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Old 10-20-08, 08:15 AM   #1
treebound 
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Police Auctions

We drove out to Madison WI for the day on Saturday and late in the afternoon I was looking at a couple of bikes out front of a thrift shop and a guy walks up and tells me the annual police auction is going on. He said it was supposed to run to 9pm (it was about 4pm at that time), so I went into the store to find the Mrs and said we're going to the auction. So off we went. Paid the $5 parking fee. Went in. Too late. The auction was already over. Bummer.

So we wandered around a bit to look at the leftovers and to see what a few of the remaining bidders were loading up. One bidder had probably 200 bikes stacked up on top of his pickup and small trailer, I wish I'd taken a picture of it. I'm wondering if he even made it home. Buried deep in his load I saw an old Hiawatha complete with fenders and an original seat on it, looked complete and original as far as I could tell and would probably have just needed a good overhaul and regreasing to make it ridable with maybe just a set of tires.

Most of the bikes there were the usual x-mart type bikes. I saw a few Fuji, some Trek, lots of Schwinns of various vintage. One officer there said most bikes went for $1.50 or less with many left over. All the unbid and unsold bikes were being shipped elsewhere (Guatemala or someplace). They usually have two auctions a year, but something happened with the Spring one so this Fall one had all the Spring auction bikes in it as well, I think someone said there were over 600 bikes there.

So, now, I've got a new task for myself to find and mark on the calender any police auctions in the region. That was my $5 education for the week.
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Old 10-20-08, 09:00 AM   #2
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The PD in my town used to do auctions, but now they're letting http://www.propertyroom.com/ handle it all.

Neal
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Old 10-20-08, 09:17 AM   #3
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I went to a police auction in august, and there were about a hundred x-mart mountain bikes that went for way too much money, then at the end they wheeled out 7 road bikes and I got all of them for forty bucks. I ended up selling 4 of them on the spot for 20 bucks each, and I ended up with one decent univega for myself, and a cheapo ladies ten speed that I gave away to a woman at my church. I threw one in the trash, but I got a free bike and made a few bucks.
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Old 10-20-08, 09:19 AM   #4
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If I had a few extra dollars laying around I'd be tempted to bid on a cheaper bike just to see how they handle the packaging and shipping and what the final cost actually ends up being. I'd rather test the system on this first http://www.propertyroom.com/itemdetails.aspx?l=6056954 than on something nicer.

Still, I'll bookmark that site and keep an eye on it from time to time.
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Old 10-20-08, 09:51 AM   #5
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Penn State has an annual bike auction that is a big draw. There are dealers there though, so getting a halfway decent bike is problematic.
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Old 10-20-08, 10:13 AM   #6
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After an initial search it looks like several Wisconsin P.D.'s are moving their bicycle sales to the PropertyRoom site. Oh well.
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Old 10-20-08, 10:50 AM   #7
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If I had a few extra dollars laying around I'd be tempted to bid on a cheaper bike just to see how they handle the packaging and shipping and what the final cost actually ends up being. I'd rather test the system on this first http://www.propertyroom.com/itemdetails.aspx?l=6056954 than on something nicer.

Still, I'll bookmark that site and keep an eye on it from time to time.
I have purchase many bikes from propertyroom.com. Packing is spotty and shipping can be expensive. I try to buy only from the location closest to me. I have gotten some good deals and been burned on some as well. The bikes have to be cheap to make it worthwhile. I have not purchased anything recently.
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Old 10-20-08, 11:05 AM   #8
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... shipping can be expensive.
I can see why.

Shipping Weight: 102 pounds
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Old 10-25-08, 05:50 PM   #9
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I went to a local municipal auction this morning. 70+ bikes. The only vintage ones of interest were a Fuji Grand Tourer from the late 70's and a Nishiki Mixte. Both had Suntor VX and steel rims. Both needed lots of TLC. I did not stick around for them, but judging by earlier sales they went for around $10-15 The decent (low end bike shop quality) MTBs were fetching $50+.
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Old 10-25-08, 09:49 PM   #10
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My experience in Madison WI and folks I know on the PD indicate that, at any given time, there are about 40,000 bikes within a 1-mile radius of the UW campus. Of these, about half are locked up.

Lately, thieves have been concentrating on scooters.

Some bikes are stolen 3-4 times. The police were planning on outsourcing the bike sale, but folks complained. Seems some of them make it a yearly thing to get their bike back. I guess that's more fun than a lock.
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Old 10-26-08, 12:01 AM   #11
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Well... I have to sayi'm kinda pissed now, seeing that property room site, and be being in canada it would end up costing way to much to get even a 17$ bike here, lame lol and if I go to a auction here, the bikes go for way way to much.
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Old 10-26-08, 05:47 AM   #12
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Another great place to get bikes on the cheap are auctions held by storage facilities.
Look for a notice in your local paper.
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Old 10-26-08, 06:19 AM   #13
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Another great place to get bikes on the cheap are auctions held by storage facilities.
Look for a notice in your local paper.
That's where my Moto Grand Record came from. A guy who buys abandoned rental storages.,,,,BD
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Old 10-26-08, 07:18 AM   #14
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I, also, have bought many bikes from " propertyroom," but not any recently. I would only buy from a local one. The negatives, even when buying from them locally ;
I think an inexperienced bicycle person describes the bikes.
A really nice bike can bring more money than it is really worth.
If it states " fair condition," it is many times a parts bike.
Their lots of 10 -20 bikes are broken down, rusted Walmart cheap bikes. I have seen people buy these lots & not a single bike was repairable.
Even with local pick-up, there is a $10 fee, plus tax.
Caveat empor !
I can do better with garage sales, Craigslist, etc.
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Old 10-26-08, 07:17 PM   #15
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I found a 1972 Schwinn Paramount at a police auction a few years ago. The only problem was that they sold the bikes in lots, rather than individually. I ended up getting the Paramount and 9 other bikes for $40. The Paramount was in decent shape, a touring model with a Campy triple crankset. The other bikes were a mixture of department store junk, though one was a half decent Specialized Hard Rock (old model) that I sold to a friend for $50. So, it was like I was paid ten dollars to take 8 bikes and a Schwinn Paramount.
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Old 10-27-08, 04:05 AM   #16
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Another online aution site is here, but rarely have I had good deals. You can do a search by state, etc.
http://www.govdeals.com/eas/
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