Talk to people, become involved in your local bike community - more specifically, befriend people who turn wrenches and have an enormous basement cache of bikes and components; we're out there. Craigslist is often amateur hour, rife with people falling on hard times trying to get rid of bikes they paid too much for and found that they never used - and yet they want $50 dollars less than retail. Is that really what the bike is worth to them?
I have eight bikes that I ride on an everyday rotating basis and many, many more kicking around waiting for a prospective owner or for use in an upcoming project. All of them have seen any multitude of previous owners and have since been pieced together into beautifully functioning condition over the years by myself. There is nothing more rewarding (or cheap) as far as this part of my life goes than building another bike and incrementally improving upon my own design (and I'm not talking about colourways). More often than not, improving my design rarely results in me sourcing anything from the internet or otherwise spending too much on what is essentially an already incredibly cheap form of transport.
I don't care where you live, someone in your town can build you a bike on the cheap if you supply the components you want. Also, nearly everywhere, trade is a burgeoning accepted form of bartering for goods and services for those who have less - and even for those who have more, in some cases. I've done this service for many people and I live in Maine - not exactly a glimmering beacon for all things bicycle culture.
As an aside, it's rare, but people DO once in a while sell their newer IGH equipped bikes - though mostly you will find bikes of the 3-speed kickback and/or cadenceshift ("coasting") persuasion (which would be more or less passable if the wheels weren't built so cheaply). For another build I bought a '07 Bianchi Milano for $250 on the CL. That bike continues to treat me well, and (though it turned out to be in the neighborhood of the right frame size) I was ready to pay for the bike just based on the wheelset and various required igh bits. Keep your eye out on Ebay and CL. Maybe even send out a request for a complete igh bike, igh wheelset or parts on CL.
Maybe I shouldn't boast so much about my luck, though. It is most likely due to the fact that so many people buy from online retailers that I have had so much luck buying locally or through private sellers.
Cheers and have fun with your build, whichever direction you decide to go,
On Mon, Feb 22, 2010 at 8:39 PM, atgep <atgep@...>
There are lots of problems with the current global market. My Chevy was built in Mexico, the list goes on and on. Vintage is another story where you can have a fair guess where things came from.
I bought the Bikes direct Cafe Express Alfine 8 speed. After 10 months, I am still as happy as the day I got it. It is a bike built to a price point and the seller has to make money. While it is not an Italian Motbecane, it also has all modern, standard components. I have around 500 miles on my "fake" bike. I do have one wheel with a VERY small wobble. A few $ at the LBS will fix that. It has not needed anything else. It is great and was 1/4 the price of a handcrafted "nice" bike. BD was resposive to my emails, delivered faster than promised, and has my business. I don't forsee needing another bike anytime soon, but will really look at BD and not the sticker on the frame. My 2C