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  1. #351
    Senior Member Turbo231's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oddjob2 View Post
    Different strokes for different folks, but the experience of the high volume restore/recondition artisans here is 99% of bikes built prior to 2000, require a complete bike disassembly, cleaning, polishing, and rebuild, with new consumables. This goes for bikes we keep and for resale bikes.
    I'm not so picky. Very often I'll spin a wheel in my hands and listen and feel, very often the crap I'm working on it's not worth completely tearing down, but I will open the bearing and insert new grease, close it back up. Not going to sink too much time in a bike I'm getting $50 for and if it works, perfect, it doesn't need to live forever, but it will last several years. Anyone buying a bike from me who wants to keep it forever will do a complete tear down anyway. It's all about price point. Bikes I sell for a lot more, I do a lot more to. A $150 gets complete bearing cleaning and lube and ridden by me for several weeks. Now its a tested used bike I feel comfortable getting better money for.

  2. #352
    Still learning oddjob2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Turbo231 View Post
    That's not me in post 364...
    Sorry!
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    2014 Additions: 1985 Trek 560, 1992 Trek Multitrack 700 (my 2nd), 1994 Trek Carbon 2200, Peugeot PX-10, 1981 Schwinn Voyager, 1989 Bridgestone RB-1

  3. #353
    Senior Member zukahn1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Turbo231 View Post
    I'm not so picky. Very often I'll spin a wheel in my hands and listen and feel, very often the crap I'm working on it's not worth completely tearing down, but I will open the bearing and insert new grease, close it back up. Not going to sink too much time in a bike I'm getting $50 for and if it works, perfect, it doesn't need to live forever, but it will last several years. Anyone buying a bike from me who wants to keep it forever will do a complete tear down anyway. It's all about price point. Bikes I sell for a lot more, I do a lot more to. A $150 gets complete bearing cleaning and lube and ridden by me for several weeks. Now its a tested used bike I feel comfortable getting better money for.
    +1 This means the bikes need to be fairly highend for a low price. Or in my case since I ofthen go for bikes others see as dumpster level they need to be interesting with some realy nice core cosmetics. You can put hours of work into a bike and do a great job but at the end of the day if it's not high end it needs to have a tone of charachter, be ready to ride and look good if you want to sell it for a decent price.

  4. #354
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    Great thread. My first post here. By the way, thank you all for the great information. While looking at a bike to buy on CL, the research has always led to this website.


    Does anyone have any experience with repainting with a custom paint job and then flipping the bike?


    I read an earlier post about making the bike more valuable. Here is my plan and I would like to hear your opinions.

    Goals:
    To not loose money for initial investment for bike and replacement parts. To make a little money to pay for my personal bikes
    To learn more about working on bikes
    To express my artistic side
    To promote bicycles and their beauty
    To learn about other brands I don't own (ride quality, etc)

    Plan:
    Buy late 70s to early 80s road bikes like Nishiki, SR, Centurion, etc in decent condition. Good deals come up every once in a while -$60 and lower.
    Tear it down. Convert to single speed but keep all braze ons so the owner can convert back to multispeed
    Sell or recycle derailuers +$5
    Clean as many parts as possible
    Replace tires and tubes if needed -$25
    replace brake cables if needed -$15
    single speed cog -$15
    new chain -$15
    Repaint with artistic custom and/or themed paint job -$50 paint (I usually have paint in stock)
    -4 hours or more prep, -maybe 1 hour masking, -2 hours painting
    Use builds to promote custom paint jobs (hopefully customer will want their bikes done)
    Promote through stores (window prop), art oriented websites, etc
    Marketing might be more toward women but still undecided
    Cost so far for around $160
    Time 7 hours body, 4 hours wrenching
    Sale price $250 or more if possible

    Advantages:
    I have the patience to look for good deals.
    I wouldn't need to sell a bike quickly
    I'm creative (have an art and building background)
    I sometimes get a company vehicle & gas and have permission to use it for personal errands
    It will be FUN to find, paint, build, ride, and sell

    Disadvantages:
    Due to space, I can't do more than 2 or 3 flippers because of the storage my personal bikes
    I can't predict if someone will like the paint scheme
    I can't predict if someone who likes the paint can fit the bike
    Might be a slow mover (okay if I will ride it, but only if it is my size)

    Any thoughts? Thank you! - Rob

  5. #355
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Repainting to flip is a way to lower your profit, and often to eliminate it entirely. Even if you rattle can it, add up the cost of supplies along with time.

    If you are a creative painter, try landscapes or similar (I am serious) and sell your artwork that way. Or offer to paint bikes for others!

    Also, your economics ignore surprises, such as wheel hubs no good, bottom bracket shot, headset needs replacement, and so on. Add to this you may have to discount a bike to move it (buyers never want to pay your asking price), and your $90 margin quickly can become negative. Its really no fun to lose money on bikes.


    You missed several items that almost always need to be replaced on any flip: saddle, pedals, bar tape or grips, and brake pads. Estimate an additional $40 for those items.
    Last edited by wrk101; 11-06-13 at 06:13 AM.

  6. #356
    Fat Guy on a Little Bike KonAaron Snake's Avatar
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    +1 to Bill...

    I don't know his area, but you can't get $250 for the insta-single speed bikes here anymore since you can buy a new SS for the same price. I always see the home paint jobs sit for months.

  7. #357
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    @DakotaInTheSky: If you are going to want $250 for your conversions, there's going to be more involved. Some of the older bikes won't allow you to remove the large chainring (swaged cranks). Condition of the chainrings also might not be good, and that would mean you need to replace. Also, you should get singlespeed chainring bolts (BMX bolts). There is also the issue of redishing the rear wheel to get proper chainline. A lot of older bike's spoke nipples are frozen and will break the spokes if you try to adjust them. The biggest thing I also see is an outlay of 11 hours of your time for a potential profit of $90. That works out to ~$8/hr, which is not good. Maybe you can do as others suggested which is paint other people's bikes. You could customize a bike or 2 for your personal use and use the pictures to promote the business of creating one of a kind, custom single speeds for others.

  8. #358
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    I just don't see much profit in bike flipping now.
    Lotta competition for every "cheaply priced" bike on CL-and there is always "something" that has to be fixed.
    And there are very very few underpriced bikes on CL-at least that is the situation in NOLA
    Besides even when there were more underpriced bikes- say 1/2 price-$300 bike for $150-after picking it up spiffing it up-$100 for a 20 mile car trip-several hours work

  9. #359
    Senior Member Turbo231's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phoebeisis View Post
    I just don't see much profit in bike flipping now.
    Lotta competition for every "cheaply priced" bike on CL-and there is always "something" that has to be fixed.
    And there are very very few underpriced bikes on CL-at least that is the situation in NOLA
    Besides even when there were more underpriced bikes- say 1/2 price-$300 bike for $150-after picking it up spiffing it up-$100 for a 20 mile car trip-several hours work
    I don't think that part of the market has ever had margin. You have to go big...or go small. I pay $0 to $5 for bikes and sell them for $50 to $60. I don't travel for bikes unless they are in town, and I bring my bike and trailer as to not waste gas on them. A fleet of scrap/parts bikes provides parts, sometimes I'll drop $10 in cables on a bike, and an hour or so of labor, and done.

    You will never make money paying low retail for bikes, buying new parts, making it like brand new, and then having to ask for used nice bike prices. Unless you get one hell of a deal on the original bike, it's not exactly a hobby/business model that works well unless you are a fanboy of working on bikes.

  10. #360
    Senior Member zukahn1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
    +1 to Bill...

    I don't know his area, but you can't get $250 for the insta-single speed bikes here anymore since you can buy a new SS for the same price. I always see the home paint jobs sit for months.
    +1 the market for swagged SS is dead since one can buy a proper SS new for $250 or nice later model for $150 in most markets. The most an individual can get out of with original wheels and crank half assed is $125-150. Conversions that have swagged converted road wheelsets and cranks don't seem to sell at all in my local market.

  11. #361
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    Quote Originally Posted by Turbo231 View Post
    I don't think that part of the market has ever had margin. You have to go big...or go small. I pay $0 to $5 for bikes and sell them for $50 to $60. I don't travel for bikes unless they are in town, and I bring my bike and trailer as to not waste gas on them. A fleet of scrap/parts bikes provides parts, sometimes I'll drop $10 in cables on a bike, and an hour or so of labor, and done.

    You will never make money paying low retail for bikes, buying new parts, making it like brand new, and then having to ask for used nice bike prices. Unless you get one hell of a deal on the original bike, it's not exactly a hobby/business model that works well unless you are a fanboy of working on bikes.
    Turbo-yes you are dead on- bikes I had to sell for $200-$300 (meaning they were what you would pay perhaps $600+ new) took FOREVER to sell(6 weeks or more).And yes I have piles of parts -cables- old derailleurs -shifters- handle bars -stems-bars- locks -pumps- cranksets- usual stuff.

    Cheap bikes-ones I would sell for $50-$125 sell in hours to days once you hit $160 they sell much more slowly.
    bikes considered walmart bikes-bought $20 sold $40- sell almost immediately if they are in good shape cosmetically-which they usually are since they aren't old and they work just fine most of the time-heavy USUALLY but they work OK.

    I strictly do it for fun-which means I frequently buy bikes I kinda like-and would ride.
    When I did it more-I would specialize in short adult bikes- bikes that would fit me-5'5"-
    usually cromo steel- 26" rigid "MTBs" 13"-15"
    then sell them to young women as "urban suburban potholed streets l light trail grass shells gravel do anything bikes with light but sturdy quality steel frame and humane see where you are going riding position and good brakes everything works needs nothing fixed"
    Lotta college and post college women here in NOLA- some are short-and they want a decent steel frame-but don't want to pay $500 for a bike.
    A trek 800 or hard rock whatever diamondback whatever from the mid late 90's fits the bill.
    No one who actually rides on our crummy streets with dodgy drivers would chose a drop bar skinny 700 tired bike over an upright riding position 2" tires 26" bike
    OK many many do but my ad suggests the "urban suburban do anything bikes"- the ones I sell -are better choices

    Women are much easier to deal with as buyers-than guys. They make an offer-it is usually ballpark-and that is it.If they pay asking-I throw in a pump or a lock or something-so they don't get shorted-but they get a good deal in any case.

    Strictly a hobby for me-allows me to try various bikes-then send them on their way.I like to tinker.
    Of course-sometimes-I curse an evil bike-usually one I paid less than average for because of "problems"


    the high end stuff-really isn't much of that around here-and it usually is correctly priced-meaning they ask a bit more than market.
    I like to tinker.

  12. #362
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    For you folks using all resources, garage/estate sales, thrift stores, C.L, and in general driving far and wide, how do justify the expense of the search? How often do you go searching and return empty handed vs. the number of times you actually snag one of those $5-$20 deals? Do you include gas and vehicle use cost in your expense calculations? This issue is the main thing that is probably keeping me out of the bikes. I'm sure every week there are great deals at thrift stores or garage sales but how many miles do I have to drive to find it? One could easily spend $10-$20 driving around to all the garage sales on a Friday or Saturday morning, and probably close to that much making a round of the thrift stores. Many of the good deals will be advertised with poor pics and/or by somebody who doesn't know much about bikes, therefore, how can you determine what exactly the bike is, the size, or what kind of condition it is in before you drive all the way across town to investigate it and possible come home empty handed?
    Last edited by turky lurkey; 11-08-13 at 06:16 AM.

  13. #363
    Senior Member Turbo231's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by turky lurkey View Post
    For you folks using all resources, garage/estate sales, thrift stores, C.L, and in general driving far and wide, how do justify the expense of the search?
    A bike and trailer that can haul a bike. Don't drive far and wide unless its part of a pre-existing trip...aka you're going to the grocery story, visiting someone, go a block two out of your way to check things out. Honestly, just advertise on Facebook/CL/Kijiji you are looking for free bikes...they will come to you, sometimes en masse. I have passed up a lot of 20 or so bikes because they were half an hour away, but if I was starting, its a start. You may want to mention that you don't want kids bikes or you will drown in them, unless of course you rebuild them and donated them, or sell them and donate the funds, that's great word of mouth. Kids bikes usually take 5 minutes to fix, they're pretty tough and simple.

    Free bikes work like this where I live. 60% crap, 20% stuff that is workable, 10% great, 10% stuff you keep for your personal collection.

  14. #364
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    Quote Originally Posted by Turbo231 View Post
    A bike and trailer that can haul a bike. Don't drive far and wide unless its part of a pre-existing trip...aka you're going to the grocery story, visiting someone, go a block two out of your way to check things out. Honestly, just advertise on Facebook/CL/Kijiji you are looking for free bikes...they will come to you, sometimes en masse. I have passed up a lot of 20 or so bikes because they were half an hour away, but if I was starting, its a start. You may want to mention that you don't want kids bikes or you will drown in them, unless of course you rebuild them and donated them, or sell them and donate the funds, that's great word of mouth. Kids bikes usually take 5 minutes to fix, they're pretty tough and simple.

    Free bikes work like this where I live. 60% crap, 20% stuff that is workable, 10% great, 10% stuff you keep for your personal collection.
    Thanks for advice!
    Funny thing is, after writing the post you quoted above this morning I decided to take a gamble and drive across town to a garage sale that advertised having bikes (no pics or info). I ended up picking up a couple early 90's univega mtn. bikes. Using your ranking I would call them workable, they are quality entry level bikes. They were obviously left outside so they definitely need some work but they have very few miles on them (rotten tires still have the little hairs), nice chromo frames and shimano altus components. $10.00 for both of them and the guy threw in a couple brand new tubes he had, so essentially I got the bikes for free and paid normal price for the tubes. Not big money makers by any means but something to play with anyway, maybe I'll keep one for awhile, not sure yet.
    Last edited by turky lurkey; 11-08-13 at 11:28 AM.

  15. #365
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    Thank you for the replies. I'm thinking it will be better for me to go higher end bike refurbishing (customization/conversions as a precursor to lugged frame building) as opposed to bike flipping. Maybe I can flip bikes if there are any leftover parts because the parts pile up quick. I've filed the paperwork for a non profit which will combine my love for bicycles with my work in the rapid prototyping/fabrication field. I hope to get things going by January. Cheers! - Rob

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    Do you guys find that bikes are worth more sold in pairs? For example, I often see matching his and hers bikes for sale on C.L.? Or what about two identical men's bikes? I mentioned above that I picked up a couple mtn bikes, they look exactly the same. I don't really need two of the same bikes so I was thinking of selling one as is, as needing work, for $20-$30 in order to help with the cost of refurbishing the other, but for some reason I'm a little hesitant to break up the pair. Neither one of the bikes will make a lot of money, but would their value increase if I get them both in good condition and sell them together?

  17. #367
    Senior Member curbtender's Avatar
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    Smaller bikes always sell better, but even pairs? Haven't found a set. I have no problem selling an extra bike...
    “At 50, everyone has the face he deserves.”
    ― George Orwell

  18. #368
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by turky lurkey View Post
    Do you guys find that bikes are worth more sold in pairs? For example, I often see matching his and hers bikes for sale on C.L.? Or what about two identical men's bikes? I mentioned above that I picked up a couple mtn bikes, they look exactly the same. I don't really need two of the same bikes so I was thinking of selling one as is, as needing work, for $20-$30 in order to help with the cost of refurbishing the other, but for some reason I'm a little hesitant to break up the pair. Neither one of the bikes will make a lot of money, but would their value increase if I get them both in good condition and sell them together?

    Basic rule of thumb: Anything that makes it easier for you to sell will result in less money for you, often, a lot less.

    Selling locally, or local pickup only = less money. Selling as is or dirty = less money. Selling several bikes as a pair/group/whatever = less money. Doing a mediocre job presenting your bike = less money. Being inconvenient for buyers (location, time, whatever) = LESS MONEY!

    Bikes in a pair sell for less, often A LOT less, than they do individually,. To sell a pair means each bike has to fit each person. How many people need or want a pair of bikes? And of that small group, how many will be the right size to fit your two bikes? Rare, extremely rare. Add to that extremely small group, how many of them are willing/interested in buying a project?

    ZERO.

    Who buys multiple bikes, bikes that are projects? People like me.

    I often buy pairs of bikes, or even larger groups. The reason? I get a nice discount. The last pair I bought were for sale for $75 each (a good deal by the way). Both needed work. I bought the pair for $100 ($50 discount). Seller got the convenience of one transaction. I got nice discount. I have bought as many as ten bikes at once. The discount? About 75% of what the individual bikes would have brought in as is condition. Seller got the bikes gone immediately (his goal). I got a great deal.

    My best deals have been on groups of bikes.

    In your case, pick the one that needs the least $$ to rehab, the rehab it. Use the proceeds to complete the second project.
    Last edited by wrk101; 11-22-13 at 11:29 AM.

  19. #369
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    Quote Originally Posted by curbtender View Post
    Smaller bikes always sell better, but even pairs? Haven't found a set. I have no problem selling an extra bike...
    Smaller is better is a fallacy in my experience. Bikes for average size riders are still the most in demand. Also, tall women have a hard time finding step thru frames.
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  20. #370
    Senior Member curbtender's Avatar
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    I'd guess it's per your market. Smaller bikes sell really well here, as do 54cm to 57. Larger vintage bikes sit through multiple listings. I'm ok with that. I've quite the hoard of large bikes ;-)...
    “At 50, everyone has the face he deserves.”
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  21. #371
    Senior Member ahandley's Avatar
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    Who buys multiple bikes, bikes that are projects? People like me.

    I often buy pairs of bikes, or even larger groups. The reason? I get a nice discount. The last pair I bought were for sale for $75 each (a good deal by the way). Both needed work. I bought the pair for $100 ($50 discount). Seller got the convenience of one transaction. I got nice discount. I have bought as many as ten bikes at once. The discount? About 75% of what the individual bikes would have brought in as is condition. Seller got the bikes gone immediately (his goal). I got a great deal.

    My best deals have been on groups of bikes.

    I have always gotten better deals on groups of bikes. But even then, find that a percentage of them turn out to be trash

  22. #372
    Senior Member zukahn1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by turky lurkey View Post
    Do you guys find that bikes are worth more sold in pairs? For example, I often see matching his and hers bikes for sale on C.L.? Or what about two identical men's bikes? I mentioned above that I picked up a couple mtn bikes, they look exactly the same. I don't really need two of the same bikes so I was thinking of selling one as is, as needing work, for $20-$30 in order to help with the cost of refurbishing the other, but for some reason I'm a little hesitant to break up the pair. Neither one of the bikes will make a lot of money, but would their value increase if I get them both in good condition and sell them together?
    Not really they typically sell for less the reason for so many matching his and hers bikes on CL is back in the day Schwinn dealerships which sold most of the nicer bikes in the US offered a deal on the second bike of 20% to 60% off. If you brought something like a set of matching his & hers Varsities together you likely got 40%-60% off on the womens bike. At the time Schwinn was really trying to increase sales to young adult Women to increase there market long term.

  23. #373
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    The used bicycle market is terrible these days. Last year I had a Raleigh 3-speed cruiser with a sturmey-archer hub on craig's list for more than a year. couldn't sell it for $80 (Maybe it was better off up for auction?). I think now that the economies recovered people would rather buy a new bike, also I noticed my cursed local bike shop is selling a select set of used bicycles.
    First God made the fixie, then he made the freewheel because he was tired of pedaling.

  24. #374
    Senior Member zukahn1's Avatar
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    I have also noticed a lot more bike shops selling refurbished used bikes often times at some pretty high premiums. They seem to be asking $200-300 for some pretty basic entry level bikes.

  25. #375
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    Jun 2006
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    Kansas city MO
    My Bikes
    Focus TD-400 Touring Bicycle
    Posts
    174
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    If I didn't know anything about bikes and wanted something used, I'd probably buy a bicycle from a shop too.

    My problem is my bicycles are boring. Practically nobody cares about classic steel road bikes, they are better than your x mart bicycle but still boring. The only person who would possibly be excited to buy the bikes I sell are somebody who has never ridden a bicycle before, People who want a bicycle for transportation, or something to exercise on. But the last two reasons, those people would probably want something more exciting like an aluminum bike. People like mountain bikes cause that's an exciting sport, almost nobody is excited by classic steel road bikes. I could probably sell more bikes if I could get people in Kansas City excited about riding in traffic around town.
    First God made the fixie, then he made the freewheel because he was tired of pedaling.

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