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Demographics, History, and Trends of Buyers/Enthusiasts of C & V?

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Demographics, History, and Trends of Buyers/Enthusiasts of C & V?

Old 10-10-14, 11:05 AM
  #26  
armstrong101
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Thanks to everyone who got the point of this thread and shared their experiences.

Originally Posted by Chrome Molly View Post
As the hipster fixie thing continues to cool off, I suspect the mid-high, to high end non Italian, custom, or true top end stuff will go down further in value.
I'm going to paraphrase you and say that basically, the best stuff will always retain it's value. I agree, but in terms of things going down in value, I'd say it's still very early for that, if the story of another collectible genre can be applied. I am pretty knowledgeable about comic book collectibles - back in the early 2000s (say 2002), prices just were soaring. It probably had a lot to do with Ebay, but comic movies (e.g. spiderman, daredevil, x-men) were also hitting their stride. Prices had been going up for about 3 years by then, to previously unheard-of values. During this time, practically every week, someone on the comic book forum would start a "crash" thread - i.e. is the market going to crash or is it crashing now? Whenever a couple of books on ebay sold for a bit less than recent average, people would start saying the end was near. Some very knowledgeable folks predicted the end would occur in 2004. It is now 2014. I have stayed away from those forums and buying/selling books since about 2003. Prices are now about 5 times what they were when I last saw them. I walked into an LCS recently (local comic store), and saw there, on the rack, a book selling for $1600 (an early X Men book graded CGC 8.0). I remember I had two books in the same grade, of considerably more value, that I bought each for around 175 US, then flipped for about 275 US 6 months later. I sold them because I thought the end was near and I bought them to flip anyways. These books are probably worth over 2000 each now. If you had asked me, in 2003, if by 2014, whether or not the crash would have occurred yet, I would've said absolutely most definitely. It could've occurred in 2006, 2007, 2008 or whatever. It's now 2014 and the market is higher than it has ever been. And I'd say the demographics for comic book collectors is even worse than for bikes (do you any kid who reads comic books? Only old foggies go to comic book stores these days). The market will crash, but it's still early. Someone said old bikes started gaining in popularity again in roughly 2008. If so, we have a long way to go. Unlike comics, bikes are much more difficult to sell/liquidate, so a bike market depends a lot more on local sellers/buyers. Whilst Ebay was popular far before 2008, I'd say it was in the last half-dozen years or so that local selling via the internet has really taken off. So again, we could be at the early end of the curve.

Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
As far as predicting the future, if I had that ability, I would be heavy into the stock or commodity markets where predictions can mean serious $$.
I ask these questions not as an investor, but to decide whether to buy a bike now, or wait till later to get it. If I want to add a Pinarello to my collection, I'd rather pay $500 for it now than $1000 two years from now.

Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh View Post
I spend time with a group of teens at my church on a weekly basis, and the small percentage (1-5%) that are interested in bikes, only look at BMXs or MTBs. But I live in a large village/rural area, so this could easily skew your final conclusion in quantifying the data in this highly subjective survey.
In high school in the 1990s, I knew one other person with an interest in road bikes, and zero with an interest in comic books. Just this summer, a comic book sold for some 3 million dollars or so. What does a Cinelli Laser funny bike sell for? 100K? That's chump change - there are hundreds of comics that can sell for that amount. Anyways - there are buyers out there, just don't know where. They could be international.

Originally Posted by rootboy View Post
I sometimes wonder if much of the NOS Campy stuff, for example, just circulates around and around.
From one appreciator to another.
I would think so. Some people covet an NOS thing thinking it'll be the perfect bling on their dream bike, only to get it and realize they can't use it cause it's too nice. So they sell it.
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Old 10-10-14, 11:24 AM
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I haven't seen the hipster fixie trend cool off at all. And it's a trend I don't mind at all, either. I know hipster is often used derogatorily, but I don't mean to use it that way. If you are in your late 20's or your 30's and dress moderately fashionably, it's hard not to be labeled as a hipster. Fixed gear bikes are appealing and practical for many people, especially in urban areas where there aren't many hills.
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Old 10-10-14, 11:36 AM
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I was born in 1978 and am a Bronxite and my first vintage was a Peugeot U08. I like that there is a cross section of ages of those interested and that there is so much knowledge to be learnt.
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Old 10-10-14, 11:55 AM
  #29  
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1- Not yet gasping for breath
2- Disregarding the premium collectable or grail's, many super classics can still be found for near a Benjamin.
3- You can thank the advent of fleabay
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Old 10-10-14, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by cyclotoine View Post
These are important observations which I agree with. I see from just a few comments that opinions on when the market got crazy is all over the place. In vancouver BC when I first started getting into C&V around 2005/06 campagnolo was already expensive (actually ebay prices for record rear derailleurs was higher on average back then than it is now). Road bikes were selling for at least $250 no matter how crappy. Fixies were all the rage and there was a fever in the air with youngsters snapping up road bikes as quick as possible. No drop bar lasted more than 24 hours on craiglist. Now the market is flooded with fixed gears and conversions are not in demand, and might even be downright uncool. I don't know, I am 33 and live in Canada's far north now. What I can tell you is the fever for vintage road bikes in vancouver has subsided and reasonably priced high end vintage road bikes will stick around on the for sale pages. Yes certain components have gone up in value and others have gone down. The market has stabilized to some degree.
Thanks for sharing. This is the type of perspective I like to read about.
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Old 10-10-14, 12:27 PM
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and sometimes, just sometimes, if you're luck...

Blue Fiori Bicycle

FTR, it's a fiori (norco sub-brand cashing in on italian sounding name in 1980s) with full nuovo record asking $300 with no mention of components in ad and crappy photos.
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Old 10-10-14, 12:41 PM
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I just turned 30. I like C & V because I think vintage bikes have more character and I like the part interchangability to make the bike your own and put your own spin on it. Newer bikes are too expensive to me imho and I get more bang for the buck with vintage ones. I think grail bikes will always have an up and down price depending on who is selling it and if they know anything about it or are totally clueless.
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Old 10-10-14, 12:50 PM
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I came into real biking when buying a new Motobecane Mirage in '73. Through the decades I would pick up a road bike with the intentions of riding like I did in my teens. About 10yrs ago I found an '85 Trek 460 and the fire was rekindled, been seriously cranking out fast miles ever since. I paid 35.00 for it and shortly thereafter found this group that is solely responsible for my buying habits. You can see the most of what I have on my avatar/sig line. Maybe the most I have paid was 120.00 for the near mint '89 PRE.

What has driven the prices up? The awareness of value. 10yrs ago these were junk bikes in garages taking up space. Then came American Pickers and Craigslist. The race was on.
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Old 10-10-14, 01:15 PM
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63 years old, with 30 years of pretty consistent riding. Many years 4k mi.
Picked up cycling in 1984 (as an adult), as a complementary exercise for a winter ski habit. I'd taken up the skiing only a few years before and as a sea level liver had to condition aerobically to improve in the mountains. Learned that it's really nice to 'condition' 9 months a year for a few months of ski weekends at Tahoe. Monterey Bay, CA and the Santa Cruz Mts were bicycle heaven to me.

Have tried a whole bunch of road bikes and settled on a few. Occasionally ride in the mountains too.

Investment value? -- old bicycles? -- Phshaw, you'd probably do better by begging at a well traveled urban interstate off-ramp with a stop sign/light at the bottom. Either that, or you work your butt off at the high-end of this narrow collectible market (Hilary Stone). Flippers need a built in market (college campus, etc) to make it even remotely worth the effort. Except for the joy of rebuilding something useful for someone else.

Just go ride&enjoy your bike or enjoy your rolling art, that's why we are here.
Like model railroaders, old car buffs, film photographers, doll collectors - we will always be around.
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Old 10-10-14, 05:35 PM
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I guess I don't view the market as surging or crashing, as there's plenty of stock in both top end and really nice mid-high to high end stuff in C&V. Demand and supply on an individual level is a very local thing, but those who wait and know a range of quality bikes they would want will find deals many years from now.

Quality Reynolds and Columbus tubing bikes (which I'd consider the mid to mid-high depending on builder) were made for well over 50 years.
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Old 10-10-14, 05:54 PM
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Born in 1972. Have ridden bikes for fun since my parents bought me a Shogun 300 in the mid 1980's. Became interested in 1960s and 1970s Raleighs and Fillet Brazed Schwinns in the early 2000s when I started to have a bit of disposable cash and the internet made it much easier to research and find vintage bikes.

Have no interest in the possible resale of my bikes as I am not a flipper and don't view my bike purchases as investments. They make me happy and that's all that matters.
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Old 10-10-14, 06:04 PM
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If vintage cars are any guide (and I'm not guaranteeing they are), the market is high and still climbing, but the long-term outlook is limited. I think three kinds of people get into vintage machinery (cars, bikes, etc.):

1) high-end collectors who only want the rarest and best and have enough money to outbid anyone else. The bikes they buy will be put on display and kept as "investments". Artifacts like these typically change hands privately and quietly.

2) aficionados who appreciate both the aesthetics and period technology of fine machines. These folks will tinker with the bikes themselves, restore them, and actually ride them at least occasionally. No doubt many folks who post in the C&V forum are in this category. Some of these folks will spend serious money, but there is a general price sensitivity here that is completely absent in the first category.

3) people for whom C&V machinery is simply better-than-average used equipment. These people know that $50-$400 for a bike that had a for-figure price tag 15-40 years ago is a good deal. They prefer bikes that were little used and stored in a friendly environment so that little investment or effort needs to be made. They confidently know they bought essentially the same utility, recreational, and commuting value available in shiny, new form at the LBS for a fraction of the price. A lot of C&V folks here are in this category as well, including me.

To go back to the car analogy. I've read numerous times that if you bought a Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing new in the mid 1950s and held on to it, it has appreciated enough to outperform the stock market. The same is true for certain rare American muscle cars of the 1960s, most vintage Ferraris that have 12-cylinder engines in the front, etc. The point is that the investment-grade machinery is rare, in excellent condition, and highly desired. I don't see that market phenomenon happening with vintage bicycles. Another phenomenon in the antique car world is that really old cars are of relatively little interest. A lot of the market is driven by collectors who can finally acquire the car they dreamed of as teenagers or actually owned back in the day. Up until the 1980s or 1990s there was strong demand for Model T and Model A Fords which were manufactured in the millions. These cars, even in excellent condition, do not experience much demand today because the interest population has aged out of the market. Also, they are not much fun to operate in the real world; I've driven brass-era (pre-1916) vehicles on public roadways and it is highly stressful because they are difficult to operate, slow, and have nearly non-existent brakes. Sure, I'd be interested in a nice Schwinn Paramount or a vintage European road bike with period Campy components, but I have zero interest in an old Penny Farthing bicycle.

The bike population may age-out a little differently as those of us who are getting older decide those recumbents are looking really good. I still ride a a 1970s road bike occasionally, and my early 1990s MTB more often, but my go-to-ride is now a recumbent.

FWIW, mid 50s, grew up delivering newspapers by bike, graduated to ten speeds and did some long-distance touring in my youth.
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Old 10-10-14, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Italuminium View Post
Friendly prices and friendly older guys replete with good cheer and sound advice
This!

That and old bikes just look cool.
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Old 10-10-14, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by mikeybikes View Post
. ..... and old bikes just look cool.
Some do, some not-so-much; or, to be polite - those look 'useful'.
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Old 10-10-14, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
Some do, some not-so-much; or, to be polite - those look 'useful'.
....or just plain used.
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Old 10-10-14, 10:07 PM
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Early 30s. Moved to a town with very rough roads, so my Cannondale was painful to ride on my daily commute. This prompted me to acquire my first steel bike which happened to be vintage. Now I've come to prefer the vintage bikes to modern ones, for a cost of slight weight penalty, these bikes are more comfortable and handle just as well the the modern ones. This slowly grew into me wanting to dry different manufacturers from different countries and because vintage bikes are very cheap (I rarely spend more than $100), my daily commuter quickly grew into a small vintage bike collection. This also forced me to learn mechanic skills, even to the point where I am able to build my own wheels. Fun hobby overall!
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Old 10-10-14, 10:44 PM
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Originally Posted by mikeybikes View Post
This! That and old bikes just look cool.
Old bikes do look cool! A fashionable women's magazine even recommend hanging one on a small apartments wall. And yes... they meant buying a cool old bicycle and hanging it on the wall.

I am an old early-boomer retired guy. And like many of us I have ridden a bicycle on and off since I was a small child. We rode our bikes to school when I was a kid. I had a Schwinn Varsity in 1964... and it changed my relationship to bicycles forever. I like having a 10 speed with down tube shifters hanging on the wall of my man-cave. I like the way they look. I like the memories they invoke. I enjoy wrenching on them.

Sometimes I even ride the old steel. And it is enjoyable. Maybe I am different in this regard, but mostly I ride modern new or newish bicycles. I can't guess the future of vintage or even modern bicycles.
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