Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Northern Nevada
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You're never sure what you'll find at thrift shops like the Salvation Army or Good Will, but I walked through a couple of local places today and I was surprised at the number of decent bikes in the sub-$50 range.
I got in the habit of checking those places occasionally when my kids were in high school and liked to buy clothes there. They're in their 20s now, but I still drop by (got a Brooks B-17 saddle, new in the box, for $4.50 a year or so ago). Among the bikes I saw today were a Bridgestone MB-3 (decent '80s mountain bike), a Specialized Hard Rock with Blackburn rack, new tires and a Cateye computer and a Centurion Le Mans road bike, all for $39.95 or less. None needed more than a cursory tune-up. My wife's rain/commute bike is a Speclalized MB I bought for $10 two years ago. It didn't need anything but air in the tires and lube on the chain.
I sort of understand the appeal of a cheap, simple $100 cruiser, but those bikes really are pretty cheesy. They're hard to work on, you can't always get parts and the first time you have to have a repair done professionally, you'll double the price. For the same money or less, you can get a mountain bike that cost $400-$600 new, probably doesn't have many miles on it and that will work a lot better. If you're nervous about shifting, pick a gear you like and leave it there. Nobody says you HAVE to shift. My sister has had her Trek on the big ring/small cog combo for years. I've told her 25 times why that's a bad idea, but she doesn't care.