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Are vintage LADIES bikes...worthless?

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Are vintage LADIES bikes...worthless?

Old 06-29-15, 02:35 PM
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Are vintage LADIES bikes...worthless?

I see a ton of old bikes for ladies, but nobody ever buys them. My local craiglist just keeps bulking up on old vintage ladies bikes. I've seen the same ones for months and new ones are added all the time. Is there anything worth salvaging off of these bikes? Considering I'm in the USA, most of these ladies bikes are Schwinn, Ross or Columbia (almost exclusively). Every now and then a Murray or Huffy pops in there. All the ones I've seen in person are near mint, if not mint. But I don't know if they can be used for anything besides a couple parts here and there (although most of them have nice looking studded seats on them).
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Old 06-29-15, 02:46 PM
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Reminds me old Stingray bikes.
The boys bike have always been ridin' to hell and back.

If you should find one in good condition, people want a fortune.

But the girls bikes are always pristine,
and relatively cheap.
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Old 06-29-15, 02:48 PM
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Depends how you define worthless.

My wife has a '64 Schwinn Collegiate in coppertone that she named "Goldie." She loves that bike, and uses it for short hops to the library or whatever. The thing is, it's not a bike that will ever get replaced, which means that she will probably never again be in the market for this type of bike. She's got the one she needs for its limited purpose, and it's awesome for that and not much more. So in terms of utility, no, not at all worthless.

The other side of the coin is supply and demand. There are eighty gazillion of these things available as they were built bombproof and rarely suffer from anything but varying degrees of neglect. But nobody needs more than one, so only the rock-bottom priced offerings are ever gonna move, and even they move slowly. Which means in terms of flipping, yeah, they're worthless.
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Old 06-29-15, 02:52 PM
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Pretty much worthless, unless you find a really special one. Nice mixtes will fetch a good price in the right town, but old Huffy, Columbia, Murray step-throughs are sometimes hard to even give away.

Worthless, but not useless, because you can still ride 'em.
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Old 06-29-15, 02:55 PM
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There is a trend in our city for hipsters to ride Mixte bikes.

They work well for urban bikes.

Especially if you have a kid on the back,
you don't kick them in the head when you mount.

The prices have been rising.
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Old 06-29-15, 03:00 PM
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The same is true here - lady's model ten speeds (excluding mixtes) sit on Craigslist for a very long time. As previous posters have noted, there's a number of reasons why: for the most part they're heavy and low-end (not of interest to collectors, vintage fans, or anyone looking for performance), they appeal to a very small segment of the population since there's no reason a woman can't ride a traditionally shaped frame (barring the wearing of a long skirt) and there are lots of guys who don't want to ride girls' bikes, and finally those bikes tend to be small, so they're likely out the question for a tall gal or a guy of average height. And really, there are better options for anyone looking for a cheap commuter now that basic mountain bikes have been in production for several decades.
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Old 06-29-15, 03:12 PM
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It simply takes a while to build that market, and many of those bikes will not survive the time.

The "man's" side of the market had years of riding, bike knowledge, wrenching, and history on bikes to draw from, and it basically backed into C&V as it aged, to some extent, with the bikes.

Not the same with the "woman's" side of the market. While stars like Rebecca Twigg and others were out there, they weren't exactly getting front page coverage from mainstream sports reporters, much less bike magazines. Somewhat like the WNBA or women's pro soccer, it's just not happening, yet. Marianne Vos may be right there with Eddy, or close to it, but you simply won't see her in that kind of limelight.

As for women's cycling, it's up to us to show our daughters and granddaughters how they can go kick butt early on, from the 5-year-old category in kid's triathlons to letting the lone wolf female rider in adolescence know that we've got her back. Only that will grow the sport in that regard, vs. the myriad of other options young women and girls have to choose from.

As for the ladies' C&V market, we can save it by choosing one and holding onto it, and perhaps drawing a spouse of significant other, or friend to ride it. There simply aren't enough women interested in them.

My wife loves the ease and comfort of her "converted" mountain bike, but she finds a well-done mixte to be tons easier, given modern shifters, a decent saddle, and fatter tires. She, like many women of her age, are simply not going to ride a road bike, no matter how much I like her in Lycra. There was no history of friction shifting, 120psi tires, racing her friends, Merckx posters, or any of that.
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Old 06-29-15, 03:32 PM
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I can have one free. Looks brand new except for the dry rotted tires.
I keep telling myself to put on some cheap tires and sell it but it just doesn't seem worth the trouble.

On the other hand, last year down town, I saw one with a loop frame.
I can't remember the brand but I thought it looked cool. I've never seen one like it and it would be
nice to have in a few more years.
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Old 06-29-15, 03:36 PM
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Generally, a ladies or step through bicycle is worth less that a man's version. That said, more often than not, the components on the ladies bicycle will be in much better shape, mechanically and cosmetically, than those on the man's bike.

Ask yourself this - why don't you buy a ladies bicycle? And that is why they are, indeed, worth less, but not worthless, by any means. I loved riding this and regret selling it...

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Old 06-29-15, 04:46 PM
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...I commuted to work for a couple of years on a purple, step through Schwinn 3speed with a SA hub. If I had to commute again, and leave it locked up somewhere outside, I'd probably do the same bike again, maybe in a different color, depending on availability. Teh beauty of the step through design (AKA drop tube, AKA lady's bike) is that when you have a crappe tonne of stuff loaded up on the rear rack or rear baskets, you can avoid swinging your leg over it to mount and dismount, thus they make excellent shopper/commuter bikes for distances under about 15 miles.

If you are on board with the idea, you can considerably improve performance with an upgrade to the rims and tyres.


There does not seem to be the same unreasoning prejudice against the design in much of Europe.
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Old 06-29-15, 04:58 PM
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In the world of vintage American cruisers, girl's bikes are a great source of parts. Boy's bike were treated really rough by their owners (remember?) so if you can find a decent boys frame, you can pirate the remaining parts from a girl's bike.
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Old 06-29-15, 05:00 PM
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I recently sold a Schwinn Collegiate women's 3-speed bike for $50. The bike came out of my brother's garage and was in pretty good shape except the tires which cost me $15 apiece to replace so I didn't make much. On the other hand, the buyer was thrilled to get it (and I was thrilled to say goodbye to it.)
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Old 06-29-15, 05:01 PM
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It seems like stepthrough bikes are not often available at a very high spec. They are therefore cheap to begin with. I ran into this shopping with my wife for her hybrid - you can get hybrids up to Ultegra level but if it's stepthrough good luck finding anything nicer than Acera.
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Old 06-29-15, 05:05 PM
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Not entirely worthless if there is a seat or post you can grab from it.
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Old 06-29-15, 05:10 PM
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@randyjawa beat me to the "worth less, but not worthless" line. The ones you'll generally see aren't made of fancy tubing with top-level parts, but construction-wise, they're just fine. If you think about it, they're a steal.
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Old 06-29-15, 05:12 PM
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Low end is low end, whether the bike be for gents or the ladies.

Overall the perceived problem is two fold:

Guys don't know how to sell to women - Generally aesthetics rule in marketing to women, so make the bike pretty. Also make it easy to ride. Downtube shifters are an acquired taste and stem shifters are more practical. Most don't care if the frame is 531, 501, SL, SLX or Infinity.

Women want reliability above all else - newer is perceived as more reliable than old.

I'll take a low end loop frame or diamond frame any day of the week over a men's bike, same model. Also, small mtb's are popular.
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Old 06-29-15, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Rocky Gravol View Post
Reminds me old Stingray bikes.
The boys bike have always been ridin' to hell and back.

If you should find one in good condition, people want a fortune.

But the girls bikes are always pristine,
and relatively cheap.
Been that way for decades, why I welded some tubes in and made one a BMX bike before there was a term, BMX.
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Old 06-29-15, 06:16 PM
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Maybe part of the problem is women's bikes tend to run smaller. I'm 6' 1" and most of the step over bikes I see are too small. Which is sad- I've seen some great deals on bikes I would have bought but they were way too small.
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Old 06-29-15, 06:17 PM
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I am a bike flipper, 5 years ago I used to give womans bikes away that I had left at the end of the season.
But now I have been selling as many bikes to woman as men.
But I have noticed many womans bikes are being way overpriced on craigslist, and they dont seem to be selling. Its easy to sell a Schwinn breeze in nice shape for a hundred bucks, some guys are asking 250 and they just post them over and over.

I also am seeing womans tank bikes for 350 in not so nice condition. They dont sell.
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Old 06-29-15, 06:35 PM
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I generally use womens bikes for parts, but most of the bikes I get for free are dept store bikes..... I did get this trek for free and turned it into my commuter bike
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Old 06-29-15, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by OldsCOOL View Post
Not entirely worthless if there is a seat or post you can grab from it.
I would say grab the seatpost, stem, 'bars, brake levers, calipers, shifter trigger, wheels (especially if the Sturmey Archer hub works clean and tight). Not to mention the small fittings. And if it has a mattress saddle with the lateral spring network, I got dibs on that, too!

I have my wife's mens' Raleigh Sport to refurbish, 1970 model.

What else ... FENDERS! of course.

Actually, send me the bike, I will decide on the frame's future.
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Old 06-29-15, 09:14 PM
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I just got one for free - decent little schwinn traveler: SO yes, they are not worth much if anything on the market. that said, the traveler seems a decent machine compared to most of the womens offerings of the day. I might keep it for my wife or just pass it on to someone in need of a bike. its not worthless as transportation!
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Old 06-29-15, 09:33 PM
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A lot of women won't ride them either.
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Old 06-30-15, 04:33 AM
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Generally, I have no interest in a step through design, but as mentioned, the components can be exceptional, condition wise.

I recently swapped most of the components from this Peugeot Mixte onto this Mercier. The stuff on the Peugeot (pedals, brakes, shifters, head set etc were in stunning condition, almost time bubble like).

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Old 06-30-15, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by curbtender View Post
A lot of women won't ride them either.
And there we have the short answer on this supply and demand thing.
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