I have an old, cheap, second hand bike which I use for commuting. I have to leave it on the street for 10 hours every day, it is old with damaged stickers and dirty which makes it less likely to be stolen.

It is in awful condition though. It's previous owner drove his car over it or something. It had broken brakes, a broken back derailleur and damaged front derailleur. Worst of all is something I didn't notice at first: a bent frame.

I have already spent more money in repairs than what I spent in purchasing the bike to begin with. In my last inspection I found that the back hub is also loose, I think it is related to the frame being bent. The thing is, I still want to be able to ride it to work and I don't want it to get stolen or damaged.

So what are the best options for me?

Is it a good idea for me to replace the frame? (without previous experience)

I tried to find a donor bike but I don't feel confident in buying another one second hand. I also don't feel comfortable leaving a new bike on the street for long.

  • 1
    I left one of my old beat up bikes in a bike rack (unlocked) at a restaurant for about 1 month and eventually it disappeared. Now that I think about it I could have stripped it for parts and should have so maybe that is your answer. Strip some parts off of it you may need (tires, tubes, lights, bottle bracket...). I bought a cheap ($100 new) mountain bike and am tweaking it for my riding style (lower gearing, mixed tires, dual computers...).
    – David
    Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 13:38
  • Do you lock the bike up when you leave it on the street? If so; what kind of lock do you use?
    – renesis
    Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 15:53
  • @renesis I use this: decathlon.es/media/816/8168162/…
    – kifli
    Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 16:57
  • 1
    Salvage what you can, recycle the rest or use it as "art" If its unsafe for you to ride, its unsafe for anyone to ride. Shop around for your replacement used bike. Consider this a learning process, and have fun doing it. Find out if theres a local bike coop who can assist with tools and learning.
    – Criggie
    Commented Mar 16, 2016 at 3:20
  • @kifli, when purchasing used, you could arrange the meeting to take place in a bike shop, so that the mechanic can judge the condition. It should take them just a couple of minutes.
    – Vorac
    Commented Mar 16, 2016 at 7:31

6 Answers 6


If I do not easily notice a bent frame at first sight, it tells me it cannot not be that bad to compromise the frame integrity. When you ride the bike, do you feel it handling weird, or shaky? if it doesn't, then I would conclude the bent frame is inconsequential. Personally, one of my bikes has a bent frame which I didn't noticed it for the first few months. Been riding it for 4 years since then and it's never been issue in handling or otherwise and I've ridden in long rides (15-20+ miles) and at considerable speeds (17-19 mph)

The loose hub, as it has been mentioned before, it could as easy as tightening the bearings cups or as bad as needing a new hub. Without a video or personally inspecting it, it hard to give proper advice.

If the frame is toasted, I would consider two options: donate it to a bike co-op so it can be used for spare parts; or find a similar bike on CL and keep this one for spare parts.

Also, a bike co-op will work with you to either fix your bike or allow you to pick another one in exchange for the one you have.


It sounds like the bike is in pretty bad shape if someone drove a car or truck over it to bend the frame. I'd probably opt for getting another whole bike.

Moving components to a new frame may require some specialized tools and is likely not cost effective except for high end parts (usually otherwise, reselling the bike is a better idea, but in this case it sounds unethical).

I'd donate the old bike to a bike charity (someone who is aware of bike safety), let them strip the parts they can use and dispose of the rest.

As for bike upkeep, on most bikes (and cars and what not), you spend more than the bike costs over the lifetime on repairs and upkeep. If you buy a 500 dollar bike, you'll be spending maybe 50 dollars every 5000 miles on new cassette + chain, so at 50k miles, you've spent 500 dollars on that alone (disregarding tires, lubricants, possibly new shifters, saddle, brakes, etc.).

  • Most of life's significant purchases are like this, the running costs far outweigh the replacement cost. Its a fallacy that a cheap periodic replacement is better than a quality item, maintained for years. Even for a cheap $50 inkjet printer (where the replacement cartridges cost more than the printer did new)
    – Criggie
    Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 23:07

If you have a local bike coop/charity and willingness to do some work yourself, its a good time to visit them. Our local refuse recycle station charges $10 for bikes in better condition than this, so be very careful spending money on it.

As far as a loose hub - could just be loose cones and needs a clean and tighten, or could need a new hub. If you can't do it yourself (or mate) its not worth getting a bike shop to look at it.

As far as bike security two things to keep in mind. A bike stored outside will eventually get stolen, and the likelihood of it being stolen is related to how nice it looks and how easy it is to steal. A manky old beater that's locked up well has the best chance of still being where you left it when you need it - so have a cheap looking bike you don;t mind loosing, and good locks.


If rear hub is loose, it maybe a damaged hub, which will break itself over time (but no one can say how much time it will take). Replacing frame + wheel costs pretty much like a 'new' used bike. So I would say buy a bike will be better option. Just remember to check well the frame and hubs when you buying a bike. As you have new parts (brakes and gears, as you said), you can save them for new bike if there you will have to replace something.


Most people would agree that at the point you have a new frame, you have new bicycle. In that sense your question might be rephrased: "how can I purchase new bicycle and minimize cost by using some of parts from the old one".

To do so, you need to make a list of parts that you think are good on the old one, including type of parts and assessment of their value. Then you go to shop some other old bicycle that has bad or lacking parts that you have.

In theory this sounds good, but in practice it takes a lot of time and looking of old bicycles to find suitable purchase candidate. That is because you need new bicycle that will be compatible with parts you have. For instance if you have good 6 speed shifter, you should be looking for bicycle with 6 speed rear hub. It is not a rocket science, but there is some room to make mistakes, and in the end spend more money that you have intended to. But it is definitely a learning experience!


http://www.bicycling.com/bikes-gear/diy/7-ways-to-reuse-old-bike-tubes/belt this website maybe can help you~

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