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Where are you looking for your next barn find?

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Where are you looking for your next barn find?

Old 12-07-20, 04:36 PM
  #1  
rajbcpa
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Where are you looking for your next barn find?

...retired now. ....used to ride bikes in NYC during '70/80s.... ...just returning to biking now in the east hills of Tenn.

A bike collector told me never to use EBay or buy foreign bikes on Ebay or non-EBay cites. ...(Too many scammers, false truth tellers, shipping issues, etc.)

She uses freinds who know she is collecting bikes. But her most frequent buys are from local and no-so-local bike shops, however.

If you are a collector or know someone who is, how do they find the goods?

Thanks, Rob Bartsch
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Old 12-07-20, 06:47 PM
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When I was trying to find vintage bicycles, I used several methods to find them. These days, believe it or not, they find me.

Method 1: Word of Mouth - mention your interest to all of your friends, your parents friend and/or anyone else that you know. This can be used when meeting new people also. Works great and this one came my way through that process...


Method 2: Flyers - make up a flyer, deliver it to a couple of hundred homes and wait for the call or calls to come in. Many bikes have come to me through this procedure...




Method 3: Get em from the dump - hundreds and even a thousand or more have come my way through this vehicle...


Method 4: Yard sales - check em all out and if no bike is on display, ask if they might have an old ten speed, the kind with skinny tires and curled down hanlebars - this is sooooo much fun..!


Method 5: Ebay, Craigslist, Kijiji - use to observe listings of even make your own "bicycle wanted" listing...


Method 6: Go to a big parking lot (food store for example). Place the flyer under the windshield wiper and wait for the calls (never did this myself but a fellow BF member suggested the idea to me, saying that it worked just great - no pics).

Method 7: Look here a Bike Forums (again, no pictures as I cannot remember buying a bike through BF but I have come close).

Method 8: Ride up and down back lanes, keeping your eye open for bikes leaning against fences, garages or what ever. Trust me, they are there...


I am sure that there are other methods but they have slipped my mind. Trust me when I say - get off of the computer, get into the field and start snapping up some great deals. And when you see this pulling into your place, you know that you are doing it right...
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Old 12-07-20, 06:55 PM
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Old 12-07-20, 07:15 PM
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Want!
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Old 12-07-20, 07:24 PM
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That blue "as found" Torpado Luxe was found at a yard sale by asking the seller if she had an old ten speed for sale. She said yes, produced the blue Torpado and insisted on $20.00 CND. Today, though I have no idea where it is now, it looks like this...
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Old 12-07-20, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by rajbcpa View Post
A bike collector told me never to use EBay or buy foreign bikes on Ebay or non-EBay cites... Too many scammers, false truth tellers, shipping issues, etc.
The first vintage road bike I purchased as an adult was an ebay sale. I still have it. I bought a frameset on ebay a few years ago, built it up, and still have it, too. Like about 85 percent of my projects, they're both "foreign." Purchased around fifty other bikes via craigslist.
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Old 12-07-20, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by rajbcpa View Post
...retired now. ....used to ride bikes in NYC during '70/80s.... ...just returning to biking now in the east hills of Tenn.

A bike collector told me never to use EBay or buy foreign bikes on Ebay or non-EBay cites. ...(Too many scammers, false truth tellers, shipping issues, etc.)

She uses freinds who know she is collecting bikes. But her most frequent buys are from local and no-so-local bike shops, however.

If you are a collector or know someone who is, how do they find the goods?

Thanks, Rob Bartsch
Hate to tell you but efbay is the deepest well for a lot of this, CL is better in some respects but can also be very sketchy.

You have to develop a really good feel for it and hope that luck is with you, temper your expectations correctly and jump in.

The for sale section here can be very good when your deal presents itself.

Many here will facilitate or help with bikes not in your locale.

I have done many bikes and frames all the above ways and most of them went ok, couple hiccups that were insured so it all worked out.

Insurance on shipping is cheap and well worth it even if it won't replace rare unobtanium it can fix plenty if you have it.
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Old 12-07-20, 09:18 PM
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I've bought more than a dozen bikes on eBay and have sold nearly as many, as well as hundreds of different components for all sorts of builds. I've only had a couple of unpleasant experiences and if I'm going to buy any rare or expensive items (especially whole bicycles) I always reach out to the sellers first and get to know them a bit if the opportunity arises.

I'm very particular about the style, sizing, and quality of the bicycles I purchase to restore and ride, and would never find such things by just wandering around the mostly rural region where I live. If I were in a large urban area the story might be different, and I see a lot of bikes that intrigue me posted on Craigslist in the SF Bay Area or down in LA, but usually not at the right time or when I find it worth the trouble.

-Gregory
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Old 12-07-20, 09:36 PM
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Talk to the scrape-metal guys who roam neighbourhoods looking for metal, they will have some bikes to sell you

Or you can go straight to the source, your local scrapyard

I did this and asked the guy at the front to put aside bikes for me and I paid him $10 or $20 for each bike

After just a couple of visits, I had to ask him to only put aside bikes that were in relatively good shape because there were too many showing up at the yard

I lost count of how many bikes I bought and fixed up and sold on Craigslist, it was well over a hundred

Old mixtes and 3 speed step thrus were my bread and butter
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Old 12-07-20, 10:20 PM
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My opinion only. the single most important thing to keep in mind when buying any vintage road bike is... Know your frame size, seat tube height and top tube length. Bring a tape measure with you and verify the numbers. Any frame that doesn't fit well will not let the magic happen and will not get ridden, don't guess.
There are bikes out there with long top tubes that I can't make work for me, I have bought this lesson a few times and had to sell them on because the bike didn't "feel" right no matter how I adjusted the fit,, the difference between fit and not a fit is is less than 1/2" (13mm) in top tube length for me. For reference my bikes that are keepers are 21" X 21" (53.3cm X 53.3cm), I'm 63 and 5' 9" tall.

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Old 12-07-20, 10:49 PM
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I’d buy more old barns but my yard is getting crowded.
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Old 12-07-20, 11:28 PM
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Be patient and not overly eager. You'll end up with bikes you wish you had not bought otherwise. Bikeforums, craigslist, nextdoor, offerup, facebook mp,....make a habit of looking through these and eventually you'll see something that catches your eye. And don't get carried away. You can end up with way too many bikes really easily, meaning you don't have time to ride or work on them. If you've really got the itch, search the web sites outside of your normal area. Enjoy a little road trip out into the country to go get a cool bike! And do your homework with the googlating machine. You'll see a 50.00 Peugeot U-08 all the time being sold as a 500.00 PX10, or an Allez made in Taiwan that looks little different than one made by a Japanese master. Have fun!
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Old 12-08-20, 02:01 AM
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It helps to be in the 'fat' area of the frame size bell curve, I will say.

I hope my next barn find--or shed find--is in the Netherlands. I'll need some help, but will work to make it worth the hassle.
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Old 12-08-20, 02:40 AM
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Most all of my best finds were local, not online at all. A few were at local auctions, a couple were estate sales, and a few were at flea markets. Lately however that's all changed. The flea markets have been dead for four or five years, yard sales here have had nothing but old clothes and old glass, and nearly all the auctions have closed down.
The last big find was a vintage Carlton and a pair of Raleigh Internationals at a consignment sale. I got laughed at for paying $10 for the Carlton and $50 for the one International because it was missing its tires and the brooks saddle looked like a rag.
I've bought a lot of bikes as part of big lots, 10 or more, the junk always sells leaving me with a few keepers.
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Old 12-08-20, 04:12 AM
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On Craigslist, don't just look in the bike listings. I found my tandem in the garage sale list, in the background of one of the pictures, while looking for something else. There was no mention of the bike anywhere in the ad, so a search engine would have never found it.

Facebook Marketplace is another option.
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Old 12-08-20, 06:03 AM
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Originally Posted by AngryFrankie View Post
Be patient and not overly eager. You'll end up with bikes you wish you had not bought otherwise.
Truer words were never spoken. BTDT and if you're tall like me they can be damn hard to get rid of.
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Old 12-08-20, 06:21 AM
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I spend almost as much time getting rid of bikes as I do actually working on them. Being a frugal old Yankee, I can't seem to let anything go that has even a shred of intrinsic value, hence I tend to become inundated with bikes and parts of all kinds. The old adage of garbage-in, garbage out is taken quite seriously here, and I cull my "herd" on a weekly basis. I am constantly struggling with it.

Just yesterday I had a conversation with my wife about it, and I've decided to up my game a little - seeking out and retaining only bikes that really flip my switch, and letting go all of the others.
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Old 12-08-20, 08:00 AM
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Probably 50% of my bikes come from facebook marketplace, 40% from craigslist and 10% from ebay. Occasionally I will get one by word of mouth or a garage sale.
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Old 12-08-20, 08:30 AM
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Two, my first (no longer with us) Capo Modell Campagnolo and the Bianchi, were given to me by friends.
My current Capo Modell Campagnolo was a $20 yard sale find, but the professional paint job cost a bit more than that ... .

The first Capo Sieger was found through a contact made on BF.
The second Capo Sieger was on eBay.

The Schwinn was found through an ad in a local paper.
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Old 12-08-20, 08:55 AM
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Every once in a while I can find something at the local nonprofit. I was able to pick up another Benotto at "The Warehouse" last weekend.

The other Benotto was sold of to guy on Craigslist last month. He restored, and did an excellent job.


I'm going to give him a buzz and ask what his paint was.

Last edited by Mr. 66; 12-08-20 at 09:06 AM.
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Old 12-08-20, 11:20 AM
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The "secret" is clearly out, since I am always competing with speedy watchers, but I have found a couple of good ones on NextDoor. It's pretty active here in the SF Bay Area, and I found my freebie Campania and my $50 Univega MTB there, as well as a bunch of worthwhile components and tools. Things are slow now, but I watch like a hawk in the spring. I missed a couple of deals and let some others go this past spring -- good stuff to be had, and a little bit of the trust barrier is eased because of the verification process to see what you see on ND.
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Old 12-08-20, 12:55 PM
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I have much less experience than most of the voices here, having had only a total of 9 transactions combined between eBay and Craigslist. My comment would be that eBay is not a place to "shop", it's better if you know what you are looking for because sellers do misrepresent stuff either intentionally or accidentally. If using local Craigslist there is the security of being able to see and/or ride a bike before money changes hands and the shipping cost variable is eliminated. That said, all of my experiences have gone well - the best prices were local Craigslist and I haven't been ripped off by anyone on eBay. My Super Course MkII, a bike I am really happy to have, was listed on eBay but it turned out the seller was less than 20 miles away and we were able to complete the transaction in-person.

If one has time to be patient, good opportunities will likely come along by chance as other posters have described. If you want to get something right away then eBay is there, although you will be compelled to pay closer to market price.
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Old 12-08-20, 01:22 PM
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My one and only barn find was at an actual barn. It was a Park PCS-1 workstand for $3.00.
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Old 12-08-20, 03:08 PM
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I prefer swap meets.

Scambio 017 by iabisdb, on Flickr


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Old 12-08-20, 03:20 PM
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To some extent it depends on what kind of bike you're looking for. Do you want something in particular, anything interesting, or just something to ride?

I like to buy frames, and especially frames in rough condition that can be rehabbed. That's more work and more expensive, but it simplifies shipping and lets me pick the components I want. Once in a while I'll buy a complete bike, but usually only if I can pick it up in person somewhere.

Looking over the vintage bikes currently in my stable, they've come from a number of sources: seven from my local Craigslist, three from BikeForums sales, two from eBay, two bought from BF member @gugie but seen and purchased at his workshop, two from e-mail referrals by people who know my size and taste in bikes, two from Facebook listings, and one as a gift from a friend who thought I needed a nice frame with a very stuck seatpost.

My experience with big online sites is that you have to be very patient to find bikes at a good price and the sellers are not always reliable in knowing how to measure frame size. With CL, you can see it in person and do your own assessment. Depending on where you live, CL may involve long waits to find anything special and when you do you have to be ready to jump on it. I really like buying on Bike Forums because almost without exception the asking prices are reasonable or better and the sellers are knowledgeable.

A few examples:

A Bianchi from eBay. This was a overpriced and not in great condition (though I knew that from the pictures in the sale ad). I wanted a Bianchi, and you can almost always find a Bianchi on eBay. Other sources would have required more patience.




A Gios from Bike Forums. This was very reasonably priced, size and condition were exactly as advertised, and it was perfectly packed for shipment.




A DeRosa from Craigslist. This was a once-in-a-lifetime deal. I had to take a day off from work and drive five hours (each way) to get it (along with two other bikes and a car load of parts and tools). Before it came up on CL, I had decided DeRosas were out of my price range. The seller was in a remote corner of Oregon and wanted cash only and local pickup only. I got the purchase because I was willing and able to show up earlier than the other interested buyers.




A Raleigh Competition from Craigslist, pictured as purchased. This is more typical of what I find this way. The price was good. It's a nice bike, but in fairly rough condition. It's also not as sought after as something like the DeRosa.

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