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I need help already...

Old 07-17-17, 08:26 PM
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I need help already...

Yes, this is only my second post (after a wonderful obligatory intro), but I've been lurking around here for a couple of months now...

So I seem to have gotten the bug, and gotten it bad. It all started when a bike seemed like a good solution to a once weekly transportation need, and I started looking for something cheap and crappy that I could abuse and not care about. That lasted all of a few hours until I started noticing local CL ads for beautiful steel road bikes, like the kind I grew up seeing around me and in the movies (I was an '80's BMX kid, in terms of what I actually rode).

Two days later, a local guy (with a ton of character) made me jump through all sorts of hoops for to buy his nice, rideable 1981 Lotus Unique for $70, and it's been all downhill from there.

The bike is great, and I love both riding it and working on it, so I can't understand why I can't stop scouring Craigslist and Ebay for more bikes? I don't need another bike, so why am I so interesting in buying another one (or two... see below). And why can't I stop watching Breaking Away every other night?

OK, all that crap aside, this is my request for advice: right now I'm watching a local ad for a $250 '86 Lotus Legend in nice, original condition, and a $385 Basso Paris in nice shape, but with a mishmash of low-mid level Japanese components on it. Those are asking prices, BTW. I want to buy them both. And I want to buy them really bad. How do I stop myself?

Yes, they are both my size (or very close). The Lotus is really, really pretty, and I love the whole Lotus story (or lack thereof, but whatever). And the Basso is, of course, l'italiana that the Dave inside of me is demanding that I get.

Am I crazy? It's a decent amount of money, but nothing too insane, especially considering my rent is three times what it would cost to buy them both, and I blow similar amount on the little bull**** that life seems to demand on a regular basis (groceries, phone bill, buying some broad dinner...)

What should I do**********
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Old 07-17-17, 08:39 PM
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Patience, young padawan. We can't buy all the vintage bikes in CL... but you can try
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Old 07-17-17, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by mountaindave
Patience, young padawan. We can't buy all the vintage bikes in CL... but you can try
Well, sloar can.

My best advice for when I get those impulses is to go and ride more. Unfortunately (or is it fortunately?), I haven't been riding enough lately.

Well, actually, another technique that has worked is to try to look at pictures of a lot of different makes and models of vintage bikes, and to learn some about them. This helped me to go shopping with a more specific goal in mind. Being selective can make the hunt more of an adventure that consumes more time, and fewer dollars.

Welcome to C&V. You sound like one of us already.
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Old 07-17-17, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by robertorolfo
...... this is my request for advice: right now I'm watching a local ad for a $250 '86 Lotus Legend..... and a $385 Basso Paris ...... I want to buy them both. And I want to buy them really bad. How do I stop myself?......

.....Am I crazy? It's a decent amount of money, but nothing too insane, especially considering my rent is three times what it would cost to buy them both, and I blow similar amount on the little bull**** that life seems to demand on a regular basis (groceries, phone bill, buying some broad dinner...)

What should I do**********
Working backwards: Marry some broad (your term).... she should either cook or have a job that allows her to buy dinner. Use dinner money... to buy bicycles.

Once your married.... you'll find your collection of bicycles may be involuntarily limited to a size appropriate to the space you have available. This limitation alone may help you limit the size of your bicycle collection (search: N+1).

Are you crazy? I don't know. Would it really make any difference? Crazy people deserve to be happy too. Problem solved... you're welcome.

What I've found... is not only is a wife a real value in helping me limit my bicycle collection size. Knowledge for my single years was helpful in paying for the bicycles I do collect. It seems... for me... that once I have the vintage bike and get it back into beautiful form and ride it a few times I lose interest in that particular bike. Then... I see yet another prettier more desirable bike. And the pursuit begins again.

Since my wife helps me limit the size of my collection (we have agreed on how many bikes I have room for)... I will sell my restored and well enjoyed bike(s).

Now you see the beauty of this is I generally sell the restored bikes for more than what I have invested in them. Buying better and better quality bikes. The searches (which are enjoyable on their own) take longer. The collection remains static.. in number... but the quality of the collection grows.

Here is the Lotus I owned.
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Old 07-17-17, 09:46 PM
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Not sure if quality naturally increases, but I'm finding that my taste has narrowed and become more refined - I have a better idea of what fits me and what makes me happy on a bike. It takes many iterations to reach this point (for some). So buy away!
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Old 07-17-17, 09:49 PM
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.
...I don't know where you live, but here in NorCal the trick is to wait for the really swell ones to come up on CL in reasonably complete condition in your size. Almost without fail, every time I've bought something that was gonna need a lot of work, either on the paint or in finding appropriate components because the originals have gone south, something nicer and relatively pristine comes up within another month.


I stopped buying the tougher projects a few years ago. The rusty ones and the stripped frames were fun at the time, but that time is past for me. And I'm only now getting the last of them finished up. it's very easy to end up with a long line of projects in the garage that will take several years to finish, because they always take longer than you thought they would.
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Old 07-18-17, 03:45 AM
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Finding bikes is an addiction, in the truest sense of the word. The hunt is the gamble and the find is the fix. I have suffered from this affliction for many years. But don't worry...

Your wife, husband or significant other will help with that N+1 illness!-(

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Old 07-18-17, 05:08 AM
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Originally Posted by robertorolfo
Two days later, a local guy (with a ton of character) made me jump through all sorts of hoops for to buy his nice, rideable 1981 Lotus Unique for $70, and it's been all downhill from there.
I hate to break the bad news to you but sooner or later you have to ride uphill too. Better start looking for a wide-range FW and long-cage RD.
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Old 07-18-17, 06:20 AM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer
.
...I don't know where you live, but here in NorCal the trick is to wait for the really swell ones to come up on CL in reasonably complete condition in your size. Almost without fail, every time I've bought something that was gonna need a lot of work, either on the paint or in finding appropriate components because the originals have gone south, something nicer and relatively pristine comes up within another month.


I stopped buying the tougher projects a few years ago. The rusty ones and the stripped frames were fun at the time, but that time is past for me. And I'm only now getting the last of them finished up. it's very easy to end up with a long line of projects in the garage that will take several years to finish, because they always take longer than you thought they would.
^This is how I feel as well. I've become much pickier about my interests in bikes, and only buy stuff I'm really sure about. Getting too many projects going can really put a dark cloud over your life, lol. These days I focus primarily on upgrading my main ride and also riding a lot.

Of course never say never, if something truly fantastic came along I'd jump on it.
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Old 07-18-17, 07:07 AM
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Being older, I remember seeing all those really nice bikes sold for prices that were way out of my reach. Now, a lot of them are being sold for less than the cost of a nice dinner, and that makes them hard to resist. Add in that I have more disposable income and things could quickly get out of hand. I don't go looking for bikes on CL or the bay, but if I stumble upon something nice in my travels, I will check it out.
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Old 07-18-17, 07:30 AM
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1. Look for bikes that aren't your size so you are not so tempted to keep them.

2. Look for deals where it should be easy to make a little $$ to support your bike fund.

3. Repeat the cycle. Use proceeds to buy a bike or two to keep and some tools.

4. Pass on bikes that aren't screaming deals, unless it is a grail bike for you (I paid full value plus for a Chicago Paramount my size).

5. Narrow your focus so your parts stash and tools are interchangeable.


+10 Watch out for project creep. I have at least a one year backlog of bikes in my project queue right now, probably more. Realize if you only sell locally, you may not be able to do much more than breakeven on many bikes.
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Old 07-18-17, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by wrk101
(I paid full value plus for a Chicago Paramount my size).
I think this is important to note. Thrifty Bill knows that while you wait for the deals to come to you, sometimes you need to pay FMV+ for something you really want.

Part of all this is knowing what you want and knowing what you're looking at. Knowing that you're looking at a common, entry level bike- even if you like it, it's not worth chasing after with fists full of cash. Finding a rare bike in good shape is.
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Old 07-18-17, 08:41 AM
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With only 2 posts the addiction can't be too much of an affliction. By 1,000 posts you may really need help.
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Old 07-18-17, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer
.
...I don't know where you live, but here in NorCal the trick is to wait for the really swell ones to come up on CL in reasonably complete condition in your size. Almost without fail, every time I've bought something that was gonna need a lot of work, either on the paint or in finding appropriate components because the originals have gone south, something nicer and relatively pristine comes up within another month.


I stopped buying the tougher projects a few years ago. The rusty ones and the stripped frames were fun at the time, but that time is past for me. And I'm only now getting the last of them finished up. it's very easy to end up with a long line of projects in the garage that will take several years to finish, because they always take longer than you thought they would.
+ 1 finding complete bikes that have largely been garage queens is the way to go and/or cool parts. Buying frames will eat up money. I tend to pick up a bike or two a year that is not my size or that I don't want to harvest parts. I then typically sell the frame.

Restorations can be worth while but it should be a bike you really, really want.
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Old 07-18-17, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy
I think this is important to note. Thrifty Bill knows that while you wait for the deals to come to you, sometimes you need to pay FMV+ for something you really want.

Part of all this is knowing what you want and knowing what you're looking at. Knowing that you're looking at a common, entry level bike- even if you like it, it's not worth chasing after with fists full of cash. Finding a rare bike in good shape is.
I'll third this. I've generally stuck to buying bikes that are well under FMV, mostly due to not having tons of unallocated income floating around (three little kids seem to soak up any excess!). When a cherry 1976 Centurion Pro Tour in my size came up locally, I jumped at it, and paid FMV+ for it. Sure I might have saved $100 bucks if it languished for a month or two, but I probably would have lost out to someone else. Sometimes you just have to grit your teeth, and put your money down.
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Old 07-18-17, 10:44 AM
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Collecting bikes is much cheaper than collecting hot rod cars & motorcycles. And, it takes up much less space. My advice is this: buy bikes that compliment one another. ie: Once you pick up around a dozen early 70's French bikes you've got a built in spare parts collection that can help keep 1/2 of them going. Be good. Have fun.
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Old 07-18-17, 10:57 AM
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Thanks for all the replies and advice, guys. You seem like a good bunch.

Just a little more personal background: like quite a few of you, I've also spent a fair amount of time on motorcycles. The only reason why I've (temporarily?) kicked the habit is because I live in what I deem to be the most unfriendly bike (motorized or push) city in the world. Gotham.

Unlike Dave (unless we learn otherwise, should Breaking Away 2 ever come out), I was lucky enough to spend almost a decade living in Italy. This has left me with some long term negative consequences such as thinking all the roads here suck, all the drivers suck, all the food sucks, none of the girls here know how to dress... all on top of lust for anything on two wheels. So, with that in mind...

Originally Posted by USAZorro
Well, actually, another technique that has worked is to try to look at pictures of a lot of different makes and models of vintage bikes, and to learn some about them. This helped me to go shopping with a more specific goal in mind. Being selective can make the hunt more of an adventure that consumes more time, and fewer dollars.
Knowing a bit about motorcycles and a few other esoteric pursuits, I know enough to know that I really know nothing. It's actually bewildering to see how vast the universe of vintages bikes could be. I'm starting to get some ideas, though

Originally Posted by Dave Cutter
What I've found... is not only is a wife a real value in helping me limit my bicycle collection size. Knowledge for my single years was helpful in paying for the bicycles I do collect. It seems... for me... that once I have the vintage bike and get it back into beautiful form and ride it a few times I lose interest in that particular bike. Then... I see yet another prettier more desirable bike. And the pursuit begins again.
This sounds like a fairly reasonable approach, especially since I enjoy wrenching as much as I do riding, but unfortunately I have a problem letting go. I get attached to pretty much every bike that own, and then I have a hard time selling them. But I guess if I've already got something "better" in the works, that could help.

As for finding a lady to help me set limits, unfortunately I tend to go more for the enablers than the boundary setters.

Originally Posted by mountaindave
Not sure if quality naturally increases, but I'm finding that my taste has narrowed and become more refined - I have a better idea of what fits me and what makes me happy on a bike. It takes many iterations to reach this point (for some). So buy away!
This is the kind of thinking that I'm somewhat worried about, and that has me close to pulling the trigger on both these bikes. I figure I will ride them both a bit and then discard one or both when I start to have a better idea. Deep down, though, I'm afraid I'll want to keep them both.


Originally Posted by wrk101
2. Look for deals where it should be easy to make a little $$ to support your bike fund.
3. Repeat the cycle. Use proceeds to buy a bike or two to keep and some tools.
4. Pass on bikes that aren't screaming deals, unless it is a grail bike for you (I paid full value plus for a Chicago Paramount my size).
Here's the thing, and I don't want to sound like a jerk, but everything seems pretty affordable right now. And no, I am by no means a wealthy person, or anything even close to that, it's just that my frame of reference (thinking motorcycles) is skewing everything right now. I'm haggling with a guy to try and save $25 on a bike that costs $200, when some small motorcycle parts (or a set of tires) might cost twice that much. It's giving me this feeling that, 'the price is so low, how can I say no?'

Along those same lines, and again not to offend anyone, but most of the mechanical work involved seems relatively straightforward and doable. No messy and/or toxic fluids to deal with, and relatively few components involved. I did a lot of work on my motorcycles, so everything on a bike seems so accessible and uncomplicated. I am already seeing, however, all of the little differences in fitment and the need for specific/specialty tools has the potential to get really annoying.

Originally Posted by the Golden boy
Part of all this is knowing what you want and knowing what you're looking at. Knowing that you're looking at a common, entry level bike- even if you like it, it's not worth chasing after with fists full of cash. Finding a rare bike in good shape is.
So just a few weeks ago I was over visiting my sorta-GF, staying at her family's country house in some small town in the bel paese. One of the local merchants has a really nice looking (to me, anyway) Tomi 'Competizione' sitting outside his place very day. So eventually he sees me checking it out and tells me that Tomi is a little known brand built locally (the Vitterbo area), that made some nice bikes. I have no idea if this is true or not, but google does bring up a bike shop with that name, in that area.

Anyway, this seems like a good target for now. It's rare and it would be special to me, but I'm worried I may never find a complete one (there is one on Ebay right now, but it's a frame only, and I can't post links yet). And yes, I'm regularly scouring Italian classified ads/websites as well, which is an entirely different can of worms, because it seems like there are some amazing buys to be had in Italy...
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Old 07-18-17, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by ramzilla
Collecting bikes is much cheaper than collecting hot rod cars & motorcycles. And, it takes up much less space. My advice is this: buy bikes that compliment one another. ie: Once you pick up around a dozen early 70's French bikes you've got a built in spare parts collection that can help keep 1/2 of them going. Be good. Have fun.
Yes! I touched on that point in my previous post. Everything seems relatively inexpensive compared to motorcycles, but now I'm convinced that if I pay more than $250 or $300 for a bike that I only 'kinda' like, it's too much! Bike fever has me all discombobulated.
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Old 07-18-17, 11:29 AM
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I know what you're going through. I'm less new than you at this, have 3 nice vintage bikes, and still look regularly. I'm fortunate in two ways. One, my first vintage bike was a faded but beautiful Tommasini. Having a high-quality Italian bike with a ride I love makes it easier for me to shrug off potential lesser bikes that I'd otherwise probably pursue. I went on to get two very good bikes at bargain prices (Univega and Panasonic) that are each at the level immediately below the full professional models from those brands. So any N+1 for me needs to be something special.

The other thing that helps my obsession is that I live in a state with scant vintage bicycling culture. The local CL for New Orleans and Shreveport are beyond pathetic (the Univega and Panasonic were opportunistically bought on trips to other cities, the Tommasini was a staggering fluke).

My suggestion is find something pretty special, something that you need to wrench on a bit to really make it feel like your baby, something that has looks that kind of take your breath away when you admire it hanging on the rack in your living room, something that feels like it was made for you when you're on the road. It won't stop the fever, but it will help you avoid spending a lot of energy on cool lower-level bikes that will soon clog up your apartment.

And yeah, Italian eBay has a LOT of very sexy bikes. I hesitate to mention that there's a poster here who's established a relationship with at least one Italian seller, and has been happily buying from across the pond.
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Old 07-18-17, 11:37 AM
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You will probably find some very obscure (to Americans) makers in Italy. They may well make very nice bikes, but resale in the US could be problematic if nobody here knows them. Still, you could also run into some jems. Try before you buy and see if they work for you.

Be careful with your perspective on prices. You can easily nickel and dime your money away. Don't ask me how I know...

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Old 07-18-17, 12:29 PM
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Asking this forum about bike addiction is like going to an opium den asking for advice on how to kick the habit.
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Old 07-18-17, 12:56 PM
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You guys have a serious problem. Me? I can quit anytime I want!

Originally Posted by randyjawa
Heeeeeeyyy... what's he gonna do with that Schwinn about a third of the way back on the top?
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Old 07-18-17, 01:43 PM
  #23  
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when you find yourself in a hole, the first rule is to stop digging....

Says the guy whose apartment looks like and episode of Vintage bike hoarders.
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Old 07-18-17, 01:46 PM
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The problem is stated as thus:

lim(n->infinity) n+1 = ?

where n is the number of bikes you current have. n+1 is often referred to the number of bikes you need.

There is no bounding statement.

You need to solve the following:

n+1 < s-1

Where s represents your significant other.

If s = 0, n+1 is undefined.

Don't try to solve this algebraiclly. Logic has little to do with it.
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Old 07-18-17, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Kevindale
And yeah, Italian eBay has a LOT of very sexy bikes. I hesitate to mention that there's a poster here who's established a relationship with at least one Italian seller, and has been happily buying from across the pond.
Thanks for the advice.

Talking about going international, part of my job is importing stuff from abroad, so I'm half tempted to spend a week or two in Italy filling a container to the brim with good stuff, and then setting up eBay shop once home.
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