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  1. #176
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    People know I'm the bike guy. They give me bikes they don't need any more, or they offer to sell bikes to me.

    What kind of area are you in? What's the population density? I live in a small town, but it's very dense, and it's near NYC. Almost all of New Jersey is very densely populated.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
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  2. #177
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CCypher View Post
    Where do you guys find this stuff? I find craigslist pretty dry in my area (Canada), but have done OK by checking out the local recycle depot and police auctions.
    If you want to find deals on bikes, you have to look everywhere. I rarely find flippable bikes on C/L. I find them at garage sales, church sales, private party (word of mouth), neighborhood newsletter, friends, and occasionally both C/L and ebay. And you have to be willing and able to chase after a bike right now, not later when it is convenient. Deals do not last til the weekend, or tomorrow, or whatever. To score deals, you have to get in the car and drive immediately (usually). Its actually hard work, depending on how many deals you expect/want to find.

    I look for bikes every day. And some of my best Craigs List finds were not local: anywhere from 100 to 200 miles away, one way. When I drive a farther distance, I try to pick up multiple bikes. On my last 110 mile one way trip chasing bikes, I came home with four bikes, a pile of parts and several good tools.

    I also buy anything thing that meets my criteria, in any size, if the price is right. So 90% of what I find is not my size.
    Last edited by wrk101; 11-08-10 at 07:18 PM.

  3. #178
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Hey, what's the greatest number of bikes you (anyone here) have brought home in a day? My record is seven.

    Church and synagogue rummage sales are great. The prices aren't always the lowest, but they're close.

    You can use google alerts to find out when there will be a sale near you. Get on whatever lists or feeds you can about estate sales. Estate sales are great. I picked up two old English three-speeds at an estate sale. They weren't even on display. I just happened to start talking about bikes with the saleswoman, and she said I should take a look in the garage. The bikes were buried and worth unburying. I got the two bikes for $30.

    Tom
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
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  4. #179
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    I just got into flipping this year after rebuilding my own bike and finding out I really enjoy doing it and (I think) I'm pretty good at it.

    I don't always do a complete disassembly but everything gets cleaned, greased and anything requiring replacement gets replaced, I won't sell a bike that's not 100% functional and rideable. If the bike is nice enough to justify a bare frame tear down I do it, it's not like it's all that hard to do.

    I think I sold about 15 bikes this year and I've got about a dozen or so in line right now, I'm currently finishing a nice old tall frame blue Uo8 and I'll be tearing into a white Uo8 right after that.

    I've found that I really enjoy working on road bikes, couldn't care less about mountain bikes and I don't know anything about three speeds so I stay away.

    Just keep watching Craigslist, One thing to try is to just search bikes by brand from the main page because a lot of garage salers just mention the bike in their garage sale add and don't post it in the bike section, I found a gorgeous little 1984 Peugeot that way and picked it up for $30.00.

  5. #180
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    I've occasionally thought that it would pay to drive to a low-price area to buy and drive to a high-price area to sell. I did the arithmetic, and it didn't work out, with all the time and gas. And I'm pretty close to both types of places. The NJ/PA border shows some pretty low prices on craigslist. And I'm very close to NYC where prices are extremely high. But I'd really have to hustle to make it work.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
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  6. #181
    Seņor Member 4Rings6Stars's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    I've occasionally thought that it would pay to drive to a low-price area to buy and drive to a high-price area to sell. I did the arithmetic, and it didn't work out, with all the time and gas. And I'm pretty close to both types of places. The NJ/PA border shows some pretty low prices on craigslist. And I'm very close to NYC where prices are extremely high. But I'd really have to hustle to make it work.
    ahh the old Michigan bottle deposit dilemma...

    ... Newman learns that bottles and cans can be refunded for 10 cents in Michigan (as opposed to 5 cents in many other states), but Kramer tells him it's impossible to gain a profit from depositing the bottles in Michigan due to the total gas, tollbooth and truck rental fees that would compile during the trip, noting he had tried it before but "couldn't crunch the numbers." Newman becomes obsessed with finding a way to make such a scheme work.
    I have actually made this scheme work...but I have an advantage. My parents live in a very low price market (rural central MA) and I live in Boston. I scoop up and store bikes at their place and in the spring sell them here in the city. Makes for a good income supplement for a college student.
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  7. #182
    Senior Member curbtender's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    Hey, what's the greatest number of bikes you (anyone here) have brought home in a day? My record is seven.

    Tom
    Took this picture after unloading a haul from Hastings College. All abandoned bikes after the semester. I never counted how many.


  8. #183
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4Rings6Stars View Post
    ahh the old Michigan bottle deposit dilemma...

    ... Newman learns that bottles and cans can be refunded for 10 cents in Michigan (as opposed to 5 cents in many other states), but Kramer tells him it's impossible to gain a profit from depositing the bottles in Michigan due to the total gas, tollbooth and truck rental fees that would compile during the trip, noting he had tried it before but "couldn't crunch the numbers." Newman becomes obsessed with finding a way to make such a scheme work.

    Actually, that can work--depending on one's proximity to Michigan. Did it a couple times in high school to raise fun money. Hit the recycling bins at a bar or two, load friend's van, drive to the Michigan line. We were literally swimming in cans though. Probably spent about $100 on gas, made $500.

  9. #184
    spathfinder34089 spathfinder3408's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MitchL View Post
    how much capital do you have invested in these flipper bikes? to flip a nice racing bike you must have to spend a decent amount to get it in the first place.
    I try to limit my investment price to no more then about one third of the value of what I think I can sell the bike for. I take into account what I would have to buy such as tires, bar tape
    ect. for my investment. I figure my time is sweat equity, so if I have to spend 4 or 5 hours to get the bike in good shape, its no lost money, just my time. Most of the time I come out with at least doubling my profit and sometimes more. As I learn, Patience waiting for the right bike and the right deal it key. Don't rush into a bike that needs tons of work and buy a bike that you would like to own youself. That will keep you from buying something you get stuck with or have to reduce the price so much that it would not be worth your time. The most I have ever invested in a bike is $100, but I try not to do that very often. I have only had one true high end racing bike and that was given to me by a friend. When I feel a little more confindent with knowledge of high end bikes I may venture into investing in them when i know what I'm buying. Right now I am into mostly road bikes from the 80's and 90's .

  10. #185
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    I learned from other bike flippers here to aim for at least $100 profit on a bike. It has helped me a lot, because I've begun turning down opportunities to buy some bikes and accept some free bikes.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
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  11. #186
    spathfinder34089 spathfinder3408's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    I learned from other bike flippers here to aim for at least $100 profit on a bike. It has helped me a lot, because I've begun turning down opportunities to buy some bikes and accept some free bikes.
    Thats a good goal. $100 is a $100. Sometime the bike market slows up or it hard to find bikes at a good deal, so you need to be flexable, so you can still make a buck. I figure making a buck when times are slow is better then making no bucks. When times are good, you'll make up the difference.

  12. #187
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    I think a guide should include a basic code of ethics (never sell a bike that isn't safe should be obvious, levels of disclosure could have a lot more gray areas) and advice on what to check before buying, and how much to fix before selling.

    I'm not exactly a "flipper". Between the wife and I we have 6 bikes that we regard as keepers. We're fairly frugal, but we each have at least one more bike in mind (and probably always will .
    I don't put much energy into looking for deals, but I do keep an eye out. On several occasions I found it cheaper to buy a full bike to get a part or several than to buy just the parts. Right now I have three "parts" bikes.
    When I have free time I strip any parts I think I may want for are riders in the future (in additional to whatever parts I was originally seeking) off the parts bike. Then I see if I have enough left between them to make a safe complete bike.

    I did buy one mid '90s GT Timberline that turned out to be just a little to tall for me. I sold that one for just over $100 more than I paid, not counting shifters, cables, housings, grease, lube, and time.

    I have had two Walmart Mongoose bikes and a Murray.
    The Murray I gave away (not much of a business model, but, as I told the recipient, the tires had very little life left, and by the time I bought new 26x1 3/8 tires I couldn't see any real profit in selling it. It did however provide a better wheelset and a rack for my Foremost at less than $20.

    The two Walmart bikes I actually traded to flippers for other bikes. I can't say how much less than $20 the parts off the Murray cost me, because I received it in trade for a Mongoose I paid $20 for and trade the grips, shifters, and wheels off of (the wheels are actually decent cheap wheels, but it was a higher end Walmart bike, and they aren't anything special, just not bad).

    Normal I don't buy anything below entry level LBS/sporting goods store level, but my standard is based on what has parts I want, not on original sale price, resell value or culture. One notable exception is Motiv. As I understand it Motiv is (was?) a Costco store brand, but I've seen them with Shimano Acera, Alivio, and Exage 300, decent wheels, and Chrome Moly frames; maybe not world class, but they've made some bikes I'd be happy to ride.

    I used to commute on a Walmart Next. I actually didn't have any serious problems with it for over a year. When it did fail (just over one year) it failed in a spectacular, potentially life threatening manner. The pedal spindle broke (I'm 280lb, even with gentle use I'm suprised they lasted that long), the crank arm the pedal had been attached to bent (WTF!), and when I suddenly jolted against the handlebars and stem shattered. If I receive on of these free I'll happily turn it in as scrap metal to ensure no one tries to ride it. To be honest I don't think any part of those bikes is worth salvaging. Not even the tires and tubes (I had replaced these on mine).

    Not counting the bikes I bought before I started wrenching (all three of which have since been stolen) I have about $200 invested in bikes. Not bad for six bikes, including an electric. Flipping may not make me any money, but it has greatly offset my bike spending.
    Quote Originally Posted by sprockets View Post
    I talk to myself regularly - crazy is the technical term I believe. The only time I shut up is when I'm riding. (that's the best time to listen to all those voices in your head :D )

  13. #188
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Your story about the Next makes me angry. Sometimes, I wish we could pass laws about minimum quality.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
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  14. #189
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    Actually I'm certain there are some laws about minimum quality, and I'll even bet the parts on cheap bike shaped objects are generally spec'ed above the minimum standard. I would also bet there are companies that view legal fees as the quality control check on the products they sell.

    "No lawsuits over the stems from that supplier? Good, order more. Stress test? Why bother?"
    Quote Originally Posted by sprockets View Post
    I talk to myself regularly - crazy is the technical term I believe. The only time I shut up is when I'm riding. (that's the best time to listen to all those voices in your head :D )

  15. #190
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    I guess, but clearly, the inspections etc aren't thorough. I just worked on a Mongoose where the brakes were so bad that not only did they not work, but they COULD not work. It's infuriating. It's mind blowing.

    (I do repairs etc for neighbors. This bike is owned by my wife's student. My wife teaches piano and voice to children and adults.)
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
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  16. #191
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    It might be worth putting together a list of bike NOT to resell (or donate) as anything but scrap metal.

    Off the top of my head
    Next
    Vertical/Triax (although I might grab shifters and derailers for a different cheap bike)

    I don't know any other brands that I avoid across the board, but I'm sure there are plenty I just haven't encountered.

    I won't sell any elastomer fork where the fork is held together by a plastic cap.
    I won't sell any frame with pressed drop-outs.
    Quote Originally Posted by sprockets View Post
    I talk to myself regularly - crazy is the technical term I believe. The only time I shut up is when I'm riding. (that's the best time to listen to all those voices in your head :D )

  17. #192
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Huffy
    Murray
    any Columbia made after 1960-something
    some Mongooses (Mongeese?) but not all
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
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  18. #193
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    Mongoose is part of Pacific now, along with Schwinn, GT, Roadmaster, and probably a few others.
    I treat them all with equal skepticism, but some of them are better off as bikes than as scrap metal. I'd still rather have a bike from any one of these brands from before they were bought by Pacific the one from after.

    Despite the fact that my wife owns (and sometimes rides) a Huffy (childhood nostalgia) I would agree.

    I'm not sure I would be as harsh towards Murray. Do you regard Murray as simply to low a quality to bother with, or genuinely unsafe? If you regard them as unsafe please share your experience and observations.

    I have a J.C. Penny's Foremost (I think mid to late 70s with a shimano Lark II rear der.) that I've been using as a beater bike for a couple years. I believe these bikes were produced by Murray. Does anyone know for sure if that's correct?
    Quote Originally Posted by sprockets View Post
    I talk to myself regularly - crazy is the technical term I believe. The only time I shut up is when I'm riding. (that's the best time to listen to all those voices in your head :D )

  19. #194
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    Quote Originally Posted by curbtender View Post
    Took this picture after unloading a haul from Hastings College. All abandoned bikes after the semester. I never counted how many.

    So how did that work? Do you know someone, do they have an auction? I'm in a big college area here and had never thought of this.
    My name is Steve and I don't have a bent fork anymore :)

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  20. #195
    Senior Member curbtender's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FORDSVTPARTS View Post
    So how did that work? Do you know someone, do they have an auction? I'm in a big college area here and had never thought of this.
    A friend was doing some work there and the maint. engineer had them piled up in a storage room. He said that there were two piles of bikes. That pile was being dumped. I never saw the second pile. So, I guess if I were you I'd start with talking to someone in maintenance.

  21. #196
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    I just found out that a town near me with lots of wealthy people have bulk trash pickup once a month. They leave their stuff on the curb. The guy who told me this said that he's even seen people put out furniture in bubble wrap, since they know it will be picked up. Weird.

    He says that on any given such night, you can get a dozen bikes.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

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  22. #197
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NightShift View Post
    Mongoose is part of Pacific now, along with Schwinn, GT, Roadmaster, and probably a few others.
    I treat them all with equal skepticism, but some of them are better off as bikes than as scrap metal. I'd still rather have a bike from any one of these brands from before they were bought by Pacific the one from after.

    Despite the fact that my wife owns (and sometimes rides) a Huffy (childhood nostalgia) I would agree.

    I'm not sure I would be as harsh towards Murray. Do you regard Murray as simply to low a quality to bother with, or genuinely unsafe? If you regard them as unsafe please share your experience and observations.

    I have a J.C. Penny's Foremost (I think mid to late 70s with a shimano Lark II rear der.) that I've been using as a beater bike for a couple years. I believe these bikes were produced by Murray. Does anyone know for sure if that's correct?
    If you are looking to flip, then dealing with any of these brands is a losing proposition, Murray, Foremost, or whatever. Its not just the quality of the bike (some are OK), its the lack of resale value. It costs just as much to put new tires, tubes, cables, bearings and grease on a Murray as it costs to do a Trek. In certain, red hot market, maybe it can work out. Anywhere else, forget it. Again, this is concerning flipping bikes. If you are looking for a keeper bike, then the resale value is meaningless.

  23. #198
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    Quote Originally Posted by curbtender View Post
    A friend was doing some work there and the maint. engineer had them piled up in a storage room. He said that there were two piles of bikes. That pile was being dumped. I never saw the second pile. So, I guess if I were you I'd start with talking to someone in maintenance.
    My name is Steve and I don't have a bent fork anymore :)

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  24. #199
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
    If you are looking to flip, then dealing with any of these brands is a losing proposition, Murray, Foremost, or whatever. Its not just the quality of the bike (some are OK), its the lack of resale value. It costs just as much to put new tires, tubes, cables, bearings and grease on a Murray as it costs to do a Trek. In certain, red hot market, maybe it can work out. Anywhere else, forget it. Again, this is concerning flipping bikes. If you are looking for a keeper bike, then the resale value is meaningless.
    Quote Originally Posted by NightShift View Post
    It might be worth putting together a list of bike NOT to resell (or donate) as anything but scrap metal.
    I don't think you understood what the purpose of the list I was suggesting would be.

    Many of us would accept a free bike, or purchase a very cheap bike, for parts, even if the bike itself had little or no resale value. We might build it up and give it away, trade it for other parts, or donate it to a bicycle co-op after talking the parts we were after. But there are some bikes that should not be ridden, bikes that pose an unacceptable risk to the rider. You don't donate cables that you know are likely to break, brakes that won't stop a bike, a stem that cracks under normal use, a frame where the drop-outs may pull out while you're riding, or anything else you have reason to believe is inherently unsafe.

    I count Next and Vertical as inherently unsafe. I've seen enough Huffy's that were just as bad that I will gladly avoid them, even if they're free.
    I don't consider Murray as bad, but that may just be because I don't have as much knowledge and experience with whatever issues they have.
    I know almost nothing about modern/semi-modern Columbias, but after Tom's post I will be extremely cautious about accepting one should I encounter one.

    I remember hearing about a brand of bike that had been a give away item with the purchase of stereo equipment, because the importer found out they didn't meet the safety standards to be sold in the USA, but it was still legal to give them away (if someone remembers the brand please post, I've forgotten).

    If you know a product that should be avoided, even if it's free, that's what I'm asking about.
    Quote Originally Posted by sprockets View Post
    I talk to myself regularly - crazy is the technical term I believe. The only time I shut up is when I'm riding. (that's the best time to listen to all those voices in your head :D )

  25. #200
    Senior Member zandoval's Avatar
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    This looks like allot of fun - And much cheaper and rewarding than flipping a house - My favorite people are ones that have a deeper appreciation of the care taken in restoring and older bike with safety as a prime consideration...

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