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I'm looking for a first road bike. I've been looking for a used bike because I can't quite afford a new one. I just have one question about buying a used bike. Say the bike has been sitting for 2-3 years, indoors and upright. It has been ridden very little (a few 100 kms) when it was first bought. What kind of maintenance or work would a bike like this need to be ready to ride again? Would it need any work other than just a tune up?
 

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Assuming you'd have an LBS do the work, ask them to lube the chain and tune the drivetrain, check the operation of the brakes, check the rim strips and replace, if needed (cheaper wheelsets oftentimes have plastic rim strips), and replace the tubes (cheap insurance). If the bike hasn't been ridden much and has been stored in a relatively stable environment, the tires are probably in decent shape, but have the LBS advise on that.

It's understood that your budget won't allow working through an LBS on a new bike purchase (thus no fit assistance), but at least test ride the bike for some duration to make sure the fit is close enough to be comfortable. If it isn't, you're apt to not ride it much and the money won't be well spent.
 

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missin44 said:
Tire and tubes replace, new to biking but the same would hold true of motorcycle tires and tubes if tubes applied.
But m/ cycles aren't bikes and your example doesn't apply, so I'm confused as to why you offered that it's a given that tires should be replaced.
 

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PJ352 said:
But m/ cycles aren't bikes and your example doesn't apply, so I'm confused as to why you offered that it's a given that tires should be replaced.
Tire are tires auto, motorcycle, bicycle, etc. Over time rubber, if it sits and isn't used degrades faster than if it is used. While the tire at first glance looks good or even new; the rubber over time dry rots if not "flexed" or used. Depending on the environment its slower or more rapid depending on where the bike is kept. This is rarely a problem for most tires for 2 reasons, in most cases tires tend to be used often enough that dry rot isn't an issue. For the the simple reason that tires wear out before this type of problem arises. In addition the frequent use of tires actually helps prevent dry rot. Remember I'm not talking about wear, but about the degrading of the rubber.
 

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missin44 said:
Tire are tires auto, motorcycle, bicycle, etc. Over time rubber, if it sits and isn't used degrades faster than if it is used. While the tire at first glance looks good or even new; the rubber over time dry rots if not "flexed" or used. Depending on the environment its slower or more rapid depending on where the bike is kept. This is rarely a problem for most tires for 2 reasons, in most cases tires tend to be used often enough that dry rot isn't an issue. For the the simple reason that tires wear out before this type of problem arises. In addition the frequent use of tires actually helps prevent dry rot. Remember I'm not talking about wear, but about the degrading of the rubber.
Yes, I understand all that you've offered and it clarifies your previous post, but I think where we differ (and that's certainly allowed) is that you're thinking because the bike sat, the rubber deteriorates faster, thus the need to replace. If you read my post, I qualify my opinions with... if stored in a stable environment... and .... let the LBS advise on that (to replace or not).

I don't think it's a given that the tires will need replacing, but YMMV.
 

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Not really

missin44 said:
Over time rubber, if it sits and isn't used degrades faster than if it is used. In addition the frequent use of tires actually helps prevent dry rot.
I would love to hear the proposed mechanism for this alleged phenomenon. Yes, rubber does oxidize ("dry rot") with time, but I can't imagine how flexing the rubber would somehow keep this from happening, or slow down the process.

Rubber oxidizes and gets brittle with time, whether it is used (flexed) or not. Full stop.
 

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To OP, good luck on your bike search! Something good will eventually turn up for you!

PJ352 said:
Yes, I understand all that you've offered and it clarifies your previous post, but I think where we differ (and that's certainly allowed) is that you're thinking because the bike sat, the rubber deteriorates faster, thus the need to replace. If you read my post, I qualify my opinions with... if stored in a stable environment... and .... let the LBS advise on that (to replace or not).

I don't think it's a given that the tires will need replacing, but YMMV.
Just as an addendum to PJ's comments above, last year I pulled out my old bike that had been sitting around unused for 18 years. After dusting off the cobwebs, I was actually able to air up the old tires and ride it no problem. I had taken it into my fave LBS and asked about the tires, and they said they looked fine. I would probably still be riding on those same tires if it wasn't for some huge construction nails I ran over. :(
 
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