Guest blogger Billy Ferguson, co-founder of online cycling marketplace Trivelo provides some advice on what to look for when you’re considering buying a used bike.
Everyone loves a bargain but sometimes if it looks too good to be true that could well, because it isn’t. With over 300k bikes stolen in the UK each year there are a lot of dodgy sellers trying to get your cash for bikes they don’t own. So if you are considering parting with your cash we have the following advice to help you find that genuine bike.
Research to the max
The internet is your best friend. Read every review and check every inch of the web to know your products inside out. Be the expert. Bikes are complex beasts but if you are buying one make sure you know the exact spec you are looking for and be prepared to spot any single upgrade yourself. Being able to ask a seller about the bike changes helps show their knowledge of the bike history and can help flush out someone who really knows little about what they are selling.
Get to know the seller
Talk to them about their gear and where they ride so you can understand its history before you buy with confidence. Ask about what club they ride with and what events they have participated in using the bike to see how much use the bike has had but also to check how genuine a cyclist they really are. If you get the chance try and see if they are on Strava and what their profile is like. Summary Strava information should give you mileage info and frequency. Even if they are genuine and the genuine owner, understanding their riding background better will give an indication on how hard a life the bike is likely to have experienced before you began your enquiries.
Check every detail
Take your time and make sure what you thought you were buying is the real deal. If it’s bent or cracked, probably time to walk away and keep your wallet safely in your pocket. Carbon fibre does not react well when damaged and repairs can be costly if even possible. Bike frame ID is essential to check, look for it and check it against stolen database registers such as BikeRegister. Ask to see a receipt of original purchase if you can. With bikes often costing thousands, most people would keep a receipt to ensure their insurance is valid.
Take it for a ride
If you are able to see a bike in person, take it for a ride. Dodgy bikes are not just stolen ones, they can also be those that are waiting to munch up your funds with repairs and spare parts. Unless it is a fixie, ensure you work through the full range of gears and test the mechanism under load on a hill listening for any grinding or crunching that indicates poor levels of maintenance and possible issues lurking ahead. Ride the bike and see how it feels, if nothing else it is your best indication on goodness of fit.
Take a deep breath
Don’t be rushed into making a decision and handing over your money if you are not sure. If you need more time to make a decision walk away and let the buyer know. There will be other bikes so don’t be pressured into making a decision when you are not ready.
Trust in Trivelo
The founding principal of Trivelo was to deliver the most genuine set of bikes and components. We do everything we can to ensure all our users can trust what they find on our site. This was borne out of a collective set of bad experiences on auction sites where we didn’t get what we were paying for and lost out. Bikes are big business and they can cost big money yet we buy them on face value. Why is Trivelo different? We have the only integrated platform to validate the bicycle frame ID. Essentially every frame ID on our site is continuously checked against the national stolen database where frames have been registered. Nobody else does this. In addition we have a database of over 3,000 cycling and triathlon clubs registered in the uk prompting all our sellers to provide details of their local club if they have one. Nobody else does this. We prompt all users for the national affiliation membership they have and include this with all bikes for sale so you have detailed seller profiles. Nobody else does this. We have integrated profile information from Strava so a persons summary information is available with their advert. Again, we want to protect our sellers so no location sensitive information is shared in case in case some wrong-uns decide to try and use this. Nobody else does this. Essentially, you are not left buying something from a faceless individual but can get an instant view of their cycling credentials from a quick look through our webpage. So if you are still nervous when buying give us a go and buy with confidence.
You can find more about Trivelo at their website: www.trivelo.co.uk