Classic and Vintage Bicycles: What's it Worth? Appraisals and Inquiries - Lotus Challenger
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04-23-12, 11:43 AM
My fiance is looking at a 4th generation Lotus Challenger (I think that makes it an '88) that has been converted to cruiser bars. It's at a reputable shop, and they include a full tune-up, including any necessary replacement cables and such, before the bike leaves the floor. They also include a 30-day tune-up after the sale. They want $300. I would never pay that much on craigslist, but it has the bars she wants and includes professional tune-ups. What do you guys think?
This isn't the actual bike, but it looks identical apart from the bars and size:
- Tange 900 frame tubing
- Tange Cromolite fork
- Araya alloy 27" wheels
- Sakae crank
- Shimano SIS derailleurs
Price is off the charts silly, unless you are in a red hot market. Tange 900 + 27 inch wheels + stem shifters = pretty basic.
As far as buying from a shop, that can mean less than you think. I have sold bikes on consignment at shops. I do all the work, they just put it out there. While I have to pay them a 25% fee for the trouble, they charge 2X what I charge, so I still end up way, way ahead. If they weren't so flaky, I'd probably supply them a lot more bikes.
04-23-12, 08:38 PM
$300 for turkey levers and stem shifters? A similar bike off craigs with a prof tune up and bar upgrade shouldn't approach $200.
04-23-12, 08:38 PM
I have a Lotus Challeger of earlier vintage, around 1986. It's a VERY nice, tight riding bike, noticably better than the entry level Raleighs, Schwinns and yes, even the entry level Nishikis I've had. I have no idea why but it is. I keep thinking I'd like to lube it, and sell it (for around $150) but I just don't seem to find the time to complete it. Hmm, I wonder why.
Still, $300 is high for a former entry level bike, even an upper entry level.
But if it's the bike she wants, and if it's understood that you're paying a premium, sometimes you just get tired of looking when someone has what you want. I'm just letting you know, IMHO, the Lotus Challenger is a nice bike.
04-23-12, 08:40 PM
I agree with wrk101, the price seems high for a Challenger. But we all know that having the bike professionally serviced with a warranty adds to the value. It doesn't take long to sink $100.00 into a bike. Plus, if you (she) really likes the bike that is worth something too. I think the bike market in Philly is pretty strong. There is one regular reader of the site from the DC area that reconditions Lotus Internationals and Challengers and sells them for over $300.00 quite often. Check out the 1988 Lotus International on my Featured Bicycles page, it's one of his bikes and I think he got $350.00 for it.
Tange 900 is decent double butted tubing and Lotus used that all the way up to the Excelle. The bike has mostly all aluminum components of reasonably good quality. In my opinion the weakest part of the bike is the stamped drop outs. (I think '88 had stamped, you had to go up to the Challenger SX to get forged). The members of this forum are very price savvy, but the majority of people I encounter from the website have spent more for their bikes than this forum would deem acceptable. But the people are happy, so what if they spent a hundred dollars "too much" for their Lotus as long as they are happy.
It's a Lotus and I believe they never built a bad bike.
04-23-12, 10:22 PM
Thanks for the advice, everyone. I think she is going to pass on it after all, but we will keep our eyes peeled for a Lotus in the future.
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