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Old 01-22-11, 10:10 AM   #1
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Profitable to refurbish an old bike?

This works somewhat in concert with my other thread. Given that I intend to buy a new bike soon, I still have a leftover serviceable mountain bike that I wouldn't mind selling to recoup my income. Here's the situation:

One bike is a cheap (heavy) steel-frame Next mountain bike that I've been riding to and from school with for years now. The chain is rusty but still flexible, the left gripshift that controls the chainrings doesn't work (I probably just need to replace the cables, the gears otherwise work fine), and the resin pedals are in a state of disrepair. The tires are also a little cracked up, but still work fine; the tubes are new.

There's another bike that's sitting in my apartment complex that's been locked up for years now that I'll probably buy from whoever owns it. The bike is in a horrible state; the chain, gears, and cables are all thoroughly rusted and it's without a seat. However, the frame is in an immaculately clean and perfect state, and is aluminum. The tires are in good shape too, as are the pedals and the grips. I figure the guy will probably let go of it for 20$.

In both cases, is it worth it to replace some of the bike parts; cables, pedals, chains, and perhaps even the cassette, and then resell them? I will probably be painting the Next bike with an olive green automotive paint to give it a military surplus feel, and the most money would have to go into the second bike, but which can be had relatively cheap.

In fact, for that matter, will the bikes even resemble their original state after I repair them? If nothing remains stock except the frames, wouldn't they essentially be custom bikes?
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Old 01-22-11, 11:03 AM   #2
Time for a change.
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Don't waste your money unless the bikes were something in the first place.

I have just aquired a "Near" classic in a Dawes Galaxy. It will sit in the shed till I can afford the $300 to bring it up to a good ridable condition. Renovating old bikes is not cheap.
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Old 01-22-11, 11:19 AM   #3
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I'm sure you'll get a lot of responses from guys who "flip" (buy, fix up, then sell) bikes.

Here's my thought (and I've learned this with cars and boats, but I'm sure it applies to bikes, as well): You'll never get out of it what you put in. Unless, like stapfam said, the bike was worth something to begin with.

Now - all that said, I'm teaching myself to work on bikes and am finding it to be a labor of love. If that's the case, then go for it...just don't make any plans with your future profits
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Old 01-22-11, 02:12 PM   #4
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I'm with Stapfam: Since your question was about profitability, I'd vote No unless the bike is something fairly special. From your description, it isn't, and around here, at least, thrift shops are full of cheap mountain bikes in decent, rideable condition for $20 to $40. I bought my wife a Specialized Hard Rock in perfect condition a year or so ago for 10 bucks, with a $40 Blackburn rack on it. You can't fix your old one for $20, and there's no reason anybody should pay more.
If you're fond of the old bike, you could tune it up and keep it (I have a garage full of those...). But if your only question is money, just donate it somewhere.
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Old 01-22-11, 05:07 PM   #5
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It couldn't hurt to just look at your craigslist and see what similar style bikes are going for. Then look online or at a LBS for what parts you would replace. Punch some numbers and see if its worth the time, effort, and money.

I wouldn't do it because the risk is too high as far as losing money. Just save the money and keep it for upgrading your new ride.
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