Cycling isn’t just a great way to get around, but it can be both a workout and something you can enjoy with your family on the weekends. The downside of buying a new bike is that it can be VERY costly, running you as much as $2,000 for the top models.
But why not consider buying a used bike, either from a garage sale or a thrift store? You may be able to find a pretty sweet deal on your bike, provided you know how to find the right quality used bike.
Keep Safety in Mind
When looking at used bikes, the most important thing to remember is that you need to find one that is safe. The bike should be in good condition, with a straight, undamaged frame. The handlebars need to be solid, not to mention locked securely in place. Check the bolt to ensure that it is in good condition, and that it keeps the handlebars locked tight.
The saddle (seat) is also important to check out. It needs to be large enough that it provides a comfortable surface for your rear, but not so large that it interferes with your ability to pedal. It should be easily adjusted according to your height, making it comfortable to ride.
ALWAYS check the brakes of the bike. If it has been sitting for a while, it’s very likely that you’ll need to shell out about $20 for a new set of brakes–both parts and labor. It’s not a DIY job, but it’s essential that you find the right person to do the job.
Check the Tires
The tires of a used bike will often be worn down, particularly if the bike has been unused due to flat or popped tires. If the inner tubes of the tires have been deflated for a while, it’s common for there to be dry rot inside. Just patching the tires may not be enough, but you may even need to replace them completely. A new set of tires and tubes will cost you maybe $40 or $50 all told, so it’s not too costly an investment.
Lubricate the Chain
If the used bike has been out of commission for a while, it’s very likely that the chain will have accumulated rust. It’s essential that you lubricate the chain, using quality bike oil–not WD40. It may cost a bit to get the chain lubricated–maybe $10 to $15 at most–but it’s worth it.
While you’re getting the chain taken care of, have the bike mechanic take a look at the gears and cables. They may need some adjustments, or at the very least may need to be oiled for smooth functioning. It’s worth getting everything done at once!
Get Your Own Bicycle Repair Kit
You purchased the bike for between $50 and $100, spent another $50 to $100 on the repair, and you’re ready to ride! You have a great bike that works well, and which you saved A LOT of money on!
However, just because it’s in good shape now, that doesn’t mean you won’t have to make repairs in the future. Tires pop, brakes need changing, chains need lubrication, and gears need adjusting. You should get your own bike repair kit for use at home. You’ll find that a basic one runs you about $20, or a complete set is more than $70. Depending on what tools you have available at home, it’s worth looking into AT LEAST the basic set. It will help you to keep that bike in good riding condition for years to come!