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Where/How do you Acquire your "Cheap" Used Bikes?

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Where/How do you Acquire your "Cheap" Used Bikes?

Old 10-07-14, 07:24 PM
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armstrong101
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Where/How do you Acquire your "Cheap" Used Bikes?

Hi folks

I am a small-time collector. Just got 4 bikes, all this summer. I occasionally see posts by some folks referring to acquiring bikes on the cheap. In the "sell or hoard" recently started, oddjob2 refers to bikes he acquires for "under 70" that have "great" components.

I picked up my 4 bikes off Kijiji/Craigslist. One was bought at market value, two purchased at a good deal, and one was bought for a song. These bikes were found off just daily browsing of these classifieds. The bike bought for a song, I was the first person to see the ad and the first person to reply - I zip-lined it to the guy's house and the bike was in my possession less than an hour after it was first posted. Yet, I "still" paid $100 for it. For me, this is currently the only way to get super-cheap bikes. I'm even considering getting a smart phone with data just to be able to "update" listings on the fly (although I'm concerned I may get obsessive-compulsive about it).

What are the other means of acquiring bikes? Or is what I'm doing how you guys do it? Do some folks actively search out garage sales? Do any have a storefront and buy off of customers? Or buy through word of mouth in cycling clubs? Or what is it? It seems that often, prices I consider reasonable for the secondary market, are way higher than what many of you would consider paying yourselves, which means you have cheaper ways of acquiring these bikes. So may I kindly ask, where do you guys get your bikes? Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-07-14, 07:27 PM
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Old 10-07-14, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by armstrong101 View Post
Hi folks

I am a small-time collector. ...(although I'm concerned I may get obsessive-compulsive about it).
...
Obsessive-compulsive about bikes? Who? Us?









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Old 10-07-14, 08:01 PM
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I think a good deal of bikes are sold via craigslist, but there's lots of competition among buyers. I missed on a really nice looking Centurion Dave Scott Ironman recently. I was second in line, even though I called no more than 45 minutes after it was posted. I can't say I have anything to offer, other than to commiserate with you.

I think finding nice vintage bikes at great prices are mostly serendipitous events.
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Old 10-07-14, 08:06 PM
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I really think it depends on the market. The least I've ever spent on a bike is 100, and that's in some rough condition (needs new bearings, cables etc, but in riding condition). Under 100 and a random frame with missing parts. Thrift stores around me never have bikes for sale and homelessness rate is so high that they always get first dibs on dumpsters. Ebay (even with 150 shipping) is often a better deal than buying locally for me.
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Old 10-07-14, 08:27 PM
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Mostly craigslist for me. I am currently an engineering student which means I spend countless hours sitting doing homework, usually with a computer in front of me. So I when I have room in my stable and a few bucks in my pocket (neither is currently the case) I keep a craigslist page open. I hit the refresh button once in awhile, maybe about every 15-20 minutes and I can almost always snag a pretty good deal on a project within a few days of doing that. It doesn't take much of my time since I am already at the computer and it only takes a few seconds to glance at recent listings.
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Old 10-07-14, 08:28 PM
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I think the perception that a lot of people on this site are getting steals may be a bit skewed. People always want to tell about the awesome vintage bike they got at a yard sale for $10, myself included. In fact earlier this summer I did buy a Raleigh Super Course for $10 at a yard sale around the corner and posted it here. That was a total fluke though because I don't go to yard sales, I just happened to ride by one while out for a spin. And that was my only true "steal" in over two years of compulsive looking on Craigslist. I've had several of what I felt were good deals but nothing to write home about, or post here about.

The market in Philadelphia is fairly competitive I feel. I've seen bikes on Craigslist that were very good deals where I responded within an hour of the post and I was like tenth in line. What I do score consistently are partial bikes, missing wheels etc, that most people don't want to deal with. I've bought several of those where I kept some parts I wanted and sold the rest for more than my original purchase amount. I've now started to amass a decent collection of parts for next to nothing which allows me to buy bikes in less than good working condition and fix them for cheap. It's the less exciting, slow and steady way of getting good bargains.
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Old 10-07-14, 08:31 PM
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I hang out by the MUP in wealthy areas, tie a rope around two trees, and collect the bikes. It's also how I've amassed my wallet collection.

To further what was said above, I strongly suspect people of some exaggeration on some of the steals and deals here. They happen - I get them from time to time, but they're the exception. If you want quality, be prepared to pay for it or wait to get lucky.

This also isn't pawn stars. I really don't care about what others pay for their bikes, or how well they bargained the poor old woman down from $100 to $50 on the Colnago. I'm more interested in the bikes and how they're used.

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Old 10-07-14, 08:34 PM
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I just lie about how much I paid.
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Old 10-07-14, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
I just lie about how much I paid.
I tell very few people what I really pay.

When pressed, I can cough up the real numbers, but I'd rather not.

As for the source of my bikes, people email me deals they bump into constantly.

In Germany, our cousins do the leg work.

I just pay for them when I decide to add one to the herd.
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Old 10-07-14, 08:45 PM
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Dammit. I should have bought that totally original (including tires) Miyata 210 for $100. Even if it wasn't my size.
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Old 10-07-14, 08:53 PM
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I pick up maybe one reasonable deal a year on Craigslist. But CL is a hit and miss affair and it is clear that some people work the site very hard looking for bikes. I'll sometimes pay FMV for a bike just because I want it. I recently bought a cherry Robin Hood 3 speed; even the Dunlop tires look new and the generator light is pretty rad on the bike. I paid FMV (which is more than I like to pay for a bike) but what the heck, how often do you get to ride a new 1969 bike?

Also I keep my eye out for vintage mtbs and other bikes that are undervalued.

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Old 10-07-14, 09:01 PM
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If you got one of the Bianchis in your signature for $100, you are doing well. Urban Canadian prices appear to be high in general. But a couple of the Canadian BF members seem to do quite well, so they must scout often.

While my deals under $75 you read about were all from craigslist, they were scored in Southeastern Michigan, Albany NY, and Northern NJ. So a wide net helps. Local pickup only ebay deals can be good too. I scored a Trek 560 and Trek Carbon 2200 thhat way.

Garage sales, estate sales, and non-profit resale shops are other good sources. A few guys here and there have relations with their local recyclers and dumps.
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Old 10-08-14, 12:23 AM
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By boring my friends and family with talk of my obsession, I mean passion, for bikes. A neighbor who works for the city found a nice vintage frame set and gifted it to me knowing I spend a lot of time tinkering in the garage. Let folks know you're always on the lookout for cool old bikes to resurrect. Then the bikes will find you.
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Old 10-08-14, 03:57 AM
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After finding my '86 Trek Pro Series 760 for 100.00 I'm convinced I have Divine help.
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Old 10-08-14, 04:14 AM
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I have found thousands of bikes using these How To Find Vintage Bicycles procedure. In fact, virtually every single bike, save one, on MY "TEN SPEEDS" was found using the mentioned procedures. And today, I don't even have to look - the bikes seem to find me...
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Old 10-08-14, 05:13 AM
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I get them here, there, and everywhere, no particular place. Just knowing what I want and what I will pay is usually enough when a bike or frame comes up.

I've thought about stealing a few, but norskagent keeps hiding his house key, roccobike guards his basement too well, rccardr has an attack dog, and gomango lives too far away.
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Old 10-08-14, 06:16 AM
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CL and eBay, and I generally pay full market value.
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Old 10-08-14, 06:28 AM
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CL has been my source with the exception of find a pair of abandoned Treks. It can be about timing or good negotiations. I am surprised at how many there are. If I had more disposable income I would be less discerning. The good deals are there but few and far between, meaning its about timing. The winter is not a great time but late summer appears to be better. For parts, sometimes its spring from the spring cleaning bug. I found NOS Campagnolo wheels, rims and hubs, for $50. They were hanging in the POS basement for 15 years directly after purchase.

It is like the news here, the really good deals are broadcast but the top of the bell curve purchases are only reported when it is a grail or near grail bike.
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Old 10-08-14, 06:54 AM
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Just yesterday I turned down a Nishiki Custom from a friend and quickly did a "what are you thinking" back-pedal to see if I can grab it before he takes it to thrift.

Stay in this long enough, let your friends and facebook know about your passion and the bikes will just happen.
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Old 10-08-14, 06:56 AM
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CL has been (was) a reasonably good source for cheap keepers for quite a while. However, the deals are pretty sparse now, and prospects of finding anything around here worth displacing one of my current rides is very slim (given that I am adverse to spending more than $200 on any bike in any condition).

Garage sales have proven particularly unproductive here over a long period of time, so I gave up on those long ago - but this apparently is NOT the case in other parts of the country.
Much depends on your local market and (as alluded to above by @Chuckk) how hard you work at it.
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Old 10-08-14, 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
CL and eBay, and I generally pay full market value.
I usually only chase deals when the asking price makes sense, maybe asking for 10-15% off on one in four purchases.

Once in a while, I pay above asking price if I want to get to the head of the line. It works.
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Old 10-08-14, 07:24 AM
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Anymore I don't even look at CL for bicycles that often, because of where I live everything is a couple hours north of me ( I guess no one in my area uses CL ). I find my bikes at auctions, the trash, yard sales or from the one junk dealer I have a deal with. A few friends keep their eyes open for me also & every once and awhile I pick up something from the shop I work part time at. I don't get any high end road bikes this way ( at least not yet ) but I do find lots of MTB's & Hybrids which are great for resale in my area. A lot of what I find needs plenty of work as the salt air down here is rough on bikes that live outside or in sheds.

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Old 10-08-14, 07:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Chuckk View Post
Craig's List, big trash pickup and garage sales
"The harder you work, the luckier you get."
and
"Any good hobby needs to pay for itself."
^^^^^^^^^^^
this

I pass 2 thrifts on my way home from work and stop in EVERY day. Takes about half an hour to do both, but it's a good way to decompress from the work day. I don't look for bikes, but usually find 1-3 good deals per year.

I do find tons of mundane stuff that flies under the radar which can be sold for a tidy profit to fund all my hobbies. As a bonus, nobody hassles me for flipping toasters and shoes.
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Old 10-08-14, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by thinktubes View Post
^^^^^^^^^^^
this

I pass 2 thrifts on my way home from work and stop in EVERY day. Takes about half an hour to do both, but it's a good way to decompress from the work day. I don't look for bikes, but usually find 1-3 good deals per year.

I do find tons of mundane stuff that flies under the radar which can be sold for a tidy profit to fund all my hobbies. As a bonus, nobody hassles me for flipping toasters and shoes.
That's probably because you haven't joined a shoe or toaster online forum.
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