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Tips For Buying A Used Or Second-hand Road Bike

– If you’re buying a bike, then buying used is a
great way to save money and make your budget go further. So in this video, we’re
going to give you a guide as to what to look for
so that you can avoid getting a clunker and make
sure you get a good deal. And if you’ve got any friends, who are just getting into cycling and looking to buy a bike, then consider sharing this video with them as hopefully the information
in it will be really useful. The first thing to do is to summon your inner Sherlock Holmes
and approach buying a bike like a detective looking for clues. Ask questions, ask why the
current owner is selling it, are they a cyclist? Ask them about where they rode the bike, this could be really useful
for building some rapport with the seller too. If it’s apparent that they
aren’t a keen cyclist, but they are selling
an expensive road bike, then this should raise further questions. Remember though, if a deal
appears to be too good to be true, it probably is. (notification tone dings) Wow! You’re never going to believe this, turns out that I’ve inherited a brand new Pinarello Dogma
F12 from a Nigerian prince! We would strongly advice that
you don’t ever buy a bike without seeing it first in person. You can drop on to a good deal though, sometimes, people buy a
bike with the intention of getting into cycling and
for whatever reason they don’t. Consequently, the bike
hasn’t been ridden much and they eventually decide to sell it. Now a good way to spot
this, is with the brakes. If there isn’t much wear
on the pads or the rims and there isn’t much
dirt inside the recesses and nooks and cranny’s on the caliper, then it probably hasn’t been used much. And another good tell, is the bar tape. If it’s pristine and original, then again, the bike probably hasn’t seen much action. At this point, I’m going
to say that in this video, we’re not going to tell
you how to determine the right frame size you need, as it would make this
particular video too long. But fear not, we do have
a video advising you how to do that, which we’ll
link at the end of this one. It’s a good idea to adjust the seatpost to get it so that it’s your size, but this also allows you to sneakily check a few other things as well. So, something that’s more
of a problem on alloy bikes, is that seatposts can get stuck. Now, you’ll find out if it’s
stuck if you can’t adjust it, they can be un-stuck but sometimes this can be a bit of a pain. And on carbon bikes, it’s worth knowing that
it’s a stress area, so if the seat post clamp
bolt is over tightened, it can cause fractures and
cracks in the seatpost, so by adjusting it and taking it out you’ll be able to see if it’s okay. Do your homework, check
what you’re getting and try and find out what the
original spec of the bike was. With bikes made in the last five years this is relatively easy
to do using the internet. This isn’t essential but
it can tell you a lot about the life of the bike, if you engage Sherlock Holmes mode. It will also help you establish
what the bike is worth, such as, if parts have been upgraded. For example, if it still
has the original tires and is a couple of years old, it probably hasn’t been
ridden much at all. Tires are the most common
thing that get changed and bikes often come with budget tires. If the bike has a different fork to the one that it originally came with, then this might be
because the original one was totaled in a crash, kind
of a potential red flag. So, it’s a bit like mis-matched
body panels on a car, something to be aware of. However, if the bike has
different wheels and a saddle, these are the most common
parts to upgrade on a bike and consequently, they can
be better than the ones that’s the bike originally came with. The first thing is cable rub marks, these are cosmetic damage to the frame but they give an idea as to how much the bike has been ridden. And also, careful owners
will tend to put pads and protective spots on the frame to stop this kind of damage happening, so it gives you an idea
about the bikes history. With regards to the cables themselves, the general rule of thumb, it’s typical that cyclists
with regular riding, will change them every couple of years. So it’s worth asking the seller when the cables were
last changed or replaced, so that you have an idea of when you might need to do it in the future. As you brake, you wear away the brake pads and also the brake rim on the wheel. Now, they generally last for ages and they’ll last even longer
if you regularly clean them, but they do wear out over time. And what you don’t want is a concave rim, now this is where the
metal on the wheel rim, or the material has worm away sufficiently that it’s now become concave. You can tell by looking at it and also by feeling it with your finger. If they are concave factor this in, because it means that
you probably need to buy a new set of wheels, so
that’ll incur you a cost. The same applies for disc brakes too, but the difference here is that it’s just the disc brake rota that wears and then potentially needs
replacing if it’s worn out, which is much cheaper
than having to replace an entire wheel. You should also look at the tires, obviously some wear is expected but look to see if the
tread is completely worn out and look for big cuts and
holes in the tire as well, as this will mean that they
probably need replacing. And I’d use this to renegotiate some money off the list price of the bike. Same applies for the bar tape as well, if it’s worn out and
dirty, use it as a tool to try and negotiate some money off. Now, next up, we’re going
to look at the drive train. The drive train refers to the chain rings, the chain and the cassette on the bike. Now these components wear out over time and you can expect to
periodically replace them. A good way to check the
chain, see if it’s okay, is using a simple chain checker tool. You can pick these up in bike shops for a couple of quid and
they’re a worthwhile investment. The chain checker tells you if
the chain has been stretched, and it’s really easy to use, you just slot it in and
it tells you, like that. Opie’s chain, is okay. Now, if the drive train is worn out, then you make get some skipping
and jumping of the chain on the cassette, and
this is usually apparent when you’re putting out
quite a lot of torque. So for example, if you’re
cycling out of the saddle. It’s not the end of the
world though, as I say, these parts can be replaced, it’s just something to factor
in to the overall cost. And another sign that indicates
wear on the drive train is jagged or un-even teeth,
that have been ground down on the cassette or the chain rings. Another area you should look
at is the bottom bracket area here where the crank
arms are in the frame. This is particularity
important on carbon fiber bikes and you should be looking for
any cracks or signs of damage. Don’t be afraid to lift up
the bike and look underneath. Also, check the drive-side chain stay, often there’s only cosmetic damage here but it’s worth having a look at. If the chain falls off or gets dropped, it can chip the frame
here and also the chain can sometimes slap against this chain stay when you’re going over rough ground. And again, this can cause chips
and scratches to the frame, it’s usually only cosmetic
but worth having a look at and also, just check that the frames not been completely destroyed. The next thing we’re going
to look at is the bearings, to see if there’s any play in them. If there is play in the bearings, then it means that they
usually need replacing. First, the headset bearing, so the way that you test this
is you put the front brake on, stand over the bike like I’m doing now and rock it forwards and backwards. Now if there’s play, you’ll feel it moving against the steerer tube,
against the frame here and you can usually see it. Fortunately, there’s no play in this one. To see if there’s any play in
the bottom bracket bearing, the axle of the bike, then
put your hand on the crank arm and try and move it in this direction. And if there’s play, you’ll feel it, fortunately again, no play in this one. And lastly, look to see if there’s play in the wheel bearings, the way to do this is to
grab hold of the wheel, both the front and the back one and just try and pull
it from side to side. And if there’s loads of lateral movement, if the wheel moves like this loads then there’s play in the bearing that might need to be addressed. Now if you just quickly engage, Sherlock Holmes mode, and if you consider someone
who’s been riding around on a bike, despite the fact that there’s play in the bearings then they probably haven’t
taken very good care of it and they probably don’t
know what they’re doing. Elementary. You should always check
if the wheels are true and by true, we mean straight. Now if the bike has been crashed, or has plowed into a large pothole, it can cause the wheels to become wonky and you can check this by
simply spinning the wheel and watching how the brake track moves relative to the brake pad. And you look down the
length of it like that, now this wheel’s nicely true, but if it’s not, it’s really easy to tell, you’ll see the wonky-ness in the wheel as it moves like that. If the wheel is slightly out of true, it’s not the end of the world, it’s something that can easily be fixed in your local bike shop for around £10, or whatever your local currency is. Although, it is something
that you should factor in to the list price, the bike and use as a negotiating tool. The same applies for disc breaks, when you spin the wheel, the disc rota shouldn’t
rub against the caliper and if it does it can
suggest that the disc is actually slightly bent and wonky. Again, this is something that can be fixed for not too much money, but factor it in. If the disc is slightly warped, then you’ll be hear it
going (makes ticking noises) every time it tracks past the pad. How can you tell if a bike’s been crashed? Well I’m going to tell you
about the signs of crash damage. Now it might be obvious
if a bike’s been crashed if it’s in a million pieces, but I’m talking about
the more subtle things. So firstly, the rear mech,
this is a classic right, if you’ve got a big scrape
on the rear mech here, well it’s a good sign of a crash. Now, bikes are a bit like buttered toast, they tend to land
business side down, weird! But keep an eye out for that, another one is on the saddle, on the edge of the saddle
here if there’s a scuff then that can also be a good sign that the bikes come down. And also, on the shifters
here and the bar tape, if the bar tape is ripped on the edge and there’s scratches on the shifter, that suggests the bike has had an impact. Scuffs of the shifters,
saddle and even the rear mech are usually just cosmetic though so, if you filter through the gears and there’s no skipping or jumping and it’s all working correctly then it’s probably nothing to worry about apart from the fact it’s
a little bit unsightly. Other things to be more concerned about are to do with the frame. So a classic thing is a top tube strike, now this is caused, when you crash, that the handle bars swing round quickly and strike the top tube, like that. Now, what you can do is
actually turn the bars so that they touch the top tube and then look at that
particular point on the top tube and see if there’s any damage there, if there is, it could be
something to be worried about. Another thing, and this is more common on alloy or steel frames, is if the frame has actually
been warped or bent. Grab a tape measure, or if you don’t have a tape
measure you can use some string and what you want to do is measure from the rear drop out here, to the top tube on the same
place on each side of the bike. The two distances should be the same, if they’re not, it can
suggest that the frame is warped or twisted. And if it is, it’s best just to walk away. Try and take the bike
out for a quick ride, just down the road should be sufficient. Get out the saddle and
stamp on the peddles, listen for sounds of creaking, particularly in the bottom bracket. It may mean that the bottom
bracket bearings need replacing, also check the brakes work, they should feel positive and
be able to lock the wheels. Also, siphon through the gears and check that you can
get into each sprocket and there is no clicking or skipping. Overall, if a deal seems
too good to be true, it probably is. And if a bike has loads of issues, then it may be more
trouble than it’s worth. The used bike market is
buoyant, it’s a buyers market and there are loads of great
deals to be found out there. So don’t ever be afraid to be like Craig David.. And walk away. However, in my experience
of buying used bikes, if a bike does have a few niggles such as some of the things
we’ve talked about in the video, these can be great ammunition for negotiating the price down. So, get haggling. Right, I hope you’ve found this video useful and informative. And please share it with your friends, especially if they’re
looking to buy a bike and don’t have much experience. I’m sure they’ll find it useful. And, if you’d like to watch more videos, well you can click down here
and also subscribe to GCN, it’s free! Now, good luck in your search, there’s loads of great deals out there, all the best finding a new bike, I’m going to go now, bye!

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