Buying Tips

Choose the right bike

Everyone loves a bargain, but if a bike looks like its advertised too cheaply, there's usually a reason. With more choice than ever, choosing your perfect bike can be a bewildering process. Make sure you spend some time working out what you will use the bike for. Think about:

  • Who's using the bike?
  • Do you know which wheel size you need?
  • Do you know which is the best frame size for you?
  • Will the bike be used on or off road?
  • Is the bike being advertised at market value? If not, ask yourself why.
  • Stock photos shouldn’t be used to sell a bike. The real owner would have original photos that they would be happy to show you.

Contacting the seller

Your first contact with a seller can reveal a lot of valuable information about the bike, so it’s important you ask the right questions. Prepare first by writing a few notes down on paper.

  • How long has the seller had the bike
  • What's the bike been used for in the past
  • How old is the bike
  • What's the condition of the bike
  • Does the seller still have their original purchase receipt
  • Does the bike have a service history, if so, can this be support with documentation.

It is highly unlikely that anyone selling a used bike for over £100 knows nothing about it's life to date. Be highly suspicious of anyone 'selling for a friend'.

How does the seller communicate with you? Text messaging, mobile phone use or communication to portable email addresses (eg. Hotmail or Gmail) might indicate someone who doesn't want to be traced following a sale. Ask for a landline number & a work email address.

If the seller seems too keen to ‘seal the deal’ quickly and without proper paperwork, walk away.

Take a friend with you and always meet the buyer at a home or work address. Alarm bells should be ringing if the buyer suggests meeting in a public place such as a park or a tube station. Never buy from anyone that approaches you on the street.

Arrange to a trade seller at their premises.

Inspecting the bike

Examine the bike thoroughly to check its condition, also look to see if it has been security marked. You can check the frame number or BikeRegister ID by using the FREE BikeCheckerfacility on the BikeRegister database to make sure that the bike is not listed as stolen. After all, you could stand to lose not only your hard-earned cash, but also the bike itself if police suspect the seller is a cycle thief.

Ask to see the original purchase receipt and service history.

Jump on the bike & go for a short ride. This is the best way to get an overall feel for the bike and it's mechanical integrity. Try the brakes – progressive & assured braking? Try the gears – smooth & slick changing? Can you feel any movement in the cranks? Does everything on the bike feel tight & together?

Make sure the bike is as described in the advert and that all the bike's features work.

Is the seller bluffing or do they really know the bike’s history? Do they look like they could be the owner of the bike they are selling.

Thieves often alter the appearance of stolen bikes, does the bike have its original paintwork. Have there been any obvious attempts to remove the frame number or bike marking.

If you think you are being sold a stolen bike, don’t go through with the purchase. Report the incident to police by calling 101.

Check the gears, brakes and suspension work as they should.

Haggling with sellers

It’s common for buyers to make an offer on the bike they would like to buy, so don’t be afraid of haggling on price.

Know what the bike is worth, and what you’re willing to pay.

Start your bidding low and let the seller work the price up.

Show commitment to the deal, stay calm and don’t be confrontational.

If you can’t come to an agreement, remember there are plenty of other bikes available.

Doing the paperwork

If you go ahead with the purchase, always get a receipt of the sale. A genuine seller will be happy to provide one.

Check all paperwork looks and feels genuine – photocopies and print outs could be fake.

Complete two receipts one for you and one for the buyer.

Ensure both parties sign & date both copies and keep one for your records.

Provide any old receipts of purchase and service work.

Make sure you register and mark your new bike on BikeRegister. By doing so, it will greatly reduce the chances of having it stolen.

If you think you are being sold a stolen bike, don’t go through with the purchase. Report the incident to police by calling 101.