Buying A Used Bike
Most of the bikes we sell fall into four categories. if you are unsure which type to go for after reading these descriptions, test riding will give you a much better idea.
1.) Cruisers are built for comfort, not speed. They usually have upright handlebars and three speeds or just a single speed. These bikes are preferred by many because they are easy to use, comfortable and stylish. Beach cruisers are usually single speeds with fat tires and a foot brake; classic city/townie cruisers often have 3-speeds and hand brakes. They are usually heavier than most of our other bikes.
2.) Basic Road Bikes come with drop handlebars (ram's horn) which are versatile and allow for multiple different hand positions to get a more aggressive riding position. Some riders convert these to straight or bullhorn handlebars. Our basic road bikes generally have 10 or 12 speeds which are controlled with a pair of friction shifters, which can be difficult to learn. Road bikes are built for speed, especially in NYC where a narrow bike can squeeze through gridlocked cars.
3.) Premium Road Bikes. Our more expensive road bikes are mostly from the 80's and the 90's, and have the following improvements:
- Aluminum or CroMo steel frame (lighter than high tensile steel)
- 12 or 14 speeds
- indexed shifting (shifters click into place for each gear)
- alloy wheels (lighter weight and better braking, especially in rain)
- lighter and better performing components all around
4.) Hybrids. Generally modern with comfortable, upright handlebars and street tires, a good choice for someone who wants both speed and comfort. The benefits of modern technology usually include:
- plenty of gears with ergonomic shifting
- alloy wheels and better braking
- easily and highly adjustable seat and handlebars.
Hybrids are not the coolest looking bikes but they are practical for city riding!
Beginner Test Ride Guide
**written for buying used bikes in general. All Bike Truck bikes have been professionally test ridden and checked for mechanical problems**
Spend at least a couple minutes inspecting the bike and take a long enough test ride to get a feel for the bike. You should ask the seller about anything you find wrong with the bike or are worried about. Sellers are not required to list every little flaw on the bike and may not even be aware of them. Much better to find out now than a week or month later.
Inspecting the bike:
- Visually inspect the bike for rust, damage, and cosmetic issues.
- Any dents in the frame reduce the value of the bike considerably. Do not buy or ride a cracked frame.
- Lift each end of the bike and spin the wheel to make sure they spin straight and hold their momentum.
- Check the tires for cracking and dry rotting on the side and wear on the top.
- Make sure the tires are filled.
- Does the bike fit well? Bring a wrench or ask the seller to adjust the seat.
- Ride. Listen / feel for bumpiness, rattling, grinding, squeaking and other noises. If you hear/feel anything, ask the seller what it is.
- Test each brake individually. Feather them to feel if they brake smoothly, and brake hard to test the stopping power.
- Shift through all gear combinations multiple times (if you don't know how to shift, ask the seller before riding).
- Pedal hard, uphill if possible.
- Go fast, downhill if possible. Some issues may not be noticeable at slower speeds.
- Ride with no hands to see if the bike has a lean to one side.
- How long have you had the bike?
- Have you had any issues with it?
- Was it serviced? Any repairs?
- Do you ride over curbs?
- Was it stored outside?
What should I look for in a saddle?
Comfort saddles are large and padded. Racing saddles are skinny and aerodynamic. The faster you want to go, the skinnier your seat will need to be to allow your legs to push straight down onto the pedals. Wide (comfort) saddles cause you to pedal slightly bowlegged, less efficiently and not fully extend your leg. Saddles are easily interchangeable; if you want to buy a bike from us but you don't like the seat, we will swap almost any other saddle in the shop at no extra charge.
How high should my seat be?
When pedaling, your legs should reach an almost full extension for maximum efficiency - not a locked knee, but close. Similar to your stride as you walk. This usually means you can reach your tip toes to the floor while sitting on the saddle.
Some riders (especially beginners or those not used to riding in traffic) prefer a lower seat, sacrificing speed and power for the ability to put their feet more solidly on the ground.