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  1. #1
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    Good price for old road bikes?

    I'm looking for an older road bike to use on an indoor bike trainer for the winter, something that will stay down at my LBS for the next 5 months so I can use it for the spinning classes. Is it unrealistic to think I might find an old Univega, Nishiki, Schwinn, Fuji, or Shogun for $50? I'm just amazed that people on my local craig's list are asking over $100 for Le Tours (didn't they go for $260 originally?) Ross's Panasonics and such which were only $200 bikes to begin with. Is it just me or is there something out of whack about that? I can easily pick up an $800 non suspension mtn bike from the mid to late 80's with really nice components for $50 so why is it so hard to find a low end but decent steel road bike w/ so-so components for the same price?
    1997 Terry Classic

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    Senior Member RobbieTunes's Avatar
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    Because people think they're worth more.

    I'm not being wise. Sometimes, you can get one for $50, and it happens all the time.

    There's just something about a slender frame, skinny tires, and a road bike that seems to be worth more than a solid, thick, fat-tired mountain bike.

    You're right. I can get tons of Trek 800-series MTB's for $30-$50. Not so for a 520 or 510.

    It's the market, and it is what it is. I have no idea why.

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  3. #3
    Senior Member Bikedued's Avatar
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    Check your local flea markets, thrift stores, and junk stores. They're in demand right now, so buying them from flippers isn't going to get you a deal. With a new entry level road bike starting at $650-$700, $100-$200 starts looking like a pretty good deal, doesn't it? It does to most people, so they buy them. I got $115 for a le tour just today. It was in pretty good condition, and all redone. However, I do have a problem with people asking these prices for a bike they just found, with rusty cables and rotten tires. If you buy a $50 bike, it will cost you another $50-$75 for parts if you rebuild it yourself? What is wrong with someone getting a small profit when they sell it ready to ride?,,,,BD

    Start haunting flea markets and thrift stores, is all I can say......
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  4. #4
    Seņor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    The first question I have is, where do you live? That makes a really big difference in what bicycles sell for. Yard sales, thrifts, maybe an LBS or local Craig's List. If you're really lucky, the bike can be ridden as-is. If not, you'll have to put some time and $$ into it.

    If you're looking for a bike to put on a trainer, you can get by with a cheap Schwinn, Raleigh or Peugeot, and it really won't matter. A bit of persistence and good luck, and you'll have something before long.
    The search for inner peace continues...

  5. #5
    SNARKY MEMBER CardiacKid's Avatar
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    A lot really depends on the condition of the bike. If you buy a $50 with the intention of keeping it, you are more than likely going to have to put 20 to 40 hours into cleaning and repairing it. Assuming you could have been making $8/hr. working at WalMart during that time, you have $160 to $320 in labor sunk in it. Additionally, you will probably need bar tape, cables, housing, pedals, a saddle and tires. The next thing you know, that $50 bike cost you $400.

  6. #6
    Villainous huerro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CardiacKid View Post
    A lot really depends on the condition of the bike. If you buy a $50 with the intention of keeping it, you are more than likely going to have to put 20 to 40 hours into cleaning and repairing it. Assuming you could have been making $8/hr. working at WalMart during that time, you have $160 to $320 in labor sunk in it. Additionally, you will probably need bar tape, cables, housing, pedals, a saddle and tires. The next thing you know, that $50 bike cost you $400.
    I'm afraid you've got it all backwards. Fixing up that bike is 20 hours of fun. Just think of how much 20 hours of fun would cost at the movies ($85) or a ball game (>$100) I'm easily coming out ahead.

  7. #7
    wheelin in the years ebr898's Avatar
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    I don't know what kind of trainer you are going to mount your bike to, but the bikes weight should not be much of a factor. Lower end bikes are cheap, but would they serve your needs/wants for the trainer.

  8. #8
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    If you are anywhere near Fort Worth, I may have a frame I can part with.... as a trainer. I wrecked it and the fork was bent back and the downtube buckled a bit. I rode it for 6 months after the wreck, but I'm not so keen on riding it anymore, but I would think it'd be fine for a trainer. It's a 25" Nishiki. PM me if you're at all interested.

    These pics show the whole bike, but I want to keep the wheels and most of the components to put on another frame.





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    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by erbfarm View Post
    I'm looking for an older road bike to use on an indoor bike trainer for the winter, something that will stay down at my LBS for the next 5 months so I can use it for the spinning classes. Is it unrealistic to think I might find an old Univega, Nishiki, Schwinn, Fuji, or Shogun for $50? I'm just amazed that people on my local craig's list are asking over $100 for Le Tours (didn't they go for $260 originally?) Ross's Panasonics and such which were only $200 bikes to begin with. Is it just me or is there something out of whack about that? I can easily pick up an $800 non suspension mtn bike from the mid to late 80's with really nice components for $50 so why is it so hard to find a low end but decent steel road bike w/ so-so components for the same price?
    You're not accounting for inflation. Take your average entry level bike boom bike, which sold for $100 in 1970, and sells for $100-$150 today. Adjusted for inflation, that bike would sell new for $528.50 today. Which would still be a bargain, considering what new bikes are selling for today.

    Why do they sell for $100? Because if you spend any time hemming and hawing about paying $100, there's a long line of people behind you who will gladly buy it out from under you.

    And why do mountain bikes sell for less? Because the market is saturated with them, and nobody wants them.

  10. #10
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    Finding a complete old road bike for $100 in the Boston area takes some doing lately. Finding one for less than that is rare though they do pop up occasionally.

    Here's a $100 Univega that was listed yesterday:
    http://boston.craigslist.org/nos/bik/931585166.html

    And a $40 Lambert that looks like it needs considerable work:
    http://boston.craigslist.org/nwb/bik/931529581.html

    Neal

  11. #11
    working on progress treebound's Avatar
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    That is an interesting idea to use a bent-frame bike for trainer duty.

    Also it helps to know what sort of trainer setup you will be using. Some trainers mount on a complete bike with the front tire up on a block to level the bike, other trainers clamp to the front forks so you don't even need a front wheel.

    Plus there is the option of just putting a high pressure road slick on the back of a MTB and using that for trainer duty.

    And +1, location plays a huge part in what used bikes are selling for. And the weather, we just got some snow today so I suspect the local CL market will take a short dip.

    Another angle to play with is to watch ebay and sort the results by nearest to you. I just saw a 6-speed Cannondale in decent looking condition that sold yesterday for $87.
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Cannondale-Crite...1%7C240%3A1318

  12. #12
    Waiting for Summer ! soderbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CardiacKid View Post
    The next thing you know, that $50 bike cost you $400.
    That can be true , more often than not .
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  13. #13
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    On my mag trainer I use a very nice Raleigh frame that ran into the back of a parked car. Kinked the top and down tubes slightly but on a fixed trainer it makes no difference. I think I paid $20 for it and used the front wheel and brakes off it on another bike so I figure I have $0 invested in it. Roger

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    I'm in the Boston/southern NH area and I've noticed that while these Le Tours and Grand Prix's and such start on CL at $150-$200 they manage to sit there a long long time at those prices. There are two Univega Viva Sports that have been listed for several months at $125 or so and they're still there. gosh, lower the price a little and maybe you'd move the thing out of your garage!! Anyway, I might be able to pick up a Traveller III and a Le Tour for about $150 combined this afternoon, possibly. I still think $100 is very high for a bike that was low end to begin with. I picked up a Univega gran turismo this summer for $100 from the local fix-it guy in my area who routinely has Miyata's, Bridgestone's, and Univegas for around $100 -- I think his prices are kind of high and his bikes are still better than most of the stuff on CL that has a high price tag on it. I figured paying $100 for a bike that sold for $400 or so originally and is still in good shape wasn't too too bad, but $100 for a $250 bike seems obscene to me.
    1997 Terry Classic

  15. #15
    Seņor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    No offense, but I bought a Raleigh Super Course for about $250.00 in 1977, and I would have no qualms paying half that much for one today - even if it needed some work. Just about anything with either 531 or 4130 tubing is going to cost you if the seller realizes what they have. If you want a bargain, you'll almost certainly have to go out looking for one.
    The search for inner peace continues...

  16. #16
    Senior Member miamijim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erbfarm View Post
    I can easily pick up an $800 non suspension mtn bike from the mid to late 80's with really nice components for $50 so why is it so hard to find a low end but decent steel road bike w/ so-so components for the same price?
    Mtn. bikes are something like 85% of the market. There's a huge supply of them out there.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member bibliobob's Avatar
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    Supply and demand. I suspect that there are massive regional variations.

    Here in Chicago, the number of 20-35 year olds looking for "vintage" road bikes far, far outweighs the local availability. Consequently, gaspipe goes for 100-200 and decent, but decidedly middle and lower range 80s road bikes will bring $250-300 if they are very clean, nice looking, and fully overhauled and ready to ride.
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    Quote Originally Posted by erbfarm View Post
    $100 for a $250 bike seems obscene to me.
    You're still not getting this. That bike that cost $250 in 1970, adjusted for inflation, would be worth $1321.26 in today's dollars. Knowing that, does that $100 in today's dollars still sound "obscene" to you?

    And you're still not getting supply and demand. You live in the Boston area. There's a huge demand for classic road bikes in Boston, and a limited supply. What do you think that does to the value of classic road bikes?

  19. #19
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
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    To underscore what keeps the value of road bike high, since the advent of mountain bikes 30 years ago, that is about all that people have bought...

    We all know that most bikes are bought, rode for about 10 miles (or less) and sit in a garage or barn (or rust in a back yard).

    Something else that I think makes a difference is that for the past 30 years, comparatively more road bikes that have been purchased tend to be by people that actually ride them, and they get worn out. The people who buy bikes that do sit around are mountain bikes or comfort bikes, because the buyers aren't going to "buy those bikes where they have to ride all bent over"... and they discover they won't ride the ones where they sit straight up either.

    Another factor to consider with any ready to ride bike, just look at the cost of the consumables...

    Tires $30
    Cables $10
    Brake pads $10
    Bar tape $10

    There is over half of the $100 right there, how is it a rip off to expect $100 or more for the bike?

    If it is a bike where these things need to be replaced, then you obviously need to consider that before buying.

  20. #20
    Bike Junkie roccobike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erbfarm View Post
    I'm looking for an older road bike to use on an indoor bike trainer for the winter, something that will stay down at my LBS for the next 5 months so I can use it for the spinning classes. Is it unrealistic to think I might find an old Univega, Nishiki, Schwinn, Fuji, or Shogun for $50? I'm just amazed that people on my local craig's list are asking over $100 for Le Tours (didn't they go for $260 originally?) Ross's Panasonics and such which were only $200 bikes to begin with. Is it just me or is there something out of whack about that? I can easily pick up an $800 non suspension mtn bike from the mid to late 80's with really nice components for $50 so why is it so hard to find a low end but decent steel road bike w/ so-so components for the same price?
    Is it unreasonable to find an entry level friction shifting road bike for $50? No not unreasonable, but unlikely? YES unless you're looking at yard sales, thrift shops etc. Why? Supply and demand. The supply of old road bikes is limited, especially as 1990's bikes become "old". In the 1990s the entry level road bike changed significantly with the introduction of Hybrids. That means the supply of old road bikes is about to change when the 1980's supply of discarded bikes in basements, garages and attics drys up. Add to this the gas crisis, fixies, more old bike collectors, like this group and the demand goes up.
    As for being able to find $50 rigid fork MTBs, in my area I would buy ANY mid or upper level MTB for $50, ALL I COULD FIND! Anyone here can flip low level Trek 800s (in good, ready ride condition) for $100 anytime including November just before Thanksgiving (Wanna guess how I know that? ). I would imagine the upper level stuff would flip for around $150, but I don't know because they are hard to find. My point is, enjoy the low prices of old MTBs while you can. Like the current price of gas, I don't think it will last.
    Bottom line, old bikes are increasing in value, substantially. It's a fact.
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  21. #21
    Unique Vintage Steel cuda2k's Avatar
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    Good points about having to go LOOK for deals. The last flip I made (been a while) was a Trek 400 Elance. Spotted it out on a ride, paid $20, put an hours worth of work cleaning it up and giving it a good once over. Sold for bout $200 (maybe $180) if I remember right a week later after putting it on the local CL for a day. Which was the actual 'value' of the bike?
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  22. #22
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    I"m still not convinced on the supply and demand thing. yes, I know all the college kids want fixies but they aren't the ones I see riding on the roads around here. It's the racing style riders w/ their high end new bikes. I haven't seen anyone w/ a Raleigh or the like around here (southern NH that is) so I still can't figure out why a guy in the north country in the white mountains who hasn't cleaned out his barn or garage for 30 years, thinks his Varsity is worth $200. Anyway, I've got it bad for a hot Bianchi that I found on CL today, small frame in "girly girl" colors like pink/purple going for $225. I just might cave on this one and snatch it up b/c I can so see myself on it.
    1997 Terry Classic

  23. #23
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by treebound View Post
    That is an interesting idea to use a bent-frame bike for trainer duty.
    I'm all about teh re-cycle, babee!
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    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  24. #24
    Bike Junkie roccobike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erbfarm View Post
    ... Anyway, I've got it bad for a hot Bianchi that I found on CL today, small frame in "girly girl" colors like pink/purple going for $225. I just might cave on this one and snatch it up b/c I can so see myself on it.
    If it's a bike you want and it's your size, buy it. I paid $200 for the Bianchi below, a 93 Campione, that did not have brifters. I added those later along with the stem conversion. Additionally, the bike is too small for me. I don't care, I've got my Celeste Bianchi. I think you should buy the Bianchi. Maybe it's not the best deal, but if it turns you on, ask how much you would pay for that satisfaction. Consider that the auto industry is built upon people buying cars for thousands more than they need to spend. At $225, and not knowing the model Bianchi, I'd say you can not be "overpaying" by more than $75. It's more likely that once you adjust for the current market prices, the bike is well worth the $225. Personally, I wouldn't let a few dollars stop me from buying a bike that makes me smile every time I look at it.

    PS, Don't worry about the guy with the $200 Varsity. We've got them here too. Sad thing is, there's someone out there that pays the $200 because they think they know about vintage bikes. That's why you hang out here and can look at that overpriced bike, shake your head and walk away.
    Last edited by roccobike; 11-25-08 at 07:43 AM.
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  25. #25
    Too many bikes bikemore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erbfarm View Post
    I'm in the Boston/southern NH area and I've noticed that while these Le Tours and Grand Prix's and such start on CL at $150-$200 they manage to sit there a long long time at those prices. There are two Univega Viva Sports that have been listed for several months at $125 or so and they're still there. gosh, lower the price a little and maybe you'd move the thing out of your garage!! Anyway, I might be able to pick up a Traveller III and a Le Tour for about $150 combined this afternoon, possibly. I still think $100 is very high for a bike that was low end to begin with. I picked up a Univega gran turismo this summer for $100 from the local fix-it guy in my area who routinely has Miyata's, Bridgestone's, and Univegas for around $100 -- I think his prices are kind of high and his bikes are still better than most of the stuff on CL that has a high price tag on it. I figured paying $100 for a bike that sold for $400 or so originally and is still in good shape wasn't too too bad, but $100 for a $250 bike seems obscene to me.
    When I list a bike in the Boston area for $100 sometimes I have to delete the
    ad before it is sold there are so many replies. I don't think I would list a Traveller II or Le Tour for $150, but if I list it for $120 I would predict getting
    at least 5 responses. I have had people begging me to sell me the bike when
    they aren't the first responder. One difference is I am in Boston. You sit
    on Hampshire St in Cambridge at 5:30 and there are 10 people at a light on
    bikes. They aren't all the $700 bikes new from the LBS.

    Come the spring, you can sell the two for $100 each.

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