I don't take issue with anything you've said; however, there's more to the 'tool' than the table and without first reading the supporting narrative it's value is greatly diminished. In fact, this note appears right under the table to drive home that point:
Originally Posted by Onegun
Before using this tool you must first read the Estimating Tool Instructions & Pricing Considerations.
Case in point, the 2004 Trek T2000 with it's $3,299 MSRP
Your suggested fair market formula is 2/3'ds of MSRP, or $2,177 and to get there you suggest making an offer of $1,977. Not a bad strategy.
The 'tool' spits out a set of three different values for this tandem based on it's current replacement value.
Based on the narrative, a 2004 Trek T2000 that had not been upgraded would fall into the Medium Range because of the technology jump that's already been noted. For example, here is the description of how the three ranges should be applied and that would logically take you to the medium range.
B. USING THE HIGH, MID, AND LOW RANGE: A tandem's fair market value is greatly affected by its present condition. To use this tool a subjective assessment of the tandem must be categorized using one of the three ranges provided. The ranges are not absolute price points, so the final agreed upon sales price could easily fall within or even outside the suggested ranges when special circumstances apply. Please note, tandems and bicycles take a huge reduction on their fair market value at the time of re-sale since manufacturer's warranties are only valid for the original purchaser/owner. This reduction is reflected in the first depreciation figure shown for the current year and all subsequent years since the warrantee expires whenever the tandem is re-sold by the original owner.
The following describe the three ranges:
a). HIGH RANGE: High range implies the tandems are exceptional examples of a builder's work that have been properly maintained, kept current with regard to components and both the frame and components are cosmetically in "good" to "excellent" condition. There should be no mechanical flaws or performance issues with the tandem and the tires should be in good repair. In summary, this would be an exceptional tandem that has been meticulously maintained, has low mileage and is fitted with current components (See 2C, below, regarding Technology Jumps).
b). MID RANGE: Mid range assumes the tandem is a good example of a builders standard product offering for that particular model year that has received proper maintenance and has either the original components or perhaps some upgrades. The frame and components should be in cosmetically good condition for the amount of mileage accumulated on the frame. Mileage should not be excessive. Minor blemishes are to be expected. There should be no mechanical flaws or performance issues and the tires should be in good repair.
c). LOW RANGE: The low-range should also be used for any tandem that has seen extremely high mileage or infrequent maintenance and could be categorized as "well used" but still in good condition. The frame and components should be in cosmetically fair to good condition for the amount of mileage accumulated on the frame. Blemishes and perhaps a minor ding or two are to be expected in non-critical, low stress areas. There should be no mechanical flaws or performance issues and the tires should be in good repair.
2. OTHER CONSIDERATIONS THAT AFFECT PRICE:
C. TECHNOLOGY JUMPS: Every couple of years new technology will work its way into the mainstream tandem market that makes previous models "old" even if they are just last year's product. Key events that come to mind include the introduction of linear pull brakes, 9 speed gearing, integrated brake & shift levers (i.e., STI & Ergo), 1 1/8" headsets, disc brakes, carbon forks, 145mm and 160mm rear spacing, and other less dramatic changes. To infer the price of an "old" tandem drops dramatically assumes all buyers will find the technology or changes attractive. In many cases, this may be true. However, quite a few seasoned tandemists still prefer bar-end shifters to STI or Ergo, and have yet to see the need for 9 speed shifting. Therefore, when establishing the fair market value of the tandem these factors can be looked at in one of two ways. The "new-is-better" model would suggest an "old" tandem should be priced more along the low range to reflect its lack of current bicycle technology. The "don't change what isn't broken" model would suggest the same tandem be priced somewhere closer to the mid range since not everyone sees technology advancements as improvements.
It's not perfect by any stretch and is only intended to get folks "in the ball park". And, as you note, if you're lucky, diligent and patient some killer deals can often times be had. Ultimately, it all comes down to the premise that a tandem is actually worth what someone is willing to sell it for, or what someone else is willing to pay.