M2S Bikes

7 Interesting Retro Bikes For Sale on the Pinkbike Buy&Sell – Hidden Treasures

What do we want? Used bikes! When do we want them? I’m not too sure, is the price negotiable?

The Pinkbike Buy&Sell section is full of many-a-treasure, and this week I’ll be delving into the Vintage section. I’ve always found retro bikes to be a curious proposition. Maybe it’s misty-eyed optimism or it could be a hark back to some personal glory days, but I’ve not always understood why old bikes seemed to often be viewed with universal favourability. It’s something that can defy logic. Today, of the bikes we ride in 2021, it would be fair to say there is no parity in terms of performance or desirability, however, in retro bikes, things are sometimes viewed positively solely on the account that they’re old, not on the fact whether they’re actually any good or not. Think about it a bit like a royal family – they were probably a bit crap 500 hundred years ago, and they are probably a bit crap now, but the very fact they were crap during the 16th century makes them somewhat relevant today and somehow a bit less crap. It’s kind of perplexing, but it’s the same logic that drives people towards retro bikes with unified rear triangles.

As previously stated, a bike should either be interesting, sensible or a mixture of both. So here is my selection of old bikes that are currently for sale in North America. Lots of them will be given the verdict of interesting but will any of them be sensible? As always, like Jeff Bezos going hard in the pick-and-mix, the price may well be noted, but for this article it isn’t really taken into account.

Ladies and gentlemen, please start your engines.

For Sale: 2010 Slingshot Farmboy 29er
Price: $475 CAD
Size: M
Location: Acton, Canada
View Buy&Sell Listing

If your boss has their eye on potentially buying a frame, is it a bad idea to include it in sales round-up, and subsequently drastically increase its exposure? Yes. Is it also a funny thing to do? Again, yes. Brian Park sent me this along with strong indications that he intended to make an offer. I only hope this doesn’t push up the price… Sorry.

The story goes that while riding a motorbike with a broken frame, the designer noticed that the movement enabled some flex that actually increased performance, or so it was claimed. They took this to a mountain bike platform and the rest is history. There was also the tale that the cable-downtube was initially an on-trail repair, where they used the ratcheting effect of the shifter to be a thoroughly effective sticking plaster when a downtube failed, and subsequently enjoyed the riding characteristic. I probably find the first one a bit more believable, if only because I know how feeble old shifter internals were. Either way, the Slingshot is one of the most recognisable silhouettes ever, even if I’d find it very hard to describe as sensible.

Verdict – Interesting

For Sale: 1992 Rocky Mountain Experience
Price: $1500 CAD
Size: 19.5″
Location: Vancouver, Canada
View Buy&Sell Listing

The offerings of 1992 were a mixed bag. The official end of the Cold War, the year I was born, Smells Like Teen Spirit, Bill Clinton and this bike. It’s safe to say that there was something there for everyone. This shiny, triple triangle wonder was similar to another bike in Rocky’s range, the Cirrus. The main difference between the two was the extra short (I’m talking shorter than John McEnroe’s temper short) chainstays. The idea was this was a kind of a mountain-cum-trials bike and had super short geometry to complement that style of riding.

Apparently, this bike was something of a North American special. There was an initial shipment of 200 bikes to Europe but, after the importer opened the container to find the first couple of frames misaligned, the whole batch was rejected and sent back to Canada. After hearing about this on the grapevine, and knowing the Rocky Mountain was going to be stuck with a few hundred fully built bikes they couldn’t sell, a local dealer decided to offer a flat rate of $200 dollars per bike and decided to sell them far short of their $1400 RRP. 198 bikes (the original European bound 200 minus the two inspected) was released into the wild in Ottawa. The full story, and lots of other details on the bike, can be found in this forum post from 2005.

How much money you want to spend on a bike to be a cafe cruiser is not for me to say, but this would surely be a definitive, if not overtly luxurious example of a pub bike.

Verdict – Interesting

For Sale: 1994 Specialized S-Works M2
Price: $1500 CAD
Size: Unknown
Location: Vancouver, Canada
View Buy&Sell Listing

Is $1500 Canadian quite a lot for a bicycle that you’ll rarely ride? Yes. Is $1500 a lot for a gravel bike that you’ll rarely ride? Apparently not. Get it while it’s hot folks, beat the rush for flat bar gravel bikes.

This 1994 bike comes with a full Deore XT groupset, S-Works wheels and a titanium stem AND bottle cage. Yes, as a bike of this age it naturally has rim brakes, but is it far cooler than an mid-level drop-bar offroad bike? Abso-*******-lutely. Just imagine rocking up to your favourite cycling cafe in a post covid world. There are moustaches, there are calf tattoos and there are pretentious externally worn bumbags… and then there are the jaws on the floor when your walk-up in denim jorts and an old NOFX t-shirt as you non nonchalantly out hip the hipsters, pay for an espresso in cold hard cash and ride off into the sunset. That experience alone is worth $750. Do it twice and the bike has paid for itself.

This bike is about as sensible as a retro bike can be.

Verdict – Sensible-ish

For Sale: 1999 Foes DHS Tube
Price: $2000 CAD
Size: Unknown
Location: Vancouver, Canada
View Buy&Sell Listing

Some bikes age like unpasteurised milk, whereas others are like a particularly good vintage of claret. The Foes is in the latter category, and could soon be on the way to replacing wine altogether in any such metaphors. Bikes like this were clearly on the right path long before it had been well-trodden and, to look at the Foes now, it seems a lot more refined than other bikes of this era.

Brent Foes, who still enjoys a cult following, came from an automotive background where he specialised in off-road trucks. He decided to turn his hand to mountain bikes in 1992. To give you some context of how far ahead of the times Brent Foes was, in 1993 he released the LTS which offered six inches of rear travel. This was almost double what a lot of other bikes had at the time. In Brent’s mind, the main issue was that the rear suspension on his bikes so vastly outperformed the front. So, naturally, he started to make forks too.

On this 1999 DHS, it uses a White Brothers DH3 fork, which is very much sought after in its own right. Please note the piggyback reservoir on the drive side. Running external chambers on forks has been an idea employed over the years to give more options for setup, in either regard to the spring or damper side. It’s also be utilised by Olivier Bossard amongst others.

I think retro-Foes bikes will always be cool, and this goes some way to illustrate that point.

Verdict – Interesting

For Sale: 2003 Trek Y-22 Carbon
Price: $600 US
Size: 16.5″
Location: Breckenridge, United States
View Buy&Sell Listing

The Trek Y… it was only a matter of time. This particular one seems to be in excellent condition and the seller as taken out a lot of work to make sure it runs well. It’s a model that seems to be very popular with bike collectors and this is a fine example of what one could be – from the XT drivetrain and Avid calipers to the SID fork and era-appropriate Selle Italia, yet also Trek branded no-slip saddle.

So what is a unified rear end? Well, it’s a design in which the bottom bracket and the rear axle are on the same swingarm. What this means is that it avoids a lot of the problems associated with rear suspension, for example, chain growth. The issue being, however, is that the suspension only really works when sat down and the bike pedalled best when stood up. So, somewhat counter-intuitive. However, if you view it through the scope of comfort, and not descending performance, then it’s a very interesting bike indeed. And, for $600, it would be a great start to a collection.

Verdict – Interesting

For Sale: 1994 Yeti ARC A.S
Price: $3950 US
Size: Unknown
Location: Imperial Valley, United States
View Buy&Sell Listing

The next two bikes are a bit of a job lot. Not because they’re similar, they are in fact very different, but because they both ooze cool, have a time-classic and somehow yet to be rehashed paint job, and are so quintessentially early nineties that I felt they both earnt their place on this list.

This Yeti certainly ain’t cheap, but when was that ever a concern when buying a Yeti? I suppose there’s no reason why a retro one should be any different. It’s got the full XTR groupset, including hubs. It’s got the poster-on-the-bedroom wall aesthetic. It’s got the Chris King headset and the Bomber fork with polished crown and M-shaped brace. Quite frankly, this is very special and I can imagine it sitting happily as a museum piece in a Yeti dealer.

It is very expensive but I think this is one of the truest examples of a genuine collector’s piece I came across whilst finding bikes for this article.

Verdict – Interesting

For Sale: 1991 Marin Bear Valley
Price: $475 US
Size: 20.5″
Location: Spring, United States
View Buy&Sell Listing

If you have fallen in love with the Rasta paint job but understandably don’t have nearly $4000 burning a hole in your pocket then this could be a worthy foray into retro. It’s not totally dissimilar to the Specialized in that it would make a great gravel plugger, although I imagine it’s not quite as aggressive.

I would say this – if the seller’s claims of limited use are true, then $475 dollars for a bike that will put a smile on your face every time you ride it on a sunny weekend morning isn’t such a bad deal, especially in this current climate. I’m not saying to ride it on anything near technical but a combination of a bike like this, some vitamin D and roll down a tow-path to get some ice cream could well be something to savour.

Verdict – Potentially Sensible

What’d I miss? Who’s found a hidden gem? Can a vintage bike truly be sensible?

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