Go Back   English Forum Switzerland > Help & tips > Transportation/driving  
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 19.09.2008, 16:34
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Perthia
Posts: 1,237
Groaned at 1 Time in 1 Post
Thanked 905 Times in 446 Posts
Yokine has a reputation beyond reputeYokine has a reputation beyond reputeYokine has a reputation beyond reputeYokine has a reputation beyond reputeYokine has a reputation beyond reputeYokine has a reputation beyond repute
Pitfalls guide to buying old bicycles in Switzerland

I’ve been meaning to write this for a while and have been prompted by some “for sale” advertisements on the forum. Lots of people seem to be looking for cheap bikes, but as with most things you get what you pay for. Unfortunately not many people have knowledge about the types of bikes out there, the ages of bikes being offered, the pitfalls and what they are worth. I’m hoping to help with the first three points.



The types of bikes I have illustrated (images nicked from Ricardo) can be seen all over the streets of Zurich, ranging from use as everyday city bikes to near “disposable” bahnvelos. Many people are surprised to find that they are likely to be between 20 and 40 years old, and have had varied lives and maintenance. The last 15 years have seen huge improvements in bicycle technology, parts compatibility and reliability (thank mountain biking), leaving older bikes obsolete and possibly unserviceable. I’ll put in point form some of the negatives of these bikes, I’ll try and keep it in simple layman’s terms.



- Due to age, even a maintained bicycle is likely to be worn out in general. At the point of “fixing or replacing one thing after another”.
- If you are not a DIY person, the Swiss labour costs of repairing these bikes can run into multiples of the purchase price.
- Many parts such as the rear wheel gears and gear changing systems are obsolete and parts very hard to find. Which means either expensive or difficult to locate.
- Swiss made bicycles will have obsolete standards. The threading (the spiral groove on a bolt) is usually “French” or “Swiss” specification. These are obsolete and no longer manufactured. Spare parts to fit will need to be old stock. Parts from modern bikes using the near global “British” specification will not fit.
- Huge leaps in brake standards have improved safety on modern bikes. The old bikes in general have poor stopping power. Avoid old “racing” bikes with extension brakes levers, they reduce the braking force you can apply and are generally indicators of lower quality bikes anyway. (see example below)



- If the tyres are old or perished (hardened and cracked) they are dangerous and should be replaced. Even with DIY this will cost around CHF40-
- Tubular/singles/colles type of tyre on racing bikes and some tourers. These are a real pitfall to the unwary and can be difficult to identify. Basically a tube sealed within the outer tyre, making a rubber “hula-hoop” which is glued on to the wheel. When you get a flat the whole hoop needs to be replaced (no easy patching of tubes). I have a friend who was charged CHF160 to replace two tyres, tubular/colle at CHF40 plus labour to install at CHF40. To be avoided like the plague! (see image below, the likely reason it is being sold with flat tyres is that it is fitted with damaged tubular/colle tyres)



- As for pricing, check out Ricardo for actual bids (not sellers inflated minimum prices) or the Veloborses. The bikes I’ve described can be had for CHF50 to 200 depending on condition and quality.

I’ve learnt this myself working friends and families old “cheapie” bikes, and would highly recommend those who care little about bikes or repairing to spend a little more on a new or near new Migros or Athleticum bike in the CHF500 range. I’m sure you won’t regret it.
Reply With Quote
The following 10 users would like to thank Yokine for this useful post:
  #2  
Old 19.09.2008, 16:53
Brianb_ie's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Zurich
Posts: 515
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 125 Times in 88 Posts
Brianb_ie has earned the respect of manyBrianb_ie has earned the respect of manyBrianb_ie has earned the respect of many
Re: Pitfalls guide to buying old bicycles in Switzerland

Hi Yokine

All good advice but none of your photos are up..?

I suspect a lot of people get these old bikes for the retro factor/tortured genius parisian style. Give me my Specialized Rockhopper A1 Fs Comp Edt any day
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 19.09.2008, 17:04
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Perthia
Posts: 1,237
Groaned at 1 Time in 1 Post
Thanked 905 Times in 446 Posts
Yokine has a reputation beyond reputeYokine has a reputation beyond reputeYokine has a reputation beyond reputeYokine has a reputation beyond reputeYokine has a reputation beyond reputeYokine has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Pitfalls guide to buying old bicycles in Switzerland

Hmmm, they are hosted on Flickr. Are you blocked maybe? Anyone see them?

I realise that people buy them for all kinds of reason, heck I've just finished a couple of bikes to ride in L'Eroica! But when I see some junkers being advertised on EF for CHF200, I think I should share some knowlege!
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 19.09.2008, 17:08
Brianb_ie's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Zurich
Posts: 515
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 125 Times in 88 Posts
Brianb_ie has earned the respect of manyBrianb_ie has earned the respect of manyBrianb_ie has earned the respect of many
Re: Pitfalls guide to buying old bicycles in Switzerland

Quote:
View Post
Hmmm, they are hosted on Flickr. Are you blocked maybe? Anyone see them?

I realise that people buy them for all kinds of reason, heck I've just finished a couple of bikes to ride in L'Eroica! But when I see some junkers being advertised on EF for CHF200, I think I should share some knowlege!
Very true. I suppose its comparable to someone selling a dodgy car and the buyer not really even caring whether is rubbish or not.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 19.09.2008, 17:08
mimi1981's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: London, previously Basel
Posts: 3,790
Groaned at 21 Times in 19 Posts
Thanked 5,792 Times in 2,173 Posts
mimi1981 has a reputation beyond reputemimi1981 has a reputation beyond reputemimi1981 has a reputation beyond reputemimi1981 has a reputation beyond reputemimi1981 has a reputation beyond reputemimi1981 has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Pitfalls guide to buying old bicycles in Switzerland

I can see the pictures.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 19.09.2008, 17:21
Woodsie's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Zürich
Posts: 898
Groaned at 6 Times in 5 Posts
Thanked 665 Times in 338 Posts
Woodsie has a reputation beyond reputeWoodsie has a reputation beyond reputeWoodsie has a reputation beyond reputeWoodsie has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Pitfalls guide to buying old bicycles in Switzerland

So, with these weird glue on tyres. Is it possible to replace them with conventional tyres and tubes, or are the rims specific to this type of tyre requiring the whole wheel set to be replaced to use conventional tyres?
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 19.09.2008, 17:34
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Perthia
Posts: 1,237
Groaned at 1 Time in 1 Post
Thanked 905 Times in 446 Posts
Yokine has a reputation beyond reputeYokine has a reputation beyond reputeYokine has a reputation beyond reputeYokine has a reputation beyond reputeYokine has a reputation beyond reputeYokine has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Pitfalls guide to buying old bicycles in Switzerland

Quote:
View Post
So, with these weird glue on tyres. Is it possible to replace them with conventional tyres and tubes, or are the rims specific to this type of tyre requiring the whole wheel set to be replaced to use conventional tyres?
No the rims are tubular/colle specific, just a smooth concave, no "hook" along the edge for tyre beads. If the hub and spokes are worth it you can replace the rim with a tyre & tube version. I've done several, and always say "never again"

You can see it on this modern version. They are still used for racing, when you have support truck with a bunch of spare wheels following you!

Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 19.09.2008, 17:45
ManBearPig's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Zürich
Posts: 141
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 107 Times in 55 Posts
ManBearPig has made some interesting contributions
Re: Pitfalls guide to buying old bicycles in Switzerland

I guess a good rule of thumb could be:

Dont bid on anything that nobody is bidding on.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 19.09.2008, 18:05
Woodsie's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Zürich
Posts: 898
Groaned at 6 Times in 5 Posts
Thanked 665 Times in 338 Posts
Woodsie has a reputation beyond reputeWoodsie has a reputation beyond reputeWoodsie has a reputation beyond reputeWoodsie has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Pitfalls guide to buying old bicycles in Switzerland

Quote:
View Post
I guess a good rule of thumb could be:

Dont bid on anything that nobody is bidding on.
I would go further and say never buy an old bike that you havn't seen in person and taken for a quick spin. The average digicam shot on an internet auction site is only going to tell you if both wheels are still attached and the paint is still shiny. It is not going to tell you that both the wheels are warped, the gear shifters are rusted solid, the bottom bracket is making a loud grinding noise and the headset is slopping around. Even an experienced mechanic isn't going to spot this in a poor quality photo. But even an inexperienced dummy is going to realise something is wrong within 2 seconds of jumping on the bike.
__________________
If you're not living on the edge you're taking up too much space. But I'm greedy and like my space.
Reply With Quote
The following 2 users would like to thank Woodsie for this useful post:
  #10  
Old 19.09.2008, 18:59
Newbie 1st class
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: zürich
Posts: 22
Groaned at 1 Time in 1 Post
Thanked 3 Times in 2 Posts
noni has no particular reputation at present
Re: Pitfalls guide to buying old bicycles in Switzerland

Yes, you are right, but what about buying the new bikes and getting it robbed, from the SBB velo parking lots? I think in the city like Zürich Bike-stealing is a common case and also unresolved.
If you are using your bikes and expecting to park it at SBB velo parking lots, my strong recommendation is buy an old one worth 50 to 120 CHF....and don't get upset when its stolen. just buy another old one and expect it to be stolen in another year or two.

what say?
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 19.09.2008, 21:16
Salsa_Lover
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Pitfalls guide to buying old bicycles in Switzerland

Quote:
View Post
So, with these weird glue on tyres. Is it possible to replace them with conventional tyres and tubes, or are the rims specific to this type of tyre requiring the whole wheel set to be replaced to use conventional tyres?
The main problem is that older bikes use normally 5 or 6 speed freewheels ( shimano IG or the older screw-on models), modern wheelsets you can get on the market for under 200 CHF come with 8-9-10 speed freewheels ( shimano HG ) that are not compatible at all with old drivetrains so you'll have to change the whole drivetrain.

It is indeed risky to buy old bikes from ricardo, but there are some "diamonds on the junkyard" you can get if you are a connaisseur.

Those particular ones would maybe not have any bids on it and the people avoid them but could result good.

I got me my "banhoff-velo" from ricardo for only CHF 85, a sporting tripple butted steel frame racing bike with a full 6 speed shimano 105 ( 1050 ) groupset. It even has "world champion" stripes on it, that AFAIK you can't put on a frame unless is endorsed by a world champion winner.

As new, like if someone bought it on the late 80's and store it at the cellar and didn't ride it.

It has collé wheels but they are in good shape, I keep it at the banhoff where I work so I commute by train and get the bike from there to the office.

here is a pic, it is very light, fast , rides smooth and it is a beauty.

Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank for this useful post:
  #12  
Old 19.09.2008, 21:59
Woodsie's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Zürich
Posts: 898
Groaned at 6 Times in 5 Posts
Thanked 665 Times in 338 Posts
Woodsie has a reputation beyond reputeWoodsie has a reputation beyond reputeWoodsie has a reputation beyond reputeWoodsie has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Pitfalls guide to buying old bicycles in Switzerland

Quote:
View Post
The main problem is that older bikes use normally 5 or 6 speed freewheels ( shimano IG or the older screw-on models), modern wheelsets you can get on the market for under 200 CHF come with 8-9-10 speed freewheels ( shimano HG ) that are not compatible at all with old drivetrains so you'll have to change the whole drivetrain.
Hmmmmm, do I hear a voice saying "single speed/fixie conversion?"

But yes, by the sounds of it these types of wheels are best avoided by the average person looking for a cheap city bike. It will end up costing more than the price of the original bike to sort them out.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 21.09.2008, 14:26
Salsa_Lover
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Pitfalls guide to buying old bicycles in Switzerland

Quote:
View Post
Hmmmmm, do I hear a voice saying "single speed/fixie conversion?"

But yes, by the sounds of it these types of wheels are best avoided by the average person looking for a cheap city bike. It will end up costing more than the price of the original bike to sort them out.
If you like the single speed bikes you'll love this video. ( at the end of the page )

http://www.mashsf.com/

by the middle of it to the end you'll probably recognise somebody
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 21.09.2008, 23:41
ChrisW's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Lausanne (or out on my bike)
Posts: 1,780
Groaned at 8 Times in 6 Posts
Thanked 856 Times in 495 Posts
ChrisW has a reputation beyond reputeChrisW has a reputation beyond reputeChrisW has a reputation beyond reputeChrisW has a reputation beyond reputeChrisW has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Pitfalls guide to buying old bicycles in Switzerland

I agree with almost everything said so far, and I think this thread is a great idea. I must say that I'm frequently surprised by the asking prices for second-hand bikes that I've seen on this forum: Bikes being offered for 100-200 CHF that look un-maintained and in need of some work.

Before I moved here, I was a graduate student in Canada. To make some extra cash, I bought, repaired, and resold old bikes like these. These 100-200 CHF bikes are like the ones that I'd pay 20-50 CHF for at a garage sale then struggle to get 50-80 CHF for after replacing any parts that were worn out (by pulling the necessary parts off of other old bikes I had) and doing a full tune-up!

If you don't have a backyard and shed full of old bike parts, these old clunkers really are almost impossible to maintain economically.

However, I agree, the brand new 500 CHF Athleticum bike is not the most appropriate thing to leave at the train station, so what choice do people have? Plus, most people have no idea what they're looking at when trying to get a new bike. So, what should someone who needs a basic bike for not too much cash do? I'm not sure what the best advice is.
__________________
Cycling in Switzerland | Photo blog (mostly travel pics from Switzerland)

Last edited by ChrisW; 22.09.2008 at 09:40.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 21.09.2008, 23:51
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Appenzell
Posts: 5,618
Groaned at 100 Times in 87 Posts
Thanked 2,267 Times in 1,331 Posts
DaveA has a reputation beyond reputeDaveA has a reputation beyond reputeDaveA has a reputation beyond reputeDaveA has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Pitfalls guide to buying old bicycles in Switzerland

I am no bike expert, but given recent experience, I would emphasise the cost of repair or even simple servicing for what appears to be a low cost purchase can well outweigh the purchase costs.

dave

Quote:
View Post
I agree with almost everything said so far, and I think this thread is a great idea. I must say that I'm frequently surprised by the asking prices for second-hand bikes that I've seen on this forum: Bikes being offered for 100-200 CHF that look un-maintained and in need of some work.

Before I moved here, I was a graduate student in Canada. To make some extra cash, I bought, repaired, and resold old bikes like these. These 100-200 CHF bikes are like the ones that I'd pay 20-50 CHF for at a garage sale then struggle to get 50-80 CHF for after replacing any parts that were worn out (by pulling the necessary parts off of other old bikes I had) and doing a full tune-up!

If you don't have a backyard and shed full of old bike parts, these old clunkers really are almost impossible to maintain.

However, I agree, the brand new 500 CHF Athleticum bike is not the most appropriate thing to leave at the train station, so what choice do people have? Plus, most people have no idea what they're looking at when trying to get a new bike. So, what should someone who needs a basic bike for not too much cash do? I'm not sure what the best advice is.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 22.09.2008, 01:20
Mrs. Doolittle's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Aargau
Posts: 6,044
Groaned at 120 Times in 87 Posts
Thanked 7,098 Times in 3,350 Posts
Mrs. Doolittle has a reputation beyond reputeMrs. Doolittle has a reputation beyond reputeMrs. Doolittle has a reputation beyond reputeMrs. Doolittle has a reputation beyond reputeMrs. Doolittle has a reputation beyond reputeMrs. Doolittle has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Pitfalls guide to buying old bicycles in Switzerland

Quote:
View Post
So, what should someone who needs a basic bike for not too much cash do? I'm not sure what the best advice is.
Many bike shops sell used bikes, and I think that any reputable shop will make sure the bike is road worthy before putting it out for sale. You may not find the greatest bargain, but at least it will be a bike where the mechanics are sound and you shouldn't have to invest too much money in parts or service. The used bikes are usually sold very quickly so if you see one that meets your needs, best not to hesitate.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 22.09.2008, 01:45
Salsa_Lover
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Pitfalls guide to buying old bicycles in Switzerland

Quote:
View Post
I am no bike expert, but given recent experience, I would emphasise the cost of repair or even simple servicing for what appears to be a low cost purchase can well outweigh the purchase costs.

dave
Well, this is the point most of you are missing.

A "Banhoff-velo" is a cheap bike, normally under 100 CHF, and usually around CHF 60.-

it is a disposable bike, so you can let it at the train station and don't care much if it got stolen.

If the bike breaks up and/or need new wheels or whatever, you don't go to a shop and pay a high price to repair it. You simply forget about it and get another.

That is the thing.

It is utterly stupid to get a disposable 50 CHF bike and then pay 160 CHF to repair it.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 22.09.2008, 08:16
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Appenzell
Posts: 5,618
Groaned at 100 Times in 87 Posts
Thanked 2,267 Times in 1,331 Posts
DaveA has a reputation beyond reputeDaveA has a reputation beyond reputeDaveA has a reputation beyond reputeDaveA has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Pitfalls guide to buying old bicycles in Switzerland

I would say that is fair advice as long as you don't compromise your safety in doing so.

dave

Quote:
View Post
Well, this is the point most of you are missing.

A "Banhoff-velo" is a cheap bike, normally under 100 CHF, and usually around CHF 60.-

it is a disposable bike, so you can let it at the train station and don't care much if it got stolen.

If the bike breaks up and/or need new wheels or whatever, you don't go to a shop and pay a high price to repair it. You simply forget about it and get another.

That is the thing.

It is utterly stupid to get a disposable 50 CHF bike and then pay 160 CHF to repair it.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 22.09.2008, 16:47
Salsa_Lover
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Pitfalls guide to buying old bicycles in Switzerland

I have a question about a frame and didn't want to create a new thread, maybe Yokine and Woodsie could give me an opinion.

I am about to buy this frame to build a winter cross bike. It is good and good priced but it has a dent on the top tube.

I read that is usual in cross bikes to have dents there as the bar-end shifters in the handlebars eventually hit the top tube at that place.

What do you think ? could be the frame integrity compromised ? It is right to the side of the "T"

Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 22.09.2008, 16:54
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Perthia
Posts: 1,237
Groaned at 1 Time in 1 Post
Thanked 905 Times in 446 Posts
Yokine has a reputation beyond reputeYokine has a reputation beyond reputeYokine has a reputation beyond reputeYokine has a reputation beyond reputeYokine has a reputation beyond reputeYokine has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Pitfalls guide to buying old bicycles in Switzerland

Quote:
View Post
I have a question about a frame and didn't want to create a new thread, maybe Yokine and Woodsie could give me an opinion.

I am about to buy this frame to build a winter cross bike. It is good and good priced but it has a dent on the top tube.

I read that is usual in cross bikes to have dents there as the bar-end shifters in the handlebars eventually hit the top tube at that place.

What do you think ? could be the frame integrity compromised ? It is right to the side of the "T"
Sorry, I wouldn't have a clue, definitely a question for a dedicated cycling forum.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
bikes, used bikes




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Guide for buying a new home (new construction) deplanck Housing in general 22 22.10.2009 18:36
Any guide to taxation on buying an apartment? EdF Housing in general 0 13.11.2007 13:30
www.justlanded.com (Guide to Living in Switzerland) Tummy Daily life 0 21.09.2007 19:32
Dummy's guide to buying a flat panel TV here DanielL TV/internet/telephone 18 07.02.2007 15:34


All times are GMT +2. The time now is 14:01.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
LinkBacks Enabled by vBSEO 3.1.0