As I cruise craigslist daily, I often check out the regular bike sellers just to see what they have acquired. We spend much of our time in search of just the right bike to rebuild. I get jealous when, someone beats me to a nice old lugged bike, or some Dura Ace equipped bike that sold way too cheap. Some of these guys post regularly on CL, I really don't know they find the time to post as much as they do. Many seem to be stuck on the phase "ready to ride". Some also are big on the words de-greased and re-greased. A writer from Chicago Magazine can in recently and interviewed us. He asked what should one look for when purchasing a used bike. I told to look out for guys who said their bike was "fine tuned" a term who's hidden meaning is "bullshit". Another one to look out for is "ready to ride". It's a copied term that gets used way too often. It's hidden meaning is " I haven't fucking touched the bottom bracket, so don't ask". At the time of this post, I used keywords ready to ride on a CL bike search and got 79 matches. My advice, beware!
A twenty plus year old bike, with twenty plus year old wheels? No mention from any of these guys about spoke re-tension. On single speeds, look out for guys who failed to mention if the rear wheel was re-spaced or re-dished. It takes a lot of time and patience. It's needed in most every case, It make for a straight chainline. Prevents premature chain wear and most importantly, keeps the chain from falling off. Below is a photo of and incorrect chainline. It's way too far to the left.
It's easy to put a bike out sale at $200 bucks if you don't put any time or money into it. Below is an example of a good chainline. Checkout the spacing.
To do a good rebuild, one should really replace the wheels, unless they were really nice double eyeleted ones used on higher end models. I'm gonna start sending these guys emails asking, what the fucks up with the old ass wheels? Gotta check their asses. Shits outta control.