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Posted by: sierrarod TITLE: BALLOON:   Advice for a newcomer
I want an old Schwinn ladies bike to ride for fun and to enjoy. I am looking at 2 on Ebay. A Debutante 7174301328 which has some rust but seems in pretty good condition. What do you think is a reasonable price to pay for this and do you think it would clean up well?

I~m also looking at an American Flyer 6552180068. It looks like it is going to be pricey. Again, what do you think is a fair price for this bike?

Thanks so much for your help!
Posted by sierrarod
Thanks to all of you for your help! To answer your questions and to ask a few more:
I have been looking for about 3 weeks. There are very few available in the newspapers here in central California and I have really only found Ebay to be a good resource. Ken says I can find them for under $50 but where? Any other places you can suggest? I would like a Schwinn for sentimental reasons and I want a women~s for sure. I can tell they are cheaper so that is nice! I have always loved antiques, so when my husband and I decided to get bikes to ride with our children I was drawn to an older bike. I love the character. However, my husband wants it really clean. He is not an antique lover and wants to take me down and buy me a brand new Schwinn deluxe. I~m trying to get him to buy me an old one. I am glad to clean a bike but I am not interested in a full restoration project! I just want to buy the cleaning kit, grease it (my husband will take it apart for me), maybe buy a replacement basket etc. I will not be re-painting it so paint needs to be in good shape. I want the bike to RIDE and enjoy. So I don~t want to spend more than $350. If it gets too pricey or valuable I will not feel free to enjoy it because I will be too afraid of damaging it. Are certain bikes less durable? Anything I need to be aware of? I am checking for holes and pitting, paint condition, decals etc.

Thanks to all of you for taking the time to post. I REALLY appreciate it! Keep in mind, I~m just a 43 year old housewife who wants a fun ride that has a little history!


Posted by Ken
I~ve disagreed with Gary more than once in the past but I must say you hit it right on the head this time Mr Main. Thanks for an excellent post. To the original poster: if you are patient you will be able to find a clean rider for well under $50; if you want museum quality, go ahead and pay for it.
Posted by Gary M
Some good advice. I would recommend anyone watch the game for a few weeks or more before jumping in head first. While its important to all of us that we continue to grow the bicycle collection hobby, its also important that new persons dont get their wings burnt so bad they wont play with us any more. I havent posted much lately, but i have seen the usual trend continue, as in.. A guy rushes in dragging a completly shot Schwinn Hollywood. WOW he exclaims look at this rare antique!! What can we say to him? you have a $15 bike if it was rideable, $35, nice, $100 in showroom condition, at its widest stretch? And he paid $50 for it, needing $75 worth of work and parts to make it worth $35. Far better to read these Boards, and listen, then to jump and then wonder why. That is not to say, that while strolling through a local market, you see a Pre War Western Flyer, that is so insanely cool that you cant contain yourself, that you shouldnt buy it. Just remember that some of these bikes may be worth more to you, then most other persons. If you like the bike, genuinely, and honestly, and want to ride it or restore it, thats the real value. If it makes you feel good, then you should by all means do it. I can honestly say my endeavors have not been profitable. But they have been fun! Actually the most fun i have is finding someone that needs a bike and giving them a cool older bike. I get them free, keep what i like, the rest are just waiting here for the next low income person i run into that has no bike. And as for buying old bikes? i paid $50 for a ladies 46 Schwinn a few weeks ago, more then i have paid in ages... I now have every correct part for my 46 Excelsior! Anyway, have fun, its the name of this game, and if you cant decide which of those bikes to get, wait a minute, there is 3 more comiong on tonight! One of them will catch your eye. as for pure looks? Get a Monark Silver King Hex Frame! or a Color Flow! why not get an art form as well as a funtional bike? Shelby Airflow?
Posted by Scott
I have looked at both bikes you refered to and though I~m not an expert I can say from experience haste makes waste!!! first I have a couple of questions. first how long have you been looking? have you studied to see what else is available? are you sure you want a Schwinn? and how picky of a person are you ( will you be happy with a less fancy or complete bike for cheaper in the long run, or will you not be happy unless your bike is restored correctly or a good original with "ALL" the correct parts? I am not knocking either bike nor am I suggesting that Schwinn is not the way to go. Schwinn is usually the best choice for a beginner because they are plentiful, well documented, easy to find parts for, very reliable, and always marketable if you change your mind later. there are however many other interesting manufacturers. if you are interested in old bikes in general then you owe it to yourself to look around and find out what~s out there.

now on to the bikes you are looking at. the first bike is a pretty nice, fairly original bike, but it may have holes in the front fender where that non original light is attached. these holes are fixable but at that point you are talking about re painting all or part of a nice original bike why not start with a cheaper bike that needs paint anyway which will be much cheaper and you can pick the color and options you want. also this bike has a reserve price and may go for as much or more than the other one. the pluses are the nice rack good original paint, it~s fairly complete, you only need the proper light and a horn. both parts are available fairly easily. over all this is a nice bike for someone who is willing to leave it alone and ride it as it is though I would fix the light thing if you can without repainting (leave the holes alone).the holes might even be original and or in roughly the right place.

the second bikeis much nicer with many more rare options and in better shape. it is a much more desireable bike by far and will almost surely go for much more. this bike needs nothing to be done. if you want a bike to work on then this is not the bike. you might put a wicker type basket or streamers, but I wouldn~t alter the bike significantly. I would be hesitant to even add such upgrades as a rack unless you can do so very carefully and remember if it didn~t come with it to add it is diminishing the bikes charm and originality. there is nothing worse than seeing a bike loaded down with every thing you can find room for. very few bikes came with everything. pee wee~s bike wasn~t funny if you ask me, just gross. if you want that kind of thing then again start with a bike that needs everything done anyway and have fun with it.

between both bikes the diffrernces are:
the black bike is pre-war
the green bike post-war
the black bike is not as common being the American Flyer, the green bike is fairly common being the B.F.Goodrich.
the black bike is a nicer model probably comparable to an "autocycle" or "B-6~ and has many more options and should be considered as more valuable.
the green bike is a lower model though it is a fairly well dressed version. it is comparable to a "DX" which was one of schwinn~s lower lines and is less desirable and less valuable (though you never know with eBay!!!)

as to the value of these two I could only guess. my guess however is that the black bike will probably near the $1000.00 mark and the green bike probably around $500.00 or so.
Don~t quote me its just my best guess.
the third option I mentioned earlier, a less nice bike needing more help, can be had for under $100.00 most days in most brands and models though more money will be required later in the process and more time before you~re riding.

my advice if you are truly a beginner is to do your homework first, let a few go by, get a feeling what they go for and what~s out there. be patient. and if you want it, and can afford it, then go for it and don~t look back. just ask yourself while riding it, was it worth it, not did I get a good enough deal.
I hope this will be helpful, and that I was not too opinionated, or just plain wrong.
thanx for reading. Scott

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