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A few months ago I was in an accident with a car on my way home from work (oncoming car turned left in front of me). My bike was severely damaged, the frame broke in two and the front wheel is bent enough to be un-usable.

broken bike

However, many of the other parts, the shifters, derailers, brakes, etc. seem to be in good condition. I'm considering using some and selling others of these parts. Excluding the obviously damaged parts, are there any other parts that shouldn't be used/sold? I wouldn't want to use/sell bad parts and I would be selling these with full disclosure on where they came from and what they went through. Basically I'd like to know if there are any parts that are typically damaged with wrecks like this and what I should look for.

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We have no way to know what may or may not have been damaged in the accident, especially without knowing details about the accident and the types of components on the bike. Some parts you likely won't be able to determine if they're still functional until you put them on a different bike and ride on them.

That said, you're not going to get much by selling a lot of those components piecemeal, especially with a disclaimer that it's been in an accident.

My recommendation? Scrap the bike for parts, and keep them around as spares for your next bike. Having a good supply of used parts on hand can be incredibly useful.

  • Totally agreed. Spare parts are peace of mind (except for wives). – heltonbiker Apr 30 '12 at 19:49
  • This is a perfect answer. It's unlikely that what you'd gain from the sale of the parts would outweigh the effort involved in their salvage and sale, and spares on hand is never a bad thing. BTW, I hope you came through this accident better than the bike? – zenbike May 1 '12 at 2:26
  • @zenbike Not too bad considering. Fractured my left wrist and was in a cast for 6 weeks. Other than some bruises, no other injuries. Luckily the driver stopped and insurance has determined the fault as theirs. New bike is paid for as well as a rental car while I'm healing. So really selling the parts would just be extra, keeping them for spares sounds like a good idea. – MichaelHouse May 1 '12 at 3:01
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    Nice to hear. Yeah, spares would be better, even if everything is perfect. Nobody wants to have to wonder if somebody crashed because they weren't careful enough, even if you're up front about everything you sell. I assume you feel the same, especially since you took the time to ask a question like this at all. – zenbike May 1 '12 at 4:38
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I think perhaps you could inspect some parts and, if they show no reason to worry, you could use them yourself. But I think it would be unfair to sell some of the parts, "by definition".

So, I think you should NOT sell these parts:

  • Fork;
  • Handlebar;
  • Headset;
  • Stem.

These are structural parts that are vital for safety and/or are likely to be damaged in an impact like yours (looks like frontal impact?)

Hope this helps

  • I would add cranks to that list...... – mattnz May 1 '12 at 1:28
  • @mattnz I think only the parts directly subjected to abnormal stresses during the crash would be damaged. Since the frontal crash mechanism don't subject the cranks to unusual mechanical stresses, it should be fine. – heltonbiker May 1 '12 at 2:32
  • I though about that - although a frontal crash, there's no telling of the cranks took a big hit or not. If there is no visible damage, they will be OK, but if they are scratched - ever had a crank break while stomping up a hill....... – mattnz May 1 '12 at 5:45
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You could sell the bike whole, for someone else to part out.

But I feel that the others are being a bit anal about selling the parts. After all, many bikes are subjected to far more abuse than this TA produced. A bicycle is a remarkably robust device.

The frame (obviously), the front wheel, the fork, and the headset should be tossed (though the front wheel hub may be salvageable).

The handlebar and stem, unless visibly bent/damaged, should be safe. Inspect the cranks to see if they've been bent. If not, then the cranks and BB cart should be good. If the rear wheel has remained true, then it is good. And obviously, brake parts, derailers, etc, are good unless bent.

You should, of course, disclose that the parts are from a traffic-damaged bicycle. And I would agree with the others that the amount you get may not be worth the effort. (You might consider instead donating the bike to a local bikes-for-kids group that would strip it for parts.)

(Or you could repair the bike. The frame can actually be repaired, if what's in the picture is the worst of it, and if the front wheel is not totally tacoed it can likely be trued to a substantial degree (though probably not perfect). Of course, it wouldn't really be worth the effort, but it would be a challenging "project".)

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    This frame should not be repaired, and can't be repaired with any degree of confidence in its safety. Even if you had a TIG welder, you could never retemper the frame, and the act of welding the aluminum would destroy the existing temper. to say nothing of actually getting it aligned correctly, or how the bike would handle even after the best possible repair. – zenbike May 1 '12 at 2:19
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    Also, not many bikes are subject to "more abuse" than being broken in half by a car. That's a bit disingenuous. – zenbike May 1 '12 at 2:22
  • I've seen handlebars break in bikes that have never crashed. Stems, never. So I think the sem could be reused for sure, but the bar perhaps not. And that frame sure could be replaced - repairing such cracks would not be a good idea. – heltonbiker May 1 '12 at 2:29
  • Thanks Daniel. I agree it would be an interesting project and since I don't know a whole lot about bikes (I just ride them), it would be a learning experience. – MichaelHouse May 1 '12 at 3:02
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Get a new frame and front wheel, and build it up yourself for "fun". Then sell it on or keep as a spare/winter bike.

2

I would say that apart from frame, handlebar, fork and stem, seatpost (you never know, and it is quite painful if it snaps halfway) you can save many things, like the drivetrain, brakes. Front wheel should not be used anymore, but you can keep to play around with fun project (i.e. to build a one-wheel cargo trailer or other upcycling stuff).

The fork, even if straight, must not be used again on a bicycle, but may be used to build a wheel aligner. If you throw it away, please carefully destroy it (hammer it, break it, find your way): it should be evident and impossible to be repaired ... you never know who will scavenge the rubbish bin.

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    Old/damaged forks can be recycled as racks for storing wheels, and I use one as a makeshift truing stand. – Criggie Feb 28 at 23:01

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