Study up before you go meet that Facebook Marketplace seller.
Picture this: You’re going about your daily business, whatever that might be, and whether it’s because you’re having an incredibly good day, or an awful day, (or maybe even just a day that happens to end in ‘y’), you find yourself browsing some online classifieds. Pretty soon, wouldn’t you know it, you’re looking at your old favorites. You know the ones. You’re determined to have them in your garage someday, even if you have no idea when that day will be.
It could be today! Weird stuff happens all the time, especially the more bike people you get to know. Let them know what you’re looking for, and they’ll offer plenty of kind words of encouragement. Also, they will most certainly not talk you out of any or all 2 a.m. messages you send to Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, Kijiji, or eBay sellers who happen to be flogging the bike you’ve convinced yourself that you need.
If you’re just buying a bike outright and not trying to win an auction, what happens next? Some people might find situations where they feel comfortable just handing over cash without actually examining the bike first. Maybe the seller is a known quantity, or they’re just buying the bike for parts, or some other confluence of factors makes you think that’s a sound idea.
For most of the rest of us, though, we want to see that thing and take a good look before any money exchanges hands. Depending on how rose-colored our glasses for that bike are at that time, we might also want to take a more practical bike-loving buddy with us to make sure we don’t do anything too stupid. If you’re purposely and knowingly buying a bike with intent to fix it, that’s one thing. However, if you’re expecting to buy a runner and you get a 500-pound paperweight instead, that’s a completely different percolator of fish.
That’s why you and I need to think about the FACS, according to Ryan F9 in this extremely handy FortNine video. Besides giving several FACS about clever acronyms, Mr. F9 also makes a ton of good points. By always checking the fuel, air, compression, and spark before you break out your satchel full of cash, you’ll know whether an older bike is worth spending your time and hard-earned money to fix up.