MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

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MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

 

YELLOW TORPADO - INTRO

FINDING YELLOW TORPADO

FAREWELL  TORPADO

 

BICYCLES OF ITALY

  

FAIR WELL TO THE YELLOW TORPADO

Keeping, maintaining, and riding a fleet of vintage bicycles is just fine, if you have the time, and resources, to do so.  However, sooner or later, the collection will reach unmanageable proportions.  And that is where my humble collection of vintage racing bicycles has hovered for years.  I honestly try to keep a collection number that does not exceed five and tend to settle for more than ten.  At the time of this writing, I have fourteen vintage road bicycles, in my personal collection.  I would prefer to hang on to all of them.

At any rate, as much as the Yellow Torpado appealed to me, I decided, soon after purchasing it, that it would have to find its new home elsewhere.  I had no room to store the bicycle with winter just a hop, skip and a jump away.  With that in mind, I listed the bicycle on Ebay for $9.99 US, hoping that it would fetch close to $300.  I should add that, listing vintage road bicycles with no reserve, can be a bit scary sometimes.  That said, the Torpado was old.  It was Italian.  And it was a treat to look at.  I felt confident that I would be able to sell the bike for a decent price.  I had no idea what that meant, at the time.

As is usually the case, the seven day auction started slowly.  A bid or two, at the onset, running the price up to a whopping fifteen dollars, and then the auction doldrums.  Nothing happened until the second last day.  With about a day and a half to go, the price took a jump to roughly fifty dollars and stalled again.  I was starting to get a bit worried.  Though I paid little for the bike, I would hate to see it go for less than its value.  I continued the vigil.

With a few minutes, perhaps even a half hour to go, the price jumped to over three hundred dollars.  Then $700 and it continued to climb every few seconds.  Two people were seriously bidding against each other.  $950.00 and I was getting a bit worried.  In my mind, the Yellow Torpado was, well, a Torpado and an entry level one at that.  I would have been quite satisfied with my three hundred dollar target.

But the price continued to climb, and without much hesitation between bid increases.  Then, nothing!  The price increases stopped, with a minute or so to go in the auction.  The bid had finally levelled out at $1,200.00 USD.  I was stunned.  I knew that the bid was legit, having been made by a gentleman who lives in Japan.  The fellow has bought a few vintage Italian bikes from me and he is a good guy to do business with.  Anyway...

With seconds to go, and I do mean seconds, the price jumped one last time - $1,225.00 USD for the Yellow Torpado.  And that final bid, came from a bidder who had not thrown his hat into the ring until the last seconds of the auction.  Three people had set the value of the Yellow Torpado to exceed the thousand dollar mark.  I was amazed and then not.  I have seen this situation repeat itself a number of times.  Anyway...

I invoiced the buyer and he was quick to respond.  His joy was evident in his email and he paid immediately.  I should add that the buyer turned out to be Canadian.  I would be shipping domestically, rather than internationally.  Shipping to the USA is not a big deal.  But shipping overseas, including Hawaii, is!  Back to the Torpado...

With the bicycle packed, shipped and received, I considered the auction to be over.  The buyer had received the bicycle, found it to be exactly to his liking and went on to mention that he was a collector of Torpado bicycles.  Furthermore, he would appreciate being given him a heads-up, should I stumbled across another one.  Needless to say, I mentioned the white Torpado I had purchased along with the Yellow one.  I offered him that bike, for what I thought would be a fair price (less than 1/4 of what he paid for the Yellow Torpado), and he jumped at the opportunity.  Both Torpados, purchased at the same time, had been sold, in two separate sales, to the same person.  Kinda strange?

The results of the Yellow Torpado auction are not all that uncommon.  I have received ,what I would consider to be absurd sums, for an entry level Peugeot frame set, an even more entry level Team Raleigh Record frame set, a lower end Asian Bianchi and others that do not immediately come to mind.

Those, who have been involved in the vintage bicycle scene for some time, are appalled at the high prices that old bicycles are fetching, at the time of this writing.  However, for the novice enthusiast, present high prices are the norm and, for the most part, considerably less than today's consumer would pay for a new bicycle, of similar quality.  Why would someone pay lots for a good bicycle that is forty or fifty years old, in great shape and of good quality?  Because it is a good deal!

So, I ask myself...

Its the price the Yellow Torpado fetched, in open auction, indicative of things to come?  In answering, I consider what I have seen transpire, in the vintage bicycle world, during the last ten years.  With that in mind, the answer is yes.  Vintage road bicycles are gaining in popularity.  They are coming from a finite supply base and feeding an infinite demand market.  Prices are bound to soar and, indeed, they are.

The best time to buy a vintage road bicycle is right now, in my humble opinion.  Why?  Because that same bicycle will cost you considerably more - a year from now.

 

 

 

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