Sunday, April 14, 2019

Copake Auction 2019 - Utility Bike/Roadster Talk

I follow the annual Copake bicycle auction, which happens every April over in New York. I mainly watch the auction for old utility bikes and roadsters, particularly Raleighs, Hercules, Schwinns, Phillips, etc - classic roadster and light roadster brands. I have a soft spot for the old 3-speed bikes in particular.

A person with a keen eye and a few hundred dollars to spend could have done very well indeed at this year's auction. A number of very nice roadsters went for what I consider to be "soft" prices. Let's have a look. Here are the reported prices (always subject to final verification):

For $100 this old Raleigh Sorts-style bike was a good buy. Yes, there are a few things missing, but the bike has many of the hard-to-find extras, like the dry battery unit, the tail lamp, head lamp, and rear rack. You'll need a few things to finish up, but it's a classic Sports from Raleigh post-war golden age.

For $100 this 1974 Raleigh Sports doesn't look like much, until you check the condition. The bike is very complete and looks to be pretty much pristine. I have a soft spot for the 1974 Sports - I've owned one for years and it has served me quite well. This one is a real gem for $100.

$70 for this roadster?! That's a steal. Yes, it's a late model, but it's an oddball "Popular" model not usually seen in the US. And it's a full-sized rod brake roadster... for $70... pretty damned good, I think.

Another supposedly ho-hum 1970s Sports, or so it seems at first. But for $50? Pretty good if you like the bright yellow color. And that's the thing - it's an uncommon color and a solid bike. You can't do much better for $50... if you like yellow that is.

Yes, $400 is a lot it would seem for a ladies bicycle, but this old model Sunbeam is a real gem. We don't see them this old in the U.S. usually, and it has a lot of those nice-to-have additions that tend to get lost over the many decades these bikes have endured. Some lady somewhere probably will enjoy riding this old thing.

$60 for this Schwinn New World is a good deal, even if it still needs some work. It's a solid, classic American "lightweight" from the early years of Schwinn production. It should clean up and make a great project for $60.

Someone got a killer deal on this Raleigh - $20. Yes, a $20 bill bought this. I realist it needs a little work and has to get a chainguard, but this is a very well-made, classic Raleigh that will give good service. How many solid bikes can you get for $20?

$40 for a 1960 tall frame Schwinn three speed - that's a steal. The older tall frame bikes are just not that common, and this one looks to be basically all there. This will clean up nicely and make a classic riding Schwinn for an adult rider. No jamming your knees like the 6 footers do on the 19-inch balloon tire bike frames. This thing is the right size, and at $40, the right price for a good buy.

$700 isn't cheap for a bike. But these old X-frame English bikes don't turn up often in the U.S. It's something we just aren't used to seeing here. Somebody snagged a good deal on a bike that's not easy to find in the U.S.

And here, in my view is the absolute deal of the show: a 1938 tall frame Raleigh Sports for $150.

It's almost all there, it's really old, and it's from the very early years of the Raleigh Sports with the AW hub. It has the chain case, it's not badly damaged, and it should make a great rider when it's done. And $150 gets you the start of an absolutely killer, early Sports that will fit an adult male rider like a glove. I'm jealous of whoever got this for $150 - hats off to you.

1 comment:

  1. Really neat old English bikes. I too have a place for the old "speed bikes" we used to call them back in the day. I have several hercules, phillips and iverson three speeds in my cache of bikes and enjoy them all. Thanks much for the auction results. have a great summer and enjoy the ride. Prosit!! mark.


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