Tips for buying used bicycles

28 November 2023

Have you got the cycling bug and are thinking of buying a bike?

It is normal to have doubts because there are those who try to sneak any junk to their buyer.

That is what we are here for.

As bike experts, we give you some tips on how to choose a good used bike in 3 steps.

You’ll be so proud that you’ll want to go with her even to buy bread.

Where to buy a used bicycle in Madrid

There are several options for buying used bicycles (electric, road or mountain bikes).

  • Second-hand sales platforms, such as MilAnuncios, Wallapop, eBay, Vibbo or TUVALUM (the latter is oriented only to the second-hand sale of bicycles). Remember to always check that the seller’s reviews are positive.
  • In specialized stores. In Madrid you have options like SecondBike or BuhoBike.
  • Some sporting goods stores have second-hand options and others, such as Decathlon, offer a private-to-private buying and selling service.
  • Individuals: some sell them in Facebook groups or through their social networks. You can also ask your acquaintances in case they know someone.

You’ve done your research and found an option that catches your eye.

What should you look out for now?

We tell you about it below.

Man in the field with helmet in hand checking out second hand bicycle

What to look for when buying second-hand bicycles

The moment comes when you have a bicycle in front of you.

These are the details you should look at before choosing it.

1. Frame and fork

Make sure of these things:

  • No dents or impact marks.
  • The saddle tube connection to the horizontal tube is in perfect condition.
  • The rear derailleur pins look good.

If you are buying a used mountain bike, make sure that the suspension forks lock perfectly and do not leak oil.

It is also important to check that they are well anchored to the frame.

2. Bicycle steering

Check that there is no backlash, that it rotates evenly and without resistance.

This is very important.

3. Cables

Keep an eye on them to make sure they are in place and in good condition.

4. Wheels

Several things you should check on the wheels are these:

  • They are centered.
  • When rotating, they do not make a noise, but a soft sound.
  • The brake shoes or discs do not rub when the wheels rotate.
  • They have not been put to much use.
  • They are not punctured.
  • The bearings are in good condition (if the wheel moves a lot when you grip it laterally, they are not).

5. Strange sounds from the bike

Don’t let them try to sell you any strange sound as something normal.

If you are suspicious, don’t buy the bike no matter how much you like everything else.

6. Transmission

Several factors come into play here:

  1. Shift through all the gears on the bike to see that they are working properly.
  2. Check if the chain is in good condition. Put the bike in a gear that leaves it taut and see if it comes off very easily (if it does, it’s in bad shape; if it’s hard to get it off, it still has some jog left in it).
  3. Note the teeth on the chainrings. They should not be too sharp.

7. Brakes

Another of the most important parts of a bicycle.

Check that it activates properly when you press the handlebar levers and that it releases quickly (without rubbing the wheel) when you release them.

It is also a good idea to check the condition of the brake pads and brake shoes.

8. Fasteners and fasteners

The screws should not be badly rusted and their heads should not be badly worn.

Otherwise, it will be an ordeal to make any adjustments in the future.

We advise you to open and close the quick-release fasteners to check that they are working properly.

9. If you buy a second-hand electric bicycle: motor and battery

Check that the motor is activated and that it responds perfectly when in use.

Ask about the use and range of the bike to get an idea of its condition.

Woman on the road with second-hand bicycle

Other tips for buying second-hand bicycles

If the bike has passed the above test and all parts appear to be in good condition, the final stage comes.

Here are the definitive tips for getting a good bike.

1. Get on the bike and try it out.

Not only to check that the bicycle is in good condition.

Also to make sure it is your size and that you are comfortable in it.

2. Ask the seller (if you buy a second-hand bike in a store).

Many people are embarrassed to ask questions for fear of appearing ignorant.

However, asking for advice will help you find the ideal type of bike for your tastes and the type of routes you plan to ride.

That way you won’t have to look all over the store.

3. Buy in person

Above we have provided a list of places where you can find your partner on the road.

However, we always advise you to see the bike in person before paying for it.

4. Not everything is aesthetics

Some people get carried away with how pretty the bike is.

And they forget about all the other things we’ve told you about.

Or other important factors. For example, the type of bike for your intended use, size, comfort, etc.

Everyone is empowered by wearing a good-looking bike, but it’s not the main thing.

5. Doubt if the offer is too good

Too good to be true?

Then be wary.

If we were you, we would not buy it unless it is sold to you by someone you know well (and who you know will not cheat you).

6. Make sure it is not a stolen bicycle.

Most of the time, owners sell their own second-hand bicycles.

However, there are people who steal and sell stolen bicycles.

To avoid falling into the trap, pay attention to the serial number.

It is a sticker located under the bottom bracket or horizontal frame tube.

If it does not have a serial number, it may be stolen.

7. Make sure the bicycle is original

Some cyclists take advantage of second-hand purchases to buy a brand-name bicycle, as they tend to have high prices.

Remember the mantra we want to convey to you in this post:

Do not trust.

First, check that it is an original bicycle.


  • Check to see if it has the brand name on its components.
  • Shop at reputable places, such as sporting goods stores.
  • Research the seller’s reputation.
  • Examine the details and quality.

You already have your second-hand bike… Now, let’s ride!

With these tips you can find the perfect used bike for you.

Now the important thing is missing: to release it.

You have information about organized trips and other cyclotourism services in our website.

Don’t miss it and discover the Community of Madrid on wheels.

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