New vs. used vs. reconditioned bicycles: Which one is for you?
December 20, 2022 · Christian
Buying a bicycle, whether it’s a new or second-hand bike, should be a considered decision that requires weighing up all the pros and cons to make the right decision. In any case, what I like to say, both buying brand-new or second-hand will give you a bicycle that’s simply new to you.
The classic, most flexible option: buy a new bicycle
Buying new provides the most flexibility. Your choice of colors, frame and equipment is endless. You can make a pick based on a certain brand, the visual aspect of the bicycle, or follow the advice of friends or your local bicycle shop (and certainly baking into it the availability of your desired object, which is rarely immediate). You can buy online when you know what you want to lower the cost, or go to your local dealer and receive valuable advice while having a go-to person when needed.
But buying a brand-new bicycle is not always the best idea…
The new alternative: buy a used bicycle
First and foremost, price is always a criteria: like new cars, new bicycles depreciate dramatically the moment they leave the bicycle shop. As a rule of thumb, a new bicycle loses up to half of its value in the first year. Second, there’s the aspect of sustainability: buying second-hand is more and more a conscious decision, where the social and environmental impact of a product adds to the decision.
Surprisingly, a bicycle is on average only used for 15% of the lifespan it has been built for! This means that, even bought pre-owned, second-hand bicycles still have the vast majority of their lifespan before them.
That’s the theory, but once the decision to buy a used bicycle has been made, the real work starts. You want to find a used bicycle that checks the following three basic requirements:
- Choice: it matches your preferences! You might like a particular brand, insist on your favorite color or some special aesthetics, and require a certain groupset and comfort.
- Safety: it is safe to ride and has a warranty! You want to be sure that it comes without bad surprises and that its frame, brakes, and parts are all in excellent working condition. And in case of an issue, you are not alone and will get support.
- Price: it’s good value for your money! Nobody wants to spend more than necessary, especially when we look at higher range bikes that can cost several thousand euros.
Buying on the internet from private individuals
If you want to check all those points (choice, safety, price), you probably don’t want to opt for buying on some marketplace on the internet from some random people, except if you have the time to do the necessary research (to ensure its good value for money) as well as a good friend that can advice you and check the bicycle upon acquisition (to check its safety). This option surely allows for good deals, but you should have some expertise and accept that there are neither return nor warranty included.
Buying a refurbished or reconditioned bicycle from a trusted company
Instead of buying a used bike on classified ads websites from a private person, second-hand bicycles can also be bought from companies who specialize on their refurbishment. This approach combines the price advantage of not buying new with the choice and safety advantages offered by a trusted company.
Another key advantage of buying a certified pre-owned bicycle is the possibility to customize the setup. Every used bike is unique, it’s not an anonymous item taken from a catalog but an object that has its story, including upgrades and modifications. This allows to swap wheels or parts and to customize well beyond what a bike dealer could offer on new bicycles, except if you have unlimited budget.
Ciklet, trusted pre-owned bicycles
Founded in 2022, Ciklet is an expert in the inspection and certification of pre-owned bicycles. We offer the largest choice of reconditioned and certified road bicycles in France, and accompany athletes in their purchase, exchange and sale. Our bike mechanics inspect, refurbish and certify all our bicycles, and upon sale we provide a 15-day no questions asked return policy, plus a 12-months warranty.