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When is a bike too nice to part out?

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When is a bike too nice to part out?

Old 09-06-11, 09:55 PM
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ewmyers
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When is a bike too nice to part out?

Earlier this year I bought a 1984 Univega Alpina Sport mountain bike because I wanted a nice old fashioned looooong wheelbase bike. The bike turned out to be all original except for the seat, low mileage, and in excellent condition. I just ride it on the road and bike path, so it's still in excellent condition, but I'm less interested in it now. And here is the problem: It is in such good close-to-original condition (I've changed the seat, brake shoes, cables, and one cable housing) that I feel guilty modifying it or moving the parts to a different frame. Is it worth it, or should I just get over it?

This is a nice frame, double butted, lugged, gold detailing, etc. It's a fun bike to ride, and I've been thinking of swapping the bars out for north roads, but now I'm interested in something with less trail. I've eyed the new VO Polyvalent for example, and considered just moving all the components but the handlebars over from the Alpina Sport to another frame, but when I think about taking it apart I just feel bad

Any thoughts or suggestions? How do you judge when something is too nice to part out?
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Old 09-06-11, 11:28 PM
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never. if it doesn't fit me and I can get more money from the parts, it is getting parted
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Old 09-07-11, 12:46 AM
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So it's a question about using it as a donor bike, as opposed to a parting out question - which usually implies selling or trading parts after stripping from frame.

You can't move the wheels.
You'll need to check bottom bracket/crank, seatpost and FD clamp compatibility. The latter two for the VO are: The Polyvalent frame takes a 27.2mm seatpost and 28.6mm front derailleur clamp.

That said it's probably as good a donor bike as most you'll find.

If you're wanting to buy one new, the Polyvalent is sold out, BTW.
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Old 09-07-11, 04:00 AM
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I run up against this wall all the time. Generally, if I am not going to keep the bicycle, I will offer it on Ebay, for what I think is a bit more than it is worth, and then entertain lower offers. If there are no takers, after three or four listings, I part the bike out...

I just recently finished parting out a near NOS Bianchi Trofeo. I had listed the bicycle on Ebay about ten times (for my best friend) with no takers. Best offer was $350.00. Finally, I parted the bike out.

In the first seven days, I sold the frame set, the transmission, the brake set, and the crank set and all for $550.00. The drop dead gorgeous Bianchi suede saddle and lovely wheel set remains. I do hope someone buys the saddle since it is so nice, but I hope the wheels are left unpurchased.

If the wheels don't sell, they are mine but I would prefer to sell the wheels for him and be done with this all. I do not like selling for others.
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Old 09-07-11, 04:54 AM
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+1 To Randy's scenario, if the market is willing to pay full value for it, fine, I will keep it complete. If not, part out.

To me, particularly on ebay, parting out a bike is a lot easier, despite the hassle of multiple listings. Easy to ship, etc. And it gets a broader market, which can mean more $$.

Now lower end parts, I always sell in the shape of a complete bike. Low end bits tend to go cheap, really cheap. So to part out, the parts need to be mid grade or higher. or rare. So in my experience, Shimano 105 or lower goes on a frameset, and is sold in the form of a complete bike. I have enough donor frames in reserve that can use parts.

Last edited by wrk101; 09-07-11 at 05:01 AM.
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Old 09-07-11, 05:05 AM
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Some bikes ...it's a crying shame to part out. Thankfully, there aren't enough of them around to suffer the indignity.
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Old 09-07-11, 08:36 AM
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There are several factors that contribute to making a bike "too nice to part out," all of which one has to judge on a case-by-case basis.

--High-end bikes from big factories using in-house parts. If a bike came from the factory with a lot of parts made specifically for that model, or for that marque, then those parts should stay with that bike. Classic example of this would be high-end Raleighs, such as the Raleigh Record Ace model from the late 40's and early 50's, which had a lot of Raleigh-made parts unique to this model, including a unique hand-made stem brazed up from 531 with "lugs" cut to the same pattern as the bicycle frame, but also unique crank, pedals, support for a seat bag, and so on. I would also include common parts with unusual clamp sizes for oversized tubes, pantrographed components, and that kind of thing.
--completeness. If a bike still has all the parts it left the factory with, try to leave it together.
--age. The older, the more important it is to leave it together.
--condition. If the frame is in exceptionally good condition, with good paint and good decals and good chrome, etc, it's more important to leave the original parts on it.

So... don't part out a 1910 Racycle, or a 1949 RRA, regardless of the condition. With something relatively common, such as a Raleigh Professional, it really doesn't matter.
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Old 09-07-11, 09:03 AM
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When you can afford to keep it in one piece, despite the crazy price you paid for it.

-Kurt
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Old 09-07-11, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
When you can afford to keep it in one piece, despite the crazy price you paid for it.

-Kurt

+1. I try to keep bikes in one piece - especially if they are mostly original. (It's a C&V thing.)
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Old 09-07-11, 09:59 AM
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Really, the question is backwards, should be: when is a bike too crappy to part out? A lot of lower level bikes, in good condition, it makes zero sense financially to part out. As you move UP the product line, parting out starts to make sense.

Now get that special, rare, super high end bike, keep it complete.
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Old 09-07-11, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
Now get that special, rare, super high end bike, keep it complete.
It's not as cut-and-dried as that statement would suggest. What happens when you have a '78 Raleigh Professional built up with a first-gen, 1976-dated Super Record group? Part it out and rebuild with Nuovo? Sure, you'd recover your costs on the bike, but it'd kill off all the panache. The Raleigh Pro is a nice bike, but after you've seen your Pro with first-gen SR, a straight Nuovo group doesn't have the same punch.

I own that bike - and guess what I'm doing with it? I'm leaving it the same way it was built, with one exception: The original owner had a 1978 four-hole Nuovo front derailer kicking around with his spares for this bike, which I used in place of the earlier Nuovo FD that had been mounted previously. I think that was a wise decision:



-Kurt
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Old 09-07-11, 10:32 AM
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I have a really tough time seeing beautiful bikes parted out, I sold the Gitane TdF below on E-bay last winter only to see the frame a week later for sale.

To me it was an absolute shame, The buyer paid $550.00 plus $100.00 shipping for this bike from me just to part it out?

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Old 09-07-11, 10:34 AM
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^^Well, I agree with that, Kurt, but it sounds like you're keeping that bike. I think the debate about "parting it out" only comes into play when you're disposing of a bike. When I sold my Raleigh Pro a few years ago, I parted it out. This was an easy decision; I had bought it in 1980 as a bare 1974 frame and built it up over the years, until by the time I sold it it had all the Campy parts it should have had, but all the date codes were wrong, none of the parts were original, and the frame was in somewhat imperfect condition. Parting it out made financial sense and destroyed nothing original.

If I were to get rid of my 1950 Norman, that same financial sense would just seem too mercenary for me.
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Old 09-07-11, 11:23 AM
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I have a few that I wouldn't part out because finding them in that condition and 100% original is too difficult. Or if they have some historical provenance (at least to me) such as my 1976 Austro Daimler "Ultima Superleicht" that was used in the 1976 A-D catalog.





I'm sure all the Super Record bits would bring a pretty penny if sold separately but I just couldn't do it.

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Old 09-07-11, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
^^Well, I agree with that, Kurt, but it sounds like you're keeping that bike. I think the debate about "parting it out" only comes into play when you're disposing of a bike. When I sold my Raleigh Pro a few years ago, I parted it out. This was an easy decision; I had bought it in 1980 as a bare 1974 frame and built it up over the years, until by the time I sold it it had all the Campy parts it should have had, but all the date codes were wrong, none of the parts were original, and the frame was in somewhat imperfect condition. Parting it out made financial sense and destroyed nothing original.

If I were to get rid of my 1950 Norman, that same financial sense would just seem too mercenary for me.
+1 I am not parting out any of my keepers, and most of them do not have original drivetrain, but rather, are built out with the stuff I like.

Now if I ever sell one of my "over-built" keepers, I would probably first put it back to stock, or near stock.

I sold a 1990 Trek last week. I picked it up, it was over built, and the parts did not match (Superbe Pro RD, Campy FD, Campy brakes, etc). So I sorted it out, replaced those really nice parts with good, matching, but cheaper parts. Sold it a couple of days later.
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Old 09-07-11, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
There are several factors that contribute to making a bike "too nice to part out," all of which one has to judge on a case-by-case basis.

--High-end bikes from big factories using in-house parts. If a bike came from the factory with a lot of parts made specifically for that model, or for that marque, then those parts should stay with that bike. Classic example of this would be high-end Raleighs, such as the Raleigh Record Ace model from the late 40's and early 50's, which had a lot of Raleigh-made parts unique to this model, including a unique hand-made stem brazed up from 531 with "lugs" cut to the same pattern as the bicycle frame, but also unique crank, pedals, support for a seat bag, and so on. I would also include common parts with unusual clamp sizes for oversized tubes, pantrographed components, and that kind of thing.
--completeness. If a bike still has all the parts it left the factory with, try to leave it together.
--age. The older, the more important it is to leave it together.
--condition. If the frame is in exceptionally good condition, with good paint and good decals and good chrome, etc, it's more important to leave the original parts on it.

So... don't part out a 1910 Racycle, or a 1949 RRA, regardless of the condition. With something relatively common, such as a Raleigh Professional, it really doesn't matter.

Part/not part is an emotional question, not an economic one. From what I can tell, it is the rare bike that sells for more whole than it would if parted out. The Univega isn't particularly rare or historic, as far as I know, so it has no intrinsic "completeness" value. And if you sell it whole and cheap, it's highly likely that the buyer will part it out himself. But if you love the bike so much that you can't bear to see it dismantled, then sell it whole. Of course, if you really loved the bike, you wouldn't be selling it...
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Old 09-07-11, 04:36 PM
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Originality has a lot to do with it. RHMs Raleigh Pro was in reality a parts bike to begin with, so I see his point. However - there are a lot of people who would part out that Norman in a heartbeat, if it made economic sense. (It usually does).

Fordsvtpart's Gitane is a good example though, of why I think it's a C&V misdeed to part out original C&V bikes in general.
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Old 09-07-11, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by rootboy View Post
Some bikes ...it's a crying shame to part out. Thankfully, there aren't enough of them around to suffer the indignity.
...and none of them are mass-produced Japanese (or any other nationality). Think "100% original 1950's Cinelli", or "full panto DeRosa". Else-wise, part away.

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Old 09-07-11, 04:58 PM
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Exactly. But we go down the slippery slope of opinion when it comes to a list of what qualifies. I'm definitely with you on those two choices, among many others. I'm pretty much with Auchen's assessment. But to me , what constitutes C&V may be way different than what others think. If a seller's motivations come down strictly on the side of economics, no bike is safe.

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Old 09-07-11, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Scottryder View Post
I have a few that I wouldn't part out because finding them in that condition and 100% original is too difficult. Or if they have some historical provenance (at least to me) such as my 1976 Austro Daimler "Ultima Superleicht" that was used in the 1976 A-D catalog.





I'm sure all the Super Record bits would bring a pretty penny if sold separately but I just couldn't do it.

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Old 09-07-11, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by auchencrow View Post
(...)I think it's a C&V misdeed to part out original C&V bikes in general.
Well, someone is buying all those parts. Not one of us then, is it?
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Old 09-07-11, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by bobbycorno View Post
...and none of them are mass-produced Japanese (or any other nationality). Think "100% original 1950's Cinelli", or "full panto DeRosa". Else-wise, part away.

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Oh, I heartily disagree with that, there are many fine bicycles, even mass produced ones, that could justify being held together in one piece. To say that only Italian bikes are worthy, well, there's so many others out there. French, British, American, etc.

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Old 09-07-11, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
^^Well, I agree with that, Kurt, but it sounds like you're keeping that bike. I think the debate about "parting it out" only comes into play when you're disposing of a bike.
Not necessarily. Theoretically, I could have bought the bike because it's a Professional; not because it has a first-gen Super Record group. Depending on the purchase price, I could have stripped and flipped the SR for enough to pay for the initial price, and put my existing Nuovo Record parts (as usual, purchased cheap) in place of the Super Record.

I've done this at least once - bought a bike partially stripped to save a good percentage of the opening price, and re-built it with my own identical components. The overall price of the whole lot often plummets far less than the built-up asking price.

-Kurt
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Old 09-07-11, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Scottryder View Post
Oh, I heartily disagree with that, there are many fine bicycles, even mass produced ones, that could justify being held together in one piece. To say that only Italian bikes are worthy, well, there's so many others out there. French, British, American, etc.

Scott
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Old 09-07-11, 07:21 PM
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Depends on the bike, if it's a mid to high end road bike then I would never bastardize it unless the frame was beyond saving. If the frame is in decent shape then no way. But I'm weird, I have a small car collection that I maintain them all in factory stock condition or at least keep the original parts to make the conversion back. And I have a small (mostly Japanese) bicycle collection and I've kept them all stock as well. To me there's nothing worse then taking a classic bike or car and parting it out or bastardizing it to make money, I call that greed, and it does nothing for preserving a collectible item and it's history.
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