Author Topic: touring on a used bike  (Read 6293 times)

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Offline cstabler

touring on a used bike
« on: March 06, 2005, 01:03:25 am »
I am going to be biking across the US this summer and am hoping to keep costs down. Is buying a bike off my buddy who rode the same route asking for trouble in terms of maitenance or should it hold up pretty well? The bike is a trek 520 and was only ridden for that one cross-country trip. Thanks

Offline RussellSeaton

touring on a used bike
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2005, 10:03:22 pm »
If the used bike fits you, this is somewhat important, it will be a very fine bike to tour on.  Or ride anywhere.

Bikes, quality ones such as the Trek 520, last for many, many, many, many thousands and tens of thousands of miles.  The main parts of a bike don't really wear out.  Actually used parts have proven they work and will not fail on you.  And one cross country trip of 4,000 miles is merely the infancy of a bike's lifespan.

I used a Trek 520 to tour Europe in 1992.  And I used the same bike for many thousands of miles of riding afterwards.  I'd still be riding the bike except I replaced the frame and fork because it was too small when I bought it in 1992.  I've always known this, and finally decided to fix it, 12 years later.  But just because the bike was too small and not the best fit, I still rode many miles.  So if the desire to ride across the country is there, the bike is very secondary.

I would suggest getting it overhauled before taking it on tour.  Hubs and headset regreased.  Chain and cogs checked for skipping.  Probably new chain.  Clean everything.  Brakes checked to be sure they work.  Bottom bracket and crank checked.  Wheels checked for trueness.  New tires.  Etc.  All work you can easily do yourself with minimal tools.  And work you should know how to do yourself to go on a cross country tour.  And buy the panniers your buddy used too.

This message was edited by RussellSeaton on 3-6-05 @ 6:05 PM

Offline DaveB

touring on a used bike
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2005, 12:46:25 pm »
Russel's recommendations for a general overhaul and maintenance check are good but I'll make one additional suggestion:  

Replace both the chain and cassette together. A new chain on a worn cassette is a sure recipe for skipping under load, particularly on the smaller cogs.  Slightly worn chainrings will easily tolerate a new chain but cogs won't.

New tires are a certainty and new brake pads a possibility.

As to the other parts, 4000 miles is practically brand new.  Nothing should need any more than relubing (hubs and possibly headset) and checking for adjustment.

If the bike fits, wear it. :)

Offline kjim

touring on a used bike
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2005, 07:49:20 pm »
 The Trek 520 is one bike I have been looking at. For touring most people seem to think the gearing is to high.  You might want to swap out the inner chain ring and also go to a 12-34 tooth cassette to get a lower gearing. You might explore more of the forum on gearing.
  Hear is a journal about a man who rode a 520 from San Francisco up to Canada and across to the Atlantic. has a lot of journals on touring by cycles.
Jim K