A Fuso frame with the original paint in nice condition just sold on eBay. The new owner has emailed me asking me about replacement decals as he is thinking of having the frame repainted.
My advice would be to build this frame into a bike as is, and ride it. From the pictures on eBay the paint appears to be in good condition; it has a few minor paint chips which is to be expected for a frame built in 1986.
The new owner can ride this bike knowing that if he put another chip in the paint it would be no big deal. Many of us know the feeling of owning a brand new car. We park it in the far corner of the supermarket parking lot, away from all other cars.
Eventually the inevitable happens and some careless idiot puts a little ding in the paint.
We feel annoyed, but at the same time relief that we no longer have to be so paranoid about protecting the car’s perfect finish, because it is no longer perfect.
The new owner paid $400 for this frame; a fair price. If he decides to keep it as is for now, he will now get many years riding out of this bike.
If he eventually sells it again, he will at least get his $400 back and most likely make a profit, at least enough to cover the interest on his $400 investment.
If he decides down the road to repaint the frame, a professional paint job would probably set him back anywhere from $500 to $1,000. Would he now get $1,000 to $1,500 if he sold the frame? It would be less likely than if he sold it “As is,” and got his $400 back.
Even if someone picked up a completely trashed frame for $100 or so, and repainted it, the money you have invested has not really increased the overall value over and above what you have put into it.
Apart from the economics of re-painting, another thing to consider is this. There will be no more Fuso frames built; or any of the other frames I built. There are plenty right now to meet the demand of people who would like to own one.
The number available will not increase, in fact it will decrease as frames are neglected and rust out, are damaged in an accident, or more often than not, just get lost because people don’t know what they have, and throw them in the dumpster.
Those that remain will still be around long after I am gone. I hope during my lifetime, people will keep riding them. It is what they were built for.
Most vintage bikes being ridden today are from the 1980s. This is an important era; it marked the end of the hand-crafted bicycle frame.
Somehow I can’t see today’s carbon fiber creations being collected in large quantities in the future.
Bikes built before the 1970s, with a few exceptions, are not being ridden on a regular basis.
They end up in museums and in the hands of serious collectors. Like this typical collection of racing bikes dating from the late 1800s to the 1980s.
You will find in such collections, frames are all with original paint.
There are two ways of looking at ownership of a classic bike, or any other antique for that matter.
- You paid for it with your hard earned cash and you are free to do with it as you wish.
- You are a caretaker of this item, preserving it for future generations. The money you paid for it entitles you to enjoy it while you have it, maybe make money on your original investment. However, at some point you pass it on for someone else to enjoy.
At the moment 1980s classic steel bikes and frames are plentiful; some more plentiful than the Fuso, some less. The ride is comparable, some argue better than a modern bike. So your riding enjoyment costs less, and as I have mentioned, comes with the possibility of a return on your investment.
If a frame is completely trashed, but never-the-less rare, it may be worth restoring; otherwise, keep it, ride it, and look out for another in better condition. Because of the economy it is a buyers market at this time.
Don’t get me wrong, it doesn't matter either way to me. If someone is spending cash to restore one of my frames; that is pride of ownership, and makes me feel nothing but good. Incidentally, I have just started producing replacement decals for all models of frame I built.
However, my advice would be, don’t repaint unless the original paint is completely trashed; the reason is, down the road collectors will want bikes with original paint. Every frame repainted means one less with original paint, making those with original paint even more valuable.
This is a topic that brings forth many opinions; the above is mine, I would be interested to hear yours