My First Bike Project – Probably the only carbon bike I’ll ever own…
BIKE: 2013 Devinci Wookie Carbon RC
CONDITION: Unknown – multiple parts missing, quite a few scrapes.
ASKING PRICE: $350
Picked this bike up at a used bike sale hosted by a local secondary school that had dismantled their bike club and were selling off their fleet to help fund other projects.
Originally asking for $350 (and $850 for the fully working versions, though selling them for $650) they took $200 for it after a lot of me staring at it with my arms folded and talking about how much it would cost to do x and y, etc…
It was entirely missing the front axle, seat post, seat, seat post clamp, pedals and chain. The hydraulic brakes weren’t working at all, tires were flat, shocks were condition unknown and the rear shifter clamp, originally integrated into the brake clamp, was broken off.
It looked like it would need a lot of work, mostly depending on the condition of the brakes and shocks, but seeing as it was a carbon-framed bike I figured if worse came to worst and it’s all trashed, at least the frame alone would probably resell for at least what I was willing to pay, so I pulled the trigger.
I quickly did some research when I got it home and it looked to be a pretty high-end bike for its time, 2013. It retailed at around $3,500 before the COVID surge in bike prices and included a few more modern features such as tubeless-ready wheels, 29” rims (which I was informed was unusual for older MTB models) and internal cable routing.
Happy with my purchase I decided to take the bike to IMBY just down the road for a full diagnostic to see exactly what I’d gotten myself into. The report cost $55 and was a thorough walk-through of everything wrong will all sections of the bike listed as green (no problems), amber (advisory) and red (requires immediate attention).
I knew I was going to have to put some money into the bike, but figured I was comfortable putting in another $500 – that would leave me with a carbon MTB for $750 and the experience and tools from doing the repairs.
The amount of red on the report was a concerning. But not as concerning as the $900 + tax quote for the repairs at the bottom of the page.
While I appreciate the thoroughness of the work done, $900 was way beyond what I was willing to sink into this bike. After walking away a little deflated by the news, I decided to call on a good friend to the group, David Berrouard of Velo-Mech.
David, a semi-retired bike mechanic previously under employment at Trek but now working out of his garage workshop, has been a key and expert part of the Tri-City Bikes & Brews bike servicing events, not to mention all the volunteer work he does fixing bikes for Coquitlam Search & Rescue and helping out with the HUB Cycling bike-to-work events.
A recurring issue with many of the local bike shops is that it is often much easier and quicker for them to replace parts of your bike, rather than diagnosing and fixing the parts themselves. Working to tight timescales they just don’t have the resources to spend a lot of time on each bike that comes through for no extra money. After speaking with David, it seemed that this was likely the case with my initial bike assessment at IMBY as well.
After a quick check-over I was reassured that the ‘bones were good’. Hubs, headset and bottom bracket were snug with no movement. Cassette and chainrings still had plenty of life in them. The brakes, although not currently working, showed evidence of the pistons still moving and so, hopefully, just needed a good bleed and fresh pads. Not a bad start. Work to be done included: attach front axle, chain, seat, shifter clamp and pedals; true the wheels, particularly the back; bleed the brakes to see if they’re working; check the front shocks and add air if needed; replace the tire tubes; tune everything up and give it a good clean!
With this new breath of life I was confident I could still get this done for under $500, especially with David’s help, who kindly offered to work on it with me and show me how to do some of the things I’d not had a hand at doing yet.
Most of the time I’m way too indecisive and risk-averse to put money into a project like this but the idea of fixing up a bike was too exciting to pass-up, especially at $200 for a carbon frame. So stay tuned and we’ll see how she turns out and if Big Al (my other bike) gets jealous.