[CR]Prices for 60s racing bikes

(Example: Production Builders:Peugeot:PX-10LE)

From: "Charles Andrews" <chasds@mindspring.com>
To: <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
Date: Sat, 4 Aug 2007 13:54:01 -0700
Subject: [CR]Prices for 60s racing bikes

I had some interesting e-mail from a couple of CR members that I though would be of equal interest to the whole group.

One CR member describes his purchase of a full-bore Cinelli in 1963 this way:

"In June 1963 I bought a Cinelli from Spence Wolf in Cupertino, he had a frame in stock and he built it up with what I wanted, "the best of every thing".

Campy cranks and pedals, seat post with brooks pro saddle, Mafac top 63 brakes, Universal levers. The wheels were Campy hubs with Fiamme rims and Del Mundo silk tires, plus a spare tire and one of those little rubberband spare tire holder, out the door price $229.

Spence gave me a peanut butter wrench, 5MM alen wrench and a chainring wrench. I had taken the bus from San Francisco and had my cycling clothes with me, Spence shipped my street clothes back at no cost.

In 1967 I bought a Bianchi Team Issue bike from Oscar at American cyclery, $198 out the door."

Another CR member notes that:

"I got my '62 Masi Special directly from Faliero. I paid him in Lira (of

course) and I think the exchange made the complete bike ca. $160-180."

If these members want to talk more about this they can, but I've kept them anonymous since their posts were to me only.

I find this stuff fascinating. Consider that in current money these bikes all cost under, or just over $2000. That's less than half the cost of a current Tour-ready bike, if I'm not mistaken. Although, I'll grant you, you can buy a perfectly good racing bike for about 2K these days. But to compare apples to apples, the Cinelli and Masi and Bianchi were all the State-of-The-Art in that time, and thus, should be compared to the same today.

Granted, equipment is all vastly improved. And maybe that alone accounts for the price differential..although, even though I'm very fond of current Ergo equipment, I'd maintain that a meticulously adjusted Masi Special, with a chromed Record derailleur and a short-ratio freewheel, with Campagnolo bar-end shifters, and the stock thick cables, would shift nearly as well as Ergo, and nearly as fast. The Record derailleur works extremely well with short-ratio freewheels, which is what you see, almost uniformly, on Tour bikes of the 60s, even for hill-climbs the largest cog was seldom bigger than a 24. And the bar-ends can be adjusted to be quite sensitive, and to shift very quickly.

No, not as good as Ergo, but good enough that the price differential between the bikes is hard to explain. Put some nice, light wheels on that Masi, with Clement Criterium silks, or Paris-Roubaix silks, and weight-wise, you're only a bit over the current tour bikes. And in the wheels you might well be as light or even lighter, than a tour bike of today.

So, the higher price of sota racing bikes today is hard to explain away.

Which makes the finest vintage lightweights incredible bargains, if you don't have to pay a very high collectible premium.

Unfortunately, a nervex Masi special in clean original condition, with all the correct, original parts and good tires, will be worth much more on the open market than it's original inflation-adjusted price. Over twice as much, easily.

I find that interesting too. I suspect it's a function of rarity, and of desirability..when everyone in the group-interest wants something, and there are too few of them around, up goes the price.

Figuring out a reasonable collectible premium used to be a real crap-shoot. With the CR list, and ebay, now, it's not quite so difficult. Still an interesting exercise, though.

The old lightweights that have little cachet, become the true bargains of today. Just as nice-riding as any Masi, but with no collectible premium to speak of.

What's your favorite "just as nice as a Masi in its own way" lightweight with no collectible premium?

I'll name three that come to mind: Grandis, Mondia--Special and Super--and Gios.

Thankfully, there are many others.

Although the Masis, Cinellis, Pogliagis, De Rosas and Colnagos of the world continue to appeal no matter the price.

Charles Andrews
Los Angeles