The quality of the bike you buy will depend on a few things. Decent photographs will help, but asking the seller for more information is also good. Many owners keep receipts for maintenance work or parts and can provide details to buyers. Competitive auctions can get out of hand quickly, so be prepared to walk away if bids become excessively high.
Look For A Reputable Seller.
In addition to checking the bike in person (several times if possible), look at how clean and tidy the seller’s garage and home are. If the seller doesn’t seem to care about their bike, they will unlikely take good care of yours.
While it’s impossible to know if someone is lying about the condition of their bike, looking at photos and asking questions should give you a good idea. Ask how often they’ve serviced their bike and what they’ve done to it over the years. Serious cyclists will keep documentation of work and maintenance, so getting these details from the seller should be relatively easy.
If they don’t have these documents, ask why not. It’s not a deal-breaker in and of itself, but it is a sign that they may not have taken care of the bike as they should.
As the cycling season winds down and manufacturers begin rolling out their new models, people often look to upgrade or sell their current bikes. That can mean some bargains, especially for a second-hand bike. Buying used Kona bicycles can save you money on a lighter frame and better suspension, a more comfortable seat and grips, and other upgrades that would cost a lot more if purchased new.
Check The Condition Of The Bike.
If you can’t inspect a bike hands-on, it is a good idea to look at the photos and videos provided by the seller. If a bike looks immaculate in the photographs, that’s often a sign it has been well cared for. Alternatively, if a bike looks like it has been ridden a lot, then it may be on its last legs. Check for damage to the frame, especially on carbon bikes. Any cracks in the frame are a huge red flag, and it’s usually a sign that the frame needs replacing. Also, ensure no play in the headset, bottom bracket, or cranks. Play in these areas usually means new bearings are needed. It is a good idea to ask the seller how they have taken care of the bike and what repairs or modifications they have made. It is okay if some original components have been swapped out for cheaper ones, but you should find out why the seller did so. Bike shops in the US sell ‘certified pre-owned’ used mountain bikes that have been inspected and repaired where necessary. While this option will cost you more than a private seller or online marketplace, it can give you peace of mind that the bike has been checked properly and is in good condition.
Ask For A Test Ride.
Shopping for a used mountain bike is a bit like buying a car, and you’ll typically want to rely on the expertise of a shop employee and take it for a test ride. That is only sometimes possible when you buy a bike online, though.
In addition to looking for a reputable seller, it’s important to ask for a test ride and inspect the condition of a used bike before buying it. A good way to check for damage is to look for significant dents or cracks in the frame and the wheel rims, as these are signs that the bike has been abused and possibly crashed.
Also, inspect the drivetrain to ensure it works properly and is not damaged or missing parts. If you’re buying a carbon frame or components, be especially careful, as these are more difficult to repair and can have costly consequences if they are not in good condition.
Ask For A Warranty.
When buying a used mountain bike online, you may need help to inspect the bike in person or take it for a test ride. This can be nerve-wracking, but you should always research the bike you are interested in and ask questions. Shopping around is also a good idea to get the best deal possible. Some online marketplaces require sellers to list more detailed information about the bike, including pictures and history. This can help you feel more confident in your purchase. If you do buy a bike without being able to inspect it in person, it is always a good idea to ask for a warranty. This will give you peace of mind if something goes wrong with the bike later on.
Some online bike shops sell ‘certified pre-owned’ bikes. While they may cost a little more than a private seller or online marketplace, they guarantee that all of their bikes are in working order and will be free from damage. This can be a great option if you are looking for a high-end mountain bike but need more money to buy one new.