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Buying a used bike: tips and things to check

There is no shortage of reasons to buy a second-hand bike these days. Shortage of new equipment, ecological and anti-waste approach, low prices, good deals... There are many opportunities to buy Specialized, Pinarello or Lapierre at a reduced price, provided you don't neglect the second hand market.

If you don't find what you're looking for at The Cyclist House (which we highly doubt), you might be able to find it on online sales sites, but beware: to see your search succeed, you'd better be patient. Indeed, on sites such as Leboncoin or Troc-Vélo, you will find "something to eat and drink", in other words, ads of very uneven quality. In this article, we offer you a series of tips to follow and points to check in order to get the most out of your research.

Finding bike

This article is complementary to our used bike buying guides, to road bike and MOUNTAIN BIKE.

If you wish to sell your bike, please refer to our article on sale

Where to buy a used bike ?

In case you are not very keen on bikes, there are many ad sitesamong which the famous Leboncoin, Troc-Vélo, Biked, Decathlon Occasions (Trocathlon), etc. We will not launch here in a comparative study of these platforms, for the only reason... that they are very similar! They all offer, on the one hand, a large selection of bikes (road, Gravel, MTB, VAE, etc.), and on the other hand, quite elaborate filters to make an advanced search. So rather than choosing one site (it is not uncommon to find the same bike for sale on several of them), it is much better to train yourself to find the right ads! If it allows you to make good deals, the second-hand market is full of good and not so good, and it is sometimes difficult to find your way around... Most of the sites try to structure the ads (by constraining the input by means of drop-down menus for example), but this is not enough to hide the extremely heterogeneous character of the texts written by private individuals... How to find then, in the mass of heterogeneous ads (presenting themselves products of variable quality), the bike of your dreams ? We take stock in this article.

How to recognize a good ad ?

The process may seem laborious, but you can't escape it... Before you come across the the right ad (and to contact its author), you will have to make an important selection... But how? For us, a good ad is above all detailed ; breathing the cyclist connoisseurIt contains precise information on a number of points that should be studied carefully.

The bike model

It's very simple, but a good ad is first and foremost a good title. If someone tries to sell you a "Cannondale road bike" or a "Trek Madone", let's not lie to ourselves, it's not a good idea... It's all too vague! If the ad doesn't have the full model name of the bike in the title or the first few lines, you're dealing with someone who doesn't know what they're selling (or didn't think it was worthwhile to ask). Not good.

💡 The Cyclist House has chosen the detail. « Wilier Cento 10 SL "or " Cannondale CAAD13 Disc 105 "Now that looks better!

The year of the bike

This is an important piece of information. If it is missing, you can always ask for it... or walk away! Because do you really want to do business with this person?

⚠️ Beware of the sometimes misunderstood term "bike year": it normally refers to the year the model was released, not the year the bike was purchased. In any case, make sure you speak the same language as your seller, as it is easy to cheat on this parameter... For example, someone may try to sell you a 2018 bike bought second-hand in 2020 in 2022, but only specify "2020"... When a bike has been passed from hand to hand, it is always good to ask about its little history!

💡 The Cyclist House has made the choice of rigor. For us, "year of the bike = year of the model". Always.

 The size of the bike

An ad that doesn't mention (or badly) the size of the bike doesn't deserve your attention; it has only one purpose: to end up in the trash.

Depending on the manufacturer, the bike size is either a number (54 cm, 56 cm, 58 cm, etc.) or a letter (M, L, XL, etc.), but rarely both! If it is a number AND a letter, it means that the seller has deduced one from the other... Did he make the right calculation? Nothing is less sure. Instead of venturing into such correspondences, it is better to indicate the size of the cyclist (in the form of a range) recommended by the manufacturer and available on his website.

⚠️ Leboncoin offers a categorization based on a letter, sometimes forcing advertisers to convert a frame size (the number) into just the size (the letter). Not great: errors abound. If you're between sizes, be prepared to be confused.

💡 The Cyclist House has chosen the clarity. The title of the ads is formatted as follows: Make - Model - Year - Size. No doubt, we know what we are talking about.

The condition of the bike

Unfortunately, this is often a very vague notion. The online sales sites are spreading in definitions, but the appreciation of the condition of the bike is left to the seller and it is not ideal. What distinguishes a "good condition" from a "very good condition"? Not easy. Even if the cycling community is largely supportive and benevolent, it's a good idea to praise/boost the quality of your product. Faced with the machine (always go and see before you buy), the disappointment is sometimes as great as that of a Thibaut Pinot finishing third in Mende (or elsewhere).

Even approximate, the mileage is an important piece of information, providing information on the degree of use of the bike and on the wear of its components (mainly chain and cassette). If the ad does not mention it, we advise you to ask the seller.

Finally, ask about the maintenance or revisions that the product has or has not undergone. For more information, consult our maintenance guides, for road bikes and MOUNTAIN BIKE

💡 The Cyclist House has chosen theobjectivity. Unlike other platforms (such as Tuvalum or Buycycle) that only receive and inspect bikes once they have found a buyer, any bike visible on our site is Certified Pre-Owned in our workshop in Strasbourg before to be offered for sale; it joins the inventory with a grade ranging from 6/10 (average) to 10/10 (like new), attributed by our mechanics aftera thorough 114-point inspection This score is broken down into 5 sub-scores on a condition graph. For more information, please refer toour guide.

The Cyclist House Condition Score


An advertisement without information about the bike's components, at least the main ones, is not an advertisement! The reader of a proper ad will find information about the material of the framethe type ofbrakingthe type and model of the groupthe type of crankset and number of gears, the model, size and material of the wheelsthe model and size of the tiresetc.

⚠️ A priori, the model and year of the bike are enough to find the complete list of its components (either on the manufacturer's website or on a dealer's website). But be careful! The bike may have been replaced, improved and/or repaired, which should obviously be taken into account!

💡 The Cyclist House has chosen to exhaustiveness. All the technical characteristics of the bike are presented in a dedicated section. No need to look elsewhere, everything is there.

The geometry

Hesitating on the size (what could be more normal!), you would like to check the length of a horizontal tube or the length of the cranks? The overwhelming majority of ads do not contain information about the frame geometry, so you have two options: 1. ask the seller (but it's a bit risky); 2. ask Google yourself (but it's a bit of a pain, especially if the bike is old).

💡 The Cyclist House has chosen you simplify the task. The main frame geometry measurements (stack, reach, Seat tubeetc.) are provided as an indication. Who do we thank? Thank you The Cyclist House.

Geometry guide

The photos

Finally, the photos of the product, when taken by individuals, are often a source of frustration. Is the chain really clean? Are the teeth of the cassette so well designed? Isn't there a scratch on the crankset? It's not always easy to figure out.

💡 The Cyclist House has chosen the transparency. Our bikes are professionally photographed from every angle; the graphic interface allows you to zoom in on every detail, which our mechanics have lovingly prepared for you.

Level of detail The Cyclist House


Check the seller's profile

It doesn't cost anything, I'd even say it doesn't eat bread! Keep your eyes open: you don't want to make a deal with someone who is plagued with bad ratings and reviews.

💡 Customer satisfaction is our priority. Our customers give us an average rating of 4.8/5.

Search far from home

It would be silly to miss a good deal for a few kilometers... Don't hesitate to widen the scope of your search: if you like a bike, you will always find a way to get it.

💡 The Cyclist House has chosen theefficiency. All our bikes are available immediately and we deliver everywhere in France in less than 3 working days.

Try the bike

As most of the websites do not allow the return of items, it is simply essential to go and try your future bike before closing the deal. When you see the product, you will check two main things: 1. that you like it! (It's silly, but a new bike should (It's silly, but a new bike has to please you, you have to like its shapes and colors, you have to dream about it at night, at the risk of losing interest in it very quickly - at the price it cost you, that would be a pity); 2. that the general and particular condition of its components (frame, steering, transmission, brakes, wheels, tires) is in accordance with the advertisement and your expectations (in other words, that everything looks clean and functional).

Once you've checked it out, ask the salesperson for permission to go for a ride, even if it's only a block or two, but please don't forget to ride it! This will ensure that: 1. you feel comfortable, that the position is right for you (try them all, handlebars, coasters, etc.), that the bike fits you well (you may need a wrench to adjust the saddle); 2. the gears shift smoothly (try them all), that the changes are fluid; 3. the brakes work; 4. That there are no suspicious noises or other suspicious creaks.

💡 Make your purchase with confidence peace of mind with The Cyclist House. Once received, you will have 30 days to test your new bike. Don't like it? Send it back.


Now that this article is over, you are better equipped to find the right used bike. In order not to discourage you too quickly, we have seen that it is important to target detailed ads, giving the impression of having been written by experts. Be demanding and picky, don't overlook any aspect of things: information asymmetry usually plays nasty tricks.

If, in spite of our advice and your efforts, your research should not be successful, do not hesitate to turn to The Cyclist House, whose customer service has been designed following unsuccessful experiences on the ad sites. We will be happy to help you. See you soon!

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