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2nd Hand Bikes: Buy Cheap Used Bicycles

Updated on July 7, 2012

2nd hand bikes come with one main advantage: affordable prices. A bike is one of the more economical and environmentally-safe modes of transportation out there. Finely-tuned 2nd hand bikes will usually require minimal upkeep and maintenance. There are many sources where you can purchase 2nd hand bikes, but it is usually best to buy a bike from a trusted friend, from Craigslist, or a bicycle store that specializes in 2nd hand bikes.

2nd Hand Bikes on Craigslist

Visit Craigslist and go to the “bikes” section under the “For Sale” category.“ Depending on the size of your city, you will find Craigslist to be an online source that is regularly updated with 2nd hand bikes for sale. Craigslist implements a set of regulations to thwart spammers, but a bit of smarts will ensure a smooth transaction: If it sounds too good to be true, then it usually is. Send an email, and expand on your bike ventures, as well as write a bit about yourself. Attach your cell phone number with your email. This will encourage a prompt reply from the seller.

In-Person 2nd Hand Bikes Evaluation: How to Evaluate A Used Bike

Regardless if you plan to buy a 2nd hand bike from Craigslist, a friend, or retailer, it is important to properly evaluate the bike before purchasing it.

  1. Evaluate the Bike's Frame: Rusted patches and small dents are a hallmark of a used 2nd hand bike. Do not be turned off by this. However, if the bike has significant dents, then do not purchase the bike. These create weak points, where too much pressure can eventually cause the bike to suddenly bend on rough terrain. Significant cracks around the bike's welding points also create a danger.

  2. Evaluate the Bike's Saddle: An excessively torn seat is an annoyance, but are usually replaceable. If you are required to pay a premium price for a 2nd hand bike, then you should expect a bike that is up to par. Negotiate a more affordable price if the bike seat is extremely wobbly, torn, or discolored.

  3. Evaluate the Bike's Drive-Train: The drive train is the chain and compound machine that create the rotation action that accelerates a bike. Turn the bike to the side, and manually turn the wheel. Carefully listen to the sound that the bike produces. Screeching noises are signs of a drive train that is excessively rusted, or malfunctioning altogether. The drive train should be relatively silent, with a small clicking sound.

  4. Evaluate the Bike's Wheels: Move the wheels side by side. There should be no obvious swaying of the wheel. The spokes on the bike should be firm, with equal tension along the wheel. Lift the wheel and spin it. A small side to side action can easily be fixed at a bike shop on the cheap. Tires that show dry rot or a bit of wear and tear can easily be replaced as well. There should be no up and down motion – this will usually be costly to replace.

2nd Hand Bikes Online: Buying Bikes on eBay and Amazon

Buying from an online retailer will usually entail more quality control - at a steeper price, however. If purchasing a used bike from eBay, make sure that the seller is an official eBay store that specializes in bikes. These stores will typically have thousands of stars, and a history of positive feedback. Many eBay stores are not only excellent sources for 2nd hand bikes, but also for specific bicycle parts as well.

Amazon offers a great reviewing interface for individuals that have bought items from the site. Check out the reviews to ensure that past buyers got what they paid for, as well as received all the required bike parts. A seller with a history of satisfied customers will ensure that you'll receive satisfactory service as well.


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