The value of things

This is the stickiest question in all of Vintagedom; How much is my insert vintage thing here worth?

And nobody likes it.

Most forums will have a separate thread for these questions to keep them out of the regular, useful, conversations.

But you can’t blame people for asking. The last thing anyone wants is to sell a part and then see it for sale again right away for 50% more.

I like to think that my knowledge of market value is above average, if for no other reason that I spent a lot of time looking at Kijiji. I see all of the bikes for sale here, and it’s pretty easy to see which ones are selling right away, and which aren’t.

So to that end, there’s this;

Norco Pinnacle

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Early 90’s Norco Pinnacle

There’s really nothing special or particularly great about this bike. It’s Tange tubing, but it’s not high-end at all. I had one of these last year – a guy gave it to me in fact.  Complete, a little mashed up, but repairable.

Once I did fix it up, it felt like it was worth $100.

So, to see a Norco frame + fork on eBay for $220, that’s out there. I’d guess Norcos are rare in Wisconsin, but that doesn’t really make them any better than they are. I have a feeling that a Trek 830 frame would not sell for $220 even in Wisconsin, and that’s more or less the same thing.

1996 Trek 8500

1996 Trek 8500

I hate to be critical when the seller is a community cycling center, because they’re great places. Plus that’s pretty much what I’ve got going in my garage – minus the community part (ha ha!). But the other listings on that account are also out there. Tons of $200 bikes for $600. Early 80’s Trek touring bikes for $1000. A nice Trek 8500 with XT parts for $750.

What’s wrong with a ’96 Trek 8500 for $750, you might ask?

This is what’s wrong;

'16 Rocky Mountain Soul

’16 Rocky Mountain Soul

For the same money, it’s a brand new Rocky Mountain Soul. You get 650b wheels, a 120mm fork, hydraulic brakes, centerlock hubs, tapered head tube, and the warranty that comes with a new bike.

I love vintage bikes, but I would never try to argue that a hardtail from 1996 with no suspension and V-brakes is worth the same amount of money as a new bike. I’ve tried riding them on the trails, and it’s just not very much fun.

Yes, blasphemy. I know…

You could argue that the Trek, and other vintage bikes, have sentimental value that makes them worth more.  That’s definitely possible, but I don’t think that warrants a more than 100% increase in asking price.

And besides, it’s a Trek. How much sentimental value can there be in something that’s just so meh?

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