Beg, Borrow, Steal or read on...
enjoy a lifetime of cycling through beautiful New Zealand
enjoy a lifetime of cycling through beautiful New Zealand
For the penny pinchers, eco warriors, or short-term visitors - this page is for you.
* The most obvious choice of buying used is:
Trade Me Cycling
Choice may be limited but it's best for grabbing a deal on a half decent bike or parts. For commuter and dirt cheap bikes read on...
Mamachari understand the bigger picture and only sell bikes and accessories that will be best for commuting or casual riding in a city. They sell re-conditioned bikes from Japan. The advantages being:
*All the parts that make a good city bike (mudguards, bell, basket, back carrier, dynamo light, chain guard, comfy seat)
*Eco friendly as frames and parts are being re-used not re-made
*Safe because they are built and sold by professionals
OK, for some they may seem a bit old-school or boring, but I used to ride them all the time in Asia and they are a great and comfy ride and they are easy to maintain or fix. For dirt-cheap bikes read on...
Free or Super Cheap Bikes
Many people have unused bikes kicking around in sheds or stairwells, so if you want to fix one up or get one dirt cheap or free, ask around. Otherwise I know of two other places to check out:
Green Bikes Trust
NZ Green Bikes
As it happens I volunteer for this organisation. The basic principle is that people donate bikes to us free out of the kindness of their hearts and likewise we fix them up as best we can to a safe roadworthy standard and get them back under someone's bottom for $20 or donation.
There is also the opportunity to help us to fix up bikes in return for a free bike of your very own, which is how I got the bike I now possess.
The Mechanical Tempest
128 Abel Smith St, Aro Valley. Contact 384 4710
An anarchist group doing their bit to keep bikes out on the streets run a free workshop most weekday afternoon/evenings in which you can bring in your bike for repair, walk in and fix up a bike to take home, or buy a used bike cheap. There is someone there to help you, but you are there to do most of the work yourself. They provide the tools, space, parts and assistance for free. Drop in and see for yourself.
Evaluating a used bicycle
From www.mnn.com/green-tech/transportation/stories/how-to-buy-a-great-used-bicycle. For a quick guide on levels of components have a look on my BUYING NEW BIKES page.
If you have a question about the condition of a used bike, take it to a shop for inspection. Bicycles are simple and reliable, but they must be properly maintained for safe operation. Here's a checklist of things to consider before purchasing any secondhand bike.
Frameset: Paint chips are like beauty marks — they're inevitable, and add character. Expect dings and scratches. What you don't want, particularly in aluminum frames, are significant dents. These can act as failure points. Carefully check the lugs or welds where the frame is joined together. Welds should be even. Cracking of any kind is a show-stopper. So are bends at the dropouts (where the wheels attach to the frame). There should be no play in the front fork. Small areas of oxidation or rust are primarily just a cosmetic issue.
Handlebars: Never ride a bicycle with unplugged handlebars. If you can see the hollow of the bars, you must replace the handgrips or bar plugs before saddling up. In an accident — even a minor fall — unplugged bars are an impalement hazard. The bottom of racing-style "butterfly" handlebars should be roughly parallel with the ground. Replace worn or missing bar tape.
Saddle: Replace torn or obviously worn saddles. There should be no play whatsoever. Generally speaking, saddles should be adjusted parallel to the ground. Sitting in the saddle, your leg should have a slight bend at the bottom of the pedal downstroke. If your pelvis rocks when you are pedaling quickly, the saddle is probably too high. Lower it bit by bit until the rocking goes away. Verify that the seatpost clamp is free of cracks or obvious distress.
Brakes: Check for worn or dried-out brake pads. These must be replaced, along with frayed or rusty brake cables. Braking should feel positive. Look for cracked or bent brake levers.
Drivetrain: Wiggle the crankset. Side-to-side play indicates worn bearings or an improperly adjusted bottom bracket. The same applies to pedals. Replace a chain if it's rusty or has frozen links. Chains and rear gear cogs become mated with use, so chain replacement may require the purchase of a new gear cassette. Spin the freewheel and listen for the chatter of broken bearings. Lift the rear wheel — you may need help for this — and verify that shifting is crisp through all gears. You should be able to shift into the largest and smallest rear gear without the chain jamming or becoming unshipped. If this isn't the case, the gearing requires adjustment. On bicycles with rear derailleurs, inspect the rear brake hanger for bends or cracking.
If the teeth of a cog are very sharp then it is badly worn and needs replacement.
Wheels: As with the crankset, side-to-side play in a bicycle wheel indicates poorly maintained hubs. Squeeze the spokes with your fingers. The tension should feel equal across the entire wheel. Loose spokes indicate serious problems. Rims require periodic adjustment to remain "true" (straight). Stand over each wheel and use the brake pads as a visual reference. Spin the wheel. A small amount of side-to-side motion can usually be corrected. Up-and-down rim motion cannot. Rims should be smooth and free from road impact damage. Tires should hold the rated sidewall pressure. Replace tires exhibiting dry rot, worn tread, damaged sidewalls or tears exposing inner ply.
What should you pay?
Do your homework and find out the cost of new bicycles in your shopping class. A well-maintained used bike — ready to ride — will command up to half its purchase value. You'll need to take any necessary repairs into account as you size up a potential purchase.
So knock on some doors, get a good sense of the marketplace, and expect to find some good values. Then saddle up!