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Since we have a lot of questions asking about buying a used bike, I thought we could do a community wiki on how to buy used bikes as a be-all, end-all.

There are a few main questions:

1) How do I check if a used bike is safe to ride ?

2) How do I assess the value of a used bike?

Feel free to add others as answers, one question per answer.

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How do I evaluate the value of a used bike?

Well, the simple answer is a bike is worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it.

As guidelines, a few websites may be useful:

  • Craigslist (See what similar bikes are going for in your area)
  • EBay (Online retailer)
  • Bicycle Blue Book (Gives values for certain bikes; can be useful as a rough guideline)
  • Bikepedia (Gives values for certain bikes when new, along with their original components)
  • Velobase (Database of vintage cycling and marketplace)
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    I'd like to stress that "worth what someone will pay for it" is not "what some optimistic seller has listed it for" A bike listed at a silly starting price is not a reflection of its worth. – Criggie Jul 6 '16 at 20:13
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How do I make sure a bike fits?

Bike fit is critical. If the rider and the bike don't fit together properly, you'll hurt more and sooner, and rides won't be enjoyable. Get it right!

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How do I see if a used bike is safe to ride?

We've covered this in a variety of answers.

(Summary)

Links to useful answers:

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