Author Topic: What should I do? Keep my old bike, buy a second hand one or a new one?  (Read 1669 times)

Diego

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Hi there mustachian people, I think I'm stuck in making this decision. I need some advice.

I have an old bike which I use for commuting to work and visiting my friends (I live in the suburbs of Madrid, Spain). This bike is a double suspension mtb bike, like this one (https://http2.mlstatic.com/bicicleta-mountain-bike-26-doble-suspension-18-veloc-oferta-D_NQ_NP_893924-MLA25870089474_082017-F.jpg).

It has a pair of cantilever brakes which doesn't work well (I need to use my own feet to brake). The gears don't work well either, and I can't use a regular rear rack, I have to buy a special one designed for double suspension bikes (which turns out to be very expensive if I want good quality, more than the value of the bike).

My commuting is not very long (10km / 6.2miles per track), but when I carry the laptop, food and some other things in a backpack I usually have back pain... And I would like to travel with my bike in a future too, so I definitely need some saddlebags.

Here come the alternatives. I can:
  • Repair my current bike (the most urgent are the breaks and I think the next is the transmission). I estimate around 100 of repairs (the current value of my bike is about 80-100). The good thing is that my bike fits perfect to my body.
  • Buy a second hand bicycle from a store, with warranty. It is about 250-350 and I hope to use it for a few years, until I know exactly what touring bike I want and go buying it.
  • Buy a brand new touring bike. I have read here and on ERE that when buying a bike, it is usually better to buy new, at least if you are not a professional of the bikes world. I think this is the best decision in terms of money. By buying a new good quality touring bike I will be able to use it for the rest of my life, I will be able to travel with it, commute more comfortably, etc. BUT, the point is that I'm not sure what bike to choose. I know it's an important investment, but I know nothing about what type of bike I need, what will be my requirements in the future, etc. I also plan to work abroad in a future, and with this bike I will have to manage how to send it to that place (whereas with a cheaper used bike it should't be a problem to get rid of it).

For me, this decision is like getting married for the rest of my life, or keep meeting new people... What would you do?



Ponderosa

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Re: What should I do? Keep my old bike, buy a second hand one or a new one?
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2018, 04:26:26 PM »
I can relate to how your feeling, as I recently went through the same dilemma for the past few years now. For a couple years I commuted on a hard tail with 2.4" tires. While it makes for a fun mountain/winter bike, most days it felt like a grind.

You are going to quit biking if you keep riding that thing in its current condition, or maybe even get hurt. At a minimum repair it now and use it until you have made your decision.

I know its easy to get caught in the thought loop of: I should buy the bike that will last me forever. You can easily overthink your decision because you are trying to anticipate every your every need going forward. A touring bike is going to fill most needs at any point in your life. From what you describe I suggest getting something with rack/fender mounts and wide tire clearance (up to or more than 40c). If you have the money you probably won't regret the purchase.

FINate

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Re: What should I do? Keep my old bike, buy a second hand one or a new one?
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2018, 05:08:10 PM »
Your mountain bike would drive me nuts for commuting around town. Based on your description of the condition, my bet is that the suspension is also shot (dried out and/or worn o-rings, busted valves). Most suspension components need servicing every 30-100 hrs of riding (probably a little less often if you're only on street).

Buy a used touring bike, in reasonable condition: chainrings, cassette, bottom bracket, headset in good condition. Get a rack with saddlebags to get the weight off your back, and fenders to keep off the spray on wet days. I also second getting tires that are a little wider than the typical road bike. Also recommend a little bit of tire sealant in the tubs - really helps prevent flats.

RE maintenance: Every bike needs regular maintenance. You can buy new to avoid it for a while, this buys you maybe a year if you're commuting daily. However, you aren't going to buy a new bike every year (I hope!) so you may as well learn to do it yourself. You can do almost all maintenance with a few tools and a little know-how. Tools: chain whip, cassette tool (specific to your cassette type), crescent wrench, allen key set, chain break tool, crank puller (for your specific cranks), valve stem tool, chain wear indicator, bike tire levers. These tools are cheap, small/compact, and you only buy them once (can get most in a kit for about $100 - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B017KS56MG/). It's simple to replace the chain which should be done at 0.75% wear to extend the life of your chainrings/cassette. And the chainring(s) and cassette are also easy and cheap to replace on your own. Not sure about EU prices, but I get new KMC chains for about $10, 8-speed cassette for $17, and chainrings for about $20 each.

If you're serious about bike commuting for the long-term than doing your own maintenance will save you a ton of time and money, and you can be sure the work is done right.

IrishRockstar

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Re: What should I do? Keep my old bike, buy a second hand one or a new one?
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2018, 10:27:18 AM »
Buy a used bike with all the gear you are looking for. Try keywords like “commuter” or “rear rack”. The racks and fenders have almost no value when attached to a second hand bike and it should save you a considerable amount of time and money. I would look for something with a lighting setup as well.
It sounds like you aren’t currently comfortable with bike maintenance, so I’d recommend you practice by fixing your brakes before you do anything else. You probably just need pads. The install can often be done with standard household tools (Allen and crescent wrenches). And....Jacob and Pete would be proud of this first step of insourcing to yourself!


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Diego

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Re: What should I do? Keep my old bike, buy a second hand one or a new one?
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2018, 09:43:10 AM »
I think what I'm going to do is start learning about touring bike brands, bike components, etc. And at the same time I think I will fix my brakes, because right now, with warmer weather here in Spain people start going outside and it's more dangerous with adults/children/pets on the same road as me (adults are the worst! they're like zombies with their cellulars!).

Thank you for your responses.

frugaliknowit

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Re: What should I do? Keep my old bike, buy a second hand one or a new one?
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2018, 11:53:18 AM »
What the others have said plus:

If you are pretty "thick" financially, New versus used is no big deal.  The important thing is you keep riding and stay out of paying for a car.

You could learn what you want by test riding new bikes at bike stores, then buy either new or used.

Diego

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Re: What should I do? Keep my old bike, buy a second hand one or a new one?
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2018, 01:55:27 AM »
At this moment I can afford a new bike but I'm a big defensor of buying second hand stuff. Although in this case I have doubts. It will be an investment for a long time and I don't know anything about bicycle mechanics. Plus, I think at this moment I'm not able to appraise a used bike.

Last year I bought a second hand motorbike with the help of a familiar (who's had lots of motorbikes during his life)... and it's been broken for a long time (I can't wait to sell it this summer). I know this things sometimes happen, but I don't want this to happen me twice. Last year I went for the cheap, I think this time I will buy new.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: What should I do? Keep my old bike, buy a second hand one or a new one?
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2018, 05:07:22 AM »
If it's 500 or whatever for a nice new bike, it's not a lot of money when compared to running costs for a car. If you know what you're looking for, then secondhand is great (I bought my current bike second hand), but buying a new bike (provided you don't go crazy high-end, and pay cash) is fine too. Although the second hand bicycle from the store should be fine if it's in good condition.

A bike can always be resold later if you decide you need something different or if you move abroad (might be cheaper to sell and re-buy another one at your destination than pay for shipping).

Enjoy your new bike once you get it :)

hadabeardonce

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Re: What should I do? Keep my old bike, buy a second hand one or a new one?
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2018, 10:43:28 AM »
...and I don't know anything about bicycle mechanics.
Now you do: https://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help/

I'm commuting on a 26" front suspension mtb that I put together, but if I had to do it again I would have gotten a road bike for the conditions I ride in. If you're planning on marrying your next bike, I would highly suggest a new virgin one. Check the crankset teeth on any potential ride, walk away if they look worn like shark fins.

Seatpost racks will mount to most bikes, but the carrying capacity is reduced:
https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/equipment/cycling-accessories/bike-racks/bontrager-backrack-seatpost/p/06971/

I'm looking at getting on of these:
https://www.topeak.com/global/en/products/bikepacking-series/969-backloader

letired

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Re: What should I do? Keep my old bike, buy a second hand one or a new one?
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2018, 11:23:33 AM »
I don't know if this is a Done Thing anywhere, but if you find a used bike you like, you could arrange to meet at a bike shop and have them check it out before you buy it. You might have to pay the shop a bit for them to look it over, and if you have them do the necessary repairs they'll probably be happier about it. All the bikes I've bought used off craigslist have worked out without me being any kind of expert (or getting any kind of inspection), so don't be too intimidated! Do a test ride and be picky.

FINate

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Re: What should I do? Keep my old bike, buy a second hand one or a new one?
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2018, 12:01:35 PM »
...and I don't know anything about bicycle mechanics.
Now you do: https://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help/

To add to this, there are also a ton of YouTube videos, blogs, and other online sources. Most bike maintenance is extremely easy, requires few tools, and can be done virtually anywhere (even in an apartment). Start small. Replace your own chain, tires or brake pads. Expand your skills from there as needed. No harm in trying it yourself first, can always bring it to a bike shop if you can't figure it out. Use the bike shop for stuff that requires very specialized tools and/or skills (pulling/pressing press-fit bearings, suspension maintenance).

Hibernaculum

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Re: What should I do? Keep my old bike, buy a second hand one or a new one?
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2018, 12:33:01 PM »
Since you're not particularly knowledgeable about bikes (yet), buying new could be a good option. What you want to do is to shop for the bike shop, not the bike. Look for a bike shop that specializes in commuting-type bikes. You want something, as others have also said, that can take wide tires (35mm+), and can easily mount a rack and fenders. No suspension. No carbon fiber. So, shop the bike shops and see where you get that kind of advice.

Diego

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Re: What should I do? Keep my old bike, buy a second hand one or a new one?
« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2018, 04:17:54 AM »
Thanks to everybody!!

Since you're not particularly knowledgeable about bikes (yet), buying new could be a good option. What you want to do is to shop for the bike shop, not the bike. Look for a bike shop that specializes in commuting-type bikes. You want something, as others have also said, that can take wide tires (35mm+), and can easily mount a rack and fenders. No suspension. No carbon fiber. So, shop the bike shops and see where you get that kind of advice.

That's definitely what I'm going to do. For the moment, I'm fixing the brakes of my current bike and I will search for a specialized touring bike shop.

As I can leave my laptop at my office during weekdays, I only need to carry my own food and a some clothes, so I think I can keep carrying these things in a backpack every day conformably enough.