Used Triathlon Bikes: 6 Things to Check Before Buying

Used Triathlon Bikes: 6 Things to Check Before Buying

– About buying any used
triathlon or road bike. Do that before you do anything. I just realized something on
that trip to the camera store. Hola, trainerinos. One of the more common
questions that I get asked is I am thinking about buying
a used dot dot dot bike. I’ve got a deal on a
used dot dot dot bike. What do you think about
the dot dot dot bike? Well, here are gonna be some principles that you can use about buying any used triathlon or road bike, all right? Listen up, write it down, I don’t wanna have to repeat myself. Let’s talk about getting
sized up on a bike. Often people will ask
me, I am five foot nine, and I have a 32 inch inseam. Not me, I’m midget size, actually. What size bike should I get? Well, you know what, I
can’t really tell you. You need a bike shop for that, and what I would recommend doing is, kind of a shitty thing to do, but if you patronize a local
bike shop regularly and spend a fair bit of dough in there, in other things they might be a little more willing to help size you up. So if they know that you’re gonna be coming in, you’re gonna be buying all the accessories,
you’re gonna be buying all the parts, all the things to maintain the bike, go into your local bike shop and get sized up and ask them what size
bike you should be on. Do that before you do anything. One of the biggest determinants about, are you in a good price point at a bike that is going to last quite a while and hold its value for a
while, are the components. Probably the most common set of components that you’re gonna be looking
at are Shimano 105’s. That’s what’s on this bike
here, however this bike is a 2016 model. Shimano 105 in the 2016
2017 model is basically old Altegra from 2014, my old bikes, because as bikes continue
to go on in years, what happens is the trickle
down effect of the nicer models of components ends up coming down into the entry level models. Now let’s say that you
are buying a used bike, it’s gonna be a few years old,
so you want a better level of components than the
entry level of today. So what I would recommend
is if it’s Shimano, you want Shimano Altegra
or Shimano Durace, if it’s Schramm, you want
Schramm Red or Schramm Force. Shimano 105 or Schramm,
I think it’s eight packs from several years ago,
those are really entry level components that aren’t
gonna hold up and stand the test of time after
three, four years of riding, so you’re gonna be getting
a level of component that has probably had
the piss ridden out of it and you don’t know if
it’s gonna last very long. In addition to that, it’s
not gonna hold its value. Next thing is the frame
itself, if you aren’t getting a brand new bike, hopefully you can afford an all carbon bike. An all carbon bike is
gonna be the lightest, typically more aerodynamic
because you can design things like this big long aerodynamic headset and curved like teardrop shaped seat post, down tubes, and things like
that all over the bike. So ideally you want to
be getting a carbon bike. Carbon is very tough, however
if there’s a crack in it, if there’s a chip in it,
if there’s a dent in it, like if there’s a knock
out of the frame anywhere, that’s gonna be a weak point and it’s gonna be very dangerous,
so you want to look over the entire frame for
any cracks, any chips, any dents, any major scuffs. You can also go through the whole thing, and you want it to sound very solid, if you start hearing places
that it sounds like something’s busted, and you’ll know
it when you hear it, you’re not gonna want
to pick up that bike, because odds are it’s
got a flaw in the frame. Next thing you want to
look at to make sure you’re not gonna have a
complete disaster with the bike is look at all the bolts
and screws on the bike. If there are areas that
you have stripped bolts, stripped screws, that’s a
sign that you’re gonna have a big problem on your hands
and you might have to take it into a bike shop, and you’re
not gonna be able to work on it yourself. Similarly to that, you’re
gonna want to check the seat post, make sure that it can go up and down and that it hasn’t been
rusted into one spot. And you want to ask the
owner about indoor training. If they’ve been on an
indoor trainer quite a bit, you kind of want to feel them out and ask if they’ve put a towel
over top of the headset like you see me doing often,
on the indoor trainer. Because if they haven’t,
they’ve probably sweated into the headset, and you can’t
see from the outside, but that’s probably caused
a fair bit of corrosion on the inside and you could have a big problem on your hands. The headset might be
seized up, and I’ve heard as much as having to throw away a bike because people have
sweated into the headset of their bike. Rough, eh? And then finally you
want to spin the wheels and look at it head on,
and watch for trueness. If there’s any sort of
wobble back and forth, you’ve got yourself a set
of wheels that are untrue. If it’s an aluminum rim, it’ll
be fairly easy to true up, but if it’s a deep section rim at all, you’re gonna be in trouble son. And then lastly you might think that I might tell you to look at the chain, or the cassette, and see what
kind of condition that’s in, or where the brake pads are, but frankly, those are like changing
the oil in your car. You’re gonna have to do
it, if you buy a used car you’re still gonna have to change the oil. Those are things that
you just cycle through on a year or biyearly basis. So even if the cassette
is worn down, if the chain has a lot of stretch, if the
brake pads are worn down, whatever, what I’m looking
for with all of these tips is to get you in a position
that you’re getting a bike that’s gonna be easy to work on, you’re not gonna have any major
costs after buying the bike, and it’s gonna hold up and
hold its value after you buy it and decide that you want
something shinier and newer two years down the road,
because let’s face it, new bike day, best day. Fortunately today had nothing
to do with new bike day, it had everything to do with long run day, and it knocked the piss out of me. Body’s retaliating, trainiacs. Does not like me now. (pop music) No cameras, please. (pop music) Well Sony, your time has come
to an end with this channel. I mentioned this to you
before, well a while ago, that we got this big telephoto
Sony RX10 mark three. Well it was awesome for
beautiful slow motion, long video footage from like a mile away. But the battery life sucked,
and anything but perfect bright lighting conditions sucked. And then lately I’ve been
trying this Sony RX100 Mark 5, which is like the go-to vlogging
camera for tons and tons of vloggers out there,
however I don’t think many of those vloggers live in Winnepeg, they’re only like New York or California, or they travel all around the world where they actually have an
outdoors that they can go to year round, well outdoors,
again, the Sony RX100, you don’t have a stop
sign, no, you absolutely don’t have a stop sign. RX100 Mark 5, as soon as you
take it inside, same thing because it’s just got this
wee little one inch sensor. As much as I keep trying
to outsmart myself by changing different
cameras, the old trusty GH4, it’s what works. I’m gonna bring this back. I just realized something on
that trip to the camera store. You know how I recommend
that you patronize your local bike shop and develop a
good relationship with them, because there’s gonna be that
one time out of ten visits that you really need a favor,
and if you haven’t patronized your local bike shop because
you’ve ordered everything online, and then you show
up and you’re like hey, can you help me out,
they’d be like piss off. Same thing at the camera store. I’ve got to start ordering more things at the camera store, like
this, this is a thing that you go basically
underneath your chin here, there’s a little clip, and
then you take that clip and you clip the camera into my backpack. Living in the future here, folks.

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. I "love" how according to Taren that old Shimano 105 is crap when I'm cruising on a 2012 aluminum road bike with old Tiagra components (19.2 mph/30.9 kph in my last Oly).  Some of us have kids with daycare expenses.

  2. Great tips all around. I wish more people were comfortable buying used; I've known (too many) people who didn't get into the sport because they can't afford a new bike. I've seen people on 1980s Panasonics destroying on the bike leg and I've seen a Cervelo P5 never even getting ridden because its owner didn't make the swim cutoff. Now hey, I'm as much of a bike nerd as anyone, but admitting that a bike is only as good as I am saved me a lot of money, lol.

  3. Good advice. Two months too late for me. Take the tap test seriously. Bought a used felt just to get it home to show it off to my wife and as I leaned it over noticed a longitudinal crack in chain stay under the sticker. Very difficult to see, but tap test positive. Dream bike became a nightmare within 30 minutes of purchase.

  4. Ok, I just thought about this and thought who better to ask than you. So I’m a Senior in High School, I’m a 17 years old male, 5’11” tall, and weight roughly 145lbs, but my weight has constantly bounced around from my Freshman year to my Senior year of High School. Starting out at Freshman year I weighted maybe 100lbs, then Sophomore year I started a after school activity that helped my strength building, then I went up to about 140lbs,last year I started to run cross country because I found that I was just naturally kind of good at it and actually lost weight, down to 130lbs, but this year I’ve taken up cycling and actually gained some weight back. I can tell by just looking at my figure from last year to this year and tell that I gain that weight in muscle in mainly my thighs and glutes, and I was just wondering what kind of weight change I would expect to see once I add swimming to my routine, because I do want to do triathlons. Would I see my weight go up, down, or would it stay about the same? Also do you have any advice for like a pulled muscle or tendon around the glute area? I went to the doctor today and they said to rest it for a week to ten days, but I’m wondering if stretching it just a little would help it. I pulled it and cross country practice last week, my coach seems to think it’s the IT band, but I would think it would hurt to do the stretch and it doesn’t. Though the spot it’s in I could really only think that it’s a hip flexor or IT band. When it hurts it’s like right where the leg connects to the hip, but it’s on the back side near my butt cheek. It also only ever bothers me when I pound on it, so when I run, do like a speed walk, like I’m in a hurry, or when I fall on my foot/ jump. I can ride my bike and feel completely fine. What are your thoughts on it?

  5. Thanks for the tip Taren. My current road bike – 2009 MAdonne 5.2 was bought off craigslist. (i did buy and sell two bikes before that off of craigslist). Finding a used bike, has been a trying and a tiring experience. I am thinking of purchasing the next bike – a tri bike – brand new. I think I am going to go for a Cervelo P2C.

  6. I bought my Trek SC off of CL and was very happy with the deal I got. I used Trek's Size guide which at 6"2 put me in the upper end of the L and lower end of the XL. (I got the XL) I took it to a local bike shop and had it properly fit for my body. BEST $100 I HAVE EVER SPENT! The owner of the shop spent over an hour with me measuring and adjusting everything from my seat and stem to my cleat position.

    Video suggestion… I am thinking of flying either to Florida or California for a triathlon next summer. What are your tips for traveling long distances for a race where you can't drive? Do you ship you bike via bike flights or check you bike on an airline. If I don't want to invest in a bike case can I use a bike box from a bike shop? How much do you break the bike down? (I have heard that is a downside of Trek SCs)

  7. Just a quick dumb question: "Do road bikes bearing no UCI sticker allowed in any triathlons in Northern America or europe? I mean those bikes that were never heard of or not the usual brands we see in races.

  8. Taren – I'm new to triathlons, so please excuse my silly question:

    Regarding the "head set" and putting a towel over it during indoor rides to prevent sweat from getting in….What about when you're riding the bike outside on a hot day (when you don't have a towel over the head set) and sweat onto the head set?

    Love you channel and your recent coverage of KONA…EPIC!Regards,Nirav

  9. I ride used Road bikes as my focus is MTB and the road bike is Trainer,and early season rides I would also like to add this. Buy a good frame and look at buying a new groupset. I did this with my specialized. There are online places that sell sell the latest 105 groupset (5800)for less than 500CAD including delivery. (I would love to buy local but but with Shimano there is no way local can compete with online and they pretty much don't carry Shimano anymore as it costs them almost 50% more) I do give them the extras such as chain, cables, and bottom bracket and get them to put it together. They actually don't mind and advertise this service. They know in my case and others they will never sell me a new road bike.

    Doing this got into my latest road bike 2013 Specialized Roubaix for 1200(This is more bike than I need).

    I am not afraid of used just be smart and don't buy with your heart. There are a few E-bay stores I trust for their quality and always look there first.

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