By greenteapanda

March 23, 2010

Category: Transportation

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In January, I found out that I could buy used bikes for 400NT from a garage near National Taiwan University. Basically all the abandoned/confiscated bikes around NTU end up there, and supposedly get some repair work done. The only requirement for the customer is to get there Thursday morning at 8am. You can come later Thursday, but then the good bikes will be snapped up before you come.

I didn’t come that early, but I found a bike that seemed to have a solid frame. Besides, the allure of getting a bike that would be a fraction of my monthly MRT expenses seemed very attractive.

The only possible downside I could think of was if it got stolen, I would have lost my nice bike lock, which was worth about 4x the purchase price of the bike itself.

Not even on my third ride, the cranks fell off the bike. Then my rear wheel came out of alignment, and it got bent trying to force it back into place without tools.  To fix the problems (other than a wobbly rear wheel from that point), I bought a quality toolset that included socket wrenches, pliers, and other tools for 600NT. Still no problem, the combined cost was still significantly lower than a month of taking the MRT back and forth between home and work.

It wasn’t long before I figured out all the the screw, bolt, and nut sizes on the bike, because I constantly had to tighten parts or put parts back into place on the bike.

My bike lasted about two months that way. Last week, more serious problems began to occur. The rear wheel hub shattered. It was completely free on one side, and the bike handled even more adversely than before, but it was usable. Today, though, the rear brakes shattered as I rode of those pieces punctured the rear tyre. Riding on the rims with a little cushioning from what was left of the tire, spokes started snapping off.

Now, I could have purchased a new rear wheel and tyre, but that would be far more than the 400NT I paid for the rest of the bike, and serious problems were just waiting to happen with other components. As it is, this bike was record-breaking in terms of cost over time, and I would not want to disturb that.

With my newfound knowledge and tools, I can make my next bike work a lot better until it faces a similar fate.


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