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What To Look For When Deciding to Buy Used Road Bike? Our Guide to Purchasing a Used Road bike!

marcus bikes race bike

Great so you’ve decided to buy a used road bike! Before rushing into your purchase, however, it is important to be aware of what to really look for when deciding to buy a used road bike.

Whilst you can potentially save a lot of money, purchasing a used road bike can often include a range of financial considerations and potential pitfalls that could prove to be costly. In this guide we’ll take you through the important issues to consider when purchasing a used road bike.

Identify the Brand and Spec

Appreciation and depreciation is often brand dependent, so it is important to bear this in mind when choosing your bike and specification. A well-known reputable brand that is particularly desirable can be easier to sell on and retains its value. Once you have chosen the brand and specification, when you do identify the bike, make sure to cross reference the parts used. Over the years the parts may often have been upgraded (or downgraded in the case of tyres) so it’s important to bear this in mind when adding up the total value of the bike.

Check the Condition of the Bike

A used road bike, if not cared for correctly, can often show obvious signs of wear and tear. Of course, a little wear and tear is normal on a used road bike. However, if there is excessive greasiness or signs of rust it will be the first major sign to reconsider the purchase. These are red flags indicating that the bike has not been properly cared for, which could mean more problems further down the line, and, therefore, more expense.

The Frame

Checking the frame is essential as this is the foundation of the bike. The frame is essentially irreplaceable, whereas the other components can more easily and readily be replaced. If you are purchasing a carbon-based frame, this is especially important to be considered, as the expense of restructuring can be exponential. Carefully combing through every millimeter of a carbon frame for cracks is also important before factoring in the final asking price. Alloy frames are typically more prone to rust, so check for any signs of oxidisation. With a metal steel frame check for dents and any misshaping. The overall structure of a metal frame used on a road bike cannot be repaired. Therefore this is one of the main key areas to check when overviewing your proposed purchase.

The Drive Chain

The drive chain provides motion to the bike by utilising the functions of the cranks, chainrings, chain, cassette, derailleurs and shifters. Its smooth function allows you to easily shift gears. If you notice any damage or wear of any of the components, it may well indicate that the other components need replacing. If the chain shows signs of wear and if the teeth are sharp and pointed it means that the rings will need to be replaced.

The Brakes

Do the brakes move freely when applying pressure? If so, that means that they are functioning correctly whereas resistance would suggest a potential replacement may be in order. The brake pads should not be too worn down otherwise they will need replacing.

The Wheels and Tyres

Ensuring that you have a smooth ride quality is important in optimising your ride experience and comfort. Make sure the wheels are spinning straight! If there is any excessive movement or wobbling this could mean that the wheels may need replacing. Check for punctures and cracking in the tyre If there are cracks, then new tyres may well be required another important consideration in your purchase.

Check for Unusual Sounds

Any unusual sounds, such as knocking or grinding may well be indicators that the bike has some internal functional issues.

Test Ride

Finally, make sure to take your bike for a test ride so you can make sure that it has the ride comfort and overall feel right for you! Your intuition will help you make your final decision, so trust it. It is important to get the sizing correct because this will impact the overall ride experience as well as affecting the overall safety that you have whilst riding the bike and your ability to optimally operate the bike. Make sure to test the brakes, tyre pressure and gears in the process applying pressure to test the functionality and responsiveness of all the components. Additionally make sure that you are able to slide in and out of each gear with ease. Lift the saddle to the top and, whilst riding the bike, listen for sounds of creaking. If you do hear sounds then it may be that the bearings need replacing.

Why it is imperative to buy from a reputable seller

Purchasing a used road bike is never 100% risk free. There are many potential pitfalls that you can easily fall into if you are not aware of the mechanics and faults to look for before rushing into the purchase and thinking this is the bike for you. These pitfalls however can be avoided by having the required knowledge of the functional workings of the bike as illustrated above.

Buying from a reputable dealer or seller with a high trust rating can ensure that your purchase will be more risk-free. Having a seller that you can go back to if you have any issues also helps you mitigate the risks involved when purchasing a used bike.

At Marcus’ Bikes we pride ourselves on delivering to you the very best in serviced - ‘as new’ used bikes. Are you Looking to sell your bike? We’d love to buy your bike! We specialise in the sale of Used Road, Gravel & Brompton Bikes over the value of £600. Feel free to browse through our stock of Premium Used Road Bike here.

Still undecided on whether to buy a used road bike? Read our guide on why deciding to buy a used road bike is a great decision! Looking to Buy A Used Road Bike? 5 Great Reasons Why You Should!

Are you looking to sell your bike? We'd like to buy your bike! Get in touch today by filling out used bike quote form here.


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