Cycling is an expensive past time, there are no two ways around it – sure it’s cheaper than learning to fly, or F1 racing but it’s expensive nevertheless. The prices of bikes can be somewhat eye-watering,  and if you ask Cyclists what bike they would recommend for under £200 – the consensus is generally “buy used”.

They even have a derogatory name for bikes at the cheaper price point … Bike Shaped Objects (BSO’s).  Claiming that they can do more harm than good (bad brakes, poor components etc) but I am digressing.

I wanted to buy a bike and leave it outside work, much like I did with my hybrid bike – but I wanted a road bike and one came up on ‘Facebay’ – a used Trek Pilot 1.0 for the princely sum of £100 including decent Schwabe winter tyres, carbon forks, Tiagra derailleur and recently upgraded parts. It seemed cheap enough for me to have a punt and leave outside work.

trek pilot

Looking online, the Trek Pilot 1.0 is an old bike – maybe 10 years old but the picture showed it was in good condition – albeit with a black paint job. It’s parts all recently upgraded.

I agreed to buy it instantly – and was fairly pleased. I told one of my friends about it – and his reaction was “Check it’s not stolen!”. This wasn’t really something I was expecting but all of a sudden my mind was working overtime. I didn’t know where to start.

I googled it – every Trek bike has a frame number at the bottom of the bike – visible if you flip the bike upside down. I would check the frame number and check it’s not stolen against a bike register (no reports of a stolen Trek Pilot 1.0)

As the guy was selling was on Facebook, I clicked his profile and one of his older pictures was with a black bike so that made me feel better that this was in fact his.

So the guy turned up, and I started looking at him suspiciously. I didn’t know what a suspicious bike thief looks like but I was ready for anything. I managed to take a picture of the frame number and check – nothing bad.


I bought the bike and brought it to work for use. I tried it out while cycling with some guys from work – and the first 10 miles of my 14-mile route was ok. I noticed that it was slipping gears a little but nothing terrible. But 4 miles from ‘home’ – the chain just snapped in two.

My first mechanical – and an hour walk. As it happened I was pushed back home by the guys who heroically took it in turns to push or pull me along. I walked the last half mile to give them a break.

I messaged the guy saying on first use the chain snapped and gears were slipping and he wasn’t really too interested.

So now I am looking at repairing the chain and maybe the cassette – a task that I am entirely incapable of doing so either paying someone £20 or so to do the work OR spending hours learning and cursing. Suddenly this cheap bike isn’t looking so cheap.

Next time I will buy a cheap bike so I can take it back to the shop!