Buying a Used Bike: What to Consider?

Bikes are one of the most exciting modes of transportation of all time! With a bicycle, you can travel faster without using fossil fuel or any other external energy.

Hence, it won’t cost you any penny besides the manufacturing and purchasing costs. They are also considered to be eco-friendly.

If you are in the market for a bike but don’t intend to spend huge bucks on a new one, then go for a Used Bike.

The best place for buying a used bike is a Bike Shop. Because that’s where your bike is already adjusted to run smoothly, so you don’t have to face the hassle of tuning it up or replace any parts if needed. 

A “Used bike” or “Second-hand bike” might sound more like saving a little cash, which of course, we’d love to do!

But be careful about the risks involved in purchasing a used bike at a cheap rate.

Because there might be a chance that the amount of money you saved initially with a cheap purchase could end up wasting you more doing repairs and other expenses.

So, here’s your ultimate guide on things to check before buying a used bike. All you must do is follow these tips for buying a used bike that’s the best fit for you – maintains balance both on roads and in your wallet!

Specify your need

You should be clear and concise about your needs before you go shopping for a used bike.

Whether you desire to purchase a bike for commuting and high climbing purposes or just random traveling purposes.

Make sure to have a clear idea of what you need, and it’s better to note down your requirements in a notepad as it will help you choose easily.

Cheap new bike vs. Second-hand bike

Cheap new bikes:

Suppose you are looking for a new bicycle at a low price. In that case, you should always consider buying from a specialist retailer rather than a toy store/departmental store.

I REPEAT: never go for a toy/departmental store. Let’s know the reasons:

  1. The depth of knowledge of a specialist retailer is broader than that of a department/toy store. Consulting with a specialist retailer will help you have a clear thought on your needs and thus end up with a better outcome.
  2. The cost savings provided by the toy/department stores are generated from using substandard parts, most likely to be the invisible ones- for example, bearings and cables.
  3. A bicycle with a comparatively lower price might prove to be an end of its line item.

Hence, if you are planning to buy a cheap bicycle, make sure to check if your bike is at the end of the line. You should also check if the shop provides other bikes from the same manufacturer.

Second-hand bikes:

Any product or service termed ‘second-hand’ or ‘used’ lets you save a few bucks. But there’s always a risk involved, which might bug you later.

In the case of bikes, make sure to enquire about all necessary questions and investigate thoroughly. You should ask the seller to mention the exact reason behind selling the bike.

Also, you can enquire if the bike has any specific parts that have been replaced earlier.

The usage history, crash reports (if occurred), service information, purchase receipt, and many more things can be investigated on further queries.

It is a must to have a detailed description of these criteria before purchasing a second-hand bike.

Check our In a detailed guide choose a road bike

Do the research

Meeting the seller in person

After you set up your mind to purchase a second-hand bike, you cannot just run to the shop and grab one!

You will have to conduct research thoroughly because, as being said earlier, risks are being included.

If you drive your research correctly and go for purchasing, it will be easier for you to bargain and negotiate.

Check feedback and price

Before choosing a used bike and start negotiating, check which similar bikes from that specific brand, year, and category come with the same price.

Also, check the reviews and feedback if it’s previously used by other riders as well. That will give you a clear concept of the quality of the bike.

Is the seller reliable?

On sites like eBay or Amazon, you can easily check a seller’s feedback, history, and all other essential information.

You will also be able to read customer’s reviews and complaints and decide on whether to purchase or not.

On the other hand, classified websites will not provide you with such detailed information. So be careful while ordering from any of those websites.

Buying a used bike from a well-reputed bike shop is highly recommended. Because it reduces your risk of being cheated and fraudulence.

This also triggers your chances of getting a good used bike if you are on good and friendly terms with the shop.

Be careful about pictures

You should look for higher resolution and best quality pictures while purchasing a bike.

You need to clearly see and have a concise idea about what type of bike you are going to buy.

Seeing a low and vague pic and deciding on that would be a wrong step.

With a decent photograph, you may also understand how a biker treats his bike. Many of these bikers are supposed to capture a picture of their old bike being dirty.

Hence, the owner’s maintenance schedule can be evaluated in this way.

Avoid stolen bikes

It is important to confirm that you are not purchasing a stolen bike. And how do you ensure that?

Well, you can ask for the original purchase receipt. There’s a unique identification number for each frame. You can ask for a snap of it too.

You can also determine if it’s stolen by checking the bike’s security mark by checking the Register number and ID on the Bikeregister database.

It’s better to skip the idea of purchasing a bicycle if you doubt that it might be stolen.

You may be interested in a purse an e-bike

Meeting the seller in person

After your necessary research is being conducted, it’s time to have a face-to-face meeting with the seller to discuss everything about your purchase.

This also increases your possibility of getting a fair deal as you are going to test your bike physically.

Make sure to meet at a public place where CCTV is installed to avoid any threatening situation.

Consult your friends and bring them along

If you have a friend who knows a lot about bikes and their parts, you should consult with him regarding your ‘used-bike purchase.’

It would be best if you could take him along to meet the bike and seller face-to-face. He can check the parts and ensure you of what you are purchasing and worth all your penny.

What to ask?

You are purchasing with your money, so you have got the right to ask anything and everything regarding it. Make sure to ask all the queries before buying.

It can be about the bike’s services, ts parts, maintenance procedures, receipts, crash/defects reports, and many more.

You can also note down your queries in a notebook and take them with you.

Be prepared to walk away

When your negotiation terms and conditions don’t comply with that of the seller, accept it politely and be prepared to walk away.

You might not be willing to walk away if you realize that the same bike would be difficult to get from any other place existing with the same features.

Inspecting the bike

Inspecting the bike

After meeting the seller in person and coming to terms regarding negotiation and other formalities, it’s time to inspect each part of the bike and inspect its overall condition.

You can also ride and take trials personally to check if your bike is worth purchasing or not.

Frame and Fork

When a used bike has a damaged frame, it can be entirely termed as a useless one.

Since this specific part is the foundation of a bicycle that cannot be replaced, it is important to ensure its stable position.

When you are getting ready to assess the bike yourself, inspect carefully to confirm any damage signs.

You must look if the frame has any cracks, dents, chips, and bends of the tube that might fail alignment and the frame itself.

There might be rust spots or bubbling under the paint that may lead to corrosion. Overall, scrutinizing the frame and testing the entire bike is crucial.


It’s a closed circuit used in the propelling of a bike. The smoothness and efficient shifting depend on the drivetrain’s health.

A drive train contains cranks, chains, chainrings, cassettes, derailleurs, and shifters.

The first thing to check would be the chains. If the chains face any problem, there’s a possibility of the entire drivetrain being replaced.

Shift the chain on the big chainring and pull it away. If you see a small gap, then the bike is good to go.

But if there is a large gap, it’s better not to go for that bike because it may be worn out after a few rides.

The cranks should be assessed in the same way as frames- the presence of rust, dents, cracks, and others.

Check if the chainrings and cassettes have sharpened teeth or not. Because that might fail to align with the chain and the gears. 

The following parts are front and rear derailleurs. These need to be checked by shifting the rear cassette up and down and switching the big chainring to small.

If the shifting turns out to be smooth and resistance-free, then this bike would be your right choice. 

Bottom bracket and brakes

The bottom bracket is another expensive part of a bike. It can be checked by grabbing one of the crank arms and moving it from side to side.

If the crank arm tends to move unnecessarily or make a knocking sound, this might need to be replaced. 

The brakes should work just as the derailleurs and shifters. If you squeeze the brake calipers and it tends to exercise resistance or get stuck, then this surely needs to be replaced.

Wheels and Tires

Assessing the wheels is a must because they are the second most expensive single part of a bike. Lift each wheel off the ground and make a good spin.

Check if they spin straight and do not move or bow more than a few millimeters. Squeeze the spokes together to check their tension.

Make sure they are tight enough and jerk less. The rim braking surface should also be checked, which is supposed to be flat.

If it shows a concave surface, then it must be due to excessive use.

Tires are pretty affordable, but if you want to inspect them, make sure to look for cracks, bulges, and gashes.

Tires usually have a wear indicator in their center. If it is no longer visible, then it might need to be replaced.

Steerer and headset

While checking the steerer, you need to make sure that it’s free from corrosion.

This can be done in two ways: either removing the fork and checking the crown or letting the handlebars swing from side to side. If they don’t rotate, then there might be a problem.

You can also check the headset by pressuring the brake levers and moving the bike back and forth. If noise is heard in the headset while moving the bike, it might need to be replaced.

Other things to consider

Not all the parts of a bike need equal attention and consideration. Some parts can be replaced easily with fewer expenses.

Even they can be swapped up for free of cost—for example, the dirty bar tape, stretched-out cables, or tears.

The main factors needed to consider would be the bike’s function and whether it meets all your requirements and fits you inevitably or not.

Other essential things needed to consider are…


 After choosing and selecting your desirable bike, get ready to bargain. Bargaining can be done in many ways.

You can bring out any other sales of that current time and compare both values with the seller. Start with a number less than your overall idea of the bike.

Eventually, you will get it at your preferred price by bargaining.

Size and fitting

This is probably the most crucial part of purchasing a bike. Because the wrong-sized bike with poor fitting doesn’t go with your height and comfort zone.

Riding would be inefficient and uncomfortable with a wrong-sized bike. Check if the seat post can be raised higher and lower and if the handlebars fit your reach.

There should be at least a gap of few inches between the top tube and the crotch while standing on the ground.

Warranty and services

Some sellers provide warranty cards for their used bikes. Some offer repair services for a specific time.

Hence after choosing your ideal bike, it is wiser to ask for all information regarding warranty card, warranty period, and repair services and avail those opportunities.

A good bike shop usually takes care of its bikes in the future.

Save some money

You must have planned the required amount to buy your ideal bike according to your budget. It is highly recommended to not spend that entire amount on just purchasing the bicycle.

Instead, save some bucks for buying accessories such as – helmets, knee guards, pumps, puncture repair kits, spare tubes, and bottle cages to carry water.

Craigslist: What is it and how to use

Craigslist is a fantastic tool created by the American Consumer Cycle, where unwanted things are given away in exchange for newer ones.

Here our own money is being recirculated along with natural resources in our community.

Craigslist helps recycle and prevents extraction of materials and prevents energy consumption in the creation of new stuff.

While using Craigslist, you can also look for sellers online, meet them personally and take a test ride before purchasing your bike.

How to use Craigslist

  1. Write down the name of your city along with the word “Craigslist.” This will then take you to your local Craigslist site. You can bookmark it for easy access in the future.
  2. Start exploring different site sections- housing, job, sales, to have an overall idea of the rules and regulations for posting.
  3. Choose a specific category to post which will be beneficial for you. There are very few factors that require payment for posting. So choose your preferable type and make a post wisely, not randomly.
  4. There is a “post link” in the right corner of the page where you select and choose your category.
  5. Answer any additional queries related to your category mentioned in those radio buttons.
  6. Add a title and description for your post mentioning all details precisely, and use the most possible keywords.
  7. Add your email. If you don’t want to show your email, use this Craigslist-coded email relay. Using this, you can receive and send messages from your email yet remain invisible to the other users.
  8. Re-type your email address and click Continue.
  9. Confirm your email, make it edit if needed, and publish it.
  10. Check your mail for a Craigslist email. Confirm it, and then your post will go live.
  11. The new posts always appear at the top, so make sure you check as frequently as possible to reply to the responses.
  12. It is strongly recommended not to share your address and other information with anyone.


How much does a used bike cost?

An ideal and long-lasting used bike usually costs ranges from $200-$400. Whereas a brand new bicycle starts from $900.


I bought in perfect terms and conditions with an affordable price range and maintained with proper care and repair services, a used bike will definitely last for years.

There’s nothing wrong and no need to feel inferior while buying a used bike. So if you are new to biking, a used bike would be great to practice and enjoy riding!

And you will be significantly benefitted if you follow all these tips provided by us. Share your experience and suggestions with us if you have already purchased a used bike.

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