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  1. #1
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    Don't overlook thrift shops for bike bargains...

    When my kids were in high school, they bought some clothes in local thrift shops, the Salvation Army, Saver's, places like that. I formed the habit of walking through the stores with them occasionally, and even though they're deep into their 20s, I still check them out occasionally for bike stuff.
    If you haven't considered that, it's worth a look. Some recent purchases or sightings:
    --Brooks B-17, new in box, $4.50
    --Dozens of jerseys, all kinds including some name brands, usually about $5.
    --700C Mavic MA-40 rim (good wheel from the '90s) laced to Phil Wood hub, $15.
    --Specialized Hard Rock mountain bike with Blackburn rack, Cateye computer, barely used (mold flash still on the tires), $10. I put road tires and fenders on it and my wife's using it as a commuter/beater. Old, lightly used mountain bikes are ubiquitous, usually for less than $40.
    --KHS tandem, barcon shifters, decent shape, $450.
    My favorite, sadly too small for me, was an old Dave Scott Ironman, the bike I coveted but couldn't afford in college, for $75. Didn't look like it needed anything but lube and tires.

  2. #2
    Stealing Spokes since 82' Fizzaly's Avatar
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    i couldnt agree with you more on this a few months ago i found a nearly new specialized toupe 143ti saddle for 50 cents at the youth ranch(like the salvaiton army)

  3. #3
    Senior Member SunnyFlorida's Avatar
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    If you're lucky you can get a bike for $35-45. However, the bike usually needs loads of work like: tires/inner tubes, a new saddle and possibly brakes. They are usually one speeds too. On top of that you're dealing with lots and lots of rust.

    Still, if you have the parts from other bikes and you're a "do it yourselfer" than it may be worth it.

    Recently I spotted an old folder but the QR on the seatpost and handlepost were caked with rust. The hinge seemed to be covered in a layer of hard salt, as if someone had left it out on the beach and plum forgot about it. On top of that both tires were flat, flat, flat.

    I saw nothing on the bike that could identify the maker.

    Nevertheless, even if it was a Raleigh or another desirable classic folder, it would have been beyond my means and expertise to bring the bike back to life.
    Last edited by SunnyFlorida; 08-27-10 at 06:56 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Very slim pickings in the thrift shops around here...nothing like trying to sell cheap big box store junk at half of new retail. IF they happen to have bikes they are broken BSO's and priced way too high.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
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    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
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    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
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  5. #5
    Senior Member ron521's Avatar
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    Yep, one of my nicest bikes is an Austro-Daimler Puch 10 speed made of 501 butted tubing. Came with 700c rims, beautiful fluted alloy seatpost, and stem with the "Puch" name engraved on the front.
    I've "hybridized" it with more upright stem and bars, thumbshifters, and 38mm tires, but it still feels light and fast. $15 from a thrift store.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by SunnyFlorida View Post
    If you're lucky you can get a bike for $35-45. However, the bike usually needs loads of work like: tires/inner tubes, a new saddle and possibly brakes. They are usually one speeds too. On top of that you're dealing with lots and lots of rust...
    this hasn't been my experience at all. Of course you have to sort through some losers, but many of the bikes and parts I've bought have been like new or in good used condition. If you find junk and don't have a use for it, don't buy it.

  7. #7
    SE Wis dedhed's Avatar
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    I have yet to find anything resembling a decent bike in our thrift stores. I did get a nice PI jersey. I've had much better luck on bikes at yard sales.
    '68 Raleigh Sprite, '02 Raleigh C500, '84 Raleigh Gran Prix, '91 Trek 400

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    For me, this was true up until about five years ago. Nowadays it seems the good stuff never hits the floor; as if it's being intercepted by buyers who have inside connections. I've pretty much given up on thrift shops for that reason.

  9. #9
    Gear Hub fan
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    Apparently it depends on the area and the shop. I got a 1990 Trek 950 MTB at Goodwill about 18 months ago for $60. Lugged double butted Tange steel frame. It was dirty and needed a new BB and servicing but I consider it to have been a good buy.
    Gear Hubs Owned: Rohloff disc brake, SRAM iM9 disc brake, SRAM P5 freewheel, Sachs Torpedo 3 speed freewheel, NuVinci CVT, Shimano Alfine SG S-501, Sturmey Archer S5-2 Alloy. Other: 83 Colnago Super Record, Univega Via De Oro

    Visit and join the Yahoo Geared Hub Bikes group for support and links.
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  10. #10
    Stealing Spokes since 82' Fizzaly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Louis View Post
    For me, this was true up until about five years ago. Nowadays it seems the good stuff never hits the floor; as if it's being intercepted by buyers who have inside connections. I've pretty much given up on thrift shops for that reason.
    THey dont have inside connections they just get there at the crack of dawn and wait for the store to open, and NEVER cut in front of them they'll rip your throat out.

  11. #11
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    Go to the classic and vintage forum and the "your catch of the day .... saved from the dump " thread to see what else people find for nothing or next to nothing.

  12. #12
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ironwood View Post
    Go to the classic and vintage forum and the "your catch of the day .... saved from the dump " thread to see what else people find for nothing or next to nothing.
    I try not to...it is too depressing!

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
    _Nicodemus

    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred
    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
    _krazygluon

  13. #13
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Yeah, locations vary considerably. Here in Little Rock I don't find much, but when I lived near Palm Springs, there was a wealth of bikes in the thrift stores and so many thrift stores and consignment shops that tour buses came from L.A. filled with shoppers.
    "He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
    I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.

  14. #14
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    I've rarely seen anything of value with regards to bikes in my local thrift stores... they're usually X-mart bikes at death's door. Occasionally a low end Trek or other full rigid bike will pop up. Much better finds are available, and sooner, on CL.

    Being small I always score on clothing though; there's lots of nearly new stuff that kids outgrew really fast or never wore at all because it wasn't "cool".

  15. #15
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    All I see in local thrift shops is absolute junk. I think the employees grab any good stuff before it ever hits the floor. However, some years back I did score a decent Raliegh Record for 25 bucks. Spent as much again on tubes and tires... Rode the thing for a couple of years.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Gotte's Avatar
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    We get a lot of Raleigh 20s or their copies, here in Manchester, UK. Sometimes they have 70s or 80s road bikes, but they tend to be low quality. I can;t remember the last time I saw a decent Raleigh 3 speed. But the 3 speeds and road bikes are popular now, and a lot of the thrift stores here are part of charity organisations that know what to look for. They tend to go on their websites, and the price goes up.
    Mainly we seem to get cheap mountain bikes, terrible heavy things maybe only good for converting into hacks or maybe tourers, but probably not even that.
    I sometimes wonder if we haven't reached the point where all the good 70s bikes (and earlier) have long been thrown away.

  17. #17
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gotte View Post
    We get a lot of Raleigh 20s or their copies, here in Manchester, UK. Sometimes they have 70s or 80s road bikes, but they tend to be low quality. I can;t remember the last time I saw a decent Raleigh 3 speed. But the 3 speeds and road bikes are popular now, and a lot of the thrift stores here are part of charity organisations that know what to look for. They tend to go on their websites, and the price goes up.
    Mainly we seem to get cheap mountain bikes, terrible heavy things maybe only good for converting into hacks or maybe tourers, but probably not even that.
    I sometimes wonder if we haven't reached the point where all the good 70s bikes (and earlier) have long been thrown away.
    That and at least in the US the lower end bike market has been flooded by the BSO(Bike Shaped Objects) that Walmart and the other big box retailers sell. I have been messing with bikes for over 40 years and used to think that old US built Huff was the epitome of a junk. Now I have had to reform that opinion that stuff that comes out of WM now makes the old Huffy's from the 1980's look pretty decent.

    Aaron
    Last edited by wahoonc; 09-05-10 at 07:35 PM.
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
    _Nicodemus

    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred
    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
    _krazygluon

  18. #18
    Senior Member Gotte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post

    That and at least in the US the lower end bike market has been flooded by the BSO(Bike Shaped Objects) that Walmart and the other big box retailers sell. I have been messing with bikes for over 40 years and used to think that old US built Huff was the epitome of a junk. Now I have had to reform that opinion that stuff that comes out of WM now makes the old Huffy's from the 1980's look pretty decent.

    Aaron

    That certainly is the truth. I was looking at a bike in Tesco (not quite walmart, but as omnipresent), and it was diabolical. A horrible machine. In fact calling it a machine would be flattery. It depresses me to think that this is all kids will have to pull apart and rebuild in the future. When I was young, we had all those great 40s and 50s bikes to go at with our wrenches.
    The other depressing thought is that people buy these things with all the best will in the world to do some cycling, and the experience they have of this glorious activity is about as enjoyable as Napoleon's retreat from Moscow.

  19. #19
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    Working at a big university, I see a lot of bikes. It is amazing how many old 70s-vintage "10-speeds" you see floating around. Lots of Schwinns, always a few Puegeots and Motobecans as well as a smattering of those Japanese numbers like Nishiki.

    I don't imagine many of these bikes have been thoroughly serviced in years, and probably have completely lunched bearings and such. The kids don't care as long as it gets them to class and back.

  20. #20
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    i use to pick up bikes from behind the thrift stores when they are closed on Sunday. if there was any bikes that i wanted i would wait till the guy comes to pick up all the garbage from behind the thrifts store and ask him if i could have them. he usually said yes. my local thrift store doesn't sell bikes unless they look brand new and then they ask top dollar for it and it never sells.

  21. #21
    Commuter & cyclotourist brianogilvie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gotte View Post
    We get a lot of Raleigh 20s or their copies, here in Manchester, UK.
    I'm not surprised; I spent six weeks in Oxford this summer and I was amazed at the number of Raleigh 20s and knock-offs that I saw, either locked up to a rack (some for a long time, based on their condition) or being used, mostly by elderly women.

  22. #22
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    Ive got some bikes from charity type shops. My Raleigh Traveller roadster was from a furniture shop. I went next door to Tesco and got tubes and a lock. got a loan of tools from the furniture shop and changed the tubes there. I got a ladies roadster at the same time. price was 10 for the both of them
    PICT0277..jpg

    its rare to see a bike in a charity shop tho. last one I seen at a shop was a girls early 90s mtb for 35. tyres all cracked. but otherwise good.

    I got a folding bike from a charity cycle shop. they are overpriced ussually. I went to the main warehouse. and got the bike in rough condition. Was too expensive at 20. but I was wanting this style of bike. An old lady got a Raleigh 20 at the same time.

    PICT0379..jpg

    grrr those photos are small

    does the picture of the sea show? I posted the wrong pic and cant figure how to cut it
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    Last edited by griftereck; 09-06-10 at 05:56 AM.

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