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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:24 am 
Old School Grand Master
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Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2012 5:17 pm
Posts: 3775
Location: Norn Iron
Evenin' all,

I want to share a few recent experiences of this addiction - and it can only be described as that. The addiction has caused me to review my garage - where do i store bikes? It has caused my wife to raise eyebrows when handlebars arrive and the look like horns! The postman is cursing me (and me him) because of his additional workload. As a newbie to the RB scene (although it does not really exist here - Norn Iron) i can RB easily using postal services and couriers. A quiet hobby.

As a newbie, i am open to exploitation - and that particularly annoys me but i expect that most people reading this have had some bad experiences. I have yet to have a problem with anyone here on RB - there have been hiccups - where a mech has broken before i received it, or where, after some research, an item, described as something, turns out not to be that thing. Currently there are two bikes for sale on RB which are not as they purport to be and it seems the seller has moved his/her sale elsewhere - lfgss. This is the difficulty as a newbie.

I have also experienced heartache at the hands of a popular auction website - i bid and the bidding rises and at the end of the auction i am outbid twice in the last two seconds - before i can even consider what has happened. The ability of an app or computer program to beat me is fine but my real annoyance is worse. Today i received two items - both 'won' in separate auctions. One - a stem which should be marked Dura Ace - has no such markings. I am pretty sure it is a DA stem but the decal is missing. I was contacted by the seller, and he offered a full refund - why? So he can resell it to another newbie? And he was worried about his feedback so he was nice. Unfortunately, i reviewed what he had described after i had bought the item and it appears that he had mentioned this defect albeit in a form of English which i did not understand. The second item was a set of handlebars - they were in good condition on the website, when they arrived i noticed that one one of them had been worn down - either by a crash or wearing against a wall. The bars will probably have to be shortened to sort this out as the round section is now oval!

In both of the above circumstances, the pics of the items failed to show the damage but, and i should emphasise this - BUT the pics showed the items in a good light. An honest mistake could not have caused these errors. So, my top tip is -

DO NOT LOOK AT WHAT THE PIC IS SHOWING - LOOK AT WHAT YOU CANNOT SEE AND THINK WHY?

My other annoyance will not be easily solved by anyone here or other forums or auctions sites. I know the reasons behind my problem but i would rather RBers try to keep to some form of contract which avoids this annoyance, so here it is -
If you are selling something eg a wheelset - please include the appropriate skewers or if it is a frame and forks - try and include the headset and BB. I understand that this is not always easy but, surely, for the buyers benefit it makes sense.

The disassemblement of bits and pieces has a long term impact - and as a buyer, it greatly annoys me. I saw headset components for sale today - on an auction site - they had been taken apart and each bit was sold separately - it was pretty obvious as it was the same seller with the same type of bits. I have to presume that this is the best way to make money out of bits but i really disagree with it. I don't mind paying the correct money for a headset but it is hard to describe my annoyance about trying to buy a set of bits to make the headset up - and the additional cost this involves.

An example which i have currently have is that two/three frames which i bought which have had the dropout adjusters removed - is it my fault for not asking if they were being sold as part of the sale? Campag ones are currently around £10 per pair so this is an additional cost to me.

That is my grumblings complete for tonight - thanks for reading.

Finally, i will add that RB has the most decent, honest and generally nice people i have come across on the net and hope that it will remain this way.

In a soppy way - LOVE YOU GUYS / GIRLS (well more the second - if i am honest!)

Thanks all,

Richard


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 2:04 am 
Retro Guru

Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2012 4:16 pm
Posts: 1568
Location: NOTTINGHAM
wholeheartedly agree with much of what you've said here - there's a fair few people on a certain auction site that are simply rinsing the market with little regard for quality. however, there are many more who are simply selling items they no longer need or want. If I see something of interest I will search under 'completed listings' first to see if that item was recently bought and it's frightening how many items are being re-sold with a BIN price just a few days or weeks later. If so, I simply avoid as it's just lining the pockets of someone who is stockpiling stuff and driving the prices up. It's the people who are selling items no longer needed that are generally the best to buy from. Have a look at their other listed items, you can get a decent idea of what they are about.

one thing you cant get away from though is that cycling / bikes is in vogue and as such you are going to encounter people who will attempt to make the most out of it - have a look at how much stuff is described as 'c-record era' - it's playing on peoples perceptions that you are buying into a golden era where every product was brilliant - it's just plain daft and again if someone describes something with some inappropriate add-on (colnago, de-rosa, masi etc) whilst trying to sell a track-pump :facepalm: then they ain't getting my money.

where this forum comes into it's own is you can get advice (and very good advice at that) on whatever today's dilemma is :roll: and then research a bit more and then decide what you need to complete (or start) your next build. I get totally bamboozled by bottom brackets, headsets, TPI's, english, italian, JIS and all that malarky but i've managed to get the right info and hence the right components. I've bought from this site and found it to be easy and haven't been let down by either product or service to date so i'd much prefer to give my money to people who are regulars on here. I've had stuff sent free of charge & I've also sent bits and pieces to people free of charge also, it's not about cash all of the time. It's nice to be helped or to help someone out.

right i'm off to sell all the tat i've accumulated :lol:


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 9:10 am 
retrobike rider
retrobike rider
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Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:08 am
Posts: 6842
Location: Nth Somerset, UK
I am a returnee rider, having been messing with mtb's since the late 80's, but a complete newbie when it comes to road bikes. I've been caught once or twice (even by a seller on RB), but the key is having a darn good look at the photo's and descriptions, 90% of the time it's right there in front of you, you just need to spot it.

I'm not too fussed about headsets and bb's in frames, as I am usually going to do my own thing with a build. But I do find it a little painful to see a profiteer taking a nice original bike and breaking it up to maximise income. That said, I have come across the same thing with vintage motorcycles, where a complete and original bike will struggle to sell, but broken for parts it enables 20 other machines to be completed, so swings and roundybouts I guess.

I do enjoy the learning aspect of this past time, educating myself about shifters or mechs or frame builders, what's hot and what's worth walking away from.

As for the bay, I set a price in my head of what I think the item is worth, and never bid past that. If someone wants to pay over the odds for something, I'll let them, as there will be another along at some point.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 9:35 am 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 3:41 pm
Posts: 55
Location: Bromley
Ebay is a nessesary evil in many ways but it is easy to forget how useful it is, I'm not old enough to remember bike building pre-ebay but I imagine it was slightly more difficult to get hold of any parts you need!

I find that in general people are fairly honest but you do have to be careful. Patience is key for ebay as eventually what you want will crop up at a decent price.

On the topic of snipe bidding (I use http://www.gixen.com) I don't see why anyone wouldn't use it! Bidding early means people reasseses their bid having seen what others as willing to pay and I find it just increases the final purchase price, if you can't beat them join them! Overall who is willing to pay the most will win anyway.

Talking of bad ebayers I won a bike on the 3rd of Feb which still hasn't been posted. How can it take that long! Allegedly they took it to the post office but they couldn't weigh it. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 10:48 am 
Retro Guru
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Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2008 11:23 am
Posts: 295
Location: London, UK
My eBay guidelines are bid once, bid high, bid late.

Bid once. There's no point putting in little bids along the way. You're just pushing the price up and attracting people who may be willing to spend more than you. The only exception to this is 99p opening bids - it often doesn't harm to put a 99p bid in just so the seller doesn't get downhearted when there's 12 hours to go and no bids, and pull the auction.

Bid high. Decide in advance the maximum possible price you would consider paying for the item under any circumstances. Not the amount that you think you'd like to pay but might exceed later, this figure needs to be your absolute maximum. Decide this well in advance, so you're not tempted in the heat of the moment to overspend. Take postage charges into account. If the price goes over this at any point during the auction (including the closing seconds), someone else is willing to pay more than you are in the cold light of day. C'est la vie - there are some rich fools out there.

Bid late. If you're going to place a bid for the maximum amount you'd be willing to pay, you want to minimise the chance others can push the bidding up that far or, worse still, outbid you. I've never used sniper sites or apps, I don't like the idea of them and I don't fancy giving my eBay login details to a shady site with no obvious revenue stream other than my personal data. So if there's something on eBay that I really want, I'm going to have to be near a good connection for the closing couple of minutes of the auction, whatever else I've got planned. It's important to plan this bit, and think it through. I know that typing in a bid amount, clicking "Place bid" then waiting to click on "Confirm", then waiting for the bid to be confirmed, takes a handful of seconds. I also know that it can take a couple of seconds to realise you've been outbid, place another bid and get it confirmed, even if you're a robot. So I try and time my one bid to get confirmed in the closing two or three SECONDS of the auction. Connection lag, server issues (eBay is slower when it's busiest, on Sunday evenings), your login expiring just at the wrong moment, your computer's clock not quite matching the eBay one (which is usually perfect GMT) all need to be taken into account. Don't be tempted to rush this bit, it's a tense time waiting to bid at just the right moment but it's quite exciting and can be very rewarding when you win the item with a second or two to go.

None of this is rocket science, it's just a bit of planning based on a little experience. It generally works for me and if the auction does end up going beyond what I was willing to pay (someone placed an earlier, higher, bid for example), I have to be philosophical about it. I hope it helps someone on RB get what they want. I'm sure there are complex auction strategies and entire eBooks on the subject but, like I say, this generally works for me. Good luck!


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 11:09 am 
Devout Dirtbag

Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2012 2:19 am
Posts: 134
Location: North-East
i've noticed alot of shill bidding on ebay on retro bikes, and bike parts.

i understand some people have to do this because with the economic climate, alot of decent stuff isnt getting what its worth and after ebay/paypal fees, its hardly worth selling. however some people are taking the mick with the shill bidding.

i bought a raleigh eclipse (reynolds 501) off ebay back in september (still expensive bike season) and i was a bit of a noob, and paid a bit over the odds for it. i then realised it had been shill bidded. the seller took an eternity to post it, and when it arrived it was missing the mudguards, had the wrong wheels, and the rear mech had took a whack in transit and was bent (poor packaging). the frame had been rubbed down with something abrasive and took a fair bit of work to tidy up. the seller would not respond to any further email. i did an ebay dispute but lost.

i was disappointed with the bike, but once i replaced a few bits and straightened the rear mech it was transformed and is now one of the smoothest reliable (and favourite) bikes i've ever ridden. then i realised the wrong wheels he had included were very sexy (campag omega) - once i started learning about the old bits. this means the high-ish price i paid for the bike was actually worth it.

its interesting how the project turned around!

the majority of used bike bits i've bought on ebay and bike forums have come exceptionally well packaged and included all accessories/bits as necessary (obviously enthusiasts as sellers). i guess i've been lucky but i have alot of experience of buying performance car parts over the years.

i recently got a tatty 1982 raleigh competition (full 531 frame and forks) off ebay for £58. it was a bit of a gamble, being incomplete and a poor listing. once i got it and completed it i realised it was a total billy bargain. again it came with campag omega wheels (both needed straightening, and a new hub/cassette/chain was needed - this was obvious from the listing so i'm not moaning).

the packaging was brilliant, seller comms were brilliant, and the bike arrived the 2 days after auction end! the seller even offered a part refund on the shipping (i let her keep it cos the bike was such a bargain). it rides silky smooth, performance is great, and it weighs only 10kg (not bad for a huge 25" bike). its tidied up really nice and didnt cost much to sort out.

my brother got a 81 raleigh rapide off the bay recently for cheap, and it is almost immaculate.

again, the listing and photos were poor (so it was a gamble) but with a new chain and cassette its sorted. its a real time warp!

it is a good time of year to buy retro bikes cheap!


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 11:15 am 
Retro Guru
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Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2008 11:23 am
Posts: 295
Location: London, UK
It's always worth asking the seller a question if you're unsure. If you get no answer, or an incoherent or un-knowledgeable one, buyer beware. eBay logs questions and answers so even if the seller chooses not to display their answer to your question on the item page, their answer still forms part of the legal contract you enter into if you win the item.

And sellers - if in doubt, always err on the side of too much information! Lots of history, lots of detail (including the flaws) and lots of photos. And then you're more likely to get lots of bids. :)


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 11:25 am 
Old School Grand Master
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Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2012 5:17 pm
Posts: 3775
Location: Norn Iron
Good morning all, thanks for the responses - so i am not alone!!! Here is then stem ad on the bay -

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Retro-Vintage ... 7675.l2557

I realised just as i won it that the pic was not clear and the description is not that clear although it hints at the fact the logo was faint. To be perfectly clear - the logo is missing - there is no trace at all of it.

Thanks for the responses.

Richard


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 3:01 pm 
Devout Dirtbag

Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2012 2:19 am
Posts: 134
Location: North-East
do you have a local signwriter who could knock you up a few small Dura-ace and shimano decals from laser cut vinyl, i have a guy i use but i normally wait till i have a few decals i need made (and forward think a bit) so he doesnt get annoyed with p1ssy little orders lol


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:08 pm 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2011 11:53 am
Posts: 93
Location: Merseyside
For me.
As a buyer - Caveat Emptor.
As a seller - I list items as if I was the buyer, especially highlighting (with photos and words) any damage/faults/missing components etc.
And as Pierre mentioned, keep all communication respectful, and through ebay mail. It's what they will draw on should there be any dispute.


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