How to Buy Affordable Used Bike Wheels

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How to Buy Affordable Used Bike Wheels

You may wish to change your bike wheels for various reasons. Some people may choose to do so because they find the kind of surfaces they ride on better suited to thinner or thicker wheels. Others may find that changing the wheels may make the ride smoother and more comfortable. Whatever the reason knowing how to buy affordable used bike wheels on eBay can ensure that you get the right wheels to suit your cycling requirements at an affordable price.

It makes a difference

It may seem fairly obvious that bicycles need wheels in order to operate. However over the years the technology has changed as has the variety of tyres available. Whereas some bikes come complete as one singular unit other bikes allow you to swap round components depending on your personal requirements.

While you can be free to experiment as you wish it is worth remembering that certain frames are matched with certain wheel types for a reason.

Bike type

Wheel Type


Road bike

Thin and lightweight

Better for racing and flat surfaces

Mountain bike

Thick and heavy with additional tread

Help absorb shock and better suited for bumpy surfaces and steep inclines


Small, thick tyres

Ideal for dirt tracks and bumps but also better suited for tricks and stunts

The size of the wheels can also be significant. 700c is generally accepted as the size of wheels for road bikes. For mountain bikes 26 inch tyres are suited to the roughest terrain while 29 inches are better suited to a combination of smooth flat surfaces and rough terrain. For people who want to ride BMX bikes for tricks and stunts you need specialised smaller wheels.


The material you choose will affect both the performance of the wheels and the cost. The material you choose is largely dependent on what type of bike you have and what you intend to use it for.

  • Steel is a durable and relatively inexpensive material. This makes it ideal for mountain bikes, heavier road bikes and anyone who wishes to have an all purpose bike that can be used both on and off road and is not particularly bothered about the speed of the bike.
  • Aluminium is a lightweight metal that is also reasonably durable. This makes it suitable for racing bikes and also relatively cost effective.
  • Carbon fibre is both durable and also light, meaning it can be used for both racing and off road bikes. However the quality can vary according to how the fibres are woven together and it is likely that carbon fibre wheels will be more expensive than steel or aluminium.
  • Check to see if the material is puncture resistant as this will reduce the need to use puncture kits or replace the tyres as often, thus saving money in the longer term.


The number of spokes you have on your wheels can also have an effect on their performance, both in terms of the speed and the stability of the bike. If you are looking to get into racing then you need to ensure the wheels have as few spokes on them as possible. This is because spokes add weight to the wheels and this can slow you down. While spokes may be small even the slightest addition of weight could cost the vital few seconds that could win or lose a race. This is why it is often advisable to look for reviews from fellow racers if you are looking to get wheels for a racing bike in order to ensure you get one with the fewest amount of spokes needed to maintain the stability of the bike without sacrificing speed.

Even if you are not racing one of the benefits of a road bike is being able to move faster on the flat surface so you may still wish to reduce the amount of spokes. Riders often say that this makes the bike more manoeuvrable as well. If you find yourself needing to move quicker then this could make all the difference. For example if you are a cycle courier then you will want a faster bike in order to deliver items quicker while riding through the city and the wheels you choose for this are a big part of that.

You may wonder what the purposes of having spokes are, especially given that they seem to slow bikes down. In simple terms spokes make it easier to tune your wheels and also increase the lifespan of the wheels. Therefore if you have thick wheels such as those used on mountain bikes then you are likely to want more spokes in order to cope with the additional wear and tear the wheels will have to contend with on the rougher surfaces and steeper inclines.


The hub is in the centre of the wheel. There are two main kinds, one that use ball bearings and the other that seals the bearings in a cartridge. The loose ball bearing variety is more affordable but also more vulnerable to wear than the cartridge sealed bearings. However the cartridge bearing option can be harder to work on so may not be ideal for novice riders and may be better suited to people who are more confident and experienced cyclists.

Value for money

There are numerous methods of getting value for money when buying wheels on eBay. Knowing how to get a value for money deal is about more than simply looking for the lowest possible price.

  • Check that the product specifications match your requirements so that you do not end up purchasing wheels that are too large or too small for your bike. It also ought to indicate the amount of spokes on the wheels so you can compare them with other wheels to see what type is most appropriate for your bike.
  • Do not simply look at the price that they offer. In an eBay auction you can bid and see what you can get for a price. However it is worth remembering that some people sell directly on eBay so if you want to buy something straight away look for listings that include the buy it now option.
  • Remember that there may also be additional costs. For example shipping may not necessarily be included in the price and if you are purchasing from another country this may significantly increase the price. Do not forget to convert the currency if buying from another country in order to ascertain whether the price is value for money.
  • Feedback is another crucial aspect. While purchasing items can give you experience and help you understand what is most effective for your bike and what is not it is better to read reviews from other people who have already had these experiences and help you avoid any costly mistakes. When looking through the reviews check to see if they have similar interests to you. For example if you want to get into racing it is worth looking for reviews where the reviewer talks about getting wheels for a racing bike.
  • Feedback is also important when checking the quality of people selling items on eBay. High ratings and positive reviews are usually strong indications of reliable sellers. They also ought to be contactable and willing to discuss any issues you may have.
  • Check the photographs and product descriptions and if there is anything you do not understand or want to know about ask the seller. How cooperative they are is often an indication of their level of customer service. Photographs ought to be genuine. One indication is if the seller is photographed with the wheels and if the wheels are shown from various angles so you can take a closer look at their condition. If you are still not satisfied it is worth asking them to see if they will provide additional photos so that you can look closer for a closer inspection.

Building your own wheels is also an option. If you feel confident in your manual skills then you may want to order all the wheel parts separately and put them together yourself to form the wheels. However if you are not sure about this it is more advisable to purchase complete wheels in order to ensure they properly fit and to ensure your safety.


In short there are various things to remember in order to know how to buy affordable used bike wheels on eBay. It is about ensuring that the wheels match the kind of bike you have, that they provide the durability and the speed that is appropriate to the type of surface you are riding on and also that they are the right size. It is also about checking to see that you are buying them from a reliable seller and that you are fully aware of what you are buying. A sensible approach and careful consideration will allow you to find the wheels to suit your needs.

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