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    Undervalued Frames

    What are the most undervalued frames out there? I will start by saying 1980 1986 Trek steel road frames. I see complete bikes with full Reynolds 531c go for ~$300. What do you think?

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    Still learning oddjob2's Avatar
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    Not in my neck of the woods. You can find Reynolds 501 for $250 and less, but 531 are rarely undervalued, unless the paint is horrible, like this Austro-Daimler which was well under $100. As @wrk101 and @Scooper have said time and again, the 1980's Panasonic built Schwinns, particularly those of Columbus Tenax or Columbus SL (Peloton) are great value. I would concur, as complete bikes, Tempo, Super Sports, and Voyageurs can often be acquired for under $125.00.

    Last edited by oddjob2; 03-13-14 at 08:04 PM.
    Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving. Albert Einstein
    2014 Additions: 1985 Trek 560, 1992 Trek Multitrack 700 (my 2nd), 1994 Trek Carbon 2200, Peugeot PX-10, 1981 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8, 1989 Bridgestone RB-1, Miyata 912

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    Senior Member Chombi's Avatar
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    Medicis....but then I might be biased as I have one.......
    Their framesets are very well crafted but presently do not go for what similar bikes do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nicoth View Post
    What are the most undervalued frames out there? I will start by saying 1980 – 1986 Trek steel road frames. I see complete bikes with full Reynolds 531c go for ~$300. What do you think?
    I think its amazing too. Lots of great bikes out there in that price range, with 531 frames and great components.

    Just about any vintage French bike, except black and red Motobecanes, are undervalued. Mainly from the "French Fear" of strange threading and sizes, and scourge of the self asploding plastic derailleur.

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    Senior Member 3speedslow's Avatar
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    A Bianchi that is not the celeste colour.
    "Waiting for the crash"

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    Senior Member Chrome Molly's Avatar
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    There some really high quality 26 in mtb frames that go for peanuts, especially if a 1 in headtube. Many of those would make reasonably nice on/off road bikes as 650b conversions.

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    Assuming that your definition of "undervalued" means a brand that doesn't sell for a premium... Trek's hold their value around here it seems. Frames, aka a bike "without it's parts" are not an easy sell around here, regardless of the manufacturer. Anything that sounds oriental and doesn't have a Reynolds or Columbus tubing sticker, aka Champion, Tange, Ishiwata, Vitus tubing and Nishiki, Fuji, Miyata bikes..... seem to linger just a bit longer. Giant, Diamondback, Takara, and Mongoose road bikes seem to get absolutely no love.

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    I would have to go with Chrome Molly. There are some really nice 26" frames out there that go for really low prices. That is especially true if you're looking to build up a nice commuter. I disagree on the Treks. They go for more money in my area just because they say Trek on them, much like the 40lb hi-ten Schwinns that still go for $200. I think Miyatas are undervalued if you can find just a frame. You can snag them for $50 sometimes. I got a fantastic deal on my 916 frame for $30. It's a wonderful bike.
    90 Miyata 914 with full Dura-Ace
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    Quote Originally Posted by scyclops View Post
    Oh yeah, sure, what if everyone thought that way? Then internet forums would merely be places where rational people exchange useful information and ideas - instead of the chaotic, emotionally-charged circuses that they are.

  9. #9
    Fat Guy on a Little Bike KonAaron Snake's Avatar
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    I think Chombi (as usual) has a good point - Medicis don't, and likely never will, get their due because of the Confente stuff - they're spoken of softly, and seem to make everyone feel a bit awkward.

    I think Treks are priced right, if not high, compared to other builders of similar quality. I'd go with the small name custom built frames as being the most undervalued - bill Boston, Franklin, Bilenky Sterlings...even Ron Coopers. Guys like Harry Quinn. The down side is customs made for others are often not as good for a third party as production bikes. Some of the smaller name Italian stuff, like Grandis, can go at attractive pricing (especially on CL).

    High quality titanium is often a ridiculous bargain and ti doesn't hold value well. You can get a 90s Merlin for less than many lesser steel frames from the period.

  10. #10
    26 tpi nut. sailorbenjamin's Avatar
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    I really like my Raleigh Record. Main triangle measures the same as my Competition, rear and fork are adjusted for 27s instead of 700s but with light components it weighs 22 pounds (if you trust my bathroom scale) and it was free.
    I had an Ishiwata Trek and a 531 Trek of similar vintage. My butt couldn't tell the difference but my wallet could.
    I have spoken.

  11. #11
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    American frames made from Reynolds 531 or Columbus. I purchased a complete Trek 400 with a 531 main frame for $175 a while back, see below. I missed out on a complete Schwinn Circuit made from a Columbus SL/SP blend for $225.


    When I ride my bike I feel free and happy and strong. I'm liberated from the usual nonsense of day to day life. Solid, dependable, silent, my bike is my horse, my fighter jet, my island, my friend. Together we will conquer that hill and thereafter the world.

  12. #12
    old and fixed... clubman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chrome Molly View Post
    There some really high quality 26 in mtb frames that go for peanuts, especially if a 1 in headtube. Many of those would make reasonably nice on/off road bikes as 650b conversions.
    I agree these bikes are totally undervalued even if they're at the lower levels of the food chain. Heavy but well made frames, upgradable to 7 speed indexed, good for commuting, touring, gravel grinding, drop bar conversions etc. They're akin to a more modern 3 speed Sports.

    84 Norco Bigfoot, Suntour drivetrain, bi-plane forks, Suzue/Arraya rims, $30. I've picked up a few of these recently. Add a Synchros stem and some Deore bits and zap, you're back in the late 80's.

    Last edited by clubman; 03-13-14 at 09:21 PM.

  13. #13
    South Carolina Ed
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    I watch Ebay a lot and there are all kinds of really nice classic steel frames that sell for less than $200, sometimes less than $100. A lot of them are from low volume boutique makers of the past or Japanese. I bought 2 Macario frames at different times for about $120 each including shipping. They need cosmetics, but Macario was arguably the greatest frame maker in Spain for 30 years.

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    Miele frames are nice and undervalued. I picked up a Columbus SL Latina frame for less than $100
    Atalas are also super nice (ones with SL/SLX tubing) and go for very cheap compared to other italian bikes.
    Dawes is another brand that is extremely undervalued (531 frames).

  15. #15
    Senior Member r0ckh0und's Avatar
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    I think most Trek road frames hold their value pretty well. The "sleepers" IMO, generally from the 1980's, are 4130 grade frames that many times came with low end components, turkey levers, steel seatposts, steel pedals. Fuji made several models that were worthy of upgrades like the Absolute, Royale and Palisades for example........ the lowly World Sport, Nishiki and Univega had a few sleeper models as well.
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    Senior Member zazenzach's Avatar
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    where im at, treks are certainly not undervalued. actually quite the opposite, but then again im in a relatively hot market. i see treks with plain 501 regularly sell at the $300 mark.

    Quote Originally Posted by sced View Post
    I watch Ebay a lot and there are all kinds of really nice classic steel frames that sell for less than $200, sometimes less than $100. A lot of them are from low volume boutique makers of the past or Japanese. I bought 2 Macario frames at different times for about $120 each including shipping. They need cosmetics, but Macario was arguably the greatest frame maker in Spain for 30 years.
    now that's a crazy deal

    Quote Originally Posted by oddjob2 View Post
    the 1980's Panasonic built Schwinns, particularly those of Columbus Tenax or Columbus SL (Peloton) are great value. I would concur, as complete bikes, Tempo, Super Sports, and Voyageurs can often be acquired for under $125.00.
    agreed! And just for the record, tenax schwinns were all built in greenville mississippi!
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  17. #17
    Senior Member badger_biker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by r0ckh0und View Post
    I think most Trek road frames hold their value pretty well. The "sleepers" IMO, generally from the 1980's, are 4130 grade frames that many times came with low end components, turkey levers, steel seatposts, steel pedals. Fuji made several models that were worthy of upgrades like the Absolute, Royale and Palisades for example........ the lowly World Sport, Nishiki and Univega had a few sleeper models as well.
    Totally agree and would also include some Bridgestone models. Another sleeper is anything in the Signature series from Ross - the Ross name tends to have bad connotations but Signatures are excellent frames.

    Also +1 on the 80's Columbus Schwinns.
    1975 Motobecane Le Champion
    1984 Bridgestone 400 -- 1985 Specialized Expedition 1986 Cannondale ST400 and Nishiki Cascade -- 1987 Trek Elance 400T and Schwinn Voyageur
    1990 Cannondale ST400 -- 1994 Univega Via Carisma

  18. #18
    Senior Member auchencrow's Avatar
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    Unless you already have a FULL complement of parts, I don't think any frame is a good buy - not even at 0 dollars.
    The best deals are still complete bikes. - Maybe in need of a little TLC. At that then, the very best high-end bikes should fall into the $100-200 bracket.
    Not more.
    - Auchen

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    I'm sorry, auchencrow, and I don't say this with any disrespect, but I definitely disagree. I know you know your bikes and have seen as much in many posts of yours, but nice frames by themselves are great buys if you're willing to wait and shop around for parts. New bikes are totally opposite, but there are lots of deals to be had in the vintage market. The Miyata 916 frame in really good shape that I regularly ride in the summer was $30. I picked up Dura-Ace 9sp shifters, derailers, cranks, and brakes in a bundle for a really good deal, added some pretty nice wheels, and I'm on what I consider a really great bike for under $300. I did luck out on the Dura-Ace stuff, but even at under $4-500, I think you'd be hard pressed to buy a complete bike with a nice steel frame, lots of Dura-Ace, and decent wheels for the same price. If you were sticking with vintage components, you could get Shimano 600 or Dura-Ace at a pretty good price to put on that same frame and have a nice bike for under $300 on a fairly regular basis. I never see nicer vintage frames in my area wearing 600 or Dura-Ace for under $500. Everyone is always asking a premium for them because they're a nice vintage road bike with nicer parts. The Campagnolo name will add $100 to that even for their lower end parts. Maybe Detroit pricing is far different from Madison pricing(which is Definitely inflated), but I still don't see how a nice frame and some deals on parts doesn't come out better than a $2-300 all-around medium quality bike.

    If you can get 600/Dura-Ace bikes in your area for under $300 on a regular basis, we should go into business together. You buy 10 of them for $3000 or less, we can meet at the Lake Michigan Ferry, I'll sell them for $5000+ in Madison in no time, and we can split the profits. Hell, we've got a guy here on CL selling bikes of half that quality for $500-1000 each and Somehow he's supposedly selling bikes... It baffles me, but he says it's happening.
    Last edited by 3speed; 03-14-14 at 03:07 AM.
    90 Miyata 914 with full Dura-Ace
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    80s Cierra Professional 5000, Tange Champion 2 and Shimano 600
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    Quote Originally Posted by scyclops View Post
    Oh yeah, sure, what if everyone thought that way? Then internet forums would merely be places where rational people exchange useful information and ideas - instead of the chaotic, emotionally-charged circuses that they are.

  20. #20
    Senior Member OldsCOOL's Avatar
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    Treks with True Temper framesets. Very light and predictable in the corners. My 460 is a little hotshot for spirited rides.
    Having a flat tire as part of the total cycling experience is highly overrated. Knowing how to fix one quickly is not.

    '85 Trek 460 road racer

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  21. #21
    Senior Member OldsCOOL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by auchencrow View Post
    Unless you already have a FULL complement of parts, I don't think any frame is a good buy - not even at 0 dollars.
    The best deals are still complete bikes. - Maybe in need of a little TLC. At that then, the very best high-end bikes should fall into the $100-200 bracket.
    Not more.
    It's worth it if you really want it. That's ok to really want a frameset, isnt it?

    I've always wanted a Cannondale criterium series bike but they are rare up here and I dont do ebay. So this winter I found a criterium frameset and with alu fork....perfect for a project and at a great price.
    Having a flat tire as part of the total cycling experience is highly overrated. Knowing how to fix one quickly is not.

    '85 Trek 460 road racer

    '89 Raleigh Technium PRE

    '79 Motobecane Super Mirage

  22. #22
    Fat Guy on a Little Bike KonAaron Snake's Avatar
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    In my experience Auchen is absolutely correct from a cash spent perspective, no matter how good the deal is on a frame, and the parts afterwards, the are just SO MANY things to buy that you almost always come out ahead on buying complete. On the plus side you get exactly what you want when building up a frame. I've followed the donor bike model, and have bought some extra parts over time just because they were cheap. That has definitely helped control costs, but if you added up historic costs it's still more expensive than buying complete.

    I've bought complete bikes, sold some, or all, of the parts and then built up how I wanted it. That way you get to recoup more parts costs.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3speedslow View Post
    A Bianchi that is not the celeste colour.
    I think that depends on the frameset and color , I have two examples that would not fit your description.

  24. #24
    RIP Sonny RaleighSport's Avatar
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    Are we really going to have another one of these.. go snap up all these sleeper frames and drive the market up threads again?
    "Seriously is what I want to be, so I put on spandex and show off my gear, my junk, my thing, yes my ding-a-ling."

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by RaleighSport View Post
    Are we really going to have another one of these.. go snap up all these sleeper frames and drive the market up threads again?
    Like this thread;
    Underrated or under the radar Vintage road bikes.

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