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Are Vintage Mountain Bikes Finally Starting To Appreciate?

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Are Vintage Mountain Bikes Finally Starting To Appreciate?

Old 07-25-14, 08:11 PM
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Are Vintage Mountain Bikes Finally Starting To Appreciate?

I casually watch the vintage MTB market. For years, I saw cool, rare machines selling for peanuts, or not selling. In the past year I've noticed that selling prices seem to be rising to levels that make more sense.

Examples:
Bridgestone MB-Zip - I see them sell for $1000 a few times a year on eBay, if they are in nice shape. A bare frame just fetched $600. Ratty ones get $600-700.
Bridgestone MB-1 - these still only go for $400-500.
Ritchey P-23 - these always go for $1200-1500, at least that I've seen.
Bridgestone XO-1 - I know, not a MTB but surely hybrids have been even less respected than MTBs? These routinely get $1000 at minimum.

Those, I admit, are the only models I watch. (I own a Zip and a XO-1, and always wanted a P-23.)

Are you watching any vintage MTBs? What are you seeing as far as values? Any particular model(s) you consider most interesting?
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Old 07-25-14, 09:02 PM
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High end 80's MTBs have been on the way up for a while.
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Old 07-25-14, 09:08 PM
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honestly, I think they have not started to appreciate yet. I think in the next 2-3 years they will. When they do I'll be sittin pretty. I've got a nice stash of clean, original MTBS that I've picked up for dirt cheap. Example:i got a 1983 diamondback ridgerunner for $30 bucks at a yardsale. Hardly ridden!
also I got a 1984 bianchi grizzley for $15 bucks.
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Old 07-26-14, 08:05 AM
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Because they were so ubiquitous, they weren't desired. As they get "older" and have that "old" "vintage" thing worked in, and there's fewer of them- they'll be more desired- if just as old fashioned department store girl bikes are. As old things people used to ride in the 80s listening to their Wingers, Motley Crues, and Color Me Badd.

IMO, those old MTB groups are the cat's pyjamas.

Old 730-735 XT never goes out of style.
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Old 07-26-14, 08:48 AM
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I've also noticed an uptick in prices and believe we are on the cusp of higher appreciation as well. There were quite a few really terrific MTB frames built, and some ordinary ones. As others point out, as the number of interesting ones dwindle, they'll become more desirable.
There were many late '60s Ford Mustangs built. It took decades for them to appreciate in value.
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Old 07-26-14, 09:18 AM
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I think it's like everything else - the top end stuff is valued and "collectible", the other stuff is valued based on its perceived trendiness and usefulness. Your top tier ibis and chance stuff is valuable and will continue to be so...your mid-80s to early 90s production MTBS are not going to be top dollar. Some stuff is sort of in between - early stump jumpers, cimmarons. I think those have the best chance of serious appreciation. When folks figure out how versatile and useful the trek 970s, DB Apex, and the like are, they'll go up in value like the 80s Japanese sports tourers, but they'll likely never be huge dollars.

Like I others, I think some of the early deore parts are possibly the greatest mix of aesthetics, utility and durability that were produced...they're also extremely innovative.
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Old 07-26-14, 11:49 AM
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I wonder how much influence bike forums has on the bicycle market? For example what if we start a bunch of threads over the next year or two about how vintage mountain bikes are becoming increasingly valuable, will they actually become more valuable? I'm sure many, if not most people who are looking at used bikes these day's will use google and these forums will come up every time when bikes are in question. Maybe we should wait a little while and try to get as many old mountain bikes as we can and then suddenly start discussing how mountain bike prices have gone through the roof.

Actually, I for one have gotten the mountain bike bug lately. I've gone through a bunch of old road bikes the last couple years and am ready for some new stuff.
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Old 07-26-14, 12:18 PM
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Now you are making me wonder whether my KOM-10 has stopped depreciating. There were reportedly about 2000 of them made during the 2-year production run.
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Old 07-26-14, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by turky lurkey
I wonder how much influence bike forums has on the bicycle market? For example what if we start a bunch of threads over the next year or two about how vintage mountain bikes are becoming increasingly valuable, will they actually become more valuable? I'm sure many, if not most people who are looking at used bikes these day's will use google and these forums will come up every time when bikes are in question. Maybe we should wait a little while and try to get as many old mountain bikes as we can and then suddenly start discussing how mountain bike prices have gone through the roof.
Great observation turky lurkey! Any mountain bike that I Google will almost assuredly have top listings from this forum and MTBR. I do think people are relying on bike forums to help them address price and value. I mod the Barracuda fan site and almost half the listings that get posted in the (Barracuda) Marketplace thread use general info gathered from the site in their for sale listings, many post the 'Cuda site address and advise their would be customers to check out the site. I guess we'll have to be a little quicker on our toes if we want to snag those good deals... I'm in, it'll add to the chase!
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Old 07-26-14, 07:54 PM
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Current collectable boutique mountain bikes (built before 1995)

- Brodie
- Salsa (steel)
- Potts
- Eastern Woods Research (mainly for those here in the Eastern USA)
- Yeti
- Fat Chance
- Independent Fabrication (ex Fat City)
- Ibis (especially the Mountain Trials model)
- Bontrager
- Mantis
- Klein (particularly the Pinnacle series)
- Merlin titanium
- Mountain Goat
- Moots
- WTB (yes, they built frames)
- Ventana
- Ritchey (particularly the ones he fillet-brazed himself)

Collectible mass-production bikes:

Bianchi Grizzly, Super Grizzly; Denali (high-end steel, preferably with lugged lightweight construction)
Bridgestone MB-0 (zip)
Bridgestone MB-1
Bridgestone MB-2, MB-3
Bridgestone XO-1
GT Xizang (USA-built)
GT Zaskar (USA-built)
Schwinn / PDG / Waterford steel bikes; USA-built
Trek 950, 970 - USA-built; higher-end steels are better
Miyata Elevation (H-ball models) & Ridge Runner
Nishiki Alien (particularly the ACX)
Specialized Stumpjumper (hardtail/steel models)

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Old 07-26-14, 08:40 PM
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No Trek 820, the first mountain bike Trek made circa 1983?

Almost makes me wish I still had my '84 Stumpjumper, with the incredibly beefy Tommaselli brake levers, Sugino AT crank, SR Laprade seatpost, Suntour microratchet thumbshifters and beartrap pedals, and the Specialized Slingshot stem, all on a sparkly metallic "charcoal" gray painted frame.

Of course, back then, all of my non-biking friends were laughing at me for riding an "overgrown kid's bike" instead of a 10-speed like any reasonable adult. How times have changed.

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Old 07-29-14, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by kunsunoke
Current collectable boutique mountain bikes (built before 1995)

- Brodie
- Salsa (steel)
- Yeti
- Fat Chance
- Independent Fabrication (ex Fat City)
- Ibis (especially the Mountain Trials model)
- Bontrager
- Mantis
- Klein (particularly the Pinnacle series)
- Merlin titanium
- Mountain Goat
- Moots
- WTB (yes, they built frames)
- Ventana
- Ritchey (particularly the ones he fillet-brazed himself)

Collectible mass-production bikes:

Bianchi Grizzly, Super Grizzly; Denali (high-end steel, preferably with lugged lightweight construction)
Bridgestone MB-0 (zip)
Bridgestone MB-1
Bridgestone MB-2, MB-3
Bridgestone XO-1
GT Xizang (USA-built)
GT Zaskar (USA-built)
Schwinn / PDG / Waterford steel bikes; USA-built
Trek 950, 970 - USA-built; higher-end steels are better
Miyata Elevation (H-ball models) & Ridge Runner
Nishiki Alien (particularly the ACX)
Specialized Stumpjumper (hardtail/steel models)
Interesting list -- glad to see my Schwinn made the cut. What's your info source?
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Old 07-29-14, 09:16 AM
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Got an Ibis Mtn Trials during a stint as mechanic and sales guy in an outfitter store (hike, camp, canoe, cycle, ski) in the mid/late '80s. The bike is orange Imron w/IIRC, Specialized wheelset and Shimano bits. Will post a pic soon as I get it outa storage. Also still have a puke green Trials Comp 24/20.
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Old 07-29-14, 12:01 PM
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I believe they are; I focus on lugged or fillet brazed double butted cro-mo or Reynolds 531. 1984 Trek 850 is one I would like
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Old 07-29-14, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake
I think it's like everything else - the top end stuff is valued and "collectible", the other stuff is valued based on its perceived trendiness and usefulness. ...
+1

Another aspect is compatibility with modern parts and when the basic design got mature. I like vintage stuff, but I mostly prefer it when it's still useful. You could say that today's road bikes got mature in the 60's. By that time they already had over 60 years of development. This is on of the problems with new applications, there will be a lot of errors in the beginning. Are MTBs mature now? Have they been mature for some time? I don't know. At least from my perspective there is still a lot of experimenting with suspensions, tires sizes etc.
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Old 08-02-14, 08:06 AM
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Simple, really - those bikes were well-reviewed and in high-demand when they were new.

Having lived through those days and purchased two of Bridgestone's upper-end mountain bike offerings, I can testify that they work beautifully.

My current ride is an MB-1 - which may be converted to Dura-Ace/Paul thumbies and to tubulars this summer. Dugast sew-ups would be particularly nice on that bike.

Stumpy Joe (latest rehab project) was made in Japan in the early '90s, and, though it has the Sinyard stench, still outperforms a lot of new bikes.

Probably the best gauge of collectable status for these bikes is an examination of what they are currently going for on eBay or Craigslist. The boutique brands are still as high in price as they ever were, and appreciating in value now that we're some twenty-five aught years past the boom.

BTW - we really should add Eastern Woods Research and Potts to the list of boutique bikes. EWR is back in business now (they've moved from Phoenixville to Bethlehem), and was always big in southeastern PA. The designs were custom-tailored to eastern single-track, hammer-head / trials-style riding.
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Old 08-02-14, 03:10 PM
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Where does Peugeot fit in on this list?

I have a Vintage 1984 Canyon Express that is in 95% mint condition that I found at an Estate sale that looked liked it had never been ridden.
Everyone thinks it is brand new and ask me if Peugeot is making mountain bikes.

I don't have a camera but need to find one and post pixs.
Actually it is hanging on my wall as art and mostly ride my older beat up Pugs...lol

When I do ride it, I clean it, lemon pledge it and back on the wall it goes, on my other wall is my PX-10 (purchased from AZORCH )as wall art and when done riding it gets the same treatment..

I love my vintage pugs as wall art, what is wrong with me....lol
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Old 08-02-14, 04:05 PM
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Wasn't there a tread a out this a month ago. For those that don't think prices are already on the rise they should head over to retrobike and have a browse of the market place. Lots and lots of collectible brands out there, many haven't been mentioned in this thread either.
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Old 08-02-14, 09:50 PM
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I believe if you are in it for profit, there are better ways to invest your time and money for potential returns.

It will always be about the passion here. The day that disappears will be the day my bikes end up on Ebay.

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Old 08-02-14, 11:51 PM
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In my neighborhood, vintage MTBs are worth squat, but a BARELY RIDDEN 8-year-old Specialized MTB that cost $600 new, and has $100 worth of racks, bottle cages etc mounted on it is A LOW MILES REAL STEAL YOU SNOOZE YOU LOOZE AT ONLY $650 on the local Craigslist.

(or so the seller says )
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Old 08-03-14, 06:50 AM
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I think a lot has to do with the commercialization of the old bikes, and really the commercialization of everything in part due to reality shows and such. I think more people are out to make a buck somehow rather than just seeing something as unused junk to be tossed. Even when only dealing with the casual seller there's a reluctance to move something cheap just to get it out of the garage. I see this in more areas of CL than just the bike section. Additionally I perceive there to be more flippers than 3 - 5 years ago, There's a few brick and mortar resale shops now dealing used bikes. There's a local volunteer organization that has huge, well publicized bike drives. The kid bikes go to build a bike programs where a kid gets a free bike if they finish the program. The adult bikes get cleaned up and sold to support the children's programs. I think all these things combine to drive up cost for the casual hobbyist. On the other hand it's great if you're a seller.
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Old 08-03-14, 07:44 AM
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They've been going up for awhile now but you need to know exactly what is and isn't. The vintage Mtb market is much more niche than the road market.

One of my all time best flips from a pure profit $$$ and profit margin was an early 90's Mtb. I very rarely buy them but when I do I'm very, very particular. It's a market I don't know too well but I know it well enough...

I don't agree with some of the bikes on that list and they're are others I'd consider .

In regards to to the Peugeot mentioned earlier... No, not really, it's value is the components, mint pieces from the era are doing well. That bike is definitely worth more parted versus whole.

And this forum has virtually no impact on market prices, if it did no vintage bike would be worth more than $100.
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Old 08-03-14, 12:41 PM
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Another thing good to know is that some of the late-80s early 90s bikes were made by people pushing the envelope of steel technology. This means it's especially crucial to inspect before you buy if you decide to purchase.

MB-zips and P-23/P-22s were prone to dents, cracks and weld/braze pops. Some of those bikes have been repaired once or twice - and given that the steel had to be heat-treated for full-strength, one has to often wonder whether the repairs were done correctly.

This is true for all 6061 aluminum bikes as well. They lose some strength if one does not heat-treat after welding.
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Old 08-03-14, 04:00 PM
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I hope not too much. I won't be able to buy them anymore if they are. I like the pre-90/91 triple butted lugged steel frame mountain bikes (with Bio-Pace)
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Old 08-03-14, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by bicyclridr4life
I hope not too much. I won't be able to buy them anymore if they are. I like the pre-90/91 triple butted lugged steel frame mountain bikes (with Bio-Pace)
I don't think you need to worry...
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