Used bike vs. big box store bikes?

This topic contains 9 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  byogman 2 yrs, 7 mos.

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Dec 23 2013 at 9:57pm #

For my ebike project, I wanted to buy another road bike so I could keep my existing road bike ready for racing/training.

I have looked at craigslist/ebay for used bikes, and I see some rusty road bike from the 70’s and they want $200 for it. It seems that all the used bikes that are any decent cost several hundred dollars.

My other option is to get something new for $200 dollars
There are several, like the Vilano or GMC Denali

In my research in used bikes vs. these big box bikes (vilano/gmc denali) everyone seems to suggest going for the used bike, but I think that we when you could buy semi-decent used bike for couple hundred dollars.

I think I am going to go with a Vilano,

Interested in hearing others opinions.


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Dec 24 2013 at 12:11am #

rhodebump wrote:I see some rusty road bike from the 70?s and they want $200 for it.

Bikes, that *should* be about $50. Probably not even the original owner and it’s questionable if such a seller even rides. People can be dumb.

How many components will you be using from the donor bike vs. how much will you be adding on?


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Dec 24 2013 at 9:27am #

What are you looking for out of the underlying bike for your e-bike project? Specifically, how wedded are you to max efficiency and flatland cruising speed? Because I think the relative advantage of an e-bike is stuff like accelerating, climbing and towing, and you can get hybrid or mountain bikes reliably on the cheap which would be fine.


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Dec 24 2013 at 9:46am #

Go to Free Ride, young man. Not only will you find cheap or even free bikes (just pull from the donations that are going to be scrapped), you will also find all the tools you need, as well as a lot of help and interest.


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Dec 24 2013 at 10:14am #

+1 for going to Free Ride. My biggest concern with ebikes is that the quality of the brakes and wheels on most that I’ve seen are on the low end. This on a bike that will be ridden faster than normal (you know you will). That’s exactly what you get on a department store bike & “most” craigslist bikes – cheap brakes and wheels. Go to freeride, find an almost free frame and spend your money on decent components that affect the safety of your ride. Do you really want to stop from +25mph on steel rims and single pivot calipers? or would you rather have downhill-bike quality disks?


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Dec 24 2013 at 11:25am #

Are high end bicycle components even suitable? Better manufactured parts seem to be made for weight savings not durability.

I would think components need to filter down from the motercycle/scooter world and be adapted to a bicycle.

I really have no idea just how much torque your e-assist is going to provide. I was just thinking about some of the power tools in my garage and just how much torque a modern battery/motor can provide – easily enough to twist up light weight components.


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Dec 24 2013 at 12:10pm #

andyc wrote:Are high end bicycle components even suitable?

I think it depends on what type of bike you are talking about. I agree high end road bike components would probably be inappropriate, but downhill, MTB etc. bikes are designed for durability and stopping at high speeds. And when you carry this concept out, you are probably better off buying a motorized scooter, since its components are designed for its performance envelope.

bicycle heaven

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Dec 25 2013 at 10:14pm #

The older bikes in many are are better quality USA made though some are not .The bike from the 70s for 200 bucks may not be a bad price we have a 70 Huffy bike at the Museum worth 5 grand so just depends on how rare or the history of the bike.We sell new bikes and older / used bikes and I do great with the older 80s / 70s 60s bikes.We have new bikes around 200 bucks but I sell many 70s bikes same price,i think a lot has to do with they had that same type bike years back.Your new bike today may sell for much more than you paid for it years down the road and it may be you buying it back lol,,a old friend found.I do get a chuckle when I go to the thrift store see a 1 year old beat up bike that needs new tires tubes and a tune up asking price 49.00 when it was only 99.00 new.I may be a odd ball I like the heavy feel better than the super light bikes of today.


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Dec 26 2013 at 11:13am #

I would spend a little more money on a used bike. You can find a really good one on Craigs if you keep looking. You can also use search tempest if you are willing to drive an hour or so to expand your search to Cleveland or other areas outside Pittsburgh. Good luck. Oh, most of Freerides bikes are pretty rough. I like their concept, but I think you can do much better looking around yourself.


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Dec 26 2013 at 11:52am #

I’m a big fan of the cheap experiment. You mentioned “your other bike” which sounds like singular, so I’m assuming you’re in an experiment mode rather than an, I’ve done most of my experimenting and now want to build an awesome rig, mode

In that spirit, I’m personally going to come to the meeting and will come on the 30$ huffy mountain bike I got as a “my regular bike in the shop” standby and as something my wife could ride on trails while I tow the two little ones and we all go the pace of my eldest daughter.

Ignoring the statements about my own riding, I’m thinking a power front hub motor might make it something she’d be a lot more likely to start using. And then hey, do we really need both a powered trailer and a powered bike? Nah. Of course, gotta upgrade those brakes! But still, that’s my own take on where my experiments very well may start, and it’s a bike I sincerely doubt my wife will have the slightest inclination to ride for at least three months, so happy to loan as much as you’d like so my experiments could also be yours.

Of course if I’m wrong; if you’ve done your experiment and are building your rig, but maybe now have some lesser, but functional equipment to hand off, I’d also be happy to take it off your hands :)

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