If you have a child in need of a bicycle, and you cannot afford to buy a new bike at the moment, you may have thought about looking for a used bike being sold at a garage sale to give to them for the moment. Old bicycles often make great first bicycles if they are in good quality and a safe condition. If you find a bicycle for a cheap price, there are a few things to look for before you bring out your wallet. Here are some tips in selecting a used bicycle to make sure it is the best choice for your child's first bike.
Ask About The Reasons
The first step in your search is to ask the owner why they are selling the bike. Nonchalantly ask them if their child had outgrew the bike or if there was another reason. If they act suspiciously, move on to another sale as the bicycle could possibly be stolen. Ask the owner if there are any problems with the bicycle that they are aware of so you can decide if it would be worth fixing small damaged areas.
Check The Frame
Hold the bike upright and squat down while peering over the seat from behind the bike. Check that the frame appears straight without any spots that seem dented or tilted toward one side, as it could affect the way the bicycle rides. The frame area should be clear of rusting to ensure it is still solid enough to hold your child without risk of breaking due to a weakened structure. Paint can be replaced and is not an issue unless the metal underneath has begun to rust.
Evaluate The Wheels
Check that the wheels are not wobbly and that all the spokes are in place. If the tires are worn, they can be replaced with new tubes as long as the structure of the wheels themselves are solid and not bent.
Check The Brakes
The brakes are an important part of the bike that should work properly when a child is first learning to ride. If the brakes do not stop quickly, move on to another bicycle. Braking should never be difficult and only a small amount of pressure should need to be applied to get the bicycle to stop.
Take For A Test
Bring along a child who is seasoned in riding a bicycle to take it for a quick spin up and down the block. They will be able to give you a review on how the bike handles from a kid's perspective. Watch the child as they ride to see if they struggle with pedaling or steering. If the pedals seems restrictive or if the bike veers off to the side when an experienced rider is using it, it is best to pass over the bike when purchasing for a beginner.
Check The Fit
Bring along the child who will be riding the bicycle as well. Place them on the seat and hold them steady while you observe their stature. Make sure to buy something that allows them some room to grow so they will get use from the bike for a while. Make sure the handlebars are higher than the seat so they are not hunched over the bike as they ride. Check that they can reach the pedals too. An ideal fit is for your child's feet to be able to touch the ground when the chair is positioned at the lowest setting.
If you find a used bike that is in mostly good shape but needs one or two parts replaced, then consider whether the cost is worth it to go to the bike shop and buy quality bike parts to replace the old ones.