Buying a Used Bike

Buying a used bike can save you some money, but you just want to be weary of some common pitfalls that can make a used bike more trouble than it’s worth. Here’s the shortlist that I’d ask anyone:
  • Why are you selling the bike?
  • Any problems that I should know about?
  • Is there excess play or strange noises in the suspension fork?
  • Are there any issues with any bearings, the drivetrain, or brakes?
If they answer those satisfactorily, it’s probably worth checking out the bike. Here’s my full checklist:
  • Frame size. Make sure the bike fits you well! A decent bike that fits you well is worth much more than an awesome bike that doesn’t fit you.
  • Frame and structural components in good condition – no cracks or big ol dents. Seatpost moves freely.
  • Suspension fork issues? Excess play, funny noises, adjustments working properly (rebound, compression, spring preload)
  • Wheels working fine? Bearings adjusted properly, in true (nice n round), no flat spots or dents, spoke tension good
  • Drivetrain in good order? Chain not excessively worn, chainrings and cassette in good order, shifting works smoothly, no chain skipping under load.
  • Bottom bracket and crankset in good condition? Has a crankarm or pedal ever fallen off (very bad if it has), bearings good? Pedal threads good?
  • Brakes working nicely? Easy lever pull, good braking power, pads in good condition, no squealing.
  • Headset bearings are smooth and un-pitted.
  • Tires in good condition? No tears, wobbles, plenty of tread left.
  • All cables operate smoothly
  • The paintjob brings out your eyes