Second hand bicycle - what to look out for before buying in Singapore 2023

Buying a second hand bike can be a great way to save money and still get a quality ride. It's good for the earth as you would be doing your part to reduce waste. However, it's important to know WHAT to look out for in order to ensure that you get a good deal for a bike that is in good condition. In this article, we'll explore the key factors to consider when buying a second hand bike. This will ensure that you always get good value for money while doing your part for the environent!

Research the used bicycle market

Research the market before you start shopping for a second hand bike. It's important to do your research to get an idea of what's available and what prices are reasonable. Take note that there may be some fluctutation in prices as a result of the condition of each particular example of a bike and variations in model. That said, this should not stop you from looking for bikes that are similar to the one you're interested in and see what they are selling for. This can give you a good baseline for what you should expect to pay.

Check the Bike's Condition

When shopping for a second-hand bike, it's important to carefully inspect the bike to ensure that it is in good condition. In particular, you should be on the look out for:

  • Rust: Rust can indicate a bike that has not been well-maintained or has been left out in the rain. This usually leads to problems with the frame or other components. So be wary of bikes with significant rust unless you are willing to swap out components (if you need assistance, we offer repair services that includes changing parts on bicycles).
  • Wear and tear: Look for signs of wear and tear on the bike. This includes scratches, dents, or worn-out components. While some wear and tear is to be expected with a second hand bike and not may be a deal killer, excessive wear may indicate a bike that has not been well taken care of and could significantly increase the amount of repair works needed to get the bike fully functioning. In particular, you would want to make sure that the bike shifts and brakes well and that the wheels are not warped.
  • Components: Check the condition of the bike's components, such as the brakes, gears, and tires. Make sure they are in good working order and not worn out unless you are willing to replace them.
  • Test ride: If possible, take the bike for a test ride to get a feel for how it handles and make sure everything is in good working order. This is the best way to ensure that not only that the bike works well, but that it also fits you well.

Consider the Bike's Age and History

It's always important to consider its age and history. A bike that is older may have more wear and tear, and may require more maintenance. That said, the often not talked about bonus point is that the bike probably has a nice story to tell. It's also a good idea to ask the seller about the bike's history and how it has been used and maintained. This usually will give you a better idea of the bike's condition and what to expect in terms of future maintenance.

Consider getting a professional Inspection or buying from a local bike shop

If you're not confident in your ability to assess the condition of a second hand bike, consider getting a professional inspection. You could drop us a whatsapp if you would like us to inspect the bike that you are thinking of purchasing for a nominal fee. This can be especially helpful if you're considering a more expensive bike or if you're not familiar with the different components and how they should look and function. An experienced bike mechanic can give you a thorough evaluation of the bike's condition and let you know if there are any issues that need to be addressed and how much it would cost.

Alternatively, you may consider buying from a local bike shop. Here at Unspokin Singapore, we offer a warranty on used bikes that we refurbished. That way, you can always have peace of mind knowing that your bike you purchased will work well for a long time to come.

Be Wary of Scams

Unfortunately, there are scammers out there who may try to sell you a bike that is not in good condition. Theymay also attempt to sell you a bike that isn't what they claim it to be. To avoid falling victim to a scam, be extra wary of deals that seem too good to be true. If it is too good to be true, it probably is. Do your research and due diligence to make sure the seller is reputable. It's also a good idea to only buy from a seller who is willing to meet in person and allow you to inspect the bike and test ride it before making a purchase.

Negotiate the Price When buying from indiivudals

Buying a second hand bike, it's important to remember that the price is negotiable. Don't be afraid to haggle a little with the seller to try to get a better deal. This is especially if you have noticed any issues with the bike's condition. However, always be reasonable and don't lowball the seller. Think of when you've tried to sell something and you got lowballed. It doesn't feel great does it? Unfortunately, our prices for project upcycle bikes are firm as they come with a warranty and are sold as refurbished.

Get a Receipt and Documentation

When buying a second hand bike, make sure to get a receipt or some other form of documentation for the purchase. This will serve as proof of ownership and is helpful if you have any issues with it in the future. If the seller is unable or unwilling to provide a receipt, it may be a red flag and you might want to to reconsider the purchase.


Buying a second hand bike can be a great way to save money and get a quality ride. However, it's important to know what to look out for! This will ensure that you get a good deal and a bike that is in good condition. Do your research, carefully inspect the bike, consider its age and history, and be wary of scams. With a little bit of due diligence, you can find a great second hand bike that will serve you well for many rides to come. And if you need advice, always feel free to reach out to us.

    December 28, 2022

    City Bike vs Mountain Bike - Which one is right for me?

    City bikes and MTBs are both really popular types of bicycles. That said, they are designed for different purposes and environments. Although there are overlaps, and you can most certainly use a city bike for the mountains and an MTB for city commuting, city bikes are generally better for city riding as the name suggests, and MTBs are better for the trails. Understanding the key differences between these two types of bikes can help you choose the right one for you. So let's dive into it right away.

    City bikes - what are they for?

    City bikes, also known as urban bikes or commuter bikes, are designed for everyday use in a city or suburban setting. This means that they are used in paces with paved roads or walkways or cycling paths that are generally flat. They are built with practicality and ease of use in mind. Utility is the name of the game here. With features such as a comfortable upright riding position and smooth and efficient tires. City bikes also not uncommonly have features like a kickstand, may have a built-in lock, and an assortment of racks and carriers to make them ideal daily commuting, carrying your baby or kid around or even just going grocery shopping.

    An example of a great city bike (potentially biased opinion here) is our Unspokin Frigate. It runs a belt and is really-low maintenance with various rack options too, making it a true blue utility bicycle. Another cool choice would be the Tokyo Bike Classic if you prefer an option with smaller 26" wheels.

    What is a mountain bike?

    Mountain bikes, on the other hand, are built for off-road riding on rough and uneven terrain. They were primarily designed for sport, not utility. We love MTBs as they are hella fun to ride. They have sturdy frames, wide knobby tires, and suspension systems to absorb shock. This makes for a smoother ride on rough trails so that your bum doesn't hurt half as much when you get off your bike. Mountain bikes also have a more aggressive riding position, with a lower handlebar height and a shorter top tube. This allows for better control on steep descents and technical trails, where control really is key so that you don't crash into a tree. An example of a mountain bike would be the Giant Talon 2 or the Polygon Xtrada 5.

    So what's the difference between a mtb and a city bike?

    Intended use and design

    It all boils down to this: their intended use. The intended use shaped the design process and as a result the components and functionality of each type of bicycle. City bikes are best suited for smooth surfaces and short rides, while mountain bikes are designed for off-road adventures on rough trails. I would personally take a jump on a MTB, but would think twice if I were on a city bike. If you’re primarily looking for a bike to use for commuting to work or running errands around town, the city bike is probably the better choice. But if you’re planning on tackling rugged trails and going on long off-road adventures, the mountain bike is the way to go.


    Another important difference is their tires. City bikes usually have smooth, narrow tires that are optimized for pavement and other smooth surfaces. These tires provide a smooth fast and efficient ride. That said, smooth tires can be slippery, like walking on a greasy surface when compared to knobby tires on the trails.  They are simply not well suited for off-road terrain. Mountain bikes, on the other hand, have wide, knobby tires that are designed to grip rough terrain and provide traction on loose surfaces. Resultantly, they really shine and can handle the abuse of off-road riding, but they are not as efficient on pavement. Riding a MTB with knobby tires can feel sluggish and inefficient on pavements and smooth roads compared to smooth tires.


    In terms of suspension, city bikes generally don’t have any, or they may have a basic suspension fork to smooth out rough roads. Mountain bikes, on the other hand, often have full suspension systems with a front fork and a rear shock to absorb shock and make for a more comfortable ride on rough trails. While these suspension systems add weight and complexity to the bike, they can significantly improve ride quality on rough terrain. The extra weight that comes with comfort on a MTB also might make it feel a little bit more sluggish as compared to the city bike.

    Conclusion: city bike or MTB?

    City bikes and mountain bikes are both great options, depending on your intended use and the terrain you’ll be riding on. We are biased as we are commuters here at Unspoken, so we love city bikes even so slightly more. However, if we were based in another country with access to more trails, we may very well be singing a different tune. City bikes are ideal for commuting and everyday use on smooth surfaces, while mountain bikes are built for off-road adventures on rough terrain. Understanding these distinct attributes between these two types of bikes and adopting a needs-based approach to choosing the right type of bike generally will help you make the right decision. If you would like help with choosing the right bike, we have a variety of bikes here. Feel free to hit us up if you have any questions as we are always happy to help. All the best, and ride safe as always!

    December 22, 2022

    Why I choose to commute by bicycle instead of car in Singapore

    The conversation I had with my friend about my road bike

    I had this conversation with a friend recently where he was shocked at how far people could bike, and he was astonished that people would ride 10 to 15 km away from home even to get a ride. This is normal because I don't have a car, and I use my bike for my transportation needs. So today, let's discuss why I don't need a car. Now I don't own a car, I have never owned a car, and I do not see myself needing a car in the foreseeable future. That's because my bike fulfils all the exact conditions a vehicle markets and meets those needs. I don't need a car because that's what needs work. You get it fulfilled and don't need the other

    thing. First, let's take a look at the conditions that my bicycle meets, and second, let's take a look at how exactly I'm able to get by without a car and what other factors are enabling me to use the bicycle as my main form of transportation

    Needs that my bicycle meets

    So my bike takes care of my needs for transportation within the city. I live in Singapore, and because of that, I'm able to get by with my bike. My commute isn't all that long, and it's about 30 km. If I did need to use it for my daily commute, I would be comfortable with doing a commute that would be 30 to 40 km round-trip, no problem. When I lived in Ang Mo Kio, I did commute on my bike, about 16km roundtrip. Another transportation needs that my bike satisfies is the need to get groceries and run some errands because I live in Singapore, an urban area. Things are everything I need within a 20km radius. Because of that, I don't need a car to go far to get what I need. My bike takes care of my weekly to bimonthly grocery runs, and it also takes care of my needs to get to places and meet people, and that's because in Singapore, pretty much everything you would need is within that 20km radius. So because I don't need to commute out of the country or long distances or ever really go super far distances all that often, I don't need a car, and the bike satisfies most of my transportation needs.

    What my bicycle can’t do

    However, that's different from saying that the bike satisfies all my transportation needs. If I must travel between cities, say I need to go to Johor Bahru, I could take a bus or a plane. However, because I don't have to do that all too often, I can afford the expenses to assume that public form of transportation. Because of my circumstances, I am very thankful that I can use my bike, which is just a lot of fun for the vehicle. As I stated before, everything is within about a twenty-mile radius. This is comfortably within reach for a bike. But because I'm taking much more time to travel to get to where I need to go via bike is that I genuinely like biking, and no matter what the distance is, well, as long as it's within reason to what I need to get done and if I could do that within the amount of time that I have as long as it's within those reasonable boundaries.

    I am more than happy to hop on my bike and go to where I need to go because, for me, biking is just genuinely fun, and if I could hop on my bike for transportation, it would make my day just a little bit better because I'm just genuinely having fun if I'm on my bike. A lot of people, like my roommate, think I'm crazy for riding my bike and using it for transportation all these distances. He's constantly offering to give me depends to the grocery store, but I tell him you know it, I just like biking, and it's as simple as that. And because of that fact, I can use it as my main form of transportation again because the bike isn't nearly as convenient as a car.

    Proper planning to commute by bicycle

    If you want to use the bicycle as your primary form of transportation, you need to have this mindset that you're going to need to plan, and planning includes route planning, food planning, time planning, sweat and looking presentable planning and so you have to plan a lot. It's not something that you could hop on your bike and go a lot of times, especially if it's longer distances. You'll have to consider those things if you want to use your bike as a source of transportation. To recap, I am a cyclist because I love cycling so much, combined with the fact that I live in an urban area where everything I could need is within reach of a bicycle.

    To sum up, why do I take a bicycle, not a car?

    I don't need a car, and I don't see myself needing a car unless the circumstances of my life drastically change. I've redefined what I can do with the bicycle, and I'm constantly improving myself as a rider and expanding that comfort zone up to where I can ride comfortably. The way I look at the bike, it's something that is just genuinely fun, and it's something that pushes you well; I guess you make it, but the cycle goes you to become a better rider and to always constantly better yourself as a rider, and when you go yourself you might even surprise yourself at what you can accomplish.

    Within my circle of friends and family, many think that I'm crazy for using the bike as my primary source of transportation, and that's because we're coming from entirely different frames of mind. They come from a place where bicycling is meant for recreation and weekend rides. I come from a place where cycling can relieve stress, have fun, and get to where I need to go. It's a form of Transportation, and because we have those different frames of mind, it looks like I'm crazy, but it's not all that hard. This is why I don't need a car. If you're interested in learning more about the car-free life, I say life like it's a big deal, but it's not. If you're interested in that, check out the bike living. Many exciting discussions are constantly happening about living car-free, the pros and cons, and how to overcome obstacles. Hit us up if you ever want to have a chat!

    December 12, 2022