First of all, I would like to say thanks to everyone. You have all been extremely helpful during my process of finding a bike for my girlfriend. All the information offered has really been crucial in helping me decide. That said, I still have yet to buy a bike which means I have more questions :[
Right now I'm comparing four different bikes, but a few are out of my price range. However, if they are substantially better I might try to negotiate the prices down. They are the following:
A Centurion Ironman Dave Scott, I think it's an 85/86 - 240$ (i think)
I can't find the link but here's the picture I saved link
I'm still learning about bikes but I still don't know enough to differentiate between what's a good deal or not.. (I missed out on an '84 turbo for 200$ and have been kicking myself since). Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.
If you do not know enough to differentiate between a good deal and a bad deal, and if it is for sale in a public forum (ebay or Craigs List), then you are not going to score a really good deal, unless you get extremely lucky. The reason? In almost every area (at least in the US), there are knowledgeable buyers out there, that are ready and able to pounce on the best deals. So the deals do not last long enough for the education process to begin at that point. And they will not last long enough for a "What do you think of this deal?" query to the forum. In my area, I am often the second or third caller on the smokin hot deals, so others beat me to them (and I beat them to other deals, thats how it works).
Note, I am calling a really good deal a price below market, where there is some resale potential. As the price approaches market value, the scoopers vanish. Now the key is to make sure you only pay market value, and not something higher. So even then, you really need to get educated. But in those cases, you do have the time to ask: "Hey what about this one?"
To get good deals, work on the education piece first. It really isn't that hard in this day of Google and other ready resources. Then when you are ready, be prepared to move fast, lightning fast, on the good deals.
In any financial transaction, the person with the most knowledge wins. Fortunately, in the world of bikes, with just a little time on the education piece, you will have more knowledge than 90% of the people out there. Then you have to be willing/able to pounce quick (the great deals do not wait around until it is convenient, until the weekend, or whatever). And often, the "best" deals are project bikes, bikes that need a little TLC to get into ready to ride shape. If you have the tools/time/aptitude and interest in rehabbing a bike, great. If you need to pay a shop to do this work, sometimes even if the bike is "FREE", the cost of the work will exceed the value of the bike.
Think of any area where you may already have special expertise and knowledge: real estate, golf clubs, vintage cars, antiques, whatever. Who gets the great deals?
Around here, that Giant Quasar is a dud, the other two bikes are better. Are you looking for modern or vintage? Type of shifter? Pricing on the bikes is high for where I live but may be normal for your area.
Thanks for the advice.. I am beginning to see that premise in action when I notice bikes that sound good disappear a little more quickly.
I'm in southern California so prices might run a little higher than in other regions. As for what kind of bike I'm looking for, I'm leaning towards a vintage bike with downtube shifters.
Well, then the Premio and the Giant do not fit that model. An STI bike like the Premio will sell at a premium compared to a DT shifter bike, and a stem shifter bike will sell at a discount to DT shifters (stem shifter bikes tend to be really low end, not always, but most of the time).