Buying a used bicycle

I’ve been thinking of getting a nice bike, for excercise. People usually recommend rather than get a crappy $150 walmart bike to go to a bike shop, get properly measured, and get a decent $300-400 bike.

But… I’m not sure if it’s something I’d stick with, so I’d like to get one cheaper by getting one of those nicer bikes used. What sort of discount can you expect to get from a used bike?

But I have no idea what to look for. What size of bike do I need and how do I measure for it? Are there particular brands or types to go with or avoid? I’ll mostly be using it for road use.

Are those mounts that people put on their car in order to hold the bike effective and easy to install?

Is craigslist the best place to look?

Any sort of bike buying advice welcome.

The problem is you don’t know what you want or need. Bikes come in different frame sizes. You need one to fit your size and leg length. You can adjust the seat quite a bit to get that part comfortable, but you have less ability to adjust the handlebar height and distance from the seat. The seat can be adjusted back and forth about an inch. You can buy different offset stems and handlebars to adjust there. But you are not in a position to be making major mods to a bike yet. You will get some responses here. I suggest you google for bike fit too so you will know when you test them.

I have a hybrid bike that I bought for $17 25 years ago. Everything except the main frame has been changed. This heavy old bike is my shopping bike. Then I have an all aluminum racing bike that I only paid $45 at a garage sale last year. For the same amount of effort I can go fast and look almost normal. If you only want exercise, I suggest a used exercise bike. They can be comfortable and you don’t get flat tires. Plus, weather is no excuse.

Personally I don’t see anything wrong with a $150 walmart bike. Something a bit better from a bike shop will be lighter which can give you better performance, but you’re just doing this for exercise, not trying to win races or anything, so who cares?

Buying a used bike is fine, but you really need to know what you are looking at, and based on your post I’m not sure that you do. You need to understand how all of the mechanics on the bike work (shifter, derailleur, brakes, etc). You need to check the rims for damage. You may need to adjust spoke tension, brake cables, shift cables, etc. to make the bike work properly. If you know what you are doing (and have the proper tools) it’s easy to do and doesn’t cost much. Taking it to a bike shop and having them adjust everything though will negate a lot of your savings of buying used.

How are the roads near you? Narrow tires are better for roads since they will give you less rolling friction. Wider tires give you better grip at a cost of more rolling friction. Bigger wider tires also tend to absorb more of the bumps on the road.

I say find something that is comfortable for you and fits the type of riding that you will do. Used is fine, but I would recommend finding someone who knows about bikes to go with you. Craigslist seems to be a bit hit and miss depending on what areas you live in. In my area it’s good for finding just about anything. In other areas it’s a hornet’s nest of scammers and trouble. YMMV. I see good bikes at yard sales sometimes, but again you need to know what you are looking at to know if it’s a total piece of crap or if it’s a good deal.

For exercise? Get a big ol beach bike, one speed, coaster brakes. The heavier the better. I found dozens on Craiglist near me for $25 - $99.

I drive a Catrike, love it, will not go back to normal bikes, I can do 20-25 miles per day in absolute comfort, I could probably get the same exercise from a beach bike in 8-10 miles.