Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Buying a 2nd Hand Bike

When looking for a bargain, it is likely these days that you will turn to eBay or other auction sites for a second hand bike. 

While there are bargains to be had, when buying a second-hand bike, you need to be careful, because you may have a large repair bill to go with the bargain price. Even if the person is not intending to be dishonest, their idea of perfect condition may mean clean but worn out.

There are a few things you should do when considering buying on eBay:

  •   Never pay cash - always use one of the schemes that gives you protection.
  •   Always collect in person - do not have it posted to you, and do not meet in some car park halfway.
  •   Always ride the bike. Here is a quick road test check list:
    • Pedal quite hard in every gear front and rear. If there is any skipping and banging, assume that you are going to need a new chain, cassette and chain rings. That is a big bill.
    •  If there is a grinding or wobble from the pedals that might mean another big bill.
    • Check that the brakes work, especially that they release and apply evenly. Hydraulic brakes should work perfectly. While a new set of pads for a standard bike are usually a few pounds, disc brake pads are expensive.
    •   Does the steering feel free? Stiff or lumpy steering could a major repair.
  •   Examine the tyres. Is the rubber perished? Are there odd bulges or cracks. Is there tread left?
  •   If you are buying a bike with suspension, does it seem right - does the bike rock about with the front brake applied? If you are buying a bike with expensive forks, these are supposed to be serviced regularly and this usually means sending them away to the manufacturer - but most people don't bother. Forks often are 1/3 of the cost of a bike, so any suspicions, walk away.
  •   Spin the wheels - are they straight? Minor wobbles can usually be sorted out, but it needs someone who knows to judge. Can you wobble them from side to side - loose wheels often end up with damage.
  •   A clean bike does not mean it is a well maintained bike.

Over time there are parts of bikes that do wear out, including wheels, bearings, cables and the whole drive train. For example, a chain usually lasts 2000 miles or less, and if it is not changed causes a lot of damage, so be wary of commuter bikes, even if they are carefully maintained. Off roading and Mountain bikes are bikes designed to be hard, but therefore are prone to accident damage - the bargain is the mountain bike that is used on road, not the one owned by the expert who knows how to ride it, even if perfectly maintained!

The other thing to bear in mind is that if you are buying an expensive bike at a bargain price, when it comes to repairs, you need to decide whether you are going to maintain that quality or whether you are going to put cheaper parts on. Also old bikes can be difficult to get spares for, even if they are only a few years old.

If you require the price for a part or about having your bike(s) serviced then please contact us on either 07812 033 064, 01446 796959, by email at or via the Online Quotes and Booking Form