I intend to buy a used road bike, but don't know anything about bikes. So how can I buy a good one with a reasonable price? How can I evaluate the one I intend to buy? Thank you

  • 2
    Please add a little more context, i.e. price range, intended use, your experience on road bikes etc.
    – arne
    Commented Dec 5, 2013 at 7:06
  • Check out this answer. Commented Dec 5, 2013 at 13:04
  • As Arne suggests, it makes a bit of difference whether you're looking for simple transportation or a fancy racer. The main thing is to learn how to tell a Wally World bike from a real one, and how to spot a bike that's been abused (from hot shot riding, extreme use, or simply being left in the rain too much). But there are many good bikes that have sat in a garage for 20 years and only been ridden 10 miles, so it's not hard to find a good bargain. Commented Dec 5, 2013 at 13:08
  • I'd suggest not buying online for this - visit a LBS which specializes in used bikes to see what they have and if you can be fit on one. You need to try the bike esp. if its your first road bike. Comp. to fitting (which is a function of bike geometry,ie race or whatever), abuse and walmart bikes (which are discussed in the answers below) are easy. You can buy something which fit,ride it and sell it and upgrade when you have a better idea of what you want from the bike (you may find after a while that drop bars are wrong (after good fits) and want a flat bar bike). But garages are godsends.
    – Batman
    Commented Dec 8, 2013 at 17:14

2 Answers 2


Check the bike is the right size for you

If the bike is still on sale commercially, check what the new price is. You can find out about many brands/models from bikepedia.com

Find out what components (gears and brakes) it has and what they'd cost new (by Googling)

Check for any hairline cracks in the frame, especially around the head tube, bottom bracket and the top of the seat tube. You shouldn't ride a bike with this kind of damage, let alone buy it.

Check the rims for signs of wear - for example a pitted or deeply scratched surface, or concave feel indicates significant use.

Check the cassette for signs of wear - the teeth should be symmetrical, not sloping more sharply on one side than the other. Scroll down Sheldon Brown's article on chains for more detail and pictures.

Items like saddles, pedals and bartape can easily be replaced, but you should know in advance what this might cost.

Also see this answer on evaluating a road bike.

  • Additional ideas/edits welcome. Commented Dec 5, 2013 at 8:37
  • 2
    You can sport wear on the cogs if they look like shark tooth, pointy at the top and than concavely widening downwards. Although I agree that ideally the cassette and chain would still be good, they are fairly easily replaceable. The chain costs roughly around 15€/20$ and I'm sure you could borrow or buy a chain tool for cheap. The cassette usually isn't that expensive either, but you need a chain whip and this cassette-lock-nut-tool-thingy. You can find many good videos on youtube about how to do easy repairs on the bike.
    – Martin H
    Commented Dec 5, 2013 at 12:07
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    A bike that's been stored for many years may have cracked tires, but that's not a big deal if the bike itself is in good shape. Stay away from a bike that looks like it's stayed out in the rain a lot. Commented Dec 5, 2013 at 13:11

Check the frame, cosmetics etc. Check the components; derailleur, brake system. Check the rims, make sure its not wobbly or missing a spoke. Lastly, I would look up the serial number which can be found on the bottom of most bike frames, under the crank set. Riding a stolen bike is bad bike karma.

  • And where do you propose looking up the serial number? Commented Dec 6, 2013 at 1:16
  • I live in Chicago so we use thechainlink.org I'm sure your city has a database you can look up.
    – raul
    Commented Dec 6, 2013 at 1:18

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