In the United States, more than a million new bikes are sold each year. To this figure must be added those that change hands in the market for used bicycles.
Buying a bicycle is one of the most important investments in the life of a cyclist. The risk of making the wrong choice is high. And not only because of the economic cost involved. Also because of everything involved in deciding which bicycle is the most suitable for you: comparing models, reading opinions, visiting shops, knowing the right size.
And, of course, for as long as we’re going to use it. A bicycle is not a pair of sunglasses that you can replace with others the following month if you don’t like them or they don’t suit you. You’re going to use a bike practically every weekend for the next two years.
Related: How to choose the best mountain bike
Just as important as buying a bike is knowing when it’s time to change it. The type of use you make of it, the kilometres travelled, the demands of the routes or the weather conditions are factors that have a direct effect on the condition of the bicycle.
The maintenance and care you receive is also important. A bicycle that has been checked on time, the transmission and brake consumables have been replaced before it reaches the end of its useful life and has been carefully washed and greased at the end of each ride, will have a longer useful life.
The combination of all these factors – maintenance, type of use, weather, kilometres, etc. – makes it difficult to establish exactly when you should change a bike.
However, there are some indicators that can give you a clue that your current bike can no longer offer you and the time has come to change it.
Repairs exceed the market value of the bicycle
It’s the same with bicycles as with cars. At the moment when shopping begins to devalue. Depending on the type of bicycle, the brand and the components it carries can lose between 15% and 30% of its value each year. Wear, use and maintenance must also be added to this.
There comes a time when the resale price of a bicycle on the second-hand market is below 50% of its original price. This usually happens after 3 or 5 years of use, although in some cases it can happen sooner.
It is important to be clear about the value of the bicycle at all times. The more time and use your bike has the more money you need to invest in maintenance, repairs and replacement parts.
There comes a time when the main components of the transmission (sprocket, chainrings, etc.), the suspension (shock absorbers and fork), the brake discs or the rims have to be replaced.
Calculate the money you spend each year on these operations. If the cost is more than 50% of the value of the bicycle or its current market value, the time has come to change it.
The components are out of date
Bicycles not only lose value due to the passage of time and the wear and tear caused by their use. They also do so because of their geometry and the original equipment they carry.
The major manufacturers update their bicycle ranges practically every year, focusing on two aspects: on the one hand the design of the frames, with new angles and geometries to adapt them to the patterns and trends of use. On the other hand, the type of components.
For example, a few years ago the majority of road bicycles on the market had a racing geometry. Little by little they have been diversifying into large bottom, aero, climbers, etc.
Something similar happened in the mountain bike segment when the tires of 29″ came onto the market. A mountain bike with wheels from 26″ was outdated for cross country riding.
And it’s not just the market that’s evolving. So does your level of use. For example, maybe two years ago you had enough with a 10v change and yet your pedaling cadence needs a wider development with an 11v cassette. If when you go out with your route friends you are left behind because you don’t have the same level of equipment, or you notice that the change, the wheels or any other element is too short for you, it would be time to replace your bike.
You prefer comfort to speed
One of the main reasons why many cyclists change bikes has to do with ergonomics and the position of the body when pedaling with it. This is especially true for those who have been cycling for years, both on the road and in the mountains.
There comes a time when you stop evaluating how reactive a bicycle is, its aerodynamics or the speed with which the power of pedalling is transmitted. And you start to appreciate that your back doesn’t hurt, that your hands don’t fall asleep on the handlebars or that the irregularities of the terrain don’t make you uncomfortable.
If with your rigid mtb you finish every route with back pain, maybe it’s time to replace it with a double suspension.
You need another type of bike
Sometimes we buy a bicycle for a certain use, but we end up liking another type of modality.
The reason why there are different frame geometries on the market is because not all bicycles are suitable for the same purpose. Even within the same category, such as mountain biking, an enduro bicycle is not the same as a cross country bicycle.
If you bought an XC bicycle to take part in walks and flat-profile routes, but you’ve taken a liking to technical descents along trial trails and routes, you’re not going to make the most of it.
The bikes indicated for a certain modality, such as cross country bikes, have a frame geometry, a type of suspension and a wheel format very different from those designed for enduro or all mountain.
The manoeuvrability, agility and driving that one mode requires has nothing to do with another. And because the requirements are different, the bike you need will also be different.
If it’s time to change, you’ll want to get the best price from the sale of your bike. The money you get will be used to invest it in your new bicycle in Tuvalum.