Are you interested in the history/previous ownership of a vintage bike?

Discussion in 'Vintage and Classic Bikes' started by SkipdiverJohn, 12 Jan 2019.

  1. SkipdiverJohn

    SkipdiverJohn Über Member

    I was having a conversation with a friend of mine recently about his vintage car. When he got it some years ago, the main reason he chose his one over another similar one he could have bought, was that his one came with it's original registration number, and old paper logbooks, and so he's managed to put together a complete ownership record from new. To him, previous history is important.
    That got me thinking about old bikes. Obviously, not being registered like cars means they tend to be more of an unknown quantity, more anonymous - because they rarely come with paperwork secondhand, but it's nice when they do. Mine are a bit of a mixed bag, mostly just bought because the price/location was right and I know little or nothing about their history. I do have a couple of old Raleighs and a Dawes though which I believe/know have only one previous owner. One Raleigh is a MTB that came with it's original sales invoice and handbook, together with the story from the seller that he had bought the bike for his teenage son who had long since grown up and moved away. The other came from a house clearance type, who told me he thought it came from the original owner who had passed away. The address he got the bike from was very close to the Evans Cycles branch whose sticker is still on the down tube, and the excellent condition makes me think it probably never saw much use nor changed hands.
    The "well used" Dawes came from a chap who had bought it new and freely admitted he had done "many thousands of miles" on it just riding around and using it to go fishing on.
    Ultimately, although a bike is a bike no matter who or how many other people have owned it before, I do think knowing something of it's history does count for something.
    I'd be interested to hear the views of other forum members as to whether you ever give any thought to who may have owned your vintage bike before you, and do you rate a bike with some history more highly than an absolutely anonymous one?
  2. biggs682

    biggs682 Smile a mile bike provider

    Yes some good old provenance is worth having . Wouldn't it be great if all bikes were sold with a history of ride's
  3. DCLane

    DCLane Found in the Yorkshire hills ...

    I do like to know, particularly unusual / interesting ones.
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  4. BalkanExpress

    BalkanExpress Veteran

    It is always nice to know a bit of the history, it can give a bit of confidence about how the bike has been used and maintained and help explain the choice of components. Plus, and this is pure whimsy, it helps build a bond with the bike.

    I have three bike that I bought from the original or second owner, On two occasions the sale went to me because I showed a real interest in the bikes, in contrast to the traders who had approached the owners, I walked away with my Team Z Lemond because I was “obviously a real Robert Millar fan”:okay:
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  5. fossyant

    fossyant Ride It Like You Stole It!

    South Manchester
    Yes, although I still own my 'old' bikes !
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  6. carpenter

    carpenter Well-Known Member

    I haven't been in the position of getting a bike in good enough condition to think about provenance. However, I do like those labels that identify which shop sold the bike originally (saw a bike on eBay which had a "Haddows, Letchworth" sticker, which bought back childhood memories of the shop in my home town). Also respray/refurbishment stickers are good in my opinion.
    booze and cake likes this.
  7. CarlP

    CarlP There’s no need to live in a pit of doom

    I probably wouldn’t have bothered doing up the BSA Tour de France if wasn’t for the fact I knew it’s history, it wasn’t as if the bike was worth anything but doing it was a cathartic, interesting and fun project. Any other BSA TdF I probably would’ve let it go in the skip.
    booze and cake likes this.
  8. booze and cake

    booze and cake probably out cycling

    If available any history is good to have, it just paints a fuller picture.

    I tend to get very sentimental with my bikes after I've ridden them a lot. Usually I find out more about the bike after I've bought it, and keep an eye out for any matchy things. Since I bought my Eddy Merckx and identified it as a 1985 Team Panasonic, I've been on the look out on Ebay for cycling clothes from exactly the same period. Eddy Merckx only sponsored Team Panansonic for a year or so before they went over to Raleigh bikes, so there's not much of it about. I've managed to get a original cap from Switzerland, a original jacket, and an original jersey from the Ukraine, its like reassembling a jigsaw puzzle from parts found across the world, and I get a definite sense of satisfaction from this^_^.

    Similarly I've got a Bottecchia jersey from 1989, the year of my Bottecchia bike, and various Denti kit for that bike. I'll a full retro MAMIOWJ -middle aged man in old woollen jersey:laugh:

    Two of my frames were owned by someone who was tragically killed after crashing into the back of a stationary vehicle on a time trial. I never knew him, but when riding these bikes I often think about him, I admire a complete strangers' taste in bikes and lovely Campagnolo components, and just knowing the tragic end acts as a sombre reminder to always look where I'm going.
    Pat "5mph", CarlP and DCBassman like this.
  9. Alwaysbroken

    Alwaysbroken Well-Known Member

    Most riverside / dockside publicans between Bristol & Bath likely recognise my bikes, does that count as provenance?
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  10. Drago

    Drago Guru

    I got my Claud from the very generous @Stonechat who owned it from new, so I fortunately know the shop that sold it, who rode it for 34 years, and to what sort of use it was put.
    Last edited: 15 Jan 2019
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  11. mikeymustard

    mikeymustard Veteran

    Like @BalkanExpress said, I think it helps to make a bond with the bike if you know something about it. One of my bikes - an '89 Raleigh Pro Race - was sold to me by the original owner who told me his dad gave him a lift to Hereford where he picked up the bike and rode it back to his home in Gloucester.
    That's only 30 miles or so, but I still think that's quite brave on a bike you've never ridden before!
    Last edited: 15 Jan 2019
    Pat "5mph", booze and cake and Drago like this.
  12. BalkanExpress

    BalkanExpress Veteran

    @booze and cake I like MAMIOWJ:okay:

    Can I shamelessly steal it? I feel there may be a thread coming on*. I'd like to drop the J and just have Middle Aged Man In Old Wool (MAMIOW).

    *do you see what I did there
    booze and cake likes this.
  13. booze and cake

    booze and cake probably out cycling

    @BalkanExpress ^_^, of course, steal, modify and spread the word^_^. I look forward to the thread, I'm sure there's lots of old wool amongst the Cyclechat crowd. I've got a few, and pesky moths have claimed some of mine too:cry:
  14. OP

    SkipdiverJohn Über Member

    How about a MAMIOD? - Middle Aged Man In Old Denims...
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  15. mikeymustard

    mikeymustard Veteran

    .....or Man, as they're more normally called :smile:
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