DRF aka Thrifty Bill
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: The NC Mountains
Bikes: 86 Katakura Silk, 87 Prologue, 87 Cimarron, 14 frame school custom, 73 Paramount
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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?
Last edited by wrk101; 11-23-10 at 03:13 PM.