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Building and Flipping Bikes

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Building and Flipping Bikes

Old 12-27-10, 02:38 PM
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Building and Flipping Bikes

I assume that's a losing proposition, by the time you buy the gruppo, the frame, the wheels and all the trimmings, there's no way you're even getting your money back by selling it. Is that correct?

I'm talking all new parts here.
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Old 12-27-10, 02:49 PM
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If it is all new stuff, you wouldn't really be "flipping" but I agree it would be a losing proposition.
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Old 12-27-10, 02:50 PM
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Sounds like BD. Except they buy buckets of it.
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Old 12-27-10, 02:55 PM
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you need to do it with second hand bikes.

i know a guy who bought a £100 bike on ebay, rode it for a couple of years and then sold it on craiglist for £200. he didn't even make any upgrades.
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Old 12-27-10, 02:56 PM
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You are correct, it will be a losing deal. It's cheaper to buy a finished bike.
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Old 12-27-10, 03:06 PM
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Unless you're getting a volume discount, I don't see how you can compete with BD and LBS.
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Old 12-27-10, 03:06 PM
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Yes - You would have a very difficult time pricing your bike competitively. All the OEM's (Original Equipment Manufacturers aka Bike Manufacturers - Trek, Specialized, Cannondale etc.) are buying parts from SRAM & Shimano at small percent above cost. That way when you want to upgrade your wheel set, drivetrain or other parts or you have something repaired - you are paying almost double of cost which allows Shimano & SRAM manufacture at. It allows the bike shop & then SRAM & Shimano to make their money back because they know if you have shimano at the beginning you are almost forced to replace certian parts with Shimano (or SRAM).

So under this business plan; there is no way you could compete with complete bikes from a bike shop if you were purchasing all your parts in the aftermarket.

Now, if you could find bikes from people who "think" they are going to be hard core racers & buy $5000 bikes that are in their garage in six months; Buy those bikes for 60% off make some repairs / enhancements; & then resell at with a small markup - then yes, flipping bikes is possible; but with as much depreciation at they face you would struggle making a living with it.

Just my 2 cents...
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Old 12-27-10, 03:15 PM
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Reason I ask is that it's fun to do and I think it would be fun to spec out and build bikes just for the heck of it. Of course, I can't afford to accumulate more than a couple of bikes. Maybe talk some friends into letting me build their new rigs. Still more expensive than the OEM alternatives, I know, but you'd get a unique ride built by someone you know.
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Old 12-27-10, 03:41 PM
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Speccing out bikes would really eat into your bottom line. Build kits are the only way to come close to being profitable.
Too tough to find complete road "build kits" for good prices in my experience.
With MTB build kits like this Sram x.7/Deore for $469, you might be able to pull it off in the MTB world. I've seen pretty decent frame/fork combos for $200-$500 (HT-Full Sus).
You could probably only pay yourself about $4.00 per hour for wrenching/sales/support of said bikes if you want to remain competitive, though.
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Old 12-27-10, 03:42 PM
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You're more likely to make a couple of bucks going the other direction: Buy a complete bike and part it out. Either way, too much trouble as far as I can see.
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Old 12-27-10, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Daytrip
Reason I ask is that it's fun to do and I think it would be fun to spec out and build bikes just for the heck of it. Of course, I can't afford to accumulate more than a couple of bikes. Maybe talk some friends into letting me build their new rigs. Still more expensive than the OEM alternatives, I know, but you'd get a unique ride built by someone you know.
Get a part time job at a bike shop. Then work just enough to get parts at wholesale. Some shops will barter labor for parts too. Even then the cost on some things are high compared to buying a finished bike.
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Old 12-27-10, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Homebrew01
You're more likely to make a couple of bucks going the other direction: Buy a complete bike and part it out. Either way, too much trouble as far as I can see.
+1
The flipside forgive the pun is...you can enjoy the sport of cycling for limited outlay if you know what you are doing. I pretty much build all my bikes off ebay. There are a lot of guys who buy an expensive road bike and then sell it for 50% because they don't ride it. I have done well buying and selling but never try to profit off of flipping bikes...instead I try to limit my cash outlay and ride nice stuff. Maybe not the pinnacle stuff but 1 notch down which for me is fine. I am rebuilding my road bike right now in fact...swapping different parts.
Cheers.
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Old 12-27-10, 04:14 PM
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You'll lose your ass.

....even at wholesale. OEM's don't pay wholesale. You can't compete.

What you are trying to do is become a bicycle OEM - 1 unit at a time.

Have fun.
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Old 12-27-10, 07:32 PM
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There are people that flip bikes from Craigslist without putting any money into them. You have to be lightning fast though since the smoking deals can be gone in a matter of hours.
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Old 12-27-10, 08:49 PM
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I flip bikes from time to time. To come out ahead you have to have a cheap source for bikes. I use garage sales and Craigslist as my prime sources. You have to love what you're doing because if you clock the amount of time you put into it you will soon realize you make less than minimum wage. On the plus side, you learn a lot about bikes, especially vintage bikes and accumulate many tools. It takes time to learn which bikes to buy and when to walk away but I enjoy it.
This process only works on very old and occaisionally on a recent used bike. You learn to buy bikes that are not your size, but are good values. Once in a while, you come across a really nice vintage roadie that's your size. My best vintage find is a Centurion Ironman in Seafoam green all original followed by a 85 Nishiki Medalist all original. My best recent bike is a 96 Cannondale SR500 ride ready with new tires and saddle in my size for $40. I still ride the Cannondale in the rain and used it at the last MS 150 when it rained on the second day of the ride.
EDIT: The absolute killer of bike flipping is buying new parts. There is no gain if you have to replace a derailer with a new one. So the OP's suggestion of flipping new bikes does not work.
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Old 12-27-10, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by 2manybikes
Get a part time job at a bike shop. Then work just enough to get parts at wholesale. Some shops will barter labor for parts too. Even then the cost on some things are high compared to buying a finished bike.
Using your employee discount to run another business ain't kosher. You may be able to get away with it, but if the wholesaler catches wind, and the bike shop you work for loses their QBP account, they'll not be happy.

I've had the same thought as the OP, buy cheap parts, build bikes for the fun of it, sell them off on craigslist. Came to the conclusion that it just won't work.
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