I am a big proponent of buying used bikes. Whenever I have a friend or a client in the market for a bike I steer them in the direction of buying one second hand over new. The biggest reason for this is that new bikes can be really expensive! Like used cars, as soon as a bike leaves the showroom it loses a significant amount of its value. You can buy last years used road-bike for 25% less than what you would be spending on the current years. However, unlike purchasing a new car, a bike normally ages more gracefully than a car. Bikes’ most expensive components, such as the frame and fork, are built to last forever.
The last couple of bikes I have purchased have been around 5 years old. At this age I have noticed that bikes lose about 50% of their value. Many times the bike’s components, such as wheels and derailleurs, can impact the bikes performance substantially. I look for top of the line components and am usually able to purchase them on a used bike. Spending the equivalent amount on a new bike, I would purchasing several grades lower in quality. I have been riding a titanium Lemond for the past couple of years and I have been thrilled with it. It is a 2002 model and although my bike is starting to look a bit older than the showroom’s, I still have one of the best performing bikes on the course. This bike was over $4000.00 new but I paid $1600.00 for it three years ago!
Like anything in life there are a few disadvantages of purchasing used. The biggest disadvantage is that your used bike won’t be as shiny as a new one. You may have to deal with a few minor scratches and you won’t be able to sport the very newest graphics. I personally am able to get over this when I save a couple grand, but some people are not.
There are wear items on a bike that you should always consider when purchasing used. Some of these items especially rims and derailleurs, may be costly to replace. When examining a bike, make sure that your fork and frame are not bent. Don’t buy a bike that has been in a serious crash. Take a look at tire wear, wheel trueness, derailleur and brake function and chain wear. If you notice that some of these items need to be replaced figure this in to your offer.
Even if you’re not purchasing a used bike it is important that you find yourself a good bike mechanic. A well functioning bike is faster and safer and keeping your bike in good working condition is much cheaper than purchasing a new bike every year or two. If you have a mechanic, see if you can’t take the bike to them before your purchase. Most people will allow this if you leave them a check and they don’t have anything to hide. A mechanic will quickly be able to tell you the overall condition of the bike and what cost may be associated with bringing it back to top notch.
In summary, when looking to purchase a road bike, there are no practical reasons not to go with a second-hand bike. You will get a better bike and end up saving a good deal of money. If you save money with a used bike and also figure in all the money you save purchasing Mike’s Mix you might be able to work fewer hours and train more. Now that will affect your condition. So buy used bikes and tell a friend about Mike’s Mix.