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Buying Second-hand

| Buyers Guides, What Mountain Bike | 23/07/2010 08:13am

Buying a second-hand bike is fraught with danger. The secondhand bike market is one in which you can easily be ripped off, cheated, deceived, conned, and double crossed… and that’s all before you’ve even been to see the bike.

Okay, we’ll admit that it’s not always that bad. There are some top deals out there from genuine sellers. Some people are simply looking to upgrade to a better bike. Others are selling up because a baby, a car or a holiday is imminent and they’ve lost interest in riding anyway.

Even the most honest sellers always try to get top dollar for their old bike. They’re not going to spend money on upgrading worn parts if they can get away with simply making them look good and relying on buyers with little technical know-how. And they will usually base their asking price on what they view as a reasonable percentage of what they paid, without taking into account the fact that new bikes have become better value since then. Read on to find out how to avoid the slippery secondhand slope…

Before you do anything when you see a bike advertised, look at the new prices on similar bikes. Even if this year’s model is twice as much, you might find shops selling off last year’s at two thirds of the price or less. This doesn’t mean it’s an inferior bike. It’s just old stock, an old colour and with last year’s parts on it. In most cases, last year’s parts, frame, fork, or whatever, are very little different to this year’s. Manufacturers like to give bikes a fresh look every year. And as soon as they do that, there’ll be bargains to be had in old stock.

How to buy a secondhand bike
When you phone ask questions to establish rightful ownership and the real reason for the sale. For example “How long have you had the bike?”, “Did you buy it new?”, “What sort of riding have you been doing?” or “Have you replaced any parts on it?” A real giveaway for the seller’s honesty is to ask “Have you ever crashed on it?” If the answer is “No”, then you can’t really believe anything they say as we all crash sometimes.

Arrange a time and place to meet and tell them you’d like to go for a test ride. Expect them to arrange to come with you on another bike for the test ride (in case you disappear with the bike). It’s better if they come with you anyway, as you can keep asking questions while you’re riding.

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