Colorado summers seem to be made for biking. If you are yearning for a brand new bike this summer, but your budget won’t stretch for one, you should consider buying a used bicycle. This option can save you hundreds of dollars if you go about buying a used bike the smart way. Here’s what you need to know to avoid picking a lemon.
NARROW YOUR SEARCH
What kind of good used bike are you looking for – a general road bike for pleasant jaunts or commuting to work, a road racing bike, or a mountain bike? If you’re not sure what you want, check out this comprehensive guide to different bike styles. Once you’ve got that pinned down, you can identify three or four models that suit your needs.
KNOW YOUR BIKE SIZE
Knowing what size bike frame you need is essential to buying a used bicycle that is right for you (or your child, spouse or friend). A good bike fit means you will have a position on the bike that allows you to ride as hard as you want, as long as you want, and stay comfortable the whole time. A proper fit can also help stave off overuse injuries caused by an improper position.
Use your height as a guide to get an idea of your frame size. It won’t necessarily give you a perfect fit, but it’s a way to determine if the frame is too tall or too short. Also, keep in mind that sizing varies between bike brands.
CAREFULLY EXAMINE THE BIKE FRAME
Minor scrapes or chips in the paintwork are usually no cause for concern. However, cracks or dents on the tubes or rust spots indicate places where the frame might fail in the future. Next, examine the areas that come under the most stress during riding, e.g., around the frame joints and underneath the bottom bracket.
INSPECT THE OTHER BIKE COMPONENTS
If you have found a used bike that you are considering buying, make sure major parts such as the wheels, suspension fork, and drivetrain are in good shape. An experienced bike mechanic can fix a wheel that wobbles a little, and tires are affordable enough to replace. It’s the wheel rims you need to examine closely for any damage or wear on a bike with rim brakes. Aluminum rims may have a line indicator for wear. Carbon rims are also subject to wearing down with rim brake use.
TAKE IT FOR A TEST RIDE
Once you have found a good used bike that you like, you next need to take it for a quick test ride. First, test the brakes and shift through all the gears. If you’re still a bit unsure if it’s a bargain, ask the seller if you can take the bike to a bike shop for inspection or have your friend with a high bike IQ take a look.
After finally buying a used bicycle, be sure to take it to a local bike shop for a thorough tune-up. Depending on how used the bike is, you may need new tires and bar tape or grips to help make your secondhand bike feel more like new. If the bike fit isn’t perfect, swapping out the stem and/or the handlebars might help.
TRY BUYING A USED BIKE IN THE FALL
Fall may be the best time to buying a used bicycle with not much wear and tear. As bike manufacturers roll out their new models for the upcoming year, more cyclists will look to part ways with their old rides.
BUYING A USED BIKE + CONTRIBUTING TO YOUR COMMUNITY
MER is proud to partner with Kids On Bikes, a community outreach program whose mission is to inspire and empower all kids to lead healthy, active, and happy lives through bicycling.
As part of this partnership, MER has welcomed Pedal Station to our Bott Street location. Pedal Station is a branch of Kids On Bikes that offers used bicycles for any age and budget and a wide assortment of new and used parts and accessories so you can feel safe and comfortable on your (new-to-you) ride!
Giving back to our community through charitable partnerships has always been a cornerstone of MER’s mission in Colorado Springs. Come see for yourself how shopping used gear for a greater cause benefits us all!