You have finally made the decision to buy a bike. Good for you; bikes are awesome! And you’ve even decided that you want a road bike to get you around your town in style. Now, you ask yourself if you want to buy a new bike, or if you want to save some money and buy a pre-owned bike.
You may be skeptical about the idea of getting a bike that somebody else used before you, but you don’t need to be afraid; used road bikes can be perfectly safe, as long as you can trust the source who gave you the bike.
Why Should You Trust a Used Bike
The longevity of a bike ultimately relies on the end-user. Bicycle makers will typically make their products last for an extended time. The frames, in particular, can be used indefinitely, as long as they are properly cared for. Many of the other components are not built in such a way but can be easily replaced.
As long as you are willing to put forth the effort to maintain the replaceable parts, you can make a new bike last forever, or give a pre-owned bike a new, extended lease on life.
Another thing to consider; when purchasing a new bike, you may feel compelled to try to keep it as pristine as possible for the first few months of ownership. By comparison, with a used bike, you know that your bike is pre-owned, so you may be more likely to customize your bike with cosmetic features.
How to Search for a Used Bike
If you’re considering purchasing a used bike, make sure you trust whoever sells you the bike. If you’re buying from an online marketplace (such as Amazon or eBay), check the seller’s stats to see if they are a trustworthy salesperson.
Choosing a retailer that specializes in bike sales gives you a greater degree of accountability, as most stores will have warranties and fair repair policies. You are likely to find a bike seller where you live, but bike sellers are also online and are generally as trustworthy as brick-and-mortar stores.
How to Care for a Used Bike
Whether you get a new bike or an old bike, you will want to perform a multi-point inspection whenever you ride. Check your tire pressure first; at the very least, press down on the wheel to determine if the wheel is particularly low. Be sure to check your tire pressure regularly, and ensure that you are close to the factory-recommended maximum if you use a road bike.
Check the outer rim of the wheel to see if any physical damage has been done to the tire itself. While checking this, you may want to make sure that the wheels spin smoothly and are not grinding against the frame.
Test the brakes, to ensure that they hold firmly without squeaking or slipping. Check the crank arms (attached to the pedals) to ensure that they are firmly attached to the bike and do not have any outward give.
To ensure that the handlebars are appropriately connected, test to see if the handlebars can move without the wheel moving; if the handlebars can move independently of the bike, you will want to get the bike serviced.
You will also periodically have to check the chain as well, to ensure that it is properly lubricated and not rusting.
You will want to have a repair kit for emergencies, as well. Purchase a spare tube, a pump, and a multi-tool to service your bike in an emergency.
As long as you regularly perform a multi-point inspection of your bike and have a kit ready for emergencies, you can ensure that your bike remains in good, working order for years to come.