Bike thief bicycle

Unfortunately there is a lot of bike theft around, and many stolen bikes end up available for sale illegally, either online or on the street. If you are looking for a second hand bicycle for sale, you need to know what to look out for so you don't end up buying a stolen bicycle.

Want to know more about buying a second hand bike? Read our Guide to Buying a Second Hand Bicycle for plenty of hints and tips.

Also have a read of this: 6 Ways to Stop Your Bicycle Being Stolen.

If you end up buying a bike that has been stolen, you may find your ‘new’ bike gets impounded by the police and returned to the lawful owner, leaving you out of pocket and without a bike.

It's all too easy for someone unscrupulous to sell a dodgy bike online, but luckily there are some simple things you can do to make sure everything is legitimate.

Avoiding stolen bicycles; What to look out for

1. Is the price too good to be true? You should be hearing warning bells if it is. Although it's possible to get a bargain, it's always worth digging a little deeper to make sure.

2. The photos should be of the actual bicycle that is for sale, and not stock or catalogue pictures. You also should look for photos highlighting any marks or damage that the seller has mentioned. If there aren't any pictures, ask the seller to provide some.

3. Contact the seller and ask a few questions. They should be happy to tell you more about the bike, how much it's been used and what work has been done on it.

4. Ask the seller why they are selling it and if they have the original purchase receipt.

5. Get the frame number and check it against an online bike database or register, like Bike Register. This is a database recommended by the police, and if the bike has been registered and is stolen, this will show up. If you do find the bike you are looking at has been stolen, report this to the police.

6. If you are buying through EBay, then you have some protection if the bike isn't as described.

7. Ideally make the payment through an online system like Paypal, as you have some come-back if things aren’t what they seem.

8. If you are making the sale in person, don't exchange payment until you have seen and checked over the bike. Read our Second Hand Bicycle Buyers Checklist to find out what to look for.

9. Unless you are having the bike posted or couriered to you, arrange to meet the seller in a bright public place. Bring someone with you and/or tell someone where you are going.

10. Make sure you get a receipt from the seller with their name, address, contact telephone number and signature.

Like this? You'll find these useful too!

6 Ways to Stop Your Bicycle Being Stolen

6 of the Most Common Reasons Why Our Bikes Get Stolen

What to do if Your Bike Gets Stolen

Guide to Buying a Second Hand Bicycle