Saturday, April 19, 2014

What's BAD On Craigslist this Week in Pittsburgh?


1. GT "Custom"
1. This bike was listed for 500 dollars a few days ago. It is 250 now.
2. There is NOTHING custom about the bike.
3. The description is worth more than the bike.
4. The picture of the bike with the garbage is CLASSIC.
5. Yinzer of the year award.
See The Custom GT Ad HERE


1. Bought at roadside thrift store and took pic in parking lot
2. Probably paid 40 to 50 a piece for the bikes. 
3. The dust has not even been taken off of them.
4. They need full restoration because the bearings are all fry and the cables and housing are frail and the tires are dry rotted.
5. They are worth 40 or 50 a piece.
6. An easy clean up is about 5 hours per bike. So, if the work was done they would be worth 200 a piece. 
7. Lesson. Do not buy a bike that needs TLC for 200. Buy a bike that needs TLC for 30 or 40. 
8. If you ride a bike that has not been serviced for 30 years, you will ruin it and it will be worth nothing. 

1. Not a bike.
2. Used perhaps to ride a bike but still not a bike. 
3. New Balance but not New and still not a bike. 
4. Post shoes in the shoe section- if there is one- but do not post shoes, or cars, or motorcycles, or double wide trailers in the bike section since they are not BIKES!

See the non bike HERE

What's GOOD On Craigslist this Week in Pittsburgh?

1. 1984 Trek 720
I was stunned to see a beautiful Trek 720 Touring Bikelisted on CL this week for 1000.00. Sounds like a lot of money for a 20 year old Trek, eh? Is this guy just sentimental about his bike or one of these guys who does not know the market. NO! This is a rare and highly sought after touring bike that is in excellent condition with a 45 spoke Phil Wood Rear hub and a Surly nice rear rack. The rear Wheel and the Rear rack are valued at 350.00. There were 7900 Trek 720's and 728's made from 1980 to 1985. They featured a very long 47cm rear end which allowed for lots of clearance for your heels when hauling rear bags on long tours across the country. The bikes are described as plush riding, work horses, and are highly sought after by folks who ride touring bikes and Trek collectors. So, is the bike worth 1000.00. Yes! If I had the cash right now, I would go get this bike. On fact, the price has dropped to 900.00! To find a vintage bike in this condition with the upgrades that it has on it is very rare. So, this is my number one CL find of the week.
See the Bike HERE

My 1984 build
Last year, I picked up a 1984 Trek 720 from CL. It was not pristine. In fact, the front fork was severely bent and it was missing the front brakes, the seat and the post. Last week, I found a fork to match the bike and I am in the middle of restoring this classic. Will I try to sell it for 900.00? No. It will be priced more modestly but will likely be in the mid 300's.

The owner of this bike was contacted by me. She sent me an email back asking if I was interested in restoring this bike since it belonged to her dad. What a beautiful story. I offered to the restore but have not heard back from her. This bike could be very nice if it was given the right attention.

See this classic Schwinn HERE
2. Fit Cruiser. Fit made these cruisers for a few years and then stopped making them. This one is chrome, has never been ridden, and is for sale for 400.00. Its MSRP is about 550? It was on CL for two months last year and then disappeared for the winter. Why no one has bought it is a mystery to me. Again, if I had a spare 400, I would take this bike home. It will increase in value, especially since it has never been ridden. I have a soft spot for BMX cruisers and if business goes well in the next month,  this bike will come home with me. Do I need another bike? No. But...

See this Fit Cruiser HERE

2006 DK Fury 24 inch Cruiser- FOR SALE $155.00

Race it or ride it at the trails. This very nice 2006 DK Fury 24 inch BMX Cruiser has just the right upgrades- bullet proof S&M Race Bars ($75.00), full cromo DK three piece cranks with sealed bearings, sealed headset, new cable sand housing and new grips. This bike has had a full tune up with headset and bottom bracket fully serviced, new cables, everything adjusted, wheels true. It is ready to ride and needs nothing.

NOTE: If you want to buy a bike from CL that needs "TLC" or has been ignored by its owner, you, or someone, will need to spend hours in order to make it rideable. All of my bikes are carefully built and serviced and are priced to reflect the work that has gone into them. As my gramp use to say, "You get what you pay for."

Frame: Frame 6061 Alloy with 1 1/8 headset, American BB and 3/8 drop outs. It is light, straight and clean for its age.
Forks 100% Chromoly unicrown with thread less 1 1/8 headtube and 3/8 drop outs

Bars: S&M 2 piece Cruiser Race Bars
Stem: DK Stem Trail XL 1-1/8" 1-1/8"
Headset: Upgraded to Sealed Cartridge
Tektro Lever with New Cable and Housing
Brake: Pro Max V Brake
Cranks: Vintage 1998 DK 3pc Tubular Crank Cro-mo w/pinch bolt full cromo spindle and sealed Bottom Bracket
Pedals: DK Iron Cross 9/16- Vintage 1998 rebuilt and polished
Sprocket: DK 39T Iron Cross
 With 17T Freewheel
Chain: KMC Z-410
Rims: 36h SUN ZX 25 Alloy Hubs 36h Alloy Spokes 14G Black
DK seat Moto Kevlar padded
Tires: Kenda K-rad

If it is listed it is available. I prefer inquiries that make an offer or ask for additional details rather than asking, "Is it still available?," though all inquiries are appreciated.

See the more than 65 bikes that I have built, restored and serviced in the past year. at

BMX, 2 Hip, Cult, CW Racing, Diamondback, Dirt Research, DK, Dyno, Eastern, Federal, Fit, Fly Bikes, Free Agent, GT, Haro, Hoffman, Kuwahara, MacNeil, Mongoose, Mosh, Nirve, Norco, Powerlite, Redline, Robinson, Schwinn, SE Racing, Stolen, Torker, Tree, Volume,

Emma's 1973 Kool Lemon Schwinn Continental

I bought this beautiful Schwinn from a retired couple who had just downsized and moved into a beautiful new home in the suburbs of Pittsburgh. They were apologetic about the fact that the tires were flat from sitting so long but they did not have a hand pump to fill the tires. The gentleman said that it had hung in their heated garage for 40 years and that was a long enough time for him to realize that he was just never going to ride it. He grumbled that the VETS never came to pick the bike up when he called to have the bike taken away. So, he decided to place it "in the paper" meaning Craigslist. 

I gladly handed him the $10.00 he was asking for the bike, loaded into the back of my VW Passat Wagon and headed home in a snow storm. 

This Schwinn is the same model, except smaller, as a Continental that I restored last year. And, that bike was dearly loved by my oldest daughter, Emma. I told her that if I ever found another Kool Lemon Schwinn Continental, it was hers. The minute she saw this bike, she said, "Can this one be mine daddy?" "Of course," I said. 

When Emma was 8, I had showed her a $100 dollar bill that someone had placed in my hand after a worship service. It was a generous gift that a person felt I should have due to the work we were doing in the church we had planted in South Carolina back in 2003. I explained to Emma that God always provided for us so we could trust Him. 

She said, to me, "Daddy, could I ever have 100 dollars?" 

I said, "The next time God provides me with an extra 100 dollars, it's yours." 

That was a Sunday Evening. To days later, I came home from a very long day at the church. I looked at the mail on the desk near the entrance of our home. Their, on the desk was a white envelope with my name on it. It had no return address. I opened it curiously, since it was hand written and was obviously not junk mail or a bill. There inside were five $20.00 dollar bills- $100 dollars to be exact. I laughed out load and called the family into the living room. 

Emma was a bit stunned when she saw the money and a bit more stunned when I handed it over to her. "God loves you Emma," I said. He just proved that in some miraculous way. It is still true today.  

There are some bikes that are so well kept that it is tempting to just ride them when they come in the door. This bike, at 41 years old, had not a spec of rust on it. The paint, chrome and alloy parts were abit oxidized, the tires were flat, but the chain was bikes and the chain, and the chrome rims were clean. Even the brake lines were smoothly running. But, I know that even a 40 year old bike that looks close to they way it did when it was new, if it was never ridden, is dry as a bone inside. I was correct. After taking this bike completely apart. I found that though the bearings were as clean as they were when they came off the floor from the factory in Chicago in the early 70's, they were so dry that they could barely move. One long ride on a bike with bearing this dry would literally tear them apart. So, every part on this bike was taken off and then taken apart, and cleaned, greased, serviced and polished. It was a pretty effortless venture since the bike was so well kept. It now has new Kenda High Pressure tires, new cable and housing. Other than that, this bike is 100% original right down to the reflectors. And it is beautiful.
Whether it's a ride to the pool, a daily ride along the bikeway, or a long ride over the country road, the Continental is unmatched in its class. An outstanding combination of cycling features including the diamond style carbon steel frame, 10 speed 38-to-100 derailleur gear, Twin-Stik gear shift located for convenienve and safety at the handlebar stem dual position center pull caliper brakes that provide sure stops with the touch of the the finger tips, 27" x 1 1/4" high pressure Sports Touring tires, and lightweight steel rims. Wt. 37-38 lbs., depending on frame size.
Choice of colors: Kool Lemon, Sunset Orange and Opaque Blue.
Model 322 22" frame Continental .......$116.95

Frame: Schwinn designed and manufactured diamond style durable steel.
Tubular front fork.

Wheels: Large flange quick release alloy hubs, lightweight steel rims.

Tires: 27" x 1 1/4" high pressure Sports Touring gumwall.

Handlebar and Stem: Randonneur alloy handlebar, forged steel stem.

Crank Set: Lightweight one-piece crank.
Two plateu Schwinn-Approved chainwheel 39-52 teeth.

Pedals: Reflectorized rattrap-style.

Derailleurs and Gears: Schwinn-Approved front.
GT-260. Schwinn-Approved rear. Cog: 14-17-20-24-28 teeth.

Brakes: Dual position, center pull alloy brakes. Easy adjusting brake barrels.

Saddle: Racing style.

Weight: 35 to 38 lbs. depending on frame size.
NOTE: This was considered a lightweight in 1973!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Lydia's 1976 Lime Green Schwinn Varsity Retro Mod

I brought this bike from a man who said that, "It just sat for the past 35 years in our basement." The grease on the bearings proved him right- totally clean but dry as a bone. This bike was in really bad shape when I got it. The wheel set was literally rotting with chrome so bad, even though it is Schwinn triple chrome, that it had long ago flaked off- it must have been a wet basement. When Lydia, my youngest daughter saw this bike back in August of 2013, she begged to have it. It has been hanging in the whistle shop ever since, awaiting a full make over.

Since this was going to be Lydia's everyday bike, I decided to convert the wheel set to 700C. I got a very nice set of wheels from Kraynicks, put on a 7 speed rear cassette, replaced the original Schwinn rear Derailleur with a vintage Suntour Honor and replaced the very flimsy and completlely rust bathed pedals witha set of classic platform pedlas from a late 70's Ross Cruiser. Additionally, the side pull brakes were swapped out for a nice set of Schwinn approved center pull brakes from a 1979 World Sport. Lots of challenges with the conversions but overall it turned out really nice. The bike still looks classic but is up to date in all the areas that really matter.