So it happened.

My old good CrMo friend got hit by a car and the blow was heavy enough to affect the whole frame. Now the car driver is expected to pay back the expenses but I am not sure how to estimate the price of such an old frame.

It is a road bike frame, order-made in Japan somewhere in nineties and all I know is its serial number. Can take pictures of some particular parts if it helps for the estimate.

What are the signs of high-end or a low-end frame, so that I know how much to ask? Where to look?


http://janis.tokyo/bike/IMG_0796.JPG http://janis.tokyo/bike/IMG_0797.JPG http://janis.tokyo/bike/IMG_0798.JPG http://janis.tokyo/bike/IMG_0799.JPG http://janis.tokyo/bike/IMG_0800.JPG http://janis.tokyo/bike/IMG_0801.JPG

  • 3
    My guess is the cheapest and easiest way to make goof the loss of a 1990's steel bike is replace the entire bike with a similar spec, similar condition bike. Unless its a very special (i.e. rare and high quality) bike, the labor cost of swapping components would exceed the value. Keep in mind things like cable lengths and bottom brackets etc being incompatible meaning cost blowout is likely.
    – mattnz
    Aug 10, 2015 at 20:25
  • Thank you @mattnz, this is exactly what I am aiming for - replacing the whole thing, but keeping the old components. They were nice ones. The question is how to determine if the frame is on the expensive or the cheap end.
    – Rilakkuma
    Aug 11, 2015 at 12:11
  • Do you remember where it fitted in the range of bike prices at the time you got it? If so, just say, for example, the replacement should be a mid-to-upper level entire steel bike. Of course, suggest a level a little higher, so that you can bargain. Suggest an entire bike for the same reason.
    – andy256
    Aug 11, 2015 at 21:57
  • 2
    The dropouts can also give an indication; if they are forged, they are more expensive. Hard to tell for sure in your pics, but they look cast. Aug 12, 2015 at 1:17
  • 1
    Definitely cast.
    – RoboKaren
    Sep 14, 2015 at 14:00

5 Answers 5


In this sort of negotiation, typically you end up meeting somewhere in the middle. You provide a number, the other side provides a lower number, and the actual number is somewhere between those two numbers (possibly close to what the other side offered initially). Even if the number you supply is accurate and well-supported, I'd wager they will offer less.

If I was in your shoes, I would start with the cost for a similar bicycle today. Call the shop back and ask for a price, and spec the bike with a similar level of modern components. If it was Ultegra, ask for Ultegra. Clearly this is just a starting point; they will certainly not pay this amount. I would also look for roughly equivalent mass-produced bicycles that could serve as a back-up. Do your homework, and with any luck you can find some comparable bicycles from around that time which have been sold or are for sale (eBay, or some equivalents).

Here in the States, one Web site that might be of interest in a situation like this is BikePedia; one could use a site like that to collect some data points of the costs of comparable bicycles. Since your bicycle was not brand new, I wouldn't expect to get anywhere close to the true replacement cost, but don't help the other side by low-balling the value of what you've lost.


I would go with the replacement cost of the frame. Find some equivalent CrMo framesets and look at prices.

  • 1
    I would say this is a good starting point. Possibly the price of an entire bike. The price to purchase a frame by itself and get all the parts of the damaged bike working on a new frame would likely cost more in labor than just buying a complete new bike. That's assuming the parts are even compatible and that you can just move all the old parts to the new frame. Likely there will be one or more parts that aren't compatible. Possibly missing mounting points for the old downtube shifters or the old bike will use 27 inch as opposed to 700 wheels.
    – Kibbee
    Aug 10, 2015 at 19:44
  • Well, that's a problem! I am not sure what is "equivalent". The frames of that age look very similar to each other and while one is 200$, other is 2000$. Too much of a difference.
    – Rilakkuma
    Aug 11, 2015 at 12:14

Photos of the overall frame and its details (photos of the dropouts, the lugs, the fork crown, and any decals would be especially helpful) along with any information you have on the components on the frame would help us give you an idea of the quality of the bike.

As a guide you might find these posts, on bicycle quality, helpful. The author is looking specifically at vintage bicycles.

I'm not sure how liability law works in your part of the world, Japan I assume, but in the US it would be reasonable to expect the driver to restore your bike to its condition before the accident.

  • 3
    To make good the loss by replacing the frame though, it's necessary to work out the value of the frame. As car insurers will want to keep their liability down while getting it settled quickly, and also don't have experience of bikes, saying "here's an equivalent current frame" is a good place to start.
    – Chris H
    Aug 10, 2015 at 19:37
  • I will upload pictures of the named components. Thank you for the very useful link too!
    – Rilakkuma
    Aug 11, 2015 at 12:12
  • 1
    @ChrisH, "here's an equivalent current frame" totally makes sense as a place to start. I think a better way to say what I was trying to say in that last paragraph is that the new frame really does need to be equivalent – not just, for example, at a similar place in a current product line.
    – dlu
    Aug 11, 2015 at 14:17
  • @Rilakkuma, great pictures! Do you have some over all shots as well? The components on the bike will also help to tell the story. You don't generally build a bike with, for example, a low end frame and a matched set of high end components.
    – dlu
    Aug 11, 2015 at 14:21
  • 1
    If the frame was built to order, that alone is likely to mean that it was towards the "high end." These days you might look to Rivendell for equivalent frames. Their price range is $1,300 to $2,300 in USD.
    – dlu
    Aug 11, 2015 at 18:07

If there is decal of the manufacturer, you might be lucky to find the man who made it, and with serial number you might ask him original price, and how much he would charge for repair or substitute frame.

  • The frame is order-made through a bike shop and all I have is the seal of the bike shop. I called them and, quite understandably, they were unable to give even a hint of a price of a bike sold 25 years ago.
    – Rilakkuma
    Aug 11, 2015 at 12:13
  • Ah sorry, I understood that frame was order made. Aug 11, 2015 at 13:52

What sort of damage did it do? IF it was cosmetic it might not be covered. I was hit by a car once and the damage wasn't severe enough to be compensated. It will be hard to estimate value of the bike without knowing the make and model.

However, from your description it looks like a Miyata.

To estimate the value of the bike is another matter:

How do I value my bicycle? If the model year of the bike is less than 1 year you should insure the bike for purchase price. Bikes with earlier model years should be insured for fair market value, or what it would cost you to purchase the same modeled year bike as your original bike. *velosurance.com

You can search Bicycle Blue book

If your bike is in the database it will be a good estimate for it's current insurance value.

I hope this helps.

I checked out Wikipedia and found a guide to Miyata serial numbers to verify the claim.

The serial numbers for Miyata Bicycles Made in Japan Since 1972, according with the first letter on the serial number:

A 1972 B 1973 C1974 D1975 E1976 F 1977 G 1978 H 1979 I 1980 J 1981 K 1982 L 1983 M 1984 N 1985 O 1986 P 1987

Q 1988 R 1989 S 1990 T 1991 U 1992 V 1993 W 1994 X 1995 Y 1996 Z 1997

Miyata is known for making frames for other companies.

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