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Probing the price ceiling

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Probing the price ceiling

Old 02-27-16, 07:57 AM
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Probing the price ceiling

I purchased several moderately priced bikes last year and most of them are good enough to be considered collectable. However, twice in the last few months walked away from grail bikes that were produced in small numbers by a great builder. I've finally admitted to myself that some bikes are exceptionally valuable and I'm not willing pay the required price, even when I know the price is reasonable. One of these bikes I was outbid on, the other bike was never sold by the seller.

Below a certain price point, I'm willing to take a reasonable risk on a bike or frameset. I always intend to ride bikes I collect. It doesn't need to be perfect as long as it's a desirable bike and an excellent performer at a moderate price. I could sell or part out these bikes and quickly recoup 80% of my investment. However, most of my bikes are not for sale, not now and not in the future.

Rare bikes at higher prices produce apprehension. I'd be happy to acquire a grail bike in excellent condition at a bargain price, but quickly become uncomfortable when the price crosses a certain doller value. Is this a common barrier to acquisition? Do you have a price ceiling that you stay below?
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Old 02-27-16, 08:10 AM
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I agree, Mike. I see my threshold getting lower all the time.
Other things are more important. I'm done with "reaching."

It would be nice to have them, but it's all relative gluttony.
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Old 02-27-16, 08:18 AM
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Cosmetic condition is paramount in my searches, as components can always be swapped. Price point wise, as long as the transaction price doesn't exceed FMV or FMV of similar era comps, I don't sweat it. Overall though, like most of the cheapskates here, I would fathom most "permanent" acquisitions do not end up being upside down.
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Old 02-27-16, 08:20 AM
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I also ride all my bikes and consider myself a collector of sorts too. Most of my buys I try to get for what I think is a good deal (part of the fun) and consider resale value on all of them but rarely do this. Ceiling price is a case by case thing but when I consider that each bike I have individually won't get that much mileage, I don't want to spend a lot of cash. I will start to balk when price gets in the $1000 realm, and haven't spent that much on a bike in a while. I generally look at $200 or 300 for a good frame/fork.

That being said I will up the ceiling when I really zero in on a specific want. I'm currently trying to find a frame to replace a nice one that's too big for me. If I win the auction, that will push up to $500 for it, but hopefully selling the replaced frame will take a lot if not all of the sting out of that.
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Old 02-27-16, 08:42 AM
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This is a very subjective matter, but if it exactly something I want and I can afford it, nope, money doesn't matter.

Being "exactly" what I want is not an easy standard. Size, condition play a major part, but there is also the intangible mojo thing. It's hard to put a finger on that and is an entirely personal choice.

But I'm not the type to rotate a collection. I pretty much buy and hold. So if I spent "a lot" on a bike, I hold onto it until I get my "money" out of it. I don't worry about if I recoup how much I spent. Same goes with tires. I buy them, ride them until threadbare, then get some new ones. Only difference I have yet to wear out a bike.
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Old 02-27-16, 09:05 AM
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Like those guys, I pick up bikes to ride, not to collect per se. All my bikes except the Peugeot (a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away) were bought as frame w/fork, maybe with headset. I do not have a fixed price ceiling but I do have a general notion of what I'm willing to spend. The components, wheels, etc. are expensive too so I always end up spending far more than just the cost of the frame. In the end it requires that I really find that bike intriguing.
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Old 02-27-16, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by iab
This is a very subjective matter, but if it exactly something I want and I can afford it, nope, money doesn't matter.

Being "exactly" what I want is not an easy standard. Size, condition play a major part, but there is also the intangible mojo thing. It's hard to put a finger on that and is an entirely personal choice.

But I'm not the type to rotate a collection. I pretty much buy and hold. So if I spent "a lot" on a bike, I hold onto it until I get my "money" out of it. I don't worry about if I recoup how much I spent. Same goes with tires. I buy them, ride them until threadbare, then get some new ones. Only difference I have yet to wear out a bike.
I will pay what it takes to get what I want.

As long as the $$$ come out of my bike fund, the world continues to turn.

FWIW Try building a new MTB from scratch. My new Yeti will put me in the poor house way before a nice vintage bike will. In fact, I could likely pick up at least three-four high end vintage bikes for a similar price.
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Old 02-27-16, 09:19 AM
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I would guess I'm like most people- I want the things I want. If I can sort of responsibly go after what I want, I will.

I said "sort of responsibly."

I've paid too much for stuff, and too much for stuff that has not worked out to my expectations.

But, as Robbie says- I work hard to finance my gluttony.
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Old 02-27-16, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by gomango
In fact, I could likely pick up at least three-four high end vintage bikes for a similar price.
No doubt C&V is a bargain. Unless you are buying a bike that was ridden by Bartali, Coppi, Merckx or fill in the blank here, it is nearly impossible to spend more on a "collectible" bike than a new bike. No way a Herse or Confente will cost more that the top of the line Venge schmenge. Thousands of those bikes are sold every year.
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Old 02-27-16, 10:31 AM
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I always have a ceiling, But sometimes 'impulse drive' takes over. Luckily my tastes are not exotic. I favor solid riders.
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Old 02-27-16, 11:30 AM
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I'm scared, because i don't know how I'd honestly answer that question!

Do we need a "talk me out of it" thread?
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Old 02-27-16, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by RobbieTunes
It would be nice to have them, but it's all relative gluttony.
This might have been what my subconscious voice has been trying to tell me lately

It's hard for me to contribute to this thread on a price as my SOP is (more like was) to look hard and long for as nice a frame as I can find, then outfit it with parts I've collected over the years. I think the last complete bike I bought was the purple Davidson, but in the end I only used the frame/fork/headset while selling/giving away all the other parts. It was around $750. If that helps.

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Old 02-27-16, 02:35 PM
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There aren't too many bikes I'd pay over $1800 for, even though I've exceeded that number on several occasions, either in total build cost or purchase price for a complete bike. At this point I have all of the really expensive bikes I think I want, so it's more a matter of riding, maintaining, modifying and enjoying what I have than always being on the lookout for something new. I don't really care about resale value on them, since it's unlikely any of them will be sold during my lifetime.

But I still have a number of neat-O projects in storage. Admittedly, one (or possibly two)of them approach or exceed that magic $1800 number. So I'll likely take a loss on those when they go on the block.
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Old 02-27-16, 05:27 PM
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No bikes approach the 2k level in terms of desirability for me. Sitting on the same fence I had a custom built for me. That was worth it, but now the thought of custom level $'s for an auction bike is even harder to justify.
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Old 02-27-16, 06:04 PM
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I don't really set a ceiling but do keep my eyes open for deals on what I want. If I am buying high end I prefer clean or unique aspects within a good brand. I am ok paying fair market on something I really want that appears it will hold value, or if limited (not obscure) and sought after. I don't plan on or think about selling anything at this point, but I do try and make good decisions, and a good decision for me is not always the good price of something I am not all in for. Having what I want can carry more value to me than buying a bike cheap that I can sell for more. I see work for making money, bikes as a hobby. If things go right value will go up, but even if stable or some loss I would be happy as I am getting enjoyment and entertainment from them.

Regarding value, I like working on bikes as downtime, but if I compared time (as money) into some of these mid/lower end bikes vs. what I paid for a high end bike that is clean..... I already lost money on the mid/lower bike in many cases.
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Old 02-27-16, 06:06 PM
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So, I've been offered a very nice Weigle for $4,000.

It is very close to new, exactly my build preference and spot on for size.

So other than saddle and pedals, it's turnkey.

In addition, he's in no hurry to sell and lives in the Twin Cities.

A new Weigle frameset would set me back more than that and it could take many, many years of waiting.

In this particular case, the only thing wrong here is the timing.

Anyone want to buy five or six vintage Italian racers?
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Old 02-27-16, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by gomango
I will pay what it takes to get what I want.

As long as the $$$ come out of my bike fund, the world continues to turn.

FWIW Try building a new MTB from scratch. My new Yeti will put me in the poor house way before a nice vintage bike will. In fact, I could likely pick up at least three-four high end vintage bikes for a similar price.
I prefer vintage MTBs myself. But after 50 rigid forks start taking their toll. If I had to buy a modern bike it would be a MTB. I really don't feel at a disadvantage on a vintage steel road bike.

Sometimes too much money on a vintage ride is still a lot less than a new bike. Which goes along with the OP. I would pay more than fmv on a keeper. Not too much more but more. Once you have the object you tend to forget the price. Plus you can't put a value on a hobby. Then it becomes an investment and stops being fun.
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Old 02-27-16, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by cs1
I prefer vintage MTBs myself. But after 50 rigid forks start taking their toll. If I had to buy a modern bike it would be a MTB. I really don't feel at a disadvantage on a vintage steel road bike.

Sometimes too much money on a vintage ride is still a lot less than a new bike. Which goes along with the OP. I would pay more than fmv on a keeper. Not too much more but more. Once you have the object you tend to forget the price. Plus you can't put a value on a hobby. Then it becomes an investment and stops being fun.
I have a Surly ECR. Great bike. No shocks, but huge tires that I run at appr. 20 psi. Fun stuff.

The Yeti is a full squishy. I have fallen hard for off road riding, because it's a hoot.

Don't mind vintage mtbs one bit though....
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Old 02-27-16, 06:28 PM
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I worry more about the ride than the gear. Getting too wrapped up in bike after bike is a buzzkill for me. The reality is we live in fortunate times where you can pick up a great riding bike or 3 without spending a fortune. Bikes are just tools, nice ones, but still a means to an end, imo.
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Old 02-27-16, 06:43 PM
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My Classic interests are more on the other side of the financial scale. I like to see what I can do with cheap old steel frames, such as my Peugeots and others. I've had a lot of fun with those $20 bikes and frames.
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Old 02-27-16, 06:52 PM
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My ceiling is probably around $800. I am at my limit on bikes. I feel like if I bought another bike I would have to get rid of one. I am happy with what I have and really have no desire to get rid of any of them. The hard part would be determining which one to get rid of. I wouldn't mind it if my son took one or two so they would stay in the family.
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Old 02-27-16, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by gomango

In this particular case, the only thing wrong here is the timing.

Anyone want to buy five or six vintage Italian racers?
Discipline.

Buy the Weigle. Sell the 5-6 Italian racers over the next 5-6 months. Done.
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Old 02-27-16, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by iab
Discipline.

Buy the Weigle. Sell the 5-6 Italian racers over the next 5-6 months. Done.
Good point!

My wife said the same thing at dinner last night.

She wondered aloud if he would wait long enough for me to sell the other bikes first.

I think I'll give him a ring and find out.
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Old 02-27-16, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by gomango
Good point!

My wife said the same thing at dinner last night.

She wondered aloud if he would wait long enough for me to sell the other bikes first.

I think I'll give him a ring and find out.
+1. It never hurts to ask.
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Old 02-27-16, 07:33 PM
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I don't get too hung upon the price of things. I know what I can afford. I limit myself to 3 bikes: 1 road, 1 sport touring/commuting/fenders and 1 mountain. I am pretty ruthless when it come to keepers vs. being sold off. I have acquired lots, some I make money on, some I lose money on but they mostly get moved along if they don't "wow" me. Anything new has to be able to knock the current bike in that spot out of rotation. I also don't ever keep anything that is not my size, regardless of what it is. If I can't ride it, I don't want it.
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