Bicycle description checklist

Record your bike’s details so you are prepared for theft or an insurance claim.

Do it now!

When you get a new or second-hand bike, the first thing you should do is make a record of its details, so you have an accurate description for any cycle insurance claim for damage or theft.

Whatever your bicycle’s value, and despite loads of bikes being stolen, it is still worth reporting all thefts to the police because they do recover lots of cycles and will compare these with descriptions of stolen bikes. So you may get yours back if it is identifiable as yours. You can also post a description on various cycle forums so if someone sees your bike on sale on ebay or gumtree etc, they can let you know.

Additionally, mark the frame with your postcode in a few hidden places. Some people put info inside the seat tube too. Look at our bike security page for more ideas.

Bike owner’s checklist

  1. Print this off and fill in, or keep an online document.
  2. Keep any receipts and registration documents.
  3. Take photos of the bike – from both sides, front, rear, plus close ups of any items that are easier to photograph than describe (eg pattern of a chainwheel, scratches).
  4. Record the following details:
Bike frame number (you may have to upturn the bike to find it as it’s often stamped underneath the bottom bracket – the bit of the frame that the pedals go through):
Position of bike frame number (usually bottom bracket or seat tube):
Make:
Model (the exact name with any extra numbers or letters):
Type (eg town, mountain, hybrid, road (= road racing), BMX, folding, tandem, recumbent…):
Type of frame (eg with a cross bar (gents), twin tube (ladies or mountain bike), loop tube (ladies), step-over (=low tube such as on folding bikes):
Size (eg adult/teen/child):
Child’s bike stabilisers (material, colour…):
Frame size (measure the distance from the bottom bracket to the top of the seat tube):
Frame colour (use a normal colour description eg red, black plus any marketing name):
Old frame colour if overpainted:
Any transfers, badges, labels:
Bike stand (single – which side?, or double):
Shock absorbers (make, type, position):
Handlebar type (dropped, straight, all-rounder or W (ie with handgrips angled back slightly), ordinary raised, North Road…):
Handgrips (colour):
Handgrips (type eg taped, cork, spongy, rubber):
Brakes (rim/hub/disc, side-pull/centre-pull caliper):
Brake levers (type, position, effectiveness):
Wheels (diameter, rim width, number of spokes):
Dress guard on rear wheel?:
Spoke reflectors (shape, number, colour):
Tyres (diameter/width – this information is on the tyre wall):
Tyres (colour):
Mudguards (make, size – full or short, fixing points, material, colour, reflectors):
Gears (3/4/5/14-speed hub gear, derailleur – number of cogs/teeth):
Gear change controls and position (trigger, downtube lever):
Front chainwheel: pattern – draw/photograph, number, number of teeth:
Chainguard (full or half, colour, material):
Cranks (make, length):
Pedals (make, type – flat or SPDs, materials, colour):
Toeclips (none/half/full):
Saddle (make/type – man’s, woman’s, racing, four wire, extended front spring, three coil spring, multi spring…):
Saddle (material/colour):
Saddle cover? (eg gel cover – make/material/colour):
Dynamo light(s) (type, position of generator):
Accessories – pump, bell, rear/front basket and type of fitting, rear/front pannier rack, tool bag…:
Peculiarities – scratches, dents, tape, things that don’t match, bent bits…: