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  1. #1
    Senior Member jjhabbs's Avatar
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    Does Size Matter?

    Curious my fellow retro bike geeks, When it comes to value I see that some of you use the framesize as a variable on price. I'm trying to understand why that is. Size is size. If less people ride a 21 inch frame does it make your bike worth less. The person that needs that size will pay for it if the bicycle is worth it. Just curious...Love to hear other opinions.

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    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    If more people ride a size, it'll move faster, so you could price it higher. If less people ride the size (even if that one person who finds it is super desirous of it and might pay more because it's hard to find), it'll probably take him longer to match up with you, so it's a sunk cost until you find each other, so it may not be worth the cost of a restore. And I say this as a taller person who finds the 22.5" he currently rides to be too small.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member zukahn1's Avatar
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    Also size can be a indicator of a better quality bike. As most makers only made higher end bikes in the semi custom really large or small sizes. I have also found that smaller womens sizes often get a premium in vintage road bikes as a lot more women are riding road bikes now as compared to when they where made.

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    +1. Common size equal higher price. Less common sizes equal lower prices. A knowledgeable person needing a small bicycle will know the seller has less opportunites to sell it and will low-ball his offer. Basically, the less common the size, the more the opportunity for the buyer to haggle on price and most likely get it at a discount. Of course, these rules of thumb are applicable primarily to local selling and even then, there are exceptions. Things like Ebay open up a potential global market.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Miyata110's Avatar
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    Basic supply and demand - I think T-Mar has it right. In any given local market, demand for C&V is going to be relatively limited, add in an odd size frame and you demand drops further still. Lower demand = lower price. This isn't definitive - maybe there are several 5'4" people in your area looking for a high end 19" C&V. Probably not though.

  6. #6
    Senior Member randyjawa's Avatar
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    It has been my experience that only big frames command lower prices. The smaller framed vintage road bicycle actually sell for more because they are smaller. Why is this?

    Big demands a big body for fit and big bodies are not at all common. Small frames demand a smaller body to fit, and there were not that many sold to a primarily male clientele in the Old School days. However, today, ladies like to get vintage road bicycles, the same as guys do. With that in mind, the demand for smaller frames, to fit today's woman, is much higher that is the demand for big frames. Hence, the final value prices are reflected by the supply and demand thing.

    Little demand for really large frames because there are fewer potential customers. Great demand for smaller frames that were rare even in Old School days. So, the demand for small frames is present today and there are a lot more people (mostly female) who seek such bicycles.

    That is the way I see it, anyway.
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  7. #7
    Vello Kombi, baby Poguemahone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post
    It has been my experience that only big frames command lower prices. The smaller framed vintage road bicycle actually sell for more because they are smaller. Why is this?

    Big demands a big body for fit and big bodies are not at all common. Small frames demand a smaller body to fit, and there were not that many sold to a primarily male clientele in the Old School days. However, today, ladies like to get vintage road bicycles, the same as guys do. With that in mind, the demand for smaller frames, to fit today's woman, is much higher that is the demand for big frames. Hence, the final value prices are reflected by the supply and demand thing.

    Little demand for really large frames because there are fewer potential customers. Great demand for smaller frames that were rare even in Old School days. So, the demand for small frames is present today and there are a lot more people (mostly female) who seek such bicycles.

    That is the way I see it, anyway.
    Pretty much this. I would ad that size and fit theories have shifted some over the years, and if you walked into a shop twenty or so years ago you would be fitted to a larger bike than you would today. So I believe more large frames were built in the past, relative to today.

    In addition, small frames demand a premium. They're not hard to move at all. I don't think I've ever kept one for an extended time while trying to sell. The same is not true of larger frames.
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  8. #8
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    On road/racing bikes: small sell for a premium, anything under 21 inches. And the smaller you go from there, the higher the premium. Large sell for a discount, anything over 24 inches. Even 21 inch can enjoy a slight small frame premium.

    Its simple supply and demand. Back when vintage bikes were being built, bike companies marketed really basic bikes like step throughs to female riders. "Mens" bikes started big. Check out some of the old Schwinn catalogs. In the 1970s, a "small" mens bike was a 22 inch, a medium was a 24 inch, and a large was 26 inch.

    Nowadays, riders are being sized onto smaller bikes, and I see a large influx of women triathletes, looking for small to extra small racing bikes. Its all about supply and demand. Back in the 1970s, I was sized to ride a 24 inch frame. I now ride a 22 inch.

    While the number of riders that will fit an 18 inch frame bike is limited, the supply of small frame bikes is much more limited. Try finding an 18 inch steel Trek (usually their smallest size was 19 inch). I had one. Buyer drove four hours one way to get it. From my meager research, only one vintage Trek model came that small (there were probably more, but I haven't looked at every single catalog).

    Different than TMar, I never haggle on small frame bikes. No need. I run out of supply long before I run out of people looking for them.

    While maybe only 5 out of 100 riders will fit an XS road bike, I find them maybe 1/100 or 1/200. And I will pay a premium to get one, and drive further too.

    Now if you look at modern bikes, they are all being sized smaller. This keeps a cap on the pricing on the small vintage bikes. There is a ready supply of new small adult racing bikes at most any bike shop.

    Size is not size. Its all about supply and demand. If there is an ample supply, and relatively low demand, price goes down. If there is very limited supply, with limited (but higher) demand, price goes up.

    While I have benefited from the small bike premium, I have been on the other side of this as well. I have had several 25 inch or larger frame bikes. Most of them were pristine/outstanding condition. I have sold them for quite a bit less $$, and it took a lot longer to do it. Realize that it takes the same $$ in parts and consumables, and the same time to rehab a large frame bike as compared to a small frame bike. I just picked up a 25 inch Schwinn Prelude and a 25 1/2 inch Raleigh Super Course 12. We'll see how this turns out.
    Last edited by wrk101; 02-20-12 at 07:20 AM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member jjhabbs's Avatar
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    Thanks. Everytime I see a frame I like on Ebay or CL its never my size..60 center to top or center to center..both work.

  10. #10
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    Value is subjective in the C&V market. Average sizes have higher demand and thus incite more competition among prospective buyers.

    Big sizes illicit less demand, but, there are a few tall guys out there on the hunt. And when you rope one of them, you'll find that they will often pay just as high. It just takes a long time.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by toosahn View Post
    Big sizes illicit less demand, but, there are a few tall guys out there on the hunt. And when you rope one of them, you'll find that they will often pay just as high. It just takes a long time.
    Tall guys are cheap and they get the deals. So it is.

  12. #12
    Ride Fast and Ride Safe! gioscinelli's Avatar
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    I think the most important spec's on a given road bike is "stand over height"! Going with manufactures size specifications are confusing do to some being compact in design with the slopping top tube( benefits the manufacture and LSB). When ever I list a bike on Ebay, or CL I always include the SOH, people appreciate the extra effort in your description. Ideal frame or bike size is 52cm(20.5in) to 56cm(22in) from my past experience. Some buyers will allow for smaller frame, but not too large. When I get a call on one of my bikes on CL, I usually ask their inseam length to better advise for a good fit(some don't pay any attention to detail).
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  13. #13
    Senior Member ahandley's Avatar
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    I use frame size, tire size and SOH. Although some people don't know what SOH is. I had a young lady wanting to look at a 19" frame mountain bike with 26" tires and 29" SOH. She showed up and was about 5'3". Needless to say it didn't work and I had opportunity to educate her. When she found something she wanted, she called and asked if she could bring it over and asked my advice. I thought that was nice.

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