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-   Classic and Vintage Bicycles: Whats it Worth? Appraisals and Inquiries (http://www.bikeforums.net/classic-vintage-bicycles-whats-worth-appraisals-inquiries/)
-   -   Bike Flipping 101 (http://www.bikeforums.net/classic-vintage-bicycles-whats-worth-appraisals-inquiries/499513-bike-flipping-101-a.html)

matimeo 04-22-13 03:13 PM

I started flipping bikes when I was in college after I restored my first vintage road bike. I found that all kinds of bicycles were readily available at local thrift stores in the college town where I lived. I’d often find bikes from $8-20 that I could flip the next day with minimal cleanup and tuning for $100 or more. Even found some nicer vintage bikes priced cheap because apparently nobody knew what they were worth. It was trial and error at first, but with experience you learn what things are worth, what to avoid, what to jump on. The landlady was nice and didn't say anything about the pile up of bikes and parts on her back patio.

Now that I live in Portland, OR, I can’t find a bike at a thrift store to save my life. I've flipped a few in the five years I've lived here if I just happen to bump into something good at a thrift store or garage sale, but that almost never happens.

The most important lesson I learned when I did it actively was this: if it became a job rather than a hobby, I totally lost interest in it. Now I do it when I can because it’s fun and because I can make a little extra cash to spend on my hobby. I think if I ever tried to make a business out of it, I’d lost interest. That’s why I don’t do any spreadsheets or anything- not that there’s anything wrong with that, that’s just how I roll.

noglider 04-23-13 12:48 PM

A writer for the New York Times went to Portland just to report on the used bike scene there. She said since it's a very cycling city, car values are low and bike values are sky high. Used bikes start at $450 and go up from there.

She said in Phoenix, where people don't ride much, car values are high and bike values are low. In theory, you could cycle from Phoenix to Portland, sell your bike, buy a car, drive back to Phoenix and sell the car. Of course, you could start this cycle in Portland instead. But you'd need a lot of time to do this.

folkform 05-07-13 11:17 AM

I flip mostly for the pleasure of hunting on craigslist and working on bikes. So far, the biggest thing I've learned is KNOW YOUR MARKET. I am living in a college town and fixed-gear and road bikes are the rage right now. Luckily, there are suburbs outside of the city with people getting rid of the bikes they've had since the 70s-80s. When spring comes around, I can easily sell good mid-range road bikes in the 200-300 range that I bought for 50-125 after getting them road worthy. There is another flipper in town that has the same group of mountain and hybrid bikes that are cheap and would make fine and practical commuter bikes but have been relisted for over a year.

People spending 200-300 for a bike usually don't care if the derailleurs are vintage Campy, but they do care if it rides, brakes, and shifts smoothly. Take the time to road test everything and make sure that you aren't selling a bike that you wouldn't ride unless you make that clear any problems to a buyer. Because I like to ride everything I work on, I stay away from frames that are way too big for me.

I have also found that many people buying in this range are more impressed that I have wrapped new bar tape and throw in some $5 silicone lights than when I put together a complete french drive train for an old Motobecane. Aesthetics really count. Good paint and a clean bike make selling much easier.

As the previous posters have said, you do not make much profit, especially if you take the time (which I always do) to replace worn cables, tires, tubes, grips, and brake pads. If you look on ebay, you can buy handlebar tape from Chinese sellers for around 3-4 dollars a pair. I have had stuff lost or take forever shipping from overseas, so be cautious. I basically fund my future bike purchases through my reselling, so it is a hobby that pays for (some of) itself.

noglider 05-12-13 07:11 AM

Thrifty Bill, where do you keep all these donor bikes? Do you disassemble them partially to stack them in tight?

ahandley 05-14-13 02:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by spathfinder3408 (Post 13490777)
Dittos on this issue. I have been fixing and flippin bikes for almost 4 years and do it because I like it. Most don't realize its a labor of love. Once in awhile I get a good deal on a bike and don't have to do much to resale it, but thats not the usual. Most bikes I rebuild everything, all bearings and make sure the tires are excellent or new. I always match and touch up scratches on frame and finish with a complete cleaning and wax job. I always take a test ride to make sure everything works right. And i would sell those bikes to my mother. Selling a bike to a person that gets a smile on their face when they take it for a ride and saying ,"I like it", makes it all worthwhile. Classic bike saved and passing on to a new owner is all worth it. I just make a little play money doing this, but self satisfaction in what I do is better then my regular day job. I am retiring soon and will take this hobby with me

I have been flipping for a few years now. If I took a look at the amount of time I spend on repairing or replacing parts, I would go broke. i usually tear a bike totally down and rebuild, unless it is in very, very good shape. I have learned to steer away from cheap Walmart or Kmart bikes unless it is for parts only. Seats and tires must be excellent on these or I don't even consider. And most of the time the seat or tires is all that I was after to begin with. I like to find several for sale at the same time, buying in bulk for a cheaper price.

I don't like to mess with anything that I can't sell for $150 - $200 quickly. When you get up into the $300 and above market, most buyers are like us and know what they want.

Each bicycle I intend to sell gets a couple test rides and I tell the buyer if anything is wrong with it or they don't like it I will buy it back. i wouldn't extend that offer to cheaper bikes or if I did not believe that I have rebuilt quality bicycle, I have only bought one back. I have even had people bring their friends back to buy.

I enjoy rebuilding something that was to be trashed and if someone gets a good deal and I make a little ... so be it. Circle of life.

Andreas93 05-21-13 06:44 AM

Now I have flipped a fair number of bikes, considering I'm still in my teens. I also live in one of the most cycling interested countries in the world, and that is both good and bad.

The pros are the extremely high selling prices - I can sell bikes at ridiculously high percentages of the value the bike had from new. We are talking a minimum of 50 percent, just as long as the bike is just rideable, and a lot more if it's in good condition.

The cons are of cause the high purchasing prices. I have never bought a bike for less than the equivalent of $100, and that is even including crazy worn out bikes.

There are a lot of great advice in this threat already, and it is coming from people with a lot more experience than me. But I believe that I got a few things worth adding, or at least repeating.

1) First of all, make a choice. Do you want to make the most money you possibly can, or is this just a hobby? If you really wanna make a lot of money, you can't afford the luxury of being a gentlemen. Think like a used car salesmen. Maximize your profit, minimize your spending.

2) Make a great add, that really captivates people. If you have a nice bike, take nice pictures. Write down every little thing in the add - in my experience it makes a huge difference if you write "Nice bike" and use only one picture, or if you really write about all the nice features the bike has, and put six or seven good quality pictures in the add.

3) Know your target demographic. I primarily sell bikes to kids from 18-29. These are young people, whom have little knowledge about bikes, and have parents with thick wallets to back them up financially. This mean aesthetics is the priority. They don't care if the headset is Chris King, they care about the color and "feel" of the bike. So for me it would be a complete waste to put a nice $100 headset on a bike, because it wouldn't add a lot to my final selling price.

4) Get to know the right people. I get a pair of nice, fashionable gumwall tires for about $20. And this is in a country, where everything is a lot more expensive then the U.S. because of taxes and what not. This is because I know the right guy. If I didn't know him, I would be paying $60-$80 instead.
I am also lucky to know the best mechanic in town, because we used to ride in the same club. Because of this, and because I generally bring him a lot of business means I get a pretty fair discount, whenever I need parts/things fixed etc. So get to know people in the bicycle community!

And that's all I can think of, on the top of my head. I have flipped somewhere between 50-100 bikes within the last year and a half, and never once lost money. So for me it's a fairly lucrative way to finance my own hobbies and a lot of other luxuries, that I otherwise would not be able to afford.

PS: Sorry if I made a crazy long post! :)

zupreme 05-29-13 07:53 PM

I dont know if it has been covered here in the flipping 101, but what about buying stolen bikes? I purchased a bianchi at what I thought was a great deal only to re-list it on craigslist. I met up with a buyer only to have him show up with 2 cops saying that the bike is stolen.

The guy gets his bike back, which is awesome. But im out of money and I could have possible legal problems in the future? I didn't know it was stolen and in no way participated in its theft. Lose/Lose for me. Pretty lame, IMO

oddjob2 05-29-13 08:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by zupreme (Post 15682459)
I dont know if it has been covered here in the flipping 101, but what about buying stolen bikes? I purchased a bianchi at what I thought was a great deal only to re-list it on craigslist. I met up with a buyer only to have him show up with 2 cops saying that the bike is stolen.

The guy gets his bike back, which is awesome. But im out of money and I could have possible legal problems in the future? I didn't know it was stolen and in no way participated in its theft. Lose/Lose for me. Pretty lame, IMO


It's been covered in other threads. Was your purchase deal too good to be true? Did you buy it from a homeowner or meet in some out of the way place? Those are pretty telltale clues it's hot.

miamijim 05-31-13 04:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by noglider (Post 15543934)
A writer for the New York Times went to Portland just to report on the used bike scene there. She said since it's a very cycling city, car values are low and bike values are sky high. Used bikes start at $450 and go up from there.

She said in Phoenix, where people don't ride much, car values are high and bike values are low. In theory, you could cycle from Phoenix to Portland, sell your bike, buy a car, drive back to Phoenix and sell the car. Of course, you could start this cycle in Portland instead. But you'd need a lot of time to do this.


oddjob2 and I had that discussion, I can buy vintage road bike down here in Tampa for next to nothing. I don't bother because after my time and expenses there's no profit to made. I told oddjob2 if I bought every bike I could I'd be able to fill a 50 ft. UHaul truck. That would be one hell of a road trip, a 50 ft UHaul jam packed heading to Portland! Figure 300 bikes @ $300 per bike = $90,000 minus expences of $150 per bike plus the truck food and lodging.

Hmmm....

Expences:

Bikes: 300 bikes @ $150 = $45,000
U Haul truck one way: $300
3 night hotel/2 rooms: $300
7 days in hotel in Portland: $350
Food n stuff X 2 X 7 days: $350
Miscellaneous costs: $4K

So maybe I'm in for $50K to run 300 bikes in ride ready condition up to Portland. I guess $40K is a nice profit...now, if I only didn't have such a good job.


Quote:

Originally Posted by zupreme (Post 15682459)
I dont know if it has been covered here in the flipping 101, but what about buying stolen bikes? I purchased a bianchi at what I thought was a great deal only to re-list it on craigslist. I met up with a buyer only to have him show up with 2 cops saying that the bike is stolen.

The guy gets his bike back, which is awesome. But im out of money and I could have possible legal problems in the future? I didn't know it was stolen and in no way participated in its theft. Lose/Lose for me. Pretty lame, IMO

It's a chance we all take. Over the years I'm sure I've bought a stolen bike or two but never intentionally and that's the key. The way I see it is if I don't buy the bike someone else will.

oddjob2 05-31-13 04:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by miamijim (Post 15690007)
oddjob and I had that discussion, I can buy vintage road bike down here in Tampa for next to nothing. I don't bother because after my time and expenses there's no profit to made. I told oddjob if I bought every bike I could I'd be able to rent a huge U-Haul truck. That would be one hell of a road trip, a 50 ft U-Haul jam packed with vintage bikes.


Destination, WRK101's workshop in Hootersville! :thumb:

Rumor has it, his inventory is dwindling! :roflmao2::roflmao2::roflmao2:

miamijim 05-31-13 04:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by oddjob2 (Post 15690023)
Destination, WRK101's workshop in Hootersville! :thumb:

Rumor has it, his inventory is dwindling! :roflmao2::roflmao2::roflmao2:

The only problem is that WRK would have Homeland Security knocking on his door because they want to know why he's buying oxalic acid in 50 gallon drums.

Desertrats97 06-05-13 11:55 AM

I have a chance to pick up a 1977 schwinn ladies breeze for about $30.00, paint is in good shape , deals are clean, just need tires.

-- Question i buy and flip bikes all the time and have not done anything like this type ( Ladies , Single speed, Yellow ) bikes

is it work to get it and flip it on ebay. ?

I have seen some of these sell for $50.00 and others for $200.00+ on ebay. what are my tell tell signs on these.

1977 yellow schwinn breeze ladies single speed with chrome fenders

all input welcomed

miamijim 06-05-13 08:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Desertrats97 (Post 15708085)
I have a chance to pick up a 1977 schwinn ladies breeze for about $30.00, paint is in good shape , deals are clean, just need tires.

-- Question i buy and flip bikes all the time and have not done anything like this type ( Ladies , Single speed, Yellow ) bikes

is it work to get it and flip it on ebay. ?

I have seen some of these sell for $50.00 and others for $200.00+ on ebay. what are my tell tell signs on these.

1977 yellow schwinn breeze ladies single speed with chrome fenders

all input welcomed


That's not a bike for Ebay.

Desertrats97 06-13-13 08:19 AM

After some research you are correct. its at $60-90$ bike on ebay. No worry my 12yr old daughter loved it and kept it.
I was cool to see her a 12yr old girl get excited about a bike build 33yrs ago. i guess with all the vintage restores i have done its rubbing on to her. we sold her Walmart bike this weekend and picked out a basket and bell ring.

frantik 06-13-13 08:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by miamijim (Post 15690007)
oddjob2 and I had that discussion, I can buy vintage road bike down here in Tampa for next to nothing. I don't bother because after my time and expenses there's no profit to made. I told oddjob2 if I bought every bike I could I'd be able to fill a 50 ft. UHaul truck. That would be one hell of a road trip, a 50 ft UHaul jam packed heading to Portland! Figure 300 bikes @ $300 per bike = $90,000 minus expences of $150 per bike plus the truck food and lodging.

Hmmm....

Expences:

Bikes: 300 bikes @ $150 = $45,000
U Haul truck one way: $300
3 night hotel/2 rooms: $300
7 days in hotel in Portland: $350
Food n stuff X 2 X 7 days: $350
Miscellaneous costs: $4K

So maybe I'm in for $50K to run 300 bikes in ride ready condition up to Portland. I guess $40K is a nice profit...now, if I only didn't have such a good job.



btw you think you could unload 300 bikes at $300/each in 7 days?

miamijim 07-10-13 12:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by frantik (Post 15738023)


btw you think you could unload 300 bikes at $300/each in 7 days?

If I didnt have a job it wouldnt really matter, 3 days, 7 days, 14 days holed up a cheap motel in the outskirts of town...anything will sell if it's priced right.

Turbo231 07-10-13 03:20 PM

I scrounge and save every little bit of cable I can find as most bikes I come across has at leased a seized rear brake, however at the old Mart of Wal...Walmart if you will, they sell a complete wire kit for under $6. I think I'm done saving old cables, this is just too quick to ignore, and while my time is cheap, the more bikes out the door, the better. $6 seems pretty cheap for all the cables you need.
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51374UTzBsL.jpg

curbtender 07-10-13 05:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Desertrats97 (Post 15737899)
After some research you are correct. its at $60-90$ bike on ebay. No worry my 12yr old daughter loved it and kept it.
I was cool to see her a 12yr old girl get excited about a bike build 33yrs ago. i guess with all the vintage restores i have done its rubbing on to her. we sold her Walmart bike this weekend and picked out a basket and bell ring.

You live in the flats, great area for that bike. If it's a clean one, it should fetch up to $150. Some people love old Cadillacs... I'm included.

PatTheSlat 07-10-13 08:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Turbo231 (Post 15836126)
I scrounge and save every little bit of cable I can find as most bikes I come across has at leased a seized rear brake, however at the old Mart of Wal...Walmart if you will, they sell a complete wire kit for under $6. I think I'm done saving old cables, this is just too quick to ignore, and while my time is cheap, the more bikes out the door, the better. $6 seems pretty cheap for all the cables you need.
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51374UTzBsL.jpg

These cables are okay, but the housings are absolute trash. Un-lined, and won't work with indexed shift systems.

howeeee 07-15-13 01:45 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by PatTheSlat (Post 15837376)
These cables are okay, but the housings are absolute trash. Un-lined, and won't work with indexed shift systems.

Just bought this one for 70 bucks almost flipped it for 350, but then I thought it is too kewl and kept it for now lol

Chris Chicago 07-22-13 12:25 PM

I have those cables on my old mongoose. nothing but positive to say about them for 3 years.

they are unlined though, and wont work with index apparently. but it's pretty surprising how good my brake feel is

Turbo231 07-22-13 01:06 PM

They are pretty big inside, which would mean things would have to get crazy rusty to actually freeze a cable.

ahandley 07-29-13 07:00 AM

Bill,
Two quick questions: 1) DKO style? 2) Where can you get cables and housings in bulk? Internet?
Thanks.

oddjob2 07-29-13 07:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ahandley (Post 15899549)
Bill,
Two quick questions: 1) DKO style? 2) Where can you get cables and housings in bulk? Internet?
Thanks.

DKO = Dirt Knocker Offer seller. Garage sale flippers who hose the bike down and resell them, no mechanical work, except maybe a tube change.

Niagaracycle.com sells everything in bulk, cables, housing, brake pads, bearings, etc.

ahandley 07-29-13 02:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by oddjob2 (Post 15899619)
DKO = Dirt Knocker Offer seller. Garage sale flippers who hose the bike down and resell them, no mechanical work, except maybe a tube change.

Niagaracycle.com sells everything in bulk, cables, housing, brake pads, bearings, etc.

Never heard that before - DKO - Now I know.
Thanks.


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