If you’re in the market for a new ride, don’t overlook the market of used bikes. Just as a used car can save some serious dough, a second-hand bike can offer many of the same benefits. Not to mention, buying a used bike is one of the best forms of recycling. When it comes to the internet, the sky is the limit on used bikes. Here are a few tips on how to go green without snagging a lemon.
Know what you’re looking for
Internet shopping can feel overwhelming, with literally every bicycle size, color and price point available right at your fingertips. Before you begin browsing, have an idea of what you do and don’t want and what you’re willing to spend. This means test riding your friend’s bike or scouring the websites of various road bike companies for their sizing information. Remember that sizing varies between companies. If you have a current bike that fits, take those measurements to use as a guideline. Under no circumstances should the price of the wrong size used bike lure you in to making a purchase. Fit should always come first.
Be a smart shopper
If you know exactly what you’re looking for, set up a search on eBay. This is simply done by entering a search term and then clicking “save search.” Then eBay will email you every time your search comes up with a match.
Find a reputable used bike seller
If you’re interested in snagging a deal on eBay, first look into the seller’s rating and feedback. Read other buyer’s feedback and feel free to ask the seller any questions. How quickly do they return your email and do they seem upfront about the condition of the bike? The same goes for a purchase made on Craigslist. Don’t be afraid to ask what regular maintenance was preformed, how many miles are on the drive train, if it was ever involved in a crash and what weather conditions the bike was ridden in. If the seller is vague or hesitant to answer, consider this a red flag and move on. Be sure to closely examine any photos, especially those featuring blemishes, chipped paint or other potential damage.
Fortunately eBay and Paypal have several levels of built in buyer protection, as well as a return policy. Most bicycles do not, however, come with a warranty. Craigslist does not offer this protection, so don’t be afraid to do a little extra research before making a purchase this way and always examine the bike in person before purchase.
Be kind to your local bike shop
Many local bike shops offer used bikes or will match or beat online prices, so don’t forget to begin there. And follow some basic bike buying etiquette. Don’t be the rider who spends three hour working one-on-one with a sales rep testing riding bikes, only to jump online an hour later and purchase the bicycle there. It’s also tacky to ask a bike shop for help wrenching after you brag about your new online score. Bike shops will often work with loyal customers to help find what they’re looking for.