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  1. #1
    affix pistol bayonets! mediccody's Avatar
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    Motobecanes: tall vs. short frame $$ value

    Couple simple questions here. The answer is probably more complex, though.

    Which are typically more valuable for bicycle frames built between 1974 and 1981 -- taller frames or shorter ones?

    And specifically, would a tall (For someone about 6'2") Motobecane Grand Touring be worth more, monetarily, than a shorter (For someone about 5'9") Motobecane Grand Touring? Let's assume they are in about the same condition and were produced within five years of each other.

    I've heard both sides argued before. First, I've heard that taller frames are more valuable on bikes this old because they were produced in smaller numbers than "average" height frames, and therefore, simply because of their original rarity, are worth more. Arguing for the other side, it seems that decent quality, average-sized vintage frames have all too often been ridden into the ground, neglected, or trashed. I also see a lot more tall Motobecanes classic bikes on the streets than I see average-height ones.

    Now that I think about this more in-depth, I realize that the answer to this question probably relies largely upon what brand/model one is considering the value of. Each companies numbers of frames produced is different, so I guess there probably isn't a ready answer to this question. I'd like to hear everyone's opinions though.

    BASICALLY: I found someone who wants to trade my too-tall frame for his too-short one! They are the same model and same paint job, but probably from a different production year.

    Any vintage frame that fits me is basically priceless.

    And now, for some more Motobecane-specific stuff:

    His has a silver "Motobecane" on the downtube, while mine has a gold one. His head badge is a more squared-off emblem, while mine is more circular with the "M" in the middle. His still retains it's "Vitus 888" sticker, while mine does not. Can anyone determine, from that description, which is older?

    I'm becoming more obsessed with old school Motobecanes, the more that I find out about them. I don't plan to sell this frame I'm getting. I will ride it for a year or two, then preserve it. But this guy sounds like he wants to sell his eventually. I'm just a curious ****er and am trying to decide what I will say if this guy tries to charge me an extra 50 bucks to go ahead with the frame swap.
    Last edited by mediccody; 05-09-07 at 01:50 PM.

  2. #2
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    Yours is older.

  3. #3
    Pedal pusher... alicestrong's Avatar
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    The "M" on his badge is red, white and blue? Sounds like he has an 80's and you have a 70's. I have a Moto from each era and the fastest way to find the year is read it off the hubs...assuming they are still original.
    Pictures would be nice.

  4. #4
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    Also, Vitus 888 is a later cromoly than the Vitus 172 Motobecane used during the round headbadge era (although I'm not entirely certain that Motobecane made the switch to 888 after the round headbadge era...)

  5. #5
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    I think the highest value bikes will be in the size ranges most in demand-- average sized bikes. Extremes at either end would be less in demand, and therefore less valuable. These are riders, not investment portfolios.

  6. #6
    Prodigal road guy MajorA's Avatar
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    What Blue Order said about investment portfolios... and it's particularly true for entry- to mid-level bikes. And is a bike worth $100 or $125? Who knows? Who cares? The issue is whether you like the ride. If you do, the $25 difference is immaterial. If you don't, the bike isn't worth a bad cup of coffee.

  7. #7
    dck
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    Quote Originally Posted by MajorA
    What Blue Order said about investment portfolios... and it's particularly true for entry- to mid-level bikes. And is a bike worth $100 or $125? Who knows? Who cares? The issue is whether you like the ride. If you do, the $25 difference is immaterial. If you don't, the bike isn't worth a bad cup of coffee.
    +1

  8. #8
    Senior Member due ruote's Avatar
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    If you watch Ebay or Craigslist enough, you start to be a pretty good judge of what things sell for, on average. But these are pretty fluky markets. One day you'll see a bike sell for way more than you'd have expected; the next, no one bids on a perfectly good ride. So, unless the two of you have other willing buyers lined up, I'd say the bikes are worth whatever the two of you say they're worth. If it's a win-win in terms of the sizing, I'd say even trade makes sense. If you are benefitting from the trade and he's not, I think a reasonable person would conclude that you owe him a little something more.

  9. #9
    Pedal pusher... alicestrong's Avatar
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    As long as one isn't in need of alot of repair...he could say his is better 'cause it's newer, you could say yours is better 'cause it's more vintage...;o)

    I've passed up many nice used bikes because they're not my size.

    Size really matters!! ;o)

  10. #10
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    Taller frames were more "popular". From personal experience,folkes 5'9" rode 23"s ,if I looked at bikes: Gitane,Motobecane,Peugot even Raleighs back then,I'd be steered to a 23". Conversely,slightly later when bikes from other countries were more the rage,21s were recomended. I'd say more 23' and above were imported in the French brands,as well as the prevailing theories pertaining to fit at the time.Depends on the actual LBS to some degree.

  11. #11
    affix pistol bayonets! mediccody's Avatar
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    What kind of quality and weight comparison would you all say there is between Vitus 888 in a Motobecane frame and Reynolds 531 in a classic Trek frame?

    I hate having to consider the monetary value of a bicycle trade. As I said, a bicycle is basically priceless to me, as long as I get good use out of it. Grand Tourings are also not the most valuable/greatest classic bicycles in the world, obviously, but my Grand Touring really turned me on to the world of classic bicycles, especially European ones.

    His bicycle has the square, red, white, and blue "M" headbadge. It's very helpful to know that the round "M" headbadge signifies an older ride, though, in case I have chances to buy any other old Motobecanes in the future.

    He is supposed to meet up with me on Saturday so that we can disassemble our bicycles and swap frames. I'm going to take a good look at both frames to make sure there are no stress cracks and I'm also going to make sure that the tubes are not totally rusted out.

    Overall, I'm very excited about this trade. My friends at bike shops sometimes ask very relevant questions like: "Don't you nut yourself on that frame a lot?" "Doesn't it get uncomfortable to ride?" etc., and so the prospect of getting a frame just about the right size and also helping someone else out is very exciting. I couldn't really expect a more ideal situation with a frame trade. Anyone else around here experienced this kind of coincidence in a trade??

  12. #12
    Senior Member due ruote's Avatar
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    http://www.rivbike.com/how_to_pick_y...g_a_frame_size

    I don't want to stick my nose too far into something you're so excited about, but as you never actually stated the frame sizes (or I missed it) I offer up the above link for your reading pleasure, in case you haven't seen it. Grant and friends make a very compelling case for pushing the frame size up beyond current popular trends, in the interest of a truly comfortable riding position. Speaking from my own experience, I now consider my 52 cm road frame (the Motobecane I rode for over 2 decades and thought perfect) a tad small, whereas my even older Raleigh, at 55 cm, seems just right. Bottom line - your current frame may well be too big; just don't go too far the other direction, or you may be sorry.

  13. #13
    Pedal pusher... alicestrong's Avatar
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    ...very exciting. I couldn't really expect a more ideal situation with a frame trade. Anyone else around here experienced this kind of coincidence in a trade??

    I love the idea of trading but a really good opportunity doesn't seem to come around that often. Sounds like you got lucky!

    Hey and don't diss the Grand Tourings, either. It seems like there's more and more interest in the mid and lower end Motos as people see how pretty they can be and how many ways there are to build them up.

    I call mine my Poor Woman's Rivendell...

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