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Looking for a Bicycle in Michigan...HELP

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Looking for a Bicycle in Michigan...HELP

Old 06-12-11, 10:40 PM
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frippertronics4
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Looking for a Bicycle in Michigan...HELP

I live in Ypsilanti, and I know that being so close to Ann Arbor this shouldn't be as big a problem as it's become, but I have been completely unable to find a reasonably priced bicycle in this area.

My last bicycle was a fixed Univega gran record that I had bought off a buddy of mine, and was stolen. I have been looking for a Japanese bike to replace it since. I loved that Univega (with the exception of it being fixed) and I would like to find another one, or possibly a miyata, fuji, or nishiki. My problem is that I haven't been able to find one anywhere. The listings on ebay are scarce and fairly pricey, the ads on craigslist are few and far between. I found a univega in the lansing area, but the sellers are being real flakey and after three days of almost no communication, they still haven't told me how big the frame is.

I have many friends who have found excellent bicycles at thrift stores for $30-$40, so I've been looking but have been very unsuccessful. Garage sales aren't too sweet in this area either. I've heard flea markets can be a good place to find bicycles, but besides Gibraltar (which I've checked) I can't think of any.

If anyone knows where I can find some decent Japanese bicycles in the Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor/rest of Michigan area for reasonable prices, please let me know.
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Old 06-13-11, 05:10 AM
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1. If you are looking at C/L, expect sellers to be flaky. Don't quiz them, just go look at it. I find a lot of the best deals on C/L have sketchy to no information. If the ads were well written, with great details, the good stuff would all be sold.

2. Word of mouth, and cast a wider net. Road trips, have friends in other towns outside your general area look too.

3. Look aggressively. The sources you mentioned around here, the bikes go fast, lightning fast. At thrift stores here, a bike will last about 15 seconds, really. So unless you are there when it rolls out, you are not getting it.

4. Find a deal that is not your size, resell it and use that money to pay full market pricing on a bike your size. I just picked up a deal on a 25 inch Cannondale this weekend. I ride a 22 inch (56cm). Rarely do I find a deal in my size.

5. Finding great deals is a lot of work. Sometimes, just paying full market price is a better use of your time. While I sometimes enjoy sharing deals I find, I neglect to mention how much I look (all the time, every day, everywhere). It really is a lot of work.

6. Most of the deals on bikes are bikes that need work, sometimes A LOT of work. Do you have the tools/time/aptitude/interest/access to cheap parts/space to do this work? Lets see, on the last two STI bikes I picked up, the shifters didn't work, the wheels were mismatched, bottom bracket was shot on one, both needed all new bearings and grease, tires, wheels trued up (but first, find a matching set of wheels), etc. Had one set of shifters rebuilt, replaced the other set with a spare set I had in hand. Bikes were a deal, but the rebuild was not cheap.

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Old 06-13-11, 05:16 AM
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Welcome frippertronics:

As of late, there have been very few deals that have appeared on Craigslist. I just bought a frame from someone in Ypsi yesterday. Are you looking for a diamond in the rough or something reconditioned? A reconditioned bike will cost $200-300 generally in this area. Auchencrow had a great looking Nishiki for sale last week but it only lasted a day. How much are you willing to spend and what size do you need? There may be some members willing to help you.
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Old 06-13-11, 05:21 AM
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Although this may not be what you what, I bought my frame off of this guy in Ypsi. In my talk with him, he seems very knowledgeable and takes pride in his work. Maybe he has a project that hasn't been posted that may work for you. I would contact him.

https://annarbor.craigslist.org/bik/2436418026.html

Bob
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Old 06-13-11, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post

5. Finding great deals is a lot of work. Sometimes, just paying full market price is a better use of your time. While I sometimes enjoy sharing deals I find, I neglect to mention how much I look (all the time, every day, everywhere). It really is a lot of work.
^ So true. The other day someone asked me how often I look at Craig's list. I hesitated and thought, Hmmm, should I admit the truth? Nahhhh, I said 4 or 5 times a day. Where I live there are literally hundreds of listings per day and it can consume a good deal of time to wade through them and snag a deal.
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Old 06-13-11, 09:44 AM
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It's utterly impossible to snag a nice bike in Michigan with Bikemanbob on the prowl.

Seriously, there are some good deals but it is a lot of work to find them. I don't frequent thrift stores or garage sales on your side of town, but I can tell you that they are singularly unproductive here.

Every thrift store asks full market value or above, even for the crappiest bikes in very poor condition. Garage sales still happen, but you can only be the first to show at one of them - and meanwhile there are now a hundred or so DKO flippers scouring the other 99 garage sales in your area. The good stuff is gone by 9:01 am - or sooner.

An alternative, is just to suck up and buy a bike from one of the better rehab flippers around here. There are several good ones - I would not hesitate to buy from the one Bikeman mentioned. There are a couple of guys right in this forum too, who occasionally have some really nice bikes for sale, all tuned and spiffed up.
Unless you can do the work yourself, this is really the best value: There is no real economy in buying an unserviced used bike, even for $150 less, because a bike store will charge you even more to put it right.


PS- King Crimson fan?
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Old 06-13-11, 11:58 AM
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+1 Unless you are ready/able/willing to do a lot of rehab work yourself, you will be better off with one of the better flippers in your area. A good one will have a backlog of bikes to work on, contact them and let them know what you want. Chances are they have one already.
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Old 06-13-11, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemanbob View Post
Welcome frippertronics:

As of late, there have been very few deals that have appeared on Craigslist. I just bought a frame from someone in Ypsi yesterday. Are you looking for a diamond in the rough or something reconditioned? A reconditioned bike will cost $200-300 generally in this area. Auchencrow had a great looking Nishiki for sale last week but it only lasted a day. How much are you willing to spend and what size do you need? There may be some members willing to help you.

I'm willing to spend about $200. I'm about 5'6'' so I think a 54'' or 55'' frame would do the trick.

Thanks guys. you're all being incredibly helpful.

Ps. Yes auchencrow, i am a huge King Crimson fan. I listen to a lot of progressive rock, jazz, and jazz fusion. I have the Larks' Tongues cover tattooed on my left arm. I've had the tattoo for a few months now and not a single person has known what it is. It's nice to hear from somebody who is familiar with that music.
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Old 06-13-11, 07:59 PM
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"It's utterly impossible to snag a nice bike in Michigan with Bikemanbob on the prowl. " Auchen


Whatever limited success I might enjoy, I still regret the Super Course that got away. Auchen beat me to it!
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