Yesterday, a customer brought in a bike because the gears weren’t working well.
Fine – we thought “probably needs adjusting, a cable change or a bit of advice on using the gears appropriately”. On enquiring as to the bike’s history, we discovered that she had bought it as a pre-owned item via the internet and was impressed by the seller’s knowledge of the bike.
Fine, we thought “the lady’s got a bargain and we’ll get her back on the road asap”.
NOT FINE. On examining the purchase we noted that:
- both the wheels had been replaced by extremely low-quality ones,
- both wheel spokes were slack
- the gear shifter was 7 speed in conjunction with a 6 speed freewheel (therefore incompatible and a snowball-in-hell’s chance of working),
- the freewheel was worn out,
- both front and rear brake cable needed replacing
- the rear gear changer
- the chain was worn out and
- the brake pads were at the end of their life.
It looked as though the seller had taken 2 worn out bikes to make one worn out bike. Not a bargain. Not a viable purchase. Not a safe bike. Not an honourable seller. Another buyer ripped-off.
After buying the bike and then spending more to get it into a safe & efficient condition, the bike wasn’t such a bargain!
- always buy a bike from a reputable shop (i.e. one recommended by other cyclists).
- if you are going to buy a used bicycle, make sure that you have test-ridden it AND take along someone who knows about wear’n’tear issues.
- don’t buy on the basis of colour, style, visual condition – remember a bike is the sum of it’s components (not just a brand or model).
- if you are unsure about your potential purchase, WALK AWAY – there’ll always be another one.
We see about 3 of these cases each week. Although renovating these wrecks may be to our benefit, we are not the type of shop to encourage private purchase without the above advice.
Looks like this post will be repeated over and over again.