Updated: Sep 24
The Transport Minister claims that cycling has increased by a huge 200% since the introduction of lockdowns in the United Kingdom. Cycling is popular because, in the long term, it’s a cost-effective means to commute, it’s better for the environment, and it keeps you fit and healthy rather than driving everywhere.
However, buying a bike is an investment and one that needs careful consideration. If you buy the wrong bike then you’ll only end up paying more in the future, either on repairs or a replacement. To help you avoid these mistakes, this guide will outline the general pros and cons of buying both new and used bikes.
Although it’s more expensive upfront, it’s generally advisable to buy a new bike as it saves on long term costs.
Factors to Consider When Buying a New Bike
Regardless of whether you’re buying a new or used bike, it’s important that you carefully consider your requirements and which options will best fit these. Here are some factors that should be at the forefront of your decision-making process:
Size and fit: It’s important that you buy a bike with the right dimensions. For example, if you need to slam the brakes on then you want enough ‘standover height’ clearance so that you can plant your feet on the ground. You’ll also want to think about the ‘cockpit length’ between the seat and the handlebars, as this will largely determine your riding position.
Accessory compatibility: How compatible is your bike with bottle holders, mudguards, light fittings, and seat bags?
Bike type: Are you going to be cycling long distances in the countryside? If you are then you’ll want an endurance bike, and if you’re looking to ride fast then you’ll want a racing road bike. Alternatively, mountain bikes are best for off-road and hybrids (also known as ‘city bikes’) are a good medium. There are also bikes fitted to specific terrains like gravel bikes and BMXs.
Weight: The overall weight of your potential bike largely depends on the type of bike you’re getting. Nonetheless, if you’re going to be cycling up a lot of hills then you definitely want to be looking at lighter options!
Reasons You’ll Want a New Bike
It goes without saying that, when you buy a new bike, you’re the first person to use it. However, this simple fact has a range of advantages linked to it, from price to warranty.
First of all, you’ll have a full warranty. This means that if something were to go wrong and you’re still within the warranty, your problem will be fixed much quicker and cheaper than if the bike was out of warranty or had been used by a number of previous owners.
Another thing to consider is that, when you buy a bike from a store, you’ll receive after-sales advice on how to maintain your bike, and any other questions you might still have. This is an important advantage for beginners who may not know as much about bikes as more seasoned cyclists.
A second benefit of buying a new bike is that it should last longer than a used bike. When you buy a bike from a store, you can have full faith that the bike works exactly as it should, and that if it doesn’t then the problem can be rectified quickly.
Contrastingly, buying a used bike from the internet comes with a series of risks. The product you end up buying may be very different to that that was advertised, and there may be some mechanical problems that the description missed. This gets particularly problematic if the person you bought it from refuses to cooperate with you after you’ve bought the bike.
Another benefit is that you’re supporting the cycling industry when you buy a new bike. You aren’t only helping the bike shop you bought it from, but you’re also supporting the manufacturing of all the parts and pieces that contribute to this process.
The last thing to point out about buying a new bike is that you simply can’t beat that new bike feel. You’re the first person to use this bike, and that’s a really special bond!
Reasons You’ll Want a Used Bike
The main reason for buying a used bike as opposed to a new one is the price. Often, you can buy a very good model from a year or two ago for the same price as a good current-year model. This makes buying a used bike a great option for anybody on a budget, from students to OAPs!
Another benefit is the immediacy of the purchase and delivery. Especially if you buy the bike at a second-hand shop or a sale of some kind then you can take the bike away with you. This contrasts with buying a new bike where you may face weeks of waiting for the bike to be fully delivered, especially if it involves a lot of bike accessories and extras.
A benefit that is often overlooked is the fact that buying a used bike is much better for the environment. Rather than having to manufacture hundreds, if not thousands, of individual parts, and then having to transport all of these to be assembled and delivered to you, a used bike involves significantly less manufacturing and transportation. This sustainability and recycling mean that this option has a lower ecological footprint.
Because it’s a cheap option, buying a used bike is a good option if you live in an area with particularly high crime. For example, students often buy used bikes not only because they’re cheap, but because they know the likelihood of their bike being stolen around the university campus is much higher than, say, outside a private company building.
Where You Can Find Used Bikes For Sale
A good thing about buying a used bike is that there are many locations where you can source the right bike for your requirements. These include, but are not limited to:
Online stores: Stores like eBay, Facebook Marketplace, and Gumtree have made the trading and reselling of personal items very popular and accessible. Just be careful that you don’t get scammed!
Second-hand stores and charity shops: Second-hand stores and charity stores might sometimes have a bike dropped off so keep an eye out for any gems!
Bike stores: Although it’s not what people immediately think of when looking to buy a used bike, bike stores often have a number of models on sale from previous years. This is a great way to buy a used bike but to make sure that it’s from a reliable source.
Friends and family: If you know anybody looking to buy a new bike then perhaps you could offer to buy their old one as this would satisfy both parties, plus you know who you’re buying from!
Essential Cycling Gear for Used Bikes
If you’re buying a used bike then there is a range of cycling gear that you’ll want to buy to help your bike last longer.
Tire Levers: In the event of a flat tire, tire levers allow you to remove the inner tube from the outside tire so that you can fix the problem much more efficiently and without further damaging the inner tube.
Allen Key: A multi-allen-key tool will be really useful. A lot of mechanisms on the bike, including the seat height, often require a range of allen key sizes. Getting a multi-version will allow you to loosen and tighten all of these bike parts.
Seat bag: You’ll want this so that you can carry your essentials wherever you go. After all, you never know when you’ll need to repair your bike!
Chain lube: whether you choose dry or wet lube is a separate debate, but it’s important that your chain is properly lubed to make sure your bike runs as smoothly as properly.
Once you’ve established your requirements, it’s time to divide whether you should buy a new or used bike. Although buying a used bike is cheaper in the short term and is a more immediate option, buying a new bike is more beneficial in the long run. With this option, you get a warranty, after-sale services, and it retains its value longer than if you’re the second or third owner of the bike. Not to mention the fact that you’ll need significantly fewer repairs and maintenance trips, but only if you look after your bike properly!
At Velo Runner, our goal is to help you reach your fitness goals, be this running or cycling. If you have any further questions about the benefits of buying a new bike over a used one, or if you’d like to know about any of our other services like our servicing and bike clothing, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by calling 01785 818 055!