General Cycling Discussion - Garage Sale Bicycles
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04-27-02, 11:45 PM
Has anyone had any luck purchasing a "garage sale" bicycle?
I am looking for a road bike, but I don't want to pay full retail. I think I am on the lookout for a bike that some poser bought and then never rode. There must be deals out there.
04-28-02, 05:50 AM
There is a guy in San Diego named Jon Isaacs who does this regularly. He gets some GREAT deals - as you mentioned, from posers who bought an expensive bike and it pretty much sat there, or has a minor repair needed. Jon now has LOTS of bikes (you can never have too many). BUT, he really knows what he is doing and can easily recognize a bike that has quality components that are not worn out and a good frame.
Jon hangs out on rec.bicycles.rides and rec.bicycles.misc on USENET. He is a friendly, knowledgeable type of guy who does not mind sharing his ideas. You might give him a shot. If you want, I also have his email. Of course, as always, there will be a number of folks on this forum who can also give you the inside dope.
There are many good deals out there if you don't mind putting the time in to look. My neighbor is an avid garage sale hunter. He's always coming home with good expensive stuff for little money. Last year he came home with a Ultegra equipped Litespeed for $750. It was in fairly good condition and needed only some new cables and minor adjustments. Unfortunately the bike was too large for him --it was a 59cm, he should have a 51. But I think he sold it on e-bay for a $1000.
This, however, is a rare find. A good steel bike is the more common find. If you have some knowledge of brands etc. you're more apt to discover the wheat among the chaffe.
Finding one that FITS you is the hard part, but it can be done.
Depends on what you're looking for. The Litespeed mentioned above is quite rare. What you'll find in garage sales and thrift stores is (a) junk and (b) quality bikes of the "bike boom" era of the 70s and into the 80s. Typically older parents finally selling the bike a kid left behind when the kid left for college or a non-rider finally realizing he's a non-rider.
Good chro-moly frames and solid Japanese components are the norm though every now and then you might find some Euro stuff. Much rarer though not impossible is the true gem.
A solid 80s bike weighing 24# or less can be had for $10-25 oftentimes. New rubber, cables and relube bearings and away you go.
The hunt can be most of the fun.
04-28-02, 07:32 AM
Also check out thrift stores. Around here, you can sometimes find good bikes at the Salvation Army. However, the bikes for sale are kept outside in the yard to the elements, so chains will look rusty, etc. If you have a discerning eye, however, you can tell the difference between a bad bike and a bike that just needs some basic maintenance done on it. (I have one friend who actually brings tools with him to the Sally Army to see how workable a bike is before he puts down his money.)
04-28-02, 07:48 AM
Iowa,I would check pawn shops.I've seen some nice rides there and sometimes they don't know what they have,thinking its just a 'bike'....Hilly
04-28-02, 09:00 AM
My local vintage/2nd hand bike dealer gave me a few hints when looking at older no-name or repainted bikes.
Look at the rear dropouts. If they are stamped, the frame is pretty low end (1970s sports frame), but investment cast dropouts are a sign of quality that cannot be hidden.
Last fall, I happened across a yard sale that had quite a few bikes on it. A Schwinn Le Tour caught my eye, because it has a lugged frame. Then I saw a Nishiki with some of the most beautiful lugs I have ever seen. I asked the guy at the sale what he wanted for the bikes, and he said $15 each. I told him "Thanks" and walked back to the pickup. But, those old bikes were calling to me, so back I went, offered him $20 for the pair, and took them home!
I have been gathering new parts for the bikes, and today put the first coat of white paint on the Nishiki. A little red and blue paint will finish up my little 9-11 Memorial bike, and she will be ready for a new owner, and a continued useful life!
The Schwinn will then get a working over, as it already has a new home!
I have really enjoyed working on these bikes, and I have learned a ton about bicycle maintenance. I would encourage anyone to give it a try!
I ride yard sale and classified advertisement bicycles exclusively. Best deals so far:
1) $0 for a 1974 Peugeot UO-8, which I rode for several years, until the frame cracked.
2) $0 for a 1973 Schwinn Varsity, which I fixed up slightly and gave away.
3) $10 for a quad-butted CrMo Team Fuji which was too small for me, but I got several good components, including cranks, brakes, and derailleurs, and resold the frameset for $20.
4) $20 for my 1959 Capo, which fits me perfectly (55cm C-T, with a longish top tube).
Keep your eyes open, and get to know your own likes, dislikes, and, of course, size preferences. Never settle for something too large or too small, unless you need components or can trade or resell it to recoup your investment or to do a friend a favor.
This is actually a very limited, time consuming method but could produce some results: Spring/Fall clean up times. Here, in my area of Maine, Spring clean up is taking place. I've picked up, in the past week, a Raleigh, a Schwinn, a Univega and a Columbia. All of them complete but needing some TLC.
04-29-02, 05:56 PM
If ya love the bikes I think it's a good deal,but isn't kinda expensive to redo some of these bikes?Just adding up tires tubes,cables,brakepads not to mention the wheels, derailleurs,bearing,shifters and your labor makes my head swim.I can see the fun in the tinkering and like seeing the finished product but man,it's gotta be a special ride...Hilly
Hilly, these will all be going to the Salvation Army once they are made rideable. Since I buy all my parts wholesale, the cost isn't very much. Besides, most of the time, the bikes I pick up don't need a lot of parts, just labor, they've been sitting in garages or barns collecting dust. and besides that, it's my only vice. Don't smoke, drink, do drugs or chase any woman except the one I live with. A guy has to have something to do, doesn't he?
I hunt for my parts on eBay, at rec.bikes, my friends excess parts and my friendly LBS! I got the most beautiful old Shimano 600 front and rear der and clamp-on downtube shifters for $3.25 (plus $3.50 shipping), and with the help of Patty and George at Cycle Sport, I built my first set of wheels for the Nishiki! Final cost of the Nishiki will be less than $50, and is a very small investment to get someone else riding!! That is what will really make this little red, white and blue bike a special ride!!
There is quite a bit to be said for putting your bike together.
Not exactly garage sale but I did piece my Basso together. Biggest score was the S. Record group from an ad at Campy-Only. Figure I got about $5-600 into it counting some more expensive than planned automotive paint.
Could I have found an upper-tier vintage Italian complete and ready for that money. Maybe, probably..with some patience.
It wouldn't be my bike in the way this Basso is. I screwed it together, I painted it, I applied the repop decals, well you get the idea. Even if I had sunk substantially more into the project it'd still have been money well spent IMO
04-29-02, 07:01 PM
Another source you might check out if you can... Colleges or your "good ol' community college". I have found plenty of nice deals posted in areas near the library or near the book store. Some of them getting rid of bikes now that they are graduating or stuff.
If you get used, get a receipt. Get the serial number checked out with the local authorities. Make sure it is not HOT. Seen someone "burned" that way.
Good luck on your hunt.
04-29-02, 09:52 PM
The bigger towns in urban areas have police auctions, I just picked up a trek for $10.00 (mountain track) and a entry level fuji for $2.25. I only wanted the wheels on the trek, but I'll probably rebuild it over the winter. the fuji just needs a tune up. You can get good picks, lots of stolen bikes that have been stripped and mismatched. If you know a little about bikes you can get good deals.
What happens a lot is a group will steal bikes in one town get caught in another ,the people who got their bikes ripped off never report it or report it without the serial number so the Local PD auctions them off once a year. I been doing this for a few years I basicily give the bikes to people at work who have second homes or shore houses, and it keeps me from sitting in front of the tube all winter.
Estate sales run by the family are also good because unless you know what you got, you can pick something up cheap if the dead person was into cycling.
04-30-02, 04:11 PM
Nebil-ljbike,Great you fix the bikes up for yourself and others.Cycling is for everybody, if we can just get em on a bike,maybe we can change their life!...Hey ljbike,What kind of Univega?Those look like pretty good bikes...Hilly
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