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Would you buy a bike from a pawnshop?(12 posts)

Would you buy a bike from a pawnshop?Straightblock
Jan 9, 2002 11:11 AM
Downtown in the civic center there's a pawnshop with a cage full of bikes for sale. Most of them are department store junkers, but mixed in with the beat-up Magnas and Pacifics are a few better quality mountain bikes.

I decided to check it out yesterday, and walked out with a bike with a 7000 series aluminum frame, Judy XC fork, 8-speed XTR rear derailler, Mavic rims and Ritchey pedals at a bargain price. It's not in perfect shape, but nothing that a few hours of TLC & a little lube can't fix.

I got a receipt with the business name and the bike's serial number, but I'm still wondering about the ethics of buying from a pawnshop. Are they still the shady places they once were? Am I supporting petty thieves & crack addicts? On the other hand, isn't there a chance of unknowingly buying a stolen bike anytime you buy thru a private party, eBay or on-line classifieds? And most important, what's the best way to tell your wife you bought another bike?
re: Would you buy a bike from a pawnshop?TJeanloz
Jan 9, 2002 11:16 AM
As long as the serial number is intact on the bicycle, it should not be a problem. Pawn shops (and bike shops) usually get a weekly listing from the police department of bicycles that have been stolen (listed by color, mfgr, and serial #). The pawn shop keeps a record of who they loaned money to, and if they loan money in exchange for a bike, they know who they loaned it to, and can pretty easily catch a theif. Most stolen bikes that I've known were recovered were done so in this manner.
re: Would you buy a bike from a pawnshop?patrick
Jan 9, 2002 11:22 AM
ABSOLUTELY. My brother-in-law bought a Jamis cross bike for $250. Retails for around $1K I think. Very good condition. If you purchase from a reputable pawnshop chain (like Cash America which is a publicy held company), chances are the bike is not hot. I have very good knowledge of Cash America as my bro-in-law is a lobbyist for them. Every day they send in a report to the police listing the items that were pawned that day. I can't speak for independent shops or other companies, but Cash America has definite processes in place to catch stolen items. They are working hard to change the stigma of pawnshops.
Encouraging a grey zone anyway...tempete
Jan 9, 2002 11:25 AM
No I don't buy from these places. I prefer to help my community otherwise if I think of drug addicts! And I hate thiefs. Wait until you find your bike, guitar, freakin' Zambese stamp collection in there. And even so, if it's not stolen, it probably off somebody in trouble who had no choice but to be exploited by the shop buyer. I'd rather get a second hand bike from an individual through classified or even LBS then encourage the pawn shop. I only like pawn shops in a Sublime's song...

And I don't do nothing behing my wife's back... But why don't you secretly rent a garage somewhere to keep all these extra bikes. You could call it the "bicycle shelter for adandoned but still allright bikes"? ; )
Encouraging a grey zone anyway...patrick
Jan 9, 2002 1:15 PM
The interesting thing about the pawn industry is that the inventory you see on the floor is only about 20 - 25% of what is pawned. The industry actually serves a much needed service, low amount loans for people who have no other option. Granted, there are those in the industry that take advantage, as with every industry, and create a negative image. The average loan amount in the pawn industry is $75. Where else can a guy who needs $75 go to get him thru the end of the month go? The other 75% of the merchandise that comes in is held as collateral. Most of the merchandise is claimed. I only know this (now) due to my brother-in-law educating me on the industry.
re: As long as it isnt stolen..jrm
Jan 9, 2002 4:20 PM
and your not receiving stolen property. Heck ive bought VCR's and TV's from pawnshops before. No biggie
Well, if it's an mtb the dude probably pawned it to buy somecyclinseth
Jan 9, 2002 5:19 PM

As far as the legitimacy of pawn shops, I ordered my custom Indy Fab Ti C. J. thru a pawn shop. I see no problem with them. Although I was told a 5-7 week waiting period and it's been 3-1/2 months. Maybe I should give them a call.
I've yet to see one I'd want to own ...Humma Hah
Jan 9, 2002 6:20 PM
... but that doesn't stop me from looking.

I always worry about receiving a stolen bike any time I consider buying a used one (and, being a retro fanatic, used is about all I'm interested in). The way pawn shops are scrutinized by the local police, who actually do come around and check serial numbers, I'd guess they're a safer bet than, say, the roadside bike sales on Rt. 1 a little north of Richmond.
Thats how I got my first road bike!John S.
Jan 9, 2002 9:41 PM
A friend told me he saw an add for a pawn shop selling some bikes so I went down to have a look. There was a Trek 2200 with 105 components and Open pro wheels. I checked with the local Gendarmes and found the shop had indeed filed all of the required papers for the bike and it was free and clear for sale. I bought it for $200.00. The frame was too small for me so I sold it at the local cycling swap for $200 and put the compontents on a frame I purchased from Colorado Cyclist on a year end closeout sale. It was a great way to get into a nice bike for little money.
I have...Starliner
Jan 9, 2002 10:22 PM
Three years ago when I became serious about road riding I stumbled across a pawn shop web site and found an early 90's Schwinn steel Paramount OS selling for $175. It was in a shop in D.C., and I had a hell of a time getting the pawn shop able to figure out how to pack it for shipping to CA. Finally, I contacted a local D.C. bike shop who accepted to pack the bike, and eventually got it in good shape. It had downtube shifters and Shimano Exage componentry.

For a starter bike, it was fine. But it was a bit small, so I sold it to my brother and moved on to a LeMond ti RS which I got on the net on some other now defunct website.

Pawn shop bike inventory tends to be low-end brands, but there were occasional nice ones. Once you find something, however, few if any of the pawn shop employees know how to accurately describe the size and features of the bike over the phone, so if you're web shopping, you have to be careful.

But I figured, a Paramount for $175 was something that I wasn't going to lose much on in any case, so I bought it.
re:Pawn shops.....Rusty Coggs
Jan 10, 2002 6:41 AM
I buy lots there. Not just bikes. You have to know prices,values and what you are doing.Sales tend to be final,so check it carefully.
Fairly common here in Reno (got lots of pawnshops...)cory
Jan 10, 2002 8:51 AM
Reno's full of pawnshops, though the City Council would really like to get rid of them (don't want people thinking they could actually LOSE MONEY in the casinos...). There are a few shops near my office, and I check every week or two just to see what they have. The bikes are nearly always junk, but occasionally you do see something decent. A few years ago one of them had a Masi 3V with most of a Campy gruppo (a few minor pieces missing) for $650. Too small for me, or I would've bought it.
I don't know about other cities, but the pawnshops here are pretty tightly regulated. I don't think there's a big business in stolen bikes going on there.