Buying a great used bicycle is really satisfying. First, a used bicycle will be much better value than a new bike. New bicycles lose as much as 50% of their value the moment they leave the shop.
Second, you should get a much better used bike for your budget than if you bought a new bike. This can translate into a nicer frame or better components. All of which will make your time on the bike even more enjoyable.
Buying a used bike also appeals because it is sustainable and, if you choose a vintage bike, results in you getting a bike with some classic, retro appeal.
Once you had decided what type of bike you want it is pretty simple to buy a second hand or used bicycle. Here are Going Going Bike’s guidelines for buying a used bicycle:
Size is key
Make sure the bike fits. If you’re buying online, check out our sizing guide to see if the bike’s dimensions are suitable for you. Alternatively you can physically get on the bike and check.
Here at Going Going Bike, we ask sellers to put in bike size information when they list their bikes for sale. We believe this information will help buyers to make a more informed decision. For instance, our bike listings tell you what is the exact size of the bike and gives you info on the optimum height that you should be to ride the bike.
You or a bike mechanic can adjust bits and pieces if the bike isn’t quite a perfect fit. For instance, you can adjust the seat post, stem and saddle position for a really comfortable ride. However, do make sure you can stand over, and sit on, the bike comfortably. Avoid any feeling of stretching for the handlebars or being cramped over them. ).
Check the bike’s condition
Second-hand bikes come in all sorts of conditions. Always inspect the state of the brakes, gears, derailleur system, headset, the bottom bracket (which the pedals rotate around), wheel spokes, hubs and whether the frame itself is structurally sound.
If these parts of the bike are not in a decent condition it could end up costing you far more money to replace them.
Superficial marks or scratches on a bike are not a problem, but you should avoid a frame or fork which is rusty or has cracks or dents.
Also make sure the wheels aren’t buckled and that the spokes are rigid (they should give out a nice “pinging” noise if you pluck them like a harp). Tyres can be replaced if they are worn out.
If you are buying online make sure you check the photographs of the bicycle closely to check its condition.
We ask sellers on Going Going Bike to give an accurate description of their bikes when they list their bikes. We also have a rating system. Sellers are asked to list their bikes as: New, Almost New, Good Condition, Useable and Repair Needed. Again, we hope by providing this information, a buyer can make a more informed decision.
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT BUYING ON THE GOING GOING BIKE MARKETPLACE AT OUR BUYER FAQs.
Approximate cost of replacement bicycle parts
After studying the condition of the bike and before ascertaining what type of price you’d pay for a bike to a seller it is worth considering the cost of parts if you have to replace certain parts of the bike. Below is an approximate guide:
Buckled wheels and missing or broken spokes. May cost you between £5 – £40. Missing, broken or jammed components, e.g. brakes or gears. May cost you between £5 – £60 per part.
Rusty or worn chain and cogs (chains and back cog sets should be replaced together). May cost you between £20-£60.
Loose handlebars or stem could be a jammed or loose headset. May cost you between £10 – £60.
Pedals that crunch as they go round: the bottom bracket may need replacing. May cost you between £10 – £20.
Tyres – worn tyres get more punctures. New tyres cost from £10 up. Some older bikes may have tubular tyres. If you get a puncture they can be a pain to repair, although it is quicker to change a tubular than it is to change an inner tube.
Ask questions of the seller
Find out how long the seller owned the bike and whether they bought it new. Get a feel for what type of rider they are and how many miles they’ve done and how many of those were in wet weather.
Has the bike been stored indoors in the dry, or outside in the damp? If you’re buying the bike from a second-hand bike store you may be able to get a warranty for any problems the bike may develop in the first few months. It’s worth asking.
Another unique feature of the Going Going Bike marketplace is the ability for buyers to ask questions of the seller. This can be in-depth questions about the bike itself as well as asking about delivery options.
Give the bike a ride
There’s nothing stopping you arranging with the seller to meet up and test drive the bike to see if it’s what you are after. Take a knowledgeable friend or even better a mechanic if you remain uncertain.
Get the right price
Go online to do some price comparison of second hand bikes. Check the online second hand bicycle markets (click here to go to the Going Going Bike marketplace) and also find out what an equivalent bike would cost new.
You can get some great prices at for bikes on our marketplace, so make sure you go and have a look.
Make sure the bike is not stolen
At Going Going Bike we are passionate about creating a legitimate market in used bicycles and we do not want you to buy a stolen bike. It encourages thieves to steal bikes and can result in the police having a discussion with you about handling stolen goods.
Unfortunately, due to the lack of action of other online marketplaces and buyers’ lack of knowledge “second-hand bike” has become synonymous with “stolen bike”. However, if steps are taken to check the legitimacy of the bike being sold then the marketability of stolen bikes will drop dramatically.
The best thing you can do is check the bike registers to see if the bike matches one that has been reported stolen. There are three bike registers which act like a cycling equivalent of the DVLA. They store details of the bicycle and owner, including whether it has been reported stolen. BikeRevolution.org and BikeRegister.com are bike registers which allow cyclists to check their registers online for free by inserting the frame number or a registration number.
In addition there are certain places, physical and online, which have a reputation for selling stolen bikes. Avoid these areas and trust your gut instinct about a seller. If you think they stole the bike, don’t buy it from them!
At Going Going Bike, we ask sellers to list frame numbers of the bikes they sell. We award sellers with a Prove It badge for every bike which states its frame number. This gives buyers the assurance that the bikes sold on Going Going Bike are legitimately being sold.
Happy hunting. Why not drop us a line if you have any questions about specific bikes.
TRYING TO FIND THE PERFECT BIKE FOR YOU ON OUR MARKETPLACE? WHY NOT TRY OUR BIKE MATCH TOOL