Bike tips and tricks – How to buy a used bike?

Bike tips and tricks - How to buy a used bike

Buying a used bike can be an attractive alternative to a new one. In this post, I answer the question of how to buy a used bike? What to do when buying such equipment. If you have any suggestions for new entries, share them with me on the Facebook Cycling Tips or commentary.

Some time ago I described how to sell a used bike and how to prepare it for sale. Buying a used bike provides more excitement and it is easy to get carried away. However, if you remember a few simple rules – we will make a good choice.

Buy a used bike

First of all: Should one wonder if it is better to buy a new bicycle? If we lack funds, you can look at the budget bikes of branded manufacturers. Alternatively, if we look at the upper shelf, buy a bike a little less equipped but new. The advantage of this solution is the guarantee that for the next time all elements of the bike will work properly and we will not waste time on “minor fixes” that usually awaits us with the used bike.

Second: It should be remembered that the bike you are using will NEVER be in a state like a now from the store. Therefore, you have to turn a blind eye to minor looseness and abrasions on certain elements.

Thirdly: If you decide to buy a used bike (especially for a larger amount), it is better to look for a seller from the area. Buying in the dark (by mail order) can end with a lot of disappointment. The seller does not necessarily have to lie in the description of the bicycle (as well as in a telephone conversation). Maybe not quite knowing about bicycles, or accustomed to certain inconveniences, just forget about them. I think the test drive and careful examination of the bike is the basis. The assessment of the technical condition based on the photos is unfortunately not the best idea.

Fourthly: We do not buy under the influence of emotions. If we do not feel strong enough to look at the bicycle with a cool eye, it is worth taking a colleague who is more experienced in technical matters or just make an appointment with the seller on the bicycle service.

The seller may not want to go there with a bicycle for PLN 200-400, but if he sells a bike for several thousand PLN and does not agree to such a check – it is better to cancel the purchase. Best bicycle resource about buying – Tips on the bike sales: You should note that…


What to look for when buying a used bike?

1) Rama – this is the basis, it is one of the most expensive elements and its replacement is the most west. Any cracks or dents immediately cancel the purchase of a bicycle with an aluminum and carbon frame. Steel frames in this respect are stronger, but in my opinion, it is also not worth it.

If there are any protectors or additional stickers – you do not have to look at them, they can hide a surprise. The same rules also apply when checking a rigid fork.

2) Shock absorber – we check if it works smoothly or there are no leaks. Of course, very cheap shock absorbers lose their elasticity over time. If we buy a bike that is several years old, you can expect it.

3) Wheels – bearings should rotate smoothly, without any resistance. The wheels should be centered if they beat very much to the sides; it is worth the seller doing it before selling (even at the expense of raising the price). It may turn out that the hoop is bent so that it can no longer be properly centered.

The consumption of tires is not so important, but it is worth looking at them to estimate that you will not have to add, for example, PLN 100 to exchange them immediately after the purchase your bicycle how to buy a used bike?

4) Drive – check the wear of the sprockets on the crank. They should be sharp, not resemble a shark’s fin (which means they are already heavily wiped). Korba is the most expensive element in the drive and its exchange strongly raises the final purchase cost. We also check the appearance of the cassette visually. During the test drive, we check the smoothness of the chain transfer and listen to the disturbing sounds coming from the drive. Check also that there is no slack on the carriage.

5) Brakes – we check the smoothness of operation, whether they are not jamming. V-brakes usually do not cause problems; the bigger problem may be with shields, especially cheap, mechanical models. With hydraulic ones, it is necessary to check if brake fluid is not leaking out of them after a few stronger braking. We also check the condition of the blocks: inv-brakes it is approx. PLN 30 for a set for two wheels, but decent pads for tiles can cost PLN 80-100, which would raise the cost of purchase for another “tip”.

6) Seat post, steering wheel, bridge – we are looking for cracks, strong abrasions, cramps. All this can be a sign of the bicycle’s very big accident, although they are not that expensive and the seller could replace them after the accident.

As I wrote above, we buy a used bicycle. On some of the elements, you can turn a blind eye and after purchase simply replace them. If you skillfully pull out all the minutes of your bike, maybe you will manage to make a price so that even if you bring it to order – it will still be a good purchase.

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