Two Wheels - Six Strings

Random news and thoughts about various two-wheeled projects and music, especially my band, Skull Full Of Blues.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Collectors Are Ruining the World

Image from a recent eBay auction...

The X0-1 pictured above just recently sold on eBay for $1814.90. That's roughly twice what I would consider it to be worth, honestly. I mean, I'd love to have one of these to ride, but $1800.00 will buy a much nicer bike in today's market. And, I would assume that anyone who knows bikes would realize the same thing.

So, I have to assume that the buyer of this particular "like new" 1993 bike is a collector, and that the bike was bought as a "collectible", rather than as a bike. I have a problem with that, and with most collecting in general.

Coins, stamps and other such things are, to me, legitimate collector's items. They are commodities, from the get-go. What I have a problem with is the collector mentality which has swept the land, lately, making it impossible to buy old (cheap) guitars or bicycles to actually use them. Every old bike on craigslist or eBay seems to have suddenly become "vintage", and therefore very valuable. Broken-down old Harmony guitars should not cost $600 to $1000, and 17 year-old hybrid bikes shouldn't go for upwards of two grand.

I don't have $1800 to spend on any bike, right now, but if I did it would not be spent on a 1993, factory built frame with the plainest lugs in existence. I'd buy a Velo-Orange Polyvalent frame or a Rawland Drakkar frameset and build it up with much nicer components than what the XO came with. Or, I'd have a lugged frame built, and build it up with middle of the road components and upgrade them, later.

"Well, then," you say, "why not shut the hell up about XO-1s and just get one of those frames?"

Honestly, I just want an orange XO-1 because John Stamstad rode one to set the 24-hour offroad distance record in 1993. Ride-wise, as I've pointed out before, the XO-2 is fine. And, I do have something on the way to build my own, modern take on the XO set-up.

Still, I just find it annoying that these bikes and other usable older equipment are being artificially priced out of the range of people who will actually use them..

Oh, well. Enough venting...Rant ended.

x

9 Comments:

At 3:38 AM , Blogger Big Oak said...

I guess that's one of those things where a person says, "boy, if I had enough money I'd buy one of those...". I've often said that about stuff, but I've never had enough money. I guess someone out there did in the XO-1 case.

You'll build something better that will be more suited to you anyway.

 
At 5:35 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the winner of this auction is not incredibly weathly, they may now be suffering from a bout of winner's remorse. Ebay is great for that. It would be real interesting to look at the bid history on the XO to see if the bids ramped up quickly in the closing minutes, or if the winner put in the high bid early based on some rational calculation of what their maximum bid should be.

 
At 7:13 AM , Blogger Jon said...

Actually, looks like he sniped it. The winning bid was placed within the last 5 seconds of bidding.

 
At 8:11 AM , Blogger Erich said...

I'd agree the XO-1 prices are nuts, but it's got all the right things working to make it so. Nostalgia, rarity, an odd frame with an even odder paint and equipment setup, a famous race heritage, and being mentioned everywhere as the epitome of a Grant Petersen bike, even if his new Rivendell bikes are in reality much better. The 92 XO-1 seems to be selling for less, as I got my frame and fork for a reasonable price.

This same thing happens in my other hobby, photography. There are people out there now snapping up old 16mm film-format lenses because they can be mounted on some of the new cameras, and many are going for outrageous sums. Over $1000 for a lens that vignettes heavily, is soft in focus, and creates poor images? Count me out. A few short years ago these lenses sold for pennies. Wish I could have seen that market coming.

 
At 3:12 PM , Blogger Jon said...

Erich: I suppose that one reason I find this particular example so unreasonable is that I have the XO-2. I can ride a bike very much like the XO-1 without paying collector price.

But the whole "vintage" thing applies to many areas. And, while that is great for sellers, it really kinda blows for someone looking for decent older equipment at an affordable price.

Maybe the bubble will eventually burst. But, what I'm seeing is people who are over-pricing everyday objects, then just taking them off the market when they don't sell. They won't believe that their Schwinn Continental is not worth $300, so they won't sell it for less, even if they recieve what is actually a reasonable offer.

 
At 4:01 AM , Blogger Erich said...

Oh, I totally agree Jon. I've seen a lot of it in cameras as well. Many are completely worthless and made by the millions, but because they're old people would ask silly prices for them.

Reminds me of an old camera pricing guide on a Polaroid Swinger model: "worth $10 per truckload. Delivered."

The thing about sites like Craigslist that helps perpetuate it, is that people see others asking unreasonable prices for their junk, assume that it's selling for that amount, and price their own junk accordingly. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that prices will go up if there is no way for folks to track selling prices.

 
At 12:05 PM , Blogger MariaH said...

Ah but everything being "vintage" is fun when you find a slammin deal!

My XO-2, Vivian, is having a tough run this week. On Monday she (or rather I) broke a crank. It was pretty impressive looking I must say! And last night I left the office to find her with a rear flat. Since I live close and was simply not in the mood to fix a tire, I left the poor gal in the bike locker. I hope this isn't a sign of things to come. Bike tragedy seems to run in waves.

 
At 12:06 PM , Blogger MariaH said...

Ah but everything being "vintage" is fun when you find a slammin deal!

My XO-2, Vivian, is having a tough run this week. On Monday she (or rather I) broke a crank. It was pretty impressive looking I must say! And last night I left the office to find her with a rear flat. Since I live close and was simply not in the mood to fix a tire, I left the poor gal in the bike locker. I hope this isn't a sign of things to come. Bike tragedy seems to run in waves.

 
At 3:17 PM , Blogger frankenbiker said...

I saw the polyvalent frame on Velo-Orange,It looks like a great deal for $400.Nice frame stupid name.

Jon, what do you do to bikes that you damage rims on the road with 35c tires? I have ridden fixed off road with 38c's and never even flatted,maybe I am just lucky,uhoh! just jinxed myself!

 

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