Preloved This is the Preloved logo mark which shows a symbol shaped to represent a speech bubble and the letter P with a love heart symbol cut out of the center. The words 'Preloved' are represented along side the logo mark.
Buying & selling

Buying Guide: Preloved Bikes

Buying a bike brand new can be pretty pricey, and sometimes, our budget just doesn’t cover it. Buying a bike second hand is a great investment, and many have been well looked-after and cared for by their previous owners. Nevertheless, there are certain things to always check and watch out for when buying a second hand bike, and the following tips will help when picking a quality second hand bicycle.

1. Price Range

Used bikes may need some servicing on parts like the braking system, so remember to factor this into your budget before you start looking. Naturally, the bike’s price varies depending on the type, so be sure to decide how much you’re willing to spend from the beginning.

2. Which Material?

Steel is the most common material used in making bikes. Steel bikes are generally heavy, flexible and comfortable. Aluminum bikes are lighter, can move faster and are commonly used for commuting in busy towns.

3. Consider Your requirements

man bike road

Will you use the bike for commuting? To improve your fitness? For recreational purposes? The type of bike you need will depend on what you’ll use it for. For those who use bikes to commute to work, lighter and faster bikes that can easily glide through traffic are the preferred choice. A heavier bike is good for casual Sunday rides in the park, and a mountain bike for, well… mountain biking!

4. Right Bicycle Size

Ensuring that the bike is the right size for you is essential to make sure your ride is comfortable and you get the best performance from your bike. Making sure you’re well-positioned on the bicycle includes checking the frame size, saddle position, seat height, and comfortable reach to the handlebars.

5. Scrutinize the Frame

Avoid rusty or dented frames at all costs. Small chips or scrapes on the paint are acceptable, as they can be touched up or your second hand bike can be re-sprayed. Excessive paint scrapes, however, meant that the frame may be weak. Closely examine the frame joints for cracks as most cracks appear at this point. Check the bottom bracket for any bumps.

6. Check the Wheels and Tyres

couple on bikes

Both wheels and tyres need to be in good shape, since they greatly contribute to the bike’s performance and overall cost. Examine the bike’s rims for cracks and wear due to rusting. Spin the wheels, giving them an eyeball check in order to examining the gap between the rims and brake pads.

7. Drivetrain

This part consists of the chain and cogs used to move the back wheel. Use a hand chain checker to check how loose the chain is from the hind cog. Lift the chain and check for cracks in between the cog’s teeth. Proceed to inspecting the pedal threads, ensuring that they are not engraved as this may lead to cracks.

8. Brakes, Cabling and Controls

The brake pads should be solid seized and not worn out. The bike’s cabling system should not be frayed. Squeeze the brake levers, ensuring they spring back freely and quickly. For derailleurs, examine for joint and pivot wear in the bushings.

9. Check if it’s Stolen

Stolen bicycles make up quite a large percentage of the second hand market. The price of the bike may be too good to be true which could be a warning sign that the bike is stolen. Ask the seller for the bike’s original receipt before purchasing the bike. Alternatively, run the bike’s frame number through, an online police approved cycle database to check for ownership of the bike.

10. Test the Ride

Try riding the bike. Test the brakes, get a bit of speed to check if there are damaged wheels or noises coming from bikes’ handle bars. If the bike rides well, proceed to making an offer. After making the purchase, take the bike for to be serviced in a bicycle garage.

Local second hand bicycle dealers are always willing to give advice to rookie bike buyers. However, much of the information on how to get a quality bike comes from online sources. Good online sites like offer more great tips on how to purchase a used bike.

Stephen Yost

Stephen Yost

Community User

Stephen is a passionate biker and is the founder of - a platform to help road bikers everywhere get hints, tips and information about biking. He founded the site after he found it difficult to find the correct information about the bikes available in the market.