A $700 mountain bike for $300?
By Danson Cheong
|The stallholder returning to his stall on the bike after retrieving it
from another location while the reporter looks on
A BRANDED mountain bike worth $700 going for only $300?
This was the price one stall holder at the "Thieves' Market" in Sungei Road quoted this reporter.
According to popular cycling forums and cyclists The New Paper on Sunday spoke to, this is where most of their prized bicycles end up after being stolen.
When The New Paper on Sunday went to the flea market last Wednesday, there were close to 50 makeshift stalls.
Of those, at least five stalls were selling bicycles and bike parts.
Posing as an interested buyer, I asked one stall holder for a "good bicycle".
The man, who looked to be in his 50s, had bicycle parts like pedal sand chains laid out on a table. But he replied that he didn't have bicycles for sale, only whatever was on display.
The next bicycle stall, 50m away, had three used bicycles on display.
One of the men gestured to a second-hand red mountain bicycle beside him.
He said: "This one is made of aluminium, very good.You want? $80."
I told the man that I wanted something better.
The man shook his head and waved us off.
At the remaining bike stalls, I was told that they did not sell expensive bikes.
I was about to leave when one stall owner called out: "Boy, what kind of bike you want? What's your budget?"
I replied: "$500."
He added: "I don't have racer (road), but I have mountain bikes. $300 plus, you want?"
Minutes later, he returned with a silver mountain bike in near mint condition.
After some haggling, he agreed to sell it for $300.
When we asked him where the bike came from, he said he "had it for only a few months" and declined to reveal more.
I asked if there would be any trouble when buying the mountain bike.
Then came the hint that it might have been stolen.
The slightly frustrated stall owner said: "If you're so scared, just change some of the parts. You're not the only one in Singapore riding this bike."
During the course of the conversation, the stall owner seemed increasingly anxious.
He repeated: "Do you want to buy it? Let's not waste each other's time. Otherwise, I'm going to keep it."
Bike shops we approached later said the value of the bicycle was about $700.