Top Tips When Buying A Second Hand Bike

Buying a bike is a great idea, but not everyone wants to part with the cash, especially if you’re just getting into the cycling game. Buying a second hand bike could be a good solution, and there are some great bargains to be had for even the most experienced of cyclists.

Here we’ve provided some simple tips for those delving into the second hand bike market.

Use A Legit Website

There are plenty of websites and advertising pages which list bikes for sale, but we’d suggest searching around via a legit and well used website. You want to avoid those who would sell on any old bike, or even worse those who may have stolen it.

Websites like ebay may not specialise in bikes, but you can check a sellers feedback and pay through the trusted PayPal website. This certainly beats picking one up from a guy you met in the pub.

Specialist second hand bike websites and forums are also available, such as Bike Radar and Bikesoup.

Try A Local Bike Shop

Many bike shops will have a stock of trade-ins (as well as ex-demos or ex-hire bikes), so don’t be afraid to give them a try. This offers a piece of mind experience, especially for those unfamiliar with bikes, as the bikes should come maintained and serviced. You’ve also got somewhere to head back to if you encounter problems.

Try Bike Recycling Schemes

There are a growing number of bike recycling schemes throughout the UK, where you could pick up a real bargain. These schemes often pick up donated or unloved bikes, before applying a bit of TLC and getting them back on the road. Many are not for profit and help to get local people into employment, so you will no doubt end up dealing with a genuine good egg. The Big Bike Revival website provides a useful directory of schemes to try.

See The Goods Before You Hand Over The Cash

Websites allow us to search for goods from far and wide, but we wouldn’t suggest ordering a bike from the far end of the country in the hope of picking up a bargain. Always go and see the bike before you commit to buy it, and if possible take someone along who is able to help you check the bike over (unless you feel confident to do so). Things to check include:

  • Frame for cracks (rust and scuffs are usually ok, but cracks are a big red flag)
  • Chains and cassette aren’t rusted or stretched
  • Brakes work and pads aren’t worn
  • The bearings work and move freely without any grating feeling (headset, bottom bracket and wheels)
  • Gear shifts.

Check If It’s Stolen

If a bike cost seems to good to be true, it usually is. Many people looking for a quick sale may be in a hurry to get the bike off their hands! Be sure to check if a bike is security marked, and consider running the frame number through BikeRegister ID’s free BikeChecker facility to see if the bike is listed as stolen.