Cycling and bicycles have recently been reaching new heights in popularity. Practically the entire industry is struggling to stock up and keep up with such a huge demand. If you tried to buy equipment online, you saw how many products are out of stock. If you went to a physical store, you surely noticed the half-empty shelves and heard the salesperson say that they don’t know when certain products will be available again.
These problems are due to the combination of an enormous increase in the demand for sports equipment and the disruption of the production and distribution chains, both caused directly or indirectly by Covid-19. Before the pandemic, there had already been a growth in demand, but the industry was able to manage the situation and satisfy the demand. In March 2020, everything changed.
As of today, and quite possibly throughout the year 2021, there are going to be problems with stock. That's why many people have been turning to the second-hand market either to look for parts to repair their bike, to buy their first bike and start cycling, or simply to renew or improve the one they already have.
With this in mind, we are going to talk about the pros and cons of getting a new bike and buying a used one. This should help you answer the question above, since each buyer has different needs that can make them decide one way or the other.
New bikes - Pros
- Everything is new, you're the one who uses it for the first time and it should work perfectly.
- It should last longer and if you take good care of it you will be able to sell it easily later, but a lot depends on the model. For instance, a road bike with rim brakes or a 27.5" or 26" mountain bike is going to be rather difficult to sell.
- The manufacturer's warranty. The brands clearly state that it applies only to the first buyer.
- After-sales service. If you buy in a physical store you have this option in case something stops working properly or gets misadjusted. If you buy online the after-sales service is either non-existent or more complicated to access.
- When you buy a new bicycle, you are making all the links in the production and supply chain work, hence supporting the industry from manufacturing through distribution to in-store service.
New bikes - Cons
- Price is the main disadvantage. Within similar models, a new bike will be more expensive than a used one. You can get a better price during seasonal or clearance sales but these are way less common now.
- Delivery time. Before Covid-19 delivery times were acceptable but now there are many models that do not have a specific delivery date in 2021 and some that will not even be delivered this year.
- Limited customization. Brands manufacture in a standardized way and rarely offer a customization service to adapt the bike to your personal preferences and needs.
- Manufacturer's self-interest to keep the sales going. Brands want to renew their product lines constantly and release new bike models every year. Do not let yourself be fooled by advertising though, most of the time there is no noticeable change between a model from the previous and the new collection.
Second-hand bikes - Pros
- Price. Unlike new bikes, price is the main advantage of used bikes. You can buy a better second-hand bike for the same amount of money or you can easily find a cheaper second-hand model similar to the new one you were looking at.
- Immediacy. Another point in favor of the second-hand bikes is that you won’t have to wait. You may even be riding your new bike on the same day or in a few days from the purchase.
- Great for beginners. If you want to start cycling, a second-hand bike means you won't have to spend a lot of money to get a good bike and try it out.
- Buying green. The production of bicycles has its ecological footprint, so by buying a used bike we are acting in a sustainable way and respecting our planet.
- The second-hand market also stimulates the economy. If someone is selling a bike, they’re probably either planning to buy a new one or want to get some money back for other expenses.
- Before buying, think about selling. This is more of a tip than an actual advantage. When buying a used bike think if you will be able to sell it easily later - certain models can be more difficult to sell.
Second-hand bikes - Cons
- No warranty. Definitely the main disadvantage, but it can be avoided by choosing physical or online stores that offer purchase warranty. You can also sign a buyer-seller agreement when dealing with a private seller.
- Be careful what you buy. Check the bike well and if you don't know how, here is an article to help you with that.
- Be careful who you buy from. If you are going to buy online and do not want to fall victim to a scam, trust only users with good reviews. If you are going to make deals in person, go with someone who’s knowledgeable about bikes, and meet in a public place. Do not trust a bike that is too cheap, it is likely to have a hidden problem, or worse, it may have been stolen.
You will hear all kinds of opinions about the second-hand market. There are people who always buy used bikes and accessories because they know how to search, compare and negotiate. And then, there are people who don't even consider buying on Ebay due to some bad experience or because they have heard nothing but negative opinions and therefore prefer to buy from their local stores.
In conclusion, if you do not mind paying more and what you want is security, warranty and reliability, then go for a new bike. You can also go to a store or an online sales website that offers warranty and security that you are buying a used bike in good condition.
On the other hand, if you are on a tight budget and want to buy the best possible bike, you want it quickly and trust that the bike has been properly maintained, then choose a second-hand bike and follow our recommendations on how to properly inspect the bike to avoid unpleasant surprises.
If you're going to start cycling and don't know if it is the sport for you yet, you can buy a new bike, try it out and, if you end up disappointed, sell it for just a little less than you paid for it. You can also spend less on a used bike, making sure you're choosing a model that sells well. This way, you’ll be able to sell it easily if you decide that cycling isn't your thing or, quite the opposite, you become hooked on cycling and choose to switch to a better model.