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Value of large-framed bikes

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Value of large-framed bikes

Old 12-12-20, 07:38 PM
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Value of large-framed bikes

There seems to be a widespread belief that, all other things being equal, bikes with large frames usually sell for less than mid-sized ones, on the theory that there are fewer tall buyers, and therefore less demand. I suppose that could be the case if bike manufacturers made equal numbers of small, medium, large and very large frames. But I can't see why they would do that. If I were a bike manufacturer, I'd interview a bunch of bike-shop owners, and ask them how many small, medium, large, and extra-large bikes they sold the previous year. If you asked enough people, you'd get a pretty good idea of the relative popularity of each size. Then I'd manufacture my bikes in proportion to the expected demand.

Of course, you'd expect a few anomalies here and there. Maybe bike tourists are taller than average, or whatever. But I can't think of any reason that there should be a systemic, industry-wide oversupply of large-framed bikes. Except maybe that all my bikes have 25"/63cm frames, and I have too many of them.

Does anybody have a reasonable explanation for this bit of folklore, if that's what it is?
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Old 12-12-20, 08:34 PM
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I have only sold a couple of bikes in the last five years. Both were 25” frame bikes. One was a Centurion Elite RS in very good condition, sold on Craigslist in five days for $300. The other was a Kabuki Submariner in OK shape for $220 and that took two weeks. I think the price was just about right for the type bikes they were and no discount for tall frames. I have heard the same thing but I dunno , I see a lot of us long legged riders that need taller frames . I just purchased a tall bike from a fellow BF member and I bought it because it was a 62cm frame and just what I was looking for. I feel the price was very fair for the type of bike and the condition, I did not expect it to be cheaper because it was tall. I don’t buy anything smaller than 60cm. I don’t think we are that rare but may be a minority so it may take a bit longer to sell.
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Old 12-12-20, 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by jonwvara View Post
If I were a bike manufacturer, I'd interview a bunch of bike-shop owners, and ask them how many small, medium, large, and extra-large bikes they sold the previous year. If you asked enough people, you'd get a pretty good idea of the relative popularity of each size. Then I'd manufacture my bikes in proportion...
But isn’t that essentially what happened with sales records instead of interviews? If you sold X one year, you wouldn’t suddenly make 2X the next unless demand was unmistakable, right?

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Old 12-12-20, 08:54 PM
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@jonwvara I am 6'2 and ride 63cm. What I notice is that there are less large frames out there but that they are priced either the same as or less than medium sized or smaller frame. Perhaps they're perceived as less valuable because there is a greater demand for medium/smaller frames? I have sold a good few bikes and what I see is people ignoring my suggestion as to who an individual bike frame will fit (ex: In my ad I might say "this frame should fit a rider between 5'6 and 5'8", etc). Buyers often say, "I'll make it fit". I have shook my head and said, "It won't fit" and then have a potential buyer demand to buy that bike. I'll jack a seat post or stem to it's lowest setting and watch someone ride it who is clearly too large for the frame. I only had one person buy a bike that was too large, he was just shy of 6 feet and he bought a 26 inch bike that felt wrong for me. Everyone else wanted smaller bikes.
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Old 12-12-20, 09:05 PM
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My working hypothesis has been that tall guys are cheap.
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Old 12-12-20, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
My working hypothesis has been that tall guys are cheap.
Well, true enough as far as I'm concerned....
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Old 12-12-20, 09:38 PM
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This large bike doesn't appear to be discounted due to size:

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace...5502214448097/

I usually price bikes the same, but larger frames (20-22") tend to sell easier.
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Old 12-12-20, 10:09 PM
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
My working hypothesis has been that tall guys are cheap.
And "short people got no reason to live."
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Old 12-12-20, 10:16 PM
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What passes for a "large" frame in a bike shop that sells new, does not equal what you and I consider "large", so any metric you attempt to glean from that market segment will be skewed.
None the less, we sell SOME L and XL bikes at the shop during riding season, but nowhere near the mediums. Smalls are equal to or slightly more than the L and XL sizes.
Big guys are cheap, to a point. I have no issue putting cash on a large frame that I want. Other big guys, not so much. What frames I have right now are likely to stay in my possession for quite a while.
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Old 12-12-20, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by katsup View Post
This large bike doesn't appear to be discounted due to size:

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace...5502214448097/

I usually price bikes the same, but larger frames (20-22") tend to sell easier.

Everyone is cheap around here.
I've always ridden a 62-63cm frame, all else gets sold.
The larger frames sell faster than the smaller one's do here. I get more guys who are willing to ride a way too big frame vs one that's the right size or a bit small. Anything 21" or less is a tough sell here, 23" will sell but it takes a long time to find a buyer, 24" and up gets the most attention. Price it under $50 and anything sells, over that and it sits till someone really needs it.
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Old 12-13-20, 01:41 AM
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Boy howdy did I twist my brain up pondering this. Maybe we just think this is a thing, but it isn't? If it is a thing, I've only got a few theories that possibly make any sense.

Theory #1: Most of us vintignistas are aging at an incredible pace, and we're all getting shorter as our spinal discs turn to dust. Can't swing our legs over those tall top tubes any more, either. So we're riding shorter frames than we used to, so there's fewer tall active riders to buy the tall vintage frames.

Theory #2: For the many years when the common mfr size spread was 19"/21"/23"/25", more in-between 23-25" folks sized-up to 25", so proportionately more of those sold than you'd suspect. For reasons why they might size up, see #4 below.

Theory #3 is that mfrs may be more likely to wind up with a proportionately higher % of unsold tall frames/bikes at the end of a model year, and over the 20yrs+ it takes for a frame to become vintage, that little bit of annual excess adds up to an oversupply. When I was ordering/selling bikes in qty I was more likely to get stuck with taller bikes/frames than med/small. Part of that was my market, but it wasn't uncommon for me to hear other guys in different markets say: "I over-ordered on the 61cm/64cms AGAIN!"

Mfrs do order their inventory size spread based on sales histories and dealer pre-orders. But dealers tend to not order heavy on tall frames, relying/hoping the mfr will have some stock. Mfr doesn't want to lose sales to competitors, doesn't want to run out of tall frames too early, but there's more guesswork in the forecasting. So even a little drop in overall sales can leave you with excess tall frames, which dealers are more reluctant to buy even when you blow them out at lower prices.

Theory #4 comes from my experience selling retail many decades ago, when we sometimes had to work very hard to convince men not to buy frames that were too large for them. "I like to ride high" was heard often, and despite the fact that many folks were regularly inhaling at the time, that's not what they meant. Big frames were mas macho. A larger % of the tall frames we sold were oversized for the buyer, despite our best efforts. So dude gets the bike home, rides it a few times, gets tired of having to always get off the bike at a curb, maybe has a top tube/jellies incident on his first panic stop, hangs the bike up in the garage and never rides it again. So a higher % of the tall frames don't get ridden into the ground over the decades.

Theory #5: Tall guys are cheaper. Already been said.

My synapses are fried.
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Old 12-13-20, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by pcb View Post
...Theory #3 is that mfrs may be more likely to wind up with a proportionately higher % of unsold tall frames/bikes at the end of a model year, and over the 20yrs+ it takes for a frame to become vintage, that little bit of annual excess adds up to an oversupply. When I was ordering/selling bikes in qty I was more likely to get stuck with taller bikes/frames than med/small. Part of that was my market, but it wasn't uncommon for me to hear other guys in different markets say: "I over-ordered on the 61cm/64cms AGAIN!"

Mfrs do order their inventory size spread based on sales histories and dealer pre-orders. But dealers tend to not order heavy on tall frames, relying/hoping the mfr will have some stock. Mfr doesn't want to lose sales to competitors, doesn't want to run out of tall frames too early, but there's more guesswork in the forecasting. So even a little drop in overall sales can leave you with excess tall frames, which dealers are more reluctant to buy even when you blow them out at lower prices.
I like your theory #1, but I would guess that theory #3 seems even more likely. It also seems to me that if large frames make up the smallest share of bikes sold during a year, that smaller number is going to be more subject stochastic variation.

In other words, if you expect to sell 1,000 58 cm frames, you might be off by a few percentage points. Maybe you'll sell exactly 1,000, or you might sell 1,0010, or 990. But that big number is going to pretty stable. You're not going to unexpectedly sell 500 or 2,000 of them (unless it's the end of a bike boom or the start of a new one, but that's another problem, and that would affect all sizes, not one particular size).

On the other hand, if you expect/plan to sell five 63cm frames in the course of a year, you might very well end up selling none at all, or selling ten. As you say, no one wants to run out, so you order ten 63cm bikes, just in case. So in an average year, a pretty high percentage of your big bikes are going to be left over.

Those numbers are exaggerated to make the point, but I think the same principle would hold even if the difference in volume wasn't so pronounced. But it's been more than 40 years since I got a B in quantitative analysis, so what do I know?
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Old 12-13-20, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
My working hypothesis has been that tall guys are cheap.
aren’t we all! 🎵don’t want no short bikes ‘round here🎵
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Old 12-13-20, 09:36 AM
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The OP said it.....folklore....

While taller frames may take longer to sell, there is NO discount as far as I am concerned.

And like others above have said.........some people buy bikes that are too big........too small

I, myself, have tried to refuse to sell a bike that is not the correct size.

But who are we to judge **********??

Unless it is Dangerous !!!!!!!!!!

I'll explain why it may not be correct, but if someone is insistent , its hard to say..... no sale...... Especially this year when there was/ is a bike shortage.

If they can straddle the bike and they want it, they get it.

I can straddle a 26 inch frame. It is snug, but both feet are flat on the ground. I'm 5' 10" with a 32/33 inseam
I have bikes from 22" to 26"

Now I feel a little more comfortable....a little more that is....with a 22-24 inch frame.

But when I ride my 25 inch Colnago Super 1976, I glide and ride with ease. No hesitation.. No worries

Can and have stopped with all the confidence in the world .

Above average skills I am lucky to have
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Old 12-13-20, 10:32 AM
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I've shrunk so I'm only 6' 1-1/2" now but I ridden mostly 25" or 63cm frames most of my adult life. I had a couple 27" when I was younger and still have a 26" Varsity. I prefer 24" or 61cm these days on the rare occasion I can find one. Around here 25/63 is fairly common in entry level bikes, Schwinn especially, but when you start getting into better quality bikes they are harder to find. The plus to that is that there evidently aren't many tall people into vintage bikes around here so on the rare occasion a higher end bike comes up in my size and price range I haven't had a lot of competition for it. I can usually let them sit for awhile and let the price come down or until the seller is more motivated to sell. The flip side is that when I've upgraded bikes and put one of the others up for sale I've found it hard to sell the bikes my size. I'm the one that ends up coming down and all too often on the ones I REALLY wanted gone I've taken a pretty good loss. Part of the reason I have so many bikes right now..........

I don't often buy a bike specifically to flip but when I do it's a 23"/58 or 60cm in a road bike and something I can clean up, tune and sell for under $150 and make at least a few bucks. That size sells like crazy around here, they're also the hardest to buy cheap and when they are cheap unless you're on them right away someone else will scoop them up. I made a good buy on an '85 Raleigh Competition this Summer in 23" but not to flip, I'm getting a little shorter and less flexible in my old age so I'm going to keep this one and set it up for me. I foresee a day not too far off where the 25" frames aren't going to work so well for me anymore. I had a Schwinn Prelude in 23" that worked really well with a tall Nitto Technomic stem but in a moment of weakness I sold it. I'm going to try to recreate it with the Raleigh. My consolation there is that the Prelude went to a good home and is being ridden and enjoyed.
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Old 12-13-20, 11:16 AM
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I think the opposite is true- sizes 52 and below sell for less. My theory is that a lot of these are ridden by women, and women are not into used bikes or old bikes.
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Old 12-13-20, 11:53 AM
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I think this issue is due to the sellers impatience. There are few quality vintage frames over 24.5cm, granted the market for them is smaller, but supply/demand still holds true. Sellers try to entice buyers to "buy up" to a larger frame by offering a lower price. Truth is , list the larger frame and wait for the "correct" buyer to appear and you'll find the larger frames are worth the same if not more then the med. 23cm and smaller frames.
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Old 12-13-20, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Chuckk View Post
...I think folks are a little taller than they used to be, so that does take some sting out of the market
Except in the Netherlands, where they're a lot taller:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...le-are-so-tall
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Old 12-13-20, 12:50 PM
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So glad you had the knowledge and terminology for that, thanks! I was thinking there was a greater chance of error on the smaller qty that could somehow be more significant _because_ of the smaller qty involved, but I couldn't figure out how to verbalize it. Now I can toss around "stochastic variation" at my fancy cocktail parties and sound even fancier! "Martini, anyone? Care to hear my thoughts about stochastic variation?"

I'm always fascinated when pondering whether something I had accepted as "common wisdom" might not actually be true. I do believe it's likely true that there are proportionately fewer buyers for very small and very tall vintage sizes, but are they really statistically any harder to sell than mid-sized frames? Do the small/tall really have to, on a whole, be discounted more than mid-sized frames to sell? I do know from experience that can be true at the mfr/distributor level for leftover/unsold new bikes in any given model year, but for vintage bikes/frames, when there's 20-30yrs' worth of product to draw from?

Here's a completely unrelated, and more easily dismissed, example. I was told back in the day that when facing a headtube, especially when trying to shorten it a bit, you must take equal amounts off the top and bottom to maintain frame angles/geometry. My mentor, who had framebuilding experience, told me so, I believed it, and passed it on. I heard others outside my circle repeating the same thing. One day, decades later, worrying about how to handle a short-steerer problem, I suddenly realized that only removing metal from the bottom of the head tube could possibly change frame geometry. The frame rests on the fork, essentially, on the bottom of the head tube. Take metal off the bottom there and the angles steepen. Take it off the top, absolutely nothing happens, other than more steerer tube being exposed. I never questioned the top-and-bottom wisdom that was imparted to me, but it was totally wrong. And 10sec of thought/observation at the time I was told wouldn't popped the red light on in my brain.

Same story for headset replacment, btw, in that you want the bottom replacement stack to be similar, but the top doesn't matter at all re: geo. Might matter for thread length and all that.

Last btw, last time this discussion came up in a forum, somebody with actual math knowledge did some calculations and it turns out the effect on frame geo is pretty minimal, unless you remove a lot of metal off the bottom of the head tube. 1mm/2mm changes very little, so no need to sweat.

Came here to learn about bikes, left with a lesson in epistemology!

Originally Posted by jonwvara View Post
I like your theory #1, but I would guess that theory #3 seems even more likely. It also seems to me that if large frames make up the smallest share of bikes sold during a year, that smaller number is going to be more subject stochastic variation.

In other words, if you expect to sell 1,000 58 cm frames, you might be off by a few percentage points. Maybe you'll sell exactly 1,000, or you might sell 1,0010, or 990. But that big number is going to pretty stable. You're not going to unexpectedly sell 500 or 2,000 of them (unless it's the end of a bike boom or the start of a new one, but that's another problem, and that would affect all sizes, not one particular size).

On the other hand, if you expect/plan to sell five 63cm frames in the course of a year, you might very well end up selling none at all, or selling ten. As you say, no one wants to run out, so you order ten 63cm bikes, just in case. So in an average year, a pretty high percentage of your big bikes are going to be left over.

Those numbers are exaggerated to make the point, but I think the same principle would hold even if the difference in volume wasn't so pronounced. But it's been more than 40 years since I got a B in quantitative analysis, so what do I know?
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Old 12-13-20, 01:22 PM
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In my very limited experience flipping bikes, I have found that "deals" on large bikes show up on craigslist, and don't get snapped up immediately, giving some one like me a chance. So far I've bought 3 higher end big bikes with thoughts of stripping them, but ended up listing them for sale. Each one took well over a year to find good homes and I may have cleared minimum wage for the hours I spent passing them on. If I had "hustled" more I might have sold them quicker, but probably not for more. Monetarily, I would have done better stripping them. That's my market report.....
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Old 12-13-20, 02:20 PM
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I suspect if you're a manufacturer or dealer, it's better to have a surplus of short bikes than tall bikes. You might make or order fewer tall bikes to avoid the surplus. Everyone is short temporarily but no one is tall temporarily. Yes many adults shrink but that's in the back, not the legs.
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Old 12-13-20, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
And "short people got no reason to live."
I resemble that remark, but not the last part!
Best, Ben
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Old 12-13-20, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by xiaoman1 View Post
I resemble that remark, but not the last part!
Originally Posted by Wikipedia
Newman interprets the song to be about prejudice, as was widely thought, but added, "The guy in that song is crazy. He was not to be believed."[2] As with many of his songs such as "Rednecks", Newman wrote the song from the point of view of a biased narrator.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Short_People
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Old 12-13-20, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
Is that Paul's younger brother?
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Old 12-13-20, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by xiaoman1 View Post
Is that Paul's younger brother?
No, he's the anti-Linda Ronstadt (according to some c&v'er).
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