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Old 10-20-09, 04:07 PM   #1
aquist
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treasures in the trash

Bike shops throw away anything they cant sell, I find wheels and frames and parts in their dumpster all the time, I am riding on a thrown away aluminum wheel, when they threw away an aluminum bike I found out why, it had a cracked frame. so strip it and turn it in at the recycler with my cans.
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Old 10-20-09, 04:08 PM   #2
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I like pie
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Old 10-20-09, 05:03 PM   #3
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That's a really stupid idea to use thrown out bike parts. Unless you see the bike store do it, and ask why they are throwing it out, and get a good answer that it is safe.. really bad idea. We throw away wheels all the time for things like, I don't know, hairline cracks in the rim that could fail at any moment.
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Old 10-20-09, 06:16 PM   #4
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I remember a time in my bike shop days when we actually had to destroy old wheels and frames to discourage dumpster divers from wasting our time.

I have to admit though, it was quite amusing to watch the facial expressions of the person who pulled a wheel out of our dumpster, only to find out they could buy an identical brand new wheel for $50, or pay $80 in parts and labor to repair the *free* wheel they just happened to find laying around somwhere....
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Old 10-20-09, 07:13 PM   #5
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I have gotten a few small parts from bike shop trash. A set of hand grips, an adjustable stem and a set of low end SIS thumb shifters.
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Old 10-20-09, 11:10 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by aquist View Post
Bike shops throw away anything they cant sell, I find wheels and frames and parts in their dumpster all the time, I am riding on a thrown away aluminum wheel, when they threw away an aluminum bike I found out why, it had a cracked frame. so strip it and turn it in at the recycler with my cans.
Shops don't have the storage space or the inclination to be in the used bike part business. Most customers don't ask for their old components bike. The stuff in the dumpster may have had an issue, hence the replacement, but it also may have just been something that was upgraded without a failure.
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Old 11-11-09, 10:53 PM   #7
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oh, I opened a can of worms here. i guess I am not part of the generation of people who can afford to buy stuff cuz its cool. I read about bikes i could never buy, but when i get a neat bike i can't get over the idea that the bikes of the past aren't any good-is part of some peoples mindset. I apologize for riding around on junk, but I am smiling as I ride.
q
I worked in about four different bike shops as an assembler and as a mechanic.

In a forum you are allowed to express your own ideas. Then if you disagree you arent supposed to be an ass about it
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Old 11-12-09, 01:40 AM   #8
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It's fine if you get good stuff for free or cheap. A few of us are warning you that sometimes, it's not the bargain you think it is. And you can agree or disagree, and you're free to express it, and so are we.

I had the same experience Svr had when I was a mechanic at a shop in a poor neighborhood. I remember a customer bringing in a wheel, asking me to true it. I took a good bit of time trying to true it before I realized it couldn't be done. It was too badly bent to be fixed. Then I realized it was a wheel we had thrown out recently. So not only did he not get a bargain, he wasted my time. From then on, we had to destroy the stuff we threw out. I had to take a hacksaw to rims to prevent them from misconstrued as useful. That was a lot of work.
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Old 11-12-09, 05:36 AM   #9
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A word out there to any bike shop employees on the list. If your shop is throwing out functional, but used parts, please encourage them to donate the parts to one of the local bike collectives that are popping up everywhere. Even damaged items like bents wheels or rusted parts may still have some usable pieces.

I'm sure many shop owners view this as "helping the competition". Why should you give parts away for free when you'd rather have people come in to the shop to buy from you? A fair question. But I would argue that the people served by the collectives are rarely deciding between a used part or a new one. They're going to collectives and working on their own bikes because they have to. And these collectives create and encourage more cyclists which means more future customers for the retail shops. Someone who keeps his bike running for a few months with a beat up wheel is more likely to visit a shop to buy a new bike when he can afford it than if he stopped riding all together.

As further evidence I'd point out that in Los Angeles, the three major collectives are all located directly next to a retail shops. The two entities help each other rather than competing.

Probably preaching to the converted here, but thought it worth worth the reminder.
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Old 11-12-09, 05:50 AM   #10
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Years ago, I did some carpentry work for one LBS. They were moving shop two doors down.
They'd filled a dumpster with old parts and frames.
Things like a 12 pack of Dia-Compe gum hood lever sets. A display handlebar with 5 functional computers on it.
I built one complete road bike out of some of the parts and hoarded some stuff.
I still wake up in a cold sweat thinking of all the other things I should have scavenged but didn't.
Could have had my own NOS Ebay store.
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Old 11-12-09, 06:00 AM   #11
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I think it really depends on what it is on the dumpster. I recently brought home a wheel from a bike shop discard pile that is in good shape (no cracks/badly worn rim braking surface etc), but it does have a bow in it that cannot be easily trued out. I am either going to give it to the coop or pick a cold winter day, detension the whole wheel, use the 'smack the rim on the ground' maneuver to get the bend out a bit, and then re-true and tension things up.

If it doesn't work, just a bit of my time, and if it does work I have a spare wheel for some project bike in the future. If the bike goes to the coop, they will use the same 'maneuver' to straighten it. Watching them do it successfully is what makes me think about trying it myself.

Over the summer while shopping for a new bike a customer came in with a bike that had been run over by a car backing out of the driveway. Bike was parked and the driver didn't see it. Shop said not worth repairing. It was headed for the dumpster and I asked it I could have it sure.

The frame and back wheel were toast. I salvaged a decent front 700c hybrid wheel, a set of tires and a handle bar with adjustable quill stem with grip shift for a 3x7 drive train. Bars, stem and shifters went to a friend so he could finish up a mountain bike he was fixing up into a commuter.

The problem with getting parts/bikes from shops to the local coop is someone has to either deliver or pick them up. Can be hard to co-ordinate and if the shop doesn't have much room to hold the stuff and if the pick up volunteer doesn't follow through, well bad feelings can ensue.
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Old 11-12-09, 07:08 AM   #12
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I've resurected several parts from my LBS's discards. I've rebuilt hubs from trashed wheels, etc. I haven't raided their dumpster but have asked if they had anything they were willing to get rid of. I've offered to pay but they generally just let me have them at no cost,

I don't think I'd want to build up a fully roadable bike from discards unless I knew their history but this would be a very good way to build a bike dedicated to an indoor winter trainer. Low quality heavy parts and mediocre performance are no issue when you aren't actually going anywhere and a part failure is just a minor inconvenience, not a hazard.
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Old 11-14-09, 03:25 PM   #13
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Punctured tubes from shops that don't patch.

I'm okay with a patch. Some of them have rips or bad valves. When I find those, they get cut into patches after a bit of abrading to clean them.
Cost effective? Probably not. It's handy to patch a lot of tires at once, on a rainy day when nothing's going on.

Other items from a shop's dumpster are iffy. Wheels aren't often useable as is, but I've recovered complete bikes that needed a wheel or just a bunch of fiddly small repairs. If you don't mind scrounging there are quite a lot of good parts discarded for convenience/profit's sake. I salvage spokes, for instance, something not many people would bother with.

As long as you don't make a nuisance of yourself, don't leave a mess, are invisible to employees and customers and above all don't take the stuff employees threw in there to be personally recovered later I don't see a problem.
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Old 11-14-09, 03:32 PM   #14
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One of our bigger shops has a big dumpster out back and we go diving there on a regular basis...

Some notable finds...

PERFECT Nishiki touring frame complete with all it's parts.

Fuji racing frame in a 48 cm size - PERFECT save for some scuffs.

A wealth of old Raleigh parts.

Brakesets complete with Koolstop pads.

And the list could go on for along time.

The wheels they toss tend to be in pretty crappy shape but I have salvaged some very decent hubs from some found wheels.
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Old 11-14-09, 04:16 PM   #15
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I help to run a community bike shop and must say that if it weren't from dumpstered parts (from bike shops or otherwise) we simply couldn't operate. A network of community shops in Winnipeg actually have a standing agreement with the local landfill to the effect that they put aside any and all bike parts for us to scrounge through. There are scores of inner city youth and adults whom we have built bikes with. Those people (myself included) simply would not have the chance to ride such sweet bikes were it not for the "one man's trash" ethos. As long as competent mechanics can be around to affirm the safety of the bikes being made, I say it's shameful to waste perfectly good bikes/parts.
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Old 11-14-09, 10:27 PM   #16
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i like free parts.

After hurricane Katrina - my local bike co-op got a bunch of parts that had been in a bike shop that was flooded in New Orleans. I picked up a LX front dérailleur for free. it had a thin layer of dried "mud" on it in the nooks and crannies. I gave a complete clean and lube and used it for a couple years with no troubles.

I have salvaged a few "throw away" bikes and yard sale bikes, that once cleaned up had some good parts. You just need to keep an eye out to look for stuff that is damaged too much to be safe or useful.
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