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What to Look for When Buying a Used Mountain Bike

what to look for when buying a used mountain bike

Are you planning to buy a used mountain bike? If you are, you’ve got to be familiar with what to look for when buying a used mountain bike. This action is essential to avoid buying the wrong one, especially those stolen bikes which are rampant nowadays. Please see our quick guide below.

The Bike’s Serial Number

When buying a used mountain bike, the first thing to look for is the bike’s serial number. You need to ask the seller of the bike’s serial number or look where it is engraved in the bike to make sure that it is not a stolen bike.

The serial number will give you an easy way to track down the bike and its related details if you know it. Most responsible bike owners usually register the bike’s serial number and other information about a bike registry or bike index websites. This action ensures that the details of the bike are recorded on a database that will serve as a reference if the bike is stolen in the future.

If the seller does not show the serial number or any other proof that they were the one who purchased it, it can be a red flag. There is a big chance that the bike is not owned by the seller and is probably stolen.

Check the Bike’s Size

If you want to buy a used bike, you want to make sure that it will fit you literally. You want to make it in the correct size compared to your physical attributes, such as your height. You need to make sure that the bike has the correct frame size to fit your needs.

Doing this action will prevent you from purchasing a bike that is too small or too big for your size. Yes, it will be economical if you buy it at a lesser price, but your money will just be wasted if it does not come in the correct size.

One way to check if the bike’s size fits you is to test it. The correct size of bike will be more comfortable and easier to ride. It will also be more comfortable, faster, and more efficient for you once you ride it.

Inspect Essential Parts of the Mountain Bike

Even if you are only using a used mountain bike, you want to make sure that everything is in tip-top shape. Inspecting all the essential components of the bike should be done to make sure everything is still working perfectly.

Bike Frame

The bike frame is an essential part of the bike that must be inspected thoroughly. Whatever the frame’s condition will be an excellent indicator of the overall condition of the bike.

In checking the bike frame, you will need to check on possible dents, cracks, bends, and even stress marks. Look for areas on the frame that are always subject to wear-and-tear, such as the head tube, chainstays, and seat tube. Check for the overall condition of the frame but make sure that all are in excellent shape.


The brakes of a bike are probably the most affected by ware-and-tear. So, you must make sure that everything is in order because these components are essential for your safety.

You can check on the calipers to see if the brake pads are still thick and in good condition. Check if the rotors show any forms of discoloration and marks. It will also be better if you test drive the bike to see if it is still working fine.

If the brakes feel spongy, it only means it requires a bleed and probably some new brake pads. It can also be a sign of some more significant issues on the bikes. Make sure to take down what you have seen because it can be used to negotiate the price.

Wheels and Tires

Spinning the wheels to check if they are still running straight is essential. You may also look for dents or flat spots to ensure that everything is in excellent condition. Grabbing the spokes to see if one is loose on one side can also determine if there is an issue or not.

You may look for other possible issues on the wheels, such as dents on the rim, loss of spoke tension, and other potential issues in the nipples or spokes. All of these issues will determine if the wheels are still in good condition.

As for the tire, it is normal for the tire to wear out but checking the sidewalls is a must. Doing this action is to see any holes or previous repairs being done in the tire.

Forks and Suspensions

You can press both the front and the rear suspension to check if they are still working fine. Overall, if they feel smooth and do not produce strange sounds, they should all be working fine.


If your drivetrain is in poor condition, you are not going anywhere. You will need to check on the actual condition of the drivetrain using a chain wear tool to check on its overall health.

During the test drive, you can also check if there is a noise coming from the brackets. The presence of noise is an indicator that the bearing is done or the brackets are not set up correctly.

Checking on the Authenticity of the Seller

In buying a used mountain bike, you will also need to check on the seller itself. You will need to find out every detail about the bike in relation to the seller. Does he or she own the bike? What are the possible reasons for selling the bike?

Knowing the seller will also help you discover if the bike is stolen or not. Selling stolen bikes is a thriving business nowadays, and buying a mountain bike from a person you do not even know can make you a victim of purchasing a stolen one.

So, make sure that you are doing your due diligence regarding the seller’s reliability. This action ensures that everything will be fine once you purchase the used mountain bike.


If you plan to buy one, you need to know what to look for when buying a used mountain bike. There are upsides and downsides to buying second-hand mountain bikes but what is essential is to prevent you from purchasing a bike in poor condition.

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