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Top 10 tips when buying a secondhand bike

BikeRegister, the UK’s largest cycle database and the only one that is police-approved, has valuable advice for anyone wanting to buy a secondhand bike.

Everyone loves a bargain, but if a bike is advertised too cheaply or if the seller seems too keen to ‘seal the deal’ quickly and without proper paperwork, there is usually a reason.

As the UK’s leading online bicycle identification and registration initiative aiming to reduce cycle theft, identify stolen bikes and assist in owner recovery, BikeRegister encourages prospective buyers to take reasonable steps to establish that the secondhand bike they are interested in is not stolen.

If the seller is genuine, they will understand you acting with caution. After all, you could stand to lose not only your hard-earned cash, but also the bike itself if police suspect the seller is a cycle thief.

What to do when buying a secondhand bike:

  1. Take a friend with you and always meet the buyer at a home or work address. Alarm bells should be ringing if the buyer suggests meeting in a public place such as a park or a tube station. Never buy from anyone that approaches you on the street.
  2. Is the seller bluffing or do they really know the bike’s history? Do they look like they could be the owner of the bike they are selling?
  3. Examine the bike thoroughly to check its condition. Also look to see if it has been security marked. You can check the frame number or BikeRegister ID by using our FREE BikeChecker facility on the BikeRegister database to make sure that the bike is not listed as stolen.
  4. If the seller can produce an original purchase receipt and service history, that’s a good sign of a genuine sale.
  5. Is the bike being advertised at market value? If not, ask yourself why?
  6. Stock photos shouldn’t be used to sell a bike. The real owner would have original photos that they would be happy to show you.
  7. Thieves often alter the appearance of stolen bikes. Does the bike have its original paintwork? Have there been any obvious attempts to remove the frame number or bike marking?
  8. If you go ahead with the purchase, always get a receipt for the sale. A genuine seller will be happy to provide one.
  9. Make sure you register and mark your new bike on BikeRegister. By doing so, it will greatly reduce the chances of having it stolen.
  10. If you think you are being sold a stolen bike, don’t go through with the purchase. Report the incident to police by calling 101.

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