I'm currently riding an relatively flashy Bianchi and locking up to a flimsy rack every day for my commute, and I finally decided it was time to spend a little money on a beater. I stumbled upon this 1983 12-speed Univega Sport Tour on eBay.. it needs a tire/tube change, though the seller is including a new pair of tires and tubes with the deal. He wants $25.
I'm tempted to take him up on the offer, but I'm also a little hesitant with using friction shifters. I'd really like a pair of index shifters, and I can find a pair of 6-speed Shimano index stem shifters on eBay for something like $10. The problem is, would a pair of Shimano index shifters work on a mangy old Suntour derailleur? Course, I could always buy an old Shimano RD for the price of the whole bike and have the LBS install it for $35. I just hope I don't have to.
So I'm hoping this is all a good idea. I've never owned a used bike before, but it seems like fun. The total cost (maybe):
$10 index shifters
$25 shimano RD (do I really need this?)
$35 installing everything, i don't know how *cringe*