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I Can't Afford Vintage Bicycles Anymore...

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I Can't Afford Vintage Bicycles Anymore...

Old 08-12-16, 05:36 AM
  #1  
randyjawa 
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I Can't Afford Vintage Bicycles Anymore...

When I got started collecting/restoring/riding vintage bicycles, I could do so for next to nothing, and sometimes for absolutely nothing. For example, this low end Legnano did not cost me one single cent to get road worthy and safe to ride...



Today, no longer with an Old Shed full of vintage components...



...and living on a fixed income, I cannot afford the vintage bicycle thing, the way I am used to. Put another way, I doubt that I will ever be able to afford a Legnano Roma or Motobecane Grand Record, two bikes I have long longed for. So...

These days I find/build/ride Gas Pipers (gas pipe, incidentally, is very good pipe and I doubt that any bicycle, anywhere on Earth, has ever been built out of gas pipe). However, building up a Gas Piper is still pretty darn costly...



In Canada, cables, casings, brake pads, handlebar wrap, tires and other consumables are pricey, setting me back a hundred bucks, or more. Anyway, my present GP special, a late sixties Torpado, has set me back all of the above and another $100.00+ for some rattle can paint and the necessary stuff to support painting a bicycle. The decals, incidentally, cost more than half of the cosmetic work...

Free...



Price of paint stripper ($10.00) invested to get here...



Another hundred bucks to get here(that includes decals not fixed to the frame yet)...



And at least another hundred for the consumables to be added(cables, casings, tires, bar wrap, brake pads, drive chain - it all adds up)...

By the end of the day, I will have over $250.00 CND into the Torpado...

My next project, an entry level Le Jeune from France. The bike is old and very Old School, with its cottered cranks, sew-ups, Huret trans and CLB brakes...



Anyway, how about others? Are any of you experiencing the rising cost problems that I face? If so, how do you compensate?
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Old 08-12-16, 05:43 AM
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I do "one piece at a time" coupled with lots of patience..
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Old 08-12-16, 05:46 AM
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I suppose in this case, I was fortunate to have my C&V interests emerge during the rising cost phenomenon. I view it as still being a lot less costly than restoring cars. I also resign myself to the fact that I'll never make money when I build something how I'd like to ride it.
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Old 08-12-16, 06:32 AM
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The hobby USED to pay for itself-but it was just that-a hobby. Got to fix and ride bikes I couldn't have prayed to in my youth. Never mind consumables: can't find the projects anymore either. Enjoy what you have-it is more than most-I am envious of you anyway BTW- thank you for all the knowledge you have contributed to the site.
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Old 08-12-16, 07:11 AM
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Thanks for the nice photos, Randy.
Getting old and poor are difficult to get accustomed to.
I figure that since you can't take it with you, it is wise to downsize.
My eyes pop when studying a Cinelli or Colnago or Hetchins for sale; not worth going back to work, though. Well.............
I love to be riding, so I've narrowed down the bikes & am happy.
Think it's time to ride again, now.
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Old 08-12-16, 07:11 AM
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you got enough there that you can pare down and buy more...
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Old 08-12-16, 07:30 AM
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I manage to break even. I'll buy bikes to harvest parts and sell them to put some money in the bike fund. I still think there are some very good bikes out there if you are patient that won't cost you much.
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Old 08-12-16, 07:53 AM
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If I stay revenue neutral, I am happy. The refurbished and resold fund the keepers. As far as building for myself, it's the tires and saddles that are expensive, often approaching $165 just for those items. I almost never buy Kool Stop pads because I think they are overpriced; I don't ride fast and there are no trecherous downhills.
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Old 08-12-16, 08:03 AM
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I really, really like the orange bike. You done good! :-)


Can you make money fixing maintaining bikes for the neighborhood? I mean, just as a hobby for you and to bring in small amounts of money to support your hobby? $20 or so to clean (wipe off), lube chain, adjust brakes, pump up tires and true the wheels (if needed)? A few of those and you have your next project funded.
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Old 08-12-16, 08:09 AM
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I think the real question is: "How many bikes do you actually need?" Collecting of any kind can very quickly be a series of diminishing returns where happiness decreases as the acquired items increase.


This happened to me with bikes and electric basses. Since I can only use one at a time in either case, I have limited the number bikes (2, 1 road & 1 mountain) and basses (1, 1973 Fender Jazz Bass). I realized I was more interested in the experience provided by the object than spending my time acquiring more and more of the same item. I found that the management of all of the "stuff" became a chore. Some folks have no problem having large collections of stuff and they enjoy it. I did not.

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Old 08-12-16, 08:26 AM
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Koolstops on ebay, the Eagles at least, are just about all under 10 bucks a pair, with a lot at 6-8. Compare to the bike shop at $15 a pair or more. I only go to the bike shop now if I want an instant fix for tires, tubes, cables, and wrap, etc. Most of the time now I will search out the best price and order online.,,,,BD
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Old 08-12-16, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by fender1 View Post
This happened to me with bikes and electric asses.
Do tell!
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Old 08-12-16, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by ApolloSoyuz1975 View Post
Do tell!

Oh my!
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Old 08-12-16, 08:59 AM
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Tires and saddles are the big problem. And the crappy Canadian dollar doesn't help. Thank god for the Mountain Co-op, $2 for cables, $15 for freewheels and cassettes and $10 for handlebar tape.
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Old 08-12-16, 09:04 AM
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Randy: while not yet in fixed income, I hear your problem and live it. Lots of lower end bikes available for cheap or free, but doing a proper refurbish means $100-200 investment (still cheap but not free). A better restoration adds costs for decals, better paint etc. A really good restoration is out of the question!

But that won't stop me at this point - I'm trying to gather the stuff I want to keep when I hit the fixed income stage!
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Old 08-12-16, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by fender1 View Post
I think the real question is: "How many bikes do you actually need?" Collecting of any kind can very quickly be a series of diminishing returns where happiness decreases as the acquired items increase.
.
Although I don't think it's really a question of "need"...I do agree with this.

I found I like to be more discerning in what I acquire. More selective.
Although that sometimes goes out the window when collecting some things.
As it is with my current collecting obsession.
Which are small, cheap and beautiful.

I can go overboard just like the next guy. But not on bikes.
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Old 08-12-16, 09:06 AM
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Btw: the last 4 bikes I got were all free - still spent over $400 getting 3 of them roadworthy.
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Old 08-12-16, 09:12 AM
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I can only hope you meant basses, hehe.,,,,BD

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Old 08-12-16, 09:16 AM
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I don't restore vintage bikes to sell or otherwise. But half the reason I ride vintage is low cost. Compare a nice italian vintage bike to the the latest carbon fiber, kinda helps put things in perspective. However if you're restoring to original specs instead of getting them spec'd to what makes it rideable for yourself I can see how it could be very costly.
Some consumables I've been able to get from walmart, e.g. cables,tubes,wrap and even accessories like cages,cyclemeter, frame pumps for a reasonable price.
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Old 08-12-16, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by texaspandj View Post
I don't restore vintage bikes to sell or otherwise. But half the reason I ride vintage is low cost. Compare a nice italian vintage bike to the the latest carbon fiber, kinda helps put things in perspective. However if you're restoring to original specs instead of getting them spec'd to what makes it rideable for yourself I can see how it could be very costly.
+1.

It's actually costing me somewhat less to build up a fairly new Karate Monkey frame into a good MTB with suspension fork than it cost me to rebuild my old early-90's MTB into a dropbar commuter.
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Old 08-12-16, 09:36 AM
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I find when you tell other CVs jonersers "you are out, finished" with projects then sh%$%#t starts showing up for free in the driveway. Like last weekend, I get home and 2 lower end frames (with some decent parts to harvest) and a xl univega super sport are lying near the back door, courtesy of another cv friend who I have bought lots of stuff from. Dragged them down to the lair but sort of burned out on flippers these days. I have enjoyed a few personal projects this summer though.
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Old 08-12-16, 10:02 AM
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I liked the torpado in all all chrome......
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Old 08-12-16, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Bikedued View Post
Koolstops on ebay, the Eagles at least, are just about all under 10 bucks a pair, with a lot at 6-8. Compare to the bike shop at $15 a pair or more. I only go to the bike shop now if I want an instant fix for tires, tubes, cables, and wrap, etc. Most of the time now I will search out the best price and order online.,,,,BD
Those of us lucky(?) enough to work in a shop both fund projects out of the paycheck and savour the price breaks that come with 'cost' pricing - especially on consumables. Two pair of Koolstop Eagle 2s the other day cost me $13 Canadian, which is about a tenner US!

Of course, I don't make much more than minimum wage...so maybe the perks come with some notable downside, even if the LBSs actually survive everyone going online instead of down the street in the long term.

That said, it does certainly cost to keep building and revamping bikes.

I've supported my habit to some extent of late by selling off parts and frames, though I mostly recoup rather than substantially increase initial investment (with some exceptions, e.g. parting out a bike from time to time). I don't really have the time to refurbish basic bikes for resale - and in my location, Vancouver, BC, most asking prices for used/abused clunkers on CL are high enough that I don't see a lot of return if I were to decide to get back into that. It might be different if I had a motor vehicle to facilitate pickups, and/or if I lived in the suburbs rather than right in the city.

I do think there's some wisdom to fender1's thinking here, but I'm aiming more for a 'happy medium' at 3-4 regular riders and a couple of 'collector's interest' bikes for sunny days only...can't quite see just 1-2 bikes in my (near) future. Likely one more incoming within the next year or two, in addition to a brand-new project, so gotta sell a couple of superfluous bikes to get there, even. Once I'm happy with what I've got, I'd anticipate 'trading in' one machine in the fleet for another every couple of years, or something like that, which should keeps costs relatively flat...
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Old 08-12-16, 10:19 AM
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I constantly look around for bargain buys for components at eBay, to build up my stash for present and future projects. I was quite lucky to snag a good amount of high end, NOS stuff for a while , but since 4-5 years ago the bargains started going away, with components I bought just a few years ago, now, all asking for prices, easily 300% and higher
these days.....
So glad I bought when prices were still reasonable, but now, I'm not getting projects done as quickly as I did, as they need stuff I don't have in my stash, and the cost for getting them test days are prohibitive..... projects easily take multiple months or even years to complete.
I blame hyper prices at eBay that drove up C&V component prices way up, just these past few years.
The prices of components seemed to have moderated a bit, after sellers are finally realizing they can't sell anything if they are asking for ridiculous money, but some things seem to still be stuck in value wonderland, and just now sit at eBay, some literally for months and even years now, waiting to snag clueless buyers that will not come any time soon.......
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Old 08-12-16, 10:43 AM
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Oh yeah, I know bike shop pay. 2010 to 2013 that was me in Lake Charles, LA.. it paid for an apartment, bare minimums of food and basic living items, car insurance, gas to get to work, and that's it. I would actually be happy when I was able to buy $130 of groceries to last me a couple of weeks, it was that bad.

I am not making a whole hell of a lot more than that now. I moved back to Houston, have a roof over my head, and a vehicle to drive, and some disposable income at least. Selling bikes locally has all but dried up, at least for the bikes I am trying to sell. If you post cheap, the flippers come out of the woodwork. If you post high, or close to actual value, you hear nothing but crickets chirping.,,,,BD

Last edited by Bikedued; 08-12-16 at 11:07 AM.
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