| Went to local Univ bike auction today. Been lookin' forward to it as they had about 375 bikes and close to 500 bidders. Gotta be a good one in there right?...wrong!...I couldn't believe the junk they were selling! Poor kids, they don't know the difference. By the time you add a seat, tires, chain, maybe cables, you could have bought a new chi-com bike. Highest price was over $300 for an all-there suspended mtn-bike...lowest was $1 (you can imagine) avg about $25. Saw maybe 6 english 3-spds (they were bringing about $50), 1 low-end mid-70's french 10-sp, and most all the rest were asian mtn and cruisers. So hang-on to your vintage lwts, it don't get any better! |
| My son goes to IU at Bloomington and attended their bike auction at my request. Same thing Huffy's and Murray mountain bikes were going for $40 and $50, anything made by Schwinn brought more high $ (Schwinn Letour $65). He picked up a ratty old Bianchi Mountain Bike for me for $11 and I fixed it up and gave it to a neighborghood kid. When i retire my dream is to fix and sell bikes out of my garage in a college town. Not much money but a good sustaining hobby.|
| Bryant, I like your retirement hobby idea except that I can't muster any enthusiasm for fixing bikes that I don't consider worthy. Bad enough degreasing a nice vintage lwt let alone some Chi-Mart bike. |
| I agree. I would continue what I do now, look for nice lightweights that are worth the time repairing. As I've told my friends, if it didn't start its life in a bike shop, it probably isn't worth repairing|
| I tend to agree. I'm finding it difficult for me to take the time to fix up one of my own mid-level bikes nowadays. And I'm not even finding any of those anymore. It has totally dried up. Only very rarely does even a Free Spirit, or a Murray show up. |
But so far as fixing up other peoples' bikes: I guess I don't mind so much what they are - there is still a little satisfaction from making them better, or making them look new again.
| These department store bikes are what allows me to finance my hobby. They are plentifully available used but with very few miles on them. How they are assembled and adjusted explains a lot of this. As they're set up directly from the store, they are so unpleasant to ride that they sit in a garage waiting for the next yard sale. That's when I swoop in and buy them up for a pittance. The poor owners are so glad to get rid of these mechanical monstrosities they almost give them away. An evening clamped in my repair stand getting disassembled, cleaned and PROPERLY reassembled makes a world of difference in the usefulness and the value these light duty bicyles have. A ten dollar bill and 3 or 4 of my leisure hours turn one of these into fifty or sixty bucks in my pocket.|
When care and attention is paid to this class of bike they are acceptable choices for those who want an occasional bike ride but don't want to spend hundreds of dollars. My mechanical expertise allows these bikes to perform as well as I would expect. The tidy profits generated let me spend rather lavishly on the tools and materials I want while alway having funds to purchase the two-wheeled gems I would like in my collection.
P.S. The sloppy tolerances and awful build quality of these chinese bikes have honed my mechanical skills and sharpened my problem solving abilities. Working on a good bicycle is a breeze, near perfection in assembly and tuning is achievable.
| Doug, I find your repair calculation about right. $10 for bike + 3-4 hrs at say $10/hr = $45. Sell bike for $55 (50-$60) and you've made a whopping $10 in pure tax-free profit (if you don't include your time or run into bent axles or tweaked frames)! When I was a kid that would be pretty good. But now that I'm in the autumn of my years, simply not worth it to me.|
| But you also made $10/hour doing something you enjoy, at home, no commuting, with the radio on, and that $10/hour was also tax free!|
| Well I could confine my hobby( which is as much the mechanical aspect of things as in the saddle time) to mid-high end vintage road bikes but it would no longer be self-sustaining.|
An example, I parted with a nice bike last week, a Velosport Super Prestige. I acquired this bike for twenty bucks more than seven years ago, it hung in my shop waiting...waiting...waiting, doing nothing but gathering dust. Finally the right customer comes knocking. Out the door for $320. These sales are very far and few between. Do the math on that one.
It's these chinese bikes that allow me to wait and not have to give away something to get something else. They pay for the work stands, the compressors,the good hand,specialty and power tools. They buy the lever hoods,the tires and the cables and spools of housing I want for my bikes.
These chinese bikes are not really even looked at as bicycles by me anymore, I see an opportunity to sell my services and skill. These cheap bikes are not particularly fun or satisfying to work on but the end result suits both parties. The customer gets the best bike available for the money they're willing or able to spend and I'm able to participate in a hobby(and it's not overhauling cheap chinese bicycles)I enjoy.
| Douglas, welcome to the club. I fund my hobby much the same way as you do, although I usually rescue most of these Wal-Mart bikes from the trash - folks around here rather throw stuff out rather then have yard sales.|
I must say that the cheap Falcon/Shimano/etc drivetrains that pop up on these bikes aren't easy to get running proper, but as you say, it's not impossible.
By the way, have you tried Craigslist.org to aid your bike sales? I've found it to help immensely. I started out with six rust relics the day I posted them to Craigslist - within two days, every single one was sold. So far, I've sold about 14 bikes via Craigslist - every one has sold in less then a month, and most sell within the week. Just recently sold a Bridgestone RB-3 for $195.
| I would like to know the aproximate value of an Elgin bicycle with wooden wheels.|
| I am looking for decals and LAM brakes for my Urago. The decals and brakes are like those on the red and blue Uragos at Classic Rendezvous in the bikes from France. Any help is appreciated. Thanks.|
| I need help in identifiying a "mystery" frame. I have it narrowed down to a late-70's, early-80's japanese. It has scalloped seatstay caps that I know are common on Nishikis but I'm wondering what other japanese frames also had this feature. The serial# MA00xxx, also suggests a large (mass) manufacturer. |
| Scalloped seat stay caps? I have 4 Nishikis each with a its own seat stay cap style. Only my Nishiki Olympic 12 has the scalloped style. However, my Dawes Shadow (English) has them and also a surprisingly fine Sears bicycle (pre-Free Spirit and not JCHiggins) made by Daimler-Puch-Steyr in Austria for Sears re-badging. This one has a 5-speed derailleur and a funky chrome chain guard. *Not* your father's Free Spirit.|
Dick in FL
| Univega commonly used scalloped seat stay caps on their 1980's models.|
| Thanks for your help guys. I don't think I'll ever id w/o putting in more time than I want to. Of interest is that the bike had another serial# stamped on the BB starting with the initials (UCD) of a local university. I contacted their bike dept and (taking a chance it might have been swiped) gave them the number in hopes they had a record. Well, the bike coordinator said the make wasn't listed but he contacted the owner of record (oh-oh) and it happened to be the person I bought it from 3 years ago! She asked if I was interested in selling it and I said sure, (that's why I wanted the make!). So, to make a long story short, I gave her same deal she gave me minus a few choice parts for other projects. |
| Seven years ago, I had in my possession an early 1960's London Flyer, an import branded with the Western Flyer emblem. I had found it in the "south 40" of one of my former neighbors, and after having expressed an interest in this find, he gladly gave the bike to me. After all, I wanted a three-speed with a decent set of fenders, and this one fit the bill. By its construction, it was clearly built in the Herc plant--the frame was identical to the ones I've seen off and on since then.|
Before I picked it up, it sat by the old shack on said "south 40" for a number of years, enough to frost the once-shiny black paint. This took a while to buff out with a few coats of that Kit stuff I saw my old man use on his truck for so many years, but I got it back to some kind of a shine. The sealed crank felt solid; the steering was like grease on a window, and the Sturmey 3-speed hub (dated 7-63) was only slightly out of tune. Once I tightened the cable and oiled all the necessary moving parts, it was good to go, "Tri-coaster" and the whole nine yards. As for its heft, it was negligible, even with the steel Dunlop 26" x 1 3/8" rims and the mousetrap carrier on the back.
So far, I haven't found another one yet. What's up with this particular piece?
| Bet you a dollar it was made by Raleigh for import and rebadged by Western Flyer.|
Hercules was a Raleigh badge at that time, as is indicated by the S-A hub; in the 50s, Hercules made their own hubs.