Why buy a bike?
A major part of a vintage bicycle’s investment value depends on it having correct original parts. During a century of use, many early bikes have had parts replaced. Parts are extremely hard to find, often impossible. I don’t resell vintage parts – I have to keep enough to fit them to my bicycles when needed.
I specialise in ‘quality’ bicycles, i.e. those made by the world’s top manufacturers at a time when only the rich could afford them. By the 1920s, prices and quality dropped, and bicycles became affordable for regular commuting. To understand the high price of pre-WW1 bicycles when new, consider annual wages in 1911: labourer £74; miner £83; skilled engineer £125; teacher £176; clergyman £206; surgeon £272; solicitor £1343. Compare prices of new bicycles: 1908 Lea Francis 16 guineas; 1911 Raleigh X Frame 15 guineas; 1911 Golden Sunbeam 14 guineas; 1909 Royal Sunbeam 12 guineas; 1911 Dursley Pedersen £12 17/- 6d; 1912 Royal Triumph £12; 1914 BSA £10. Multiply that by 100 for an approximate value today, eg 14 guineas 100 years ago would be around £1475 today.
Many rogue dealers buy bikes from enthusiasts so they can strip them to sell their parts for profit on ebay. I detest this wanton destruction of historic machines. I urge sellers to be careful who they sell to, and ask higher prices for their early bicycles so it is not economically viable for the ‘strippers’ to buy their bike.
The Online Bicycle Museum is dedicated to the preservation of vintage bicycles. This is a full-time restoration business, rebuilding rare bikes so they can be used and enjoyed again. It can involve hours of research to identify the age and model of a particular bicycle, and months hunting for rare parts, assembling and servicing it in the workshops so it’s ready for another century of riding.
Such dedication takes a lot of time and effort. Each bicycle’s price reflects its rarity, and the amount of work required to present it for sale. It will always be offered for sale at a price that will appreciate in value. An enthusiast may buy an antique bicycle just because of its history and the pleasure of riding it. But there is nothing wrong in knowing that it will also increase in value each year. If you bought a bike from me over the past few years, I’d be happy to buy it back at the same price! Vintage cars and motorcycles have appreciated to ridiculous prices and, likewise, the value of historic ‘quality’ bicycles only ever goes up…
I’ve been buying and selling vintage vehicles since the late 1970s. I owned and ran a garage restoration business in the 1980s, with vintage car and motorcycle auctions to sell them. I’ve been delivering vintage vehicles around the world since the mid-1980s, and can deliver any vehicle anywhere. I sell around 150 quality bicycles a year, and buy an equal amount to replace them.
Each bicycle for sale has its own page at the Online Bicycle Museum for your reference. After I purchase a bicycle, I take photographs of the highest standard showing everything you want to know about it, and these details remain on the Museum website. Catalogue illustrations are provided so you can see its authenticity for yourself. The Online Bicycle Museum is the world’s primary vintage bicycle internet database, and I created it to encourage future generations to explore and enjoy our wonderful vintage bicycle hobby.
WHAT’S FOR SALE?
Half the bikes I buy and/or restore are for the Online Bicycle Museum; the other half are for sale (shown on the sales page). The Museum receives no public funding: everything on the Museum website is the result of personal time, effort and passion. So each bike bought for the Museum requires a similar bike to be sold, to pay for its purchase. Regular customers keep an eye out for new bikes to be added the sales page. But they also often tell me what they’re looking for, and when I locate a suitable candidate I send them details and photos before adding it to the website. To make further enquires, please contact me as below.