Guide to Buying Used Mountain Bikes (9 Steps)

A used mountain bike can be more expensive than buying one new. This is because you have to do extra research and avoid being ripped off. To buy a used bike, you need to be careful and avoid making certain mistakes.

Step 1. Step 1.

Do some research and think about what type of second-hand mountain bike you are looking for. You will be riding downhill, cross-country, enduro, trail, or dirt jumping. Perhaps you are looking for a fat bike.

Next, think about which mountain bike brand you prefer. You can choose from Evil, Yeti and Trek, Santa Cruz or Giant, Cannondale, Specialize GT, Kona, Santa Cruz, Giant, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, Specialize GT, and Specialize.

How much money do you want spend on a used bicycle? This is why you’re buying one. This will help you narrow down your choices.

Now let’s get more specific:

  • What type of frame do your preference? Steel, aluminum, carbon?
  • Which do you prefer, disc brakes or drum brakes?
  • Which bike size is best for you? You will need to determine your height, and then use a chart to match it up with the appropriate size frame.
  • Which size wheel do you need? 24 inches, 26 inches, 27.5inches, or 29ers.
  • Are you looking for full suspension? A hybrid that has only front suspension? Or a hardtail that has no suspension?
  • Do you want a bike less than three years old? You might not want a bike with too many components as it may be more difficult to find the right parts.

Step 2. Step 2.

Your local bike shop is a good place to start. You will find used bikes in these shops. This is a great advantage because you might be able to meet them at the shop. It is important to trust when purchasing used items. You may be offered a guarantee or warranty. They also inspect the bike thoroughly before selling it.

Check out your local newspaper and pennysaver. It is good because the seller must pay a fee to list their bike. They are more trustworthy and serious about selling their bike. An attempt to sell you an inferior bike will not be successful. They’ll simply post it for free online.

You can find used mountain bikes online on sites like,, and craigslist. You can post on bike forums that you are looking to buy a used bicycle.

Online ads

Look at online bike ads to ensure that the picture of your bike is clear and that you have images from several angles.
Verify that the seller has a positive track record. Look for good images if the seller is brand new.

Look at their facebook page to see how many friends and if they make comments on different topics. You can read their comments to see if they are real people and get an idea of their character.

Check that the ad includes a phone number. If they have one, get in touch with them. Ask them questions like:

  • When did they purchase the bike?
  • Were there previous owners?
  • Where did they purchase it?
  • It was ridden from where?
  • What did they do?
  • Did they have to replace any of the parts that they purchased?
  • Is there anything missing from the bike?
  • Why is it being sold?

Ask the owner how worn the chain is. This will give you an indication of the overall condition of the drivetrain. Ask the owner about the bike’s geometry so you can get an idea early on if the bike is a good fit for you. This is a very specific question that the owner should be able answer.

Don’t ask the owner if the frame size is right for you. This question is too broad and the owner will likely just answer, “Yes.”
If they can’t give you clear answers to these questions then beware and probably move on to another seller. You can contact them by sending a list of your questions and if there is no telephone number.

Step 3. Step 3. How to secure a great deal.

Select a few mountain bike models that appeal to you and are within your budget. Go to to find out the original price of a brand new bike. You will receive a 50% discount if you see a listing that lists the same bike for $1000 but is $2000 new.

This can be repeated several times for the same bike to see which one offers the best deal. You can also do the same thing for different bikes to see who has the best price compared to its original price.

This is not a way to get a great deal. In person, you will have to inspect each bike that interests you. Next, you can negotiate for the final price.

Step 4. Step 4.

Once you’ve found the bikes that you like, you can go to the next step. Next, you should visit the owner at their house. Don’t visit them at a mountain bike trail park. If you end up buying the bike you don’t want them disappearing on you.

Is it stolen?

It is important to check whether the bike has been stolen. The registration number is located underneath the bracket. To check if your bike is registered, go to a website that allows you to enter this number. You should ask the owner where he registered his bike.


  • It is worth starting with the frame, as it is the most expensive component of the mountain bike. It is worth not continuing to inspect the bike if it has suffered severe damage. If you are looking for a used bike, this will save time.
  • Check for damage to the frame. If you find cracks on the frame, it is likely that you won’t purchase it. You can then move onto the next bike.
  • If you find no cracks, then you can keep looking. You can find small stones and scratches in the bottom bracket. Make sure the bike has a foam protector at the bottom bracket to prevent any damage.
  • You can remove the foam protector to check the bottom bracket. It is possible that the owner may be concealing damage. Small rocks can easily fly up to the bottom bracket and strike it.
  • Check the welds on any aluminum or steel frames. Check the weld under the head tube as bikes can crack there. You should not purchase a bike if you find cracks in its welds.

Paint Finish

You should inspect the entire bike. Also, take a good look at the paint job and paint finish. Check for any scratches, or minor ones. The chainstay is a common area that can be damaged. This is where the chain is flung around. These areas should be checked for damage.

The chainstay protection is likely to be there if the owner takes good care of it. If this is the case, then the chainstay should not be damaged. Ask the owner to remove the protection so that you can inspect it.


  • Start by inspecting the fork if the second-hand bike you are looking at has suspension. You should inspect the entire fork, including the lows and stanchions as well as the seals. Although the lows can be scratched up easily, the stanchions are the most important.
  • For protection, some forks are coated with expensive coatings. You should inspect the fork all around for marks. Check for any scratches or dents. The coating may have worn off if the seals are not kept clean. It can be costly to replace coatings so make sure you keep this in mind.
  • Take a look at the shocks and make sure there are no marks. Press the fork on the shock. Make sure there is no movement between the two.
  • Push down on the front brake to feel the fork. It should feel smooth and not be too rough. You should also push down on your front wheel. Next, pick up the front wheels and check for damage. It should not be topped out.
  • Press the front brake and continue rocking the bike. Check to see if the head set is moving. Make sure to feel the head set. As you move the bike around, check for loose bushes or the fork.
  • There should be no movement or feeling of looseness, such as a flopping feeling. This could lead to a costly repair.
  • By pressing down with your both hands on the seat, ensure that the shocks are in good working order. You should also lift the back tire to check that the bushes don’t have any damage or wear. It is possible to repair them if they are damaged.
  • However, if the suspension’s bearings need to be replaced, it will be more costly to do so. To check the bearings, feel all around. Also, you can flex your rear wheel and look at the back to see if any movement is occurring.
  • You should make sure everything is connected securely.


Check the wheels and check for any loose bearings. You can do this by rolling a wheel back-and-forth to ensure everything is in place. Next, lift the rear tire up and give it a spin. Place your finger on the inner side of the tire to check for wobbling.

It will be more difficult for you to repair wobbling tires that spin while spinning. If the wobble is greater than 3 to 5 micrometers, it will be difficult to fix. As you spin the tires, check to see if there are any dents or dings.

By spinning the brake wheels again, make sure they are straight and are moving through the calipers. While you do this, be careful with your fingers.


The disc brakes will be the most common type of brakes. The lever action must feel consistent and light. You should expect a gradual, smooth stop. Ask the owner when he last bled the brakes.

If the owner regularly cleans the brakes, you can be sure he takes care of his bike. You can tell he’s proficient in maintaining his bike if he does it himself. These are all great signs.


  • The entire drivetrain, including the chain, should be checked. The chain, cassette, or chainring may need to be replaced if there is wear. The cost of replacing the chain, cassette and chainring could be prohibitive so it’s important to keep this in your mind.
  • A chain wear indicator is an excellent way to check the chain. This indicator will measure how long your chain is. 24 rivets should measure 12 inches. If the measurement is more than 1/16 inch, your chain should be replaced.
  • This tool is not necessary. You can use a ruler or your eyes. Make sure you measure the length and check the chainring. You want them to not look like shark fins or bent over.
  • Also, put the chain between your hands and gently twist it to the right and left. If your chain is floppy or loose, it may be time for a new drivetrain and chain.
  • Make sure to check the gearing of the second-hand bike you are considering. The average bike has a 34 tooth chainring. Some go down to 30, which will not allow you to have many high gears. Make sure you’re aware of all this information before you decide to buy it.
  • Other things you need to inspect that might be worn are the tires, wheels, and gear cables. They should be inspected, but that isn’t a major problem as these items will eventually need replacement.
  • Although gear cables and grips are not very expensive, tires can get quite pricey. If the tires are old, you can adjust the price to make a better deal.


Look at the bearings of the bike. Turn the headset left to right, and then right to left. You should be able to see if the headset is making any grinding or rough movements from one side to another.

Start by turning the wheels. Feel your front leg and notice if anything changes. Are there any obstructions to movement? Give the front wheels a turn from side-to-side to ensure that it is stable and secure.

You should move the pedals quickly. Check for grease. The pedals should be spinning smoothly. Look at the cranks, and make sure you don’t have any loose ends. They should feel strong.

Turn the rear wheel and make sure it is moving properly. Next, turn the rear wheel to ensure that it is stable and secure. You don’t want to feel any looseness.


You should take a close look at your seatpost, especially if it has a dropper pin. Examine the movement of the dropper posts. Verify that everything is working as it should.

Make sure the fixed seatpost is not stuck to the bike’s frame if it is common. This can happen with metal frames, such as steel or aluminum. Ask the owner to take off the seatpost to see how easy or difficult it is.

Take a test ride

Ask the owner to let you ride the bike if it is possible. You should test it out on the trails. You will then be able to see how the bike performs. It is not enough to simply look at the bike.

You can pedal the bike and then change gears. Verify that the chain isn’t slipping. Check the brakes are working. Take the suspension to a jump or drop and feel how it feels. You can see how the suspension reacts to going downhill and uphill. It is worth trying.

Step 5. Step 5. Identify which components are in need of replacement.

  • After you’ve completed the bike inspection, you may find that certain components need to replaced. The frame is the most costly component to replace. If it needs to be replaced then don’t buy the bike.
  • Next is the fork and wheels. It all depends on the bike and what kind of riding you do. You will need to replace the tires or buy a new bike.
  • You will also need a good fork if you plan to get a downhill bike. If your fork is not working, consider buying a new bike. You can replace the fork if you want to ride a cross-country bike.
  • You can replace the drivetrain, which is composed of the cassette, chain, and chainstay. It may be pricey depending on what bike you have and which brand you buy. It could be worthwhile depending on how much the bike costs.
  • It is worth replacing other components like the handlebars, brakes, stem, handlebars and stem, as well as the saddle, pedals and grips. These components will vary depending on which brand you choose. This also depends on how much the bike is worth.
  • If you have only $500 and need to replace some components that add up to $500, you can find a used mountain bike for $500.

Step 6. Step 6.

Be patient and ready to go back several times. It will pay off in the end when you get a quality bike at a reasonable price. After going through each step, you may not be satisfied with your bike.

This is a great idea! This will allow you to make notes and compare your results for at least three bikes that you are interested in.

Be patient when inspecting bikes. You should inspect at least one or two bikes per day. You will be able to make a faster decision if there are other buyers interested in the same bike.

Step 7. Step 7.

  • Once you’ve completed the entire process and have all the necessary information, you can make a deal. The first step is to offer a lower price than the seller. The seller’s price is likely already high, so you should offer some flexibility.
  • Support your price offer by highlighting any problems with the bike, if the seller declines your offer. Then, show the seller the numbers and emphasize how much you will have to spend on the bike once you buy it. This justifies a lower price.
  • Also, you can get a price drop on items that do not require to be replaced. You can get a price reduction on things that are not required to be replaced, such as worn tires or scratches on the frame or fork. The owner might want to keep his saddle, as saddles are highly personal.
  • You may also be able to point out an offer that is comparable for a bike similar to yours. Ask the owner whether he can match that price or lower it closer to the comparable offer.

Step 8. Step 8.

It is best to buy a second-hand bike from a local bike shop. You may be able to get a refund if the bike shop does not meet your expectations. Get a receipt.

You can pay online for the bike by using PayPal. Paypal has a very good policy regarding protecting buyers. Paypal wants to ensure the buyer receives exactly what they have paid for, as described in their sellers ad. It is a good idea, before making the purchase, to take a picture of the ad.

You can only buy the bike if you visit the owners after you have inspected it. Don’t pay for it with cash because once you pay with cash then it is gone and you will probably not get it back if there is a problem.

Paying by check is the best option. Send your check to the owner. In the memo section, write what the check is for. This would be for a used mountain bike. This will ensure that you keep a record. Ask the owner for a receipt. Include the price and any other details about the bike.

Step 9. Step 9.

It is now yours to take home. You can set it up however you want. Give it a good cleaning and a good lubricant. Any parts that need to be replaced should be replaced. Enjoy!

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