Last week we covered step by step what to look at when assessing a second hand bike. This week we are giving you a run down of costs associated with fixing up a beautiful vintage road bike.
Repairing the Rapparee
With no weather damage to deal with or dents in the frame – the bike was clearly well cared for.
There were however a few things that needed replacing and it needed a full service.
Here are the typical costs if you’d walk in to most London bike shops:
- Labour – general service and accessories fitting = £70
- Brake cable and housing = £9
- Tyres – Schwalbe Durano = £70
- Inner Tubes = £10
- Pedals = £20
- Bar tape = £16
- Mudguards = £38
Total cost to make the bike completely commute proof = £258
We took our bike to a bike shop to have everything tuned up and checked over. This meant the bike got a full general service. It also meant that we could be sure there would not be any underlying problems that would crop up on the first few rides.
General services vary in cost amongst bikes shops, but often fall somewhere between £60-£100. This cost will generally include any time spent changing accessories or components, things you will pay separately for. The labour for our bike cost £70 at Lunar Cycles. We only had to replace one brake cable and housing, costing £9 total, but up to 4 cables could have needed replacing.
Cutting down cost
If you feel comfortable doing maintenance tasks yourself, then this will cut out a good chunk of money. You could use our bike maintenance guides to do things such as brake cable and pad replacement, a safety check, cleaning and lubrication. These things are all pretty straight forward.
For all of these maintenance guides and more, don’t forget to take a look at our app Bike Doctor – which will talk you through the repairs step by step and be a handy guide to keep in your pocket.
If a bike has been sitting for a while in a shed or garage, then chances are the tyres, or at least the inner tubes, will be perished. The tread could also be worn out.
The tyres on our bike were beginning to perish and had got a little ‘hairy’ (the fabric lining was showing through the rubber). They also weren’t puncture proof making them unsuitable for London streets.
We put Schwalbe Durano tyres on our bike, and used some standard matching inner tubes, they cost £70 for the set and £10 for the tubes. As we were having the service done at a bike shop we purchased the tyres from there too. However, if you were doing the work yourself, you might be able to find some deals online. Also, if you are not intending to ride very often, commute in a city or have a preference for a particular type of tread, other tyres may be more suitable and potentially cheaper.
The pedals on our bike were some very old ones which had a strange cage fitting. Therefore, one of our upgrade priorities was to change those to some standard flat ones. Pedals can range in price from £5 up to well over £100. For our bike we picked some fairly basic metal ones with good grip. Plastic ones are cheap, but they scuff up easily and wear out quickly. They are also not as grippy in the wet or when you get oil and grease from the roads on your shoes.
This may be a good time to try out clipless pedals if it has been something that you have been thinking about. For commuting, double sided ones are often useful. These have the retention mechanism on one side and a regular flat pedal on the other, meaning you don’t have to always wear the shoes with cleats. They are often a little more expensive but it can be worth it.
Grips can be little havens for bacteria, all that sweat and exposure to the elements. Therefore, it is often worth changing them on any bike you inherit regardless of age. Or maybe I am just a grossed out germ-a-phobe! Adding new bar tape or grips also makes the bike a little different and allows you to personalise it a bit more.
This upgrade really doesn’t have to cost you much, and doesn’t have to be done by a mechanic. Bar tape can be a little tricky but there are some useful videos on YouTube. There are lots of tapes and grips to choose from, so feel them out before purchase and see which ones have the kind of grip and padding you need.
Not so much a rehab item and more of a London commuting necessity, we added mudguards to our bike. There were no eyelets for full length guards, so we added Race Blades. These are a little more expensive than some other clip on mudguards but are very durable and sleek.
Our costs were relatively high, but mean that we have a durable, fully serviced commuting machine. If you are rehabbing a bike for leisure then you can spend less on tyres and mudguards. However, if you are going to be using the new bike for commuting, then it is potentially a false economy to scrimp on the things on the bike that really take the brunt of London streets.
The frame on this bike is very nice steel and so we felt it was worth the costs. The bike itself also didn’t cost us any money as it used to belong to a relative. It is true that rehabbing a bike can cost less than we spent. However, these are the kinds of costs, or more, that need to be considered when searching for a second hand bike. Therefore it is necessary to consider whether the bike is really worth spending money on in the first place.
Hopefully the new owner of this bike will get many years of happy riding and adventuring in London out of it!
How much did your bike rehab cost? Have you got any tips for making a bike road worthy? Let us know!
Join 9,241 fellow cyclists who are subscribed to the London Cyclist newsletter
Sign up for our free newsletter to get...
- Advice on the best cycling gear
- A Friday roundup of all the latest London cycling news
- Exclusive content not available on the blog
Subscribe today, and get exclusive access forever! (It's free)
*No spam, ever!
As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.