Ask MBAction: Your Perfect Bike Is Out There



What are some of the key things I need to look for when purchasing a used mountain bike? I’ve been researching bikes to buy, and most of the ones I want are out of my price range, except for one- to two-year-old used bikes. Should I buy used or keep saving till I can get something new?

Travis Smith
Asheville, North Carolina


Win's Wheels, for all of your bike service needsWin’s Wheels owner, Win Allen, is a master mechanic. 

Buying used always comes with some risk since you are likely to kiss your bike’s warranty goodbye. That said, you can score a great deal on higher-end components should you go the used option. We would start by checking a website called There you can look up the value of used bikes to ensure you’re getting a fair price. Next, you’ll need to give the bike a thorough look to see if there are any major scratches, dents or cracks in the frame. Another thing you should do is check drivetrain parts for wear, as well as brake pads and rotors. If these parts need to be replaced, you may be able to score a better deal. Most important, don’t be fooled by fresh tires and new grips. That’s a seller’s trick that may distract from other issues. You need to look past what’s new to see what’s old, worn out or damaged.

Ideally, we recommend buying new and having a warranty cover your frame and components, but we understand the value of a good deal. So, if you do check out a used bike, bring along a knowledgeable friend if possible and do your best to spot potential problems.

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Have a question for the MBA crew? You can send your brain busters to [email protected].

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Mountain Bike Action is a monthly magazine devoted to all things mountain biking (yes, that’s 12 times a year because we never take a month off of mountain biking). It has been around since 1986 and we’re still having fun.

Call us at (800) 767-0345

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