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Old 05-28-10, 12:08 PM   #1
king koeller
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Deal of the century!!! TREK ELANCE 400D, 1986, Reynolds 531, $50

I can't believe it! I was driving down the road here in Dayton, Ohio when I spotted all these cars at a yard sale. I immediately saw a road bike for sale, I was curious so I decided to stop. As I parked my car I could see it was a Trek. The lady came up to me and I asked what's up with the bike and she said, It was my husbands, he rode triathlons with it. Then ...I spotted the Reynolds 531 sticker on the down tube, I thought she would want big bucks for this classic steed. How much for the Bike? oh, 50 dollars. I said I'll take it. I just have to go the ATM and I'll be right back, When will you be back? In about 10 minutes. Ten minutes later I was the proud owner of a 1986 TREK ELANCE 400D
( the D stands for double crank not triple). Brand new in 1986, this bike was listed as a Sport model for $400 list price. In todays economy that would be $775,with a hand made frame in Waterlou, Wisconsin of Reynolds 531 Double Butted tubing in the main tubes and Tange Chrome-Moly in the stays and fork. I straddled the frame to see it was my size, and it was a perfect fit. I'm 5' 11.5" and the frame is their 22.5" size in Black Metallic and Silver. The Components are Shimano SIS Light Action Rear and front derailleur with a Shimano 6 speed silver 14-28 freewheel, uni-glide chain, and a 52-42 crank. The sticker says it was originally purchased from BICYCLE SOUTH in Decatur, Georgia. Here's the weird part, There was no seat-post but a seat was shoved into the water-bottle carrier on the down-tube. I said to the lady, where's the seatpost? My husband used it on his other bike. No big deal. I got on the Sheldon Brown website and found out this bike takes a 27.2mm seat-post. I purchased a KALIN micro-adjust 27.2 post and wanted to install my Brooks B-17 seat on this classic. When I tried to insert the post ... no way! It would not fit at all. Took it to my LBS, and they said the previous owner had used the wrong post and bent the seat tube collar into a smaller size like 28.6. They promised me they could fix it good as new. I pick it up today...I don't have the tool they have, it's like a seat tube collar expander, this has to be done with extreme care. On the bike, the seat tube collar is attached to the rear stays.Trek would build bike in a series, and I found out mine is the 2nd one built of 99 total in that series. The series all share the same paint, frame size and components. Then they tooled up for the next series....I really lucked out. Made In USA, These 1980's TREKs were sweet!
Have a great day!

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Old 05-28-10, 12:46 PM   #2
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Congrats, that's indeed a good price for a good bike. But to fully appreciate, we need photos...



Oh, and no offense - but the prize for "Deal of the Century" has already been won. This was the deal of the Century.

But still a good bike. And we still want photos.
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Old 05-28-10, 03:56 PM   #3
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Deal of the Century TREK ELANCE 400D, Reynolds 531, $50.

Well ,I guess you're right...
that is the deal of the century with full campy record...only 10 bucks, awesome!,
But I'll take second place any day.
I'm still only in this bike for $50 plus a $21.99 dollar micro adjust alloy KALIN 27.2 seat-post and a $10 service fee for fixing /expanding the seat collar. I just picked it up from the LBS and its great!The guy said some one here wants to offer you $150 cash right now, I looked at him and said, "They must be stupid to think that I would part with this bike for anything under $775". He agreed. The new seat post was the correct size and it fits like a glove.
I installed the Brooks B-17and went for a ride, I had the tires up to 125PSI . I was flying like the wind!It shifts so smooth, the brakes are excellent, I just had to adjust the bars, the original brochure says it weighs in a 23.6 pounds, but I've already stripped off all the reflectors so it must weigh about 22.8 now. Once I figure out how to post photos on here , (My teen-aged son[16] knows how)I'll get some full color photos of this classic sport road bike.
Thanks !
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Old 05-28-10, 05:05 PM   #4
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a thousand words don't equal a picture
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Old 05-28-10, 07:56 PM   #5
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Here is a photo of the 2nd best deal of the century ...$50. I can't believe it!
Here's what it looks like! My teenager son posted this...
I feel like doing a century ride this Memorial Day weekend...

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Old 05-28-10, 08:22 PM   #6
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Congrats on your latest snag. The 80's Treks are becoming sought after and for good reason.

PS - I did not know they had a special tool to expand the seat tube slot ... I've been getting by with a flat bladed screw driver.
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Old 05-28-10, 08:34 PM   #7
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Yes, you're correct, a flat bladed screwdriver works fine for the minor widening of the seatpost collar. I first tried my trusty old Craftman regular but it got me no-where, the seat post would still not go in at all. There is a special tool, it's like a graduated wedge or a trapezoidal cylinder, some would say it's basically a cone. Imagine a solid steel cone that goes from the smallest seat post size to the largest seat post size over a 8 inch length. This would gently expand the compressed seat post collar to the right size without chewing it up.
I'll try and find a picture of this special tool.
Thanks!

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Old 05-28-10, 09:35 PM   #8
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awesome score! i had the second (or third) best trek deal of the century. i scored a 1986 trek 400D in black on ebay for $110 last summer. it was like new except for needing bar tape, but the auction was poorly worded and had one horrible picture. i re-bayed it for $460.
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Old 05-28-10, 10:17 PM   #9
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The Trek 760 I got for $50 was a good score too. I should have sold the whole bike but after riding it for a good bit I just sold the frame.
It's a nice bike and worth several hundred but $775 is out of range.

Keep it and ride it!
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Old 05-28-10, 10:19 PM   #10
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awesome score! i had the second (or third) best trek deal of the century. i scored a 1986 trek 400D in black on ebay for $110 last summer. it was like new except for needing bar tape, but the auction was poorly worded and had one horrible picture. i re-bayed it for $460.
Do you miss it?
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Old 05-29-10, 09:25 AM   #11
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I picked up my 400T this spring for $160. tires were just replaced, new pedals, tape and BB lubed. Not that any of that mattered as my plan is to build it up with 10 speed, fenders etc for my commuter.
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Old 05-29-10, 10:29 AM   #12
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Do you miss it?
not really, because it was too large for me (25" frame). if it had been the 24" frame i would have kept it.
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Old 05-29-10, 10:35 AM   #13
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Decent Trek, but it is a 400, and it isn't worth $775. The 400 wasn't the highest thing up in their pecking order. There's a mint blue one on the local Craigslist that a fellow hasn't been able to get rid of for $100 - all it is missing is a BB and crankset. He's trying to sell it as a complete fixie for $200. Still won't sell. Its been up for over 6 months.

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Old 05-29-10, 10:39 AM   #14
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I sold my Trek 400T almost instantly in the late 90s for $200. That was in Portland, however.

OP, save for some highly sought after and/or showroom condition examples, most bikes aren't worth their original MSRP adjusted for inflation.
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Old 05-29-10, 01:15 PM   #15
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I won't say what I paid for my Elance. I will tell you that I sold it for a lot more than $50. It was a great bike. I'm currently on my 4th steel Trek. They're nice bikes.
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Old 05-29-10, 02:33 PM   #16
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Not the deal of the century, or even year, but i'm pretty happy with my Trek TX500, from '76 or '77, that ran me $100 and included a trainer. I've put a basic tune, tires and bar tape on so far, along with a good cleaning. It runs like a dream, not really that tempted to upgrade anything at all! As long as I stay off any newer bikes, this one's going to be all i need...


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Old 05-30-10, 04:06 AM   #17
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TREK ELANCE 400D, 1986, Reynolds 531,$50

There's something about this classic TREK that just resonates with me. I guess I'm just so turned off by all these new Carbon bikes, I'm 48, and dreamed of having a Reynolds 531 since the first time I saw one at the Moline IL, Quad City classic Criterion races in the spring of 1971, a guy had a Bob Jackson, another guy had a Schwinn Paramount and I saw my first Eddie Merckx's. I saw the 531 sticker's and it was this unreal inner drive and passion to some day own a bike with the most famous frame ever made. I've seen Columbus, Tange, Ishiwata and true temper bike frames, but they never did compare to Reynolds in my book. I know that today, 531 isn't the top of the line anymore, Bob Jackson won't use it because it can't be tig welded and 853 is lighter, stronger and more expensive. But there is something special about 531 tubing , the ride quality, the responsiveness. They make a 531st (special touring)and a 531 C for racing. By the way, I was skimming the intraweb and found this great and informative Reynolds 531 article...

"The Reynolds 531st tubeset."
It is a cliche to say that the heart of a bike is its frame, but it is true
nevertheless. The problem is that whilst the rest of the cycling world
have every shape size and weight of tubing possible the poor old
tourist is left to make do. Ah but there's always the old faithful
Reynolds 531st. And wait for it... that st stands for - "Special
Touring". That makes it the only widely available, quality tubeset on
the market specifically designed for touring. So what makes it
"specially for touring"?
531 tubing in various forms has been around in for over 50 years now.
It was originally used in aircraft construction, then racing cars,
motorbikes and most importantly for cycles. In that time it's notched
up more Tour de France wins than any other tubeset. Originally plain
gauge, it has over the years been available as taper gauged tube,
butted, oversized, undersized, wafer thin, ovalized and even larger
diameter in the centre of the tube than the ends. Perhaps the weirdest
incarnation was the "Curly Stays" fitted to Hetchins and now some
Bob Jackson cycles. It is a seamless tubing made of Manganese
Molybdenum, better than standard Cro-Mo, but time has caught up
with it a little as the top tubes from Columbus and Reynolds have a
higher UTS (ultimate tensile strength). It's advantages are that it is
available in a dazzling array of shapes and sizes so the custom builder
can pick and mix to suit the rider and purpose. It can also be cold set
(bent about) unlike top tubing like Reynolds 753, which means that if
you want to widen the rear width years after the frame is made there
is no problem, and no fancy construction techniques are needed to
build or repair it. The relatively low UTS compared with the newer
tubes isn't really a problem as the gauges need for touring are too
thick to ever break even on a loaded bike, it only becomes a factor
when the tube is drawn wafer thin then used by heavy riders, as in the
past with 531 Professional.
The standard 531 set is the 531c racing tubeset which makes for a
frame around 4 1/4lbs. This builds up into a fine responsive frame
ideally suited to road racing, but lacking a little stiffness in the bottom
bracket area. For smaller frame/riders it also make a nice touring
frame, but it really has too much flex to be good for someone carrying
full cyclecamping loads on a larger frame. To solve this weakness
531 st has a heavier gauge down tube which resists the flexing which
causes the dreaded speed wobbles on a loaded tourer. It also has
beefier stays for the loads imposed by cantilever brakes. The taper
gauge forks are of a flattened oval profile to give clearance for wider
tyres without using wide fork crowns, and that's it...
Built up, the frame will be stiff enough to carry you and your
camping kit but give a lovely shock absorbing ride, and if you need a
very large frame it can be further stiffened by using an oversized top
tube. Have it built by a good custom builder and it will be made just
for you, and last a lifetime.

THE FUTURE:- Having just ordered a new bike from Bob Jackson
Cycles, and in discussing tube types with the manager Donald
Thomas I was stunned to hear that there are moves afoot to stop
production of 531 cycle tubes. Reynolds replacements will all be
racing tubesets, once again the tourist will be out in the cold. To quote
Mr Thomas, these road tubes - larger diameter tubing, short butts for
TIG welding etc, will "really punish tourists on a long ride".
Following this lead I contacted Keith Noronha at Reynolds and got
the following comments
" Please note that we DO still offer in our literature a recommended
combination ( containing the longer butt lengths, forks etc) of
531/525
butted tubes with a 531decal and "SUPER TOURIST" specific
decal, this set
is significantly different to our recommended 531/525
"Competition"set.
The " Tourist " is certainly not ignored in our thinking "
So things are not quite as bad as they seem. One very good piece of
news is that Reynolds are now offering 853 tubing in gauges suitable
for extended touring. This is the strongest steel cycle tubing in the
world - thanks Reynolds...End of article...

I wanted to give credit to the author of this article on Reynolds but don't have the proper and necessary information...

Oh well, I finally got my Reynolds 531 frame, 39 years later.
And yes, I don't believe I could sell the bike for $775, in todays messed up economy, but that's what it's worth to me right now. As you all know bike values for classic and vintage models are very depressed.
Unlike vintage guitar and amp values, which are through the roof!
YOU DESERVE A TREK TODAY!

Last edited by king koeller; 05-30-10 at 04:38 AM.
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Old 05-30-10, 08:45 AM   #18
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Pictures?

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Old 05-30-10, 10:40 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by king koeller View Post

Here is a photo of the 2nd best deal of the century ...$50. I can't believe it!
Here's what it looks like! My teenager son posted this...
I feel like doing a century ride this Memorial Day weekend...

You hit the lottery!!
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Old 05-30-10, 11:49 AM   #20
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That $10 Raleigh Professional thread didn't have pics either.
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Old 05-30-10, 03:43 PM   #21
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I think we all have stories of great bargains. I've had 2 - 3 that are in this league, but will avoid telling the tales for the umpteenth time. Definitely a nice catch k k. I'm looking forward to pictures also.
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Old 05-30-10, 10:27 PM   #22
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That $10 Raleigh Professional thread didn't have pics either.
Really? Then what are these?
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Old 05-30-10, 10:30 PM   #23
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Curious phenomenons of pixelation

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Old 05-31-10, 11:18 AM   #24
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I like photos too but don't get me wrong.... this website is called Bike Forum not Bike Gallery.
This is a place where we gather to discuss Cycling and Vintage Bikes.
Flicker has tons of bike photos that can be gazed upon.
I just thought I would throw that out there...
Have a Great Biking day!
Happy Memorial day!
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Old 05-31-10, 11:36 AM   #25
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I like photos too but don't get me wrong.... this website is called Bike Forum not Bike Gallery.
This is a place where we gather to discuss Cycling and Vintage Bikes.
PFFFFFBBBBBTTTTT!!!!!!

C&V is Bike Gallery just as much as it is Bike Forums. Nobody would pop up around here otherwise. Flickr offers photographs, and nothing else. It's just a photograph. No story. However, if you come here, you can find a story to go along with photographs.

Pictures are worth 1,000 words. That's why everyone likes Sheldon Brown's site so much.

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