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Old 08-13-09, 10:10 PM   #1
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high end or low end?

OK, fellow bike flippers. What "end" of the market do you like?

I like the low end. I'm comfortable with it, and I'm not a snob. I like the functionality of low-end bikes and the value they give. I like the way people ride them for commuting and stuff, rather than exercise. I have high end bikes myself, but I'd rather fix up the low to middle end stuff.

With high end, I'm afraid I could invest in a bike and not get the price I hope for. With a low end bike, that's not a big loss. With a high end bike, it could be.
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Old 08-13-09, 10:54 PM   #2
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Yeah, I am with you. My favorite flippers are the entry-mid rangers, cro-molly frames and suntour VX.

They sell easy and I am way way way less tempted to keep it. Anytime I get something I consider high-end I find it hard to part with.
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Old 08-13-09, 10:59 PM   #3
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While I love to build up a super-duper custom machine for the idiots who won the lottery - taking an old, beat-up such & such, making it run perfectly and sparkle, and sell it cheap to people who truly need such is my real fun! I've even given them away.

For me, bicycles are an environmental investment on the planet. And a slap in the face to those waging war over oil and greed.
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Old 08-13-09, 11:05 PM   #4
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Good points. As more bikes pass through my basement shop, I'll get less sentimentally attached to each of them. I'm afraid I'll even lose my attachment to the ones I've owned and enjoyed for many years. I might even stupidly sell them for something that I perceive to be better.

Panthers007, you know where I'm coming from. It is a feat of engineering to make something functional with a budget in mind. Anyone can make a performance machine from expensive materials. A good engineer does it with tight constraints.

And yes, I give bikes away, too.
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Old 08-14-09, 05:25 AM   #5
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My favorite flippers are those I can make the most amount of money on. Those tend to fall in the middle of the low-high continuum.

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Old 08-14-09, 05:31 AM   #6
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I don't care for low end at all for flips. It costs just as much to rehab a low end bike as a mid-range bike. But there isn't enough value when you are done to cover costs and make a little for your time. It also takes just as much work to market, show, and sell a $100 bike as it does a $300 bike.

In my area, there are ample buyers for mid-range bikes, so that is not a problem.

On high end bikes, first, I rarely find them (I will define high end as $400 or higher market value). Secondly, there are very few buyers that appreciate them around here, except for touring bikes.

But it also depends on your definition of low end.

Low end to me will have some/most of these features: steel rims, high ten steel frame, stem shifters, turkey levers, steel crankset. Xmart crap is below low end.

Midrange will have cromoly frame (generic or name brand tubing), alloy rims, alloy crankset, other misc alloy parts: handlebars, stem, seat post. Might have turkey levers (you can find them even on Paramounts).

High end will have name brand frame, high end components, possibly Italian or super high end touring bike.

As far as the fear of keeping more bikes, my rule is keep one, one goes. So I have routinely upgraded, but have not expanded the keeper fleet.
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Old 08-14-09, 06:08 AM   #7
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My experience with low end for flips, say under $100:
-If they come for free or under $50, that's about what they're worth.
-They take a lot more elbow grease, cleaning, adjusting, and basic parts.
-They don't increase a whole lot in value, and my $25 margin is tough to get.
-They look better in my CL pics than they are, in my opinion.
-They do, however, always sell and generally quickly.
-They are basic bikes, and the half the time I sell a better one to the same person later.

My experience with mid-level flips, say $200-$400:
-The are much more often diamonds in the rough, many $100 bikes go for $275-$300.
-The better components and frame quality makes them easier to clean, lube, and adjust.
-The increase in value generally makes my $25 margin much easier.
-They look better in person than my CL pics, in my opinion.
-They get fewer buyers, who are more cautious, and sell a little slower.
-I can be more confident the bike will hold it's own against anything out there.

My experience with "upper" end bikes isn't that extensive, let's say $450 to $2000:
1-They require more investment, often $450 to $500, even up to $800.
2-Necessary parts have to be better, and I've spent $100 for just the right seat post.
3-They are much easier to build, clean, lube, adjust.
4-They sell much slower, but generally bring a lot more return.
5-I often wish I'd kept them, but the return is often worth the regret.
6-They are few and far between, more a product of coincidence than anything.

You can sell clean nice $100 flips all day if they shift, brake, and have decent tires and saddle.
You can sell clean nice $200 flips all day if they have indexed shifting and the above.
You can sell clean nice $400 flips all day if they have STI groups and look nearly new.
You can occasionally flip a $1000 bike, but it had better be rare or nearly perfect.

Like most BF C&V guys, I tend to give away value, bikes, and parts to the right folk. I sold a LeTour yesterday for $100, and by the time the young Coast Guard fellow left, he had a set of aero bars and spare tires and tubes, so he can get ready to ride his first triathlon....stuff like that.

Like Panthers007 and noglider, I'm interested in creating cyclists, and if I don't have a bike for someone, I'll try to help them find one. In that regard, I'm like 99% of this forum. As far as knowing bikes, I'm more like the bottom 1%.
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Old 08-14-09, 07:56 AM   #8
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Good stuff here! I'm probably newer at this than most people, so I really appreciate it.

What are your general price ranges? I'm thinking a ten-speed with steel rims should go for $150, provided it's in perfect mechanical shape. That's what I'm pricing a Varsity at, and I'm getting a lot of bites from craigslist on it. A 10 or 12 speed with alloy rims is $200 if it has regular carbon steel tubing and more if it has chrome moly, but how much more?
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Old 08-14-09, 11:00 AM   #9
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I don't know about Maplewood.

In general, non-chromoly is $75-$150 here, friction.
Chromoly indexed, $125-$225.
Chromoly STI goes $225-$400,
Aluminum STI goes $250-$500 depending on age, frame and fork quality, and components.

Italian stuff not included, generally, or 10-20% more per category, higher on the lugged Columbus stuff.
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Old 08-14-09, 01:45 PM   #10
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That's a good chart, even if your scale is lower than ours. I had forgotten to consider the friction/indexed dichotomy.

I have a 1982 Team Fuji which, of course, has friction. I'll try to sell it for $300 at first and see how that goes. It's a beautiful specimen, so that could help.

I'm in the NYC metro area. I notice that bikes go for much more in NYC than here. I could advertise there and bring the bikes in to show potential customers, I suppose, but that could get old if a lot of viewers don't turn into customers.
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Old 08-14-09, 05:48 PM   #11
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I like the low-mid level also. What is most amusing to me is rebuilding 80's steel road/sport touring frames with flat bars, triple cranks and 7 speed rapidfire shifters. You now have a time tested "retro hybrid" with components that will out last those on a new bike in the same price range. In the early to mid 90's, before mass production had gotten as bad as it has, Shimano had much of their low-mid mountain shifter/levers and derailleurs made in japan. Now every new flat bar bike under $500-$600 comes with plastic gripshift rubbish.
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Old 08-14-09, 05:56 PM   #12
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You can sell clean nice $100 flips all day if they shift, brake, and have decent tires and saddle.
You can sell clean nice $200 flips all day if they have indexed shifting and the above.
You can sell clean nice $400 flips all day if they have STI groups and look nearly new.
You can occasionally flip a $1000 bike, but it had better be rare or nearly perfect.
I need to get out of Portland. Here, the categories are shifted toward the high end, so working beaters get $200, SIS downtube shifting gets $400, and anything STI is $800-1000 and up. Although this could just be the Craigslist effect.
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Old 08-14-09, 06:10 PM   #13
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I am fairly new to flipping,(about a year) and go with low to mid. Buy it for $60 to $100. Put 20-30 into it. Sell it for $150- $275. I try to adhere to the rule of making $100 on the deal, not putting any value on my time. I can Ditto a whole lot of what has been said here so I won't repeat it.

Sometimes I get lucky and find an undervalued bike,(trek 420, bought for 90, sold for 300) but not often.

I think I will stay away from high end unless something falls in my lap. I bought a high end track frame on CL for a good price that needed a repaint. Painted and built it and took F O R E V E R to get my money out of it and a little profit. I will blame it on the hipsters.
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Old 08-14-09, 06:22 PM   #14
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"What is most amusing to me is rebuilding 80's steel road/sport touring frames with flat bars, triple cranks and 7 speed rapidfire shifters." You could sell every one you built here, and then do the same with mixtes.

"I need to get out of Portland." For buying, yeah. For selling, liberals with money are the best market there is.
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Old 08-14-09, 06:48 PM   #15
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My impression of Oregon is that it's pretty liberatarian, not so much liberal. But that was in Eugene, not Portland. Is that about right, fucxms?
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Old 08-14-09, 07:10 PM   #16
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While I love to build up a super-duper custom machine for the idiots who won the lott

Why are those that can afford high end bikes idiots?They obviously are doing something right to afford high end stuff.I ride with a guy who has $13,000 in one of his bikes and believe me he's not an idiot.I wouldn't trust my health to him if I thought he was an idiot because he can afford top shelf things.I also like mid level bikes to flip.I put just as much into low end bikes as higher end bikes and the returns are better on the better bikes.I also observed that low end bikes draw a lot of people that want something for nothing and dont appreciate the amount of work that goes into making a bike "right".

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Old 08-14-09, 07:28 PM   #17
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Vince, I think it's one of those George Carlin things, anybody who drives faster than you is a maniac and anyone going slower is a moron. Guys who spend more than me on a bike are fools and those who spend less are bottom feeders.
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Old 08-14-09, 08:03 PM   #18
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Yes, that George Carlin quote goes a long way, because there's a lot of wisdom in it.
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Old 08-14-09, 10:47 PM   #19
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My impression of Oregon is that it's pretty liberatarian, not so much liberal. But that was in Eugene, not Portland. Is that about right, fucxms?
Rural Oregon is all red, either conservative Repub or libertarian. The population centers are invariably liberal, and swing Oregon toward the Dems for each election. Portland is as liberal as you can get. Eugene is just full of stoners and hippies.
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Old 08-15-09, 09:52 AM   #20
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I'm not really a flipper, tend to keep most bikes I buy. I'm only interested in mid and upper end bikes, though not holy grails.

I detest working on low end bikes... lots of time invested and they still don't work well!
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Old 08-15-09, 10:48 AM   #21
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Low end bikes can only work "to the level of their components." Here in NYC, that is good enough to beat a subway fare and give a *** bike significant value. From a mechanics POV, yes, this can be frustrating. I just try to keep in mind that the customer for such a bike does not really care about perfect shifting and braking performance, only reliability.
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Old 08-15-09, 11:13 AM   #22
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I stick with low and mid range (only because thats all I find) but this is only my second season selling and I really had a hard time getting rid of what I had ready for the price I wanted this summer. I did sell other bikes that wern't ready because people liked the work I did to one of the others that were listed on CL. I am starting to try something a little different,I enjoy taking low to mid level bikes and doing upgrades to them and some I use parts that were a step or two above what came on a bike original,depending on the bike there is a market for it in my area just a smaller number of people but the return is worth the wait in the end. When people come to check a bike out that I have for sale and see some of the custom builds I am doing they just go gaga over them.
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Old 08-15-09, 11:22 AM   #23
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Low-end-but-decent to mid level. Most expensive thing I've sold has been $180.00 for a nice Centurion 10-speed. These are the bikes available for sale or haulaway and people want them. Most Craigslist buyers are looking for cheap.
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Old 08-15-09, 12:06 PM   #24
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Low end bikes can only work "to the level of their components." Here in NYC, that is good enough to beat a subway fare and give a *** bike significant value. From a mechanics POV, yes, this can be frustrating. I just try to keep in mind that the customer for such a bike does not really care about perfect shifting and braking performance, only reliability.

This is why a lot of people turn low end bikes into SS/FG.
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Old 08-15-09, 01:37 PM   #25
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Very true of road frames. I meant more the discarded 10-year old low end mountain bikes I overhauled, tuned and sold for about $60-$75 each. No need to invest in SS parts, and the bikes paid for themselves (subway/bus fare) in less than a month.
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