aug 17 '13 at 6:37

For sure get a second hand. I've got my Specialized SJ Evo for 2200$ while a new one costs about 5000$, from a guy that works in LBS with a new set of brakes, cassette & chain, and I can't say that I was too much in hunt after it. Just an example for how much more could you get for your money, if you choose a used one. Just be sure to check it very well. Search with a good LED light for cracks in the frame, especially around the welds.

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I've always bought used bikes but I see it as a trade off:

  1. There's something joyous about an older bike. You can get a higher quality frame for the same price. You should also enjoy the process of searching for and weighing up the pros and cons of each bike you see. Its also worth mentioning that an awesome bike stays an awesome bike. My '98 Specialized Stumpjumper (bought in 2001) and my '98 Cannondale R900 (bought in 2005) are still lovely bikes.
  2. However the process takes time (searching, collecting, fixing problems). You have to consider how much time you're willing to spend to save yourself the money of the bike. The more expensive the bike the more time that's worth spending.
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