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Repairing vs Replacing your Bike: Important Factors to Consider

Your bike is no longer performing the way it once did. What now? It's a seemingly small issue but it's enough to seek advice and so you bring your bike to Full Cycle & Colorado Multisport for an expert opinion. After a pleasant greeting, you explain to the service writer the issues you are experiencing while riding. At a glance, the Service Writer suggests replacing your bike. Excuse me? You find yourself faced with a difficult question you had not prepared yourself for, should you repair your bike or is it better to replace it? 

For relatively new bikes with a reasonable amount of wear, we are now offering the option to trade-up for a new bike! The assessment period for a trade-up will take 48-72 hours. We have to assess the value of your bike and repair costs for us to resell it. After this assessment period, we will give you a value for your bike that you can then use as a credit towards a new bike. Questions? Give us a ring and we can walk you through this process further!

Learn About Our Trade-Up Process

Making an Informed Decision

First thing we need to establish is the purpose or goal for the bike. Does the bike suit your needs? Is that old bike the one your parents bought you in middle school? The same bike you haven't ridden since they dropped you off at college 15-years ago? That bike likely is not up to the task of getting you through your first triathlon, let alone enjoying it. 

On the flip-side, that old Raleigh 10-speed your grandfather raced in the 1970's isn't going to make a comfortable commuter even if it happens to fit you perfectly (which it doesn't). Ask us to show you a couple of new models that would suit your needs. Be honest with yourself and compare those new bikes with the one you already have. What's the better solution regardless of budget? That's almost always going to be the better value.

The Cost of Consumables

Assuming your current bike does suit your needs, it's overall condition and functionality are the next concerns to address. Why would I replace this bike? It just needs a few adjustments. I frequently find myself asking customers "What did your phone look like when that bike was new?" Bikes can have a surprisingly long lifetime with proper care and maintenance. It's not uncommon for a bike to be handed down, purchased second hand, or stored for years and still have life left in it. 

The age of the bike is not the issue per se. Unfortunately, as the rubber in the tires, grips, and brake pads ages it will lose functionality, comfort, and ultimately safety. We commonly refer to those components as "consumables". The chain, gears, and bearings that keep your bike rolling are consumables too. While they may not wear as fast as tires and brake pads if you've put enough miles on your bike at some point replacing them is your only option. 

Depending on how old the bike is, it may have standards that are difficult or impossible to source. Kind of like finding a replacement phone cord, answering machine tape, or handset battery that came with the phone you had back when your bike was new.

"Proprietary" Technology

Proprietary technology doesn't just apply to computers, smart phones, and electronic appliances. Over the last 30 or so years, the bike industry has followed suit and made their products more purpose built, less versatile, and at times frustratingly unique. 

Modern triathlon bikes, dual suspension mountain bikes, high-end carbon frames... the latest and greatest models are host to numerous integrations and features that keep you dependent on that manufacturer's continued support of that product. When a brand decides that enough time, potential miles, or product generations have past to no longer support that product you may be left hunting the depths of the internet for the part your bike needs. It's not uncommon for manufacturers to discontinue support after a 5-8 year period forcing you into the dilemma of upgrading to a new component or getting that upgrade included with your next new bike.

The Most Important Consideration: Safety

The final reason we typically suggest replacing a bike rather than repairing it is the most common reason, safety. That small issue that brought you into the shop may just be the tip of the iceberg. That little inconsistency you noticed while riding might be the result of a bent, cracked, or just plain broken frame or fork. The frame and fork are the skeleton of your bike and while many can be repaired, often times the cost of the repair exceeds the value of the bike. 

The same goes for other expensive parts, especially suspension components and wheels. There's no hard line on where to cap a repair but when a bike is well-worn it is not uncommon for a complete overhaul with all the new parts and labor to exceed the bike's original price. In the scenario that the cost of the repair exceeds the value of the bike, we'll always recommend considering a replacement. But with that being said, sentimental value is immeasurable and we've happily repaired plenty of bikes over the years that were dead on arrival. The only condition is that we do EVERYTHING necessary to make the bike safe to ride.

Out With the Old and In With the New?

Ultimately the decision to repair or replace your bike is up to you. If your frame, fork, suspension, and wheels are in good shape you should probably have the bike repaired. If any of those expensive pieces are compromised it's likely time to consider upgrading that part or just replacing the bike. We're here to offer our expert advice when it's time for a simple adjustment, major overhaul, or upgrading to a new model. 

Our Trade-Up Process

STEP 1: When you come in to Trade-in your bike your bike will undergo an assessment from our Service Department.

STEP 2: In the scenario that the bike is in good condition it must be submitted for an evaluation by our Assistant General Manager. You will need to leave your bike in the Service Department 24-72 hours in most cases. Any parts and/or labor required to ensure its safe function will be factored into the credit offered to you. Ultimately, you will receive a credit worth 70% of the current value of the bike. Value will be determined by the Assistant General Manger using Bicycle Blue Book, eBay, and Secondary Bicycle Marketplace Sites like Pro's Closet. So if a bike is valued at $1k and is in tip-top shape, that customer will receive a $700 credit towards the purchase of a new bicycle. On the other hand, if that bike needs $200 worth of parts and labor to meet basic safety requirements, the credit offered would be $500.

STEP 3: Highly personalized, upgraded, custom bikes must be sold before any credit is given. Any parts and/or labor required to ensure its safe function will be factored into the credit offered to the customer. These bikes will be listed on eBay after the customer and the General Manager agree on an opening bid. The customer will receive a credit worth 70% of the sale price.

*If the bike is beyond repair, or the cost of the repair exceeds the value of the bike, you will receive $25 credit towards the purchase of a new bike. Your old bike will be donated to Community Cycles or Cyclist for Humanity depending on the condition and category.

Have Questions and Want to Learn More About out Trade-Up Process?