Buy or hire a bike

Hints and Tips

Types of bike

Mountain Bike - originally designed for off-road cycling, mountain bikes offer a wide range of gears, suspension, and high levels of manoeuvrability. The knobbly tyres add to the rugged appeal, but are less efficient when used on paved/road surfaces. Mountain bikes also tend not to come with luggage racks.

Hybrid Bike - usually modified mountain bikes, hybrids are adapted for more urban use. A more upright riding position, lower frames, and often with accessories such as luggage racks as standard. Hybrids have thinner tyres than mountain bikes, more suited to paved surfaces.

Road/Racing Bikes - the ultimate if you want to go fast on paved surfaces, road bikes have dropped handlebars and thin slick tyres. They are the fastest way forwards on paved surfaces, but their thin tyres are more prone to punctures and their riding position can be less comfortable.

Folding - perfect for those who use a bike as well as other forms of transport (primarily trains), folding bikes come with tiny wheels, fewer gears, and can often fold into a space the size of a briefcase. Only really suitable for shorter urban journeys!

Now you have decided what type best suits your needs, why not have a look at our shops and outlets section for your closest bike shops?

Buying a used bike

Buying a second hand bicycle is a great way to get a bike at a low cost price. You could buy a reconditioned bicycle from recycling shops, or simply load up your laptop; there are plenty of sites where you can buy used bicycles and grab yourself a bargain.

However, before parting with any cash it is vital to assess whether you are buying a stolen bike. If you buy a stolen bike not only could you have the bike seized - meaning you lose the money you paid for the bike, but you could be prosecuted by the Police for handling stolen goods.

So before you buy a second hand bike, there are a number of assessments you can ask yourself both when viewing the bike online and in person:

  • Does the bike have its original paintwork or has the frame number been tampered with? Thieves alter the appearance of bikes, to disguise it from the legitimate owner.

  • Is there feedback or testimonials available about the seller?

  • Does the advertisement lack information/description about the bike?

  • Check how much the seller knows about the bike. Does it have a long history with the owner?

  • Be wary of stock photos - ask to see original photos of the actual bike.

  • Check the bike’s frame number on all national property databases. The MPS preferred registration database is

  • Check to see if it has been property marked.

  • Meet the seller at a fixed home or work address. Be wary of meeting sellers in a public place.

  • Always inspect the bike thoroughly before. If you’re not an expert, ask a knowledgeable friend for help.

  • Ask for an original purchase receipt.

  • Ask for a receipt for the transaction.

  • Do not buy from anyone who approaches you on the street.

  • Is the price of the bike at market value? If something seems too good to be true, it usually is.