Stop! Don’t buy that department store bike! Read this first, and save yourself hours of pain.
A lot of people have been asking where to buy a cheap or used bicycle in Sydney. The truth is that is quite difficult to buy a second hand bicycle in Sydney. There are several reasons for this. One is that people tend to throw things onto the street when they don’t need them, instead of keeping them to sell at garage sales, markets, second hand papers etc.
A bigger factor is that the trend has been to buy cheap bicycles from department stores. These bicycles do not usually enter the second hand market because they are so poorly made that they reach the end of their useful life with the first owner. So before you go and buy one of these terrible bikes, try to find a second hand one first. Even if you spend more on the second hand bike than the new department store bike, it will give you less trouble and repairs costs and you will be able to sell it when you don’t need it anymore. Common department store brands (bikes to avoid), are: Cyclops, Huffy, Royce Union, Triax.
Here are some tips for buying bikes, in order of price range:
There are many free bicycles to be had in Sydney, as people throw things onto the street for fun. Check council websites or call them to find out when the ‘council clean ups’ are on. Then you can find them on the street. Otherwise, keep your eyes out for bikes thrown away, even on campus.
The Nunnery Bike Workshop, located in Waterloo, runs every Monday from 5pm til late. You can go and get a used bike for free. You’ll need to spend some time fixing it up, but there are experienced people there who can show you what to do.
The Bower reuse centre has bikes for under $20. These bikes usually need quite a bit of repair. They also sometimes sell fixed-up bikes (as of November 2008, they had three 21-speed bikes in good condition for $135 each). You can use the UNSW bike club’s tools for this or take the bike along to the Nunnery Bike Workshop where there are more tools and spare parts.
The Mitchell Road Auctions… don’t exist any more. Sorry.
Pedallin Pete might be able to help you out with a bike.
The Trading Post is a second hand paper. Ebay is worth a try but not very good. Gumtree is also worth a look. When buying second hand bikes, we suggest that you request a photo of the bike’s serial number (a number stamped into the underside of the bike), as a means to check if the bike was stolen.
Omafiets Dutch Bicycles sells high-quality second-hand bikes from Holland; it’s run by some ex-UNSW Bike Club organisers. Not dirt cheap, but high quality and high resale value. They also operate a buyback scheme, perfect for exchange students.
Europa Cycles is our local bike shop to campus, on the corner of Anzac Parade and Doncaster Avenue. With good quality bikes, you can sell the bike when you are done with it because it will still be working! For short term students, Europa Cycles has another option. You can buy the $400 bike (including helmet and lock) and return it within 6 months to get $100 cash back (as long as it’s not completely trashed).
For the higher price range, bike stores are a good option.