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Depressed prices for vintage cycles and parts

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Depressed prices for vintage cycles and parts

Old 10-04-18, 08:02 PM
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motapro
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Depressed prices for vintage cycles and parts

I first came to this forum when it was an earlier version years ago. Vintage bikes and parts sold for much more than they do today. Even sketchy frames and parts brought too much here and on Ebay. Meanwhile, Japanese bidders would bid up parts on Ebay beyond true, especially French parts.
My old age and illness made riding my machines nearly impossible, and through depression about that, I lost interest in the Forum and riding. I still have some nice vintage bikes, but since I can't really ride them now, I thought I'd revisit Ebay and this Forum to kind of determine their value and sell at least some of them. What I've I found, are prices are shockingly different than 8 to 10 years ago. Maybe this has been rehashed here over and over again, but what happened? Why? and When? I feel like Rip Van Winkle.just awakened after years of slumber. I can't even find the members that were here then and posted regularly. Maybe posted too much as I recall.
Vintage Cycles and parts have apparently turned out to be a crummy investment strategy.(probably never was). I wonder if other boomers and me have actually caused this crash in prices. Really sad and confusing.
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Old 10-04-18, 08:08 PM
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Thread moved from Appraisals to regular C&V.
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Old 10-04-18, 08:26 PM
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I think its a shrinking market.

Like you, folks interested in C&V bikes are getting older and may be suffering illnesses that keep them off of bikes. As much as I would like to think I can do this forever, the fact is that is unlikely as I age. And like you, if you can't ride, you lose interest.

And as you pointed out, many of the best C&V heads are now gone from this forum, probably because of age and possible ailments that made them lose interest.

I think C&V might have peaked and we may never see those glory days again.
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Old 10-04-18, 08:34 PM
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Bummer about your condition motapro , maybe it just goes in cycles . I think it's coming back .
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Old 10-04-18, 08:50 PM
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Historically at the turn of the centuries people become nostalgic and we are getting further from that. It hasn't left it's just died down. It'll pick back up to peak in 82 more years. Frankly I wish prices were lower, as I'm a more a buyer than a seller.
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Old 10-04-18, 09:04 PM
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There's a thread right here which looks at a few theories on the whys and wherefores of the depressed vintage bike market (it's current, too): Are the appraisals on here too low?

DD

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Old 10-04-18, 09:06 PM
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Well Motapro, what size bikes do you ride? The high end models like yours in good condition are continuing to fetch good prices.
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Old 10-04-18, 09:11 PM
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Collectibles tend to make lousy investments. And many vintage bikes never were collectible either.

I've seen the same in the antiques markets. If you hold on to stuff, you run the risk that the market moves on and your stuff goes down in value. Depression glass is just one example.
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Old 10-04-18, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by motapro View Post
... Even sketchy frames and parts brought too much here and on Ebay. ....
Still true on eBay. No so much here.
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Old 10-04-18, 10:13 PM
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I'm mostly a buyer rather than a seller myself. Frankly the bikes I own were never an investment, and I'm glad of that. To me, a fine vintage bike brings me the same joy as art, which is what they are. They are a blend of art and utility. Something lovely to behold and admire. I don't know if contemporary cycles will, or will not, be as revered as old steel is today in 40 years. Maybe our lightweight steel beauties from the 70's will be totally unappreciated. I hope not.
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Old 10-04-18, 10:46 PM
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...there's also been a significant change in the technology of shifting, to the point where there's a generational change in the way younger people view friction and DT shifting. Personally, I bought all these bikes, like you, because I find the art of them fascinating. And these are the bicycles I could never ever afford to ride when younger.

I'm not all that worried about ROI, and you could probably get a lot of the olde car guys to say the same thing.

All things eventually turn to dust if you wait long enough, even olde bicycles. My own impression about that time period you remember, when old stuff was commanding higher prices, is that was when a lot of guys like you and I came into enough leisure time and money that they wanted to buy the stuff that was getting dumped on the market by the original owners, who were either going into care homes or looking to upgrade to plastic. Knowing how much a Casati frame used to sell for is what prompted me to buy one recently as a project. But I can't imagine there were many other guys interested in taking it on as a project, even if there were some with the tools, knowledge, and ability to restore it. We're dinosaurs.
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Old 10-04-18, 11:06 PM
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There's hope for the future, but it needs to be nurtured. Last year I gave one of my daughter's friends an old bike because the broken down BSO mountain bike he kept riding to the house was making me nuts. He liked the bike I gave him and told me it was the best bike he'd ever ridden, but it was clear that it was just transportation to him. Fast forward to about a week ago, he was telling me how many compliments he gets on it, how much he likes the lugs, asking me how rare it is. The kicker is the bike I gave him was a Steyr Clubman. Boy on the edge of the ocean looking at sea shells.
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Old 10-05-18, 02:32 AM
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Yes, days of $1K PX10s had come and gone.....
And unless a good number of C&Vers find the fountain of youth or are resurrected from the dead, we won't see those days again, anytime soon......
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Old 10-05-18, 03:28 AM
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If it has wheels, it's rarely an "investment".
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Old 10-05-18, 03:33 AM
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Sadly, I think this is the natural course for many things that come to be considered collectible. There are overall trends (like the fixie craze and the hipster desire for old school cred, the Japanese interest in "exotic" European vintage bikes, etc.) which fade and give way to other trends. And it's typical, as many have noted, to lust for things we imprinted on in our youth. I was a huge comic book fan, wanted to be a comic book artist, and for years collected original comic book art. Some of that art has become valuable (at times ridiculously so), but I can already see that some of it is declining from peak values of a few years ago. Younger comic book fans are only familiar with a small handful of the artists, and a lot of the characters/books the art depicts are out of print or have morphed. Current comic book artists usually work digitally, so there is very little new original art being produced (similar to the transition to CF in bikes). Tastes change, but my pleasure in finding and admiring that art means I got more than my money's worth, whatever those pieces ultimately sell for.

I think when you look at vintage bikes prices of 10 years ago, another factor is the ease of selling these bikes and parts and also trends in the industry. The 90s came and everyone rushed to buy alloy. Then there was the rush to CF. A lot of really nice steel bikes from the that time, and just prior, were put aside. As eBay reached maturity, and Craigslist became ubiquitous, people suddenly had a way to readily convert those old bikes into cash. Word spread that some of these bikes were really wonderful, even valuable, and a lot of people who grew up wishing to they get a Schwinn Paramount or De Rosa had the means to take advantage of this now nationwide and world wide marketplace. This peaked the interest of both sellers, and collectors (it's certainly part of the reason I became a bit of a collector - "window shopping" online). But the number of cool old bikes that were made is in the millions. There's still a huge untapped supply, not of NOS stuff, but of nice old bikes in decent shape. I think 10 years ago or so the interest in the hobby briefly outgrew the readily available supply, especially for high-end vintage examples of certain makers, and prices spiked. And now the boomer generation, who sparked the US bike boom in the 70s, and were a bike part of that price spike, are now aging out of being active riders, or they have their fix of bikes and are super selective. I think the interest overall in bicycling around the world is strong, and mostly growing, but vintage steel bikes are only one small part of that.

I recently built up a trashed Specialized Sirrus from the 80s for my young nephew. He's into working out, and wanted a bike for exercise. I'm afraid to ask him how much he's riding it - it was a gift, and I wanted to give it with no conditions or expectations. Still, I'm hoping it sparks an interest in cycling, and maybe in vintage bikes, but I know it's a long shot. It's just as likely he'll turn to mountain biking, or get into cars, or whatever. He has never watched a racer on a steel bike, nor gone into a bike shop that was full of Peugeots and Motobecanes. Such is life. Personally I find it most sad that year by year knowledge and expertise is being lost. This is the real shame. I never bought any of my bikes (or any of my art collection) with the thought of profiting, or using it for retirement, or anything like that. It's always been about personal enjoyment, and about sharing this love with like-minded folks.

Of course, I'm also a bit of a bottom feeder when it comes to vintage bikes. I spent about the same on my 2012 Cannondale (bought on sale at the end of the season, so not expensive by modern bike standards) than I did on my Tommasini, Eddy Merckx, Panasonic DX-5000, Univega Gran Premio, and Koga Miyata Gentsluxe S combined. If I sold the Cannondale, I'd get maybe half that money back, and in a few more years it'll be even less. If I sold all the vintage bikes, I'd definitely get back more than I spent, despite using all of them. That ultimately the great thing about this hobby. As you said, they're objects of art, and of beautiful design, and they're amazingly functional, and help keep us active and healthy. There's a special pleasure to tinkering with them, cleaning them, swapping parts out, restoring, riding, sharing.

And on that note, I'd love to see photos of some of your bikes, especially the Motobecane and Gitanes.
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Old 10-05-18, 03:38 AM
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There's been a definite price drop, and fairly severe. I'm not in this hobby for $$$, though: I'm in it to help maintain my sanity. I've always been able to do this fairly cheaply: I started buying before the crest of the wave, back in the nineties, avoided spending too much during the wave (track bike prices during the aughts: aiieeeeeee) and have settled in comfortably to current prices. It's nice to do something I enjoy, control, and don't have to worry about a financial investment. It's always been a relatively cheap hobby, even during the go-go years.

My gut is the market comes back, due to increased numbers of people entering cycling. Some of the more gearhead/aesthetically inclined amoung their numbers will gravitate here. It'll be a while.
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Old 10-05-18, 03:40 AM
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Originally Posted by nomadmax View Post
If it has wheels, it's rarely an "investment".
...but at least it's not a boat.
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Old 10-05-18, 05:30 AM
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Prices are down? Yippie!!!

Now where's my cheap Nuovo Record?



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Old 10-05-18, 05:43 AM
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Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
Prices are down? Yippie!!!

Now where's my cheap Nuovo Record?



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Good luck!

Campagnolo holds its value like a Ferrari. Sometimes I think the whole vintage market could crash, but all things Italian would continue to break the bank!
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Old 10-05-18, 06:41 AM
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It seems that the app developers coming into money these days may be more interested in the BMX and mountain bikes that they couldn't afford, or trashed, as a kid.
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Old 10-05-18, 06:44 AM
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Two recent acquisitions were a 1973 Colnago Super for free and a Raleigh Twenty for free.

The Colnago looked rough but was not that bad. I had offered $500 on it. Owner made an effort to sell and did not get other offers above $200. When he realized he simply would not get enough to make any difference he gave it to me because he knew I would care for it. Cosmetics were easier than expected, mostly it was just dirty. Mechanically it was a disaster. Both initial build and the 1977 refit were done at a first line bike shop and were simply comical. Bike shop nonsense was why the bike had not much ever been used. It is in use now and we routinely get offers up to $2000. NFS.

The Raleigh was in showroom condition. I've no idea how a bike could be stored so long and look so pristine. Original owner wanted to use it and could not find a bike shop willing to touch it. At all. Again the problem with the bike was initial assembly and this time there were factory errors as well. For starters the carriage bolt from the seat binder was too short. Running the post up and down a few times while starting to work on the bike was enough to strip the bolt, which was engaged by only a few threads. Found an OEM replacement bolt and it was even shorter. No solution but to make a bolt, which has been done. That was done at a bike shop (there are good ones, there are great ones) and they would not take payment. By the time we get new tires (even that has become a comedy of errors) and find all the other problems there will be a few hundred in that bike. How many of us would go to the time and trouble for a Twenty?

Without knowledge from a lifetime with bikes neither the Colnago nor the Raleigh would have a chance. Without assistance from shops and collectors who also have been doing this a very long time neither bike would have a chance. Shop owners who know this stuff are retiring and collectors have no possibility of curating all the old bikes out there.
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Old 10-05-18, 07:17 AM
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Not everything can be collectible so the gap will widen. Sure the ride is nice or the parts works perfect but for that you buy the new comfortable, lightweight, fast bikes. As the generation with emotional ties ages beyond caring or passes on, the top stuff will hang on for the most part when primarily collectors remain.

And the internet played a part as the mystique is gone. Top end, panto'd etc are the new norm as most diamond frames look the same.
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Old 10-05-18, 08:19 AM
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I agree that price recent moderation might be due to nostalgia value dropping off, but there will always be an aesthetic value that will be appreciated by some. Keeping the hobby alive depends on exposing it to new generations of people. Since C&V bicycles aren't likely to be featured in movies or pop culture, it's up to us to get our bikes out in public, attend events and even things like participating in this message board.
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Old 10-05-18, 08:33 AM
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Motapro, hope your health recovers, awaiting back surgery as I live with nerve pain, funny that hunching over a bike makes the pain go away, standing or sitting no no.

Like you I have gathered some bikes over time, but here they are things to use or just enjoy for their beauty and I've gone a different route, don't we all, to a niche that's seems within my reach. So I enjoy my finds and build what I've got to enjoy and ride. And there's hope too.

Hope you say, yes, there are two grandsons and four granddaughters in my life and in three weeks I am going to be there when my oldest granddaughter opens a bike box I shipped to France that has her first full sized bike I built in it. Mom reports that the handhold cut outs in the bike box have already been explored! A good sign. My hope is that as grand children grow some will want to explore this wonderful tool of freedom and want to ride for a life time as I have. So while I enjoy my bikes I also wonder how many will go out the door to new adventures. There's this too, find a school, a community center and go volunteer and let it be known among the kids/parents you have some bikes and if a child shows interest, demonstrates a desire and a need their could be a bike for them.

There is no greater moment than a child's eyes when they see that bike and then ride with joy. Will it last, no one can tell, but that moment will last all your life.
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Old 10-05-18, 08:35 AM
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There isn't a group of 20 year old urbanites buying up all the old steel bikes to turn them into fixies.

Part of it may be that most of us realized we wanted a bike with bigger tires, and many of the bike boom bikes don't really clear a tire as large as we would like. Even the touring bikes back then were built to clear a 30mm tire.
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