Riding a bicycle is both a near necessity and quintessential to the Copenhagen experience, but the cost of a new bike, often costing upwards of $1000 can be off putting. I recently helped a Copenhagen expat friend get biked up. They were happy and surprised to find such a nice bike for a fraction of the cost of a new one.
The second hand market for bicycles can seem quite daunting. Don’t be discouraged, there are many great deals to be found. In this guide, I teach you how to find the hidden gems on DBA.dk and elsewhere.
I’ve bought used bikes in Copenhagen several times. They’ve all lasted me YEARS unless they were stolen. Considering the extreme mileage I have on them (I ride EVERYWHERE), they have practically been free. I’ve saved thousands in transport costs.
Buying from DBA.dk
You get better value for money buying DBA.dk, the largest second hand marketplace in Denmark, but you should know what you’re looking for.
Here is my recommendation:
Budget: 1000+ kr is the best in my experience. You can find a decent bike for less, but 1000 seems to be a good cutoff. 1500kr should find you something nice and 2000kr should be top condition (we’re talking city bikes here).
Older bikes of the classic model might not look so great, but they’re made to last and are comfortable to ride. Go for well known brands such as Raleigh and Batavus.
Brand: This is the most important. Do not buy cheap brands second hand. This is everything that is sold in Bilka, Føtes, T-Hansen and similar stores. SCO, Puch, no name brands, do NOT buy them. They are trash, namely heavy and poor quality.
Instead, go for a well known brand such as Batavus, Centurion, Raleigh etc, even if it means buying a bike that is 20 years old! It’s MUCH better to have a 20 year old Batavus than a 5 year old SCO bike.
Type: Go for the classic looking upright position city bike. The one with a comfortable seat and the bent handlebar. Those have been made for a long time and thus their design is finalized.
Weight: Go for the lighter bike. Check it when riding it. Does it ride easily? Check how it glides on the freewheel without effort. See if it keeps its momentum.
Wait: Don’t be in a rush. New bikes are coming on market constantly on DBA.dk. Wait for something that fits the bill. Don’t rush to buy. Wait a few days if nothing is available. Strike fast and negotiate. Count on something like 15-20% in discount, but be courteous and never start too low in negotiation.
Buying from a used bike seller
If the above method of buying from DBA just sounds like too much hassle, then fret not, you can still get a decently priced and functional used bike. It won’t be as cool as that 1980s Raleigh bike, but you can live with less, right?
There are many bike shops around town selling used bikes. Most of them are in Nørrebro area. Most of them are also bad value for money.
Because everyone needs to make a living and the profit that the seller needs to get is substantially more than the DBA seller (taxes are high, remember?).
What’s worse though, is that a skilled mechanic can manage to make a boring and low quality bike actually feel adequate. New tires, maybe new rims, in a popping color. Suddenly that no name mountain bike looks like a good deal.
I would advise to stick to the same brands as mentioned before: Batavus, Centurion, Raleigh etc. Get the classics. Don’t be fooled by nice colors or a comfy seat. Those things are cheap to replace and secondary.
There are some benefits to buying from a dealer though. Most important is that you have some to complain to, if the bike isn’t acting as it should. They’ll be able to look at it and fix it, free if it was their fault. That can save you some cash.
Another benefit is that you can sell it back to the dealer when you’re done with it. Don’t discount that. They know what it’s worth. They know what they sold it to you for! When you upgrade your bike or move out, they’re much more likely to buy it back, than if you just showed up with some random bike and no papers.