The Real Cost of a Recycled Bicycle

Hard at work at Recycle-A-Bicycle DUMBO.


While the freedom and joy of cycling is priceless, bikes themselves do come at a cost. In this feature from Recycle-A-Bicycle, DUMBO Shop Assistant Manager Susan Lindell breaks down the value of a refurbished ride.



“How much do your bikes cost?”


We receive a lot of questions at Recycle-A-Bicycle, and pricing is a perennial point of curiosity for the folks who visit our shop. (Hands down, the award for Most Popular Question goes to “Do you buy bikes?”) The short answer to the cost question is that our average bike rings up at around $350. To some, this may seem steep–after all, why spend a few hundred bucks on a used bicycle when you could opt for a new ride for nearly the same price? That’s why the long answer is so important: understanding where the cost comes from is the only way to appreciate the true value of our bikes.


Before you buy one of our rides, the Recycle-A-Bicycle team gives it a full overhaul: every bike has its bearings, hubs, bottom brackets, headsets, tires, chain, cassette, brake pads, and cables replaced. We swap out wheels, saddles, forks, shifters, and other components as needed, and the newly-revamped machine gets a thorough tuneup. Labor for this process costs $200 (though we believe such scrutiny and care is worth far more). The baseline cost of the parts replaced is $133, but that figure can go as high as $200 depending the state of the bike.


Considering these figures, the minimum value of one of our up-cycled bicycles is $333. New entry-level commuter bikes at a standard bike shop will cost a rider around $400. A used bike might not be quite as shiny, but looking a little lived-in is essentially a built-in theft deterrent; we like to say that our bicycles are ‘new on the inside,’ and most importantly, they ride like new.

But what really makes RAB bikes special is how far that price tag goes for our community. When you buy a bike at our shop, you’re supporting our youth programming, empowering kids to pursue hands-on vocational and leadership opportunities with a lifetime of benefits. You’re endorsing our mission of recycling while reducing your own carbon footprint. And you’re sustaining our kids’ bike giveaways, helping NYC’s children stay happy, healthy, and adventurous.


To us, that’s worth every penny.


To learn how you can support Recycle-A-Bicycle and shop available bikes, click here.