When Coco's first started, we would do the necessary work to get a used bike up and running and sell at a typical used bike price. Quickly, we learned that bikes refurbished at a basic 'needs only' basis was not the business model for us. Customers would buy a bike from us for $200 that seemed solid and it would often work out great. But, more often than we wanted, the bike has a serious issue in the first week like a snapped chain. Now, we go through most bikes at a very high 'blue tag' level replacing consumables and we are able to offer a robust warranty against anything including flat tires.
Nut Shell Tag System:
Blue Tag - Vintage used bikes that have been stripped and rebuilt to a high standard or much newer modern bikes that have been brought back to new function (but maybe not stripped.)
Red Tag - Collector or specialty bicycles
Yellow Tag - Brand new bikes that can be current or previous year close-outs but have the full manufacturer warranty.
Red Tag Bikes are bikes that we have done very little too. These are typically specialty bikes for bike collectors and serious home enthusiasts. The level of work can vary but they are never refurbished to the level of a daily rider.
Red Tag doesn't mean it is a bad bike, in fact they are often our best bikes.
Some examples of red tag bikes:
- Very Original, Garage Find, Dusty Bridgestone MB-Zip - these are highly collectible bikes that also have a reputation to be so light that they often cracked. Our typical build would DECREASE the value by losing it's originality. If we strip to frame and then rebuild with new grips, saddle, chain, housing, cables, brake pads and tires, the bike will be worth less to a collector. However, that same untouched originality that increases value often decreases ride-ability e.g. old brake pads and dry cracked tires.
- Cool Old Heavy Classic - a super cool bike that is probably not daily rider material as it is heavy, has galvanized spokes, steel rims and cottered cranks. Bikes, like cars, required regular maintenance like servicing the 3-speed hub or filing and fitting loose cotters. We can do that, we love to do that, we love those bikes - but for many casual riders that is not a level of maintenance that they want to take on. We get it! Square taper, stainless spokes and a Nexus 3 are awesome!
- Classic Italian Race Bike, Very Original - similar to the Bridgestone example, this is a bike that may not benefit from the full Coco's refurb. For example, a classic lightweight race bike may have tubular (sew-uo) tires, which is wonderful for the enthusiast but is a level of maintenance and hassle that few novice riders are willing to take on.
- Classic Japanese Road Bike, Enthusiast Owned, Ridden Regularly - the previous owner was a knowledgeable enthusiast that maintained the bike at a high standard and rode it regularly. Even though they really knew what they were doing and really maintained, it doesn't mean we will be able to effectively refurb and warranty. Also, it may not be a great bike for a novice with unobtainable brake hoods and difficult to source brake pads.
- Suspension Mountain Bike with Hydraulic Brakes - suspension components are expensive to replace, expensive to service and if they have not been religiously maintained, likely to fail. The bike industry - especially in the mountain bike arena - chases innovation so quickly, that component manufacturers will abandon previous generations of components VERY quickly. We have seen 5 year old braking systems suffer from parts availability. It doesn't make these bad bikes, but it does mean that we can not economically warranty them.
- Vintage Kid's Bike - cool as-is, maybe a wall hanger and not economical to refurbish.
These are just some examples of the type of bikes that we will sell as a red tag rather than embark on a full blue tag refurbishment.
Real Talk - Two Key Points About Red Tags
- The full Coco's refurb may not add any/enough value for the new owner. In other words, if we do $400 of work and components to a classic, that doesn't mean the collector marketplace will see $400 worth of improvement. Many bike enthusiasts do not value ($$) a full Coco's refurb as it impacts originality AND it is work that they enjoy doing, are good at doing and can do more cost effectively. We can and do source rare parts and consumables. But it can take a long time to find those parts or clean old glue from a tubular rim and we need to account for that time.
- No matter how good your bike is, no matter how recently it has been serviced by the best shop in the world, we still can't warranty unless we have done the work ourselves. Our warranty isn't just about a guarantee - it is about selling bikes that we have touched, know exactly what went in to it and can tell a precise story of what we did.
Blue Tag Bikes are the most common refurbs at Coco's. These are very robust refurbishment projects requiring lots of labor and parts. Blue Tags have a 30 day warranty.
Every bike is different, so what we do varies according to the bike. If it is a near new road bike that has been ridden under 100 miles, we may just tune it up, replace the tubes and bar tape. If it is a Japanese road bike that hasn't been ridden in 20 years, it gets the full treatment.
Typically, Blue Tag would include:
- strip off all cables, housing, bar tape, grips, tubes, tires, rim strips, brake pads and chain
- clean and detail the frame and fork, put derailleurs in ultrasonic cleaner, repack the bottom bracket as needed, headset or hubs as necessary, de-grease and flush shifters, put cassette in ultrasonic cleaner, remove/clean/lube seat post, polish chrome and aluminum
- true or replace the wheels, replace rims strip, replace tubes, install new tires, re-lube derailleurs, install new brake pads, recable entire bike with new stainless cables and lined housing, install new saddle, install new chain and pedals, install new grips or bar tape, replace anything that is broken or worn
- convert, modernize, remix - often times we will change bikes from the original purchase e.g. a steel hybrid from the early 90s might be a cool light tourer or a drop bar, stem shifter suicide lever mixte may serve better as an upright bar, thumbshifter classy city bike
- rebuild and tune
We don't list everything that we have done on our online listings as it would be so laborious we would never get any bikes done. Come in and we can tell you on a case by case what was done.
Built to be commuter grade, these are solid bikes. Typical bikes would be rigid burrito slayer mountain bikes on slicks or Japanese road bikes in the $300-$450 range. Could also be a higher end, recent road bike that could be in the $500 and up range. Or specialty bikes for a lot. Or modern hybrids for a great deal. Check our used bikes and if that still doesn't answer the question, check our sold bikes to really get a sense of what we do.
Yellow Tag indicates a brand new bicycle. Coco's is an authorized dealer for Linus, Raleigh, SE, Fairdale and Bianchi.
Most new bikes have full manufacturer warranty, which is a 1 year warranty plus a 5 year frame warranty.