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  1. #1
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    Flea market bikes

    I went through a few flea markets the other day and noticed each one had a couple bikes from the past. Some of them looked nice, but had noticeable wear and damage to various areas. Some look like they were ready to ride. All of them had thin tires. The prices on them range from $30 to $50 which sounds like a good deal. I figured I could buy one, paint it and replace any old parts to get them rolling again. I'll be going back soon and take some pics for you bike experts to analyze and give me some suggestions. A lot of these bikes were from brands I've never heard of. They all looked very light weight too and had saddles new to my eyes.

    Are these bikes too old to be worth the money and time to fix them? I guess it all depends on the bike. I'll try to get some pics here of them soon.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Flying Merkel's Avatar
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    It depends on the bike. I buy, refurbish & sell bikes for hobby money. A Walmart or Target quality bike is not worth buying and fixing. Even if it's free sometimes it's not worth picking up. I found a Nishiki hybrid in a dumpster that should have stayed there.

    If you can find a decent quality bike that doesn't need much beyond tires & tubes, go for it. A lot depends on how much knowledge & tools you have on hand. My current favorite bike was a Univega touring bike. I bought it for $40.00, spent about $250 fixing it up with top quality stuff. It was worth it to me. I had it powder coated for $115.00. Painting is not usually cost-effective or necessary.

    Post pics. Check out the bike market in your area. In my area (Southern California) new bikes can be a better bargain than used.
    Pronounced "Murkle"

  3. #3
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    Nishikis are junk? I found an old 10 speed and set it aside to fix when I get my own place. Should I put it back in the dumpster?
    The best thing about a bicycle is that it uses no gasoline, therefore the chance of fiery death is greatly reduced.

  4. #4
    Senior Member LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Nishiki did make some junk, but at least 70% of Nishikis are decent. 40% of Nishikis are really nice. And a few are amazing.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  5. #5
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    Before you buy any flea market bikes do a little research here so you know what you are looking for to determine quality regardless of brand.

    http://www.mytenspeeds.com/My_TenSpe...ITE_1_HOME.htm
    Last edited by dedhed; 08-11-12 at 09:05 AM.
    '68 Raleigh Sprite, '02 Raleigh C500, '84 Raleigh Gran Prix, '91 Trek 400

  6. #6
    Senior Member Flying Merkel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iheartbacon View Post
    Nishikis are junk? I found an old 10 speed and set it aside to fix when I get my own place. Should I put it back in the dumpster?
    Nishikis are great bikes. This one wasn't. It was a hybrid that had been used as a commuter and never maintained. The wheel bearing were crumbling. The stem was cracked. The rims were straight as potato chips. Everything was worn or broken. Spent around $110 fixing it, could only get $90 for it. Even then I felt bad for the buyer. Goes to show that a worn-out good brand is crap too.

    Bought a Schwinn Clear Creek for $20.00. That's a late model hybrid probably made by Pacific. It only needed one new pedal and a complete clean-n-lube. If that was my only bike I wouldn't ride. Awful toad bike. It's designed to fit everyone from 5'0" to 6'2". As a result it fits no one. That's why you want to buy something that fits and is worth riding. Sold it for $90 to a mommy for her kid to get to school on.

    If anyone thinks I'm a bike snob, one of my favorite rides is a Schwinn Mirada made in Taiwan. The bike fits perfectly, so it's a pleasure to ride despite the weight and low-end components.. $25.00 of Craigslist.
    Pronounced "Murkle"

  7. #7
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    Here are 2 bikes I saw at a flea market in town today. They had 3 but the other looked like a heavy mountain bike. The red bike is $45 and the yellow one is $50. I really like the red bike. It looks like an old road bike but perhaps some of you bike experts can tell me more. I noticed it had 2 weird devices on the handle bar. I don't know what they are but if I bought the bike I would probably remove them. Sorry for not getting better pictures of the yellow bike. It didn't have a kick stand so I had to hold it to take a pic.







  8. #8
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    I don't know much about Dynacraft, but the DB Sorrento was a low-end mountainish bike, maybe Diamondback's cheapest. For the price you can't go too far wrong, and it would be an OK bike for a commuter or casual rider. Just don't spend much money on it or expect to make a lot from it.
    From what I can see of the red bike, it's also a cheapie. Again, if it were properly tuned and maintained, it would be a good bike for a casual rider, but I don't think you could sell it for more than $100 or so.
    Both may date from the '80s, but I'm pretty much guessing at that.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velo Dog View Post
    I don't know much about Dynacraft, but the DB Sorrento was a low-end mountainish bike, maybe Diamondback's cheapest. For the price you can't go too far wrong, and it would be an OK bike for a commuter or casual rider. Just don't spend much money on it or expect to make a lot from it.
    From what I can see of the red bike, it's also a cheapie. Again, if it were properly tuned and maintained, it would be a good bike for a casual rider, but I don't think you could sell it for more than $100 or so.
    Both may date from the '80s, but I'm pretty much guessing at that.
    I'm not buying to resell. I'm buying to replace my store bike that literally fell apart 2 weeks after I got it. I need a good road bike.

  10. #10
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    The Dynacraft may do you. But there is so much that we cannot tell by the pictures, are the wheels straight? how smoothly does it shift? how well do the brakes work? is the fork straight? is the frame straight? how is the chain? Those important criteria, you must check out yourself. Whether it's the bike for you, depends on your needs. This might be a fine casual ride or beater bike.

    The saddle looks interesting though, if I'm not mistaken, if you look underneath it, you may find that the bulk of the saddle is supported by thin springs. Not the big ones at the back, but ones connecting the nose to the rear of the saddle. I had one as a child and it was very comfortable.

    They Dynacraft may even be from the '70s. I notice that it has friction shifters, not indexed ones.

    The Diamondback may have wider gears, a consideration if you live in a hilly place. If you are riding it on the street, you will want to change the tires to slicks eventually. And from the decal, it looks like the Diamondback has a biopace chainring, slightly elliptical to enhance pedaling. They are controversial, but my old Hard Rock has one and I like it.
    Last edited by Artkansas; 08-16-12 at 07:22 AM.
    "He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

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    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.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artkansas View Post
    The Dynacraft may do you. But there is so much that we cannot tell by the pictures, are the wheels straight? how smoothly does it shift? how well do the brakes work? is the fork straight? is the frame straight? how is the chain? Those important criteria, you must check out yourself. Whether it's the bike for you, depends on your needs. This might be a fine casual ride or beater bike.

    The saddle looks interesting though, if I'm not mistaken, if you look underneath it, you may find that the bulk of the saddle is supported by thin springs. Not the big ones at the back, but ones connecting the nose to the rear of the saddle. I had one as a child and it was very comfortable.

    They Dynacraft may even be from the '70s. I notice that it has friction shifters, not indexed ones.

    The Diamondback may have wider gears, a consideration if you live in a hilly place. If you are riding it on the street, you will want to change the tires to slicks eventually. And from the decal, it looks like the Diamondback has a biopace chainring, slightly elliptical to enhance pedaling. They are controversial, but my old Hard Rock has one and I like it.
    Next time I go there I can ask them if I can test the bike outside and see how well it works. From looking at it, it looks all in shape with just a little rust here and there. I sat on the bike and it felt comfortable for the most part. I want to paint it and update it if I do buy it to make it more durable for riding everyday. How about the shape of the bike? Aren't the diamond / triangle frame bikes more stable than these kind of frames?

    As long as I can make all needed repairs under the price of a new road bike then I will be happy with the bike. I don't know how good the road bikes of today are in the $100-200 price range so the way I see t is if I can buy this buy and fix it up for a little more I did good. I don't have a lot of money to put towards a decent new bike.

  12. #12
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    Just a little bit of a heads-up: If you buy a used bike, be prepared to spend additional money to replace tubes/tires, chain, cables/housing, saddle, grips/h-bar wraps, brake pads. You may not need to, but I'm just reminding you to keep it in the back of your mind.
    I almost always mentally add $75 to the cost of a used bike that I'm going to keep around for awhile, because that's usually the ballpark for replacing most of the consumables at a reasonable quality-level.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfwerx View Post
    Just a little bit of a heads-up: If you buy a used bike, be prepared to spend additional money to replace tubes/tires, chain, cables/housing, saddle, grips/h-bar wraps, brake pads. You may not need to, but I'm just reminding you to keep it in the back of your mind.
    I almost always mentally add $75 to the cost of a used bike that I'm going to keep around for awhile, because that's usually the ballpark for replacing most of the consumables at a reasonable quality-level.
    Isn't that still better than dropping $300 or more on a new road bike? From what I read here you can't get anything even half way decent for less than that if you buy new.

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    Quote Originally Posted by casey86 View Post
    Isn't that still better than dropping $300 or more on a new road bike? From what I read here you can't get anything even half way decent for less than that if you buy new.

    I like used bikes. All of my current stable came to me second-hand, and most of them have been built up into bikes that are better than anything I could have afforded new.

    I wasn't questioning your plan, it was just a reminder, that's all.

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    According to Google searches, it says that the Dynacraft Conquest is a ladies bike. Or maybe it had a men's and women's version. Can anyone verify if the red bike is a for boy, girl or both?

  16. #16
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    I began with an old bike fix-m-up phase and soon filled my basement. one season I think I sold 14 ... now I'm down to 4. I think, maybe I should check again ... LOL

    some bike shops sell good used bikes and that's a better place to start. a good bike is worth paying for
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  17. #17
    Senior Member Flying Merkel's Avatar
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    That Dynacraft is a department store bike. Crap when new, crap now. The brakes are horrid. Walk away from anything with steel rims.

    I flipped a Sorrento. I rode it about 40-50 miles as a shake-down. It's a low-end bike, but a decent one. I'd ride one regularly.
    Pronounced "Murkle"

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Merkel View Post
    That Dynacraft is a department store bike. Crap when new, crap now. The brakes are horrid. Walk away from anything with steel rims.

    I flipped a Sorrento. I rode it about 40-50 miles as a shake-down. It's a low-end bike, but a decent one. I'd ride one regularly.
    Yea but were department store bikes from the 1970's-80's as bad as department store bikes now? Its only $45 and I can probably talk it down to $35. With repair do you still think its not worth it? I just need a bike to ride to work so its not like I need a trophy bike but I do want a bike that won't fall apart on me. This has all metal pedals which for me is a plus because the department store bike I bought a few weeks ago the pedals broke apart 2 weeks later.

  19. #19
    Senior Member GrandaddyBiker's Avatar
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    Do you not realize what you have found here? This is a very rare Dynacraft, only four of them like this were ever made. Get back to the Flea market as fast as you can. The bike would be worth a lot to any serious collector. What makes it so rare is the top tube where it joins the seat tube. It is lugged not welded. Dynacraft switch from welding the top tube to using a lug but they only done 4 of them, then decided to go back to welding because it was cheaper. This would be the only lugged Dynacraft left for sale. The first of these rare Dynacraft is buried in a glacier somewhere near the North Pole but no one knows exactly were. How it got there is a long story. The second one is at the bottom of the world’s deepest lake, Lake Baikal, in Russia. At over a mile down no one can recover it. How it got there is another one of them long stories. The third one was taken up in space aboard a space shuttle. An astronaut was going to be the first to ride a bicycle in space as a joke. However, when they opened the cargo door the bike was not secured and the bike got away from them. So the third rare Dynacraft is floating above the earth as space rubble.

    I would go to the Flea market and get it myself but I don’t know where the market is at. So I will let you go get it. After you sell it to a collector, the right thing to do would be to give me a reward for telling you about it.


    (Disclaimer: The accuracy of this information has not been confirmed.)

  20. #20
    Senior Member Nermal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrandaddyBiker View Post

    (Disclaimer: The accuracy of this information has not been confirmed.)
    Yeah, I just bet it hasn't.
    Some people are like a Slinky ... not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Flying Merkel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by casey86 View Post
    Yea but were department store bikes from the 1970's-80's as bad as department store bikes now? Its only $45 and I can probably talk it down to $35. With repair do you still think its not worth it? I just need a bike to ride to work so its not like I need a trophy bike but I do want a bike that won't fall apart on me. This has all metal pedals which for me is a plus because the department store bike I bought a few weeks ago the pedals broke apart 2 weeks later.
    I am only looking at a picture, but old DS10S's (Department Store 10 speeds) had a lot of shortcomings. I rode one back in the 70s, a Royce Union. It worked, but it took constant fiddling to keep it on the road. Mine had a pedal fall apart even though it was a steel rat trap. It looks like the bike has stamped steel brakes. Combined with untrue steel rims, braking will be marginal at best and non-existent in the wet. Upgrading the D-craft is cost-prohibitive. The Sorrento is a far better commuter.
    Pronounced "Murkle"

  22. #22
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    Thanks for the replies so far. I will be going to a few more flea markets tomorrow and will try to see what I can find. Like I said I really don't know what is a good find or not. I didn't think it would be this hard (or expensive) to get 2 wheels rolling on a road that won't fall apart on me quickly.

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    Are you near a college campus? If so then go dumpster diving at the end of the semester. It's crazy what those kids throw away. That's where I found my Nishiki. I also found 3 laptops (less than a year old) which I sold to a computer guy for $100 a piece. Lots of furniture, odds and ends, books. Do you know what used text books are worth? I salvaged $400 worth of used text books. I did find a total of 3 bikes. The Nishiki which I kept, and 2 women's bikes which I donated to Goodwill after I had them tuned at the LBS. Might be a good way for you to get a bike without spending much.
    The best thing about a bicycle is that it uses no gasoline, therefore the chance of fiery death is greatly reduced.

  24. #24
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    Hi everyone. Well I visited a few more flea markets and saw a few more bikes but I don't think they are worth posting the pics. I was looking back at the red bike above. I'm pretty sure I can bargain it down to $35 or less. It just needs a little repair. I went on Ebay and looked at the cheapest road bikes from the market store quality and they have them new for anywhere between $80 and $150. Now I know I already made that mistake once. My problem was I bought the wrong bike "mountain bike" and bought it new market store quality. Now the bike rides fine and all. The problem was 2 weeks later the pedals broke off and sometimes the chain comes off while switching gears but thats probably just me switching gears too fast. Either way, it still rides its just not a road bike. It does need a better seat and new pedals. I paid $125 for it. Now as of now considering my location and my options, I can buy that red bike, try to bargain it down a little and then fix it up spending as little as possible to do that. It will need a new chain maybe, some rust scraping and treatment and probably new breaks. If I don't do that, my only other option is to buy a new road bike from the market stores. This will cost me at least $80-90 and I know it will come with plastic pedals which I will want to replace with all metal ones. Other than that I don't see what would be wrong with the bike however I'd be afraid it would end up like my mountain bike I bought recently. I need a road bike. I need a bike that is meant for the road and won't keep me occupied in repairs every week.

    So should I buy the red one pictured above and fix it up or go with a new road bike off the market stores? Thats about all my options until the flea markets get more used bikes in. Even considering the red bike above is a used department store bike, wouldn't it be better than the ones they make today after a little repair?

  25. #25
    Senior Member Flying Merkel's Avatar
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    The Dynacraft is crap, crap, Kuh-rap! The thing will most likely lead to frustration. The weakest and most expensive part of any used bike is the rims. Those look to be cheap awful steel rims. It's not worth fixing.

    There is a certain amount you are going to have to spend to get a decent bike. A lot depends on your area. I live in Southern California. Bikes are in big demand here. A decent used road bike starts at about $160-$200. If it needs tires, prepare to spend at least $40.00. These are starting prices, not average prices.

    I bought a Peugeot PH19 12 speed for $15.00 Sunday. Hasn't been ridden but a few blocks in the last 30 years. Here's what it's going to need at minimum:

    New tires: $22-$60

    New tubes: $6-$12

    Cables: $5-$20

    Grips: $6-$15

    Would like to get a new set of bars. If I can find them used, it's $10-$20. The bike was a fluke. Most bikes like the Pug go for $75-$100.

    There's a swap meet close by with cheap parts. That's the low end. Upper end is for bargain parts at the bike shop. or online. I had to strip it down to bare frame and use a few special tools- chainbreaker, bottom bracket lockring wrench, and a crankpuller. It should sell for $180-$200. For what the buyer is getting it's a solid deal. The Peugeot is a mixte frame model, not as desirable as a diamond frame. My personal bike was bought for $40, but ended up costing around $300 because I intend on keeping it for years. I can buy a new bike for $300.00.

    Go on Craigslist everyday at least twice a day. You will get a feel for the market. I see complete bikes at our swap meet for more than the average C-list price. One guy tried to sell me a trashed-but-cosmetically-good Italvega. He asked $500, it was worth about $50.00. Tires would have cost $200! My neighbor bought a full suspension mountain bike that I had walked away from. Seller quoted me $400. It was only good for parts. Neighbor brought it by for a look over. Needed a new bottom bracket, crankset, tires, cables, chain, front sprockets, and so on. Knowledge is power.
    Pronounced "Murkle"

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