Competitive road cycling requires the most efficient bike possible in order to maintain high speeds for sustained periods of time on tarmac roads. It needs to be lightweight to travel quickly but also sturdy in order to maintain any additional pressure the cyclist may exert on the structure. For professionals comfort may be of secondary importance but for the general UK cyclist, racing bikes will need to be welcoming to ride on if used regularly. eBay has plenty of racing bikes which can be found on its websites, often at more affordable prices than would be found on the high street.
Components of a Racing Bike
Frame – The main section of a bicycle that provides support to the whole structure. They were traditionally made from steel and later progressed to aluminium, titanium and carbon fibres. Racing bike frames are designed to be as strong but also as lightweight as possible.
Wheels – Racing bike wheel rims are most commonly made from an aluminium alloy although carbon fibre models can be found for more advanced riders. They are an important factor in speed and balance control.
Tyres – The tyres are very thin on racing bikes and have a smooth tread which makes them suitable for flat tarmac surfaces. They are also usually inflated to a high level to increase the pressure level.
Gears – There are usually a high amount of gears to choose from on racing bikes which give more flexibility for travelling on different surfaces and at different inclines.
Handlebars – On racing bikes, the handlebars are often dropped at a level lower than the seat as to give the cyclist a more streamlined riding position.
Brakes – The ability to slow down and stop after travelling at fast speeds is crucial for a cycling trip. Racing bikes can incorporate different types of braking mechanisms such as disc, calliper and hydraulic brakes.
Considerations for Buying a Racing Bike
When coming to buy a racing bike from eBay there a few simple aspects to consider which relate to the cyclist themselves and how the bike will be used. Take into consideration the aspects below and research further into which types of bike suit your requirements.
- First of all, is a racing bike the most suitable type of bicycle for what it will be used for. Different bikes are suitable for different pursuits whilst racing bikes can only be effective on flatter tarmac roads.
- How often will it be used? Think if the investment of a bicycle will be worth spending money and if the cycling trips planned will be sustained for a long period of time.
- How professionally is the bike going to be used? Recreational cyclists may not be required to dish out excessive money for a bike that is above their station. If buying a racing bike for competition then look further into more advanced models that can increase speed.
- What sort of surfaces will it be used on? Some bikes are more suitable than others for steeper roads and come with more gear options for example.
- How far will the bike trips be? If going on long cycling journey’s then consider buying a racing bike that has a more comfortable riding position and seat then other models.
- What is the purpose of the bike? For example if commuting to work on the bike then luggage may be necessary to transport. Look into racing bikes with storage compartments or panniers that can help with transportation. In addition, if using public transport as part of the bike commute then consider folding racing bikes that can save a lot of hassle in crowded areas.
- Female racing bikes are also obtainable on eBay and are designed to suit the anatomy of a woman. Seats are generally more comfortable and the suspension is greater on some more advanced models.
- eBay also caters for the child market and racing bikes for boys and girls are also available. Good second-hand models can be found at low prices for children who may grow out of a particular model in a year or two.
The previous points are pretty basic when coming to buy a racing bike and should be considered before thinking of the more technical aspects. If looking at the specifics of bicycles then make sure to research the area properly by reading internet websites and asking attendants in specialized cycling shops. This guide will only look at some of the aspects which may arise when coming to buy on eBay Bikes and using the preference menu on the left hand side on the search results page.
Using eBay to Buy a Racing Bike
The best way to find a bike on eBay is to type in “racing bike” or “racing bicycle” into the search bar as some people may have listed their item differently. It is better to access the listings this way as there is some ambiguity about how to classify racing bikes; sometimes they are called road bikes. If using the preference menu of eBay to narrow down a search and get confused between the two, they are pretty much the same thing. The following gives more advice on how to narrow down a search.
- Frame material. There will be the option to select between alloys, aluminium, steel, carbon fibres and titanium in regards to the frame material. The advantages and disadvantages of all can simply come down to the quality of material used and thus the cost. Although steel is the considered to fall behind the other materials, a cheap and heavy aluminium frame may actually hinder a ride.
- Frame Size. The frame size will be listed in centimetres. Below is a table that can make life easier for buyers and give a good estimate of what size frame to buy in respect to the rider’s height.
Height of Cyclist (feet)
Recommended Frame Size (cm)
4’10" – 5’3"
47 – 50
5’3" – 5’6"
51 – 53
5’6" – 5’9"
54 - 55
5’9" – 6’0"
56 - 58
6’0" – 6’3"
58 - 60
- Wheel Size. The wheel size refers to the size of the wheel rims and will be listed in inches. If you see a bike listed as being 26” it is referring to the size of the wheel rims which are basically the circumference length of the wheels. Other listings may be noted as 700c – this is basically just the measurements of the rims in millimetres and is the nominal tyre measurement. Look further into which wheels and also which tyres are suited to the bike’s intended use.
- Brand. Choosing the right brand of racing bike is again subjective and different cyclists can suit different brands. Some of the most common to be found on eBay are Raleigh, Viking, Shimano and Giant.
- Condition. The option is there to choose between brand new racing bikes, often sold by professional cycling outlets and not individuals, and also second-hand models. Analyze the importance of buying the bike and spend accordingly as used bikes will generally be cheaper.
- Extra Parts. The market for bike parts on eBay is much more extensive than the bike market itself. Different areas of the bike can be replaced and upgraded if necessary. Remember this when coming to make a purchase; for example, a chosen bike may itself be perfect but the handlebars may not suit the style of your riding. These can be easily changed.
Using eBay with Confidence
eBay is a great way to find a whole host of racing bikes listed in one place, with the option of narrowing down the results to suit your preferences. However there are some further safety aspects to take into account when using the site and buying from independent sellers.
- Read the item’s description carefully. Look out for all the details that have been included and also that haven’t been included by the seller. It is important to get as much information as possible about the bike.
- Check the guarantee details. Is there the safety net of having the bike under warranty and if so, what are the specifics about it.
- Is there a returns policy? Some sellers, especially authentic cycling shops who use eBay as a platform to sell their bikes, will offer a returns policy that will provide a degree of security.
- Bikes can be awkward to deliver so check the postage and packaging information. Some sellers may only have listed the item as ‘collection only’ which means you will have to pick it up from their specified location.
- Check out the seller and their history details. Feedback ratings are a good way of finding out a person’s authenticity – too many bad comments and negative marks will mean they are more than likely not to be trusted.
- Don’t feel cautious in asking the seller a question. Find out as much as possible about the racing bike, both good and bad factors. Ask them to put more pictures of the bike up if possible to get a complete 360° view.