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  1. #1
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    Name brand & resale value

    I'm looking into buying a touring bike and am a bit confused as to what I should go for. It seems to me that if bikes like the Jamis Aurora, Surly Long Haul Trucker, and other such bikes which have a recognized brand can be resold at 80% of their MSRP even after two or more years of use, then it makes sense as a cyclist to simply buy the most well-known rides. This is because if you were to build a custom, your resale value will likely be much less due to the fact that your name will be excluded from eBay and Craiglist searches of "Trek 520" or "Surly Long Haul."

    Just wondering what other people thought of this. Am I just trying to excuse paying too much for a bike I don't need, or is resale value worth considering when purchasing a new bike?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    80% sounds pretty optimistic to me.

  3. #3
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    80% sounds pretty optimistic to me.

    Sounds optimistic to me too. Based on what I have seen, you are very lucky to get anything close to half the original value for a second-hand bicycle even if it is in mint condition.

    Bicycles depreciate faster than autmobiles for some strange reason.

    Better bicycles hold their values, best - just like anything else. I would recommend buying the best you can afford, and don't let re-sale value influence your decision. Plan to buy to keep.
    Mike

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    I rebuild and re-sell a lot of older bikes, and I usually use that "half" figure as a starting point. If the bike is in excellent condition, and desireable as well, I might see what I can get.

    If it's just a serviceable low-end bike, I'll go under.

  5. #5
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    eBay completed listings show a Surly Long Haul trucker sold for $880 plus $46 shipping, so somebody was willing to pay $926 for an older model when this year's new model costs $1095. That is about 85% resale value. Had 10 bids. I recently lost out on Craigslist to a guy selling a LHT for $775 plus $50 shipping. I think you guys are underestimating the demand for these specific touring models.

    I'm just trying to make excuses for myself to spend a lot on a new bike even though I am out of shape and new to cycling and probably couldn't tell the difference between cheaper and more expensive bikes anyway

  6. #6
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamison View Post
    eBay completed listings show a Surly Long Haul trucker sold for $880 plus $46 shipping, so somebody was willing to pay $926 for an older model when this year's new model costs $1095. That is about 85% resale value. Had 10 bids. I recently lost out on Craigslist to a guy selling a LHT for $775 plus $50 shipping. I think you guys are underestimating the demand for these specific touring models.
    You might be right but, if you're so confident, why'd you ask?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    You might be right but, if you're so confident, why'd you ask?
    because I know I'm only making this argument in order to spend too much money on a bike I don't need and was hoping someone could talk me down.. my alternative is to convert an old steel trek into a touring bike, would probably end up costing around $400 or so. But then I think that those $400 are not going to come back to me should I decide to sell the bike, so why not spend more on a popular model that I know I could resell should I need to in the future. If I continue to be an avid cycler, great, if I end up just using it to go to the store and whatnot, no problem I can sell it later at a minimal loss.

    There is also a bike shop that sells a custom touring bike with a KHS frame for $675. Again resell comes into play.. that custom might be hard to get good money for but if I shell out an extra few hundred for an LHT maybe I can salvage 85% of the original value a year or two later so really the LHT is cheaper in the end, should I need to get rid of the bike.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamison View Post
    eBay completed listings show a Surly Long Haul trucker sold for $880 plus $46 shipping, so somebody was willing to pay $926 for an older model when this year's new model costs $1095. That is about 85% resale value. Had 10 bids. I recently lost out on Craigslist to a guy selling a LHT for $775 plus $50 shipping. I think you guys are underestimating the demand for these specific touring models.

    I'm just trying to make excuses for myself to spend a lot on a new bike even though I am out of shape and new to cycling and probably couldn't tell the difference between cheaper and more expensive bikes anyway
    Or maybe someone was willing to pay too much on Ebay? When asking a group of people who are interested enough to join a bicycle forum they might be less inclined to pay 80 percent for a bike we know we can get for less somewhere else. But then I have heard of people paying good money to buy a corn flake looking like Iowa on Ebay so who knows what things might sell for? But for me it is very unlikely that I would buy a used three year old Trek on Ebay for 80-85 percent when I can simply wait till the end of the year when the LBS discounts new Treks to make room for the next years Treks. Remember some of the posters in these forums buy and sell bikes for a living.

  9. #9
    surly old man jgedwa's Avatar
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    A bike like that does not wear out in the same way that car does. And so, not sure what resale value has to do with anything. Are you planning on selling it in a couple of years? If so, get a used one to begin with. Or just buy the one you are planning on buying two years from now.

    Sorry, that is not really what you asked. Crappy bikes will hold almost no value used. Good bikes that are in decent shape will always hold some value. In my experience, the bike market is too fragmented to really make sweeping generalizations about what things are worth used.

    jim
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  10. #10
    surly old man jgedwa's Avatar
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    And, most importantly, if you are in the Central PA region and ride a 62cm bike, then please buy as nice as possible a bike so that I can get your sloppy-seconds in a few years.

    jim
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jgedwa View Post
    Are you planning on selling it in a couple of years? If so, get a used one to begin with. Or just buy the one you are planning on buying two years from now...Crappy bikes will hold almost no value used. Good bikes that are in decent shape will always hold some value.
    The whole notion of considering resale value on a bicycle seems faintly questionable to me. The only thing I can remember buying based on potential resale is my house, because someday either I, my wife or our kids WILL sell it. We generally keep cars 100,000+ miles, so it's not an issue for them. For something as (relatively) inexpensive as the bikes you've mentioned, I don't think I'd give it a thought.
    If this is just going to be a temporary ride, buying used is a good idea. I got a Trek Tioga ('80s tourer made with Reynolds 531) for $75 last year, and all it needed was grease. There's very little difference in everyday riding between that and my $2300 Atlantis. And if you already know what you'll buy in two years, why not save a little longer and get it now?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamison View Post
    because I know I'm only making this argument in order to spend too much money on a bike I don't need and was hoping someone could talk me down.. my alternative is to convert an old steel trek into a touring bike, would probably end up costing around $400 or so. But then I think that those $400 are not going to come back to me should I decide to sell the bike, so why not spend more on a popular model that I know I could resell should I need to in the future. If I continue to be an avid cycler, great, if I end up just using it to go to the store and whatnot, no problem I can sell it later at a minimal loss.

    There is also a bike shop that sells a custom touring bike with a KHS frame for $675. Again resell comes into play.. that custom might be hard to get good money for but if I shell out an extra few hundred for an LHT maybe I can salvage 85% of the original value a year or two later so really the LHT is cheaper in the end, should I need to get rid of the bike.

    Unless it is a touring designed frame then it is hard to do a decent touring bike on a older steel frame. Touring frames have relaxed geometry and provisions for mounting front and rear racks as well as fenders usually. Also more tire clearance for larger cross section tires and a longer wheelbase normally for a easier ride. They are designed for comfort, not speed. They also typically have cantilever brake mounts for better braking when loaded with a rider and a lot of luggage in hillly terrain.

    Surly bikes and frames are currently a bit of a cult item it seems to me. Will it continue, I do not know. I have also noted a tendency for some people to get carried away on eBay and bid certain items up higher than the new cost, even though still currently made. I get the impression that they do not check around and establish a reasonable maximum bid.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velo Dog View Post
    The whole notion of considering resale value on a bicycle seems faintly questionable to me. The only thing I can remember buying based on potential resale is my house, because someday either I, my wife or our kids WILL sell it. We generally keep cars 100,000+ miles, so it's not an issue for them. For something as (relatively) inexpensive as the bikes you've mentioned, I don't think I'd give it a thought.
    If this is just going to be a temporary ride, buying used is a good idea. I got a Trek Tioga ('80s tourer made with Reynolds 531) for $75 last year, and all it needed was grease. There's very little difference in everyday riding between that and my $2300 Atlantis. And if you already know what you'll buy in two years, why not save a little longer and get it now?
    Heh, I'll make sure to bump this thread if I sell whatever I get. Resale is important because I'm just getting into the sport and planning to tour while I'm in New Zealand and Japan over the next year, but as a 22 year old soon-to-be grad life is very unpredictable and I'm not sure if a bike will be in my future in a year or two. My idea here is that I can dump $675 into a custom at the local bike shop that will surely do the job well for me, especially as a beginner, or I can spend $1100 on an LHT and it seems there is less risk should the bike end up not being used as often as its value demands. That being because I can resell the LHT at a high percentage of retail, quickly, while a custom might be harder to sell. If I don't quit then of course I won't be a beginner anymore and will get the added value from the LHT. Win-win I guess.. I dunno.

    Thanks for the helpful advice everyone, especially regarding the value of touring frames.

    edit: also I'm trying desperately to buy used but no bikes fit me. Those that do are snatched up quickly (like the LHT I mentioned)
    Last edited by jamison; 12-06-08 at 07:14 PM.

  14. #14
    surfrider
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    Since you don't seem committed to bicycling for the long term, and you say you're not is shape, why not buy an inexpensive bike at this time. Use it to get in shape, work on it a little bit so you have a basic knowledge of bike mechanics & maintenance (essential if you're going to do touring), and see if you really like bicycling or would want to tour on a bike. You can also get a good idea of proper fit and what you need on a bike, or maybe even ditch the bike-touring-in-foreign-countries idea. If bicycling is not for you, you can sell it in the future (loose less on an inespensive bike on the resale), or keep it as an around-town errand bike (I've got a cheap beach cruiser I use for that purpose).

    As for the bike touring in Japan, New Zealand, or other places, why not rent a bike in those places, or go on a tour with a touring company in those places? No use buying a bike here and shipping it around the Pacific rim if you're not committed to riding it for the long haul after you return. Renting might be cheaper in the long run.

    Or you just want a bike to take along and do a few short rides? Try a folding bike; easier to travel with AND haul around a city. Folks on the Folding Bike forum can give you good opinions on types/uses/ positives & negatives so you can anrrow down to exactly what you need.

  15. #15
    Arsehole PlatyPius's Avatar
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    If you go into buying a bike with the thought of selling it, you're already doomed. Buy an Xbox 360 Live instead.

  16. #16
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    Surfrider,

    I do have a bike and I am riding it every day, trying to go further and further. It is much too small for me though. I have to discount most of your advice, not because it is bad advice but because most of it doesn’t really apply to my situation for different reasons. Just for example, the idea isn’t touring-in-foreign-countries it is I need to kill 3 months in New Zealand (doing temp work like fruit picking sometimes) before starting a full-time job in Japan. Tour companies are out of the question, I’ve traveled a lot on my own and you’d have to pay me to go on a guided tour  Transporting the bike to NZ is free on Air NZ. But thank you very much for the folding bike recommendation the portability could be an important for me, plus a lot of them are in the $500-600 range new. That is something I will be seriously considering because the possibility of resale is much lower if I am able to easily bring it around with me.

    I wish you guys would not get so caught up in the idea of buying a bike while thinking of resale. It is normal for me when making a large purchase to think of the worst case scenario—usually that the item breaks, or has to be left behind (I move a lot), or gets little use for the money you spent on it. So yes when I make a big purchase I think “Worst case scenario—I have to get rid of this thing, how much am I out? $300? I can live with that.”

    Anyway thanks a lot for the responses.. I know I sound like I’m brushing aside everything but what I’ve heard has made me look at this in a different way and I think my trip will be better for it.

  17. #17
    surly old man jgedwa's Avatar
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    I understand the situation a little better now.

    I think you should a good used bike. Buy somebody else's used LHT (or similar) and let them take the big hit on depreciation. Plus, you will be horsing it around the globe and it would be nice to not have to overly worry about a scuff on the paint.

    And then come back and sell it to me cheap!

    jim

    p.s., what you are planning sounds like a lot of fun
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  18. #18
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
    Or maybe someone was willing to pay too much on Ebay? When asking a group of people who are interested enough to join a bicycle forum they might be less inclined to pay 80 percent for a bike we know we can get for less somewhere else. But then I have heard of people paying good money to buy a corn flake looking like Iowa on Ebay so who knows what things might sell for? But for me it is very unlikely that I would buy a used three year old Trek on Ebay for 80-85 percent when I can simply wait till the end of the year when the LBS discounts new Treks to make room for the next years Treks. Remember some of the posters in these forums buy and sell bikes for a living.
    So if you don't bike the Surly, where do you think will eventually happen to that money?

    My worst nightmere is all my kids standing around my coffin and talking about "how sensible" dad was. Sorry, kids. The last check out of my checking account is going to the undertaker and it's going to bounce. I guess after I'm gone they could sell off my bikes but they aren't going to get 80% of list price.

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