With new mountain bike models coming out every year, now is your chance to check out some great deals on new and second-hand bikes. You have no reason to not go shopping if your budget is under 500 dollars. The thing is, some mountain bikers don’t last with their bikes for too long. And then again, the cycling industry is on a tight timeline trying to keep up with the latest technology in mountain biking. You’ll, therefore, find that the resale value is lower than that of direct bargains.
So you want to take advantage of the price margins by diving headfirst into the second-hand section. However, you still want to be extremely cautious and keen when buying a second-hand mountain bike as there are a few risks involved and in addition to this, you want to ensure that your investment is worth every penny. If you’d rather go for a new one, Mountain Bike Report has a helpful bike guide that has a wide range of options you can get for under 500 bucks. These include several brands and models of stylish hardtails and full suspension bikes for both men and women. It all depends on your preference and budget.
With more bias on pre-owned bikes, however, here are some things you should never overlook when buying a mountain bike under 500 dollars.
1. Is It Stolen?
Well, of course, the fact that it’s under $500 may be enough for someone to raise eyebrows. So before you get all excited, it’s important to ask all the important questions. Most importantly, it’s always best to buy a second-hand mountain bike from someone you trust. You could also get one through trusted referrals or a reputed dealer. The first question you want to ask the seller is their reason for selling. This will help you to understand and figure out if the seller is indeed the owner or not. Remember, buying stolen items can land you into some surprisingly tough situations with the authorities and this is the last thing you want. If possible, ask the seller to provide you with the original receipt. This should match with the bike’s frame number. If not, because most people are often hard-pressed locating old receipts, they need to provide you with some evidence such as pictures or videos that show them riding the mountain bike.
2. Define Your Budget
If you are considering buying a mountain bike under $500, then it’s important to stick to that budget. As earlier mentioned, the cycling industry is on a race trying to keep up with the market demands. Mountain bike technology is changing every day, with better versions outdoing those of yesteryears. It’s therefore very easy to get carried away by looks and cool features. To help you out, after setting a budget, start by deciding on the style of mountain bike you want. Secondly, you may want to opt for newer models that come with additional cool features, provided the bike price doesn’t exceed your budget. The fact that your budget is under $500 doesn’t have to limit you too much from riding a better MTB.
It’s important that before buying a second-hand mountain bike you ensure that you’ve carefully examined and inspected it. Cheap as it may seem, you don’t want to incur costs that were as a result of pure negligence. The main idea behind buying cheap when choosing a mountain bike is saving an extra coin from your purchase. Below are some basic checks when inspecting a second-hand mountain bike.
- Tires – Tires are replaceable, but it will also cost you. Nonetheless, they may still be in good condition, but not for long. So before making the deal, you want to look for any signs or indicators of wear, such as holes in the center of the tire or shallow treads.
- Drivetrain – This is what propels the bike. Depending on the bike’s model, drivetrains should consist of a chain, chainrings, front cogs and rear cogs, shifters, and derailleurs. These are components that can affect shifting and generally, the mountain bike’s efficiency. The cogs should not have sharpened teeth.
- The frame – The structural integrity of a strong mountain bike is dependent on a sturdy frame. Check for bends, cracks, or signs of a weld. One thing to note about the frame is that minor damage can lead to catastrophic failure, leading to more damage to the bike and possibly subjecting you to safety risks.
- Suspensions – Suspensions are serviceable parts, but lack thereof can cause them to leak. Some telltale signs of damaged mountain bike suspensions include a damaged fork, scratches, and scrapes. So before closing the deal, be sure to ask the owner about the last time they serviced the shocks.
- Brakes – The brakes should engage freely and without any resistance. The brake calipers should never get stuck when engaged or released, as this could be a clear indicator that they may need replacing.
- Check for unusual movements – Unusual movements or sounds can be a clear indicator of a poorly maintained bike. Mountain bikes are known to be notorious when it comes to handling rugged mountain terrains. Remember, even the smallest of issues might compromise your safety in a big way.
4. Payment Options
It’s important to ensure that you are protected whenever the issue of money comes to mind. Although this is the not so painful bit of the whole process, it shouldn’t be complicated. Paying for your bike should be easy, but at the same time, safe. Below are a few things to help ensure safety.
- Consider meeting up in person when sealing the deal.
- When purchasing online, avoid complicated money transfer options.
- Only use secure transaction services when buying through the internet.
5. Additional Expenses
Now that you’ve sealed the deal and are about to take your mountain bike for a spin, you need to consider some additional expenses you might incur. Most states require that you wear a reflector jacket or a warning device. If you don’t have these, you’ll have to buy them. Other essential items to include in your catalog may include:
- A helmet
- A bell
- Front and rear lights
- Water bottle carrier
- Puncture repair kit and pump
- Cycling gear
These are simple items that are readily available, but at a cost. So, if you only had a budget of $500, then it means that you’ll need to dig deeper into your wallet or pick a cheaper bike in the first place.
Finally, as a safety precaution, it’s important to adhere to traffic rules and also ensure that you know your road signs. Chances are, you might at some point need to use major highways when going or coming from biking trails. Nonetheless, the pointers above should make your mountain bike purchase a bit less overwhelming on a tight budget of below $500… otherwise, happy biking!