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  1. #1
    Member tivoli_mike's Avatar
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    Thrift Store Buyer's Guide

    Hey all,

    Just got back into cycling this year. Also have been working on my trusty old '90 Stumpjumper, but I also have been starting to hit the local thrift stores for deals on roadies. What names should I keep in mind for frames, older components, etc? Ideally , I would like to compile a list so I could reference it when I am "thrifting". For instance, I believe I made a mistake not picking up a decent looking Fuji roadie for $20 a month ago...

    Your experiences?

    Thx

  2. #2
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    Rather than particular names, look for quality. You can generally spot good clean brazeing from the cheaper variety, and investment-cast lugs are usually more ornate, using curved rather than straigh-cut ends, but the real givaway is the cast rear dropouts, rather than simple pressed steel ones.

  3. #3
    Nature Worshipper hillyman's Avatar
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    Try looking at pawn shops too.People who give bikes to thrift stores don't think what they have is worth much(which it may,or may not be) cause its old.You can find some nice bikes at pawn shops because someone needs money badly or they think that they sould get something out of it.People who run pawn shops only think mountainbikes are worth selling and may sell roadbikes(10 speeds to them no matter how many speeds it has) DIRT cheap.Ya never know.Look for a 3 piece crank and shifters at least on the downtubes,barend or STI a real plus.NO shifters by the stem.And stay away from bikes with extension (safety) levers.Good luck on finding your dream bike!
    In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks. John Muir

  4. #4
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    Hillyman, I see you learned to play that game started by our illustrious Janitor's Happy Birthday thread.

    Interesting advice about pawnshops. There are four of them within10 miles of here and I've never once thought to buy or sell anything at them. Maybe a peek now and then might prove worthwhile.

    Michael W's advice is right on. Can't add to that. But some brands are Fuji, Nisson, Bridgestone, some Raleigh's, Some Schwinn's --if they meet Michael's criteria above-- and any brand names you know. Most important though, is the quality of the frame, even if the name is unknown. Also pick the bikes up. Good stuff is usually lighter.
    Last edited by ljbike; 07-15-02 at 04:06 PM.
    ljbike

  5. #5
    Honorable Member beowoulfe's Avatar
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    Originally posted by hillyman
    Will beowoulfe be at the 35th Hilly Hundred Weekend October 4,5 and 6, 2002 http://www.hillyhundred.org/ Indiana's Biking Adventure
    Can't make it. Thinking about Cycle North Carolina. (lol)
    Greenspeed GTO 1027

  6. #6
    The Flying Scot chewa's Avatar
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    Originally posted by hillyman
    NO shifters by the stem.And stay away from bikes with extension (safety) levers.
    You should speak to my wife. She is going to have a custom tourer built by Roberts in London. They can build basically anything and she has hinted she wants "suicide levers" and stem shifters.
    (She has them on the tourer she has ridden for 23 years)

    I'm trying hard to put her off.
    plus je vois les hommes, plus j'admire les chiens

    1985 Custom built 531c Audax/fast tourer.
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  7. #7
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    Try and persuade her to go with a cyclo-cross style dual-lever setup. Some only have an extra front brake lever on the tops, but that is all you need.

  8. #8
    Queen of the Pea Pile oceanrider's Avatar
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    Oh no. Have her talk to me Chewa. Let her know that those shifters really get in the way. So many times I've mounted or dismounted my bike and rubbed up against them taking them out of gear. I've cursed those suckers out. The result is starting up out of gear.

    As for the levers, I liked them at first but now I hate them. They're not made for hood riding, bottom line, which in my opinion is the most comfy position on the bar.

    STI's are the way to go.
    Picture yourself on a boat on a river, with tangerine trees and marmalade skies...

  9. #9
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Originally posted by chewa


    You should speak to my wife. She is going to have a custom tourer built by Roberts in London. They can build basically anything and she has hinted she wants "suicide levers" and stem shifters.
    (She has them on the tourer she has ridden for 23 years)

    I'm trying hard to put her off.
    Do you really mean she wants 'Suicide Shifters'? They were stick type friction shift levers mounted on the top tube.

    Considering the stem shifters, down-tube shifters, and bar-mounted shifters that followed, it is a wonder that somebody came up with such a stupid idea of suicide shifters in the first place.

    In the name of safety, I would try my best to discourage suicide shifters unless the bike is an original collector with original suicide position mountings.
    Mike

  10. #10
    Queen of the Pea Pile oceanrider's Avatar
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    I think he means the supplemental brake levers that came on 70's and 80's road bikes. They came as part of the package along with the stem shifters. I've got an 80's Nishiki with stem shifters and "suicide" a/k/a safety or chicken levers. The whole package his wife wants. Maybe I should just sell her my bike??

    Truthfully, the cycling population survived these inconveniences. At least most of them did I hope but I'm looking for a new bike just the same. Note to Chewa's Wife: Please do not equip your bike with these shifters and brake levers. They don't function well and can be dangerous. I have to ride my bike more cautiously than others with STI's or bar shifters and regular brake levers.
    Picture yourself on a boat on a river, with tangerine trees and marmalade skies...

  11. #11
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Originally posted by oceanrider
    I think he means the supplemental brake levers that came on 70's and 80's road bikes. They came as part of the package along with the stem shifters. I've got an 80's Nishiki with stem shifters and "suicide" a/k/a safety or chicken levers. The whole package his wife wants. Maybe I should just sell her my bike??

    Truthfully, the cycling population survived these inconveniences. At least most of them did I hope but I'm looking for a new bike just the same. Note to Chewa's Wife: Please do not equip your bike with these shifters and brake levers. They don't function well and can be dangerous. I have to ride my bike more cautiously than others with STI's or bar shifters and regular brake levers.
    Oh, I get it. Thanks Oceanrider.

    Seriously, though, do you think that the 'suicide' brake levers and stem mounted derailure shifters are all that bad? I have a 1976 Schwinn Continental commuter bike outfitted with that stuff and it isn't the big hazard it is touted to be.

    Maybe if she weighs 200 lbs and can get the bike up to 25 mph, the 'suicide' brake levers would not be responsive, but for the casual rider - heck, they work.

    As for the stem shifters, they are mostly just in an inconvenient location. They function as reliably as anything else.
    Mike

  12. #12
    Queen of the Pea Pile oceanrider's Avatar
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    Let me put it this way, I ride my Nishiki so I think it's safe enough to ride under fair weather conditions. I guess it depends on the way you look at it. You get to know your bike and you work with what you have. It's a kind of relationship. But to outfit a new custom bike with these characters is something that behooves me unless you're trying to duplicate a retro vintage bike. The stem shifters are a bigger problem than the brakes IMO because of their placement. My gut runs into them throwing them out of gear sometimes during dismounts hence the term "gut rippers". It's a pain getting going again and some care is needed.
    Picture yourself on a boat on a river, with tangerine trees and marmalade skies...

  13. #13
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Originally posted by oceanrider
    Let me put it this way, I ride my Nishiki so I think it's safe enough to ride under fair weather conditions. I guess it depends on the way you look at it. You get to know your bike and you work with what you have. It's a kind of relationship. But to outfit a new custom bike with these characters is something that behooves me unless you're trying to duplicate a retro vintage bike. The stem shifters are a bigger problem than the brakes IMO because of their placement. My gut runs into them throwing them out of gear sometimes during dismounts hence the term "gut rippers". It's a pain getting going again and some care is needed.
    Now we are really getting off tangent, but I am intrigued by your comments, Ocean rider.

    You say that the stem mounted shifters hit your stomach? Do you mean the stem shifters that mount to the handlebar stems?

    If yes, you must really ride long and low over the top of your handlebars. Even when I am in the drops, my stomach never gets close to the stem - maybe my chest does.

    In any event, I sure agree with you that stem shifters are in an inconvenient place. Except for my collectible touring bikes, I try to replace the stem shifters on all my old bikes.
    Mike

  14. #14
    Queen of the Pea Pile oceanrider's Avatar
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    Oh my... visions of blubber coming to mind It would be sad to be that big in the belly.

    I think I need to clear this up. It's not while I'm riding that I have the problem. BTW, I'm laughing my butt off while writing this because of the vision in my head. It's when I dismount. Picture this. I make a stop and momentum has me going forward a little even though the bike is standing still. Those shifters are on the stem pointing into... you guessed it, my gut and I sort of fall onto them. It's kind of like getting impaled.
    Picture yourself on a boat on a river, with tangerine trees and marmalade skies...

  15. #15
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    OOoooooh, I get it, Oceanrider. That makes more sense.

    In any event, your shifters are higher than your stem. That is unique.

    Post a pic of your Fuji.
    Mike

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