First MTB For Old Fat Guy: What Look For In a Used Bike?

Forums Mountain Bike Forum First MTB For Old Fat Guy: What Look For In a Used Bike?


This topic contains 12 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of iliketexmex iliketexmex 3 weeks, 6 days ago.

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    Location: Tobyhanna, Poconos, Pa.

    Expected use: 3 Season: wood roads, mountainous hiking trails, single track as skills allow.

    Weight: 270.   with full gear/bikepacking: probably up to 300ish.

    I want to get into mountain biking and buy a relatively inexpensive but decent used bike, and I was wondering if there were any particular brands, models, or features I should look for; and any things I should avoid.  I’m willing to invest up to $500ish.   I’d rather not spend a lot until I get riding, after which I can refine my own ideas on a possible upgrade to a better bike.

    I’m inclined towards front only suspension, although I’d consider a full suspension if I found a good deal.   I like the fat bikes too, including the rigid ones, but I think I’ll be less likely to come across any of them.

    My main concerns are:
    – Getting a bike that can hold my weight, especially on bumpy downhills

    – Wheels that won’t buckle

    – A front suspension that will work with my weight.   How check out a fork?

    – Tires that won’t flat easily

    – A bike that’s easy to maintain and get parts for

    I was a city road bike rider until I moved up here, and used to flat constantly until I got kevlar tires which solved that problem.   I haven’t seen kevlar in MTB tires though.   I will do little to no road riding around here.

    I know of few dedicated bike trails around here, but there are lots of hiking trails I figure to be able to go on.

    Thanks for any thoughts.


    For $500 you’re probably better off looking at rigid fat bikes, and with many you can get a suspension fork later if you so desire. I’d recommend looking at surly bikes; try checking your local craigslist and bike shops, as well as the buy/sell section on Pinkbike.

    Also, be careful about riding on hiking trails, since many are closed to mountain bikes.

    If you’re willing to stretch your budget a bit there’s these surly pugsleys for sale in Wyckoff, NJ. I dunno how tall you are so I’ve linked both sizes.




    I’ll secobd on fat Bike. Preferably one that will allow suspension fork later. These bikes are tanks and you’d have to really rip trails to destroy one.

    Hiking trails in PA usually looks no different from world-class downhill trails: rocky, rooty and steep. Since you wanna gear up for bikepacking, fatbikes accepting racks, fenders and you don’t have to worry about suspension failure.

    And in your price range there are many quality options in used department


    Fat biking can be a lot of fun. I checked Pinkbike and found this


    I like the fat bikes from what I’ve read.    I’ll check out those Pugsleys in Wycoff.

    What I was asking about more than what kind of bike to get though, is what I ought to be looking for in a used bike.        Especially if I find one being sold by a private seller.     I mean are there ways to evaluate it besides what is obvious from visual lookover and a test ride?

    Or were you all saying that someone my weight ought be looking only at fat bikes because they’re the only kind that will hold up?


    For $500, don’t even think about full suspension.  If you find a “good deal,” it’s not real.  You’re either going to get ripped off or disappointed.

    In a used bike, you can check the value on Bicycle Blue Book to see if the price is reasonable.  If you’re happy with that, then you need to do a thorough inspection of the bike in person to make sure it’s all in working order.  If you’re not experienced with bikes, I would recommend taking a friend that knows what to look for to help you out.

    You can research for hours and hours, but you probably won’t really pick up everything you need to know until you build a bike.



    Dude, you could get a decent entry level new bike for just a little more than that. My first MTB was a new Giant Talon, and I paid $600.

    Buying bikes online is a sucker’s game. Go to your local bike shop.

    If you WANT a fat bike, you will be paying a lot more than $500 for a good one.


    When you check a used bike make sure the drivetrain works smoothly and check that there’s no excessive wear. If the deal seems too good to be true ask the seller about the history of the bike to avoid possibly buying a stolen bike. If the frame is steel, look for rust in any area where water could enter the frame: head tube, seat tube, bottom bracket if you can, eyelets for bottle cages, etc. Also make sure the brakes stop the bike adequately, ideally with the rear brake able to lock up and skid the back wheel (not sure it this is a reasonable expectation for fat bikes though). Check that there is no play in the headset by locking the front brake while the bike is stationary and putting your hand around the head tube where it meets the fork and rocking the bike back and forth. You should not feel any movement from the headset, only from the suspension if it’s there. When test riding keep an ear out for any squeaks, creaks, and rattles emanating from the bike. Make sure the bike fits you and you feel comfortable riding it, because it’s no fun riding a bike that’s too small or too big for you. If you see a carbon fiber bike in your price range  AVOID IT AT ALL COSTS as there will definitely be something wrong with it for it to be so cheap. Check the wheels by making sure they’re not excessively out of true and that there are no cracks or other signs of failure. Look closely at the tires to make sure they’re not cut, cracking, or worn out. While tires aren’t a deal breaker, it’s good to check them while you’re going over the bike to see if you’ll need to replace them soon.

    GMBN did an okay video on the subject that can be found here:

    Edit: Dangit, I can’t seem to get links to work


    Motobecane has a semi-fat tire (3″) with a solid frame, hydraulic disk brakes and click shifters that work smooth even under pressure. My old boss weighed over 400# and after he test rode one he bought a pair for him and his wife and they love them. He keeps up with the rest of us now. Just saying, Smoky


    Lots of good input already. I’ll just add a video from Seth’s Bike Hacks that seems to be good guidance on picking a budget mountain bike.

    Happy Trails!


    Fatter is funner! Check out the Fat bike trader FB page. Also fat bike classified. You will find something.


    Buying used Is risky if you are not familiar with Bike maintenance. You will want to check chain and drivetrain wear, bearings and other potentially expensive items that might need repaired.


    <p style=”text-align: left;”>I also concur with the fat bike advice</p>

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