* Carsten Bach, VeloBird September 21, 2023
Tips when buying a used road bike
Would you like to buy a used road bike, but don't know exactly what to look out for? Don't worry, in this blog post we will give you helpful tips so that you can find the right road bike for you and avoid any unpleasant surprises later. From frame material to brakes - we have summarized everything for you.
Tips for a good inspection
When purchasing a used road bike, it is particularly important to carry out a thorough inspection to ensure that the bike is in good condition and has no hidden defects.
Here are some tips for a good inspection: First, you should assess the overall condition of the road bike. Take a close look at the bike and pay attention to any scratches or dents on the frame. Also look for signs of falls. If the bike has already been in an accident, these could be signs that it may have been damaged. Check the originality of the bike.
It is important to ensure that all parts are original and have not been replaced. Check the frame and fork for cracks or damage. These can lead to serious problems and should be avoided at all costs.
Also look at the wheels and check them for damage or wear. If the wheels are in poor condition, this can lead to unsafe driving.
Finally, check the brakes and gears as well as the entire drive. Make sure everything works smoothly and there are no damages.
Also take time to check the bearings on the road bike. If these are worn or damaged, this may result in an unstable ride.
By following all of these tips, you can ensure that the used road bike you want to buy is in good condition and has no hidden defects. A thorough inspection can also help you negotiate the price of the bike and ensure you're getting a good deal.
Evaluate the overall impression
Assessing the overall impression is helpful before purchasing a used road bike. If you are buying the bike from a private person, you should check whether the seller is suitable for the bike? If you buy a road bike for €4,000 with a frame size 60 and the seller is no more than 1.80 m tall, then something is wrong. If you are told that the bike has been ridden a maximum of 500 km and the coats are worn out, then something is wrong. Have the original invoice shown to you, even if not every seller has probably kept it.
You have less to worry about if you buy a used road bike from a specialist store. Specialty stores cannot afford scams. And if you notice a defect later, you can always contact the bike shop and they will usually help you fix the defect in your used bike.
If you buy a used road bike from VeloBird ( https://velobird.com/ ), the specialist shop will take care of the somewhat laborious inspection and you can rest assured that the bike will not have any unpleasant surprises in store for you.
Look for signs of falls
If you buy a used road bike, you should pay particular attention to signs of falls. These can appear in the form of scratches, dents or other damage to the frame. Even if the seller claims that the bike has never fallen, you should still look closely and not miss any possible signs. Even minor damage can weaken the structure of the frame and thus affect safety when driving.
Falls usually appear on the brake levers and in the front area of the road bike (fork, head tube).
We would advise against buying a used road bike for over €1,000 without first removing the fork to inspect the fork race for cracks. This is often the weak point. The road bike can look perfect and yet there may be a crack in the fork race due to the screws being tightened too tightly.
Check the originality of the bike
Yes, there are plagiarisms not only in handbags and watches, but also in high-quality road bikes. When buying a used road bike, it is important to check the originality of the bike. There are many imitations on the market that appear to have been produced by well-known brand manufacturers. But if you examine the bike more closely, you will quickly realize that it is a fake.
To ensure that you are purchasing an original bike, you should examine all parts carefully. Pay attention to the serial number on the frame and compare it with the registration with the manufacturer.
Another important point is to check the logos and stickers on the bike. Counterfeits can often be identified by small differences in font or color. If you have any doubts, you should consult an expert or contact the manufacturer directly.
The paintwork can also be a good indication of whether it is a fake. Look carefully to see whether the paintwork is perfect and whether the paintwork was not carried out unprofessionally in complicated areas (corners).
Even bicycle experts have fallen for plagiarism. There are counterfeits from Bianchi, Specialized, Ridley, Scott and many other well-known brands. And these are damn good! So be vigilant! A careful check of the originality of the bike is essential and can help prevent future problems.
Check the frame and fork
If you buy a used road bike, be sure to check the frame and fork. These two components are the supporting elements of the bike and must be in good condition to ensure a safe ride. Start by inspecting the frame for cracks or dents. If you find any, you should not buy the bike as these damages can affect the structure of the frame. Also make sure that the frame is straight and has no deformations. A crooked fork can also be an indication of an accident and should be avoided.
If you want to be absolutely sure, you can examine the frame using ultrasound to detect irregularities in the material.
Also check whether the fork is made of the same material as the frame and whether they are original parts. The fork is often the most affected after a fall. If there has been a fall, this will be replaced first. If everything is in order, you can be sure that the bike is stable enough to ride longer distances and move safely through corners.
Check the wheels
Another important point to consider when inspecting a used road bike is the wheels. Check them for damage such as dents or scratches and make sure they still run straight. If possible, test the wheels on a straight track to make sure they don't wobble or roll unevenly. Also look for loose spokes or missing nipples and check the tires for wear and tear. If you have any concerns or are unsure, have the wheels checked or replaced by a professional. A defect in the wheels can lead to dangerous situations and should be avoided at all costs.
With rim brakes, you should also pay attention to the thickness of the rim. If the thickness of the rim is less than 1 mm, the rims must be replaced.
And yes, even high-quality wheels can be counterfeited. You have to be an expert at detecting fakes.
Check the brakes and gears
If you buy a used road bike, you should definitely check the brakes and gears. Good braking performance and precise shifting are essential for a safe driving experience. First, check the brake pads for wear and whether they are properly aligned. The brake levers should also be easy to operate and produce adequate braking force.
When shifting gears, you should shift through all gears and make sure that this happens without problems or unusual noises. The chain should also not jump or slip. If you are unsure whether everything is OK, you should have the road bike checked by a specialist. It's better to invest some time in advance and discover possible defects than to end up on the road later with a defective bike.
Check the entire drive
Another important point to consider when inspecting a used road bike is the entire drivetrain. This involves the crank, the chainrings and the chain itself. First check the crank for damage or wear. Pay particular attention to cracks and dents, as these can be a sign of a fall. Next, look at the chainrings. Are they worn or bent? If so, they need to be replaced.
Last but not least, check the chain for wear. A worn chain can have serious consequences as it no longer grips properly and can break more quickly. The chain can be easily checked with a chain spacer. When the drivetrain is in good condition, the bike runs smoothly and quickly. You should therefore take a close look at this area and plan repairs if necessary.
Check the bearings
If you buy a used road bike, you should definitely check the bearings. The bearings are an important part of the bike as they help the wheels turn smoothly and the bike performs better overall. If the bearings are damaged or worn, this can cause increased wear and affect the wheel. Therefore, when inspecting the bike, you should pay attention to whether there are any signs of excessive wear. It is important to check that the bearings run smoothly and cleanly and if there are any signs of rust or dirt. Are there any noises?
If there are any signs of problems, you should probably have the bearing replaced before using the bike. A thorough bearing check will help you ensure that your used road bike is in good condition and will last you for a long time.