Thursday, April 19, 2007

Would you buy it, strip it, dump the frame?

A Paris Sport tandem that I built in 1980 has been up for sale on SF Craigslist for a few weeks now. The price is right at $1,000 and there maybe several reasons why it hasn’t sold yet.

Craigslist doesn’t have the safeguards that eBay has so you really need to go look at something before you buy. That limits potential buyers to people within driving distance of Sacramento, where the tandem happens to be.

No one buys a bike unless it fits them; here you have a machine that has to fit two people. Therefore limiting potential buyers still further, unless someone buys it first then goes out to find a partner to fit the other half.

I am in no way connected to this sale, but I do happen to believe this sale is genuine. I have previously corresponded with the owners, who are the original owners. I also wrote about this one in a blog (July 2006)

This morning the sale was mentioned here, and I quote from the post: “I reckon someone might want it just for Phil Wood stuff...”

WTF. Has the value of my work sunk so low that someone would suggest buying it just to strip it of a few of the component parts?

Now you can call me over sensitive, or call me an egotistical MF, but when I read something like this, it is like a swift kick in the bollocks.


Phil said...

I saw that comment, I took it to mean more that very few people are looking for tandems in general, much less "older" used ones that weren't built for them. If it were a single of yours, they'd have to put up roadblocks stem the flood of buyers streaming up from the bay area...

VintageSpin said...

Some people collect things.
What is the value of Phil Wood parts? A cyclist will talk about how well they work, ease of maintenance, aesthetic appeal. If he has them he is using them.
A collector can tell you the going rate of so-and-so parts, and keeps those parts in a box until he sells them.
I read of a watch collector that travels the world with $1 million of watches in a bag, looking for the next buy. He never wears them.
Used to be we’d collect and trade baseball cards, put them in our bike wheels, and get together to see what the other kids had. Now its people collecting them for the sake of collecting them, the prices went way up, and the market changed so much manufacturers are now rethinking sales.
Your art de jour is fleeting to collectors. Useless unless there’s monetary value.
To a rider, it’s an art object to ride.
Now which is worth more?

BikeFixe said...

Never Mind the Bollocks, its...

a fine looking tandem. Considered it for my wife + son or daughter, but even fairly priced, $1000 is not in the cards at the moment. You know how good the frame is, and a silent majority of that slender, bicycle-appreciating minority does too!

cyclofiend said...

Since I'm the one who applied the boot, let me clarify a bit.

First off, let me apologize for the comment, which came across in a very different way than it was intended. I spoke imprecisely and poorly, and did not mean it to be a backhand at the quality or desireability of Dave's work.

Upon seeing the add, I was stunned that it hadn't sold - even with the issues of tandem-specific difficulties. My thought process (and use the phrase here ironically) was along the lines of "A freakin' Dave Moulton Tandem! When is the last time you saw one of those available? A thousand bucks? That's ridiculously underpriced - you could recoup most of that by selling off the Phil drum brake!"

That's about the time I dashed off the mention to the iBob list, figuring that there were people like me who would know the quality of what was being sold, and that it was being offered at a silly-low price. There are a lot of list members who are also on the tandem list, and hoped they might forward it there as well.

So my point was that you might sell off the Phil stuff - which has a following - but you'd end up with a unique and wonderful frame.

I'm really sorry it came across with the opposite meaning.

All the best,

-- Jim

Dave Moulton said...

There was no offence taken on my part; I was showing a certain amount of “mock horror” (for want of a better two words.) Also at the time I wrote it I had not connected you as the fellow blogger, cyclofiend. Your blog is one I check regularly.

I did have an idea of what you meant, but I seized on the opportunity to write about this quite rare tandem, because like you I cannot understand why it hasn’t sold. I have no connection with the sale and I feel I can’t blatantly promote it, but was glad to have to opportunity say something.

In 1983 I built a ‘dave moulton’ frame that I built up with a Campagnolo “Anniversary” Groupo. It was the centerpiece of my display at the Interbike Show that year. It was a really pretty frame with lots of chrome and pearlescent paint.

Two years ago, someone bought it, stripped it of the Campy group, and sold the frame off for next to nothing. Good fortune for the buyer, but the seller obviously had no idea what he had. The memory of that was also on my mind when I wrote the tandem piece.

I think “Vintage Spin” hit it on the head when he said there are people who buy the stuff to ride it, and collectors who buy it as an investment only. In the world of vintage guitars there are people buying them who don’t even play, and a musician who would love to own one can’t afford it.

I should be grateful that this situation hasn’t happened with my bikes yet, and people are still riding them. I guess I shouldn’t be too indignant, even mock indignity.

Anonymous said...

As the former owner of this Paris-Sport Tandem I am glad to report that the tandem was bought to be ridden by a couple who live in the Sacramento area. They were thrilled to upgrade from their older 1970's vintage tandem to this tandem built by Dave, with what were "state of the art" components back in 1980. It also fits them perfectly. They know what they bought is a bike with a lot of history behind it, as they read this blog before buying. As for us, we still have one much newer tandem in the garage, which gets used regularly.

Anonymous said...

Tanedms rock !!

Tandem Bicycles