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  1. #1
    Crawlin' up, flyin' down bikingshearer's Avatar
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    1975 Eisentraut. Really. (Pic heavy)

    Here's one you don't see every day. And I need your thoughts as to a fair value.











    It's an Eisentraut. It isn't a Model A, it isn't a Limited, and it isn't a Rainbow. Don't know the angles. The seat tube is 64cm ctc, top tube is 57cm ctc (yeah, it's that short), the wheelbase is 104cm, the seat stays are 44cm. And check out the unusual pump peg treatment.

    A friend is the original owner and is looking to sell. I'm very interested, but I'm not sure what to offer. I do not want to low-ball my friend, and he does not want to overcharge me. Yes, I know how cool Eisentrauts are, although I would have liked it to have the uber-cool "Albert Eisentraut" downtube decals. In any event, I am at something of a loss to come up with a value that is fair to both sides.

    My friend says he bought it new in 1974. The serial number says it was really 1975, Close enough for government work

    No tubing decal, but I have read that Eisentraut would mix and match tubes from different sets to achieve desired results, so that is not a surprise. Nervex lugs, which does surprise me little, as every other Eisentraut I can remember seeing had much simpler lug designs.

    This bike was riden a lot, but never raced. It was crashed twice many moons ago, and all indications are it is not any the worse for it. Paint is in good shape for its age, but it defenitely shows signs of wear. The purists will say it has a good patina.

    It is a vertible time-capsule of the non-Campy state of the art circa 1975. IT has
    -- First-gen Dura Ace crank and brakes (note the drop bolt on the rear brake).
    -- SunTour Cyclone FD and RD (silver and black)
    -- Rigida 27" rims
    -- Hi-E hubs (and when was the last time you ran into those?)
    -- 3ttt stem
    -- Sakae bars (original 3ttt's bent in a crash)
    -- DiaCompe brake levers (ditto), although I have a pair of First-gen Shimano DA levers I could put on.
    -- Brooks Professional saddle, in used but excellent shape
    -- SR Campy-copy seat post
    -- Campy road pedals
    -- Campy headset
    -- SunTour barcons

    So, folks, whatcha think?
    Last edited by bikingshearer; 01-17-11 at 12:39 PM. Reason: Correcting the make of the brake levers. My bad.
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  2. #2
    Crawlin' up, flyin' down bikingshearer's Avatar
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    A few more pics.





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  3. #3
    Vello Kombi, baby Poguemahone's Avatar
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    It's quite similar in a lot of the build details to mine, minus the Nervex lugs. Mine is from 1973, largely first gen dura ace.



    Pricing on these is hard, because they ain't that common. I will say mine is one bike I would not sell unless or until my legs fall off. The large size holds the price down.

    I would expect to pay 500-1000$ for one. I didn't pay that much for mine, but I probably would now that I've ridden it.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member miamijim's Avatar
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    I'm not into them or a fan of them in general but they seem to have a nice following. I was expecting a higher number than what Poguemahone suggested, perhaps $500-750. I'd offer your friend $500. The big size limits its value.
    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

  5. #5
    Vello Kombi, baby Poguemahone's Avatar
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    I've found the ride to be simply amazing. Eisentraut often mixed tubesets with a purpose. Mine is comfortable, but a nasty quick accelerator and probably the most all-round wicked climber I've ever ridden. Seriously.

    The best moment I ever had a bike was on the above bike. I was climbing a hill, and passed a guy on a Lightspeed. From behind me I heard the astonished gasp, "how old is that bike?"

    That alone is worth my estimate. . I think it is ballpark, although I notice American customs go for less than high end Italians. Go figure.

    (For the record, I paced the Lightspeed guy. He was quite nice.).

    Mine is sorta rare, it was made for a race team in DC, hence the "CID" designation.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member rekmeyata's Avatar
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    There is some minor surface rust in some areas, that detracts a little. But Eisentraut made some of the the best bikes in America, and taught most of the famous bike makers here how to to make frames! So this bike is not just a so so deal. $500 is a good offer, not sure if the components are original or not, they seem kind of hodge podge to be original. The problem with offering a friend $500 is two things, either it will insult him and your no longer his friend, or he'll think it's too much and wonder why and get him to think he could sell it for more and your not telling him something. I would attempt to push him into saying a price then if that fails offer the $500. The bike is easily worth $500 and probably closer to $750 for just the frame alone in that condition. But since I rarely see these bikes I could be way off. There's a couple of large frames on E-Bay right now but so far there's been no bids but there's 6 days left.

  7. #7
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    As a bike, $550.

    As parts? more. unfortunately that is the way it is.
    If it was smaller it would be worth more, mainly due to the Nervex lugs.
    This is basically the first pass at the Limited. Most I have seen have had LTD on the downtube and the other shown has.
    The "A" frame have more of a following, where a frame set could fetch $1,000.

    Forgot to mention the Weyless hubs, Designing the Future....

  8. #8
    Senior Member afilado's Avatar
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    I think $500-600 is about right. For the right person/buyer.

    I don't see anything from these pictures that definitively shows the refined, masterful hand of Albert Eisentraut himself. I've never seen Nervex on an Eisentraut before.

    It's likely an apprentice made bike that he supervised/approved. That doesn't diminish the ride characteristics. I just don't think it's a "signature" frame/fork.

    BTW, the hubs are Weyless, not Hi-E.

    Oops, didn't see repechage post before posting my own. He's a smart man. Great minds and all that..........

    J

    P.S.

    An Eisentraut built by the man himself is on my short list of bikes to spend the necessary money to acquire. I have a ready fund in waiting.
    Last edited by afilado; 01-17-11 at 09:51 PM. Reason: add script

  9. #9
    Crawlin' up, flyin' down bikingshearer's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the opinions, insights, observations and opinions. Your comments have been both helpful and interesting. Keep 'em coming, people. The more info I get, the better.

    Now for some responses to points raised.

    Quote Originally Posted by Poguemahone View Post
    It's quite similar in a lot of the build details to mine, minus the Nervex lugs.
    Agreed. Other than the lugs, the two main differences I see are (1) the way the seat stays are joined to the seat cluster and (2) the wheelbase and chainstay lengths. I know I have never before seen an Eisentraut with a wheelbase that long, either in person or in photos.


    Quote Originally Posted by Poguemahone View Post
    Pricing on these is hard, because they ain't that common.
    Again, agreed. That's why I came here for the reality check. I have drooled over a few Eisentrauts over the years, but fixing a price for this one without actually putting it up for auction is tough. I'd feel a lot more comfortable coming up with an estimate for a Model A, but I've never seen any kind of Eisentraut like this one before.


    Quote Originally Posted by rekmeyata View Post
    There is some minor surface rust in some areas, that detracts a little. . . . not sure if the components are original or not, they seem kind of hodge podge to be original.
    Yes, there is some rust; certainly not enough to scare me off, and nothing that elbow grease won't take care of. I've seen a lot worse in C&V postings that had folks (me included) panting with lust and desire.

    As for the components, they are all original except for the bars and brakes levers (well, and likely the consumables - chain, tires, tubes, etc.), meaning they are what the original owner picked. This was bought as a frame and fork (and maybe headset - that I don't know), and the original owner/seller had it built up with "bang for the buck" in mind, meaning he wanted good performance without the Campy price tag. I'd say he did pretty darn good in that department. So yes, it is a hodge-podge of parts, but that was more or less by design.


    Quote Originally Posted by repechage View Post
    This is basically the first pass at the Limited.
    Not sure I agree with this. Limited's had tighter geometery, based on the less-than-pefect photos in Classic Rendezvous http://www.classicrendezvous.com/USA.../Eisen_Ltd.htm and my hazy memory. You could be right, though.


    Quote Originally Posted by afilado View Post
    I don't see anything from these pictures that definitively shows the refined, masterful hand of Albert Eisentraut himself. I've never seen Nervex on an Eisentraut before.

    It's likely an apprentice made bike that he supervised/approved. That doesn't diminish the ride characteristics. I just don't think it's a "signature" frame/fork.
    Can you expand on that? Anything in particular you are seeing or not seeing to lead you to that thought? Anything that I could try to post better photos of? This is not me challenging you, this is me hoping to learn something.

    BTW, I have never seen a Nervex-lugged Eisentraut in person before, but there is one in CR. http://www.classicrendezvous.com/USA...ntr_BrucVR.htm. The CR one is much more recent than the one I pictured above, though.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member rekmeyata's Avatar
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    I would buy it that's for sure, assuming it fits of course. Those bikes are very difficult to find, and the frames I saw on E-bay looked way worst condition then yours, but no telling what the sell price will be on those yet. But just due to the rarity and the quality workmanship that Eisentraut was known for, regardless if a apprentice made it or not, it was still made under the watchful eye of Eisentraut. Eisentraut is just as good as a Richard Sachs bike and people will spend a mint for those but most don't really know who Eisentraut is, but a Sachs bike has a weird mystique to it for some unknown reason. From what I understand Eisentraut is still alive and still making bikes!

    I agree the rust is very minor and easily cleaned up, just get some touch up paint when done removing it to prevent it from reoccurring.

    Let us know if you get it. That is one of those bikes that I hope when you get it you don't turn it around and sell it, because you will be sorry...very sorry.

    By the way if you want you can call him and fax him a pic of the bike and have him tell you about it. His fax and phone number is: 510- 452- 4485. If you do that let us know what he says.
    Last edited by rekmeyata; 01-18-11 at 05:55 AM.

  11. #11
    Vello Kombi, baby Poguemahone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rekmeyata View Post
    Let us know if you get it. That is one of those bikes that I hope when you get it you don't turn it around and sell it, because you will be sorry...very sorry.
    +1.

    It's worth keeping in mind he was a custom builder, so differences between frames aren't unexpected. We're really not talking production line here, so the wheelbase or other things might shift from customer to customer. Mine is tighter, but that's got to do with the bike's intended use. Fancy Nervex lugs could have been ordered by the customer; as well as the triangular window cut-outs on the lugs (mine has this as well, but the lugs are plainer). My fork crown is Nervex, though.



    The ebay bikes are interesting.

    Again, the large frame holds the price down. I don't think a 750$ offer is out of line, or a 500$. Perhaps the two of you should just sit down and hash out a price, one that you can both live with. Be honest, as well-- what do you intend to do with the bike? If you intend to ride it until your legs fall off, tell him; likewise if you intend a resale. One of the hallmarks of a friendship is you can work out this sort of issue equitably. We can sit here and type in figures for you, but you two know and hopefully trust one another.

    On the components, keep in mind the bike was ordered as a frame, so just about anything goes. The buyer picked out the group. Mine is mostly Dura-Ace, with a Sugino crankset, Ideale saddle, Stronglight headset. It had 3t bars, stem, and post. The 3t stuff on mine was replaced.
    Last edited by Poguemahone; 01-18-11 at 06:56 AM.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poguemahone View Post
    It's worth keeping in mind he was a custom builder, so differences between frames aren't unexpected. We're really not talking production line here, so the wheelbase or other things might shift from customer to customer. Mine is tighter, but that's got to do with the bike's intended use. Fancy Nervex lugs could have been ordered by the customer; as well as the triangular window cut-outs on the lugs (mine has this as well, but the lugs are plainer). My fork crown is Nervex, though.
    As repechage points out, this is not, in fact, a custom Eisentraut, but rather an early version of the "Limited" production model. The basic geometry and design will not vary customer-to-customer, but will be the same for a given frame size. The Nervex lugs were not ordered by the customer, but were an option on the early Limiteds. The difference between an A-frame and a Limited, for many collectors and fans of fine framebuilding, is significant, hence the price difference. There's an early A model Eisentraut custom on ebay now, which has the lugset Eisentraut personally deisgned, with the ultra-cool cast-in bottom bracket cable giudes, as well as Eisentraut's signature paper-thin lugs, which influenecd a generation of American framebuilders, and the famous fast-back stays:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Early-Custom-Eis...35521950187651

    The difference in value between the OP's frame and the ebay one is, in my view, significant. Both are large frames, though the OP's is larger. Let's see how the ebay frame does.

    (BTW, I am pretty certain Albert is not longer personally building frames.)
    Last edited by Picchio Special; 01-18-11 at 07:58 AM.

  13. #13
    Senior Member bobbycorno's Avatar
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    FWIW, the Limited touring frames all came with Nervex lugs. The racing models had Prugnat long-points of one style or another.

    SP
    Bend, OR

    ps - my Limited tourer was 65x58cm with a 73.5 deg seat angle.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobbycorno View Post
    FWIW, the Limited touring frames all came with Nervex lugs. The racing models had Prugnat long-points of one style or another.

    SP
    Bend, OR

    ps - my Limited tourer was 65x58cm with a 73.5 deg seat angle.
    I indeed misspoke - or mistyped. Thanks for the correction.

  15. #15
    Senior Member afilado's Avatar
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    Some great information here. And it can be confirmed in the modest but significant bit of documentation available in various places online.

    I called his published telephone number about 3-4 years ago. Within 3 rings Albert Eisentraut himself answered the phone.

    Taken aback , I threw a bunch of questions at him about a particular bike I was considering buying. He was grudgingly receptive but pretty quickly became impatient with me and told me that he was more and more turning his operation over to his son and was not in the best position to be helpful. He did say directly that he was no longer regularly building frames.

    As Picchio says, the difference between the Limited and the "A" frames is palpable. And then there's the Rainbow. I was offered a chance to buy a TIG welded bike awhile back and wasn't that excited by it.

    If one looks at the roster of the well known builders who worked their way through his tutelage it should be apparent that the "production" bikes, i.e. the Limited, are desirable, and no doubt each one had the approval of Mr. Eisentraut before sale. Still, I believe, in most cases a close examination will reveal the qualitative differences and complete, imaginative, customized - dare I say flawless - balance of constituent parts that Albert insisted on from himself. He is an artist who crafted bicycles.

    Obviously, others followed but he was likely the first in America to hew that elevated path.

    I'm no expert, having laid hands on only three actual bikes - all memorable. The rest I know is from literature. I think Eisentraut built frames are brilliantly alive and artful. Maybe if he had been more dramatic and had died young, having built fewer bikes, he might be spoken of in the same breath as Confente. His bikes certainly breath the same air.
    Last edited by afilado; 01-18-11 at 11:20 AM. Reason: grammar

  16. #16
    Senior Member rekmeyata's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Picchio Special View Post
    (BTW, I am pretty certain Albert is not longer personally building frames.)
    He still has an active DBA (business name), address and phone number, see: http://www.classicrendezvous.com/USA...traut_main.htm So he has all the appearances of still being in business, but I didn't call the number either. Even if his son is now doing the frame building, that's good enough, what better then to have a son who was around the teacher for many years learning the trade? Maybe Albert just does day to day operational activities like bookkeeping? I wonder how many bikes a year they build, because it seems like not that many people know about Eisentraut.
    Last edited by rekmeyata; 01-18-11 at 11:16 AM.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by afilado View Post
    If one looks at the roster of the well known builders who worked their way through his tutelage it should be apparent that the "production" bikes, i.e. the Limited, are desirable, and no doubt each one had the approval of Mr. Eisentraut before sale. Still, I believe, in most cases a close examination will reveal the qualitative differences and complete, imaginative, customized - dare I say flawless - balance of constituent parts that Albert insisted on from himself. He is an artist who crafted bicycles.
    This was the hitch - and it's a not uncommon one: talented apprentices with a modicum of ambition want to strike out on their own. Meaning continual retraining, and an ebb and flow in the quality of the finished product. Some Limiteds were built by Bruce Gordon, others by less talented guys. So it's frame-by-frame as to quality - Eisentraut himself apparently discontinued the Limited precisely because he couldn't guarantee the quality because of the labor issues, and he wasn't entirely satisfied with everything that went out the door. Then again, he's probebly a perfectionist.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by rekmeyata View Post
    I wonder how many bikes a year they build, because it seems like not that many people know about Eisentraut.
    Al Eisentraut is pretty widely known in the vintage/handbuilt bike world, in my experience. I don't think Eisentraut has done much to market the bikes - the absence of a website is a good indication of that (there used to be one). They don't show at NAHBS. Most people want a bike built by the master, regardless of whether his son learned from his dad or not - at least until the son does something to build his own reputation and claim his own space. I'd personally rather have a bike by one of Eisentraut's other apprentices - Gordon or Nobilette, for example.

  19. #19
    Vello Kombi, baby Poguemahone's Avatar
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    There is a good chapter on Eisentraut in the old book "The Custom Bicycle".

    He also wrote a chapter on frame building/design for Tom Cuthbertson (sp?) in the book "Bike Tripping".

    Both are worth digging up.

    Interesting stuff about the Model As and the Limiteds here.
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  20. #20
    Crawlin' up, flyin' down bikingshearer's Avatar
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    Once again, C&V comes through. Lots of great info here. I've always been an Eisentraut fan, and I've learned a lot here. I have a pretty good idea of what to tell my friend and where to go from here. Many, many thanks, all.
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  21. #21
    Senior Member bibliobob's Avatar
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    This thread is why I still love the BF C and V.
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    Senior Member bobbycorno's Avatar
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    Now that I've seen the pics (couldn't see 'em at work yesterday), I can say without doubt that that bike is definitely a Limited touring bike. And a right pretty example.

    Just like the one I had, except for the color. Same size, even. And the serial number is 75L xxx, right? The "L" is for Limited.

    Oh, and I paid $375 for my frame on eBay, about 10 years ago.

    SP
    Bend, OR

  23. #23
    Crawlin' up, flyin' down bikingshearer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobbycorno View Post
    Now that I've seen the pics (couldn't see 'em at work yesterday), I can say without doubt that that bike is definitely a Limited touring bike. And a right pretty example.

    Just like the one I had, except for the color. Same size, even. And the serial number is 75L xxx, right? The "L" is for Limited.

    Oh, and I paid $375 for my frame on eBay, about 10 years ago.

    SP
    Bend, OR
    Based on the great knowledge of our fellow C&Vers, I had reached the same conclusion. Your post ices it, especially with the serial number. Thanks.
    "I'm in shape -- round is a shape." Andy Rooney

  24. #24
    Crawlin' up, flyin' down bikingshearer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Democratic Peoples' Republic of Berkeley
    My Bikes
    1967 Paramount, 1982-ish Ron Cooper,1986 De Rosa Professional, 1978 Eisentraut "A," 1961 BianchiCompetizione, 1994 Trek 520, 199? Burley Bossa Nova
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    Quote Originally Posted by repechage View Post
    This is basically the first pass at the Limited.
    It appears you were right, repechage. I had no idea that there was such a thing as a touring Limited. Now I know. Please forgive me for ever doubting you.

    Or don't. See if I care.
    "I'm in shape -- round is a shape." Andy Rooney

  25. #25
    Going on a Paramount Hunt TIOS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    San Francisco Bay Area, CA
    My Bikes
    1987 Eisentraut Rainbow Trout, 1970? Coppi, 1986 TREK 500 Tri Series, 196? Legnano Super Sport, 1993 Klein Rascal
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    Hey Bikingshearer, hoping you are successful in acquiring that Eisentraut. My 1987 Eisentraut Rainbow is next door here in El Cerrito and we'll have to get together. An early touring Limited would be a nice catch. Mine is a decade + later but if you want to check it out let me know.
    TIOS = The Illusion of Speed
    1987 Eisentraut Rainbow Trout
    1986 Trek 500 TRI SERIES
    1993 Klein Rascal

    "...Because I don't know what I'm talking about..."

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