What is my bike worth..?
This question is a common one in bike forums, for people who have just bought a bike or for those who are selling. As the US is such a big country, the bike market there can be quite varied and prices reflect this; a decent Peugeot can sell for $75 in the country but can easily go for $250 – $350 in Boston or San Fransisco. In Britain there is less disparity, and it’s easier to have a better idea of a bike’s price country-wide. However, a big factor in both markets is how the bike is sold, whether it is listed nationally on Ebay, or if it is available only in its local area, which is mostly the case when bikes are sold on Craigslist and Gumtree.
Americans appreciate quality
Take a look at the bike above. It’s a Trek 400 Elance, with Reynolds 531 tubing. It was made in the early 1980’s, built with a mixture of Shimano indexed shifting, Sakae crankset, Maillard hubs and Rigida rims; it also featured stamped fork crowns and is very nice bike in excellent condition. A middle of the range vintage Trek like this is quite sought after, especially in the trendy areas of American cities. I sold it for $250, which, looking back, was a steal in the Seattle market. I could have got $350, I’m quite sure. Now, in UK money, this works out that the bike was worth between is £200 and £280, from a local sale in Seattle. Undoubtedly, a good example of how vintage bikes are worth more in the US; this bike would sell for roughly between £100 – £150 locally in the UK.
Selling Locally in the UK
I sold the bike above, rebuilt as as gold Peugeot PN10, locally in South East England for the princely sum of just £90. For a bike with full Vitus tubes, Stronglight crank, Simplex gears and a nice set of 700c clincher wheels, that would be a crazy low price in the city streets of America. It would be worth at least three times more, because in America European brands are collectible and admired. You could say that in some hipster areas of the States, people are mad for them. I’d estimate a basic Peugeot UO-8 bike will sell for $200 in Portland and Seattle. This is what I mean when I say that Americans appreciate European finery, brands with pedigree and historical significance, especially French, British and Italian road bikes. But then again, Americans also love Japanese bikes!
The Case of the Raleigh Competition
I exported this Raleigh Competition from the US to the UK in 2014. In America, it is a well loved vintage bike. Placed quite high in the Raleigh catalogues of the 1970’s, it was made only for the American market. It had some nice Campagnolo Nuovo Record parts, a Brooks saddle, and it was built with full 531 tubing and had a good set of wheels. The black and silver colour combination adds to the attraction of this well sought after British bike, made in Worksop. The one above was not original and had some parts changed out, some upgraded, like the Mavic 571 hubs and the Philippe Competition bar and stem set. I’d expect to get somewhere between $500 – $700 on Ebay in the US, where the market is strong for them. Here, forget it; I sold this Competition in Edinburgh for just £150.
Indeed. I think the market changes in Britain when you move into the realm of modern era cycling. The reason, I believe, is that in the UK bikes are used as more of a practical, utilitarian machine, to get you from A to B. All you have to do is see what many people ride on the towns and cities of Britain: cheap hybrid bikes and old, heavy mountain bikes are much more common than vintage racing bikes with thin tyres and rat trap pedals. The nostalgia and admiration for vintage road bikes is less expansive in the UK and is limited to a smaller group of enthusiasts. So when you sell something like the Bianchi above, with its well made aluminium and carbon frame, its thumb-shifting Shimano gears and 18 speeds, things get better for your Ebay listing or local ad. I sold this bike for £306, which is about $400 right now, and that is getting closer to a similar market price in both countries. I’d expect it would sell for perhaps just $100 more in the best bike areas of America.
Some Rough Estimates
Here is a very rough guide of what I think some examples of vintage bikes will go for in each country. These are bikes in good condition, sold in locally in cities or larger towns.
UK PRICES US PRICES
Peugeot UO8 / Motobecane C1 £40 – £60 $125 – $200
Gitane Interclub / Peugeot Course £60 – £90 $160 – $225
Motobecane C3* / Peugeot PN10 £80 – £130 $200 – $300 *In the US, similar to Grand Jubile
Motobecane C5 / Vitus 979 £160 – £225 $400 – $600
Peugeot PX10 / Mercier 300 £300 – £400 $700 – $1000