This seemed worthy of a couple of clicks until I received the first valuation. Oho! I will buy any Bridgestone XO-1 in good or better condition, as many as you have really, for $286. Since I already have one, I will more likely than not sell any that come my way on eBay for a tidy profit. The value assigned to the Bridgestone RB-1 was a bit closer, but was still at least 50% lower than completed eBay auctions. You know how to search completed eBay auctions, right (click the advanced tab next to the search bar and then select sold listings)?
If the folks at the Bicycle Blue Book are doing any real research they’d have to look at completed eBay sales. I don’t think you can search completed sales on Craigslist as those listings are taken down by the posters without indication of sales price or if they sold at all. What’s left? Door to door canvassing? From their site:
Pulling from hundreds of thousands of bicycle transactions over 7+ years with models dating back to 1993, all numbers are processed by the proprietary Bicycle Blue Book algorithm based on make, model, condition, age, and other variables.
Sounds fancy, but I don’t believe it. My guess is they base value on nothing more than original price and age. They probably apply the same depreciation formula to each bicycle–depreciate a bunch the first year or two, which is often but not always right, then slow down the percentage of the decrease in subsequent years.
Improvements? Condition matters. They should identify the baseline condition to which their single value applies and then specify factors to increase or decrease the value as the condition deviates from their baseline. Better still, and easy enough, do the math for the user and show value for each condition from poor to perfect.
Expertise and market size matters. They should adjust value based on the seller and forum. Private party sale on Craigslist should be at the bottom (as it reaches a smaller market) and bike shop seller on eBay at the top.
Location matters (for local (non-eBay) sales). They should adjust values based on average income by zip code.
Maybe the cost of making these improvements would overrun the anticipated ad revenues, but without the improvements the numbers don’t do much to help (unless you can convince an XO-1 owner to sell to you at the purported value).
If you know a thing or two about the value of a particular bicycle, I’d be interested to know how the Bicycle Blue Book valuation holds up for you.
Don’t take any wooden nickels.