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How many bikes were made?

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How many bikes were made?

Old 03-28-19, 10:14 AM
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due ruote 
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How many bikes were made?

Something I wonder about occasionally. Obviously it depends on which bikes. Let’s limit it to major manufacturers, not custom shops. Some bikes, like Team Raleigh’s and Motobecane Team Champions, are described as “limited production,” but what does that really mean? How about something like a boom era Super Course? Ironman models? Schwinn numbers? Can anyone shed light on orders of magnitude?
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Old 03-28-19, 10:25 AM
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Don't know specific #s , but hazard a guess that they are much larger than we realize: Don
Cycling during the Seventies: A History of US Bicycling in the 1970's

Last edited by ollo_ollo; 03-28-19 at 10:25 AM. Reason: fix typo
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Old 03-28-19, 12:02 PM
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I think you have to look at specific models from the major manufactures. Look for upper mid-range to high-range models that were offered for only a few years. That may mean that they were unpopular because of price or market changes. The topic interests me.
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Old 03-28-19, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by due ruote View Post
....... Some bikes, like Team Raleigh’s and Motobecane Team Champions, are described as “limited production,” but what does that really mean? ......
The Raleigh SBDU (Specialist Bicycle Development Unit) was located in Ilkeston, England, and produced the very best bikes to wear the Heron headbadge. Neil McGowran has put together an excellent web page for folks wanting to keep track of the details.....
https://raleigh-sb4059.com/2016/07/1...on-production/

His info suggests that about 8000 bikes came out of the SBDU group from the mid 70's to mid 80's.
These bikes sit somewhere in the grey zone between custom and production. They received some real care and love when being built... although I can only speak for the 753 frame that I have. Having to build with silver solder required a level of care that wasn't needed for the typical brass brazing material.

Steve in Peoria
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Old 03-28-19, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by due ruote View Post
Something I wonder about occasionally. Obviously it depends on which bikes. Let’s limit it to major manufacturers, not custom shops. Some bikes, like Team Raleigh’s and Motobecane Team Champions, are described as “limited production,” but what does that really mean? How about something like a boom era Super Course? Ironman models? Schwinn numbers? Can anyone shed light on orders of magnitude?
From a Seinfeld standup bit-

I like the names they have for cars.] Like, no baron has ever owned a LeBaron. Or the Ford LTD. "LTD." Limited. It's a "limited" edition...what did they make, fifty million of those? "Yes, it's 'limited' to the number we can sell."


joke aside, ive wondered this too. Especially something like the Ironman versus something like a comparable model from De Rosa or whatever.
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Old 03-28-19, 01:55 PM
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It's a really good question. Antonio Stradivari made several hundred to maybe a thousand violins. I don't know if that's relevant, but the topic is broadly interesting even outside the realm of classic bicycles.
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Old 03-28-19, 05:57 PM
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There were probably more bikes made since the origin of bikes than there are people alive today.

Seeing as how just the Netherlands bought 1 million new bikes in 2018 on a population of 17 million. That would be a 5.8% replacement rate each year. Let's make that 1% for the rest of the world each year and on a population of 7.6 billion people we are looking at 76 million bikes sold last year.
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Old 03-28-19, 06:19 PM
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It would be an interesting project to contact each manufacturer and get say numbers from 1900 to 2000. Many of them likely have the data in a musty file cabinet somewhere.

And, if not compiled now, it could well be lost forever, as companies get consolidated, and get broken up and sold off for their trademark names.

There obviously would be several spinoff questions, for example, how many bicycle actually made it to the USA.

Also, the "survival rate" of the bicycles. Especially of the quality road bikes vs cheap department store bikes.
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Old 03-28-19, 10:26 PM
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Here’s another (more general) piece about Raleigh with some historical numbers.

https://www.google.com/amp/letslooka...f-raleigh/amp/
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Old 03-29-19, 03:20 AM
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Early 1980s, Peugeot
bikes: 800 000
PY10: 600
PRO10: 60
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Old 03-29-19, 07:23 AM
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A fellow on a FB group that I'm in claims to be the builder of all the 1973 Raleigh RRA's. He said that approximately 25 of these were built. I was surprised, as I have seen pictures of 7 or 8 of them online, but will leave that here fwiw.
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Old 03-29-19, 07:46 AM
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Take 1973 hight of bike boom 15,000,000 bikes sold in USA. Schwinn's 1,500,000 Paramount's 5000
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Old 03-29-19, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by USAZorro View Post
A fellow on a FB group that I'm in claims to be the builder of all the 1973 Raleigh RRA's. He said that approximately 25 of these were built. I was surprised, as I have seen pictures of 7 or 8 of them online, but will leave that here fwiw.
If true, I'm a little sorry I sold the one I had!
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Old 03-29-19, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Giuanin View Post
Early 1980s, Peugeot
bikes: 800 000
PY10: 600
PRO10: 60
I searched for YEARS for a PRO10 in my size until finally I found the right one. The Peugeot bikes from the Prestige shop are rare, and while the numbers were always small, they built way more bikes in the mid-late 70's, and things began to taper off gradually until the shop closed 1983-84. To quote Phil Anderson, they are "A bit thin on the ground"...indeed.
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Old 03-30-19, 12:04 PM
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I think Flying Pigeon made over 500,000,000 bikes.
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