9 Things to Check When Buying a Used Bike

Thinking about buying a bike?

If you are thinking about investing in a more professional bike, you will have to be prepared to pay a big buck for a new bike.

And if you are on a budget, there is a logical solution: buy a used, second-hand bike.

If you ready to armor yourself with patience and search for well-maintained, used bike, you could potentially save a lot of money.

However, it's important to remember that as its name says, you will deal with used, and in the most of the cases worn out bikes, so there are few important things to check before you take that bike home.


Because you could end up with a complete garbage and that will not be only wasted investment, but also could be very dangerous. And replacing parts on that kind of bike could cost you close to a new bike.

When it comes to parts and details you should pay attention, they are crucial ones and easily/cheaply relaced ones.

In this short guide, we will focus on curcial ones, because they are the real dealbreaker and you should never buy a bike before checking them thoroughly.

The good part is that you can easily check everything, on the spot, without any tools.

Here are some of the most important things to pay attention:

#1 Frame and Forks

Check a bike for any dents, cracks, rust or bending. Cracks are especially often when it comes to carbon frame and forks. Even a hairline crack can make a bike utterly useless shortly after purchase, so pay close attention to all details

Rust is easily spotted, even if when its located under the paint (it has a "bobbling" look).

Banding might be harder to spot, but a test ride might help.

#2 Check Wheels, Hubs, Rims

Check wheels by spinning them and make sure that they are straight. You can expect a few millimeters out, but any more is not a good sign. Also, check spokes tensions, they should be tight.

Check a rim braking surface; it shouldn't be completely flat.

#3 Check Bottom Bracket

Pull it from side to side. If there is a space and if it's loose, it will need to be replaced.

#4 Check Brakes

When it comes to checking brakes, don't do it only by pulling them with cable. Be sure to squeeze the calipers and check how smoothly they move.

#5 Check Tyres

How worn out are tires? Too flat? Also, check them for cuts and holes.

#6 Check Headset

Check a bike for a loose headset. If you hear a knocking sound from a headset, there is a great chance that needs to be replaced. Fixing loose headset is easily fixed and replaced, but it usually a sign that the rest of a bike is in the same, worn condition.

#7 Check Drivetrain (chain, cassette, derailleurs, chainrings)

The important thing to remember about drivetrain that all the parts are well linked and if some of them are worn out - there is a great chance that you will need to replace all of them.

#8 Check Cables

They are not that important because they are inexpensive and easily replaced. However, if you buy a bike, don't forget to change them immediately.

#9 Wheel bearings

If you can move a tire from side to side, there is a good chance that wheel bearings are worn out.

Everything looks good?

Decided to purchase a bike? Great.

However, if you don't have any mechanical experience or you are not sure about some parts, you should care your new bike to a more experienced mechanic to recheck everything and make sure that your is safe to ride.

Even if you have some mechanical experience, you should still take your bike to professional, at least once after purchase, to be checked, in case you missed something out.

It's not expensive, but it could save your life.

About the Author John

Hey there! My name is John and I like to bring various, yet useful topics to you. I love writing product reviews, saving tips and shopping advice! If you want to contact me, feel free to use "Contact Us" page.