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The frustrations of trying to find a (cheap) used road bike in Portland, Or..

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The frustrations of trying to find a (cheap) used road bike in Portland, Or..

Old 07-04-15, 10:23 PM
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exmechanic89
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The frustrations of trying to find a (cheap) used road bike in Portland, Or..

So I got back into riding recently after a 25 year hiatus, and so far everything has been great. I've been able to buy (to me) very nice mid to higher end mtbs for pennies on the dollar on CL, as many of you have.

I currently have an '85 Nishiki Colorado - bought w/o wheels, brakes, and front deralleur but otherwise in great shape for $20. I've built it up with other parts i bought on CL and eBay and it's a great ride - full chro-moly frame, riser bars, and Deore parts. I also just got a '91 Trek 950 two days ago ($65) with a beautiful lugged, butted chro-moly frame and Deore components. I also have a nice '96 Rock Hopper I bought not too long ago - once again w/o wheels for $75. So I'm in mtb heaven now as I like older non-suspension chro-moly framed bikes the best. Just so many great deals out there.

But boy, finding a road bike has been an entirely different deal. It seems like the only ones you see on Portland's CL are either way, way overpriced junk, or completely out of my price range. I really dont want to spend more than a $100 or so, which I know isnt much, but since I've had a lot of success with mtbs and can do my own work, I thought I'd be very successful.
In fact I had originally hoped to find something made from Reynolds or Columbus tubing, but at this point would settle for something with just a decent chro-moly frame. All I seem to find though are tons of rusted boat anchor schwinns, or department store stuff. Anything even remotely nice like a higher end Schwinn, Peugeot, Nishiki, or Trek is usually beat to sh*t, and astronomically priced. It seems that since road bikes are rarer these days than mtbs people seem to think they're worth much more than they really are. It's a strange phenomenon.

Anyway I know I'll eventually find something, and I guess this thread is really just a frustration rant. I just wonder if other riders have had this issue?
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Old 07-04-15, 10:38 PM
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Portland is a tough place to get a deal on anything... and a Reynolds or Columbus framed bike is gonna cost a premium.
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Old 07-04-15, 10:52 PM
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if you want to find such a deal you have to forget about CL. hit the local thrift stores- garage and estate sales. and be patient (or lucky). I walked into the local salvation army when I first moved to this town and they had a centurion lemans for $40 that needed.... the tires inflated. it became my main mode of transportation and enabled me to take jobs all over the city and still arrive on time and ready to work (if a bit sweaty).

It was stolen from me and I still have a bit of &*%*&#$ about that. anyway-- i try to make up for it by loyalty to the centurion brand- and its not hard because they are great bikes.

I recently picked up a centurion ironman master (shimano 600 tange 1) for $120. but no way this would happen on CL as it is a $300+ bike. from a local guy and since then I have been helping him fix up his bikes and getting him the parts he needs. what comes around goes around...

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Old 07-04-15, 11:00 PM
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A $300 road bike in the summer is a $150 road bike in the winter.

But, yeah, hoping to get a higher end vintage road bike in good condition for $100 in Portland is optimistic. Can happen but a rare event.
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Old 07-04-15, 11:00 PM
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Today, good used vintage mountain bikes are cheap and good used road bikes aren't. Times have changed in 25 years. And you live in one of the hottest road bike markets in the country.

I wish you luck, and patience.
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Old 07-04-15, 11:03 PM
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I'm glad you've been able to find good deals on old mountain bikes. That's what I'm looking for and all I get are overpriced walmart bikes. It's been 2 months of patiently browsing CL & kijiji and nadda. People are out of their minds here in Montreal when they price their used bikes. I now consider myself super lucky to have scored my old Rocky Mountain a few months back @ $200. Compared to what's out there it was an absolute steal. In any case, I feel your pain.
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Old 07-04-15, 11:10 PM
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
A $300 road bike in the summer is a $150 road bike in the winter.

But, yeah, hoping to get a higher end vintage road bike in good condition for $100 in Portland is optimistic. Can happen but a rare event.
This is right, I am a partime bike flipper, I buy about 25 bikes throughout the winter, then sell them all from April 1 to mid June

But the original poster can try this, run an ad in the wanted on craigslist. You might find something this way. Only problem is you have to sift through a lot of crap. You will get a bunch of calls from people trying to sell their bikes too high on craigslist with no luck. But if lucky you will find someone that has a bike sitting in the garage he no longer uses and is happy to pass it on to someone that will fix it and ride it, for a decent price. The trick to finding a good bike deal is to be patient and dont pull the trigger on something you are not absolutely sure of.
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Old 07-05-15, 12:33 AM
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I got a barely ridden 1984 Tempo for $100 a bit more than a year ago in Portland. Also got my wife's 1995 Trek 7900 for $150, pristine condition (Salem), and a 1978 Centurion Pro Tour for $250, IIRC. All on CL.

Be patient, check Salem as well, and you'll get your ride. Be proficient in your internet searches when you see a possible candidate -- that Tempo was listed as "Schwinn 12 Speed" with one long-distance pic, but by the time I was headed out to meet the guy I was pretty sure what he had. Among the things I miss about PDX is the CL bike selection. There is always something out there if you're thorough. Good luck!
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Old 07-05-15, 01:50 AM
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Bikes are a premium but parts seems to be a pretty good deal on the PDX CL. I would maybe buy a frame online or maybe one of the surrounding CL cities and build it up with parts found on CL. I just moved from Medford to a tiny little Michigan town where a single listing might go up every couple of days and normally a walmart turd. So finding any type of deal is pretty much gone. Lol.
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Old 07-05-15, 02:43 AM
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$100 is a tough price point for a quality road bike, new, classic, or ancient.

You should be able to snag a Schwinn Varsity class bike, or perhaps a GMC Denali bike for that price..

A few deals will show up, but keep in mind that if you buy a $100 bike, and rebuild it for $100... you now have invested $200, so perhaps it would have been better just to buy a fully tuned $200 bike.

Portland has the advantage that Craigslist is about 10x as active as it is here in Eugene. Unfortunately, also 10x the reposted junk to wade through.
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Old 07-05-15, 06:10 AM
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I got this Le Tour III from the original owner for 60 bucks
Didnt go through it yet
But it is close to mint besides the seat and tires
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Old 07-05-15, 07:47 AM
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The deals are out there, but you have to watch CL like a hawk and recognize what's there. I recall a Trek 720 being posted the Pacific Northwest CL as "old bike" for something like $100, with a ****ty picture of the bike with aero bars on it- It looked terrible.
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Old 07-05-15, 08:29 AM
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I don't know about Portland, but in the Boston area the only way to score a Reynolds 531 or Columbus-tubed bicycle for $100 (and I assume you mean complete bicycle, not frame/fork only) would be if a seller didn't have much of a clue and posted a truly lousy ad such that the blood-thirsty flippers and collectors around here didn't immediately recognize the screaming deal. Those do happen, but you have to be very, very lucky and very, very vigilant.

Alternatively, try offering one of your better MTBs for a road bike trade.
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Old 07-05-15, 08:42 AM
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@exmechanic89 _ I sent you a pm. Check your mail.
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Old 07-05-15, 08:46 AM
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I think some of the best deals I've seen recently have been in the for sale section here! A Columbus or Reynolds framed road bike (or True Temper, Tange, etc) for $100 is tough to find anywhere.
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Old 07-05-15, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by exmechanic89 View Post
So I got back into riding recently after a 25 year hiatus, and so far everything has been great.

But boy, finding a road bike has been an entirely different deal. It seems like the only ones you see on Portland's CL are either way, way overpriced junk, or completely out of my price range. I really dont want to spend more than a $100 or so, which I know isnt much, but since I've had a lot of success with mtbs and can do my own work, I thought I'd be very successful.
In fact I had originally hoped to find something made from Reynolds or Columbus tubing, but at this point would settle for something with just a decent chro-moly frame. All I seem to find though are tons of rusted boat anchor schwinns, or department store stuff. Anything even remotely nice like a higher end Schwinn, Peugeot, Nishiki, or Trek is usually beat to sh*t, and astronomically priced. It seems that since road bikes are rarer these days than mtbs people seem to think they're worth much more than they really are. It's a strange phenomenon.

I guess this thread is really just a frustration rant. I just wonder if other riders have had this issue?
Glad everything is great so far, except for your road bike hunt. What are you smoking that you think you can score a Reynolds or Columbus frame complete bike in Portland for $100? I thought it was Colorado that had the persistent chronic aroma of a certain weed?

If you're search terms include Reynolds or Columbus, fuggedabout it. Those sellers know as much as you do. You could buy a few cheap bike projects in need of cleaning and refurbishment, sell them with a target profit of $100 and up your budget for the road bike of your choice. I scanned and saw a Schwinn PDG Series 50 mtb, a Mercier road bike @ $100, Trek Multitrack 720 @ $100, a Gary Fisher Hoo Koo @ $100 and plenty of nice mixtes; all bikes you can double your money on.

https://portland.craigslist.org/mlt/bik/5101918697.html
Easily worth 3x all fixed up.

Despite Portland's reputation as a hot bike market, it appears that the stock of project bikes is plentiful at attractive prices, better than SE Michigan by far. Bike enthusiasts willing to put their wrenching skills to work can build up a collection or cash hoard in a hurry. Satisfy the craft beer drinking hipsters that want instant vintage gratification and are willing to pay for it, lest they get greasy fingernails.

Good luck!

Last edited by oddjob2; 07-05-15 at 09:04 AM.
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Old 07-05-15, 09:04 AM
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I picked up a 531 Raleigh Competition at Community Cycling Center last December for $80. I agree that it has gotten harder because in Portland, people get what those bikes are worth and there are thousands out there riding them.

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Old 07-05-15, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by oddjob2 View Post
Glad everything is great so far, except for your road bike hunt. What are you smoking that you think you can score a Reynolds or Columbus frame complete bike in Portland for $100? I thought it was Colorado that had the persistent chronic aroma of a certain weed?!
Oregon's 5 days into the over the counter aroma transactions.

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Old 07-05-15, 09:15 AM
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I've had success restoring ordinary bikes & trading them for better ones. I restored a Univega Safari 10 recently & traded it for an unrestored Centurion Lemans with beautiful Araya wheels & Tange frame. Had about $150 tied up in the Univega. Centurion worth about $350.
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Old 07-05-15, 09:25 AM
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It is pretty easy to find vintage road bicycles at very low prices, but you must get up, get away from the click and hunt process that accesses Craigslist, or similar buy/sell on-line vehicles.

I find vintage bicycle anytime that I want to. I am all but certain that, if I wanted to find one, or two today, I would do so. With that in mind, have a look at Finding Vintage Bicycles. Apply what you learn there, and be prepared to be surprised. Also...

Know what a good quality vintage bicycle is. Have a look at Vintage Bicycle Quality and you will be a bit better prepared to find a good bicycle and at a decent price. And, when out hunting, make sure you have cash in your pocket. You might get only one chance at a bike, and that chance might not last very long, once the owner is made aware of the old bicycle again.

Best of luck and your target of $100.00 is, perhaps, unrealistic, in my opinion. Unless, you do the work and get lucky.
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Old 07-05-15, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
I agree that it has gotten harder because in Portland, people get what those bikes are worth and there are thousands out there riding them. Ben
Same with the "lower end" vintage bikes.Better quality then what you can get for a moderatly priced new.

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Old 07-05-15, 09:48 AM
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I sent the OP a pm. I have a 1990 Peugeot Limestone "hybrid" (road frame with 700c wheels, but mountain bars/shifters) that I would sell. It's pristine and has been overhauled.
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Old 07-05-15, 10:05 AM
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Nishiki Semi Pro Road Bike *Vintage*
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Old 07-05-15, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Velocivixen View Post
I sent the OP a pm. I have a 1990 Peugeot Limestone "hybrid" (road frame with 700c wheels, but mountain bars/shifters) that I would sell. It's pristine and has been overhauled.
OP's under the magic number of posts for PM, methinks
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Old 07-05-15, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by exmechanic89 View Post
So I got back into riding recently after a 25 year hiatus, and so far everything has been great. I've been able to buy (to me) very nice mid to higher end mtbs for pennies on the dollar on CL, as many of you have.
What size frame?
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