Our professional bike mechanics wrench on hundreds of bike a week and have provided us with a comprehensive list of bicycle value killers. Follow our rules below to ensure you get the most out of your bike when its time to upgrade.
1. Do not sticker your bikeThis is #1 on the list for a reason, you actually spend money to devalue your bike. By adding stickers to your bike, a buyer’s first impression can be ruined by unsightly decals or sticker residue. You can also damage your customer's confidence in you; what damage are you hiding under the stickers? Just say no!
2. Proper maintenanceJust like servicing your car, basic maintenance goes a long way to preserve the value of your bike. Unmaintained cables, housing, brakes, shifters, and drivetrains are obvious to a prospective customer. No one wants to pay top dollar for a bike, only to have to put more work into it. Follow these simple maintenance tips to preserve your bike's value:
- After every bike ride, use a hose (not a power washer) to gently rinse away any dirt or mud from your last ride.
- While not required after every ride, you will want to wash your bike with soap and water, getting in those little nooks and crannies. Be aware, water can wash away chain lube, so be sure to reapply!
- Keep the drivetrain healthy. Clean it as often as possible, and use the right about of lube - not too much or too little, and always wipe off the excess.
- Use the correct grease for alloy components and carbon paste for carbon components.
- Grease pedal threads, bolts, and the seatpost (if it's carbon use carbon paste) when installing to ensure nothing gets siezed.
- Replace cables if they kink or fray and replace the cable housing if shifting begins to degrade. Ideally, this service should be done at least once a year.
3. Replace worn contact points and wear itemsLooks matter. Contact points like grips and saddle, and wear items like tires take the hardest beating from normal use. Replace these commonly worn, inexpensive items prior to sale to improve the appearance and increase the value of your bike.
4. Install frame protectorsApply frame protection to your headtube, chainstay, and anywhere the cables or chain may come in contact with your frame. What starts as a minor scuff can become a serious scar. Over time cable housing and brake hoses can saw through carbon and aluminum frames. Even with a clutched derailleur, your chain will slap or suck into your chainstay, chipping paint away and even damaging a carbon frame. Some people will even go so far as to protect their entire frame from chips and scratches with clear bra style protective tape. Also, if you shuttle often on your mountain bike or carry your bike in a pick-up truck, a downtube protector can stop excessive wear from repeated rides on the tailgate. All of this is preventable, and a little foresight will help preserve your bike's value.
5. Use a torque wrench
Your expensive components are lightweight because they are made from carbon fiber, and are fragile. A common mistake we see is over-torquing bolts on seatposts and handlebars, causing cracked carbon, dramatically lowering the value of your bike. To avoid over-tightening, always use a torque wrench. This $20 tool can save you hundreds in the long run.