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-   -   Where is it likely a hole in the wall used bike shop gets their inventory? (https://www.bikeforums.net/general-cycling-discussion/1241751-where-likely-hole-wall-used-bike-shop-gets-their-inventory.html)

MyRedTrek 11-05-21 02:12 AM

Where is it likely a hole in the wall used bike shop gets their inventory?
 
I encountered a used bike place - they have *only* used bikes, along with a bunch of other "stuff" that looks like the typical inventory of a thrift store. I'd never heard of the place before, he said he's been there about a year. Overall I got an odd vibe off the place and the owner himself. Among other things he's got all these bikes but I didn't get the impression he's particularly knowledgeable about bikes. Other bike shops I've been in it was obvious they do repairs and maintenance - pro-quality bike repair stand or two, pegboards full of tools etc. I saw nothing like that at this place, which of course doesn't mean they weren't somewhere I didn't see.

What are potential explanations for where the bikes might have come from - other than being stolen? Where can one get used bikes in rideable condition where you could actually make any worthwhile profit selling them?

Kabuki12 11-05-21 03:03 AM

Go with your feelings and steer clear! Usually used bike flippers deal on CL and rarely make enough to support a store. I have bought a couple of bikes on CL from guys that flip them and got good deals . When I asked where they got them , they both said yard/garage sales. They were both young and I got a good vibe from them. They took time with the sale and seemed to know a little about what would sell.

Leinster 11-05-21 05:28 AM

There’s one in town here. I’ve talked to the owner, (pre-Covid) and they buy them by container load, basically sight unseen. They fix up what they can fix up, and sell a lot of “as-is” bikes to people looking for/who don’t mind a project. They also sell the basics you might need to get something to roadworthy state (tires, chains, brake pads, 7,8,9 cassettes, etc).

I never bought from them as I always thought they were asking a bit too much for the bikes they had, with the work that needed to go in. At least one friend gets a lot of his parts for his builds through them.

dedhed 11-05-21 05:40 AM

Plenty of people give bikes away, they just want them gone.

PeteHski 11-05-21 05:44 AM

Yeah, I wouldn't automatically jump to the conclusion that they were stolen bikes. That's probably the least likely explanation. The typical business model would be to scavenge around for bargains, bodge them up and try to flip at a profit. The auto world is full of those businesses and they often come across as being a bit "dodgy", which they sometimes are. But not usually in the sense that their stock is stolen.

CAT7RDR 11-05-21 07:37 AM

If it is a legit business, it will have a business license you will be able to search and find with the city it is located in.

indyfabz 11-05-21 07:39 AM

^^Yeah. Wouldn't make much sense to sell stolen nothing but stolen goods in a public setting like a B&M store.

Iride01 11-05-21 07:59 AM

I see craigslist listings showing gobs of bikes and all for just 10 or 15 dollars. They are also old, used big box store bikes for children and a few adult. So who knows, maybe one of those sellers felt a store presence might let them raise their prices some.

If these are higher dollar bikes, then maybe they watch estate sales and such for bikes.

pdlamb 11-05-21 07:59 AM

Since the owner/operator doesn't seem to know much about bikes, I'd guess they come from a police auction or pawn shops. Many may have been stolen, but he probably has a bill of sale to get out of jail free.

I can't imagine trusting to blind luck buying bikes from craigslist or similar to stay in business, unless he waits a month after the posting and then offers the seller $25.

63rickert 11-05-21 09:06 AM

If I accepted all the bikes that were offered to me for free large warehouse storage would be required. Anyone who lets it be known he will pay money for old bikes has a permanent glut.

Those who have had a bicycle stolen are emotional about it. From there stories begin. Anyone who has a regular place of business is highly unlikely to be selling stolen goods. Yes, stupid people are occasional caught doing just that.

At current shipping rates rates transporting containers of old bikes is ridiculously implausible. Does this hole in the wall store have containers delivered often? Selling used bikes is really hard, are they selling container loads?

rydabent 11-05-21 09:24 AM

We have a store in town that has the name "Used Bike Shop". They do sell used bikes, but they sell brand new bikes and trikes. BTW it is the best bike shop in town.

Rolla 11-05-21 09:37 AM

Thank goodness you aren't jumping to any conclusions.

Mr. 66 11-05-21 10:23 AM

I shop at a used-bike stores regularly. They are pretty knowledgeable but not antique enthusiasts. All of there bikes at the nonprofits come from community donations. I know of 4 nonprofits and another used bike shop near me. There was another but that was downtown and got closed by local hoodilums and the radicals of the big local bike club. It actually was pretty big news because the local radicals antifa types were vocal in promoting in taking the business owner and his lawyers out. The owner had oddles of trouble with harassment from the "homeless" and then the police more or less refused to help the with the crime problems that area is plagued with.

I don't think you should assume negative thoughts just be cause it is used merchandise. You certainly can investigate easily enough.

Did you ask the manager where he goes product? Have you talked with others that are knowledgeable of the vendor? Did you ask the police if there has been an complaints of the vendor? Certainly you have legitimate concerns, but you may be getting your imagination get the best of you.

Leinster 11-05-21 11:55 AM


Originally Posted by 63rickert (Post 22296881)
At current shipping rates rates transporting containers of old bikes is ridiculously implausible. Does this hole in the wall store have containers delivered often? Selling used bikes is really hard, are they selling container loads?

I did say that was their pre-Covid business model. I don’t know how they’re getting stock now. And “container load” may, as said above, just be a U-Haul-full of police auction bikes or other source.

cbrstar 11-05-21 03:28 PM

There was a thrift shop here that get a lot of their inventory from storage auctions. But suddenly they had a large amount of used bikes. The store owner told me that there was a farm where the owner was a bike hoarder that passed away. The family wanted the bikes gone so they could sell the property. The store owner hired some dude off the street to tune the bikes up and sell them. Eventually the shop kinda turned into half a bike shop/co-op. People can trade bikes for other things they need like clothing or electronics. But some people see homeless people trading in a bike and they automatically think it's stolen etc. But the owner runs the serial#'s through the cops database here. And he avoids heavily spray painted or ground off serial#'s. I don't know about the US but if it's too good to be true run the serial number before you buy it.

dedhed 11-05-21 04:10 PM


Originally Posted by 63rickert (Post 22296881)
At current shipping rates rates transporting containers of old bikes is ridiculously implausible. Does this hole in the wall store have containers delivered often? Selling used bikes is really hard, are they selling container loads?

https://jap-express.com/services/bicycle-exports

Hasek 11-05-21 07:02 PM

I came across a used bike shop in central Florida. Of the half a dozen bike shops I went to in looking for another ride, he was the only one that I have been to that I got the feeling he was in business to help people be bicyclists. Not just make money as all the other ones. He has a very minimal amount of extras and they are low end. We've talked a bit and he said in addition to people giving him bikes and frames, he also hits up FB Marketplace, Craigslist, and has a handful of scrappers that bring him frames.

MyRedTrek 11-05-21 11:34 PM


Originally Posted by Iride01 (Post 22296786)
I see craigslist listings showing gobs of bikes and all for just 10 or 15 dollars. They are also old, used big box store bikes for children and a few adult. So who knows, maybe one of those sellers felt a store presence might let them raise their prices some.

If these are higher dollar bikes, then maybe they watch estate sales and such for bikes.

No, they're just run of the mill bikes from what I saw, nothing special. Hard to imagine he'd make much on any of them unless his investment in them was close to nothing.

downtube42 11-06-21 12:02 AM

These ads pop up on Craigslist from time to time, where some dude has been hoarding bikes and bike parts for several decades. Somebody buys that stuff, eventually. Mostly it's junk, but not always.

I remember back when I lived in Indiana there was a old dude outside town who collected hubcaps. Hanging from all his fences, outside walls, inside walls, from the ceiling, on shelves. He had tens of thousands. If you needed it, he had it, he knew where it was, and he'd sell it to you.

Then one day he died, and the family put them all up for sale. I imagine there's a shop somewhere with thousands of used hubcaps.

63rickert 11-06-21 06:46 AM


Originally Posted by dedhed (Post 22297435)

Prices quoted are FOB.

If shipping were free the bikes are $20 each and you have to relieve them of 600 at a time. They will all be Japanese home market size.

It’s posted on the internet. It must be true.

honcho 11-06-21 07:26 AM

Ask the proprietor where they source their bikes.

I was involved in flipping bikes for several years and at one time I had well over a hundred bikes hanging around. Most were purchased at local auctions but some were acquired from yard sales and Craigslist (buy low, sell high). For buying bikes, I was in competition with a other resellers, including a used bike store and a new/used bike store. The new/used bike store had buyers keeping an eye out for bikes and, I believe, were paid a fixed amount per bike. One reseller, who sold out of a storage unit, would buy large lots of bikes from a local bike rental place at the end of the season and then hold them until the spring rolled around the next year. Another reseller, who was a bit less scrupulous about his sources, would buy bikes from people off the street and a couple of stolen bikes were recovered from his inventory. I don't think he was ever charged with any crimes regarding bikes. There are lots of bikes out there, which makes it easy for unscrupulously obtained bikes to blend in with legitimately obtained bikes.

There are a couple of large scale used bike dealers near me now. Both are selling from their homes. One has a large quantity of what appear to be new, cheaper walmart/target type bikes. The other has a large number of better quality bikes and is cagey about where they came from but that doesn't mean they are stolen. However, given the scarcity of bikes during the pandemic, I can't help but think they have unsavory origins. I've read that on the West Coast, bikes are stolen in one city like, San Francisco, and transported to another city, like Seattle, for sale. I don't know if that's happening around here.

While I bought and sold some nice bikes during my flipping days, mostly I bought and sold bikes that were at least two or three generations old. Lots of road bikes with downtube shifters, old mountain bikes. Oddball things like Shimano FFS (Front Freewheel System)., A GT road bike with 700D tires (look up 700D tires, they aren't compatible with anything modern and are unavailable), Lambert bikes with dangerous cast aluminum "death" forks, etc... I decided I liked fiddling with and riding my own bikes more than chasing inventory and dealing with people.

Vintage Schwinn 11-06-21 10:26 PM

It is not difficult to legitimately obtain & accumulate large numbers of bicycles and parts(..parts bikes to break down and cannibalize from). Any medium or large metropolitan area with one Military base nearby will likely have huge numbers of bicycles donated to Salvation Army thrift stores & Goodwill almost on a daily basis.
You(as the proprietor of said hole in the wall used bike shop) have someone visit daily during the morning within the first two hours that the thrift store opens for business.
My wife's friend Sandra, has owned an upscale antique furniture store since 1986, and has multiple store locations today including Hilton Head, Charleston, and Savannah.
Sandra has an army of folks that simply hit all the Salvation Army Thrifts, Goodwill stores, other Charitable Thift Stores every single day immediately first thing in the morning, and then proceed in a tactical coordinated plan of then going to most every one within cities and towns in SC, NC, GA, FLA, & TN. These folks just buy the items and the Salv Army, etc puts a SOLD tag on the item, and typically other store personnel with a large box truck with a hydraulic tommy lift type of thing will pick it up within a week of purchase. Sandra says that technology today has simplified things as you can look at the item on phone that the employee is considering buying for the store's inventory and say yeah go ahead or NO, and you can also if need be negotiate a better price with the Thrift's manager from 600 miles away. Typically, she can buy certain furniture items for ~ around $100 or so that she can retail to the right buyer for nearly ten times that, but you have to be good at knowing what sells to your clientele and what is a white elephant. It is instinctive probably with her and her talented people as there is a heckuva lot more than just knowing the ol unwriiten commandment of buy low and sell high. About six years ago, while Sandra was a guest at our beach house, I commented to Sandra that she is the Jim Cramer of junk and she smiled.
Garage sales aren't likely as good as the once might have been years ago to locate bicycles because of technology like Facebook marketplace. Craigslist puts certain people off due to the greater perceived danger and probability of getting robbed at gunpoint. There are real risks with Craigslist and other local shopper type ads but with certain precautions, one can perhaps somewhat mitigate some of that risk.
The HOLE IN THE WALL bike shop specializing in USED bikes and repairs might be in an area where that type of store actually might work. There are still USED MAJOR APPLIANCE STORES located in rural areas and areas where homeowners and landowners are located in the geographic part of a particular state with the average lowest annual income (...refrigerators, washers, dryers, electric ranges, gas stoves, chest freezers window a/c units, lawn mowers, chainsaws, etc)
Not everybody has the money to buy even the new base basic model that is the size to fit their family's needs & limited spending budget, so a new refrigerator, new car or truck and certainly perhaps even a new Walmart $200 bicycle may be beyond what is prudent & practical for some families at the present time. Remember that there are always hard working folks that are in current circumstances that do not currently allow for such excess spending.
Any HOLE IN THE WALL shop that has a business license and a rented/leased physical store location IS NOT GOING TO KNOWINGLY DEAL IN STOLEN ITEMS!
You can assume that said HOLE IN THE WALL SHOP will likely do everything in its power to acquire items properly and not through a thief or fence.
Now the cat you emailed yesterday from the Craigslist ad for the MASI bike for $145 --- when you asked him about it and he says, oh yeah I've had it since the nineties, as it was my uncles' bike and he bought it new from Montgomery Ward in the Seventies when he was the Asst manager of the North Fork Mall Montgomery Ward store...... it's a good bike, he took care of it, it rides good, I've ridden it some................ **** IT APPEARS TO BE A REAL AUTHENTIC MASI and not something Montgomery Ward ever sold.......... ------Now, you're obviously thinking this bike is Stolen, or it is a scam with pictures of a MASI that were obtained elsewhere on the web, so that when you go to said place to look at the bike, you'll be robbed of all the cash you are carrying and your cell phone, credit cards and perhaps even robbed of your car . Craigs can be like the wild wild west so be extremely careful!!!!

Gconan 11-07-21 07:57 AM

Used to have a shop like that in my city. They sold a bike for me on commission once! Fantastic people. They fixed bikes a little cheaper. Great for people on a budget. I wish they were still around.

J.Higgins 11-07-21 08:15 AM


Originally Posted by MyRedTrek (Post 22297814)
No, they're just run of the mill bikes from what I saw, nothing special. Hard to imagine he'd make much on any of them unless his investment in them was close to nothing.

Musing on your OP and this post, I know a guy who has at least a thousand bikes. Not one of them is less than dealership-quality. Says its his "retirement plan." he does have some pretty sweet and rare bikes, and I cant seem to get him to shake anyone of them loose, but I'm still working on it. ;)

How does anyone get so many bikes? How many is a lot? How many is too many? Two summers ago, I had about 70 bikes. I went on a selling rampage and whittled it down to about 20. Now I am at 16 complete bikes and about 20 frames, and about a dozen wheelsets. I was so happy to be rid of those bikes! Thinking back on how I got all those bikes, I'm seeing that all it took to collect so many was one or two at a time. Yardsales, CL, and someone at my local transfer station texts me whenever a bike comes in. The transfer station is 3 miles from my house, so its easy to slip over there, chat up my buddy, and decide whether or not that bike is worth taking home or lob it up and over into the scrap metal bin. Time and persistence will get you where ever you wish to go. Look at ants. They'll carry a single grain of sand for a long distance just to get it out of their way, likewise, they'll carry a single seed into their nests. One ant. Multiply that ant by hundreds and you can guess how many seeds would pile up inside that nest after a while. Same could be said about acquiring bikes. Bikes just seem to follow me home, so I can relate to this.

ironwood 11-07-21 04:33 PM

I've pulled out probably two hundred bikes from the local dump. Most of them I've donated to a local charity or given away, and I've kept a few to ride. There are also a lot of used bikes sold in yard sales.


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