I get calls regularly from customers looking to sell bikes. I find that about 20% of the bikes are older models, 70’s and 80’s “racing” bikes. After speaking to so many of these customers, I almost cringe when I hear them start to describe it, knowing that I will be delivering bad news to them. Many of these people have been wrongly advised the bikes have significant value. But the sad truth is they don’t. Many get upset when I advise them the values of these beautiful classics are next to worthless. If any repairs are needed which usually new tires are, they have almost no value. We have seen bikes regularly sell for around $100 in mint condition. Every once in a while a bike will be posted to an online forum for $500-$600 dollars but after months of trying to sell them and continually dropping the price, they end up in that $100-$200 range. It is a sad reality of our industry. With over 10 years in the industry, we have seen 1, maybe 2 bikes that had any significant value being vintage, out of 100’s. I refer people to bicyclebluebook.com, our online bike valuation tool and also to craigslist or ebay to find a bike like theirs so they can see what they are actually selling (not just the list price, asking price or Buy it now. Actual Sold products) for. We have picked up a few of these classic bikes over the years and you can see them hanging in our shop. But the truth is, we have had so many come into our possession that we could fill our shop with them. We donate them to the Guardian Ad Litem program or other customers fix them up for their kids or for fixed gear training bikes. It breaks my heart to see so much history mean nothing, as far as value is concerned. But that’s the way it is. Unfortunately, we live in a society that generally does not appreciate them. We want newer, better, faster. We want more technology. And at the same time, we are losing the classic bikes that were a major part of our history.
Almost every person who purchases a new bike from us asks about chain lube. But chain lube is only piece of the puzzle. Regular care of your bike will keep it running smoothly and even extend the life of your equipment. That translates into a faster, more efficient ride.
One of the most important (and sometimes overlooked) parts of bicycle maintenance is the tire pressure. Almost all tires have the inflation pressure embossed on the sidewall. Every tire is different so make sure you check to see what your specific tire pressure is before adding air. Depending on what psi your tires require, determines how often you should air them. Long gone are the days of airing your tires a few times a year. Today’s rubber tubes leak air pressure much more quickly causing most tires to require inflation a minimum of twice a week. Higher pressure tires (ie road bikes running 120 psi) will leak air much more quickly and will need to be inflated before every ride. Do NOT over inflate! It may seem like a good way to extend time between airing up, but you can potentially burst the tube or even blow the tire completely off the rim. Not to mention, over inflated tires make for a very stiff, uncomfortable ride. Make sure your tires are free from debris and that the rims are straight, the rubber is in good condition, does not show any cracking and has plenty of tread. Many smooth tread tires have wear indicators to show when the tire is actually worn out. If there is belting or cloth showing or bulging in the rubber, replace the tires immediately.
Take a look at your brake pads. Some brake pads are marked to show wear. But if there is any type of metal showing in the pad, it is well past it’s expected wear. Squeeze the brake levers and make sure the pads are contacting the rim, not the tire. Check that the brake lever does not come all the way back to the bar. There should be about an inch of space between the bar and the brake lever when it is fully applied. Also make sure the cables seem to move freely in the cable housing and are not binding.
The drivetrain of the bike (front and rear gears and pedals) should be free from debris. Grass, pine needles, moss, etc. can all cause your chain to skip. Check the shifters to make sure they twist or compress and that the cables are moving freely. You can see the derailleurs move when you shift the bike. Just make sure to shift them back to the gear you started in before you ride the bike again.
The chain on the bicycle should be lubed with a bicycle specific product. Do not use WD-40, Vasoline, cooking oils, etc. These products can actually cause damage to your drivetrain. We once had a customer who used vasoline to lube the chain and regularly rode the bike on limerock roads. The drivetrain was so badly caked with gunk that it barely moved. WD-40 will do the opposite and completely strip the lubricants off of it. We generally suggest applying chain lube when the chain starts making noise. Depending on how often you ride, that could be once a month or as little as a few times a year.
Some clipless pedals have exposed springs that need to be lubed a minimum of once a year depending on your riding conditions. If the springs do not move easily, clipping the cleats in and out of the pedal will become extremely difficult.
Generally bicycles should be kept clean and free of debris. More on cleaning in Maintenance Part 3.
Bicycles are not a cheap purchase these days. Bike shop quality bicycles start in the $300 range for entry level equipment. Even the big box stores now sell bicycles in the same price range, granted you can also get them as low as $60 or so. No matter where you purchase your bike, some quick and simple maintenance will extend the life of your ride. If you’re willing to spend a little extra time to take care of your bike, it could make the quality of your ride better as well.
The biggest impact on bicycles is the weather. Our Florida sun, rain and constant weather change is not good for all the metal and rubber on your bike. Unfortunately, the less you pay for the bike, the greater the chance the weather will have a negative impact on it. (Cheaper metals corrode and rust quicker). The easiest solution is to store it indoors.
Storing your bicycle inside your home is the best option. The climate controlled environment keeps the humidity low and protects the rubber from the damage the heat can eventually cause. The garage is the next best place. Though the climate is not as controlled, the bike is protected from the elements. A shed or other outside room would be last. The bike may not get direct rain, but the humidity tends to stay higher in these areas which will ultimately start the rust/corrosion process. Keeping your bicycle completely outside will leave it exposed to the elements which will quickly cause deterioration.
When storing your bicycle in a garage or shed, there are a few other factors to look out for. Make sure to keep it away from any kind of chemicals. Believe it or not, chemical fumes actually leach through their containers and into the air. Paints, thinners, fertilizers and pool chemicals are the most common culprits and will quickly cause corrosion. Broken spokes due to corrosion from stored chemicals is a common issue. Also, avoid storing your bike is direct sunlight. Some of the new brightly colored paints on bikes will fade with prolonged exposure to sunlight. There is a local mountain biker who’s bike is white on one side and neon yellow on the other because he always stored his bike near a window and one side received direct sunlight.
If you transport your bike inside your car, leave the windows cracked. The temperature inside your car can get extremely high during the summer. It’s hot enough to blow out a tube. Seriously!
With the advent of the internet also came online shopping. Online shopping offers a lot of benefits in it’s own right. You go online, find what you need and its delivered to your front door. There’s a lot of convenience there! And a lot of people have found awesome pricing to go along with it. However, now that online shopping has become a habit for us all, things are changing.
Yes, there are still deals to be found. But, online second hand deals have become increasingly fraudulent. Websites like craigslist and Ebay were once great venues to buy and sell. But now, not so much. Ebay has increasingly raised its fees and craigslists seems to have a lot of scams. As a bike shop, we see a lot of second hand bikes that have been bought from both places. The sad truth is that 3 out of 5 bikes we see have major problems. So be very careful when shopping second hand and always have an experienced mechanic check out any bikes before you buy.
The biggest issue we face is price shopping. It’s important to understand a few things. First, online shopping puts brick and mortar stores out of business. There are a lot of stores that I would much rather personally shop in than buy online. Sporting goods are one of them. I want to see, touch and try any kind of sporting goods before I buy. And its in REALLY bad taste to go to a physical store to check something out, then go buy it online without giving the store a chance to price match. The simple truth is that we can and DO match prices 99% of the time. And you’ve helped to keep a local store in business.
Second, online is NOT always cheaper. We have a particular customer who has become addicted to Amazon. He bought a few items cheaply; cheaper than we can get it. So he stopped asking us to price match. He did have one product that he consistently bought from us and we gave him “the amazon price”. One day, he needed something different and asked us to price match. The Amazon price was one cent cheaper than we sold it. Of course, we price matched it. So he again began buying several different products from us. His next purchase was a Garmin product. He gave us the opportunity to match the price so I went to Amazon to compare. What I saw next was unbelievable! I called him back and agreed to match the Amazon price…at $300 MORE than my retail price. Of course he was thrilled until I gave him the news about the price. I couldnt believe it. I went to the manufacturers website and their retail price was the same as what I had listed. Amazon was in fact $300 more. $300!!
The business model of Amazon and other companies (including Wal-Mart) is to offer a certain percentage of their products cheaply to get customers hooked on buying with them. Once that habit is established, you dont price check, you just buy.
The moral of the story, online is not always cheaper for your wallet. And your local bike shop almost certainly will price match if they can. So support your local shop. We’re real people and we care about our customers and our products!
Starting an informational blog doesnt have too much credibility if you don’t know who’s providing the info, Right? And you definately want to make sure you’re getting credible information.
So who are we? We are recreational cyclists, we have raced, we have rode dozens of centuries, we’ve rode across the state in numerous capacities and we’ve participated in many charity bike rides. We each have 15 plus years of riding under our belts and we are just like many of you. With the various types of riding we have done, riding with friends is definately what we enjoy most. Our work experience in the bike world encompasses over 10 years in the industry and includes race mechanic for numerous charity events and state championship races.
On the other hand, we have been involved with the Florida Department of Forestry and Florida Department of Transportation advocating for the safety and enjoyment of the sport. We are involved with several different bicycle clubs and charities and constantly stay active in the community. We host multiple events a year from the bike shop so we can interact with you. At Crank Works, we are very passionate about what we do. We only sell what we have tried ourselves and we only sell good quality parts. We aren’t here to rip you off, we are here for the long haul. Our reputation and Integrity are very inportant to us. Our customers are very important to us and we strive to give each customer the best experience and service that we can possibly provide. Stop by the shop and experience the best service anywhere!
We are super excited to start interacting with our customers on a more regular basis. So many times, we only get to see our favorite people when you come in for service or need something else. Well, here’s more “something else” to add to your arsenal from the best local shop around…knowledge. Eventually we will organize all of our ideas into the new “Learning Center” on the website (watch for it next year!). But for now, we will use the blog as a running tally of the information that we think you should definately know! We will present on all things cycling and if you have a question or topic you would like to see us address, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll do our best to tackle it! And if you like what we have to say, make sure to bookmark this page (and share with your friends of course!). So without further delay, Welcome!