Everybody loves get a great bargain to save some cash but its important to be skeptical of an item/bike that seems to good to be true. Buying a cheap bike or parts & accessories may save you money now but cause more problems that cost you more money in the future.
Its important to thoroughly research about the item your looking to buy. Start by finding out the make model and year of the bike, then research information on the bike. The more information you have on the bike will help you to make an informed decision on your purchase. Things like lowest sale price, highest sale price, age, warranty, reviews on performance and reliability as well as availability of parts & services. If anything raises an eyebrow when researching trust your gut and look at another bike. Patience is only in your favor when buying a bike, making a hasty uniformed decision in the heat of the moment is likely to result with purchasing a lemon.
Second Hand Bicycles
Purchasing a second hand bike is a great way to save money, if you know what you are looking for.
When looking to purchase a second hand bike its important to ask the seller as many questions as you can. Questions like; Are you the sole owner? Has the bike been in a crash? Has it been serviced and well maintained? Why are you selling the bike? If possible it is always a great idea to check out the bike in person, sometimes photos just don't do the bike justice. Relations with the seller are important, be assertive and informed but polite and courteous. If the bike needs repairs make sure you research the cost, location and labor of the repairs before buying. Again patience is in your favor, taking your time, trusting your gut and being skeptical are good ways to ensure quality of your purchase.
Cheap New Bicycles
The reason that you should be careful who you buy from is that the cheap bicycles that are sold by too many shops achieve these cost savings by using sub-standard parts. To make things worse, the part affected by this cost-cutting are most likely to be the ones you can't see, such as bearings and cables. If you absolutely must buy such a bicycle, you should take it to a reputable mechanic to get it fully serviced and have any sub-standard parts upgraded as soon as you possibly can. Which will, in all probability, may push the cost back up to what buying a cheap bicycle from a bicycle shop would have been in the first place.
Another thing to consider, no matter where you are buying the bicycle is that its cheap price may be the result of it being an end of line run-out. There's nothing wrong with that, especially not with the larger and more well-established manufacturers, but if you buy a cheap bicycle from a smaller manufacturer, you may have trouble sourcing parts later on. This isn't often a problem – most manufacturers use similar parts and standard sizes – but it is something to be careful of. Before buying a cheap bicycle, ask the seller if the price is a reflection of the bicycle being an end of line run out, and check to make sure that they have plenty of other bicycles from the same manufacturer.