Second-hand bicycles: Buying online vs. buying in store

used bike

These days, more and more people are choosing bicycles as their preferred means of primary transport; understandably, as they provide various health and economic benefits as well as being an environmentally friendly alternative to getting around. Aside from that, riding a bike improves one’s cardiovascular fitness and is great way to keep in shape and exercise while getting yourself to your desired destination.

Brand new bicycles can be expensive, so bike enthusiasts who are on a budget are starting to look towards second-hand bicycles. With the right research, you can get a quality used bicycle for a fraction of its original retail price. So, what are your options if you’re looking to buy used bicycles? Two of the most popular places to get them are from your local bike shop or from online shopping and classifieds sites like

Here are some things that you need to look out for when buying a secondhand bicycle that will help you decide between buying it online or from a bike shop:

1. Components of the bicycle

When buying a used bicycle, it is very important to evaluate it well. Make sure that all the vital parts—frameset, tyres and inner tubes, wheels, and rims and brakes are in good condition.

The frameset of the bike should not have any dents or cracks, as these are usually telling signs that the bike has previously been involved in a collision. The tyres should be well inflated and should barely give if when you squeeze them. If they have dry rots, cracks or look bald, the tyres are going to need to be replaced, so make sure you take this cost into consideration. The wheels and rims should not have rust and should not wobble when you spin them.

Testing all these components when you buy from a bike store would be easier as you will be able to check them out for yourself. This is something that you cannot do if you purchase a secondhand bicycle online, but you can ask the seller to take close-up photos or videos of the aforementioned vital parts so you could check and see if there are any noticeable marks or rust. In some cases you may be able to view the bicycle at the online seller’s residence, granted they live close enough to you.

2. Bike fit and comfort

You have to make sure that the bike is the right size for you. It should not be too big or too small to ensure comfort and safety while you are riding. The best way to tell is to ride the bike and check the space between your body and the top tube. If there is less than an inch between them and you have to lean far forward to reach the handlebars, it means that the bike is too big for you. If you cannot fully extend your legs with your feet on the pedals, it means that the bike is too small for you.

Again, this would be easier to check if you went to your local bike store. But if you prefer to purchase it online, choose a trusted seller by checking the ratings and the comments of their previous customers. If you find one with returns, then even better! Make sure you ask the seller as many questions as possible, and provide them with information that they might need (like your height and weight) to help you work out if the bike would be the correct fit. Alternatively, you can also look up the bicycle specifications on Google if you know the model and make.

3. Price

Before purchasing a used bike, check the cost of a brand new bicycle in the same make and model you’re looking for to gauge how much you should pay for it second-hand. Usually, second-hand bicycles that are being sold online are much cheaper than the pre-loved ones from a store. This is because online sellers do not have to pay any fees – or minimal fees for their ‘space’, unlike store owners who have to pay for overheads such as rent and utilities. Also, of course, many people will pay a lot more money simply for something that is “new.”

Whether you choose to buy your bike online or from a brick and mortar store, always remember to ask questions from the sellers if you’re unsure about anything. Good luck with your search!

Photo Credit: State Library of New South Wales collection / Foter

This article was graciously supported by

Written by Zach

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009.

Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity.

To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to and click on the relevant buttons.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Bicycle Accessories — Which Are Reliable & Right For You? CycleLogistics Consumer Test Report

Biker Lands On Mattress After Bike Knocked Out From Under Him By Said Mattress