Should I get a brand new bike or hunt for eBay second-hand bargains for commuting? Craft Cadence shows which road commuting bike you can get for £500.

When it comes to getting started with cycle commuting, I often hear the cost of a bike putting people off. That doesn’t have to be the way, however. In this blog, we’ll look at some of the second-hand options you can get for under £500 on eBay, as well as a few brand new budget road bike bargains.

Hunting for second-hand bargains

So, firstly, what are the benefits of getting a second-hand bike? If you scour eBay you will be able to get a more expensive range model for less, possibly with carbon forks and premium accessories.

When starting looking for bikes on eBay, these are the common pitfalls you need to avoid:

  • Don’t buy without asking questions: This should be a basic action, especially if the seller’s description isn’t very comprehensive. Look for lengthy, descriptive product descriptions - you should know the bikes age, condition, parts, maintenance history and so on before buying.
  • Don’t buy from listings without pictures: If the bike is in good condition, then a good quality picture should accompany the listing. Don’t trust stock photos and don’t trust listings without a picture. If there isn’t one, ask to see the bike.
  • Look out for faults and neglect: If you haven’t ascertained this from asking questions, look at the pictures for signs of damage. If you see rust, cracks, dents, or worse, avoid. Particularly for carbon bikes, cracks and dents can significantly impact the structure of the frame.
  • Make sure it’s the right size: If you are buying a second-hand bike, don’t be tempted to go for a size that doesn’t quite fit you, even if it is a bargain. Check the sizing and get the right one. Opting for an ill-fitting bike will just result in uncomfortable cycling.
  • Check the sellers eBay performance: eBay makes this very easy as there is a feedback area for all sellers. You can see the seller performance, meaning you can choose only to deal with trusted and reliable sellers.
  • Watch out for extortionate postage: As a bike is a large package, try and collect if possible. If you do need to get the bike posted, be careful. Bikes are fragile goods so you need to ensure the bike is sent securely to prevent damage in transit and check the price.
  • Beware of scams: Unfortunately, there are plenty of dodgy dealers online. That includes bike sellers. Beware of fake listings, stolen bikes being sold and so on. Make the payment through PayPal to ensure your money is protected.

Here a few examples of second-hand bikes on eBay around the £500 mark.

Opting for a brand new model

If you opt for a new road commuting bike instead, there are some nice and reliable options for you around the £500 price point. Decathlon’s B’Twin range is a fantastic beginner option. Have a look at the Triban 520 and Triban RC120 (with disc brakes), which both retail under £500. The Triban bikes are verstaile, reliable and comfortable. With carbon forks, they are great commuting options.

The Boardman SLR 8.6 Alloy is another affordable road commuter, featuring a quality aluminium frame and carbon forks. The 16 speed gears and reliable Shimano Claris gearing make this a great beginner option coming in at £550. Next up is the Vitus Razor Claris road bike, priced at £499.99. This bike also has an aluminium frame with a full carbon fork, plus Shimano Claris shifting. It’s built more for speed but sits in the middle of endurance cycling and road race cycling.

The major advantage of getting a brand new model, apart from the obvious new components of the bike, is the delivery and build of the bike. Most retailers now offer secure delivery and free bike build, as well as ongoing cycling servicing.

There you have it. Some great bargain bikes are out there, so choose carefully!