With the Winnipeg police auction coming up soon we are going to start seeing lots of very gently and heavily used bicycles. It is going to be difficult to get replacement parts and to the untrained eye, it can be difficult to spot a real bargain.
In our experience, the average repair price for a bike purchased at auction is $150. Include that in your budget as well as these tips for spotting the “diamond in the rough.”
Here are some things to keep in mind when buying a bike at auction.
1. You are buying the bike “as is” and you may not get a chance to ride it.
If the bike even looks anything less than pristine, PLEASE stay away from it. (These aren’t classic cars after all.) Most bikes that have been sitting and rusting for a few years are little better than the metal they are worth in scrap.
2. Unless you know exactly what you are buying, don’t overspend.
You might think that a classic 1970s road bike could be fun to restore, but unless you know how to make the repairs yourself, the cost could be hundreds of dollars. And that is if the frame and forks are undamaged. Old brakes can also be tricky to source.
3. Keep an eye out for big well known brands.
Trek, Giant, Norco, Kona, or Specialized to name a few. These are bikes that were usually originally sold by a store that responsibly serviced their customers after they purchased their bike. This means that before that bike was recovered it probably saw a good life.
4. Look up the availability of parts before the auction.
Things like 6, 7, 8, and 9 speed cassettes, chains, and shifters. These are the parts that are going to be flying off the shelves once the auction is over. It is good to find a shop that has an ample supply of parts.
5. Wheels usually cost more than the bike you just got.
Some of the bikes recovered will have a missing, bent or broken wheel. Simply stay away from bikes missing the rear wheel.
- A missing front wheel is not too expensive to replace. You can count on $120 for a wheel, tire, tube, spoke liner and labour to install it.
- A rear wheel will usually cost you around $300. This is for the rear wheel, cassette, chain, tube, tire, and the labour to assemble it all together.
It is possible to get a good deal at the auction, but it’s more rare than you might hope. Our goal is to get you enjoying cycling for your lifetime - the cost of a “good deal” is often more than we expected.
We hope this guide helps you in your search this year for a new bike. Remember, nothing is really a good deal when you pull back the layers. A new bike can almost save you more money in the long run.
Keep a smart eye about you and we will see you on the trails!
- Northern Bicycle Co.