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Where are the best places to find vintage road bikes?

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Where are the best places to find vintage road bikes?

Old 09-21-15, 09:50 PM
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thrasher9905
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Where are the best places to find vintage road bikes?

I keep a close watch on Craigslist for oldies, but where else can I look? My local dump gets bikes all of the time but nobody can buy them.. Are thrift stores any good?
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Old 09-21-15, 09:56 PM
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Thrift stores, garage sales, and estate sales are all worth a shot. But, all of those options are very hit or miss (usually more misses from my experience so far). I think patience is the biggest requirement.
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Old 09-21-15, 11:45 PM
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Have you tried setting up outside the entrance to the local dump with a big sign saying "CASH For Bikes"?

It's my experience/opinion that the people who operate the local dumps have the no picking up bikes rule so they can horde the bikes for themselves to pick up to resell after the dump closes for the day.
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Old 09-22-15, 02:37 AM
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kinda blows my mind that someone would take a decent road bike (a mid-level one worth an overhaul) to the dump.

in what kind of town is this done?

lazyville?

if i'm going to spend the time required to overhaul/refurbish a bike, it should be worthy of the tens of hours i'll spend working on it.

a free bike ain't free.

after you do this a while, you realize that if it isn't at least mid-level, it just ain't worth it.

it gets really fun when it's upper-mid. exciting even.
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Old 09-22-15, 02:44 AM
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I have found hundreds using these How To Find Vintage Bicycles procedures, this old Falcon being the most recent bicycle acquired using those procedures...

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Old 09-22-15, 03:26 AM
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My local county dump has a little side-section area with a wooden canopy that says "Too Good To Throw Away"... Lord only knows what you'll find in there. TV's, sofas, bicycles, dressers, pots 'n pans, ...the list is endless.

If someone wheels over a bicycle, it's usually gone that day, if not within an hour or two...

But for good quality C&V bicycles, I think the best route is to watch Craigslist and act on something immediately. Ebay is usually hit or miss, and the prices are always jacked way too high anyway.
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Old 09-22-15, 03:28 AM
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Some places have swap meets for bicycles. Regular swap meets are very hit or miss.
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Old 09-22-15, 06:06 AM
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Best thing to do is look for any local group (online often) that is into old classic bikes, co-op, etc. Once you meet one or two "hoarders" you can start to work with them to build some longer term connections, then just a matter of time before you will have access to more projects than you want. From there it becomes experience on what is worth at buy in relative to outlays, overhaul, resale, collectible, etc.
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Old 09-22-15, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by eschlwc View Post
if i'm going to spend the time required to overhaul/refurbish a bike, it should be worthy of the tens of hours i'll spend working on it.

a free bike ain't free.

after you do this a while, you realize that if it isn't at least mid-level, it just ain't worth it.

it gets really fun when it's upper-mid. exciting even.
You must value your time at a significantly higher price than I value my time. I enjoy working on most anything that I can get back into working order and sell easily. The sell easily part means good cosmetic condition and a price that will recoup my costs while still moving it out of my garage relatively quickly and with little effort.
I do it as a hobby though. Cathartic at times. It keeps me busy and helps offset all my personal/family bike related purchases. No point in trying to get rich though. I value money and have been called a miser when it comes to certain aspects of consumerism, but at the same time I don't find it worth trying to eek out every last dollar from a buyer. Why hold a bike for 8 weeks if it can sell in 10 days for $20 less as long as your costs are covered?

But again, how I value my time must be less than how you value yours as I am more than happy to refurbish and sell an entry level late 80s road bike.
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Old 09-22-15, 07:28 AM
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Keep your eyes open, put the word out and follow up on every lead! I get lots of usable bikes for free - if the bike itself isn't worth putting effort into, there are usually parts that can be removed, cleaned up and re-used on other bikes. The March 1983 red Triumph above isn't the top of the range BUT - look at its condition!

I was out on my evening delivery rounds and caught a glimpse of a 27" wheel sticking out from behind a pile of rotting timber left on the side walk with a very rusty girl's MTB on top. No time to investigate with four drops on board but I noted the address and returned later in the evening. Looking closely with my torch I could see the rest of the Triumph was also there, absolutely filthy. I knocked on the door and asked the house holder if it would be OK for me to take the bikes? He'd demolished an old shed and was awaiting removal of the 'rubbish', so happy to agree. I took both bikes home and put the wheel in the Triumph and washed it. That's when I took the photos. An hour or so later all bearings & cables stripped and lubed and it's nearly like new. The MTB also came up well with wheels, chain etc from another bike.

The alloy 2009 Raleigh 100 below was delivered in bits by a friend who is a postman. He spotted an industrial unit being cleared out with bike parts being put into a skip. The workers were happy for him to load his car as it meant more room in the skip. I put it together with a new BB and tried it - fits me perfectly. Now upgraded at low cost with carbon forks, handlebars, stem & seat post, alloy Ofmega chain set and105 gears its a great ride. Actual cost to me? Less than £60 in total. I had some parts in stock and bought the rest cheaply off ebay. The thing is, whatever Chris brings me is gratefully received even if it appears to be scrap. He also knows I'll cover an evening shift for him any time he asks!

Finding and saving these bikes at next to no cost is immensely satisfying and enables me to continue my hobby on a very low income. It does demand patience, just waiting for the right parts to turn up free or cheap instead of going out and buying them when needed. That's where the salvaged bits from the other bikes is useful.



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Old 09-22-15, 07:29 AM
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Most of the bikes on my local CL are overpriced and being sold by dreamers who spend too much time watching American pickers.

There are some decent to good deals on CL though if you are patient. I picked up 3 very solid deals this year but missed out on a few good ones as well. I figure @mstateglfr swooped in to get those deals.

I enjoy riding, I enjoy wrenching, and I like knowing that I can sell my bikes at an OK price if I decide I no longer want them.
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Old 09-22-15, 07:31 AM
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They are everywhere.
What you learn by looking for them will help.
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Old 09-22-15, 07:47 AM
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My Takara Deluxe Touring was $3 at a swap meet. My Trek 730 was $20 in an antique/resale shop, the guy said he'd just put it in the booth that same morning so I really lucked out that day. My Kenko and Schwinn Traveler were both sitting outside of antique shops I pick for cast iron regularly. Yesterday I brought home a Roadmaster Scorcher that was left on the curb for the bi-annual city-wide clean-up, there are those that think I should've left it there, but it seems to just need a good cleaning and tune-up, and some new cotters as the cranks are misaligned. I aired the tires up and rode it around the block a few times, seemed worth rescuing to me.

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Old 09-22-15, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
I figure @mstateglfr swooped in to get those deals.
Ha, those deals didn't come my way- my garage is looking pretty barren. I did pick up a tiny '90 Schwinn Crisscross this past weekend for $20, but its been really slim pickin for bikes to fix up.

Speaking of bikes to fix up- I hung up the vintage Diamond Back Ascent I was working on for now. Was hoping to turn it into a 26" gravel drop, but I cant figure out how to keep the crankset from hitting the chainstays. Different bb spindle failed, different cranks failed, using spacers failed. That frame will just continue to hang in my garage and silently mock me every time I see it.
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Old 09-22-15, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Ha, those deals didn't come my way- my garage is looking pretty barren. I did pick up a tiny '90 Schwinn Crisscross this past weekend for $20, but its been really slim pickin for bikes to fix up.

Speaking of bikes to fix up- I hung up the vintage Diamond Back Ascent I was working on for now. Was hoping to turn it into a 26" gravel drop, but I cant figure out how to keep the crankset from hitting the chainstays. Different bb spindle failed, different cranks failed, using spacers failed. That frame will just continue to hang in my garage and silently mock me every time I see it.
Is the bottom bracket a 73 or a 68?

I picked up 3 decent deals this year. My best score was a 1984 Trek 400 in excellent condition (this was a garage queen) for $75. I picked up a 1992 Trek 950 in very good condition (the paint looks almost new) for $125; it is such a fun ride. I'm thinking of turning this into a gravel bike but I think I'd like to use velo orange crazy bars rather than drops.

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Old 09-22-15, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by thrasher9905 View Post
I keep a close watch on Craigslist for oldies, but where else can I look? My local dump gets bikes all of the time but nobody can buy them.. Are thrift stores any good?
Depending on where you live, the Goodwill auction site could be a possible place to snag a bike or two. The site seems to have a lot of bikes coming out of OR, IN, and CO. if you are near the Goodwill that is auctioning the bike, you can pick it up locally which saves a lot of $ and hassle.

I have found a good number of bikes(both to keep and to refurbish then sell) thru travel. When I am heading out of town for work and will drive- I start looking around at the destination city/area. When we visit the inlaws, I start looking in their area. Its total luck of the draw since there are obviously people in those destination towns also looking, but sometimes it seems that what I want just happens to not be what those in the area happen to want at that time.

Patience and frustration. Practice the former to keep from feeling the latter.
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Old 09-22-15, 08:31 AM
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73 shell and a 127mm offset spindle is whats on there now.
Those crazy bars look interesting- 3 legitimately different hand locations for sure could come in handy(no pun) at times.
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Old 09-22-15, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Speaking of bikes to fix up- I hung up the vintage Diamond Back Ascent I was working on for now. Was hoping to turn it into a 26" gravel drop, but I cant figure out how to keep the crankset from hitting the chainstays. Different bb spindle failed, different cranks failed, using spacers failed. That frame will just continue to hang in my garage and silently mock me every time I see it.
What crankset?

The Takagi Tourney XT is a super cool crankset- but apparently needs an outrageously long spindle- so if your crank is based on that one...
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Old 09-22-15, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by RidesaJapanese View Post
My Takara Deluxe Touring was $3 at a swap meet. My Trek 730 was $20 in an antique/resale shop, the guy said he'd just put it in the booth that same morning so I really lucked out that day. My Kenko and Schwinn Traveler were both sitting outside of antique shops I pick for cast iron regularly. Yesterday I brought home a Roadmaster Scorcher that was left on the curb for the bi-annual city-wide clean-up, there are those that think I should've left it there, but it seems to just need a good cleaning and tune-up, and some new cotters as the cranks are misaligned. I aired the tires up and rode it around the block a few times, seemed worth rescuing to me.

There are those that would argue that a box store BSO is as good as any other bike... It's just lower down the totem pole. The Roadmaster is a 20 year old box store BSO. You know it's crazy heavy- so the frame steel and most every component is going to be as entry level as it can get. Steel in parts that would normally be alloy, and poorer quality steel in parts that would have stronger, lighter (and more expensive) steel.

If it's worth it to you- it's worth it to you. Just don't expect others to rejoice in you "saving" a Roadmaster, Free Spirit or Huffy. Or a Target "Schwinn" for that matter.
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Old 09-22-15, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by eschlwc View Post
kinda blows my mind that someone would take a decent road bike (a mid-level one worth an overhaul) to the dump.

in what kind of town is this done?

lazyville?
My guess is people who take decent bikes to the dump don't know what they are, not that they're too lazy to do the maintenance or take it somewhere to have the work done... They just don't care about an old bike- and want it out of their area.
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Old 09-22-15, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
What crankset?
VeloBase.com - Component: Shimano FC-B124, Biopace Touring Triple

Shimano FC-B124 with 48-38-28 biopace rings(the crank came in a couple different ring setups)
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Old 09-22-15, 10:19 AM
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I 'specially like looking in 1947 around London
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Old 09-22-15, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
VeloBase.com - Component: Shimano FC-B124, Biopace Touring Triple

Shimano FC-B124 with 48-38-28 biopace rings(the crank came in a couple different ring setups)
I had a similar problem when fixing up my trek. I was running a similar crank (a deore LX) and it needs a 73 mm x 127 which are tough to find (Shimano doesn't make this length but you can find one via ebay like this,

Sunlite Bottom Bracket Set SL55 73x127 Sq Aly Cup Eng SEALED Brg | eBay or this,

Sunlite Bottom Bracket Set SL26 73x127 Sq STL Cup Eng SEALED Brg | eBay)

If you decide to pick one up, let me know as I may get one as well.

I ended up running a 73 x 122 mm BB and used a different crank (a FSA square taper with 50/39/28 chainrings); it's working fine. But your problem is that longer spindles for 73 mm BBs are getting harder to find.
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Old 09-22-15, 12:39 PM
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In my experience the best deals are way out in the suburbs. Vintage bikes sell for a premium in town. But way out there in the burbs people sell them for much less. People move to the Atlanta suburbs & quickly realize that it's impossible to ride out there. People drive like homicidal maniacs. First thing to go is the old bike. I'm there with cash.
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Old 09-22-15, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by thrasher9905 View Post
Are thrift stores any good?
Around here, thrift stores have been discovered and I rarely find bikes at one despite going to a handful of thrift stores almost every day. When I do find a decent bike, it is almost always NOT my size, has condition issues, is more likely a mtb than a road bike. Out of perhaps 500 thrift store visits in the last year, I found a total of four bikes. Three were mountain bikes. Two were so rough I parted them out. The one road bike was a modern, SORA equipped Schwinn.

99% of the bikes I see at thrift stores and garage sales are either kids bikes or crappy Walmart adult MTBs.

The key to thrift stores is looking for other stuff, not just bikes. I continue to find a lot of deals at thrift stores, just about every stop. Bu

Ten years ago, I routinely found great bikes at thrift stores at amazing (low prices).R

Garage sales tend to be the best deals right now. Even then, expect to go to a lot of garage sales before you find anything decent. So similar to thrift stores, its best to look for a lot more than bikes.

And when you do find bikes at garage sales or thrift stores, they WILL need a lot of work. You must have the time/tools/aptitude/pile of parts to refurbish the bikes yourself, or you will very likely be upside down on such "bargains".

Craigslist? You better be able to launch any time of day, be willing to drive a far distance, etc. Pickers are closely monitoring C/L too. You are not alone looking for deals.

To find a deal on a bike is tough enough, to find one in your size is infinitely tougher. I let the proceeds from bikes that DON'T allow me to pay full market value for bikes that do fit. People that pass on great deals that don't fit are missing out,

I bought a Fuji S12S, in really nice shape, from a scrap yard last year. The person that dropped that bike off got 3 cents a pound, or less than 90 cents for that bike......

Only bike I refurbished that took "tens of hours" was a Motobecane tandem. It had been left to rot, locked outside to a fence, for over 5 years. More typically I spend 4 to 6 hours refurbishing a bike. Still not a huge profit. But a good hobby.

One "trick" I use on C/L is to look while I am traveling. I bought a bike in Key Largo for example on my last trip to Key West.

As you broaden your approach in looking, finding deals will not be a problem. Storing them and moving them to a new home is the problem.

Last edited by wrk101; 09-22-15 at 07:09 PM.
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