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  1. #1
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    Needs immediate help

    I'm going to buy another bike because the older one I bought off craigslist about 3 weeks back failed me.

    Very tight budget, in chicago and I've been looking and contacting
    http://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/bik/3375939128.html

    Do you guys think it's a good deal? What should I look out for when I'm there inspecting the bike?
    I'm going to see him tomorrow but I won't be able to check this forum tomorrow, please help

  2. #2
    Senior Member mrrabbit's Avatar
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    Why don't you get a BikesDirect bike, and then pay an LBS not to do a simple assembly - but a comprehensive tune-up in which the wheels are stress relieved, trued, tensioned and dished properly on top of dialing in the derailleurs and greasing the parts?

    Save a little - but get a lot more in terms of a bike?

    =8-)
    4000+ wheels built since 1984...

    Disclaimer:

    1. I do not claim to be an expert in bicycle mechanics despite my experience.
    2. I like anyone will comment in other areas.
    3. I do not own the preexisting concepts of DISH and ERD.
    4. I will provide information as I always have to others that I believe will help them protect themselves from unscrupulous mechanics.
    5. My all time favorite book is:

    Kahane, Howard. Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric: The Use of Reason in Everyday Life

  3. #3
    Senior Member CACycling's Avatar
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    First, what on the previous bike "failed" you?

    As for the Le Tour, that is a pretty good deal if the bike is in good shape. The bars and levers have been changed (the Le Tours came with drop bars and suicide levers) but everything else looks pretty stock. It most likely has its original steel wheels which make wet-weather braking less than stellar. The Le Tours are heavy but make pretty much bullet-proof commuters. I had a '77 as a commuter for a while and it did the job very well.

    Main things to check are: bearings (hubs, bottom bracket and headset) to see that they are smooth; wheels are true; no obvious signs of being in a crash; no severe rust; tire condition; brake pad condition (not hard); and how it fits and rides. As for size, I'm guessing it is a 23" so would be about right for 5' 10" to a bit over 6' (I'm 6' and had the 25" was a bit on the large size for me but wasn't a problem).

    Good luck.

  4. #4
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    I'm a little bit over 5"11, so it should fit me. Would the changed bars and levers help me or should I check it in to a local bike shop?
    If I do buy it, will I be getting my money's worth? ( needs it to go to school with in the summer but friends suggest I get one now since fall is cheaper)
    What's a usual Le Tour worth?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by CACycling View Post
    . It most likely has its original steel wheels which make wet-weather braking less than stellar.
    That point alone should disqualify it as a worthwhile purchase. Steel rims give poor stopping power in dry conditions and are all but suicidal in wet weather. And, no, there are no brake pads available that will compensate for this.

    If the bike has aluminum (aka alloy) rims, it's worth the price they are asking assuming nothing else major is wrong.

  6. #6
    Keepin it Wheel RubeRad's Avatar
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    For a tight budget, I think this is a good deal, but then again, good deals on CL are a dime a dozen.

    Higher handlebars are very often preferred for commuting bikes, because it makes for a more upright riding position, so it's easier to keep your eyes on the traffic.

    I'd say ride it around the block a few times, make sure the brakes stop you, and the gears change. If it rides as well as the seller describes, you're good to go.

    If it doesn't, then buy it if you can see clearly how to wrench it into good shape, otherwise, keep looking. It shouldn't be hard to find very reliable bikes sub-$100 on CL. You could also post your own sob story to CL saying you need a reliable bike for $50 or less, there are lots of people with surplus bikes, maybe somebody will be moved to sell a good bike at your price, or maybe even give it to you!

  7. #7
    Keepin it Wheel RubeRad's Avatar
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    Just looking through http://chicago.craigslist.org/search...sk=&maxAsk=100, I see plenty of interesting options:

    http://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/bik/3380196073.html Fenders!

    http://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/bik/3364177734.html Italian Mixte SS with a rack (but a woman's frame)

    http://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/bik/3379972251.html does chicago only have woman's frames? Two for $70, try 'em both, keep the good one, sell the other

    http://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/bik/3379557677.html this looks like it would make a great commuter (unless you're set on a road bike)

    http://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/bik/3372349300.html some pretty-good looking vintage here (but only 10-spd)

    http://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/bik/3343561141.html two sub-$100 Trek's here, one with a rack, one with fenders

    Personally, I think most of those options are better than the Le Tour you originally posted. I'm thinking Chicago is pretty flat, right? I'd go for the Chiorda, it would be a sweet ride even though it's a woman's frame, and you could probably sell it for a profit once you save up for bike N+1

  8. #8
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    Yea chicago's pretty flat. If I haggle with the guy what would be the magic pricepoint? And woman's frames are really uncomfortable for me, and since i'm pretty damn far from skokie being in Lincoln Park without a car ( which is why I need the bike) because i'm sick of the 5$ train ride every day.

    I'll try to haggle with the guy to sell the bike to me for 40$ on the pretense of the steel rims? I feel like i'll miss this deal and won't be able to buy one until the prices are jacked up in the spring. It's hard for my to save up money as a student, but will be working at a target in the summer that I plan to ride a bike to save the 5$ train fare. Where do you guys find great bikes for low prices besides Craigslist?

  9. #9
    I let the dogs out AlphaDogg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatDamnCyclist View Post
    Where do you guys find great bikes for low prices besides Craigslist?
    As someone said earlier, BikesDirect.
    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
    Weird spell/word check. "***" is "***". I'll never understand this computer. Andy.

  10. #10
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    inspection for wear and tear an damage is beyond this remote judgement thing.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlphaDogg View Post
    As someone said earlier, BikesDirect.
    Yes, but Bikes Direct sells only new bikes and certainly nothing costing $50 complete. About $350 is the minimum.

    As to Chicago, it's the land of the fixie and single speed. The only hills in the entire city are highway overpasses.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatDamnCyclist View Post
    I'm going to buy another bike because the older one I bought off craigslist about 3 weeks back failed me. Very tight budget, in chicago and I've been looking and contacting
    http://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/bik/3375939128.html

    Do you guys think it's a good deal? What should I look out for when I'm there inspecting the bike? I'm going to see him tomorrow but I won't be able to check this forum tomorrow, please help
    It is a well known quality bike from the era, it looks excellent and the price is good! You should have already jumped on it as great deals on Craigs go fast.

    So the main point is... if it looks good + is in good condition + it fits you + is priced cheap = then grab it fast. There is nothing anyone on the forums is going to tell you that trumps that equation!

    BTW: It is usually a bad idea to post the actual URL to a bike you are considering. If it is a good bike at a great price, then someone reading the forum can just yank it out from under you while you wait for replies. Better to just copy a bit of the description and a photo or two from the craigs ad and repost that to the forum. I tend to slip in a fake city and state also to delay the snippers for a while.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatDamnCyclist View Post
    Yea chicago's pretty flat. If I haggle with the guy what would be the magic pricepoint? And woman's frames are really uncomfortable for me, and since i'm pretty damn far from skokie being in Lincoln Park without a car ( which is why I need the bike) because i'm sick of the 5$ train ride every day.

    I'll try to haggle with the guy to sell the bike to me for 40$ on the pretense of the steel rims? I feel like i'll miss this deal and won't be able to buy one until the prices are jacked up in the spring. It's hard for my to save up money as a student, but will be working at a target in the summer that I plan to ride a bike to save the 5$ train fare. Where do you guys find great bikes for low prices besides Craigslist?
    Since you asked here goes;

    > Word of Mouth; Talk to anyone you know and ask if they or anyone they know has a decent bike they need to sell. I have done well there. Easy to haggle on price too.
    > Trash; Figure out when the trash trucks run in the subdivisions near you. Then walk those streets about an hour before trash run and you will find discarded bikes out with the trashcans for the trashman to dispose of. Often they only need a tire replaced or the owners kid just outgrew it, etc. Lots of Sears, Schwinns, Giants, etc., out there. I scored a dirty but mint Colnago once!
    > Recycle Yards: Check the phone book for any local metal recycle yards nearby. I have visited many and have never failed to find a huge pile of bikes (like a pile the size of a house). Ask permission to scrounge and they always say ok. Look for a nice branded bike. If it has a bent rear wheel, then just grab another one with a good wheel. When you check out they just weigh them and charge you what they would get for the metal content if they sold it... so maybe 25 pounds x $0.13/pound per bike; so not much. Then do a bit of clean up and tuning and you are riding well. Note that you are extremely unlikely to find a Colnago there but a lower end Trek is very possible. Anything special would be pulled and and set aside for resell and they will probably want too much for it as they have already labeled it as "special". Some yards actually have a high school kid working commission only who digs through the scrap and puts together sellable bikes that he puts up on craigslist.
    > LBS; Most bike shops have a few trade-ins, a few returns, and a few repaired bikes setting in the back room. Often the staff also have bikes of their own that they want to get rid of and will know of others who have one for sell. Just visit, be nice, look at a few tags on the new bikes and then look sad, followed by the big question to the sales guy "wow these are nice, but do you have anything for under $XX dollars that I can afford; even a used one?" It is amazing what will pop out of the woodwork for just a bit more that a craigslist bike.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    Yes, but Bikes Direct sells only new bikes and certainly nothing costing $50 complete. About $350 is the minimum. As to Chicago, it's the land of the fixie and single speed. The only hills in the entire city are highway overpasses.
    Actually they have quite a few for a little as $249 w/free shipping. I was skeptical too at first so I just bought one of the $249 Motobecanes with O/S aluminum frame, flat bar, and v-brakes w/ brifters. I have now been riding it every day for almost 3 years and it is really a solid bike; even for a bike nut. The quality and value of bikes has really gone up since the good old days.
    If one can come up with about $500, then the value is just awesome (like the cafe racer).

  15. #15
    Senior Member eja_ bottecchia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ksisler View Post
    It is a well known quality bike from the era, it looks excellent and the price is good! You should have already jumped on it as great deals on Craigs go fast.

    So the main point is... if it looks good + is in good condition + it fits you + is priced cheap = then grab it fast. There is nothing anyone on the forums is going to tell you that trumps that equation!

    BTW: It is usually a bad idea to post the actual URL to a bike you are considering. If it is a good bike at a great price, then someone reading the forum can just yank it out from under you while you wait for replies. Better to just copy a bit of the description and a photo or two from the craigs ad and repost that to the forum. I tend to slip in a fake city and state also to delay the snippers for a while.
    Why so suspicious?

    Actually for $60 it is a good deal. My first roadbike was a LeTour. A damned good bike!
    My current stable:

    1989 SLX Bottecchia (Campy Athena 11s)
    1999 Cannondale F400 mountain bike
    2012 Bianchi Infinito (Campy Record 11s)
    2012 Colnago C59 in PR99 color scheme (Campy Record 11s)

  16. #16
    Keepin it Wheel RubeRad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatDamnCyclist View Post
    Where do you guys find great bikes for low prices besides Craigslist?
    What ksisler said, and also garage sales and swap meets/flea markets. (Check this guy out: http://www.mrmartinweb.com/bicycle.html; note one of his bikes is a Le Tour he got at a garage sale for $10! His capsule description might be useful for you)

    For the very best deals, you usually have to have at least some basic wrenching skills/tools, because the very best deals are bikes that are super-low priced because something simple is wrong that the owner can't deal with. Sometimes even as simple as just pumping up the tires!

  17. #17
    Keepin it Wheel RubeRad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatDamnCyclist View Post
    I'm going to buy another bike because the older one I bought off craigslist about 3 weeks back failed me.
    Since this is the Bike Mech forum, can you describe how your other bike failed you? Likely we can help (although depending on the problem, your budget might dictate it's still better to buy another cheap bike)

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by ksisler View Post
    Some yards actually have a high school kid working commission only who digs through the scrap and puts together sellable bikes
    As I recall, the great Sheldon Brown learnt to fix bikes doing that....

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    Yes, but Bikes Direct sells only new bikes and certainly nothing costing $50 complete. About $350 is the minimum.

    As to Chicago, it's the land of the fixie and single speed. The only hills in the entire city are highway overpasses.
    Nah, the entire north side gently slopes toward downtown.

  20. #20
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    I bought an old Raleigh reliant. At the first week of using bike, it was fine despite cosmetic damages and a front gear that wasn't connected. Then the brakes which were dusty as hell stopped working as the thing connecting to the brakes bar came off and i couldn't reconnect it. Then the cranks, were a little shaky and loose with the screw to the thing being melded so my friend said he couldn't help me tighten it up. All and all, he said it was a lost cause and recommended me to just buy another. Bought it for 40$ originally, because i was dumb and the guy said it was worth it without me even giving it more than a couple glances before paying.

  21. #21
    Senior Member cale's Avatar
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    Regarding the Le Tour. I don't have any problem with the bike but the ad gives me the willies. "My roommate gave his bike to me before he moved out." I wouldn't touch the bike unless I knew the seller personally. Most likely it was "given" to pay a debt, possibly the rent. But then why the smoke screen? Why not just say, "I'm selling my bike." IDK, just don't care for the wording, I guess. Probably nothing to worry about...

  22. #22
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    The bike linked in the OP is not a particularly good deal. IMO $50 for anything with steel rims that isn't some kind of collectable bike is a bit of a rip-off...

    Now this is a good deal.
    Quote Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
    http://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/bik/3379557677.html this looks like it would make a great commuter (unless you're set on a road bike)
    For the same money, ally rims, and even an ally frame (look at the size of the welds). Bargain.

  23. #23
    Senior Member cale's Avatar
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    Kimmo, I agree that the Le Tour isn't modern but that's part of the fun. I have a Raleigh C30 from around the same time that C40 was made and can attest to the fact that it will have superior braking, shifting, weight, etc. But it doesn't have much soul.

    Cale

  24. #24
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    Also, the braking, shifting, and weight were absolutely good enough unless you get chrome steel rims and ride in the rain.

  25. #25
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    I decided not to buy the bike after reading some of these and realized that aluminum rims made such a huge difference. Since i'll be going on quite a bit of a journey it'd be wise to get good brakes in the least. Thanks guys, I'll be coming back to ask again

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