(Long rambling post about my new-to-me bike that I bought off of Craigslist. Consider yourself warned.)
I have had a desire to try cycling for a while. I have even gone so far as to go to my local bike shops and talk to the staff, learning and pricing. First off, $1300 for a base line Trek Road bike? I don’t even know if I LIKE cycling!!!! I can get a motorcycle for that – it has two wheels AND propels itself!!!! After my sticker shock wore off, I tried to get my ancient 1980’s 10 speed working, but it seems to pop tires. I couldn’t figure out which spoke was causing the problem, and had an issue spending the money that would be required to actually get it really road worthy. IT needed new cables, new brakes, wheels trued, new handle bar wraps, seat replaced, and a full tune up. I’m not dropping a couple of hundred bucks on a 20 year old bike that cost a third of that at the time.
I went to my old stand by, and decided to start watching Craigslist for a bike. Let me just say, I love Craigslist. I have bought smart phones, laptops, motorcycles, treadmills, workout equipment and even a pebble smart watch. I found that whatever you are after WILL show up on Craigslist eventually, at a price you like – if you wait long enough,and respond fast enough. (Or have your wife respond, as some people are more likely to respond to women.)
So, I picked up a 2003 Trek 2000 Road bike off of Craigslist for $50. The advertisement stated that it needed a new rear derailleur and chain, but included clip-less pedals, spare tubes and tires. In the weeks time from when he posted it, to when he actually sold it to me – he had bought the missing parts, He got them on, and when you move the pedals the wheels turn, but if you try to ride it – the chain pops off the back. Even though I am mechanically inept, I decided to take a look and see what I could figure out. I quickly realized that the rear derailleur won’t allow it to shift to the biggest gears, and it happily shoves the chain off of the bottom gear. With the help of YouTube, I found out how to adjust it – but it didn’t resolve the issue. With the encouragement of my Facebook friends – I brought the bike to the Crofton Bike Doctor to have it looked at. (Back when I was trying to learn about road-bikes, they spent 30 minutes explaining modern bikes to me, even though they knew I was only spending 4 bucks on a tube. The other “LBS” was under the impression I was buying a bike – and they were rude. So, Crofton Bike Doctor wins my business!
The staff at the bike doctor immediately noticed somethings I hadn’t. Like the fact that the brake pads on the back didn’t match. He also recommended that the handle bar tape that was falling off- be replaced, but he talked me out of the expensive stuff to another brand. Tune up was 79 bucks, plus the extras would bring it to a bit over $100. Not too bad. This price was of course dependent on the various issues the mechanic might find when he went over it, but he would call me then.
And he called me… And Called me again… And then questioned if it was worth it. 🙂 The list he gave me over the phone included:
Bottom Bracket Bent (What the heck is a bottom bracket?) another $15 in parts, and $15 in labor. Sure, why not.
-Bottom Ring needs to be replaced (What the heck is a bottom ring?)
-Chain Ring needs to be replaced (What the heck is a chain ring?)
-The rear cartridge has 9 gears, but the derailleur and chain are for 7 gears. The shifter in the
front is also for 7 gears. (I think he meant the handlebar shifter/brake – which had been replaced, which was odd to me as the gears are actually on the frame)
-Brake Hoods need to be replaced as one was ripped up, and the other was missing (previous owner had wrapped it in tape)
His estimate at this point, with the tune up – was over $400. Not in this month’s budget, but still far less than a new bike. The nice thing – is there was no charge for the estimate.
Since this is 2014, I immediately posted on Facebook. The common response was along the lines of “Grab a Wrench!!!” – Which is funny since I am mechanically inept. But I love working on broken things, because they are already broken. If it doesn’t work BEFORE you work on it, and it doesn’t work AFTER you work on it… Hey! No loss!
A friend was nice enough to recommend some books for me to help me learn about Bicycle maintenance – so I have my starting point!
Sorry for your bad experience with Craig’slist/bike. As a cyclist I hope I can convince you to include cycling in your exercise program. Running is good – to a point. It is weight-bearing so it benefits your bones, too. Very important. On the other hand, a lot of guys your age overdo it and end up damaging themselves. I hope you will do some cycling, too. If you get a minute search cycling on my blog and read some of the benefits. No matter what you decide, best of luck! At least you are exercising.
I don’t consider it a bad experience.. It was a 1300 dollar bike ten years ago, and it looks like i can still have it road-worthy for 400 or less. Its just a process 🙂
Guys my age? GEEZ!!!! Now I feel old!!!! 🙂
I plan on checking out your blog this weekend, haven’t had a chance yet – but definitely look into what you have to say on riding. I will always be a runner first, I have no doubt. I only have one marathon under my belt – and there are SO many more to do!!! I suspect strongly, that if I like cycling (and I have very little reason to believe I won’t) That Triathalons are in my future!
I’ve hit the point in my running now, that my “damaging myself” is usually isolated to my ongoing plantar fasciitis trials. But who knows, I may have new injuries to post! At my age, you never can tell 🙂
That is actually a very fair price for parts. I am guessing they are putting it back to its 14/21 speed glory with a 7 speed cassette and chainrings.
For an entry level, I don’t know if I’m going to keep doing this, kind of bike I would suggest this:
Coupled with the knowledge contained here:
All that is left is a chain, bottom bracket and some brake pads since it seems everything else is 9 speed? There are a thousand opinions on bike components but most cyclists tend to follow the more expensive is better line of thinking. I like good enough. Unless it is my mountain bike but even there it is within reasonable budgetary constraint.
There are some special tools required but they will add up to much less than the total bike shop labor estimate, or you can drop it by my house with a case of good beer and pick it up in a week or two. Ha!
Hmm, I believe I will take you up on that Brent!!! I’ll even bring a couple of cases if I can help with the work! 🙂
The hard part is saving up for the parts…
And getting the wife’s approval to spend the money…
A complete Shimano Sora groupset is around $400 new to give you an idea.