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  1. #1
    johnliu@earthlink.net jyl's Avatar
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    Racing Provenance - Can We Discuss?

    I ran across someone saying he had a frame formerly ridden by a top-level professional road racer for such and such a team in a particular year.

    This got me wondering: how much or little does racing provenance add to a frame's value, and how is it proved or documented?

    Does the era matter? This particular frame is circa late 1990's, is that too recent to be anything more than an obsolete race bike fit for the scrapper?

    Does the racer have to be a household name? How about if the rider was a good one, with a long career competing in all the top-level races (TdF etc) even if the podiums were in smaller races? What about a frame that was a pro race team bike but ridden by an obscure domestique?

    Or, perhaps, is the team association more important than the rider?

    What evidence is there, realistically, to back up any such claimed provenance? Are riders' names painted on their bikes? I suppose anyone can wield a brush. Bikes' serial numbers, if any, aren't known and tracked like racing cars' chassis identifications are, sometimes anyway. I don't really get how any of this can be proved, other than to say the frame looks like some blurry press photos . . .

    I'm thinking mostly road racing, but also wonder how this all applies, or not, to other disciplines. Track racing, mountain biking, cyclocrossing.

  2. #2
    Senior Member miamijim's Avatar
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    Provenance adds value. Period.

    That being said you'd concrete documentation to back it up.....word of mouth means nothing.

    Without documentation you'd need hi-res pictures that show particular characteristics like scratches etc.
    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

  3. #3
    Fat Guy on a Little Bike KonAaron Snake's Avatar
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    Speaking from personal experience, it doesn't seem to add as much value as you'd think. I was shocked at the lack of a premium the provenance of Steve Bauer's bike added to standard Merckx frame values. Most cyclists want bikes to ride, so provenance doesn't seem to affect value like you'd expect. Obviously the rider matters a lot...Lance Armstrong provenance is better than Tyler Hamilton.

    The provenance on my bike is established by the pump peg, Bauer decals and confirmation from the Merckx factory on the serial #.


    Last edited by KonAaron Snake; 04-21-12 at 09:05 AM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    I also have thought about this. I have three bikes that were ridden by pros first a 1961 frejus Track that was ridden in two differant National events.I have pictures of the bike from back in the day at the track , but no paper trail. Next I own two modern bikes that were raced on by a Pro named Jeremy Powers from team Jelly Belly and I have no clue what the future value of these will be (Will carbon ever be C&V ) . I own his 2009 and 2010 bikes. Jeremy Powers is the current Number 1 ranked cyclocross rider in the USA. One of the bikes is autographed by him and both have his name printed on the bike. These bikes have only ridden one time since I purchased them. I have attached pictures of all three bikes.
    http://i217.photobucket.com/albums/c...0/P4150785.jpg

    http://i217.photobucket.com/albums/c...0/PC230475.jpg

    http://i217.photobucket.com/albums/c...0/zipp404a.jpg
    Last edited by jmagruder10; 04-21-12 at 09:47 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Chombi's Avatar
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    Really depends who rode it and in what race. A bike ridden by universally known champions like Hinault, LeMond, Armstrong. Mercxx, Moser....etc. will certainly raise the value of a bike proven to be ridden by them by many times compared to what was ridden next to them by a team domestique in the same races. Certain bikes at certain times in their career will bring in the highest values as it is logical that the bike Lemond rode into Paris in his first TDF win will most likely be much more valuable to collectors than the bike he rode as Hinault's second in previous years to that. But any kind of genuine team bike ridden by anyone else in a team will still have an elevated value compared to an off the shelf top of the line bike from a manufacturer. By how much do these factors raise the bike's value is what the market would support at a particular time when a bike is sold. Its down to what the seller is asking for, at a particular time.

    Human factors like the recent death of the rider and how popular the person was during his career and after will affect the numbers siginificantly. Proving the attached provenance of a bike gets a bit trickier as a lot of a pro's bike history is not really tracked that closely by anyone except for people that are physicaly close to the bike after it is retired from racing and bikes either get passed on to the athlete themselves as personal trophies from the bike company, retained by the factory for their museum collections or given away to friends as gifts. What muddles it up more is that there are more than one bike assigned to a racer by the teams and the "spares" survive and sometimes take the identity of the actual bikes that crossed the finish lines in the races. Most collectors end up closely examining existing period pictures sometimes as a last resort to closely compare a subject bike to what was in the race to confirm its provenance.

    One thing I cannot figure out with historic race bikes is, can or should one ever ride or restore these bikes if a person aquires one in "as raced" condition, which still happens out there, or should it be just preserved as is as a sort of time capsule to preserve those particular moments in biking history. One should realize that owning these bikes might mean you become some sort of steward for the bike to maintaining it in a way acceptable to the cycling community for as long as it is in your hands................or horrify the cycling world by turning it into a kewhl fixie with a new flourescent lime green paintjob!

    Chombi
    Last edited by Chombi; 04-21-12 at 02:55 PM.

  6. #6
    Fat Guy on a Little Bike KonAaron Snake's Avatar
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    I've been through the ride vs. museum issue w the Merckx. I rode it for a bit, but I have bikes I like more. I still ride it every now and again.

    I've seen some pretty sweet bikes...like a Merlin ridden by Lemond, not sell much over standard value.

  7. #7
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    My favorite celebrity item story was an antique pie safe I looked at in an antique shop. Price was about 2X the market back then. So the shop owner walks by, and I ask about the high price. She told me it was owned by a celebrity. Really? Yeah she tells me, remember Mayberry on TV? Well, of course, sure. Remember ******? Well, sure, (I'm thinking he had a really small part). So she tells me "******'s aunt owned this pie safe!!" I should have bought it, just for the story...

  8. #8
    Senior Member RobbieTunes's Avatar
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    I guess a RobbieTunes bike would be pretty low down the scale.....then.

    Now, I'd take a junkfoodjunkie, Drillium Dude, Dr. Deltron, or steppinthefunk bike, any day, and pay more.
    Last edited by RobbieTunes; 04-21-12 at 06:03 PM.

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  9. #9
    Ride for Life wearyourtruth's Avatar
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    i've actually had experiences with racing provenance bringing the value DOWN. if the pro who rode it is not someone very well known, or someone the particular buyer admires, i've seen people pass up pro's bikes because professional cyclists are so tough on their bikes. this may be more true now in the age of carbon fiber, but a bike with X-thousand miles on it from a pro cyclists is going to be more worn down than the same bike with the same miles from a weekend warrior. this is at least the perception some people have.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member jet sanchEz's Avatar
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    I have a Merckx ridden by Olaf Ludwig and a friend told me that he was watching the 1994 Paris Roubaix race and that Ludwig was on my bike. I haven't watched the race myself, it is on Youtube, but that would be pretty cool if it is the case. I have always wondered why this Corsa Extra frame had an MXL fork on it, if it were raced in the Paris Roubaix, it would make sense.


  11. #11
    Bianchi Goddess Bianchigirll's Avatar
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    I think it adds a bit of value depending on the rider/team. but it could also mean a tired frame esp some of the early bonded Alloy and CF ones.

    I don't think they are my size but I would certainly pay a preem to have a bike from Sean Kelly. BITD he was one of my favorites. I did have a Fuji owned by a Boston/New England local Grand master legend but passed it along to ScottyRyder and Beech has it now. While past ownership by a local favorite does not add to the value it does add mystique no?
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  12. #12
    Senior Member Citoyen du Monde's Avatar
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    Provenance alone doesn't do much if anything to a frame/bike if it is a standard bike that was readily available to your everyday cyclist. If the bike was used by a top rider for a really special victory, then it would indeed gain something but you would then need airtight proof of the link.

    I have three De Rosa bikes used by former pros. One is from 2000 and still carries the special team decals, as well as the rider's name (things not found on production bikes). Furthermore, the wheels were never sold commercially as best as I can tell, so I do believe that it would draw a slight premium over an identical bike without these features, but I highly doubt that the premium would ever exceed 10%. Furthermore, I have a letter of confirmation from De Rosa, which includes the serial number, stating that it is a team bike built for a specific rider.

    I then have two other De Rosa bikes that Ugo has definitively identified as being built for team riders in the late 60's or early 70's. Ugo said that he can recognize that they were custom pro frames because of certain build details (both frames have identical lugs, BB shell, twin plate fork crowns, round fork blades, male bottle braze-ons... which are not readily found on other De Rosa bikes). The one bike still has original team paint, but I do not know who rode it or precisely in which year, whereas the rider of the other and its year of manufacture are known, but its original Faema livery was replaced by De Rosa with standard late 60's De Rosa livery over 40 years ago. As such, I don't think either will be accorded a premium for having been ridden by a pro. At most, and perhaps more likely, they might be assigned a premium because they are unique and speak to what Ugo was thinking at the time they were made.

  13. #13
    Senior Member zukahn1's Avatar
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    I think it is a bit of a wash value wise but an interesting detail. If it belonged to a notable racer it makes the bike note worthy but it also means the bike has a very light frame that has likely been riden long and hard, which means it could basicly be worn out. Also it very rare that actual provenance adds real value to an item the value is there or it isn't where it was on given day 20-30 years ago does little to add value

  14. #14
    Senior Member w98seeng's Avatar
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    I have a frame that was built by Swinnerton in England. I contacted them and by the serial number, they told me that it was built for John Herety, former UK road race rider, Tour de France rider and current Rapha-Condor-Sharp Team Manager.

    They also said that the frame was one of the 1st frames to be built in the UK with Columbus Max tubing & power forks. The whole back end was chromed then painted over. The bike was built with Campagnolo Record Through out and was used in their shop Catalog. The frame was one of 3 frames that were produced in this design.

    Knowing this, I think the frame and fork (all I have) would sell for a higher amount in England where John Herety is better known.

    Ian

  15. #15
    Fat Guy on a Little Bike KonAaron Snake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by w98seeng View Post
    I have a frame that was built by Swinnerton in England. I contacted them and by the serial number, they told me that it was built for John Herety, former UK road race rider, Tour de France rider and current Rapha-Condor-Sharp Team Manager.

    They also said that the frame was one of the 1st frames to be built in the UK with Columbus Max tubing & power forks. The whole back end was chromed then painted over. The bike was built with Campagnolo Record Through out and was used in their shop Catalog. The frame was one of 3 frames that were produced in this design.

    Knowing this, I think the frame and fork (all I have) would sell for a higher amount in England where John Herety is better known.

    Ian
    Because a lot of the market is international...and because he's a minor name on a bike with little name or brand recognition, I'd expect your bike to be on the low side of average MAX frame values. Figure 20% lower than an average max and maybe half of something like a Merckx.

  16. #16
    Senior Member w98seeng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
    and maybe half of something like a Merckx.
    Totally agree, except for in England, possibly. I'm going to put it on eBay and give it a try.

    PS, any idea what a late 80's Max frame goes for? Give or take?

    Ian

  17. #17
    Fat Guy on a Little Bike KonAaron Snake's Avatar
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    It really varies, but in good shape - $1000-1200ish seems right.

  18. #18
    Senior Member w98seeng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
    It really varies, but in good shape - $1000-1200ish seems right.
    Wow, that much? I wouldn't have guessed. I guess I really goofed on this one.

    Here's the story...

    I was at a car auction that also has stolen bikes from the police dept in Ottawa, Canada. I saw this bike and the first thing I noticed were what looked like
    Campy Delta brakes. When I got closer I saw they were Delta's and the rest of the components were also Campagnolo. The frame said Swinnerton on it and
    I didn't notice the Max decals on it. But, even if I had, I wouldn't have known anything about it as I am a bit of a noob when it comes to road bikes, especially older bikes.

    Anyway, I got the bike for $205 (including all taxes and auction fees) and brought it home. The parts turned out to be a complete 6 speed C-Record group except the F/D which was Croce d'Aune and the wheels which were mismatched wheels from the early 90's.

    Since I didn't know anything about the frame, I stripped the frame of all the parts and put them on eBay and sold the wheels separately

    Anyway, I guess the bike would have been worth a lot more intact. A lesson learned for the next time.

    Now that I think about it, I still have the C-Record rear derailleur, front Croce d'Aune, C-Record 6 speed downtube shifters, the bars (Modolo) and stem (?) and the seat post (not Campy), I guess I'll add those parts to the frame when I sell it.

    Ian

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    Last edited by w98seeng; 04-29-12 at 04:47 PM.

  19. #19
    Fat Guy on a Little Bike KonAaron Snake's Avatar
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    Most of the time the bikes are worth more parted out, especially smaller name bikes. Without knowing condition, the deltas alone should have got you your money back. I love max...but it depends on HBD rider. Give it a spin before you decide to sell it.

  20. #20
    Senior Member w98seeng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
    the deltas alone should have got you your money back.
    Right again. Plus a bit more

  21. #21
    Senior Member Elev12k's Avatar
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    Where I life many pro team bikes were sold to large bike shops at the end of the season, so there is not much reason to place questionmarks when you encounter a bike with team characteristics. When I encounter a Panasonic with serial VE-3-91, I can expect it is Ekimov's 3rd bike for the 1991 season (a serial system that was already used with TI years). When I spot 'Servais' under the clear on the toptube of a TVM, I can be sure it is Servais Knaven's bike.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member sykerocker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wearyourtruth View Post
    i've actually had experiences with racing provenance bringing the value DOWN. if the pro who rode it is not someone very well known, or someone the particular buyer admires, i've seen people pass up pro's bikes because professional cyclists are so tough on their bikes. this may be more true now in the age of carbon fiber, but a bike with X-thousand miles on it from a pro cyclists is going to be more worn down than the same bike with the same miles from a weekend warrior. this is at least the perception some people have.
    AKA, don't bother collecting Floyd Landis bikes. At least not now. It's both beaten and has an undesirable provenance. Infamy may be worth something more 30-40 years from now when he gets in the, "Who?" category.
    Syke

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