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  1. #1
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    RANT: I am so tired of resellers on Craigslist.

    How can people try to sell 20+ year old bikes for upwards of $300-400 dollars!?? We're not even talking about classics here. I don't care how "freshly tuned and trued" your $hit is. A monkey could do the work you do - wipe down, regrease, replace cables, blah blah. How about leaving the good deals for people on a budget that actually want to ride the bike, rather than trying to do a flip job that borders on robbery?!

    Sadly, this also reflects on the stupidity of clueless buyers who are helping these leeches thrive. SF Craigslist is such a jacked-up market.

    /RANT. Thank you for reading.

  2. #2
    Unique Vintage Steel cuda2k's Avatar
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    Examples? I can think of lots of classic bikes that are easily worth $200-$400. I paid $200 for a 1990 Schwinn Crosscut - basically the earliest "hybrid" with a flat bar and 700x38c tires. Got it from the LBS, knew it wasn't the best deal in town, but was more bike for the money than I could get through any "new" bike seller, and was what I was looking for at the time. A Centurion Ironman, or a Raleigh with decent tubing and a solid group set in good condition really IS worth more than $50. Then again, in a free market, there is also the whole supply and demand thing. Take a bunch of guys looking to build fixies and throw them into a market, add some colleges in the area with lots of students looking for cheap around campus transport, and suddenly there is enough demand to drive up costs as well. Oh, and lastly, a good overhaul on a bike to regrease, replace cables, bar wrap, etc - that's what, an hour or two of time plus materials. Flippers are there to make some profit, it's not a charity...

  3. #3
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    Funny you mention the Crosscut - I was actually looking at picking one up for a poor man's cyclocross bike. The asking was $250. To me, $250 on a 20 year old hybrid bike that retailed maybe $460 (from my research) seems a bit excessive. Even $200 seem a bit much. But you're right, if someone wants it and they're willing to pay, they'll get it. Now you have me thinking if I should be offering up $200 for the Crosscut. hehe.

    I know Centurions, Miyatas, old Treks, Panasonics - they all do fairly well and deservedly so. I'm just a little disturbed by the fact that people looking for genuinely good deals are usually assed out because flippers are quick to snap them up. You'll find the bike you like eventually, but not before it's been snatched up for $100 and relisted at $300.

    Was also looking at a Miyata Quick Cross, listed at $380, and was stunned to find that it had been sold for $330! I guess there really is a demand for these, but that doesn't mean it ain't right for those of us looking for a square deal.

  4. #4
    Dolce far niente bigbossman's Avatar
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    I've flipped one or two bikes on CL. The typical scenario is that I buy a basket case, strip it to the frame, give it a complete overhaul, and then turn out a "ready to ride" bike in perfect mechanical condition. That's at least 4-5 hours of labor round-trip, plus consumables like tires, tubes, tape, and cables. You are free to buy a basket case and overhaul it as well - there is no shortage of them.

    More than one person has appreciated the work I've done, and I have no problem selling them for fair market value. Friends and family? I'll do it for free, or maybe a sandwich. Everyone else pays a fair sum for my time, expertise, and proper tool inventory. It's called value-add, and you'll be hard-pressed to find a bike shop willing to do what I do, for any reasonable amount of money.

    Hard to believe, but true - there are a lot of folks out there without the time, expertise, tools, or inclination to tinker that want a reliable, functioning bike and are willing to pay for it.

    I resent the implication that I'm a monkey or a leech, or that I've cheated or somehow took advantage of unsuspecting folks looking for a deal, just because I made a fair buck turning out a desirable product.
    "Love is not the dying moan of a distant violin, itís the triumphant twang of a bedspring."

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  5. #5
    Senior Member spooner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lshobo View Post
    How can people try to sell 20+ year old bikes for upwards of $300-400 dollars!?? We're not even talking about classics here. I don't care how "freshly tuned and trued" your $hit is. A monkey could do the work you do - wipe down, regrease, replace cables, blah blah. How about leaving the good deals for people on a budget that actually want to ride the bike, rather than trying to do a flip job that borders on robbery?!

    Sadly, this also reflects on the stupidity of clueless buyers who are helping these leeches thrive. SF Craigslist is such a jacked-up market.

    /RANT. Thank you for reading.
    Who is buying these bikes?

    I don't think an uneducated consumer will spend 400 bucks on an used craigslist bike. They are more likely to spend 200 bucks on a new bike at the big box store.

    So that only leaves educated consumers. Which means they find value in the product being sold.

  6. #6
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    Hey bigbossman, I hope you'll at least ride the Schwinn Super Sport I pointed out to you before deciding what to do with it. . Or maybe give it to a family member to ride.

    I will agree with you that not everyone is so inclined to overhaul a bike that is in dire need of work. But for the many people who know their way around a bike and merely looking for a project to build and ride, it's a tough battle. When looking for a project bike, I'm forced to compete with resellers looking for a good score, and compete again for that same bike (this time with buyers) once it has been overhauled and re-listed. For those not in it for profit, it's difficult.

    Fair enough that for what you describe as a basketcase, an extensive overhaul by a skilled mechanic provides a certain amount of value. Bringing a bike back to life is much better than having it abandoned or tossed in the dump. But I do want to point out that there are also many perfectly serviceable bikes out there that more than likely only had their frames wiped down and tires/chain replaced, yet will be marked up at a selling price much higher than what it was originally purchased at.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by spooner View Post
    Who is buying these bikes?
    Me thinks the same people that buy these bikes are also the same types of people that list bikes for sale without mentioning frame sizes, components, with no pictures, or with an un-rotated or upside-down picture of their bike. They'll also call their bike a "Treck." CL is often littered with these types of posts.

  8. #8
    Senior Member cantdrv55's Avatar
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    You don't have to buy what they're selling, you know.

  9. #9
    Senior Member loty's Avatar
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    I also don't see any problem with people who rebuild bikes for profit. Hey it's a free market. Are you upset that somebody else beat you to a good deal? There are tons of great bikes to be found on garage/yard sales - just hit your neighborhood.
    du kom for seint na ma du drikka mest

  10. #10
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigbossman View Post
    I've flipped one or two bikes on CL. The typical scenario is that I buy a basket case, strip it to the frame, give it a complete overhaul, and then turn out a "ready to ride" bike in perfect mechanical condition. That's at least 4-5 hours of labor round-trip, plus consumables like tires, tubes, tape, and cables. You are free to buy a basket case and overhaul it as well - there is no shortage of them.

    More than one person has appreciated the work I've done, and I have no problem selling them for fair market value. Friends and family? I'll do it for free, or maybe a sandwich. Everyone else pays a fair sum for my time, expertise, and proper tool inventory. It's called value-add, and you'll be hard-pressed to find a bike shop willing to do what I do, for any reasonable amount of money.

    Hard to believe, but true - there are a lot of folks out there without the time, expertise, tools, or inclination to tinker that want a reliable, functioning bike and are willing to pay for it.

    I resent the implication that I'm a monkey or a leech, or that I've cheated or somehow took advantage of unsuspecting folks looking for a deal, just because I made a fair buck turning out a desirable product.
    Personally, I have no problem with this practice, though maybe that isn't what the OP had in mind with his rant. The flipper finds a bargain and relists it immediately for a profit without adding any value.

  11. #11
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loty View Post
    I also don't see any problem with people who rebuild bikes for profit. Hey it's a free market. Are you upset that somebody else beat you to a good deal? There are tons of great bikes to be found on garage/yard sales - just hit your neighborhood.
    Agreed. The flippers take the time to scan CL and drive around to garage sales looking for deals.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigbossman View Post
    Hard to believe, but true - there are a lot of folks out there without the time, expertise, tools, or inclination to tinker that want a reliable, functioning bike and are willing to pay for it.
    I'm just one of these people. I don't have all the special tools or much skill in overhauling bicycles. I can darn near take apart a car and put it back together so I'm confident I can learn how to do it on a bicycle. However, I'm not inclined to to do it, and don't really have the time to do so. I have no problem paying somebody else to do the labor and do it right, rather than learn about those mistakes myself. I didn't end up buying from CL and bought a new bike from the LBS, but I was looking and willing to buy some of the bikes on there - most of the time it just wasn't my size.

    I doubt the people buying the bikes are newbies or uneducated consumers. As somebody else already noted, they would buy at a big box store for a whole lot less. That's what my GF did, and I would see her as the typical newbie. Heck, clueless buyers wouldn't even know what size bike to buy, and would go to a store to ask those questions and not drive around all over town trying on 1 bike at each stop.

  13. #13
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    OP, you can also check places like flea markets (make sure it's not stolen); Salvation Army, GoodWill; and garage sales as others have mentioned; not to mention university campus police auctions at the end of the academic year. Every once a while, you'll find a gem...but only if you put in the time though...

  14. #14
    I hate carnies indybiker01's Avatar
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    What is wrong with free markets and capitalism? We have buyers and sellers. Without sellers you dont have buyers....without buyers you dont have sellers........without either local bikes shops dont get the business and the money that people make on the flips don't get poured back into the economy?

    Monkeys need to make money too.

  15. #15
    Senior Member loty's Avatar
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    It's a free market. As long as these evil bike flippers don't have the market cornered like broadway show scalpers there is no problem. Plenty of old crappy bikes around you just have to look beyond mouse clicks on CraigsList.
    du kom for seint na ma du drikka mest

  16. #16
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    First off, there is an assumption that because someone lists a bike at a highly inflated price, that it also sells at that price, and that is quite likely not going to be the case. You'll see some bikes advertised over and over, which means they're not selling. Some are "$XXX or best offer", and there's no telling what kind of "best offer" they go for. Note that you also have sellers complaining about all the low-ball offers, and you may have sellers intentionally advertising an inflated price based on that assumption.

    Utlimately, it winds up being supply-and-demand, though. If people all over town are willing to pay $400 for a bike that you think is only worth $100- guess what? It IS worth $400...just not to you. And if nobody else thinks it's worth $400 either, then it simply won't sell at that price.

    I've sold a couple of bikes on Craigslist. They were cheap bikes sold at cheap prices. But even at that, I didn't have just a flood of people wanting them, either. And I had a couple that didn't sell, even at a cheap price. Oh well.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  17. #17
    Dolce far niente bigbossman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lshobo View Post
    Hey bigbossman, I hope you'll at least ride the Schwinn Super Sport I pointed out to you before deciding what to do with it. .
    Already been decided. It'll get a tear-down and a rebuild, be test-ridden, and then re-sold for a profit. Any money I make will get re-invested in the Italian fleet that I own, cherish, and ride. I don't make a living at flipping - I have a real job that pays the bills. And to be honest, I'm pretty casual about it as my free time is usually worth more than the nickels and dimes I pull in flipping a bike. Mostly I just go on about life and wait for one to fall into my lap.

    I do, however, like a hobby that pays for itself. Plus, I get to keep the cool tools and learn something new in the bargain. So - if a friend needs a hand with their bike, I can usually set it straight while we split a pizza in my garage.

    BTW - thanks for pointing out the SS to me, I appreciate it. I have a 58cm Superia frameset in my garage that you can have, if you're looking for a project. It's not pretty, but it is sound.
    Last edited by bigbossman; 07-09-10 at 09:48 PM.
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  18. #18
    Family, Health, Cycling Lanceoldstrong's Avatar
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    I want to stick my nose in here and say "Three cheers for bigbossman"

    I purchased a Schwinn Traveler III for my daughter from him.

    I was able to put her on a nice riding cro-moly steel frame with a modern "brifter" Tiagra triple group set and an extra nice feature, tri brakes (interrupters on the bars) which are good for young riders. He doesn't let any bike leave his garage until it has new cables, new housings, new bar tape and shifts with Swiss watch precision.

    With the features he added to it the old bike is like new and something totally unique. It is safe, mechanically all top shelf, and it was less than an entry level road bike from a shop.

    bigbossman does not "flip" bikes. He fosters them and finds them good homes.
    In Escendo Est Verum

  19. #19
    I hate carnies indybiker01's Avatar
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    You need to get a show on the discovery channel. You need an agent? They will pay you hoardes of money. Each episode you rebuild a bike and give it to an orphaned child. Trust me, tons of money. With that money you can marry a hot actress and then cheat on her and have your mug all over people magazine...sound good? Lets do it!

  20. #20
    Dolce far niente bigbossman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by indybiker01 View Post
    You need to get a show on the discovery channel. You need an agent? They will pay you hoardes of money. Each episode you rebuild a bike and give it to an orphaned child. Trust me, tons of money. With that money you can marry a hot actress and then cheat on her and have your mug all over people magazine...sound good? Lets do it!
    Yeah - except for the hot actress part. The wife and daughter are excellent marksmen, and know where the guns are kept.
    "Love is not the dying moan of a distant violin, itís the triumphant twang of a bedspring."

    S. J. Perelman

  21. #21
    I'm your huckleberry... MarkoPolo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigbossman View Post
    Yeah - except for the hot actress part. The wife and daughter are excellent marksmen, and know where the guns are kept.
    Plus, no other women - including hot actresses - could handle you on a daily basis. Wife and daughter are proven and have already built up their immune systems to your bigbossman-ness.
    It would appear that the strain was more than he could bear....

  22. #22
    Don't mince words Red Rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigbossman View Post
    I've flipped one or two bikes on CL. The typical scenario is that I buy a basket case, strip it to the frame, give it a complete overhaul, and then turn out a "ready to ride" bike in perfect mechanical condition. That's at least 4-5 hours of labor round-trip, plus consumables like tires, tubes, tape, and cables. You are free to buy a basket case and overhaul it as well - there is no shortage of them.

    More than one person has appreciated the work I've done, and I have no problem selling them for fair market value. Friends and family? I'll do it for free, or maybe a sandwich. Everyone else pays a fair sum for my time, expertise, and proper tool inventory. It's called value-add, and you'll be hard-pressed to find a bike shop willing to do what I do, for any reasonable amount of money.

    Hard to believe, but true - there are a lot of folks out there without the time, expertise, tools, or inclination to tinker that want a reliable, functioning bike and are willing to pay for it.

    I resent the implication that I'm a monkey or a leech, or that I've cheated or somehow took advantage of unsuspecting folks looking for a deal, just because I made a fair buck turning out a desirable product.
    Chris and I will throw meat on the grill, do a peach cobbler with our home-grown peaches, and supply the adult beverage of your choice if you'll fix me up with a Palo Alto in my size.

    Seriously.
    When my feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says, "Oh, *****, she's awake!"

    Visit my blog.

  23. #23
    Dolce far niente bigbossman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Rider View Post
    Chris and I will throw meat on the grill, do a peach cobbler with our home-grown peaches, and supply the adult beverage of your choice if you'll fix me up with a Palo Alto in my size.

    Seriously.
    And I'd take you up on it in a heartbeat, too. Problem is, Palo Alto's are kind of hard to come by. Besides mine, I've only seen 4 others, all on the web - none in person. But if you find a buildable frame-set, let me know and I'll claim that dinner.

    I'll keep my eyes peeled, though - what size would I be looking for?
    "Love is not the dying moan of a distant violin, itís the triumphant twang of a bedspring."

    S. J. Perelman

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigbossman View Post
    BTW - thanks for pointing out the SS to me, I appreciate it. I have a 58cm Superia frameset in my garage that you can have, if you're looking for a project. It's not pretty, but it is sound.
    Normally ride a 54cm, but thanks for the offer. I guess you wouldn't enjoy riding the SS. Seemed a bit on the small side to me, but then again the picture was pretty lousy.

    Rant is officially over. I've made my peace with it. In high spirits partially due to scoring a once-used Trico Sports Iron Case for $80! In the world of Craigslist, winning some and losing some is par for the course, I guess.

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