Why buy a used bike?

If there’s anything that Old Spokes Home’s retail shop is known for, it’s our used bikes. We’ve been refurbishing used bikes and supplying the Burlington second hand bike market for over two decades, achieving over time our local status as a quirky and unique but reliable and trustworthy used bike shop.

Back when Old Spokes Home was on the other side of North Winooski, selling used bikes at the turn of the 21st century.

When it comes to bikes, why buy used? The biggest reasons are for quality, serviceability, and to consume consciously.

Buying a used bike allows you to get a ride of higher quality for equal or lower price, like thrifting designer clothes or getting a refurbished laptop rather than a new one. In exchange for a couple scratches or some sun-faded paint, you can get a bike that functions better, is lighter, more fun to ride, and more unique than a brand-new equivalent — usually for fewer dollars.  

An example of a high-quality used bike available at Old Spokes Home.

Additionally, the technology used on cheaper new bikes tends to have trickled down over the course of many years, meaning that a brand new $400 bike probably has the same kind of brakes and number of gears as a $400 used bike from 1990. However, the brakes and gears on the used bike are likely to work better and be more durable and repairable

Conventional wisdom might suggest that you’ll have to do more service on a used bike than a new one, but when you buy used from Old Spokes Home, we make sure that won’t be the case. As a matter of fact, buying used is a great way to ensure that you have to service your bike less and that it’s easier and more affordable when you have to. 

While a used bike you buy on craigslist or Facebook Marketplace may hide some problems that come out shortly after purchase, at OSH we carefully refurbish every used bike we sell to make sure that we don’t send out any lemons. This means that we don’t sell bikes with seized or rusted parts, wheels that are about to fail, or brakes that will soon need to be replaced. Lower-priced new bikes are often assembled quickly and not given much attention; within a few rides, their shifting and braking can begin to malfunction and wheels can come out of alignment, and it’s another trip back to the bike shop…

Higher-quality parts found on our used bikes help out a lot on the service front, too. Nicer components tend to remain properly adjusted for longer, be more durable, and be less likely to fail, saving you money and time on tune-ups and repairs. Further, older parts tend to feature simpler mechanics that are approachable and that an owner can learn to fix relatively easily; no electronics, no hydraulics, no fragile materials.


Examples of higher-end used components. Shifting systems, wheels, and weight are three areas where a used bike is likely to outshine a similarly-priced new one.

Buying a used bike is also a way to consume consciously. At Old Spokes Home, your purchase of a used bike helps in many ways. First, when you buy at Old Spokes Home, you are supporting a nonprofit organization that works tirelessly to help get more people on bikes in Burlington. We operate a number of programs, including Everybody Bikes and Youth Shop, all with the goal of improving lives and communities through bicycle access. When you buy a bike from Old Spokes Home at retail price, you are helping us make bikes accessible for all.

Graduates from our 2023 Youth Mechanics Apprenticeship. Your purchase at Old Spokes Home supports programs like this one.

Buying used is also a way to reduce your carbon footprint and protect the environment. New bikes require energy and raw materials to produce, and greenhouse gasses are emitted in every step of the process, from material extraction to production to shipping. Used bikes were costly to produce too, but the energy and materials were invested into them many years ago; keeping them in use is the best way to ensure that their environmental impact is minimal and that they stay out of the landfill. Opting to ride a bike is already a great way to look out for the environment; riding a used bike is even better.

By buying used, you keep a bike from ending up somewhere like this.

If all of that isn’t enough, used bikes are just plain cool, especially the ones we build at Old Spokes Home. Like a well-worn pair of jeans, or a repaired jacket, most of our used bikes are one-offs. The used bike you buy from OSH is likely to be the only one like it in Burlington; no carbon-copies here.

A bike unique from any others.

Used bikes are a great choice for most bicyclists. They offer quality and value, serviceability, and the opportunity to consume consciously. Whether you’re a commuter, casual rider, all-terrain rider, committed cyclist looking for a fun spare bike, or someone just looking for a great deal, we’ve got something for you at OSH. Drop in and we’ll help you find just the right used ride for your needs.