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Any advice on buying a bike at a police auction?(11 posts)

Any advice on buying a bike at a police auction?AllisonHayes
Oct 4, 2002 6:17 AM
I am looking for a road bike to ride in the winter and thought this might be a way to find a good deal...

I know this will probably be hit-or-miss. My concern is that there may only be a couple of decent bikes worth bidding on and everyone will bid on those. But, you never know...

What would be a reasonable bid, assuming the size is right and the frame/components are decent and in "good" condition????

Also:

Would you do it?
If you have done it before, what has been your experience?
Can you get a good deal?
What not to do?
What to look for? (kind of frame - steel, lugged, alu, etc)
What to watch out for? (e.g., rust, damage, etc.)
Sometimes a good deal can be found...rwbadley
Oct 4, 2002 6:46 AM
It depends on what you end up bidding on, and if someone else wants it too.

I have had luck by scoping out the bikes, assume that the high end stuff, if any will get multiple bids. Have options. If you see a decent frame in one bike, and a ggod set of wheels on another, with some components on another, try to get all three and build one up. Most bidders will try to cherry pick the best. If you can be flexible and go for the mutts, you will find better deals.

Have fun, don't get caught in a bidding war. I once saw a mountain bike go for three times its value because it was shiny and two people both wanted it. Then again a decent frame can go for $5 if the wheel is bent and it has scratches.

By the way Allison, what size frame do you ride? I may have one for you.

Good luck,

RW
Sometimes a good deal can be found...AllisonHayes
Oct 4, 2002 7:40 AM
Never thought of combining multiple bikes -- good idea! thx.

my frame size c-t 58cm
Sometimes a good deal can be found...rwbadley
Oct 4, 2002 9:24 AM
My preferred size as well. I have several in that size range. Let me know how your auction goes. If you find something, but need a few parts for it, I may be able to help.

I have a Centurion 58cm like new, that needs a good home.

Good luck,

RW
I've done it, its fun, and you MIGHT get a dealRickC5
Oct 4, 2002 8:18 AM
It all depends on who is bidding against you. If both of you are totally committed, whoever gets the bike will spend too much, unless you do the following: look at the bikes you want to bid on VERY carefully. SET A PRICE YOU WILL NOT EXCEED. Write that price down, and if the bidding goes above what you wrote down, do not bid ANY higher. No fudging!

95% of the bikes at police auctions are junkers that will sell for less than $50 or so. The few good ones attract the "big bucks" guys, and can easily sell for several hundred dollars.

Here in Denver, bikes don't rust unless they've been submerged. I would look for 1) frame damage, 2) component damage, 3) paint damage, 4) wear.

You'll quickly determine if you even want to stay for the actual auction. The last one I attended, there was only ONE mtn bike worth bidding on, and no road bikes. I didn't bother staying as I hated the thought of wasting a beautiful summer Saturday standing waiting for the chance to bid on ONE bike.

Good luck!
re: Any advice on buying a bike at a police auction?gotj
Oct 4, 2002 8:31 AM
How does one find out about police auctions?
Want ads or word-of-mouthRickC5
Oct 4, 2002 8:57 AM
Check both the bike and auction sections of the classified ads in your local newspaper. At least that's how they're advertised here in Colorado.
re: Any advice on buying a bike at a police auction?Mike P
Oct 4, 2002 8:38 AM
Before you go, get a seamstress tape with millimeters on it and stick it in your pocket.

Also, check out the stereo equipment. . . if you see 3 large JBL speakers and an Onkyo receiver, let me know. . . cause they're mine!

Mike
re: Any advice on buying a bike at a police auction?aliensporebomb
Oct 4, 2002 11:14 AM
I attended the Minneapolis bike auction and to say the
least it was an education.

There were about EIGHTY bicycles being auctioned.

THREE were worth looking at. The rest were the most
horrible rusted out Magna, Huffy, Royce Union garbage
you've ever seen. And people were bidding WAY MORE
than what they were worth for what I'd term was UTTER
CRAP bikes. I can't tell you how horrid it was to see
guys paying $200 for Magna bikes with RUSTED CHAINS and
CASSETTES thinking they were getting a great deal.

The ones that were any good got bid into the stratosphere
by one particular guy who was there to buy the bikes that
were worth anything and would snazz them up and resell
them later. He got a four year old Trek 7300 with all LX
parts (and some pretty well used parts) for $375, and a
brand new Trek with disc brakes but Deore parts for $400.

I set my limit at $150 and there was NOTHING there that I
really wanted.

I bought a commuter bike at a local bike shop's warehouse
sale and it was ten times the bike any of those crap bikes
at the auction were.

Although, as entertainment value? I'd go again. The
auctioneer talked 200 words per second, took a while to
really understand him.
Same experience herejtolleson
Oct 5, 2002 6:41 AM
the road selection was almost non-existent, and what there was consistent of chicken-brake levered 10 spds. from my childhood or so it seemed.

Low end mountain bikes dominated, along with some kids' stuff.

I'd never bother to shop one again for a road bike, but if you are looking for a low-end hard tail to commute or a TOTAL beater then maybe.
Our local police sub-station....Gregory Taylor
Oct 4, 2002 12:24 PM
...has a pile of stolen bikes out back in a fenced-in area. Most are really crappy department store mountain and BMX-style bikes stolen by local neer-do-wells and then abandoned. The compound is open to the rain and weather, so these already rotten bikes are rendered completely worthless.

Police Auctions are usually advertised in the local paper.