Purchasing Decisions

Goodie but oldie, should I get it used or brand new?

As I gather parts for my frame build up I continually have to address the question: should I buy used or should I buy new? Unless you have an unlimited budget I’m sure you’ve probably asked yourself the same question.

Much of this answer will be determined by how much your build budget will allow and what level, or weight, you’re hoping to achieve. In my situation the bike I’m building up is a full suspension 29er and my budget is “really small” while also shooting for durable, weight conscious (not weight weenie) bike.

Sounds like an oxymoron right? Finding parts that are durable and weight conscious but are light on the budget are typically not compatible features in bike parts. But, I think it can be done or maybe I just hope it can be done. To help along this process, I had to consider buying used equipment. But what should I buy used and what should I buy new?

Durable and weight conscious, too bad it’s not cheap

For some advice on this, I turned to a friend who enjoys shopping for bike parts and asked for his thoughts. His rule for his bikes, of which he has many, is that drivetrain stuff like cranks/cassette/chain should be purchased new as to avoid weird wear patterns from prior usage. Control stuff like handlebars, stems, saddle, seatpost, can be bought used as long as they’re not too used.

Practical advice. Another piece of advice that I’ve learned is to be patient. A major factor I have on my side is time. I am not in a rush to build this bike up because I have access to other bikes. This gives me the option to wait for great deals to come along or to search the classifieds.

Score! Time permitted me to wait and I was able to nab this for cheap!

Having time allowed me to score a great deal on some gently used Easton Monkey Lite XC bars. Initially I had set my sites on any brand’s high end aluminum handlebars as this fit my “durable and weight conscious but also wallet friendly” budget. I figured that a manufacturer’s top of the line aluminum bars would be light weight and durable but not as expensive as carbon fiber bars. However, since I had time I was also keeping my eyes peeled on the used market which turned out pretty well, if I say so myself.

In the case of these bars I was able to achieve all of the parameters previously outlined for the build. Will this happen for all the bike parts? Probably not. But a man can hope, right?

4 Replies to “Purchasing Decisions”

  1. Cranks are perfectly fine used…perhaps not the chainrings, though.

    It is INSANE to purchase used handlebars, however. Especially if you don’t know the person you’re buying them from, their ride characteristics, etc. Handlebars (particularly the good ones I’m sure you look for) have a relatively short fatigue life, and when they go, there is no warning whatsoever. YOu’re a big guy, Jeremy. Don’t skimp on something that may result in serious restorative dentistry, or worse…

    Everything else on your list is safe. I’ll buy a used freewheel on occasion, but only if I can inspect it first. Stems and saddles are usually fine, as are alloy seatposts.

  2. What is your market choice for shopping for used parts? Ebay? Craigslist? Some other market or all of the above?

  3. a variety of places. For gently used stuff, I’ve been looking on ebay, mtbr, socaltrailriders.org (a local mtn biking forum) and singletrackminded.com (another local mtn biking forum). I generally don’t check out craigslist too often.

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