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  1. #1
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    how do i know if a used bike is stolen?

    hi my name is chris and i'm a noob here

    i'm looking to buy a used bike from craigslist for my commute to school and a little bit of trail riding. i want something dirt-cheap because theft is always a problem on a college campus, and i don't want anything to attract attention, or that would really be a big loss if it were to be stolen.

    my question really though is, how do i make sure that i'm not buying a stolen bike myself? it's mostly a matter of principle. i just don't want to give any money to a person who's profiting from ripping off poor college kids.

    i'm looking at this raleigh

    http://www.craigslist.org/eby/bik/94993191.html

    and the guy has quite a few other bikes for sale

    http://www.craigslist.org/eby/bik/94993015.html

    http://www.craigslist.org/eby/bik/94989563.html - would this be a good buy? how much does it sound like the necessary repair to the chain stays would be?

    plus six or seven others

    and i tend to get suspicious when an average guy has that many bikes for sale, but does not seem to be a bike dealer or mechanic by trade (it's obvious that he has a day job since he will not show the bikes before 5pm)

    do you all think it's cool to buy from him? btw i went to two of the local LBS first, and didn't find anything in my price range (under $100, preferably more around $50). i figured it's most effective for my needs (and considering that my bike will be vulnerable to thieves even though it will be locked up every day) to buy a used bike like this, and buy the parts and tune-up etc that i'll need from my LBS.

  2. #2
    Senior Member KristenGilbert's Avatar
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    I have no idea but if you're really worried about it, go check out the used bikes at missing link. I doubt a bike shop will sell stolen bikes. http://www.shopinberkeley.com/m/missinglink/index.php

  3. #3
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Take out the seatpost and look down the seat-tube. I usually stuff little notes down there to the effect of "This bike is stolen if you didn't get it from Danno ____". Uusually thieves want to flip the bike and sell it quickly, so they won't take it apart for R&R. Some places have bicycle registration. The campus police here does that and puts a little tag on your bike and records the tag number along with the serial#. Having one or the other will let them check up their database as to who's the owner.

  4. #4
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    great tip on the seat tube note! i'll definitely check for that, and write one for myself when i buy a bike.

    the campus here in berkeley also registers bikes, but i think a lot of people don't do it cuz you have to pay something like $10 or $15

    kristen - thanks for the tip about the missing link, i was actually there yesterday afternoon and didn't find what i was looking for, but it's a very cool place and i will definitely be back there in the future for parts and service

  5. #5
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    If a bike is crudely sprayed another color, I would guess it is/was stolen at one time.

  6. #6
    Senior Curmudgeon
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    Check the serial # with the local P.D. If it's an expensive bike, the owner probably reported the theft. If it's a junker, less likely..

  7. #7
    Senior Member KristenGilbert's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cthipphavong
    great tip on the seat tube note! i'll definitely check for that, and write one for myself when i buy a bike.

    the campus here in berkeley also registers bikes, but i think a lot of people don't do it cuz you have to pay something like $10 or $15

    kristen - thanks for the tip about the missing link, i was actually there yesterday afternoon and didn't find what i was looking for, but it's a very cool place and i will definitely be back there in the future for parts and service
    I've also heard great things about Mike's Bikes but I've never been there.

  8. #8
    Banned. folder fanatic's Avatar
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    My own judgement has never steered me wrong. One of the most telltale signs of stolen bicycles is who is doing the selling. Also where is the seller is located.

    With these 2 ideas in my head, I have looked at 2 bicycles during the past few years.
    One was a elderly couple living near my parent's home. They were selling an old three speed lady's frame bike which I bought since they obviously lived at the house, frankly answered my questions, filled out a legal transfer of ownership form, and were kind and gracious in mannerism. The other was someone who was selling all sorts of bicycles and other expensive items in front of a empty store, spoke to me through his child as translator, and had an suspisious mannerism about him. I chose not to buy that bike even though it was in good condition and had it's original paint job. Even my mother did not trust this man-and she could speak Spanish!

    Take each case on it's own merit and circumstances when purchasing used bikes.

  9. #9
    na975
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    check inside the seat tube for a I.D. rolled up in there. personally i'd buy a high end bike in a heart beat if the price was mad low.
    Last edited by na975; 09-05-05 at 04:11 AM. Reason: info

  10. #10
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    The nicer the bike and the skeevier the seller, the more you should run away.
    ...just say shimaNO

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