Knowing your bike size narrows down the sea of options. Get fitted at a bike shop, or check a sizing chart. (Road, Hybrid, or Mountain) Your body will thank you later for not over or under extending its range.
2) As-is vs. Used Bikes with a warranty
If you purchase a used bike from a shop it may be sold ‘as-is’ with no warranty, or serviced by the shop with a warranty (length varies). The advantage of purchasing a used bike under warranty is that it’s been serviced and checked for any major & minor mechanical complications. These bikes are more expensive in the short term, but save you money over the course of its life.
3) Buying a Used Bike through Private Sale
This can save you money on the front end, but could turn out to be a bad deal, or a bad bike. Some tips…
Research the bike online, find out what it cost originally.
Bikes with shiny metal wheels are made of steel, are heavy, and can need replacing. If you’re not sure use a magnet; attraction = steel. Make sure they spin straight, not wavy.
Check for frame damage. (see image)
Every joint on a frame could be hiding a crack, so feel for a rippled surface and look for chipped paint in all joint areas. Viewing from the side, does the fork look bent back? Don’t buy it.
Can you ride the bike. Take it for a test ride and use the brakes and shifters.
Bring a knowledgable friend, or bring the bike to our shop.
Bounce the bike a couple inches from the ground, does it rattle? If so, it could spell major trouble in the wheels, pedal-crank area, or fork joint.