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I live in Chatham Ma and have been looking for a cheap old bike to use as a garden sculpture. Today I purchased one but when I got it home I realized it seemed very sturdy and in fairly good condition.

I don‘t want to ruin a good vintage bike so I need to know if this bike has any value.

It has tags that say “Armstrong Made in England.” Painted On the chain guard it says “Rebuilt in August 1992 by Daniel H Shumann.”

Should I try to resell it to a collector or go ahead and put it in my garden?

enter image description here

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    Aside Consider googling or searching your phone book for "Daniel Shumann" and see if he's still around.
    – Criggie
    Jun 6 at 22:18
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    Does it have a rear brake? I can't quite tell from the photo, and without two brakes it might not be legal to use on the roads, depending on where you are (a fixed wheel could count as a brake). Jun 7 at 8:05
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    @AndrewMorton do you know of anywhere that a fixed wheel doesn't count as a brake for legal purposes? That said, fixed gears are less common than singlespeed or hub gears on this sort of frame, probably less common than coaster brakes
    – Chris H
    Jun 7 at 8:38
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    @AndrewMorton fair point, but OP is in the USA where legal requirements for road vehicles are quite lax compared to the rest of the world. Two brakes is a good idea (and this one might have a coaster brake in the rear hub) but its not mandatory in the US.
    – Criggie
    Jun 7 at 8:39
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    I see a chain pull on the right hand side of the rear axle - this bike has some kind of gear box, possibly a 3 speed. It might have a coaster brake built into the hub too - if so there would be a reaction arm on the left chainstay, which is not visible in the photo.
    – Criggie
    Jun 7 at 8:40
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It's a rather nice looking functional bike with probably a 3-speed hub. It seems rather a shame to turn something that's quite attractive and functional into a piece to survive the weather/seasons in your garden.

There may or may not be a "collector" market for this bike; my opinion is that this type of bike doesn't usually carry a huge value and tends to be restored by enthusiasts for reasons of nostalgia more than anything else.

You may not be aware, but there is currently rather a shortage of new (and used) bikes and you may find you can swap your good, functional bike against something less so that suits your needs at a local remakery, cycle coop or project and someone who would enjoy using it may get something more out of it. It's up to you!

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    Thanks for you thoughts and good advice. I didn’t realize how nice it was until I got it home. Don’t want to ruin something useful. I’ll find it a new home and keep looking for a junker. 👍🏻 Jun 7 at 1:48
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We can't give a value as such, but in these days of C19, lockdown and disrupted supply lines, any working bike is of use to someone.

You yourself might get value by riding it. You don't have to go all out, just a dawdle round the block or the local park.

If you intend on growing vines or similar over the bike to obscure it, then perhaps an approximation of the bike, made from garden canes and wire would be a better solution. This would be a better idea if there's any risk of theft.

Do consider that ~30 years ago Daniel thought the bike was good-enough to maintain for the ages. That's probably why it looks so good right now, at an age of approximately 60 years. Its too good to let rust away in your garden.

There must be a source of trash bike frames that could do the same job leaving this nice bike to keep being useful.


Is there a real bike under this? Does it matter ?

enter image description here

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    More importantly: Is there a real person under this? And does it matter? ;-) Jun 7 at 8:18
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    There are always trash frames (and wheels etc.) to be found. These may be bikes that were rubbish to begin with and now need far more spent on them than they're worth, if you want something that looks fairly ridable. I've just scrapped enough unrecoverable parts for this sort of thing, after rejecting the idea of using the wheels as trellis
    – Chris H
    Jun 7 at 8:41
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    @chrish got spare wheels? Try this: google.com/search?q=bicycle+wheel+dome&tbm=isch
    – Criggie
    Jun 7 at 8:51
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    @Criggie not that many, but I got rid of 7 recently (damaged, stupid sizes, chromed steel etc.) and that 7 is based on rims, as some hubs were missing or rusted solid.
    – Chris H
    Jun 7 at 8:57
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You shouldn't reduce any bike to dilapidated garbage in pursuit of a quaint or pastoral aesthetic. Doing so promotes the idea that bikes belong to a historical or economic context that is past or other, and thereby is implicitly anti-bicycle.

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    I'm a bit amazed that anyone could think that a decorative bike in someone back yard implied that "bikes belong to a historical or economic context that is past or other". It really only implies that they think bikes look pretty.
    – Clumsy cat
    Jun 7 at 11:35
  • Aesthetics send a message about value systems. The question of whether to view bicycles as backwards-looking and quaint versus a living part of transportation systems is a key issue in the world today. Bikes as rotting yard art casts a vote in that question. Jun 8 at 0:55
  • I'm confident you're reading too much into this. Have you heard the phrase "the curtains are blue"? Lots of cars sit rusting, and everyone understands that just because one car is out of use, the rest of them are not useless. On the other side, some people have bikes so expensive they cannot even leave them outside a shop, it doesn't imply that bikes are an elitist impractical luxury. The majority of bikes are still very economical, and quite safe to chain up and leave.
    – Clumsy cat
    Jun 9 at 8:35
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From the picture it appears that this bike has Sturmey Archer hub. If it was restored and cared for it's likely to be in good shape and could be a reliable daily bike for someone.

That being said, there were plenty of inexpensive bikes fitted with Sturmey Archer hubs, but some valuable ones too. You can usually find a serial number on the rear hub that could give you an idea of the bike's origins and would be a good guide for determining any value. This would be a good place to start if you're inclined to research.

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