May/June 1996, p.16

Nuts and Bolts: Buying a Used Bike

Was your last bike stolen? Is your bike too nice to ride to work? Are you looking for a tastefully beat-up, low-profile city bike that will take you where you want to go? There are some things you should keep in mind when buying a used bike:

Never buy a bent frame.

The fewer speeds, the better. Go for the 1- or 3-speed clunkers.

A fixer-upper is a BAD IDEA. The money you end up spending on parts and labor could buy you a new bike.

Always check:

  • frame welds for defects, rust, dents, cracks, gaping holes
  • that all necessary components are there (i.e. 2 brakes, 2 shifters, 2 derailleurs, 2 wheels)
  • the wheels: spin them looking for wobbles and missing or broken spokes The tires for cracks and holes or worn tread
  • the pedals and crank arms, to be sure they don't jiggle.

For used bikes, try Erney's Bike Shop (212-689-5186), the Police Auction (212-406-1369), Mike the Bike Man at the Chelsea Flea Market (6th Ave and 26th St.) early on Sunday mornings or Recycle-a-Bicycle.