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VintageTrek85 11-15-09 10:57 PM

I have two questions.

-First what is the most you have ever spent on a bike you flipped? (Excluding new tires, tubes, tape, etc...)

-How much does frame color scheme affect buyer interest/price?

tmh657 11-16-09 12:22 AM

The most I paid was $575 for a complete fixed gear/track bike. I didn't flip the whole bike. I parted it out and got a free frame and some cash. It had some expensive parts. Phil Wood HF hubs w/ Velocity rims, Sugino 75 cranks and BB, Thomson stem & seat post, some fancy track bars. A high end saddle. It's a Soma Rush and a nice ride. I kept the Chris King head set though. I would not spend that much cash if there was any question about making the money back + profit in a relatively short amount of time.

Color scheme? Hmmm.. I sold a purple and white 62cm Centurion LeMans w/ white bar tape to a 6'2' buffed college dude and he was very into it. He showed up with his girl friend to buy it. IIRC it came with a Campy aero water bottle w/ cage that I sold on ebay for about 1/3 what I paid for the bike.
I have also sold rattle can painted bikes that were bright orange, baby blue, white, lime green, sage green. Those were fixed or SS to younger people. Bright colors sell fixies.

I have sold a few bikes to girls/ women and they didn't care much about the color. Just wanted a good riding bike for the right price. Practical female thinking I guess.
If I found a Centurion Iron Man Master in my size that was Miami Vice colors I would ride it, no problem.

I don't know if there is any rhyme or reason to frame color.

rat fink 11-16-09 01:00 AM

Here's my techniques. I hope you wont use them if you live in my area:

- Go to the dump/landfill often. The scrap pile will provide you with hordes of frames and sometimes wheels

- Think about where you live. I live in the mountains, Everybody and their brother has or wants a mountain bike. I get free or sub $40 mountain bike and flip them ready to ride for $150.

- Go dumpster diving. Behind the LBS, you can regularly find tires, tubes, chain, wheels, bike boxes, and sometimes even shifters! Beware, some shops are extremely protective of their trash and will do things like DESTROY takeoffs and partially non-working parts. Don't be surprised if the employees soon hate you.

- I harvest Wal-Mart bikes for their cables/housing, ferrules, derailleurs (if they are Shimano), seat posts, saddles, grips, and sometimes: shifters, wheels, bars, v-brakes, stems... If the bike CAN be 100% I will sell it after making adjustments so it can be ridden.

- Any working road bike is worth $120+ if it's ready to ride.

- Schwinn is still a respected brand name by the average consumer (read: worth more)!

- If you get a road bike that doesn't get a lot of respect, but has nice components, part it out.

- Do you go to church? If so ask ministers/missionaries if they can keep an eye out for bikes. I have gotten gobs of parts and bikes from LDS missionaries who often wear out small parts on their bikes and trade bikes and parts often. It's not uncommon for missionaries (who all live in an apartment together), to have 20+ parts bikes available. I offer to fix their bikes for free, they give me everything they don't need. The bikes they don't use often get taken to the tip. So they usually consider my removal to be a nice service! :thumb:

- Ask your friends.

- When I sell a bike, it falls in one of two categories: rebuilt or tuned-up. If a bike is nice enough, (Schwinn World Sport and up), I will completely rebuild and overhaul the bike and then tune it to race bike precision. When they go for a test ride and it looks a feel like new, they will usually pay a lot more. If it can feel that way without overhaul, then just clean/adjust

- Finally, when parting out: don't be afraid to clean/rebuild components I have ad a lot of luck selling things for top dollar on Ebay, "precision rebuilt" and "functioning flawlessly". I will even buy low priced Buy It Now dirty parts, rebuild and flip.

that_guy_zach 11-18-09 06:44 AM

I tend to take the easy way on it. Pick them up at a flea market or garage sale, Wash , air up the tires. Make sure it rides up and down the street fine then post them at atleast double what I paid. I might put new tires on something and a little time in to but it has to be a decent bike. Most get cut up in to fixies so I dont mind.

r0ckh0und 11-18-09 08:45 AM


Originally Posted by VintageTrek85 (Post 10036085)
I have two questions.

-First what is the most you have ever spent on a bike you flipped? (Excluding new tires, tubes, tape, etc...)

-How much does frame color scheme affect buyer interest/price?

This past summer I bought an '08 Kona Jake The Snake CX bike for $560 and flipped it in 3 days for $850 and basically just dusted it off. Believe it or not, it was a thrift store find that I let sit for 4+ weeks before I pulled the trigger.

tmh657 12-20-09 04:36 PM

What's the consensus on selling a frame on ebay during Christmas time? Would you wait or do you think it matters at all?
Maybe it's 50/50 since some people have no money left to spend and others have some cash they got as a gift and it's burning a hole in the pocket.

curbtender 12-20-09 05:13 PM

Someone has a wishlist. I'm not sure on sales, but prices are creeping up on craigs.
But watch out for flakes...

r0ckh0und 01-17-10 09:21 AM

This past summer I picked up 2 Spinning bikes ridiculously cheap with intentions of selling them for a good profit in the winter months. Particularly the Schwinn Johnny Gs and similar machines. I did well on one last week and have another in the works. I would recommend this as a good option for a long slow winter.

Sieler4 02-24-10 01:56 AM

[QUOTE=treebound;8126714]Do we need a "Bike Flipping 101" thread/stickie in the Valuation sub-forum?

Several threads recently are along the lines of: "I want to buy a bike to ride now and flip later so is this a good bike for that and if not then what should I look for and how do I know if a bike is a good bike to buy and flip".

I'm thinking maybe a generic, non-specific, generalized steps or process to select and then tune or repair and then price a bike. Probably pretty much the same comments that are already posted as replies to some of the current threads, but consolidated into one thread to direct people towards.

I'm not really a flipper, been keeping most of what I've found, but I have sold a couple of bikes over the last year or so, but "flipping" isn't my personal primary motivator. But I can see where some might see this as a way to make the hobby somewhat self supporting financially, "somewhat" being the operative word there.

I just wanted to ask you in all your bikes do you have Hopalong Cassidy Rollfast?

javaride 03-01-10 05:14 PM

Saw the "Hopalong" on ebay, assuming (hate to use that word!), thats where you saw it? What a cool old ride!! Definetly something to add to the collection if you have one . . . and can afford it?! As for your suggestion on "flipping instructions and guidelines", great idea! In other words, a guide to know when to say when!

noglider 03-11-10 08:00 PM

I can't believe it took me this long to discover this thread. Well, better late than never.

I'm still scared to buy high end bikes to flip them. The profit may be higher, but so is the risk.

And I have no idea how many buyers there are around here. I have people asking me about bikes for errands and fitness. Fitness, as in, I haven't ridden in a long time and want to get back to it (and they cruise at 10mph).

Gthoro 03-27-10 04:53 PM

Many of the flipper bikes I bring in have crusty, shredded saddles. Therefore, I need to stock up on saddles. Local thrift stores usually give an ample supply of saddles, but most of them are printed with "Next," "Huffy," or some other undesirable generic brand. Instead of passing these up, buy them! Using a dab of the product "Goof Off" on a paper towel, will wipe off that generic brand name and give you a cheap saddle to use on a flip.

miamijim 03-27-10 05:26 PM


Originally Posted by Gthoro (Post 10586248)
Many of the flipper bikes I bring in have crusty, shredded saddles. Therefore, I need to stock up on saddles. Local thrift stores usually give an ample supply of saddles, but most of them are printed with "Next," "Huffy," or some other undesirable generic brand. Instead of passing these up, buy them! Using a dab of the product "Goof Off" on a paper towel, will wipe off that generic brand name and give you a cheap saddle to use on a flip.

Yep. I use permanent black markers.

noglider 03-28-10 05:24 AM

I got a seat cover from Niagara for $2. It looks good! I plan to buy more. It hides the chips ripped out of the edge of the seats.

TonyS 03-29-10 11:56 AM

Thought I'd ask a question about this... I've just started flipping Walmart bikes (flipped my first two this weekend! $65 profit!) because I want to get more people out and riding. So I check CL for walmart bikes for $15 or less (which means the tires are flat, the seat might possibly be torn, and they want it gone) and I air up the tires (usually the tubes are still good!) and adjust everything, install new cables as necessary, a new seat if tears, and I haven't repacked bearings yet because if the bearings seem bad I don't buy the bike. There's a booth at a local flea market that has all kinds of parts for Walmart bikes, so I get parts there on occasion, and it keeps the cost down. So far new tubes and cables have come from Walmart. How appropriate...

Anyway, right now I have 4 in the garage that all would be great bikes except the wheels are shot. I'm not that great at truing wheels, but if I get better at it, these bikes could live again... and help get some family out on the greenways that otherwise wouldn't have been. I've got two ladies lined up right now waiting for bikes as soon as I can get 'em built... more call every week or so.

Anyway, so far I've bought in the neighborhood of FREE - $10, and sold for about $45 each (going price for a Walmart bike around here). I tell everyone to come back to me if they need work done, but that it's a walmart bike so it will quit working eventually... but for $45, they'll just buy a new one when that happens.

I'm curious if anyone else in here specializes in the "It has 2 wheels, 2 brakes, a chain, and it rolls." dirt cheap end of things? If so, I'd love some tips...

noglider 03-29-10 12:16 PM

I don't like those bikes, and I can't recommend them for anyone. Most of the time, they work so poorly and resist proper repair and setup. However, I do specialize in bikes slightly higher than those. I like the bottom of the line bike-shop bikes. Bike-shop bikes are made to last a lifetime. I'm talking about things like Peugeot UO-8's and the like. Actually, I prefer bikes with aluminum rims, but I'm not above selling a bike with steel rims.

You can make a lot more money selling my type of bike.

And as miamijim says, he prefers much higher end bikes than that. I will probably end up moving to that type of bike, but I'm not knowledgeable enough yet. I was out of the marketplace for several years and need to learn more before I go there.

I sell my bikes for between $125 and $260. That range represents a range in quality. My profit margin ranges from $50 to about $240. I try to keep it above $100 per bike. And I honestly feel that these are good, utilitarian bikes that give the maximum number of miles per dollar. Walmart bikes cost much less but provide fewer trouble free miles.

TonyS 03-29-10 12:40 PM

Well, see that was my opinion too, until I got stuck riding a walmart bike for 3 years... and never had a single problem with it (despite riding it in the rain, leaving it outdoors 24/7, and never doing a single bit of maintenance to it except for changing tubes) until I was riding the Katy Trail, and the cable snapped to the FD. We took it to the bike shop, and he replaced the cable, but in doing so the shifter for the FD stopped working as well. I finished out the last two days of the trip on what was then effectively a 7 speed bicycle, and finally retired the beast after 3 years of service to me, and who knows how many to the person who sold it to me at the garage sale.

The thing that separates that type of bike from bike shop bikes is that for every bike shop bike on CL, there are 40 walmart bikes. This means that there's plenty of opportunity to flip things QUICKLY, and I like that. So for right now, I'm happy selling these things if I can get them into a condition that I would ride them in if my Trek were to be stolen.

You're probably right that I could make a lot more money moving up the food chain, but so far I've sold 2, made about $30 profit on each one, and was given two yesterday, so now I have 4 sitting in the hopper waiting to be fixed. The benefit here is that if I wanted to, I could with very little extra effort buy one and sell one per day (assuming an hour per night spent fixing one and it's ready to go). And $30 per day isn't so bad. I'm not gonna put that much time into it because my time is more valuable elsewhere, but it seems like a decent way to make a little extra dough, given that I have VERY little money to work with.

I'll probably upgrade to your league once I get $1000 together from my league (and I can finally make Dave Ramsey proud). :)

noglider 03-29-10 12:46 PM

I don't mean to discourage you! Go right ahead. Perhaps my standards are too high. I have tried for long times getting the brakes to work as I want. Some wheels can't be trued well enough -- for me. And so on. Maybe you haven't seen the trashed bikes I've seen. There's no doubt that getting them to work properly takes more time than getting bike-shop bikes to work as well. And the end result is certainly no better.

But if you can move several quickly, and if you're really sending out bikes that are road-worth and safe, then you're serving yourself and your customers well.

curbtender 03-29-10 08:49 PM

Hey Tony, exactly right. The time to fix them and sell them will burn you out. They are great learning tools, though. I've donated them in the past and keep a pile for donor parts. The good thing is that once you've got a reputation as the bike guy, better bikes start finding thier way to you. Good luck.

redxj 03-30-10 08:45 PM

The only thing the dept. store bikes are good for is scrap metal. I will pull a few parts off one if needed, but I have never bought one or ever plan to even for parts. Rule #1 of bike flipping is make at least $100 profit. If you don't you should not have bought it in the first place.

TonyS 03-31-10 08:10 AM

Well, so far it's been a matter of convenience... for example, I'll just go with what I've got in the garage right now... 3 department store mountain bikes, one 80's Huffy DS road bike, and one AMF Roadmaster Scorcher that I picked up last night. When I went to pick up the Scorcher, the guy had like 2 more broken bikes and two DSB wheelsets that he gave me because he was just going to take them to the dump had I not arrived...

So far total cost for 7 bikes... $15. If between those seven bikes there's enough good parts to make one of them work (there are, minus the cables), I can without any parts cost (other than the aforementioned cables) double my money if I can even sell it for $35... and most of mine have sold for $40-$50. My margin comes from the fact that people give me stuff... because they want it gone.

I want to upgrade to 70's & 80's road bikes, but the reasons I haven't so far are as follows:

1: Anything that's not a DSB disappears on CL in less than 20 minutes here. If you're not sitting in the middle of town with cash in hand and a laptop to call as soon as it shows up, you're not getting that bike. There are a billion other college students around collecting low end LBS bikes to make into fixies and flip. They don't have full time jobs, and I do. So by 5:30 pm, it will be gone.

2: There are 3 markets for bikes in this town: roadies, hipsters, and moms/dads looking to ride with their kids. The roadies are going to buy from the LBS. Period. Their bikes usually never end up on CL, but even when they do, they're both too expensive for me to buy, and I'd never be able to get rid of it because anyone who wants to become a roadie will go to the LBS. Hipsters each have a stockpile of at least 10 old road frames which they are going to turn into fixies, and those compose maybe 5% of CL traffic. The hipsters are also the reason that anything good disappears in 20 minutes or less... The remaining 94% or so of buyers are broke moms and dads looking to ride with their kids, and rather than paying $75 plus tax (lowest priced adult Walmart bike) they want to pay $40 for the same bike off of CL. Whether that's a good idea safety-wise or not is a valid question, but they don't know anything about bikes, and although every one of them has heard the shpiel before about how they should buy from an LBS, not a one of them understands why they should pay 8x as much for a bike they're only going to ride once every couple months with the kids. They are the ones blowing up my phone wanting me to find a bike for them... so apparently there's some reason they don't want to go to walmart to get a bike, and they're as yet an untapped market. AFAIK there's me and one other guy in town selling these things in any condition other than "We left it out in the rain for 3 years and we want it gone."

Anyway, so has anybody else run into the same problems of stuff disappearing too quickly? If so, how did you get around them?

macman58 03-31-10 08:38 AM

I love the hunt but I have a hard time parting with my children (the bikes I really like), but I am running out of room. I drive by pawn shops, garage sales, flea markets very slowly, always looking for a good child (old road bike) to adopt or find a home for.

macman58 03-31-10 09:02 AM

Find Seat Deals...
By the way, My local Trek Dealer sells the new seats off of the bikes people upgrade for $15 to $20 and they are Bontrager Brand new. They were asking $20 each for these. and I bargained them down to 4 for $60. These seats come off of $800+ bikes how bad can they be.

TonyS 03-31-10 11:04 AM

Thank you for proving my point so beautifully! There are people just like you in my town (lots of them!), and since I have a day job and little capital to work with, I'm at an extreme disadvantage trying to compete with them. So rather than try to enter a market with such large barriers to entry, I'm carving a different niche for myself... My advantages are that I'll probably be given a lot more free parts (and bikes) than they will, my inventory is probably more liquid, and the capital and time requirements are a lot lower for me (those DSB will still be there at 5:30).

And I'm only 2 weeks and 4 sales deep into this, but my phone has been blowing up every day with broke folks eager to have someone who knows about bikes help them out, but without selling them a hunk of scrap metal like the other CL posters will, and without pressuring them to spend money they don't have like the LBS guys would.

That having been said, I'll poach the LBS market while I'm at it if I get the chance... :)

Picking up an 80's Motobecane tonight.

curbtender 03-31-10 02:34 PM

Something like this?

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