Germany has hundreds of long-distance cycling routes between historic cities, alongside peaceful rivers, through beautiful vineyards and over panoramic mountains. And even though most cities are very friendly and welcoming to their two-wheeled citizens the same cannot be expected from your private bicycle seller. So if you plan to buy a second-hand bike from a private individual in Germany then you should take a look at the following advice.
First and foremost you need to find a bike that meets your personal requirements and doesn’t exceed your budget. If you’re lucky you will find a suitable bike on a local flee market but if you’re clever you will browse the internet for the bike of your choice. eBay-Kleinanzeigen, Craigslist or Quoka are excellent websites (German language) to start your hunt.
If you come across something interesting it is essential to bear the following things in mind. Whatever the price, you should ask the seller if s/he’s willing to enter into a contract with you. If the seller consents to a purchase agreement you can proceed on the assumption that s/he is the legitimate owner of the item. A model German agreement can easily be found on many online trading platforms. If you want to be on the safe side you can download a free model agreement at ADFC.de “Allgemeiner Deutscher Fahrrad-Club” (English: “German Cyclist’s Association”).
If you choose to draft a custom contract, however, you will need to include the unique features of your new bike as well as its most important components. It is necessary to indicate the type of bike you’re about to buy, its identification number and frame colour. Single components should also be listed if they constitute a significant value and if they’re broken or worn. In the latter case you can try to drive down the purchase price of a second-hand bike. You should also ask the seller for the deed of ownership. If s/he is not able to provide any supporting documents then don’t hesitate to doublecheck the address and name on her/his ID card or passport.
But before you sign any documents you should request a test ride in order to verify that the bicycle is in good condition. Unlike going on a test ride with a new bike from a shop, where you can focus on its fit, you need to watch out for every little detail if you’re testing a second-hand bike. The most crucial components are the bottom bracket and the wheel hub. Don’t hesitate to shake and jiggle the bike if you hear any crunching or rattling sounds from these parts. It’s definitely worth doublechecking.