How To Check A Second Hand Bike | Essential Mountain Bike Maintenance

– Buying a second hand
bike can be a great way to save some money. Auction sites and forums, you can find some bargains. Make sure you don’t get stung. This is how to check out a secondhand bike before you buy it. There’s a few major
components I check every time. But actually a really good indicator of how well-looked after that bike is, is just by checking how clean
it is when you first show up. That might give you an idea about the sort of person
that’s had it before. And if they look after their bike or not. Hopefully you’ve worked
out the bike size you need before you show up. The frame is a correct size for you. There’s a few other important things like the steerer tube. If someone slammed their stem right down and then cut the steerer tube off, and you like a really high bar, you might have to get a new steerer, should be really expensive. Unless you can really
make the difference up with putting higher rise bars on. So check that. I’ve got space on top and below, there’s plenty of movement around there. I’ve got a dropper post on this. But if you had a fixed seatpost, it may or may not have
cut down that seatpost. Look at a few things on the body. You can change to make sure it’ll fit you. Let’s start with probably
the most expensive component of the bike: the frame. Mine’s carbon fibre. On those bikes I’ll be
looking for any damage. Right around the frame. Under here is a really common place to find stone chips, things like that. Luckily the Scott
Genius’s got some of these sort of foam protectors underneath that. That stops anything
from damaging the bike. I would definitely check under there, underneath the bottom bracket
where stones flick up. Go around the full frame, front to back, and check there’s no damage. On an aluminium or steel frame, I would check in all the wells. Check the one underneath
the head tube carefully ’cause bikes can break there. Check all of them. Then less important
than on a carbon frame, I would check the bike over. If you do find any damage, scratches, things like that, you can maybe negotiate on the price. But I wouldn’t buy the bike
if it was cracked at all. I would also check over the paint work. Somewhere it’s really
common to get some damage is on the chainstay, where the chain slaps around. Double-check there’s no
serious damage on those. This will also tell you if that person has protected their bike, and if they care about their bike. This bike comes with
one of these protectors on the chainstay, so there’s no damage under there. But you want to check if
someone’s maybe made their own one that’ll tell you that they
looked after their bike. On a bike with suspension, I’ll start off with the fork. Again I check the whole
thing for any damage. The lows quite often get scratched. But really the most important part are the stanchions. These have got this
expensive kashima coating on, just check all the way
around for any markings, for any scratching, any dents in there. But also that can get worn off if these seals haven’t been kept clean. That could be expensive to repair. Just check around. Make sure there aren’t any
vertical scoring marks on there. Same on the shock. Make sure that is really nice and clean, no marks on there. I would also cycle them over. Push on the fork and on the shock. Check there’s no play in there. Grab the front brake, give the fork push, make sure it feels nice and smooth. Also push and pick the front wheel up. Check they’re not topping out and there’s no damage inside those forks. Also the front break on, just rock the bike back and forth. Feel for any movement in there. If you feel if the headset’s loose, but also I’m gonna check
the bushes and the fork. If there’s any movement in that fork, in that’s sort of flopping
around a little bit, that can also be a bit
of an expensive fix. Go with the shock, give that a push. Make sure it’s working as you’d expect. Also pick the back wheel up. Check those bushes aren’t damaged or worn. They’re not the most
expensive thing to fix. It’s not the end of the
world as long as it’s those. If the bearings on the
suspension need doing, that can be a bit more expensive. Have a feel all around the bearings. Also just try to flex that back wheel and have a look down at
the back of the bike. If that’s all moving around, if the link is all moving around that’s not a great sign. That probably means the
bearings are on the way out. So that is something to
factor into the price. Check the wheels. Give them a rock to see if the bearings are on the way out. Pick them up. Carefully give them a spin. Hold your finger next to them. Look for any buckles side to side and also up and down on the rim. If there are any, and if they’re not over
sort of three or five mil, moving probably isn’t
gonna be fixed that easily. Also that’s probably gonna
show if there are any rings or dents in that rim. Spinning the wheels. Check the brake rotors. They’re running nice and straight and through the calliper. Keep your fingers away from them. Can’t take them off. They’re nice and straight. Give the brakes a pull. With these brakes they want
to feel nice and consistent and a light action on there. You can also ask the owner
when he last bled the brakes. Again it’s gonna give
you another indicator of how well looked after that bike is. And how component the previous owner is in looking after it. I would also check the drive train. If the chain is worn that might mean that the chain, cassette, and chainring all need replacing. That can be expensive. If you have one, one of these chain wear
indicators is great. That shows me that my chain
is pretty much worn out now. It’s about time I change that. If you don’t have one of these I’ll just check by sight to really have a good
look at the chain ring. Make sure they’re not bent over at all looking like shark fins. Also running the chain through
your hands a little bit bending it side to side, can give you a little
bit of an indication. If it’s really, really floppy, probably means that chain’s worn and it might be time to
change the whole thing. Check out the gearing on the bike as well. Definitely worth checking if it’s a one by system like this. I’ve got a 34 tooth
chainring on the front, which is kind of average. Sometimes they go down to about 30, which doesn’t give you very high gears. Check that out, make sure it suits you
before you buy the bike. There are some things that are consumable. You might expect to be
slightly worn out like grips, tyres, and even gear cables. I would definitely check them, but just remember it’s
not the end of the world. They probably will need
replacing at some point anyway. Just try and factor those things in. Tyres aren’t the cheapest
things to replace, so that might help you negotiate a price. Next thing I would do is check
all the bearings on the bike. Headset, give it a spin, have a feel on the side of that head tube for any grinding, or any movement at all front to back. Same with the wheels, give
them a spin and have a feel. Give them a wobble side to side. Pedals, spin wildly. See if there’s a bit of
grease still in there. Really nice and smooth. Bottom bracket, give the cranks a wobble side to side. Rear wheel again, give it a wobble. Give it a spin. All nice and smooth on my bike, so I wouldn’t be worried
about those bearings. The seatpost is definitely worth checking especially if you’ve got a dropper post. Just cycle that through. Make sure it’s working and there’s not too much wobble in there. If you’ve got a normal fixed seatpost, I would make sure it’s not
seized inside the frame. That can happen on metal frames. That can be really hard
to try and get loose if you need to try and move that seatpost. If possible, it’s always
great to have a quick ride of the bike. It doesn’t have to be on a trail, just give it a quick spin down the road. Change into the gears, put a little bit of power down. Make sure that chain isn’t slipping. It’s also a good chance
to test those brakes, make sure they’re working. If you’ve already checked the bike over, you might find some bits, like the seat might be a little bit tight, or the tyres might need replacing, why don’t you try and do your best and negotiate the price a little bit? If you want to see more videos from GMBN click up there for a 30 minute bike wash. That might be good for
those sellers out there that wanna make their bike look good. Click just down there for a
full maintenance playlist, get some tips on how to look after a bike. Click in the middle to subscribe to GMBN. It’s totally free. And we have a cool new video every day. Give us thumbs up if you enjoy this video.

About the Author: Michael Flood

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