Sign up ×
Bicycles Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people who build and repair bicycles, people who train cycling, or commute on bicycles. It's 100% free, no registration required.


I'd like to buy some used bike parts.

I don't want to shop online. I'm not very good at bike repair. I want to ask the seller if the part is the right shape and size to fit my bike. If they say "no", then I'll know not to waste my money and time buying it and trying to install it. If they say "yes", and it turns out not to fit, then I can get a refund without paying for return shipping.

I know that I can definitely buy used parts from a bike co-op. In fact, because co-ops disassemble so many bikes, they tend to have a better selection of used parts than most bricks-and-mortar vendors.

But I live in the suburbs. I'd rather not schlep downtown to get to a co-op.

There are two different individuals in my neighborhood who fix bikes in their backyards and sell them out in front of their homes. Perhaps they'll have the parts I need. But perhaps not.

Another possible alternative for me would be to go to a local bike shop.

My question

What's the general rule? Do bike shops that sell used bicycles normally also sell used parts?

share|improve this question
Why don't you want to buy online? Pinkbike and eBay have very good used parts sections. – cmannett85 Jan 16 '13 at 8:18
Yes. Many cities have some form of bike co-op which offers shared workshop space, tools and advice (e.g. - these will generally act as an exchange for used bikes and parts too. Your local bike shop will almost certainly be able to point you in the right direction. – Unsliced Jan 16 '13 at 9:22
It will depend on the shop. My local go-to for used parts will only resell a used part if it looks generally unused and didn't come off of a bike that had been wrecked (to prevent faulty parts from causing another wreck.) The risk of buying used parts online is that there is no real quality control. – WTHarper Jan 16 '13 at 18:25
Actually, many shops that do repairs will have a small cache of used parts, depending on what you want. This is often true of shops that mainly sell new bikes -- it's the presence of the repair shop, and how "deep" it is, that determines what, if any, used parts may be available. – Daniel R Hicks Jan 16 '13 at 20:36
One does wonder why you'd want such parts used. You might, eg, get some "standard" pedals from a bike where the purchaser wanted clipless, but bottom brackets wouldn't likely be removed unless defective, nor would brake rotors (unless you're dealing with a "chop shop"). And buying used cables is just stupid -- new ones are cheap. – Daniel R Hicks Jan 17 '13 at 2:40

4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Short answer: yes.

Long answer: You might not find what you are looking for at a shop. I would seriously suggest checking online. Three reasons:

  1. There are hundreds of models/sizes/configurations of bike parts. The part(s) that you are looking for will need to match the parts/bike you already have. The likelihood that your local bike shop has the exact part you need is pretty low.

  2. Bike parts are a lot like cars. They depreciate pretty quickly. If a bike store is going to stock parts, they want to stock new stuff that will make them more profit.

  3. Bikes are pretty self service. There are a lot of individual people capable of replacing their own parts. That means there are a lot of people with spare used parts for sale online (e.g. craigslist).

share|improve this answer

They likely have "extra" bike parts around that are scavenged from bikes that were unrepariable, just be sure you know what your getting. There likely isn't any warranty included on used equipment, so if it was a "distressed" part that finally breaks a week after you've been using it, you be replacing it again. If you trust the bike shop and it is a reputable store that's been around for awhile, you should be fine. Nothing wrong with used parts, just so it fits and works correctly for its intended design, and doesn't appear to have been abused or been on a bike that was not maintained or has been wrecked.

share|improve this answer
+1 I would add that if you're not a regular, they may tell you that that they don't sell used parts. I've seen this myself with my LBS, whereas they'll let me dig around in their junk bins, they'll turn away others. I think it's mostly a liability and customer service issue for them, it's not worth selling someone they don't know a $5 banged up Campy derailleur from the 1960s, have something go wrong, and get blamed for it. – RoboKaren Nov 10 at 19:11

A bike shop will do whatever it can to turn a profit by selling cycles and parts and services. Selling brand new takeoff parts is not at all unusual, because they sold the original for a profit and can sell the takeoffs for a profit. Used stuff is more effort than profit, so expect much less of this.

A bike coop will do what it can to encourage cycling. That involves fixing bikes for no profit, just covering costs normally (if even that much)

Upshot: You're most likely to get the help you need from your local bike cooperative. Remember they can also teach you to maintain the bike yourself. If you can tell us what city you're in, I can google it for you too :-P

Don't be concerned about the people at the bike coops, they're there volunteering their time because they want to help cyclists. They won't judge or make fun of you for some perceived fault, like I've seen bike shop monkeys do when a bike or rider isn't their "type"

share|improve this answer
I've been to some of the co-ops in my city. They're great. Both the staff and the patrons are friendly and nice people. I just don't want to schlep all the way to a co-op if I don't have to. :) – unforgettableid Nov 11 at 18:30
@unforgettableid I can't help you with laziness. Don't be concerned about the people there- You've already been there and you know they're not nasty or mean. – Criggie Nov 11 at 19:29

Yes, but you should call first to make sure.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.