As a long time bicycle mechanic with significant experience refurbishing old bikes, I felt it was time for comprehensive guide to inspecting and buying a used bicycle. If you want to support this site and my being an underpaid bicycle mechanic freely dumping knowledge (according to the bureau of labor statistics, the state I work in has the lowest wages for bicycle mechanics), please do your Amazon.com shopping via my affiliate link.

This guide is not intended for any one specific type of bicycle, it applies to most bicycles out there whether they’re from the 70’s or only a few years old. One assumption I do make in this guide is that you’re looking at an ordinary bicycle, not something expensive or specialized like a carbon frame road bike with a press fit bottom bracket.

This is a living guide. As time goes on information may become more specific.

Things I will *not* cover on this blog:

Bicycle valuation. There are many external factors that cannot be accounted for, the most significant one being geography and your local bike market. If I could transport all the Peugeot bicycles abandoned in garages across middle America to hipster California I’d be sitting on a goldmine.

Inspection of anything beyond wear/functionality. I can’t tell you exactly how worn out those shifters are, they either work or they don’t. Something could function just fine at the time of purchase and fail after two weeks of riding. There is a risk in buying a used bike, if you cannot afford the risk, consider buying a new bike.