Thinking about getting a used DH bike - where to start?

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Thinking about getting a used DH bike - where to start?
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Posted: Apr 10, 2020 at 5:42 Quote
Last year I went first time DH in Whistler, and again in Blue Mountain.
I loved it. I'm no youngster and did not hit the big lines, but still had a great time.
I do 'regular' MTB (Stumpjumper) and some park/DJ (which I suck at, but enjoy).

I can get to Blue Mountain in about 3 hrs, so I'm thinking (when this Covid crap is over) to go there more often.

So that led me to looking into a used DH bike, but I have no idea where to start. What do I look for outside
of framesize? Do I research what shock/forks they have? When it was last serviced?
What about differences in bikes, what makes one bike better than the other?
What should I stay away from ?

Any tips are appreciated.

Posted: Apr 10, 2020 at 14:51 Quote
Testride even if around carpark and check complete bike over if going the 2nd hand route

Posted: Apr 10, 2020 at 15:54 Quote
Well, obviously it all depends on price first.
With a second hand bike, personally i always calculate additional costs when comparing prices as in most cases something will be wrong with the bike and you won´t notice before owning and riding it for a while.
What you´re looking for is the equivalent to a garage car, driven by an elderly person, not much mileage and ideally serviced on a regular basis with documentation.
So basically any wealthy guy with a busy job/time schedule, well off family father who bought the bike to enjoy during his rare moments of freetime. Not some poor college kid, aspiring racer type. You get the idea. Not much riding time, money and time to spend on spares/service.
As most people are lazy when it comes to servicing, this is one of the first things to consider. If the owner cannot show you either a receipt for a recent service or his very well equipped workshop (with fork/shock service equipment), expect the fork and shock to be in desperate need of a service. It´s just the way people are. Suspension components get neglected badly, so you don´t wanna ruin them completely by delaying service for another season. That´s another 200-300 bucks right there if you´re not able to do it yourself. Keep in mind for price negotiations.
Secondly, bring an allen key or multitool. Just check some of the linkage bolts and other obvious parts like brakes for correct tension if the owner is ok with it. Nothing worse than a bike ridden with loose bolts.
Also check wheels for trueness and spoke tension. Any loose spokes will most likely bite you in the ass sooner than later, even if retensioned. Once the wheel has been loosened often times things start developing quickly. This is not something i´d consider not buying a bike over, but if you have the choice between two bikes it could be a deciding factor.
If you wanna know how much the bike has been ridden or have doubts, check the saddle and crank arms. They usually show wear over time, so especially if the bike is still stock sometimes this can give you a clue whether the information given by the owner is true.
Also factor in bearings in your calculations. DH bikes are often exposed to pressure washers on a regular basis and some frame bearings barely hold up one season. If possible, take off the shock and cycle the rear triangle. If it feels gritty, the bearings might be toast and replacement can be expensive in some cases.
Personally i would also always exchange any bar from the get go, especially if it´s carbon. You never know what abuse it has been put through or if it was overtorqued. A bar failure is catastrophical, so spending 50 bucks on a new one might be a good idea. It´s not necessary and up to your personal prefrence and obviously dependant on accompanying circumstances, but still something to keep in mind.
Obviously cycle the gears on a carpark test. Don´t just chalk bad shifting up to an old shifter cable. The bike should be in working condition, otherwise something else might be the culprit like a bent mech hanger or rear derailleur which can be minimally out of line and still never work perfectly again. Just plain frustrating to realize this later on.
So only buy bikes without obvious flaws, even if they seem minor. You never know how they turn out after two weeks.
Alternatively, ask for heavy discounts to cover eventual costs (again, suspension service is a huge cost factor!)

Other than that do some research and find out what numbers your new bike should have for your body height. Check back on forums about potential bikes. Go through classifieds for a while before making a decision and whenever something sparks your interest, go do some research and see what others have to report about it.
There are certain "rare" bikes, like the Banshee Legend or Nukeproof Pulse, that are great value but often are underpriced compared to the usual hyped frames and then there are some basic bikes like the Giant Glory which is a basic and boring workhorse, but gets any job done and is readily available for a good price.

Posted: Apr 11, 2020 at 11:27 Quote
Thanks for the extensive reply Loki87! Very helpful!

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