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  1. #1
    Senior Member Bearonabike's Avatar
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    How to price a vintage bike.

    I am considering the sale of my 1990 Trek 1200. Here's the problem, cars have the Kelly Blue Book, so do boats and planes. How do you estimate the price of a vintage bike?
    Cycling - It isn't about the bike, its about the ride.

  2. #2
    Unique Vintage Steel cuda2k's Avatar
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  3. #3
    Just keep pedalling! big_heineken's Avatar
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    I usually try to sell bikes at what I think I would pay for them. I usually list them at $20 over that and include o.b.o. Usually if it's a fair price you won't get too many lowballers. I have only sold a few bikes, but none of the buyers have tried to talk me down. I've been lucky I guess.

  4. #4
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Either you start watching your local market (if you want to sell it locally) or start tracking similar sales on ebay. It is pretty easy watching either market, just scan C/L regularly, ditto ebay completed transactions. You will need to go past just your model and look at similar bikes (similar components, era, shifters, good brands, etc.) That will give you a feel for the market. Then you have to decide whether your bike is better than the usual ones on the market, similar, or perhaps not as nice condition wise. To sell on ebay you need to be an established seller, good at marketing your bike, ready and able to ship it, with positive feedback on prior bicycle sales, or you likely will get a price well below market.

    To sell locally, you have to take some great pics, write a good ad, and spend time showing the bike (and getting a lot of no shows probably)...

    Or you can ask someone what it is worth. There are three caveats with such a request. First, every market is different, so there are areas that are red hot pricing wise, and the rest of us. Secondly, if you ask via the internet, the advice of course will not include an in person inspection. Third, there are many that will give you a price, not based on ANY recent selling experience, but just because they know.... I see several postings where "a friend told me it was worth $300". How many bikes has the friend sold

    Sometimes you still will get it wrong. Price it too high, and you will know, as it does not sell. Price it too low, and there is no problem selling, but you will never know what it was "really" worth. But if you get what you want for it, the difference between too low and the market may only be $50 or $75. So we are not talking about life altering money.

    In general, steel bikes command a higher price than alloy frames. You will see a significant difference between vintage steel Treks and aluminum frames, and many cost about the same when they were made. Buyers just prefer steel. Steel Treks are very popular right now.

  5. #5
    Seņor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    This is purely a pricing inquiry. Moving to the appraisal subforum.
    The search for inner peace continues...

  6. #6
    Senior Member miamijim's Avatar
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    I sold a mint 1200 fully refurbished for $275 about a month ago.
    WWW.CYCLESPEUGEOT.COM 2005 Pinarello Dogma; 1991 Paramount PDG 70 Mtb; 1976? AD Vent Noir; 1989 LeMond Maillot Juane F&F; 1993? Basso GAP F&F; 1989 Terry Symmetry; 2003 Trek 4700 Mtb; 1983 Vitus 979

  7. #7
    Senior Member RobbieTunes's Avatar
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    I"m no statistician, so don't be taking potshots at my logic. It works, in my world.

    1-Do your homework, like wrk101 says, on CL and eBay.
    a) Know the market in general for a similarly equipped bike. (RANGE)
    b) Figure out what differences there are in bikes above and below that range.


    2-Get specific.
    a) Know the pros of your bike inside that range above, i.e. what makes it better?
    b) Know the cons of your bike inside that range above, i.e. what makes it worse?

    3-Adjust with an eye towards attracting buyers and negotiating.
    a) Too high original price to even draw an inquiry.
    b) Too low orginal price results in quick sale, but could you have used the extra $$?)

    For example, let's take your 1990 Trek 1200. I haven't a clue what it's worth, by the way.
    1.
    a) Down tube shifting, indexed, 700c bikes are going for $100-$275, from 1985 models to 1991's.
    b) Friction shifting bikes are going for $50-$150, STI bikes are going $250-$450

    2.
    a) The Trek aluminum bikes with 105 or 600 are going towards top of a) range above.
    b) STI bikes, even with Tiagra, are going higher because of ease of use for entry-levely buyers.

    3.
    a) $325 OBO may drive away folks who can get an STI bike for that, so they don't even call.
    b) $200 firm may get you a buyer the first night, and it's gone but you could have gotten more.

    In this case, merely an example, it looks like $200 is too low, and $325 may drive away lookers, so you lower the price, to $300 OBO or thereabouts, and hope to get $250-$275.

    If you look closely, it's not rocket science, and trust your intuition. If you focus too much on any pro or con, you're getting off center. Stick to reasonable logic, and it'll sell. You may not get what you wanted, the buyer may pay more than he/she wanted, and that, then, would be a "fair market value," also defined as "an agreed cash price between an uncompelled buyer and an ucompelled seller."
    Robbie ♪♫♪...☻
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  8. #8
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    It would be really tough to get $275 for a 1990 Trek 1200 around here. As I mentioned earlier, vintage aluminum framed bikes have less interest/less market. Around here, $225 in ready to ride condition, maybe $250 to the right buyer. So I might list it at $250, and expect to get $225. If it had STI, it would be worth at least $300.

  9. #9
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    [QUOTE=1-Do your homework, like wrk101 says, on CL and eBay.
    a) Know the market in general for a similarly equipped bike. (RANGE)
    b) Figure out what differences there are in bikes above and below that range.

    3-Adjust with an eye towards attracting buyers and negotiating.
    a) Too high original price to even draw an inquiry.
    b) Too low orginal price results in quick sale, but could you have used the extra $$?
    [/QUOTE]

    A lot of good info there. I adhere to the general principles when selling, start a little high and expect to sell lower.
    A couple of times I have listed a bike at what it should sell for and people were 5 deep waiting to buy it. 1 time a guy offered me more than asking price but someone was on the way over to buy it so I said no.

    I don't think I had undervalued the bikes since I did the research and maybe asked on the BF.
    In these cases do you just shrug your shoulders and say to yourself.."self, you priced it to sell fast ?"..
    or do you ask the buyer if he would have paid more?

    I forgot to quote the part.. It's not rocket science. +1 on that since it may be the difference of $25 to $50, not $10,000

  10. #10
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    Lots of good advice in this thread. For what it's worth, I recently sold this completely rehabbed '89 1400 for $340 on Philly's Craigslist. (Basically the same as an '89 1200 except for a bonded aluminum vs. steel fork). I had plenty of interest, and the first guy to ride it snapped it up without hesitation. Just goes to show how some markets can impart a higher value on any given bike--Philly in the summertime is a seller's dream...



    "Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless, add that which is specifically your own." (Bruce Lee)
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  11. #11
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    bicycle appraisals

    I am a certified appraiser. I have been doing bicycles, cars, motorcycles, and airplanes for 20 years. I can do an appraisal on any bicycle for $50.00. I can be reached at 301-520-2109 for details.

  12. #12
    Senior Member miamijim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UraLLomax View Post
    I am a certified appraiser. I have been doing bicycles, cars, motorcycles, and airplanes for 20 years. I can do an appraisal on any bicycle for $50.00. I can be reached at 301-520-2109 for details.
    Good luck, I do appraisals for free.
    WWW.CYCLESPEUGEOT.COM 2005 Pinarello Dogma; 1991 Paramount PDG 70 Mtb; 1976? AD Vent Noir; 1989 LeMond Maillot Juane F&F; 1993? Basso GAP F&F; 1989 Terry Symmetry; 2003 Trek 4700 Mtb; 1983 Vitus 979

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by miamijim View Post
    Good luck, I do appraisals for free.
    Yeah, but you don't tell people what they want to hear and put it in writing.

  14. #14
    Vello Kombi, baby Poguemahone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UraLLomax View Post
    I am a certified appraiser. I have been doing bicycles, cars, motorcycles, and airplanes for 20 years. I can do an appraisal on any bicycle for $50.00. I can be reached at 301-520-2109 for details.
    Not worth it for most of the bikes we deal with, and certainly not worth it for an early nineties Trek. Your appraisal fee is between a third and sixth of the maket value of the bike; OP, you're likely to price it in that range anyhoo. Getting a paid appraisal at that cost on a bike like this is likely either to be a net loss or at best a net zero.

    And anything that it is worth an appraisal (eg, Rene Herse) I'd be doing a lot of research beforehand anyhoo.

    Plus, bike pricing is very market dependent right now, esp. on your basic road bike. I'd place a Trek like the OP has in the 250-300 range in the RVA market, lower than the philly market but higher than the North Carolina market (see estimates in prior posts). Probably even higher in NYC or SF. There's a good 100- 150$ value variation just in the location of the bike, frankly. Unless you can account for this, the appraisal isn't worth much.

    Frame size is also a current issue, with smaller and larger frames of the exact same bike having different values, the smaller frames being worth more, in some cases quite a bit more.
    "It's always darkest right before it goes completely black"

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  15. #15
    Senior Member miamijim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ronsonic View Post
    Yeah, but you don't tell people what they want to hear and put it in writing.
    No and yes respectively. I'll only do honest appraisals.
    WWW.CYCLESPEUGEOT.COM 2005 Pinarello Dogma; 1991 Paramount PDG 70 Mtb; 1976? AD Vent Noir; 1989 LeMond Maillot Juane F&F; 1993? Basso GAP F&F; 1989 Terry Symmetry; 2003 Trek 4700 Mtb; 1983 Vitus 979

  16. #16
    Lanterne Rouge cb400bill's Avatar
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    I don't flip many bikes, but this is some great advice. Thanks RobbieTunes.

    Quote Originally Posted by RobbieTunes View Post
    I"m no statistician, so don't be taking potshots at my logic. It works, in my world.

    1-Do your homework, like wrk101 says, on CL and eBay.
    a) Know the market in general for a similarly equipped bike. (RANGE)
    b) Figure out what differences there are in bikes above and below that range.


    2-Get specific.
    a) Know the pros of your bike inside that range above, i.e. what makes it better?
    b) Know the cons of your bike inside that range above, i.e. what makes it worse?

    3-Adjust with an eye towards attracting buyers and negotiating.
    a) Too high original price to even draw an inquiry.
    b) Too low orginal price results in quick sale, but could you have used the extra $$?)

    For example, let's take your 1990 Trek 1200. I haven't a clue what it's worth, by the way.
    1.
    a) Down tube shifting, indexed, 700c bikes are going for $100-$275, from 1985 models to 1991's.
    b) Friction shifting bikes are going for $50-$150, STI bikes are going $250-$450

    2.
    a) The Trek aluminum bikes with 105 or 600 are going towards top of a) range above.
    b) STI bikes, even with Tiagra, are going higher because of ease of use for entry-levely buyers.

    3.
    a) $325 OBO may drive away folks who can get an STI bike for that, so they don't even call.
    b) $200 firm may get you a buyer the first night, and it's gone but you could have gotten more.

    In this case, merely an example, it looks like $200 is too low, and $325 may drive away lookers, so you lower the price, to $300 OBO or thereabouts, and hope to get $250-$275.

    If you look closely, it's not rocket science, and trust your intuition. If you focus too much on any pro or con, you're getting off center. Stick to reasonable logic, and it'll sell. You may not get what you wanted, the buyer may pay more than he/she wanted, and that, then, would be a "fair market value," also defined as "an agreed cash price between an uncompelled buyer and an ucompelled seller."
    Laterally stiff yet vertically compliant.

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  17. #17
    Senior Member RobbieTunes's Avatar
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    You're quite welcome. Sorry about that game last night. The OU/OSU game is going to be huge.

    And here's the market difference that proves Poguemahone's point:
    Trek 1200 Road Bicycle - $175 (N. Raleigh)

    Date: 2009-09-05, 4:50PM EDT
    Reply to: sale-tsqan-1360205190@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]

    58 cm. Shimano RX 100 brakes and gears, 14 speeds, index shifters on the down tube, toe straps, water bottle holder. All aluminum body.
    Excellent bicycle for beginner.

    • Location: N. Raleigh
    • it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
    Robbie ♪♫♪...☻
    You will not believe how fast I used to be...

    1979 Centurion Semi Pro
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  18. #18
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UraLLomax View Post
    I am a certified appraiser. I have been doing bicycles, cars, motorcycles, and airplanes for 20 years. I can do an appraisal on any bicycle for $50.00. I can be reached at 301-520-2109 for details.
    I'm a highly reputable vintage bicycle scholar & expert, and I'm undercutting you by $5 for anyone's first Vintage Valuation, and by $10 for all additional valuations:

    'The Headbadge': Classic & Vintage Bicycle Appraisal Services



    -Kurt

  19. #19
    Senior Member miamijim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobbieTunes View Post
    You're quite welcome. Sorry about that game last night. The OU/OSU game is going to be huge.

    And here's the market difference that proves Poguemahone's point:
    Trek 1200 Road Bicycle - $175 (N. Raleigh)

    Date: 2009-09-05, 4:50PM EDT
    Reply to: sale-tsqan-1360205190@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]

    58 cm. Shimano RX 100 brakes and gears, 14 speeds, index shifters on the down tube, toe straps, water bottle holder. All aluminum body.
    Excellent bicycle for beginner.

    • Location: N. Raleigh
    • it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

    That doesnt mean anything either. Although its advertised for $175 it could be worth more. Thats like saying a Pinarello or Colnago is only worth $50 becasue it was advertised for that much or because one of us stumbled upon one at a garage sale.
    WWW.CYCLESPEUGEOT.COM 2005 Pinarello Dogma; 1991 Paramount PDG 70 Mtb; 1976? AD Vent Noir; 1989 LeMond Maillot Juane F&F; 1993? Basso GAP F&F; 1989 Terry Symmetry; 2003 Trek 4700 Mtb; 1983 Vitus 979

  20. #20
    Vello Kombi, baby Poguemahone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by miamijim View Post
    That doesnt mean anything either. Although its advertised for $175 it could be worth more. Thats like saying a Pinarello or Colnago is only worth $50 becasue it was advertised for that much or because one of us stumbled upon one at a garage sale.

    True. But put a philly price-- 340$-- on that bike in RT's market, and it ain't gonna move. In Philly, apparently multiple inquiries.

    Put $175 on that bike in RVA, which is a higher priced market, and it would be gone within the day, with multiple calls.

    I don't think anyone here denies the central point-- different markets, sometimes vastly different valuations on the same ride. Natch, individual items may be priced lower or higher, and may of us get lucky and pay well below market for some cool stuff. But most of us are at least reasonably good at searching up old bikes.
    Last edited by Poguemahone; 09-07-09 at 09:07 AM.
    "It's always darkest right before it goes completely black"

    Waste your money! Buy my comic book!

  21. #21
    Vello Kombi, baby Poguemahone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
    I'm a highly reputable vintage bicycle scholar & expert, and I'm undercutting you by $5 for anyone's first Vintage Valuation, and by $10 for all additional valuations:

    'The Headbadge': Classic & Vintage Bicycle Appraisal Services



    -Kurt
    Haw!

    I wanted to send a bike in to be appraised, but the part in the contract about the party of the first part, atsa no good.

    I've always appraised stuff for free when it's been bought to me, but I find folks are often more interested in pinnning down model details than price. They usually have one of those already in their head, and it's almost always way, way too high.
    "It's always darkest right before it goes completely black"

    Waste your money! Buy my comic book!

  22. #22
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poguemahone View Post
    Haw!

    I wanted to send a bike in to be appraised, but the part in the contract about the party of the first part, atsa no good.
    Well, then you should have come to the second party. We didn't get home 'till 3am.

    -Kurt

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