A friend-of-a-friend in Portland is trying to sell me his steel Bushnell tandem, circa 1995 or 1996, for $500. I've not seen it yet, but it looks like a nice ride, if a little dated, in the photos. It seems like these don't come up used too often, so I'm having trouble finding price comps online. Any opinions on a fair price for such a bike? I think the grouppo is Ultegra (maybe 600, given the date), with bar-end shifters and a seven-speed cassette.
Obviously fit is an issue, and I will make sure that is right before I pull the trigger. I also expect that $500 is a pretty good deal, but because I may spend some money modestly upgrading the thing (adding a drag brake, first) I would be interested in rough estimates of value, not merely confirmation that $500 is a good deal. Upgrades could easily add a few hundred bucks, so if it only worth $500 it probably isn't a great deal.
I don't know much about Bushnell tandems, but I do have Bushnell eccentric on my Calfee and the thing is a work of art and ingenious design.
I have heard Bushnell made really nice frames. Its probably not going to be a super light speed demon tandem but it should be pretty nice and that seems like a good price.
1996 is not that old, I recently sold a 1996 Santana and it was in great shape. I did upgrade it over the years and you could probably spend a lot money doing that and it might make sense if it is a bike you think you would like to keep.
Probably the most expensive and worthwhile upgrade would be the drive train and shifters and then the wheels after that. Nothing wrong with bar end shifters and 7 speed, but once you have ridden the newest Campy 10 speed there is no going back.
The Tandem: I would characterize any older Bushnell tandem frame as an example of one of the best tandem frames you could find for that given time period. Of course, since nearly every Bushnell was a one-off build you'd have to factor in the construction method (TIG or fillet-brazed), special details, finish and components to understand if it was a base model or someone's dream tandem to even get an idea of what it may have cost at that time. You'd also want to know if it was built for a team that was extremely light or extremely heavy, as that could have influenced the tubing choices regarding thickness as well as any internal or external butting and shaping used by Dennis in the design and construction of the frame. Also, was it built for touring or fast club rides/racing? That would also influence some of the design decisions. Sounds complicated, doesn't it? But there's a really easy way to figure out if it's the right tandem for you before you even begin to worry about the "value" and that's to look at and ride the thing. If it fits and you like the way it looks and rides, none of those other details matter. It's like good stew: if the stew tastes great who cares what the chef put in the stew.
Originally Posted by skagitteam
Value: There is no Kelly Blue Book for bikes or tandems, and the older tandems get the harder it is to find 'comps', not that 'comps' really matter. At this point, the question is, what else could you buy for $500 and how does it compare to the Bushnell? So, don't waste your time trying to find other Bushnells, just go search for $500 tandems and then ask yourself, are they as good or better than the Bushnell I'm considering. If you think you'll dump another $300 into the tandem, go look for $800 tandems and make the same comparison.
More information and links to tandem classifieds can be found here: http://www.thetandemlink.com/tandems.html#anchor1146367
More info on how to figure out fair market value is in the narrative associated with the tool you can find here:
The challenge with the tool is figuring out what a new, comparable tandem value might be. Lacking that, you take a WAG based on the equipment and type of tandem you're looking at. If I use an Santana Arriva SE as a comparable tandem and plug $3,400 into the tool, and then run the table out to 1995 the comparable 'fair market value' suggests the Bushnell is an excellent deal. If I drop that value to $2,500, once again the Bushnell is still an excellent value if it's in very good or good condition. Fair condition (low range) against a $2,500 replacement value is still in the $700 range.
Bottom Line: What's the bike worth to you or what else could you buy for similar money or that's within your budget that would give you as much enjoyment?
Bushnell is still in Seattle, right? find out a frame number and give him a call for some more background.
You might find that he could add fittings for a disc brake in the rear, and make other limited modifications, too. Ride the bike this summer and then decide how you want to have it "remodeled" in the winter.
Last edited by moleman76; 07-14-10 at 02:02 PM.
Reason: thought of something to add
If it fits . . . buy it!
It could cost you that much to rent a tandem for a couple weeks . . .
It's a deal. Buy it now. Custom/Semi Custom made in the NW Tandem for $500?!?
I'm pretty sure he still builds for Rodriguez. Give R & E cycles a jingle if you have questions.
Offer him 350. If he balks, perhaps you can settle on 400. That's 20% less.
Dennis Bushnell was building frames for R + E Cycles a couple of years ago. He is probably still there today.
Very helpful, thanks all. I'm going to pursue this (if it fits) and will follow up. I think it is custom, but I'm not too enthused about that because it was of course made custom for someone else.