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Advice on buying used private ?

p1tsep1tse Posts: 694
edited October 2012 in Road buying advice
What to look out for, what to budget for etc,?

Is it recommended to have a service, tune up, inspection by local bike shop to give it a once over to clean, lube, tighten cables etc.? If so what and cost?

Bike fitting, what's the minimum type and cost to ensure bike fits?
Wanted: Cube Streamer/Agree GTC Compact / Pro/ Race : 53cm


  • jay197jay197 Posts: 196
    If you can buy from a long term member of the forum then that is better as you will know the history of the bike etc, and it will probably already be clean and lubed etc.

    As for fitting then make sure you check that manufacturers sizing guide to see if the frame is the right size for your height, and even better go for a test ride on it and see how it feels before you buy it.
  • giant_mangiant_man Posts: 6,878
    Test ride is imperative imo, and go from there ....
  • sungodsungod Posts: 16,091
    depends what you are looking for, if it's simply a cheap bike for training/commute then a bit more wear/abuse is ok as long as the price is right, but if you're after something nice then i'd see if a friend/colleague who is a cyclists could come along and help check things out

    if you take along a 12" ruler, you can check chain wear, if it's worn too badly then the cassette will be worn too - which means you'd need to change chain+cassette in future, here's how ... ainforWear

    it's a simple check to make, imho a worn chain is a sign that the bike hasn't been regularly checked/maintained, ditto if the chain is dry and black, with lots of crud in the jockey wheels

    on the test ride, check the shifting is smooth and that it's consistent going up/down

    look for corrosion or bubbling paint, on a steel frame some light corrosion will not be a big deal, on an aluminium one i'd be more wary, especially at points where dissimilar metals are in contact

    look for dents, a minor ding should be ok, but anything large suggests it has had quite a whack

    check the pedals turn smoothly on their axles, or are they stiff/gritty/notchy/wobbly, same check for the cranks

    check the bars turn smoothly, with no notchiness/sticking/play

    check the wheels spin without grumbling/grinding, and again look for any play, also check if the wheels are running true of if there's any side to side motion as they rotate

    look at bolt heads and threads, a bit of grime is fine, but if they are really rusty or there's powdery white stuff on them it may mean they'll be seized

    look at the brake tracks on the wheels, if they look concave (use a straight edge) then they're badly worn

    check if the brake pads are aligned ok, are they worn down

    watch out for stolen bikes, gumtree is particularly risky, thieves seem to like using payg mobile numbers to avoid being traced, if you put the phone number in the search box on gumtree and find they are advertising other bikes then it's a sign they could be dodgy

    a genuine house/flat address would give me more confidence than an offer to meet at cafe x or in a car park
    my bike - faster than god's and twice as shiny
  • Check the seatpost isn't stuck. Pretty much anything else can be sorted (anything you can check quickly anyway).

    I'd budget £100 for a quick service unless you can do it yourself. And some tyres, new brake cartridges etc.

    There are bargains to be had out there.
  • p1tsep1tse Posts: 694

    Some good tips

    I was keeping an eye on eBay
    But some used prices it would be better buying last season stock item if can locate?
    Wanted: Cube Streamer/Agree GTC Compact / Pro/ Race : 53cm
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