How many have survived?

Vintage, yesteryear and retro biking

How many have survived?

Postby Lots of steel bikes » Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:59 pm

They must of made zillions of steel racing bikes in the 80s. Most would have been low end and obviously reasonably cheap. The higher end stuff would have been expensive and therefore the buyer would have been prone to look after their pride and joy thus increasing the chance of the bike surviving to this day. Any ideas on what fraction of these higher end bikes would still be around today?
On a similar vein, If we take a company like Colnago, what would have been a typical model run? Would they make, say,1000 Masters Puis, see how well they sold and then make more or less based on popularity? Trying to get my head around the numbers of higher end bikes that would have been made and still here today.
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by BNA » Tue Sep 03, 2013 1:04 pm

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Re: How many have survived?

Postby SentryBox » Tue Sep 03, 2013 1:04 pm

Tough question to answer. My 2c worth would be that a high percentage of 'top end' stuff would be likely to have survived in some form, simply because back in the day the type of riders who owned the good stuff were serious riders and cycling enthusiasts. These bikes would have been prize posessions and are likely to have been looked after accordingly - much more than your garden variety repco traveller.

But it's impossible to say really.
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Re: How many have survived?

Postby GaryF » Tue Sep 03, 2013 1:41 pm

+ 1 to SentryBox.

As for the Colnago numbers - I would guess that 1000 for a model run would be a very very low estimate. I think Colnago had to farm out frame building to other builders to keep up demand.
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Re: How many have survived?

Postby cotterpin » Tue Sep 03, 2013 2:35 pm

Lots of steel bikes wrote:They must of made zillions of steel racing bikes in the 80s. Most would have been low end and obviously reasonably cheap. The higher end stuff would have been expensive and therefore the buyer would have been prone to look after their pride and joy thus increasing the chance of the bike surviving to this day.

In Melbourne during the 80's, there were up to 8 high end lightweight builders operating
at any given time. Some were trade builders putting out around 5 frames each a week and
others like Peter Brotherton, or Daryl Perkins etc, built and sold direct to clients, doing around 1 to 3 a week.
I'm guessing around 1800 frames give or take, were being produced annually, in Melbourne alone.
I'd like to think at least half, if not more have survived to this day.
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Re: How many have survived?

Postby lloyd83 » Tue Sep 03, 2013 3:01 pm

Well, plenty by comparison to the current market of top end alu or carbon frames which are prone to fatigue. Carbon composites also lose their stiffness from regular race use after only a couple of seasons. http://rideons.wordpress.com/2012/04/19 ... nd-repair/

We can safely assume that a top end steel bike that has been ridden hard but well maintained will last for decades. Same as we have also seen steel bridges last for centuries if it's regularly painted and inspected/repaired for damage. Probably why they don't build bridges from aluminium and carbon fibre...

In case you didn't know, there's a recent UK racing team which is kitted out with Reynolds steel frames.
http://www.madisongenesis.com/

Sorry I couldn't help with numbers but FWIW, my Hendry is a locally made steel frame from the 80's and it's still going strong. Also Gazelle in the Nederlands had a large production of steel frames until the early 90's which made them more affordable (but less boutique :( to the Italian steeds like Colnago etc.
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Re: How many have survived?

Postby Lots of steel bikes » Tue Sep 03, 2013 7:41 pm

cotterpin wrote:
Lots of steel bikes wrote:They must of made zillions of steel racing bikes in the 80s. Most would have been low end and obviously reasonably cheap. The higher end stuff would have been expensive and therefore the buyer would have been prone to look after their pride and joy thus increasing the chance of the bike surviving to this day.

In Melbourne during the 80's, there were up to 8 high end lightweight builders operating
at any given time. Some were trade builders putting out around 5 frames each a week and
others like Peter Brotherton, or Daryl Perkins etc, built and sold direct to clients, doing around 1 to 3 a week.
I'm guessing around 1800 frames give or take, were being produced annually, in Melbourne alone.
I'd like to think at least half, if not more have survived to this day.


Good info. Sort of puts things in perspective.
Did some more googling and found these staggering figures for Bianchi:
"By the 1940’s they employed over 4,500 people and produced over 70,000 bikes per year"
http://www.retrospectivecycles.com/pages/vintage-italian-road-bike-manufacturers
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Re: How many have survived?

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Tue Sep 03, 2013 10:28 pm

For the frame I am not sure that it even has to be top-shelf to survive decades. There are plenty of old bike frames that people have reclaimed from grass and farms that outlive their original owners. Old seam-welded steel tubing that is used on trad bikes seems to be pretty well rust resistant other than surface rust. Then it is just the joining and I suspect that lugging, as seen on the basic bikes of my era, would probably address the joins. Pressed fork ends in place of dropouts would be the place where I would expect serious rust.

However I am only speaking anecdotally and my own limited experience, Perhaps we have an historian sort of person or a materials specialist here who could be definite one way or the other.
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Re: How many have survived?

Postby jonbays » Wed Sep 04, 2013 10:40 am

The 10 speed bike boom ensured that there will be enough old steel framed bikes around for a long long time. Worldwide since the mid 70's there have been about 50 million bikes made a year increasing to around 100 million bikes made each year now. take a wild guess that we would consume say 2% of the worldwide production and that's 1 million bikes a year over the last 40 years! Sure the tips and scrap metal guys get a lot back but there must be a lot still out there as the old steel frames do last for ever and in a dry country away from the coast even longer!
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Re: How many have survived?

Postby morini » Wed Sep 04, 2013 1:20 pm

I asked Joe Cosgrove, the frame builder and painter of Llewellyn frames, this same question a number of years ago and he replied that most were already land fill. Makes you wonder doesn't it? Maybe more people have them stashed around the house than we think.

But thinking about myself, what happened to all my bikes from the seventies and eighties? I didn't keep them, some were top end and I've never seen hide nor hair of them.
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Re: How many have survived?

Postby barefoot » Wed Sep 04, 2013 2:49 pm

morini wrote:I asked Joe Cosgrove, the frame builder and painter of Llewellyn frames, this same question a number of years ago and he replied that most were already land fill. Makes you wonder doesn't it? Maybe more people have them stashed around the house than we think.

But thinking about myself, what happened to all my bikes from the seventies and eighties? I didn't keep them, some were top end and I've never seen hide nor hair of them.


We hear all the time of people finding high-end frames on hard-rubbish piles or in tip shops. Makes me wonder more about how many aren't caught in time... and how many went in the crusher before anybody started paying attention.

Although the original owners would have been very careful and mindful of the bike's value, their descendents may have no idea at all. Let's face it, the early 80s were 30 years ago, and many of the "MAMIL" equivalents of the time are probably no longer with us.

What do relatives do when cleaning out Granpa's shed after he's gone, and find his old push bike? "Oh, that old thing... look, the tyres are flat, and it doesn't even have suspension. Just throw it in the skip. You can get a new one for $89 at BigW if you want a bike!"

I've had to help clear out a few deceased estate sheds, and it's shameful what gets thrown out. I'm sure there's lots of it that the right enthusiast would just love to get his hands on. Or maybe not. But when there's so much stuff and you just need the place cleared out for sale... and you're only guessing what half the stuff even is... often times it's just too much work to track down somebody who would even know whether stuff is worth saving or scrapping.

Moral is - if you ever identify a good frame in the custody of people who have no idea what it is, grab it while you can. If it stays in the hands of the clueless, it will probably end up being turned into an engine block or an anchor. Or worse, a Huffy.

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Re: How many have survived?

Postby rollin » Wed Sep 04, 2013 6:46 pm

My old man use to deliver stuff to bhp in the 80s and can remember seeing bicycles stacked side to side the lenth of a footy field ready to be recycled on numerous occasions....

On another note the works biggest selling bmx in the 80s the MONGOOSE were made in huge numbers, at least 600 frames a day- quality chromoly with beautiful hand welds all hand made in USA ...
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Re: How many have survived?

Postby Lots of steel bikes » Wed Sep 04, 2013 8:19 pm

barefoot wrote:
What do relatives do when cleaning out Granpa's shed after he's gone, and find his old push bike? "Oh, that old thing... look, the tyres are flat, and it doesn't even have suspension. Just throw it in the skip. You can get a new one for $89 at BigW if you want a bike!"



tim


My kids have absolutely no interest in my bikes. They do know that they have some value, so when I'm gone they'll probably put them on Gumtree for $100 each. At least they'll still be in circulation. Perhaps I should put them in my will to go to you guys.

I was told that a nearby tip used to put every bike straight in the scrap metal skip. A bike enthusiast told them that they would make more money selling them in the tip shop. Thankfully that's what they're doing now.
Lobby all tips to have a tip shop.
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Re: How many have survived?

Postby RobertFrith » Thu Sep 05, 2013 12:33 am

My sister runs a country tip shop, a lot fewer bikes through there than there were 5 years ago.

Have all the old bikes been cleaned out or is it that more people are aware of their value? Bit of both I reckon.

There's still decent stuff being ditched on hard rubbish days; I picked up a 1941 MS 3 star frame a couple of months ago. Recently I tried to track down a 5 star I owned through my teens and early twenties recently and discovered that "it got tangled up with a horse" and went to the tip.

When you consider the hundreds of thousands (millions?) of bikes produced in Oz last century we'd be lucky if a fraction of a percent survive. Sadly rust and dust mean that high end stuff looks pretty much like low end stuff to the average Josephine cleaning out the ancestral shed and for the most part will have suffered the same fate.
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Re: How many have survived?

Postby utedeej » Thu Sep 26, 2013 6:17 am

I'm leaning toward the not many line based on my recent Viscount Aerospace find. I can't seem to find another the same and Viscount lovers are telling me they havent been able to find any either! We are the early adopters of new technology in oz, does that mean we're the early chuckers too?
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Re: How many have survived?

Postby ldrcycles » Thu Sep 26, 2013 6:52 am

Well relative to better known brands there weren't that many Viscounts made in the first place, and then the bad publicity from the whole "death fork" thing could have made people less hesitant to throw them when they no longer had a need for it.
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Re: How many have survived?

Postby redrover3 » Thu Sep 26, 2013 7:28 am

Lots of steel bikes wrote "Perhaps I should put them in my will to go to you guys."
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Re: How many have survived?

Postby utedeej » Thu Sep 26, 2013 8:01 am

LDR, i know that there weren't that many made, but they were very well marketed during the 10 or so years they were around. Its just interesting that it seems there aren't any? of these particular ones (full dura ace racing bike) around internationally on the web, and you know that mans full suppository (thankyou mr T Abbot) of knowledge is on the interweb..... :D
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Re: How many have survived?

Postby ldrcycles » Thu Sep 26, 2013 7:11 pm

Yeah they seem to have just completely dropped out of the collective consciousness at some point. I was lucky enough to see an Aerospace the other day that still had the original Viscount branded brakes and a Shimano Crane rear derailleur.
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Re: How many have survived?

Postby Lots of steel bikes » Thu Sep 26, 2013 7:44 pm

When I got my Colnago Sprint I was surprised how few I could find on the net. I realise that presence on the net my not reflect the number in existence but then again I think most people like to show off what they have. Hmmm...not just bikes.
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