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You can buy a good full suspension mountain bike new for $3,000. Or you can buy a used top-of-the-line, fancy-component-specced bike that’s a couple years old for $3,000 that may have sold for twice that when new. The difference is dirt, wear and tear, and a couple biggies: warranty and shop service agreements. The idea seems solid at first—just browse Craigslist and Pinkbike, find a used rig, save thousands. Until it’s time to actually meet up and fork over a pile of cash to a stranger for a bike that looks more weathered than it did in photos. Suddenly, that warranty on a new bike starts to make a whole lot more sense. Here, the crew of Pinkbike walks us through a basic, but crucial set of checkpoints. Bikes are complicated, but they’re not that complicated. Pay attention to a few key areas, and save that money.

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