Stu is one of our bike wizards. He’s worked with bikes for over ten years now, so he really knows his stuff when it comes to buying a second hand one. Have a look at his top 5 tips below to make sure you avoid the rust buckets and get something great.
Of course the easiest way to avoid being sold a dud is by buying your bike through the Bike Project Shop. All our second hand bikes have been fixed up to tip top condition by Stu and our other mechanics, and 100% of the proceeds go towards keeping the Bike Project running.
1) First things first
Check the frame and wheels first. If you can see cracks or lots of rust on the frame, that’s a big warning sign and it’s probably not worth it. Give the wheels a spin. A little bit of a wobble is fine, but they shouldn’t be rubbing the brake pads.
2) Chain reaction
One of the most expensive parts to replace is the drive chain and sprockets. Check these are in good nick by touching the teeth on the sprockets. If they feel sharp, or they have a shark fin profile, it means the chain has worn out.
3) False alarms
Bike a bit grubby? Rusty cabling? Make sure you’re not missing out on a diamond in the rough by dismissing things that can be easily fixed. Seats, handlebar grips, brake pads and cabling are all easily replaceable, and a bit of mud or oil is nothing an old rag can’t fix.
4) Ask questions
You’ll learn a lot from the seller. When was the bike last serviced? How old is it? Was it used as a communal bike? This last one is a big red flag – if a house full of people have been using it, it’s probably not worth buying now.
5) Is it registered?
Check if the bike is already owned by someone by going to the bike register website. Look under the bike frame to find a framed code and type it in at the website. If it’s reported lost or stolen, it’ll say.
To check the person selling you the bike is the registered owner, ask them to log into their account there and then to show you their registration. Remember to then ask them to transfer the registration to you, as you can’t register the same bike twice.
Come to the workshop to volunteer. The best way to learn how to look after your bike is to learn to fix up our donated ones.
Find all of our second hand bikes for sale in the Bike Project Shop.