Exercise bikes can make great additions to any home gym because they can offer butt-kicking workouts and most take up very little floorspace.
But they can get really expensive too.
Luckily, there’s a whole market of folks selling their pre-owned, already used bikes and opting for one of these cycles can drastically reduce the cost.
The risk of course, is that there’s no guarantee this used exercise bike is going to last (or sometimes even work in the first place).
But there are some red flags you can look for, making it easier to spot the lemons before you spend any of your hard earned cash.
In this guide, I’ll go over all the stuff you should look for before deciding on a pre-owned exercise bike.
After reading, you’ll know whether or not a used exercise bike is the right option for your home; you’ll also know what to look for when purchasing one.
The Pros and Cons of Going With A Used Exercise Bike
New exercise bikes come in all shapes and sizes, so it makes sense that used ones would too.
So regardless of what type of exercise bike you’re looking for, you can be confident that you can indeed find on on the used market.
But before we go any further, you might want to be sure that you actually want to go with a used bike.
When considering a pre-owned exercise bike, it might be helpful to weigh the pros and cons. Well, this handy list might help you organize your thoughts:
- Probably won’t have to mess with assembly
- Might get to try it out before buying
- Warranty probably won’t transfer
- Hard to tell how long it’ll last
- May be hard to tell how well previous owner took care of it
- You may have to transport yourself
I might’ve missed a few, but that’s the gist of it.
The biggest benefit of going with a used bike is obviously the lower cost, but it should also already be assembled, so at you shouldn’t have to mess with putting it together yourself.
Unless for some unknown reason the previous owner took it apart again, and in that case, I wouldn’t even consider buying it.
Another benefit of going with a pre-owned bike though, is that you might get a chance to try it out before buying.
This might not be the case if you purchase online through a large retailer or if you’re buying from someone in another state, but if you purchase locally, you should be able to get your hands on it for a test spin (which is highly recommended, more on this in a sec).
The cons are pretty obvious too.
With a used bike, it can be hard to tell howe well the previous owner took care of it – and unfortunately, you can’t always trust someone trying to make a little cash.
You might also be responsible for picking the exercise bike up yourself in cases where delivery isn’t an option.
But the biggest concern when buying a used bike is that 9.9 times out of 10 the warranty isn’t going to transfer to ya.
Which means if something malfunctions the first time you ride it, you’ll have to pay out of pocket for any repairs/service necessary.
Which, depending on what you paid for the bike, could make that used cycle more expensive than a brand new one in the long run.
Of course, I’m bringing up all the worst case scenarios here.
There’s also the chance you could get a great deal on a used exercise bike and it could last you for years without any issues.
This is the case we’re all hoping for and there are a few things you can do to better your odds of getting a sweet deal.
How To Buy A Used Exercise Bike The Smart Way
I realize all of the stuff I’m about to go over might not be doable in your situation because it all depends on how/where you purchase your used bike.
And in those cases, you have to just go with your gut and hope for the best (or go with a new bike).
But here are a few things I encourage you to do/look for when possible:
Take A Test Ride
The first priority for me would be to see this bike in person, put my hands on it, and try it out for myself.
Unless I was purchasing from a certified refurbished site that offered their own warranties or guarantees, there’s no way I’d buy a used bike without trying it out firsthand.
Because that’s really the only way you can tell it still works.
Again, this might not be possible if you’re purchasing from a seller across country, but if you’re buying local, this shouldn’t be an issue.
And if the seller refuses to let you try it, this is a huge red flag and should probably be a dealbreaker.
When testing a used bike, take your time with it and don’t be afraid to get in there and play with the console (if it has one).
I’d also encourage you to try it out at its highest resistance level to see how it responds and to see that it actually works.
Some exercise bikes might feel find at low resistances, but then get all wonky at higher ones.
I guess this might not be a big deal if you’re getting a bike for lower intensity, range of motion exercise though.
But basically, you want to test the bike out the way you plan on using it at home.
Inspect the Bike
This one goes hand in hand with what I mentioned above, but you don’t want to just try it out, you also want to give it a thorough looking over to check for damage and places that might be wearing down.
The condition of the bike will depend on how long the previous owner has had it, how often that user used it, and how well that user took care of it.
The brand and year of the bike will matter too, but more on that below.
A little cosmetic wear and tear is normal, but if you notice large cracks or deformations in the frame, seat post, crank arms, or console mast, these could be red flags.
It’s a good idea to think about the brand of the bike before making any decisions and by this, I’m really talking about whether or not it’s a well-known, respected brand, or a um, how do I put this… a less respected brand.
Ah, yes, that felt politically correct enough.
But I think you know what I’m getting at here.
Are you going to be more comfortable purchasing a used high-end brand like Life Fitness or Precor, or a used cheaper brand like Sunny Health & Fitness or YESOUL?
(No offense to either brands of courses, they’re solid for their respective price ranges).
But the point remains the same – a quality bike when it’s new is more likely to hold up and be a quality used bike.
The only real motivator to go with a used bike in the first place is the lower price, so ultimately you have to do what your budget allows.
Speaking of which…
Yup, we all agree a used bike should cost less than a brand new one, but how much should you really spend on a used bike?How much cheaper should a used bike really be? How much is too much to spend on a used bike?
These are all personal questions of course, and the answers depend on several things.
Like the age of the bike; the condition of the bike; the price of the bike when it was new; your budget; and so on.
It also depends on where you’re buying this used bike – if you’re purchasing from a company or website, you probably won’t be able to haggle; if you’re purchasing from an individual, there may be room for negotiation.
Personally, I’d want to see a used bike selling for at least 25% less than the brand new cost or it wouldn’t be worth the risk.
And I’m talking about a used bike that’s in great shape and works perfectly.
If the bike is in less stellar condition, I’d want to see an even bigger discount.
When looking at a used bike, it’s also a good idea to think about what you’re going to do if the bike does malfunction – are you willing to pay to have a technician come fix it or is this bike disposable?
If you’re investing enough into this used bike that you would want it repaired, you have to think about where you’re going to find a technician to work on it.
Remember, used bikes don’t come with warranties and depending on the age of the bike, the manufacturer may no longer be offering this model.
Meaning you’d have to pay out of pocket for any parts/repairs and finding a technician in the first place could be more challenging.
Where To Buy A Used Exercise Bike
Ok, I think that covers most of our bases when it comes to what you should be looking for when buying a used exercise bike.
But before we wrap things up here, I want to talk about where you can find these bikes for sale in the first place.
There are likely several local resources you can use to find used bikes in your area and if you ask me, I think this is the best place to start.
Because you’ll be able to get your hands on it before you buy.
In my area we have several brick and mortar stores that specialize in used fitness equipment, allowing folks to come in and try ’em out before buying.
For example, Johnson Fitness carries a legit lineup of used luxury brands, like Life Fitness, Precor, and Matrix.
If you’re searching for used, more affordable bikes, you can always try Craigslist, but you just have to be a little more careful that you don’t get scammed.
Sites like ebay offer used fitness equipment and even Amazon does too (although the used bikes on Amazon aren’t always more affordable, which is weird).
Buying a used exercise bike can be a great way to save some serious cash, but you have to be careful because it can end up costing more in the long run if you get a lemon.
Being thorough is the key.
The best practice is to put yourself in a situation where you can see and physically try the bike out first before committing.
If this isn’t possible, using a certified refurbished site or one that offers some kind of guarantee on their used equipment is also a good idea.
But this probably won’t be doable for the more affordable brands.
When going with a more affordable brand, you just have to weigh the consequences in case the bike doesn’t end up lasting long.
It also depends a lot on what your expectations are and what you want to use the bike for in the first place.
Well, that about does it.
If you’re planning on buying a used exercise bike, I wish you the best of luck!
And as always, if you have any questions or comments, leave ’em below and I’ll get right back to ya.