On Saturday 5/26 I purchased a bike. I am now the proud owner of a 2011 Focus Mares AX 2. While searching for new bikes over the past several months I have also been checking craigslist for bargains. Searching craigslist can be a long and often disappointing process. I’ve seen a lot of junk for sale on craigslist. I have also seen a few nice bikes here and there but never anything in my size or the exact style that I wanted.
This past Friday however, my luck changed when I discovered this Focus Mares AX 2 aluminum cyclocross bike, in my size and in my area. The owner had even posted a number of decent sized photos. Often when I see something for sale on craigslist and it has tiny photos I think the seller is trying to hide something.
After contacting the seller on Friday night, I arranged to see the bike on Saturday morning. After I slept on it, I started to have seconds thoughts because the Focus wasn’t one of the exact bikes I was thinking about. Heck, I’d never even considered the Mares, in fact I didn’t really even know it existed. I had heard of Focus before from my test ride of the Cariboo Peak hybrid back in April but I had never looked into their CX bikes. After tossing it around in my head for a bit I decided it was worth it to drive out and at least take a look at the bike.
Before I jumped in the car to leave, I found a site that had some good recommendations for what to look for in buying a used bike. Check out the Bicycle Inspection page at usedbicycleguide.com. Armed with my inspection tips I was on my way. I stopped at the bank to pickup some cash and broke up some of the money into smaller bills so I could haggle with the seller. If you’re going to be buying something expensive from a craigslist seller, please play it safe. Meet in a public location (oops, I broke rule number one) and bring a buddy along. I always like to have the cash on hand when I’m dealing with a private seller. If I were selling something, I wouldn’t want to hold onto the item while someone when to the bank or whatever it took to get the money. I want to extend that same courtesy to seller I meet. Plus you don’t want to leave a good deal sitting there, giving the seller time to find another buyer.
After talking with the owner for a bit, I asked him if I could inspect the bike. I checked everything I could think of, looking over the bike. The seller said that he had only rode the bike about 40 miles and from the looks of it, he was being honest about that. The bike was in almost perfect condition. I took the bike for a test ride around the block a few times, shifting into all the gears, listening for noise, etc. Everything seemed to be in order so I made the guy and offer $200 less than he was asking. He countered for $50 more and I said sold! I paid the money and I was on my way.
The buyer had purchased the bike from Performance Bicycle. Focus is a semi-exclusive retailer of the Focus brand in the United States. It just so happened that there was a Performance shop right near the sellers house. I stopped in there on the way back and told them that I had just got this bike and that I thought one of the front brakes was rubbing and asked if they could take a quick look at it. The guy at the service counter said no problem. So I took the bike in, they made a quick adjustment to the front brake and for future reference, showed me how to make the adjustment myself. They also gave the bike a quick once over and a clean bill of health. Yeah!
I’ll have more to come about my new bike soon but for now, here’s a bunch of photos I took of it this past Saturday when I got it home and shined it up a bit. Enjoy.