Classic & Vintage - Trek 400 for $225, worth it????
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06-18-05, 03:51 PM
I'm looking at a Trek 400 road bike with aero bar. Owner asking $225. Want to use as an introductory tri bike. Have a large family, low $$ funds and a passion to try some sprint triathlon's. If I catch the fever I'll save up for a better tri bike, but I need something to train and ride in my first 4 or 6 races. Would this vintage bike be worth it for the interim?
06-18-05, 11:05 PM
The "price" of a bike is highly related to its condition. Sometimes I see 1985ish bikes that appear to be "brand new"...probably ridden less than fifty miles in twenty years. I also see twenty year old bikes that are totally trashed out.
Take the bike to a good shop and have them give you a detailed written estimate of the cost of getting it into "like new" condition (other than the paint). Deduct their estimate from the asking price, and you would probably arrive at a reasonable offer.
I believe the 400 series sold new for close to that price! It may have sold for as much as $400 depending on components. What components are on the bike and what frame is being used? There should be a sticker on the frame seat tube near the bottom bracket that would say what the frame material and manufacture is (I think the 400 used Ishiwata 022). The 400 was a sport bike and was Treks introductory (the entire 400 series) line of bikes. Unless the bike was rarely ridden and in new condition that seems way too high; a used 400 series bike today in average condition would sell for around $50, even if it were in new condition $150 would be the max; but only you can decide if spending $225 is worth it to you.
Used bikes are tricky and subjective. Check out the "Catch of the Day" thread and you'll see scads of quality bikes found for 50$ or less. Heck, a guy found a Masi and just sold it for $500. However, not all communities have great used bike supplies, mine certainly doesn't. So hearing about all the great $10 bikes doesn't help if you can't find any of them.
OTOH a clean 400 series Trek is alot better than anything new in that range (I can only think of 1 or 2 ~300$ new bikes). If you buy it and use it as described you'll see a good return on your investment and that's sometimes all you can ask for.
Definitely negotiate before buying though. That's a top $ price and I doubt people are lining up to buy it. Start substantially lower.
06-19-05, 10:23 AM
Thank you all for the background info and your comments and suggestions. They have given me some new things to look at as I ponder this purchase.
Hard to say what it's worth as that depends a lot on condition and components; I have an original 86 Trek 400, Reynolds 531 and Trek investment cast lugs. Still rides great, though the components are in need of upgrading.
Check out www.vintage-trek.com for specs. Probably some good life left in the frame if it's in good shape....
06-20-05, 05:57 AM
Early Treks, as a rule, are very nice bikes. Personally, I'd say that 200 plus is a bit high for a 400, especially if it is true temper tubing. 100-150 would be more in line, even lower given factors like condition and frame size. I will say that used bike pricing varies wildly by geographic area, however-- if you're in a (relative) cycling hotbed like San Francisco or Seattle, the price may not be out of line.
06-20-05, 07:04 AM
Unless you find sentimental "got to have-itis" in this bike it is a bit pricey. I love the old treks (check my sig). This bike is a good bike and probably the same year as mine...or close to it. If you have the time to visit yardsales before your purchase maybe you can pickup a similar deal to what I did with this 460 which needed the obligatory tires, tubes, tape, pump/tire stuff. The bike was purchased for 35.00 so if you can wait you will likely find a better deal....or wait this seller out until he comes down a good hundred dollars.
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