TOUR Is it risky to buy a used carbon road bike?
ZEDLER You cannot tell. The frames are uncritical, but add-on parts bear a high risk. I am not aware of any case in which a frame exploded without warning. A suddenly breaking fork steerer, however, is a real problem. Whether the fork has sustained damage or not cannot be detected from the outside. For this reason I would replace the fork in any case.
What about add-on parts made of carbon?
If seatposts, handlebars or stems break, riders fall. These are the components we are often dealing with in our expert’s reports. In this case I would only be confident, if the component is sold by your best buddy.
What about the risk in the case of used aluminium racers?
The frames are uncritical, but the forks are in most cases also made of carbon. The safety standards for aluminium components have become much stricter over the past ten years. This brings you an advantage in case of a mostly new, modern bicycle. In addition, aluminium is "more honest". Aluminium handlebars get bent during a fall, which is evident. Carbon handlebars may have already a compromised structure, which cannot be seen from the outside.
What should I keep in mind when buying a used bicycle?
There is a lot of swindle when it comes to age or mileage or repaired accident damage. Used bicycles are often purchased by non-professionals and they are easy to be screwed. I remember a case in court where according to the description a new, high-quality brand bicycle had been sold. In reality, it was a ten year old, very cheap bicycle.
Should one buy a used one at all?
I would only buy with an expert by my side and from a trustworthy source, for example from a friend. I’ve been riding many used frames, but I’ve always replaced the relevant add-on parts.