Category Archives: eBay

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;

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A Bargain Ventana

Ventana operates out of Rancho Cordova, California, and has done so since 1988. Their first product was the (unknown to me) elevated Cone Peak of 1991. I thought I knew elevated bikes inside and out as they’re a favorite design of mine, but I had never known of the Cone Peak before today.

1991 Ventana Cone PEak

1991 Ventana Cone Peak

I’ve always been a fan of Ventana’s old bikes because they just always looked good. It is admittedly a silly attribute to judge a bike on, but a bike that really looks good is more likely to draw you out onto the trails I think.

I’m not liking their current hunchback top tubes, but I’m sure the bikes are still good.

But that’s besides the point, which is, I found a super nice El Habanero on eBay a while back that really surprised me in what it sold for.

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The best rim brakes ever made

Every once in a while, a bicycle part comes along that is so good, it transcends the bike it’s on. Like the Chris King headset. So good that owners move it from bike to bike as they progress.

If you ride a lot you know that parts generally don’t last – it’s the nature of the game – but the King headset does.

Avid Arch Supreme

Avid Arch Supreme

Another part on this level, was the Avid Arch Supreme brake. It was a set of V-brakes with an arch connecting the brake arms. Though to be more accurate, the arch connected the pads. This forced the pads to move in a straight line into the rim when you pulled the brake lever, rather than in an arc.

Ingeniously, the  arch also provided for the spring tension adjustment. Rim brakes need to be adjusted so that both brake pads hit the rim at the same time. You would tighten or loosen a tiny screw on the brake to increase or decrease spring tension, moving one pad closer, the opposite pad further away.  With the Arch Supreme, all you did was loosen the knob at the top of the arch, move it left or right – which moved the entire brake assembly – until both pads were the same distance away, and tighten the knob again.

On top of all this, everything was CNC machined, the pivots had sealed bearings, and the clearances were better than any other brake I have ever touched in my life.

Avid Ultimate

Avid Ultimate

I lived with a guy that bought some and he had me install them. Once installed, there was zero play at the brake boss, but perfectly smooth movement. He also bought the matching Avid Ultimate levers and Flak Jacket cables.  This was about 1998, and that package set him back about $600.

I just found a set of Arch Supremes on eBay, for CDN$272, and that’s a damn lot of money for v-brakes. But in my mind, that’s not too much. Not if you’re going for late-model vintage perfection, like a Rocky Vertex Team Scandium, or a Kona Hei Hei Ti.