Minneapolis Police Bicycle Auction

Peeps are always asking me where they can buy cheap bikes.

ANSWER: Minneapolis Police Auctions.

About once a month, the Minneapolis Police Department auctions 100 bikes.  Because I strive to provide y’all with useful content, I recorded the sale price of all 100 bikes auctioned this afternoon, and created the following histogram (click to enlarge) and descriptive statistics:

Sum = $6,590
Max = $550 (Bianchi Veloce, a rare find….)
Min = $5
Average = $67  ($62, not including the Bianchi, a statistical outlier)
Median = $50
Mode = $30

Nevermind my date error on the histogram, you perfectionists.  I transcend time.

So…. these are pretty cheap bikes!  All of them are “rideable,” although you should pretty much plan on anything you buy needing a full tune-up, so if you’re going to pay someone to do that, you’ll have to factor that into the cost.  Regardless of what you pay at the police auctions, I almost always feel like everyone gets a good deal.  If you’re looking for any old bicycle just to ride around town, the police auction is the pace to go – for sure.  Mechanically solid bikes (even if they need a little tune-up to reach their full potential) are routinely selling for $30-$70.

Note: The sample size is 98, rather than 100, because I missed one sale price (hey, it was loud in there, ok? gimme a break!) and because one of the auction items was a non-bicycle (it was a razor scooter that sold for $7).

4 comments to Minneapolis Police Bicycle Auction

  • Sweet. I'll be there next month.

  • I think Police Auctions are a gift from God! If I decide to purchase a bike, I'll be there. Right now I'm saving to buy a car from one, but surely a bike is more in reach 🙂

  • Eric

    If I go, about how long does an auction take? I have looked at a pre-auction list of bikes and there are a lot of huffys and magnas for every one "good" bike

  • @Eric – The viewing begins at 4:00. The auctions begin at 6:00 (at which time you can no longer view the bikes up-close – they hold it up front so you can see what you're bidding on) and end by 7:00. If you successfully bid on a bicycle, you can pay for the bike and leave at any time – so if you buy the first bike on the list, you'll be out the front door by 6:05. If you buy a bike and wait until the end to pay for it and collect your bike, the line to pay can get a little backed up, so you might not be out the door until 7:30 or so.

    You're right – there are a lot of low end bikes at these things. Usually, they sell for somewhere in the $20-$40 range. I have always felt like the prices at any quality level, though, are quite reasonable.