How to Buy a Bike Safely

Gumtree is a fantastic place to find a bike for activities like commuting to work or going on off-road adventures. Our important tips will help you stay safe when buying a bike, so it won't be long before you're taking your two new wheels for a spin.

buying a bike

Check the frame number

Once you’ve found a bike you like, it’s a very good idea to ask the seller to give you the frame number or BikeRegister number. This registration means you can search for it on the BikeChecker cycle database to check that it hasn’t been stolen. You could also ask to see proof of purchase if the seller says that they bought it new.

Compare with similar ads

You could consider taking a look at similar listings of the same bike to compare prices. You’ll want to see if you can find bikes of a similar age and condition. If the seller has priced their bike very low, this should ring alarm bells.

Ask lots of questions

It can be helpful to ask the seller some questions before you go to view the bike, so you know exactly what you’re getting and you don’t waste both your and the seller’s time. You can use the questions below as a guide:

  • Does the bike come with a bicycle pump or extras like lights?
  • When and where was the bike last serviced?
  • Do any components need repairing or replacing?
  • How long has the seller had the bike and how often did they use it?

You should also ask whether you can try the bike out if you choose to go and see it.

Check the bike over

When you view the bike, double-check the frame number to make sure it’s the same one you were given. Attempts to remove the frame number or alter the markings on the bike are serious warning signs that the seller might not be genuine. If everything seems in order, give the bike a good once over, checking for wear and tear like cracks or dents on the frame, rusty or stretched chains, or bald tyres. It can be helpful to take it around the block a couple of times to make sure that you’re happy with the brakes, gears and the size of the frame.

If you think the bike might be stolen, don’t buy it. Report the seller to Gumtree from the ad listing page and call 101 to inform the police.