Thursday, July 5, 2012

What Does it Take to Make a Bicycle Collectible?

2007 Trek Madone SL 5.9 

I recently added a 2007 Trek Madone SL 5.9 to my stable. Don't worry, my fondness for vintage steel remains as strong as ever; but I've been increasingly curious about owning a modern, carbon fiber bicycle with all the bells and whistles. While there's many to choose from, and some of the more obscure ones are quite beautiful, I gravitated toward this popular, iconic (sorry, last time you'll see that word here), Trek model. 

Photo courtesy of Ray Dobbins - Eddie Merckx

I have to wonder if bikes like the Trek Madone, the Colnago C40, Kestrel Talon, and others that have made significant presence along the modern road bike timeline will someday be as collectible as the Peugeot PX-10, Masi Gran Criterium, Eddie Merckx, Legnano, and the like. 

This brings up the question of "what makes a bicycle collectible?" I'll be honest; I'm nowhere nearly as knowledgeable on this subject as my mentors on the CL List, so all I can do is surmise and then solicit your input to help answer this question. 

Here's what I think are some criteria for collectibility:

1) The bike made an impact when it was first introduced (first of its kind, brought into battle during a war, significantly ahead of its time for material or design, etc)
2) The bike has something physically/design/mechanically significant about it
3) The bike has something tied to it that gives it emotional significance to a large number of people (famous racers used this bike, etc)
4) There are relatively few remaining that are stock and in decent, ridable condition
5) Owning the bike puts one in an enviable position amongst one's peers

So, what else? Chime in in the comments section below so we can keep this conversation going. Thanks!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Bicycle Swap Meets

LOVE me some bicycle swap meets. I went to three in June, alone. One of them (pic above) in Leesburg, VA at the Cirque du Cyclisme, and the other two were here in Southern California. 

Yesterday I attended one in Riverside at the Cyclery USA bicycle shop. Nice little show with about a dozen vendors. It was 95 degrees by the time the show started in mid-afternoon, but quite a few people braved the heat and found some great deals. Cyclery USA had a few tables outside their shop with many grab-bag bins, shoes, lights, and components - all deeply discounted. The event was hosted by that shop and the Riverside Bicycle Club, which was founded in 1891! 

I was fortunate to find a guy who had some nice 1984 Campagnolo pieces that he'd taken off his Ciocc in 1985, only after a year of use. The gum rubber hoods are shot, but everything else, including that 130mm Cinelli 1R stem is in excellent shape. The jockey wheels on the Campagnolo Nuevo Record rear derailleur never even had enough use to get that familiar grease "plaque" between the teeth. :) Also scored five bicycling books to add to my collection. 

There's another show in La Mirada in the middle of July that I'll be sure to hit.

Have any other bicycle swap meet suggestions? Chime on in or, if you don't care to publicize to the world, send me an email: VintageRacingBicycles (at)

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