Dave Moulton

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Monday
Mar052018

Supply and Demand

 

This week a bike I built, (Pictured above.) a Fuso FRX model, is up for sale on eBay. The asking price is $2,500. That is more than twice what it would sell for if it were offered on open auction. More money than it cost new in 1990, when it was built. See this article here.

It is a nice one I will admit, in almost mint condition, it has obviously had little use, but I built 2,400 Fuso frames between 1984 and 1993. They are not that rare. Maybe one of my custom ‘dave moulton’ bikes, if it were in this condition, might go for over $2,000, but I only built 216 of those. Big difference.

How about “Demand,” the other side of the equation? I have a Registry that has (At the time of writing.) 358 Fuso bikes listed. Some owners have more than one Fuso in their collection, so this is less than 358 owners. Not a large number considering there were over 2,400 built.

These are owners who care enough about the Fuso brand to email me with details so I can add their bike to the list. So let me ask this. Given the relatively small number of true Fuso enthusiasts, how many would be owners are waiting in the wings, on the lookout for a frame or bike to buy? Not many, and not at these outrageous prices.

The problem Is, the bikes on eBay offered at these high prices, rarely sell. They just sit there for weeks on end, then they disappear for a while, only to be relisted again at a later date, at the same high price. So when someone happens to inherit a Fuso, or they find one in a thrift store, or garage sale. (It does happen.) They see these greatly inflated prices on eBay, and think they have struck gold.

The “Supply and Demand” factor came into play when the frames were built. There were more of the mid sizes built, 56, 57, and 58 centimeters. These were in greater demand, because there are more cyclists that fall within these sizes. The next most popular were the sizes above and below these sizes, namely 59, 60, 61, and 53, 54, 55 centimeter.

There were fewer very large and very small sizes built because there were less people needing these sizes. The same supply and demand factor applies today. There will be more demand for the mid-size frames, however, there will be more of these coming up for sale, because there were more of the built.   

Conversely, the very large or very small frames are in less demand, but there were fewer built. This means if an extreme large or small frame comes up for sale, you may get it at a bargain price, because you are the only one needing that size. On the other hand if there are two or more bidders, the price will go higher.

The buyer then has to make a decision. Pay more, or wait for another to come along in this size, knowing it might be a while because of its comparative rarity. Whether you pay more or not, depends a lot on the frame’s condition. If, for example the paint is really nice, pay a little extra. If the paint is rough, let it go.

Educate yourself by following sales on eBay and Craig’s List. Join the “Dave Moulton Bikes” group on Facebook. Members there are always posting and discussing bikes for sale. I have no financial interest on any frames sold online, so I have no interest in influencing prices. I just hate to see anyone get ripped off, whether they are buyer or seller.

I try to maintain interest in the brands I built, John Howard, Fuso, Recherché, etc., with this blog, and my Registry. My loyalty is with the people who own and ride bikes I built, not those who wish to profit unfairly with over-inflated prices.

I will not be building any more frames, so the supply will never increase, but there are still plenty out there in people’s basements and garages, waiting to be discovered. When the list of Fuso owners on my Registry reaches a thousand, I will consider there is a demand.

 

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Reader Comments (5)

Sad to say that on the Really Big Auction Site, such pricing is not limited to bikes & cycling equipment. Caveat Emptor is the rule when dealing with a site so heavily populated with would-be gold miners. Beware of any item listed as "vintage," "rare," "hard-to-find," etc. On top of that, i have found scam listings & dealers that spoof legitimate sellers' info.

March 5, 2018 | Unregistered Commentermike w.

eBay will show sold items if you play with the filters. I see three Fuso frames sold, two at about $500 and one about twice that. Like you say, asking price does not mean much.

March 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterTom in MN

I have occasionally scanned auction sites for bikes, and have been shocked at the absurd prices being asked. People are trying to promote as rare collectors' items lousy chain-store bikes that were junk when new, and have not improved with age. Many of these are essentially worthless, as fixing them up would cost more than they are worth. They also put "Rene Herse" into any old listing, knowing that those words will attract interest, even if the bike never got within 3000 miles of Paris. A colleague did manage to get a "good deal" on a road bike, only to have to spend $200 to replace the nonfunctioning STI levers. Doesn't seem like these sites are great places to shop for bikes.

March 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJon Blum

I keep looking, not only for one of Dave's frames but a whole list of builders. Finding taller frames (60, 61, 61) is very rare.
I keep looking.
Finding a frame with acceptable paint is part of the deal. A paint job is very expensive these days.

March 9, 2018 | Unregistered Commenteredstainless

edstainless-

There is a 60 cm Fuso FR 1 for sale at TO Cycles at USD $900. https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipMOqI8e97wzASOwcgQiiJGvUZ1lCX1Ykt5KLGF0lZdKpqgRLDoyZJuZ4eeAzFUkDw?key=MW8zVWRSX25JYTdGazVGX19FcmRzdXNpQk5VSFVn
I think that pricing sounds more in line with what Dave is thinking about re-sales of his work.

March 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJim Crux

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