It certainly feels like Christmas Eve to me as Father Christmas will have a very special present for me tomorrow afternoon. I’ve bought a road bike through e-bay, it arrived today and tonight it’s being assembled and set up by the elves at Heaton Park Cycles. After watching bikes come and go for a few weeks I realised that I wouldn’t be able to find anything for £200-£250 which was my initial intention, leaving money to have it serviced and a budget to upgrade the bike as I pushed it to its limits. I hoped to find a bike that was originally bought for over £500 a few years ago now on sale for about £250, but this proved impossible. However, by spending more money you could save more (twisted logic I know) and bikes worth well over £1000 were available for under £500.
The bike I bought cost £1600 4 years ago although it was a rare Danish ‘Principia’ that I could only find reviewed in German. The Ultegra groupset it sported is usually found on bikes sold for over a grand, the Mavic rims were worth over £200 and although only the forks were carbon the aluminium frame was so light that the vendor claimed to be able to lift it with just one finger. The sale also included some Look pedals and aerobars that will give me an authentic timetrial/triathlon riding position once I’ve gained enough confidence to ride that way.
Winning it was great fun: Apparently the bike had a buy it now price of £495 which I might have paid (if i wasn’t bidding on other bikes) but by the time I found it the bidding had started and was around some derisory £100 level. 3 days before the auction end I put in a £400 bid which gave me the lead and only 90 seconds away from the finish the price had only risen to £330; at that price it would have been a steal. With the auction ending at 6pm I could watch (and participate) in the closing stages and having decided there was no better bike currently available I increased my maximum bid to £450 which was still below the £500 budget I had set myself. With less than a couple of minute to go, another bidder showed serious interest with the price jumping up in £20 and £30 leaps and so with 30 seconds to go I was still in the lead with £420. Then a bid leapt in from another punter to the value of £465 which meant I was outbid. I realised this and fortunately the wireless connection held out in the kitchen to enable me to put in a winning counter bid with just 2 seconds to go until auction end. It was a very satisfying feeling.
The delivery was only £15 from Kendal which would have been less than the cost of petrol and saved me 3 hours travel with a bad back. It was sent on Wednesday and arrived well packaged this lunchime. The guys in the bike shop were impressed and were cooing over it. The tyres are a bit worn but will last me until the racing season begins (!) and I’ll stick with regular pedals for a few weeks before moving to cleats. Can’t wait to give it a spin tomorrow afternoon, let’s hope it doesn’t rain.