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Thread: Santana Elan

  1. #1
    Senior Member WebsterBikeMan's Avatar
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    Santana Elan

    Is it possible that a Santana Elan is worth $1200? Santana's web site mentions people selling them for what they paid for them: $1200. And there's one up for sale for that price. It's a little challenging using the used tandem pricing tool, since the model no longer exists. I'm guessing it is equivalent to an entry-level touring model Santana, and I found a reference to 1985 and 1986, but nothing more recent.
    My wild guess at a modern equivalent is the Santana Arriva SE at $3855 (3495 plus upgrades: racks, pedals, 3rd brake), or perhaps it's the Santana Arriva ($4595 plus the same upgrades).

    The used tandem pricing tool appears to flatten out at 5% depreciation after the first 10 years, so I took the 1991 figure starting from a $3855 replacement value and extrapolated back to 1986 using 5% per annum. This leaves me in the sub-$1000 range.

    I don't yet know it will fit, so this may all be academic...

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    Senior Member 72andsunny's Avatar
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    In my experience, Santana always overestimates the value of their used tandems...which can be nice, because anyone calling the factory asking: "How much do you think a 1987 Elan is worth?" will be told $1200. Santana does sell quite a few used/demo tandems on ebay; they have great descriptions, appear to be well maintained/upgraded, and usually go for far more than I would guess. They recently sold a Noventa Stowaway that I passed up when I bought mine 4 years ago--my wife liked the color of ours better--they got $1000 more than I could have bought it for.

    So if you're buying a 1987 Elan from Santana, maybe it is worth $1200. If you're buying it from anybody else (and it does not have numerous upgrades/updates), I'd give it a value of $600-$700.

    Update: I can't find the $1200 figure on Santana's website, and I'm not sure what the current catalog says, but I first read this article 8 years ago (and it probably wasn't new then): http://gtgtandems.com/tech/cheap.html

    Used Santana tandems: After two years of testing, the first production Santana tandems were delivered to customers in 1978. At $1200, the original Santana was not only four times more expensive than the $299 Gitane, we lost money on every one. By 1983, the final year we produced the marathon frame design, the price of Santana's only model had doubled. All of these pre-model-name "Classic" Santana tandems were built with seamless double-butted tubing--still exotic by today's standards. These first generation Santanas sell used for $1000-$1500. Mid-'80s fillet-brazed direct lateral "Sovereigns" and "Arrivas" sell used for $1500-$2200. Late '80s Elans and Visas, along with tig-welded Arrivas, now sell used for about what they cost new; $1200-1800. Any '90s vintage Santana will sell used for 60-70% of the current price for the same model. Since prices have gone up an average of just over 20% in the same period, a customer who sells a 4-year old 700c Santana will recover up to 80% of their original investment.
    Last edited by 72andsunny; 07-08-08 at 03:50 PM.

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    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Elan @ 1200 bucks? Not worth it!
    In 1977 we had a full custom tandem built (Assenmacher), siver brazed/lugged Reynolds 531 tubing (with gold outlining of lugs), chroming of dropouts and top of the line components (TA, Phil hubs, bb, pedals), 36H wheels, for $1,200 an it weighed in at 34 pounds . . . at least 15 pounds lighter than the llightest 'tana available around that time frame. Oh, we put 64-thousand miles on that Assenmacher and sold it for about 100 bucks less than what we paid for it 10 years later!
    Pedal on!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

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    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    You really don't have to extralolate from the tool for tandems that are older than the pre-set table values. Instead, once you decide what to plug in as "fair market value" and have done so, simply copy and paste the table section of the tool into Excel and then do a drag/copy over the last two columns and it will run the tables on out many more years. For example, using the Arriva SE's value the image below represents what would be spit out for 1990 - 1985. This may, in fact, be exactly what you did.

    Regardless, anything short of a true collector's item (and there aren't many of those), an old tandem is an old tandem... just as any other old bicycle is an old bicycle, old car an old car, etc... Rear drop-out spacing will be narrow, the frame materials -- no matter how sophisticated -- are obsolete by definition unless the same builder is still using the exact same tubing or materials.

    So, what it really comes down to is what else could I buy for the same money... without regard to the brand. If the 18 - 22 year-old Santana seems as good or better to you as a new KHS Milano or a Cannondale that's a few years old being offered for the same price, then perhaps it'll be just right. However, as others have noted, just because it's an old Santana doesn't make it immune from depreciation. It merely suggests that it's probably as good or perhaps a bit better than another quality tandem from the same era.
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    Senior Member WebsterBikeMan's Avatar
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    Used Santana pricing article

    yeah, I read that article too and wondered how old it was. From the look of it a lot of articles on the gtg site are either copied directly from Santana or linked to Santana. So I thought I found this one on Santana's site, but may have been mistaken, as it was more authorship than location.

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    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    I used to have an 84 Elan. Suzue hubs, 6-speed freewheel, barcon shifters, 27" wheels, 25" rear top tube. I paid $1,200 for it in 1984. I wouldn't pay $1,200 for it today.

    Incidentally, I'm reasonably sure that I saw the bike about a month ago at the Route 66 ride in Edwardsville, Il. A man and his (10 year old?)daughter were riding it but they got too big of a head start on my wife and me to catch them and check out the bike. Makes me smile to think that it's still on the road.

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    MB1
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    ???

    Quote Originally Posted by zonatandem View Post
    Elan @ 1200 bucks? Not worth it!
    In 1977 we had a full custom tandem built (Assenmacher), siver brazed/lugged Reynolds 531 tubing (with gold outlining of lugs), chroming of dropouts and top of the line components (TA, Phil hubs, bb, pedals), 36H wheels, for $1,200 an it weighed in at 34 pounds . . . at least 15 pounds lighter than the llightest 'tana available around that time frame. Oh, we put 64-thousand miles on that Assenmacher and sold it for about 100 bucks less than what we paid for it 10 years later!
    Pedal on!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
    So you are saying that in 1977 Santana tandems weighed at least 49 pounds stock?

    Sure your bike sounds nice but that weight for a Santana seems a little overstated to me.
    Last edited by MB1; 07-09-08 at 08:56 AM.

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    Senior Member WebsterBikeMan's Avatar
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    Santana informs me the Elan will be in the 40-45 pound range. Rather a broad range given that they quote their "comparison weight" to the pound, but it does clarify the point. So we're looking at something like 10 pounds of extra dead (non-motive) weight. Part of that (a few ounces?) will be the chain, since it's a seven speed. I'm happy to have a chain that won't wear out quite as fast. But much of it is likely in the frame.

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    Senior Member 72andsunny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WebsterBikeMan View Post
    Santana informs me the Elan will be in the 40-45 pound range. Rather a broad range given that they quote their "comparison weight" to the pound, but it does clarify the point. So we're looking at something like 10 pounds of extra dead (non-motive) weight. Part of that (a few ounces?) will be the chain, since it's a seven speed. I'm happy to have a chain that won't wear out quite as fast. But much of it is likely in the frame.
    My early 80s Elan (which turned out to be a Solana) weighed in at 50 pounds...this was with a couple of bottle cages, Look pedals, a Blackburn rear rack; I can't remember what else I had on it. Carrying it up stairs was painful.

    It was unbelievable how smooth and stable it felt the first time we rode it. (Our previous tandem riding experience consisted of cruiser rentals while on vacation).

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    MB1
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    Quote Originally Posted by 72andsunny View Post
    My early 80s Elan (which turned out to be a Solana) weighed in at 50 pounds...this was with a couple of bottle cages, Look pedals, a Blackburn rear rack; I can't remember what else I had on it. Carrying it up stairs was painful.

    It was unbelievable how smooth and stable it felt the first time we rode it. (Our previous tandem riding experience consisted of cruiser rentals while on vacation).
    Of course the Elan/Solana wasn't Santana's lightest bike at the time (and you are including a bunch of extras).

  11. #11
    Senior Member WebsterBikeMan's Avatar
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    OK, I've now actually seen/ridden the bike. It might be worth $1200, with all the upgrades. It has Phil Wood hubs, and virtually everything but the frame is not original equipment.

    I'm now leaning toward getting something new. My experience here was that it didn't feel up to the standard of my similar vintage touring single. And as they say, you can upgrade everything but the frame. Our thought was that we'd do the "buy a used one first to get a better idea of what you want" version, but there were too many things I wanted to change (starting with the height of the captain stem, and the cables are too short to make that easy) to make sense. I've not quite ruled it out yet...

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    Back from the dead!! Did you end up purchasing?? I'm currently looking at an Elan myself and am curious how it turned out.

    -E

  13. #13
    Senior Member waynesulak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ebaker157925 View Post
    Back from the dead!! Did you end up purchasing?? I'm currently looking at an Elan myself and am curious how it turned out.

    -E
    All I can say about this zombie thread is that I would expect to pay about $1,200-$1500 for a 160 mm rear drop out 8-10 speed Santana. More if it was top of the line Noventa or has S&S couplers. I have purchased two in the last couple years. I don't see a reason to pay that much for an older tandem with heavier narrower diameter thicker walled tubing.

    As a side note older tandem weights are skewed high by the components. One old Santana I bought had what was then top of the line Look pedals on it. They weigh over a pound - per set. Net reduction was about a pound in bike weight just from replacing the pedals. Also saved lots of oz with new stems, and bars. After cranks, bars, stems, pedals and saddles were swapped out but with the same old wheels the 1993 Noventa ended up weighing close to my stock 2006 CO-Motion Speedster.

    A frame is basically just steel tubes. Get the similar tubing and it will weigh about the same as a new steel frame.
    Last edited by waynesulak; 11-15-12 at 04:52 PM.

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    Santana Elan

    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    I used to have an 84 Elan. Suzue hubs, 6-speed freewheel, barcon shifters, 27" wheels, 25" rear top tube. I paid $1,200 for it in 1984. I wouldn't pay $1,200 for it today.

    Incidentally, I'm reasonably sure that I saw the bike about a month ago at the Route 66 ride in Edwardsville, Il. A man and his (10 year old?)daughter were riding it but they got too big of a head start on my wife and me to catch them and check out the bike. Makes me smile to think that it's still on the road.
    Ditto with you Retro G; Today that is a decent used $650 to $700 bike and the buyer will secretly hope the seller has already swapped the rear wheel for a newer one as freewheels can be fragile under load. For what it matters, if bought, note that Peter White is showing new availability of 27" rims in 48-spoke so the stock wheels are NOT quite the dead end they had been...

    FWIW; there is nothing at all wrong with an 84 Elan. We owned a 6 year old one and rode it a lot for about 4-5 years. It was solid, fast and took hills well. Nothing broke throughout our ownership of it. I think I paid $850 for it used and sold for the same.
    Last edited by ksisler; 11-21-12 at 01:53 PM. Reason: can't spell!!!

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