Scottish Fella with 40+ vintage Bikes!

Feb 16, 2014
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#1
Greetings from Scotland! I have been collecting vintage bikes for decades - Hetchins, Bates, Flying Scot, Gillott and Bob Jackson to name but a few. Manically restored many and searched the ends of the earth for the correct components (along the the help of my fellow Veteran Cycle Club members - a club that celebrates OCD as a good thing! haha). SO downsizing house and loosing my storage. Being Scots I sniffed around and seems these old bikes sell for a few quid in Japan (a nation known for its esteemed high taste in well made things). So I want to sell then in Japan. Any suggestions on how best to do this? Anyone want to get involved and make some money and possibly set up a business (I am happy to continue to source and send once my supply has gone!).
Advice welcome!
All the best for now!
John R
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
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#2
Being Scots I sniffed around and seems these old bikes sell for a few quid in Japan (a nation known for its esteemed high taste in well made things). So I want to sell then in Japan.
To be honest I'm not sure where you heard this, the reality is that second hand goods have a very low appreciation level here in Japan, even collectables (great for sourcing, bad for selling). Now if you were selling state of the art superlight weight, your life isn't complete, made from unobtainium and crafted by angels and tested in the depths of hell by obscure unheard of pro riders, you could pretty much charge what ever you want.

Also it's pretty hard to give you any advice without pictures, parts list and pricing - also you will probably be asked to display the serial numbers of the bikes being sold (For yours, the TCC's and potential buyers protection). But I think the best thing to do is put some up for sale here on the classifieds - maybe the most expensive and the least and one in the middle that will give a good idea of what you are selling.

I know a few collectors here and have helped them source some bikes before, however you might need to reassess your hopes when it comes to pricing.
 

Trek DJ

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Jan 27, 2009
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#3
John, yes, Japan is a healthy market for vintage pieces. You probably picked this up from the fact that many vintage auction pieces that are auctioned off on ebay etc end up in Japan.

However, this forum is geared towards foreigners living in Japan, or bilingual Japanese, and misses about 99.999999999% of your market. The forum is also geared towards current rides, and not vintage....

Do you have a Japanese speaker that can help you navigate some (other) forums in Japanese? The market is here, and alive, just needs to be found.

I sure would like to see a photo of that Hetchins and Bob Jackson! This reminds me of a guy that came into a shop I was working at quite a few years ago, with two mid-70's frames, a Bruce Gordon and an Eisentraut, both needing restoration. I couldnt help him at the time (he needed perioud correct campy) but luckily was able to see the finished frames that turned out stunning...from two the the real 1st generation West Coast USA frame masters.

Best of luck to you! Fun stuff....
 
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Feb 16, 2014
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Hi there and many thanks for the encouraging response! Pics? No bother at all! I have tried to add one or two to this but should that not work send me a private message and i will happily send a couple! A man called Tim, who is from Seattle but owns a bike shop in central Tokoyo, has made contact and i am discussing things with him too. It will be good to see these bikes of mine go to a loving home. I have totally stripped and rebuilt them all and also spent an age making sure all the parts are period! I am in a great club full of old men who remember when quite a few of these bikes first cam out! People often comment how nice the bikes look - not something that happens to carbon fibre riders so much i suspect!
please let me know if this link works as i thought i might try to post one a week just for anyone to have a wee look at !

dsc04020-copy-jpg.824
 

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Likes: hat and beard

TCC

Tokyo Cycling Club
Jun 30, 2013
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#5
please let me know if this link works as i thought i might try to post one a week just for anyone to have a wee look at !
Please just post them all up at once. We have the processing power to deal with this, and live in age where everyone demands instant access to everything. Cheers.
 
Likes: Forsbrook
Feb 16, 2014
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#6
A Fine old Hetchins! Old school high quality. Master of the filed lug and a surprisingly comfy ride. Original paint and "D.K.Roberts Preston Wheelers" painted on the top tube! Bought it from an old grump in London who clearly did not want to sell!
 

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bawbag

Maximum Pace
Mar 20, 2013
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#7
Oof that's nice. Love those fork crown lugs with their spear points.

I'd say the bikes most likely to sell over here are Audax/Rando-oriented frames; mudguard eyelets on the front and rear dropouts, longer wheelbase and so on. 531 tubing is another big plus point for that market. Japan has a huge randonneur community of which many members seem to be far more clued up on smaller builders than your usual racer crowd. There's a thriving boutique industry catering for these people - Grand Bois is a fairly well-known example of one such company.

For racier frames, I've seen great, great British bikes go for less than half that of a Colnago/DeRosa, but that's just what I've seen.
 
Feb 16, 2014
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#8
Well i am all encouraged by the responses!
https://www.flickr.com/photos/makfreak/sets/72157626665121385/ displays some great pics of my old touring Gillott
some details
John Robertsons' fine 1958 21'' Fleur de Lis was ordered with 70 degree seat and head and many features typical of the 1930's. E.g, top tube cable clips, mudguard tabs on stays and forks, left hand lamp boss, no gear braze ons so built for fixed/free. The laid back angles are noticeable making the bike look older than it is. Note the short stem and 30's style celluloid covered bars. The brake levers have sleeves on the cable ends to bring the levers closer to the bars. From this we can deduce that Mr A.H.Verell of 48 St Pauls Avenue London NW2 had small hands and started his cycling many years earlier. The framset cost £19 and sixpence with a 5 shilling deposit. It was ordered on the 2/8/58 and ready on the 14/9/58
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Feb 16, 2014
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#10
A beautiful Hetchins! I have the entire set of fancy Campagnolo components but the bike is SO well painted I am a bit scared to ride it! Also the frame hangs on my study wall so I get to gloat and leer at it all day long! Saddo that I am! Got an old shabby chic Hetchins mountain King on the other wall which i will build and ride one day.... Anyways, please enjoy! Ohh yes, and check out how the lugs curve rather than have straight bends in them where they go from holding top tube to down tube - that's becauase they are cast rather than pressed (which most lugs are). If this bike would fit on a chain I'd have it hanging round my neck! hahaha
 

kiwisimon

Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
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Sheeet, that Hetchins really is a piece of art. Have you thought about getting a label printer and putting "G Obree" stickers on some top tubes then spinning a history of how your brother fixed his car back in the day and got a frame as payment?
 
Feb 16, 2014
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#12
Obree? He's a fella and a half. Actually i DID meet him once. My son was getting a hard time from two wee gobs$%^#s at school and the Obree movie inspired my boy and got him riding for a while. Obree gave a talk about 2 hrs drive from us so we went. He is the most self-effacing, humble, witty and fine fella imaginable. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that he turned my boy's life around. Obree would probably give you a frame for nowt if ya asked! Mind on half of it would come fae a skip somewhere though! He just missed being voted as Glasgow University's rector and it's the University's loss. Obree should have a knighthood i reckon. ANyway, there you go!
So I attach a bike pic that has nothing to do with this - it's just my way! hahahaha. It's a very foxy Merlin - made by the universally renowned Mr Bob Jackson! Enjoy.
 
Dec 21, 2013
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Talking about Obree has reminded me of the time I used to read Cycling weekly everyweek. Can you remember the other fellow of the same time who used to ride TT with the strange position (like Obree). The last picture I saw of him had very small handle bars (just wider than the head stock). I think his name began with H........ The reason I ask is I would love to see if Google images has some pictures of him.