If you browse the bike section of Boston Craigslist often enough you’ve probably heard of bikes and accessories for sale at the Cambridge Antique Market, near Lechmere. To me the bikes listed/pictured had always came across as yard sale junkers that would be good for beating around campus and no much else. Never really piqued my interest.

Well I finally had a chance to go out to east Cambridge this past weekend and see what the deal was over there. I was totally pleasantly surprised! In the basement of this building are 40 or so road bikes, mostly 80s and 90s bikes, but some stuff goes back to the 60s or earlier.

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The prices, compared to what goes on Craigslist, are really reasonable, especiallyconsidering that these bikes have been tuned and sometimes built up from recycled parts. Most tags I saw were $120-160.

Here’s a shot of Vin and Ed at work. They respectively operate Menotomy and Shawsheen, and last March teamed up to run the shop together. Right now they may be my only good lead for an affordable quality frame to build up on my own.

Another really awesome thing worth checking out is the price query tool Vin wrote up. Type in a search term and get back list of archived craigs-listings nationwide. It’s not necessarily current (use Crazedlist for that) but the point is to get a gauge for market price of a bike model. tip: keep your search terms short and simple, the engine isn’t as sophisticated as google — “San Jose Bianchi” will get you no results, “Bianchi San Jose” returns many. I’ve actually been using it since I discovered it about a month ago alongside with browsing for stuff on CL and ebay.

It can also be a lot fun to see just how much someone will inflate and then lower their price if no one bites. check this out:

, and….

All I can say is, O RLY?? results are in reverse chronological order, obviously.

Hey, let this be a warning to buying bikes on Craigslist. There is wicked speculation out there. I really wouldn’t recommend buying off craigslist unless a) you’re spending less than $75, b) you know a lot about bikes and/or how to work on them, or c) you have confidence that the seller knows about bikes and is giving you a fair deal. Most people are better off getting a used (tuned) or refurbished (overhauled) bike in a shop that will offer some kind of warranty.

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