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  1. #1
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    Where to Find Vintage Bicycles

    I have been looking all over craigslist, searching everything I can and I still can't find any Vintage Bicycles for cheap. I mean yeah, I can find 'em, but they're putting the prices at like $100-$300, and I already know that is way to much unless they are tuned up. I am looking for an old one to tune up myself, for like $30, but have no idea where to find em. So where do you find your vintage bikes for cheap?

  2. #2
    Senior Member randyjawa's Avatar
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    You're too late. Most of the cheap ones are now expensive. If you want a good deal you really have to work for it or get lucky. This is How To Find Vintage Bicycles and I find lots.

    Good luck with your quest and start hunting. You will succeed!
    Learn how to find, restore and maintain vintage road bicycles at... MY "TEN SPEEDS"

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    Lanterne Rouge cb400bill's Avatar
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    At the price point you are looking to spend forget about ebay or craigslist. Concentrate on flea markets, yard sales, and church rummage sales.
    Also, don't be too picky.

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    Jack of all trades anixi's Avatar
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    The bargains you're seeking are usually snapped up very quickly. I'd be looking very early and often on C/L. Many times I've only been able to get surprisingly good buys by being first. If they supply a phone number, call it right away. If they don't, make sure you supply the seller with your cell number and keep it with you constantly. Eventually you should be able to get something. Read randyjawa's treatise on the subject if you're new to this stuff:

    http://www.mytenspeeds.com/My_TenSpe..._2_FINDING.htm

    HTH!

    edit: Randy beat me to it, sorry to be redundant
    Last edited by anixi; 01-06-13 at 01:44 PM.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member rootboy's Avatar
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    Hit a lot of garage sales and thrift shops. Your only hope in that price range. There's lots of "vintage bicycles for cheap", but most aren't worth much. For thirty bucks you won't get much but maybe enough to learn bicycle "tune up" on. Hit the bricks. Who knows? You may get lucky and find a nice one.

  6. #6
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by djh48 View Post
    I have been looking all over craigslist, searching everything I can and I still can't find any Vintage Bicycles for cheap. I mean yeah, I can find 'em, but they're putting the prices at like $100-$300, and I already know that is way to much unless they are tuned up. I am looking for an old one to tune up myself, for like $30, but have no idea where to find em. So where do you find your vintage bikes for cheap?
    $30? Forget CL. Thats dreamland. Some of my best deals were in the $100 to $300 range, and needed work. Heck, some were incomplete.

    Garage sales tend to be the cheapest, but be prepared to go to 50 garage sales or more before you find something. Thrift stores can have deals, but around here, there are pickers camped out all day long, scooping up bikes and anything else they can turn into cash. I picked up a bike about a week ago at a thrift store for $20, but it was really basic (it did have alloy wheels, thats the only reason I grabbed it). Earlier this year I picked up a couple of decent ones, in poor condition, $30 each. But those are the exceptions, and I stop by thrift stores daily, or even more frequently.

    Yep, THREE BIKES TOTAL found in 2012 at thrift stores, not too encouraging. Figure another nine at garage sales (three in one day, now that was a great day). That's 12 for the year (out of 60+ pick ups). Garage sales and thrift stores work best when you are looking for other stuff. I pretty much find other sellable stuff at 75% of all garage sales, and 50% of all thrift store stops. Bikes are a pleasant and rare surprise.

    In my area, anything under $75, even pure crap, sells pretty much immediately. Meanwhile, something really special, but at the $250 price point, can last several days. Most of the pickers around here are not knowledgeable enough to drop $250 on a bike (even if it is worth $500).

    One good way to get a bike cheap on C/L is to buy a package deal. I've done that several times. For example, guy was selling a nice bike on C/L, and was sticking with a relatively high price of $300. But it came with extras, lots of extras: tools, trainer, shoes, floor pump, pedals, take off tires, misc parts, etc. By the time I sold off the extras, my cost for the bike was under $50. I have had several bikes where the extras more than covered the entire price. Sure, you have the additional hassle of selling the extras, but it can save you a lot of $$, and most pickers are not willing to mess around with it.
    Last edited by wrk101; 01-06-13 at 02:35 PM.
    See some of my bikes on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BillsVintageSteelBikes

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  7. #7
    Jack of all trades anixi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
    $30? Forget CL. Thats dreamland. Some of my best deals were in the $100 to $300 range, and needed work . Heck, some were incomplete.

    garage sales tend to be the cheapest, but be prepared to go to 50 garage sales or more before you find something . Or raise your budget.
    Not so fast, Bill, I found my PX-10 on c/l, paid $20. Again, I was searching all the time, it was early Spring, and I was first to actually show up and find out that it was a major find. Just sayin'
    Put me back on my bike! -- Tom Simpson

  8. #8
    Bianchi Goddess Bianchigirll's Avatar
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    At $30 your likely to only find carbon or HiTensil steel frames with all steel components and in need of work. If your looking to learn mechainics and just need something sturdy for campus duty or a short commute then just find an old Schwinn near your starting price and get to work.

    Thanks to shows like American Pickers, Pawn Stars and Antiques Road show anything more than 5 years old and dusty is worth its weight in diamond covered gold.

    Every now and then you'll stumble across the oddball highend Italian or Japanese bike selling for nothing and you need to be ready to pounce.

    Where do you live? one of the reselling members might be able to turn onto something. Also it is my understanding that old midrange mountain bikes are usually good deals. Since your likely to have to buy tires anyway putting some skinny road tires on old ATB/MTB is not bad deal either.
    Bianchis '87 Sport SX, '90 Proto (2), '91 Boarala 'cross, '93 Project 3, '88 Trofeo, '86 Volpe, '89 Axis, '79 Mixte SOLD, '99 Mega Pro XL Ti, '97 Ti Megatube, , '90 something Vento 603,

    Others but still loved,; '80 RIGI, '80 Batavus Professional, '87 Cornelo, '86 Bertoni (sold), '09 Motobecane SS, '98 Hetchins M.O., '09 K2 Mainframe, '89 Trek 2000, '?? Jane Doe (still on the drawing board), '90ish Haro Escape

  9. #9
    Jack of all trades anixi's Avatar
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    Totally agree, BG. I've also found some great old MTB frames at the co-op, for next to nothing. They all had issues like bend der. hangars or bad paint, but, they've really been trivial to fix.
    Put me back on my bike! -- Tom Simpson

  10. #10
    Can'tre Member 3alarmer's Avatar
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    Given what a lot of stuff costs, why is 100-300 bucks too much for a decent quality older bike, even if you have to tune it up?

    Unless you're another guy who thinks he's gonna get rich flipping them (you won't), it doesn't seem all that out of line to me.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Twain
    Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.

  11. #11
    Senior Member curbtender's Avatar
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    $30 for a rare bike means it's from someone who thinks it's worth the scrap price. So search metal scrap yards and see what shows up. You could even offer the guys a bounty. I've been limited to what I can scavenge from the dump, but saw a whole pile of bike goodies get run over this week. The regular scrap guys were on holiday and everything got rolled into a transfer truck. I did get some Park BB tools and a nice ss BB that rolled to the side and then into my backpack.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Giacomo 1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
    Given what a lot of stuff costs, why is 100-300 bucks too much for a decent quality older bike, even if you have to tune it up?

    Unless you're another guy who thinks he's gonna get rich flipping them (you won't), it doesn't seem all that out of line to me.
    A big +1!

    I mean let's be real. What can you get for $30 anymore? I can hardly find a good lunch in Manhattan for that these days. A bicycle is a piece of transport that will get you many miles and last a lot of years. It will get you from place to place in a dependable manor. What other type of transportation could do that for $100 - $300? Nothing. So go for a few bucks, get something half decent...or just keep walking....
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  13. #13
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    Besides the usual suspects like CL etc. Let people know you're looking, you never know, sometimes people will think of you when they hear of somebody looking to unload some old bikes thats been taking up space in their garage. I had friends who found old vintage bikes like that. I have a couple that I got from my local co-op that I volunteer at. I got a his'n'hers Raleigh Tourist DL1s that way for about a $100, just because I liked and appreciated rod brakes. I also just got a Cougar road bike made of Reynolds 631 for about $70. One word of caution about taking nice bikes from a co-op, you can't resell them, well nobody is going to stop you, but let's just say it's bad karma to profit off a non-profit. It's a good way to get yourself banned from a great work space. Best way to get decent bikes from co-ops is to volunteer. At my place, nice bikes tend to get saved for volunteers, and if nobody wants it, then it becomes a build for the shop. So volunteering has its benefits.
    Most people don't find a nice bike everyday, it's hours and hours of searching, the stories you read here are the needle in the haystacks that people find after a lot of hard work.

  14. #14
    Fast+Bulbous thinktubes's Avatar
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    Tons of good advice in this thread (per usual)

    Not sure what your goal is here. Even if you do luck into a bike for $30, the chance of it being your size will be slim.

    I you really want to get into vintage bikes for the long haul, set your sights (and pricepoint) a bit higher. You'll come out ahead in the long run and end up with a bike you can keep for a lifetime. Many here, myself included, have gone through a long string of "cheap bikes", which when all totalled would probably buy something really nice.

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    Thanks for all the advice guys, but I didn't mean that I am only going to pay $30 bucks, but when I say that much I find the bikes that are made out of Hi-Ten steel for that much, but they don't know the differences between the metals, and think that two bikes are worth the same just because they're both made from the same company. But when saying that, I don't mean I can find any decent ones for $100 either.

  16. #16
    K2ProFlex baby! ilikebikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by djh48 View Post
    I have been looking all over craigslist, searching everything I can and I still can't find any Vintage Bicycles for cheap. I mean yeah, I can find 'em, but they're putting the prices at like $100-$300, and I already know that is way to much unless they are tuned up. I am looking for an old one to tune up myself, for like $30, but have no idea where to find em. So where do you find your vintage bikes for cheap?
    Theyre not in any one place, you have to do your homework and even then you may come up empty, especially when your only offering $30.
    You see, their morals, their code...it's a bad joke, dropped at the first sign of trouble. They're only as good as the world allows them to be. I'll show you. When the chips are down, these...These "civilized" people...they'll eat each other. See, I'm not a monster. I'm just ahead of the curve

  17. #17
    Senior Member DIMcyclist's Avatar
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    Today! Just snagged a 1984 Panasonic City Bike ("Imperial Red" color) off of CL for a whopping $25.

    The frame fits me perfectly, is in nice shape & light as a feather- after I stripped 25 years of ridiculous ironmongery & bad maintenance from it.
    Trek 820 (650b), Trek 930, Fuji League, Bridgestone RB-2, Bridgestone XO-3, Soma Smoothie ES, LeMond Buenos Aires, Torelli Corsa Strada

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    This is exactly what I read every day, and I keep looking, why can't this happen to me? Guess I am not looking in the right places lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by djh48 View Post
    I have been looking all over craigslist, searching everything I can and I still can't find any Vintage Bicycles for cheap. I mean yeah, I can find 'em, but they're putting the prices at like $100-$300, and I already know that is way to much unless they are tuned up. I am looking for an old one to tune up myself, for likge $30, but have no idea where to find em. So where do you find your vintage bikes for cheap?
    I am regularly looking for old bikes, and of the hundreds of potential prospects I've seen in the last few decades, there were only two decent bikes I have seen in that price range. Both were found at yard sales first thing in the morning, just as they were hauled out of the garage. The right place at the right time...

    If a bike is listed in Craigslist, and it doesn't sell in less than 5 minutes, you can be certain it is the usual ongoing flood of crap that clutters up CL. Work under the assumption that everything posted there is broken, stolen, overpriced and worthless department store junk. Maybe once in 500 postings you'll be pleasantly surprised, but this will because the bike description is completely wrong, which throws everyone else off, or the bike is way off in the sticks and will take your competition extraordinary effort to get to.

    Finally, when buying used, assume that the entire drivetrain is worn out and needs replacing. Of the dozens of bikes I've bought and fixed up over the years, I have only ever come across a single bike in which the chain did not need replacing.

  20. #20
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by anixi View Post
    Not so fast, Bill, I found my PX-10 on c/l, paid $20. Again, I was searching all the time, it was early Spring, and I was first to actually show up and find out that it was a major find. Just sayin'
    Well, time to eat some crow on this one. As soon as I finished my prior posting, I did a quick check of the nearby C/L. And what did I see? A juicy deal, at a low price. OK, they were framesets only, but still.... And one was chrome..... Oh yeah, and when I met the seller, he pulled out a third bike (complete). Frame #2 was distressed, so not sure where it is headed.

    So chalk up another one to the "never say never" category.

    So let me amend my earlier answer. Projects, particularly incomplete projects, occasionally pop up. So if you have the time/tools/aptitude/pile of parts, there can be deals out there. Most scoopers around here are looking for complete bikes, the old DKO type, something with a little Simple Green they can call "ready to ride".

    +1 Deals on mtbs are more plentiful.
    Last edited by wrk101; 01-06-13 at 07:16 PM.

  21. #21
    Mixte Power! Arrowana's Avatar
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    Co-ops are the easiest place if you have one around. The one near me doesn't have much in the way of really nice stuff, but if your goal is just vintage bike, you have tons of options.

    And unless you are racing, be open to MTBs. Get the right one, and you can have an awesome bike for much cheaper than an equivalent road bike.

    Might not be the cheapest option, but check bike shops to see if they sell anything used. Sometimes good deals can be had. Plus, ask if any employees have anything they want to sell. I know myself and a lot of co-workers have things that we would let go pretty cheap.

    Also, try getting in contact with flippers. It's not uncommon for them to have something they don't feel like putting the effort into getting ready to sell.
    Last edited by Arrowana; 01-06-13 at 06:13 PM.

  22. #22
    Jack of all trades anixi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
    Well, time to eat some crow on this one. As soon as I finished my prior posting, I did a quick check of the nearby C/L. And what did I see? A juicy deal, at a low price. OK, they were framesets only, but still.... And one was chrome..... Oh yeah, and when I met the seller, he pulled out a third bike (complete). Frame #2 was distressed, so not sure where it is headed.

    So chaulk up another one to the "never say never" category.

    So let me amend my earlier answer. Projects, particularly incomplete projects, occasionally pop up. So if you have the time/tools/aptitude/pile of parts, there can be deals out there. Most scoopers around here are looking for complete bikes, the old DKO type, something with a little Simple Green they can call "ready to ride".

    +1 Deals on mtbs are more plentiful.
    Deals like that are rare. That's why diligence pays off, sometimes big time!
    Put me back on my bike! -- Tom Simpson

  23. #23
    Senior Member Cache's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
    Well, time to eat some crow on this one. As soon as I finished my prior posting, I did a quick check of the nearby C/L. And what did I see? A juicy deal, at a low price. OK, they were framesets only, but still.... And one was chrome..... Oh yeah, and when I met the seller, he pulled out a third bike (complete). Frame #2 was distressed, so not sure where it is headed.

    So chalk up another one to the "never say never" category.

    So let me amend my earlier answer. Projects, particularly incomplete projects, occasionally pop up. So if you have the time/tools/aptitude/pile of parts, there can be deals out there. Most scoopers around here are looking for complete bikes, the old DKO type, something with a little Simple Green they can call "ready to ride".

    +1 Deals on mtbs are more plentiful.
    Can we assume you re-tightened the stem before test riding #3? ;-)

  24. #24
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cache View Post
    Can we assume you re-tightened the stem before test riding #3? ;-)
    Fortunately, none of them were assembled, so a test ride was not possible...

  25. #25
    Senior Member DIMcyclist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by djh48 View Post
    This is exactly what I read every day, and I keep looking, why can't this happen to me? Guess I am not looking in the right places lol
    My friend, I've been looking for either one of these or an '85 or '86 Villager DX for almost two years. Every dog eventually has his day.
    Trek 820 (650b), Trek 930, Fuji League, Bridgestone RB-2, Bridgestone XO-3, Soma Smoothie ES, LeMond Buenos Aires, Torelli Corsa Strada

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