Some Cycling Buying Tips

CyclingMost of you reading this post are probably going on holiday at the end of 2011. Many of you will be going away this holiday season. Some of you will be going camping, others will be playing a round of golf and a lot of you will be making your way to some holiday resort on the coast or inland.

One way to enhance one’s holiday experience is to cycle. There are currently more than 3,500 cycling adverts listed on the Junk Mail website. This category is one of the oldest ones at Junk Mail and quite popular in our community. You might be thinking of buying a new bicycle, but it might be a bit too pricey. Buying a 2nd hand bicycle might be a good idea if you don’t intend to pay an arm and a leg for it.

Before you buy a bicycle you should decide which kind would best suit you. There are basically 3 kinds of bicycles:

  • Road Bikes: They are designed for riding on paved streets and going fast. Road bikes have skinny tires, a lightweight frame and a riding position that puts you bent over your bike’s handlebars. Choose this type of bicycle if you are going to be traveling longer distances at higher speeds. Road bike frames are not particularly beefy in construction and generally won’t stand up well for extended periods under heavy loads or on really rough surfaces. They are not suited for off-road.
  • Mountain Bikes: They have exploded in popularity over the past 20 years.  Mountain bikes have wide tires (usually with knobby treads and a stout frame) and are designed to handle rugged trails without falling apart. Mountain bikes do not go as fast as road bikes. They are more durable than roadbikes and have a comfier riding position. You sit higher on a mountain bike than a road bike and more upright with the straight handlebars. This a better bicycle choice or people who have back problems.
  • Hybrid bikes: They are compromise between road and mountain bikes. Hybrid bikes offer the best features of both road bikes and mountain bikes (if most of your riding will be shorter trips on pavement). Hybrid bikes have skinnier, smoother tires and  they typically can go faster than mountain bikes. They feature upright seats and a handlebar position that many people favor. Hybrid bikes are a good choice for most city riding and offer speed, durability and comfort.

Now that you have decided on the kind of bicycle that you want to buy, you might consider these factors before you fork out your hard-earned cash to a seller:

  • The size of the bicycle is the key: Make sure the bicycle fits. If you’re buying one via a classifieds website, check out a sizing guide to see if the bicycle’s dimensions are suitable for you. If you are unsure, physically get on the bicycle that you want to buy and check. It doesn’t have to be perfect as you or a bike mechanic can adjust bits and pieces (such as the seat post, saddle, stem, etc) to fine-tune your bicycle for a comfortable ride. But make sure you can stand over & sit on the bicycle comfortably. Avoid any feeling of stretching for the handlebars or being cramped over them.
  • Check the bicycle’s condition: Second-hand bicycles come in all shapes and sizes and all sorts of conditions. Superficial marks or scratches are not a real issue, but avoid buying a bike with a frame or fork which is rusty or has cracks or dents. Check the frame closely, but also inspect the bike’s other components (the gears, the brakes and the bottom bracket). If these components are not in a good condition it could cost you a lot of money to fix / replace them. Also make sure the bicycle’s wheels aren’t buckled and that the spokes are rigid (the spokes should give out a nice “pinging” noise if you pluck them like a harp). Tyres can be replaced if they are worn out.
  • Get the right price: Go on the World Wide Web and do some price comparisons on the second hand bikes that are out there. Also find out what an equivalent bike would cost new. Also remember that you can make offers below the asking price to fixed price sellers using online classifieds websites.
  • Make sure the bicycle is not stolen: Unfortunately, due to the lack of action in the online marketplace and buyers’ lack of knowledge the term ‘second-hand bike’ has become synonymous with the term ‘stolen bike’. If steps are taken to check the legitimacy of the bike being sold then the marketability of stolen bikes will drop dramatically. The best thing  that sellers can do is to check the bicycle registry to see if the bicycle matches one that has been reported stolen.
  • Ask questions of the seller: Find out how long he or she owned the bike and if they bought it new. Get an idea of what kind of rider they are and how many kilometres they’ve done on the bicycle. Also ask them how much the bike was used in wet weather. Find out if the bike has been stored indoors in the dry, or outside in the damp? The more information you have the more informed decision you can make about buying it.

We hope that you find these bicycle buying tips informative and that they aide you in the process of buying the right second hand bike. If you have found this post to be interesting, please share this post with your friends on Facebook and Twitter and let them know about it. If you have tip that you can add to this list, please comment on this post.

Check out these posts on the Junk Mail blog, you might find them interesting:

Henno Kruger

Digital Marketing Campaign Coordinator at Junk Mail Publishing.

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