When it comes to cycling, getting a new bike is a very exciting experience. The new bike might be of a new discipline, lighter and faster, or the upgrade of a current model you already have. When buying a new bike, it’s important to ensure you are getting a good bike that has been looked after.

It’s easy to end up buying a bad bike, as some people typically only sell when there’s something wrong. In this article, we will tell you exactly what you need to look out for when buying a new bike. We will be discussing the following:

  • Why Used Bikes Are A Fantastic Investment

  • What To Look Out For When Buying A Used Bike

  • Playing The Negatives To Your Advantage

Why Used Bikes Are A Fantastic Investment

Buying a used bike is an excellent investment. We highly recommend searching your local marketplace and websites like eBay to see if any bargains are available. As a buyer of many used bikes, I highly recommend them.

The first thing to mention is the amount of money you can save. I bought bikes for 20% – 30% of their original cost, which is a huge amount to save in the long run. Then we also have the benefit of they are pre-built. Some bikes acquire assembly when ordered online, and this is a job that the previous owner typically does. 

You also have much less depreciation when buying a secondhand bike. If you get it at the right price, you can even find yourself making money when you come to sell it after using it, which is a win-win for sure. It’s also much better for the environment, and secondhand bikes are available immediately and don’t need to be built by a company and sent out to you. 

What To Look Out For When Buying A Secondhand Bike?

Now for the fun bit. What do you need to look out for when buying a secondhand bike? Here’s what we recommend thinking about:

Is It Stolen?

Unfortunately, it does happen, and many bikes do end up getting stolen and then put up for resale to unsuspecting victims. When going to look at a bike, the first and most important thing to do is to check the serial number. This is typically located under the bike’s bottom bracket, and you can search on websites such as BikeRegister.

Is It Real?

If you are buying a top of the line frame, it’s important to check if it is real. There are a lot of companies out there making replica frames that look nearly identical to the original but just don’t have the quality or the components. Check all the little details and do some research on the frame you are buying to ensure it is identical, this is common with big bike brands.

What’s The Reason For Sale?

Whenever I go to buy a bike, I feel it’s important to ask why they are selling the bike. You would be surprised at the answers you get. I have had people say, I don’t know, oh I crashed it, and even I found it. It can give you a lot of peace of mind when you get a genuine reason. 

Is The Frame In Good Condition?

The frame is typically the most important part of the bike, and you need to check it thoroughly. You will want to inspect it for any cracks or dents because this, unfortunately, is a red flag, and we highly recommend walking away from a frame that has taken hits. If you have some paint chipping, that’s understandable, but structural damage isn’t.

Is It Your Size?

Although it might seem crazy, I have found so many second hand bikes I have gone to buy that have not been the size stated by the seller. It’s vital to check that it actually is as very few bikes state the size on it. Don’t be shy to go to a seller with a tape measure and check. 

Do The Components Match The Original Bike?

In the past, I have seen people selling bikes with the original components removed and replaced with much cheaper alternatives to make a profit. We highly recommend checking the original specification and seeing if it matches up with the bike you are buying. If you have a custom build, this won’t apply.

Are The Components Worn Out?

Another good idea is to take a chain checker with you to see if the components are worn out. If you have a stretched chain, a worn-out cassette, and shark-toothed chainrings, then you need to consider the service cost that you will get in the future. 

Does the Bike Work Properly

Although it goes without saying, it’s good to give the bike a quick test ride if you can just to make sure it works properly. If you are biking a bike with problems, you should inspect why it has those issues and why the previous owner didn’t get them repaired.

Check The Wheels And Tires

When it comes to wheels and tires, you can tell a lot about how a bike has been ridden by its condition. You must check the wheels are straight and true. You can even check if the spokes match. It’s also worth looking at how much wear is on the tires, as it can be costly to replace a new set if required.

Is The Suspension Well Looked After?

If you’re buying a mountain bike, it’s good practice to ensure the suspension is in good condition. Check that the suspension works properly, the forks are not pitted or rusty, and it’s always worth asking when they were last serviced. If they haven’t been, you need to be asking why, as that could be a large bill in the future. This is vital on full suspension mountain bikes.

Playing The Negatives To Your Advantage

Rarely will you find everything to be perfect when it comes to buying a used bike. So with what you find out, you need to play to your advantage. We recommend quickly weighing up the cost to fix the issues and taking it off the price you’re paying for the bike if you can. 

For example, if you get there and the chain is slipping due to needing a new chain and cassette, when they said it was fine, then ask if they can lower the price for you. It’s not rude to ask if it wasn’t advertised that it needed work.

A Final Note

We highly recommend buying a secondhand bike as you get so much for your money. You have to be careful and don’t be scared to take your time checking and negotiating the price if you don’t like something. Thanks for taking the time to read our article.

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