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  1. #1
    Perpetually lost
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    Cheap guys and cheap bikes

    Since this subject came up in another thread, how about telling us about your favorite "cheap" bike--cheap, of course is relative--where you got it, what you've done to it, and any special significance that it has for you. Pictures would of course, be great. I'll even start.

    My favorite bike is a 1977 Schwinn LeTour, US built, that I bought at a garage sale for $2. So far it's been upgraded with a sealed bb, alloy rims, good hubs, 6 speed, leather saddle, clipless, and now weighs in just about 26 pounds. I like it because it's rugged as heck, smooth as butter, carries my weight without me worrying about it, but most importantly, it fits like it was made for me. I simply can't find a better fitting bike. Pictures would show a flaking, red bicycle, looking like it's worth $2 which is what I prefer. It doesn't look like it's worth stealing.

    So, any other cheap bikers out there?
    "A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing."
    George Bernard Shaw

  2. #2
    Senior Member dauphin's Avatar
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    I dug up an old Centurion LeMans in my barn a couple of weeks ago. I have a friend who knows a bit about restoring bikes so I plan to brink it up to running condition even though I have been advised against it. I really just want to do it for the experience and satisfaction of making something work again!

  3. #3
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    I bought my Marin MTB from a nephew, who needed money to go to chef school. He offered it for $300, I said $400, done deal (I hate to be too cheap)! Knowing what I know now, after riding it for two years, getting me started riding, and how much I enjoy riding, it was one heck of a deal!

  4. #4
    In Memory of One Cool Cat Blackberry's Avatar
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    How about this? I paid $0.00 for a 1965 Raleigh Sports three-speed a few weeks back (in classic British racing green.) I'd been hankering for one of these timeless beauties for quite a while. So, about a year ago, I went to the Classic and Vintage section of BF to ask where I could find one. A local guy who posts on BF told me he surfs the auctions and thrift stores and that he'd give me one when it came along--and it finally did. I now keep it in my office at work and use it as my town bike. I love it.
    Dead last finish is better than did not finish and infinitely better than did not start.

  5. #5
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    $0.00, that's the same price I spent for this Specialized Hard Rock.


  6. #6
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    My last decent thrift store find is a Nashbar Toure Alpha 5000. Triple butted Ishiwata cro-mo 4130 steel tri-lateral frame with great looking lugs and sweet blue paint, 53cm...just my size. All Sun Tour with a Sugino triple crank and Dia-Comp brakes. Tires were dry rotted on a very nice set of 27inch rims. Handlebar tape was showing no signs of use but was quite grotty, pedals were ho-hum with god-awful plastic toe clips. Price: $10.

    I had a set of Mavic Open Pro 700c wheels with Shimano 7 speed cassette laying around so I popped 'em on, and dropped the brake shoes down to fit the 700c rims. I set the Sun Tour shifters in friction mode for use with the Shimano 7 speed cassette to keep the shifting gods happy, after a minor adjustment of the rear mech. she hummed like a hymn (Apologies to Bob Dylan). New set of Schwalbe 23c tires and things were looking good.

    New purple/white bar tape, I also had on hand, and my old Dura Ace toe clip pedals with leather straps and I have a daily rider for the price of the tires plus $10 for the bike.
    Last edited by Louis; 06-30-06 at 01:21 PM.

  7. #7
    Coyote!
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    Cheap guy content, I promise!

    Back in the early 90s, I had a Service Director who misbehaved to the extent that the Powers decided to bring in the Inspectors General to have a look-see. [I had my right hand in the air more than Miss America that year.] Anyway, after the subsequent Fall of the Mighty the Powers determined that all us innocents [OH, the irony!] were due a pittance. . .mostly I suspect for not bringing up the fact that they should have canned his ass sooner. . .but I digress. The pittance amounted to about $350 Amerikanish and I hied me hither to some not-so-LBSs and finally saw a previous year TREK 930 with a REAL BAD paint scheme**. It fit like a glove; $300 took it away. Over the years it has served me through 'better' bikes, thefts, survived end-overs, fall-overs, and the worst spill I ever had [really shattered me halyards and stove me ribs]. Cheap and although not the 'best' rig I own[ed], still a hoot to ride and a joy to maintain. Moves the Earth under me like a Percheron plow horse.

    True story.

    ** TREK had a paint scheme for a while that was a 'day-glo' blue with thin black strings gerschmattered. Hated the paint then. . .love it now. Wish I could find that blue in a rattle-can.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    I have zero out-of-pocket cost in my fixed gear. Actually, that's not quite true. There's the cost of the paint and I spent $18.00 for some frame stick-ons. I stole the frame from my daughter. Most of the parts are from my parts bin and I traded mechanic work at a local bike shop for the new parts that I needed to buy.

  9. #9
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    I'm normally the sort who is good at finding old stuff at a bargain, and making it new again. Except for bikes.

    For starters, I never was into cycling as a kid. I have no feelings of nostalgia (or appreciation) for older bikes. Secondly, even though I'm very mechanical, there's something about the risk of riding a bike (if and when something fails) that has lead me to trust my repair and tune up work to a shop. Thirdly, when I got into cycling 10 years ago, I promised myself I wouldn't let the equipment become an obsession...which is usually does in my other activities. Cycling would only be about riding, being safe, and having a bike that felt good to me to ride.

    So, even though we are poor by any standard, I've had good bikes, purchased new, and I own and ride only one bike so that I can focus my limited budget on keeping it rolling in new or near new condition.

    All that being said, I really understand and respect riders who can find good deals on bikes, build them up, and revel in the process.
    Last edited by Big Paulie; 06-29-06 at 06:35 PM.

  10. #10
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    I paid $50 for a large Gitane that was cursed. I would fix one thing, something else would snap. I got flats on each wheel two rides in a row. So, it sat outside in the winter weather for nearly a year before I got around to posting a craigslist ad requesting a trade. Fortunately some tall dude wanted the large frame, so in return for a rusty but working (yet cursed) Gitane (?) he gave me a good condition circa 1987 Quintana Roo triathalon bike, complete with drop bars. "Are you sure you want to do this?" I said over and over. I have no idea how much it costs but it's been my commuting bike for 1.5 years - net cost to me, $50.

  11. #11
    Banned. Dylan Diego's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Louis
    she hummed like a hymn (Apologies to Bob Dylan).
    Do I go around quoting Jack Kerouaq?

    Me, on my bike, at the end of a ride through desolation row...
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  12. #12
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    1981 Schwinn World Tourist. Changed to drop bars, $15.00 invested. Ride most every day to work.


    Four favorites together; 78 Paramount, not cheap but a good buy IMO at $500.00. 86 Schwinn Traveler, paid 20 bucks. The World Tourist, and a late 80's World that I've since sold to a co-worker.

  13. #13
    Bike Junkie roccobike's Avatar
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    If I'm limited to one favorite, it has to be my 1989 Nishiki Ariel. I paid $20 for it at a garage sale. After 4 months, I had upgraded the fork to a suspension unit, replaced the chain, added a new Bontrager seat, replaced the tires and I'm in the process of replacing the cables. The total investment is now about $150.
    This is the bike that is responsible for my return to cycling. It was the first bike I took off road on a gravel path and the first on a mountain bike trail. After adding the suspension fork I rode it for about half a year on MTB trails. After I purchased a Rockhopper, my youngest, 225lb son rode the Nishiki on MTB trails. Lately I ride the Nishiki on gravel paths. There is nothing extraordinary about this bike other than it is just a lot of fun to ride. I have other garage sale bikes such as a under $30.00, 16 speed, Fuji Club and a $3.00 Trek 560. But my favorite garage sale bike remains the Nishiki Ariel.
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  14. #14
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    roccobike...what crankset is that on the Fuji? I like that look.

  15. #15
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    You $10 guys have me beat...I usually pay about $200 (I got one for $100 once). That's because I'm buying used at a bike store, not a yard sale. I guess I've purchased about 8 bikes in that price range over 15 years...on one I trashed the bottom bracket socket of the frame due to newbian ignorance, there were three I used for one or more years and then donated to charity, one was stolen and three are still in the fold. I also bought a new bike in that period that was stolen almost immediately.
    Last edited by cooker; 06-30-06 at 12:55 PM.

  16. #16
    Freewheel Medic pastorbobnlnh's Avatar
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    Cheap is beautiful. Free is lovely. Maintaining and restoring is simply heavenly.
    '79 Schwinn Traveler, bought new for $160 ($6.15 per year). '71 Schwinn Varsity, free at the dump. '66 Schwinn Collegiate, free at church yard sale and rescued from going to the dump.
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    Bob
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  17. #17
    In Memory of One Cool Cat Blackberry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh
    Cheap is beautiful. Free is lovely. Maintaining and restoring is simply heavenly.
    Amen, pastor, amen.
    Dead last finish is better than did not finish and infinitely better than did not start.

  18. #18
    Freewheel Medic pastorbobnlnh's Avatar
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    I prefer sermons which are sweet, short, and to the point!
    Bob
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  19. #19
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh
    I prefer sermons which are sweet, short, and to the point!
    Can I give you my pastor's phone number?
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  20. #20
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by old99
    Since this subject came up in another thread, how about telling us about your favorite "cheap" bike--cheap, of course is relative--where you got it, what you've done to it, and any special significance that it has for you.
    I bought a 1969 Raleigh Sports (or maybe it was a Sprite) with the S5 S-A internal hub and everything in perfect shape including the Brooks B-72 Saddle for $40 at the Hare Krishna Thrift Shop in West Philadelphia in 1973. No pictures available but it was green and looked just like any other Raleigh 3 speed Sports with a 23" frame. It was just my size.

    The only replacement I ever made was getting rid of the original two lever stick shifter and replacing with a pair of SA 3 speed trigger shifters. No additional costs, as I had scads of Raleigh 3 speed stuff back then (people threw out 3 speeds and one speed bikes every week during the ten speed racer craze of the 70's).

    I unfortunatly backed over this bike in Spring 1997. But that's OK as I got rid of all the other 26" bikes I owned and went with German bikes and their bigger wheels/tires in 1998. It was a nice bike though. Never needed a repair (other than flats and tires) in 24 years of use. A drop of oil in the hub every year, whether it needed it or not was the only maintenance given.

  21. #21
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    I'm sorry, but I'm going to be a stickler for the mis-use of words here. I have had several bikes that were "inexpensive", but never a "cheap" one.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

  22. #22
    Freewheel Medic pastorbobnlnh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox
    Can I give you my pastor's phone number?
    Dnvr,

    You know what they say about teaching old dogs...? Spending 14 years as an assoiciate primarily listening to other pastors preach, taught me the importance of brevity. I just finished Sunday's sermon and while I've not timed it yet, it won't be over 12-13 minutes. Plus, by keeping it short, I can find more ride time on Sunday afternoon!

    Quote Originally Posted by NOS88
    I'm sorry, but I'm going to be a stickler for the mis-use of words here. I have had several bikes that were "inexpensive", but never a "cheap" one.
    Point very well taken! I've seen plenty of cheap bikes at the dump that I've left there. But the two Schwinns I pictured above I consider to be rescues of bikes which did not cost me a dime. As you put it however, they are not "cheap." If they were "cheap" they certainly wouldn't look so good for 35 and 40 year old bikes!
    Bob
    Dreaming of Summertime in NH!

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  23. #23
    Senior Member SingleSpeeDemon's Avatar
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    My bike is the definition of the word "cheap". It was a $9.99 thrift store find that came home with me as a 10-speed. About two hours later, my garge door opened and out rolled my current ride. It's a 1980 something Schwinn Caliente; basically one step above a department store bike, but look at the Sugino Super Maxy crankset I threw on there. Niiiiiiiiiiice. Note the heavy chrome steel rims...fun in wet weather! Oh...the Ace of Spades in the rear wheel? I'm not trying to be a poser, but my inlaws so generously gave me deck of cards for Christmas and since I don't play cards, I found a good use for one of the 52 in the deck.

    I'm picking up a 70's MilanoSport this weekend. If it is the SS candidate I am hoping for, I'm going to polish up the Schwinn and send her to Craigslist or eBay. Maybe I'll make enough to buy a proper track rear wheel for the Milano...

    Last edited by SingleSpeeDemon; 06-30-06 at 07:49 AM.
    My Current Bikes:

    • 1993 Giant Kronos
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  24. #24
    Freewheel Medic pastorbobnlnh's Avatar
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    SSD,

    A good use of an inexpensive bike to make into a "fixie." But not my Paramount! The card is certainly a very classy touch that I'm certain Gary Diego will appreciate. In fact he probably has a story about poker night with the Rat Pack.
    Bob
    Dreaming of Summertime in NH!

    Visit my websites:
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  25. #25
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Well, it WAS cheap ($20 yard sale find, $5 Brooks Pro*, $35 eBay crankset, $10 yard sale rear derailleur, wheelset from my Bianchi) until I got it repainted.

    ___
    * One of my best bicycling investments, bought 1 week old from my boss at Bikecology, who removed it from his brand-new Peugeot PX-10. I have put almost 50k miles / 80k km (and counting!) on that saddle.
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    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
    Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
    Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
    Bianchi: 1981 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
    Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069

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