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ML and Monroe, another perspective

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100bikes

Wore out three sets of tires already!
I have been attending the various versions of these swaps over the years,
plus Copake and a host of other mid-west swaps.

This year, I made it a point to attend both as an observer (and buyer....).
Exploring an upper mid-west show(more later on that)

Very interesting conversations and some pretty valuable insights.

I spoke with people I have known over the years, and some random vendors
as well, both at ML and Monroe.

These were casual conversations, rather than a more "survey" type
research.

ML offers the collector everything you mentioned.
Very nice to see a group held together by a strong, common interest.

The other side is that there is very little in the way of locals or general visitors
to the event. Hence, little in the way of outside money.

I did see muscle bikes/Stingrays. That represents a certain age demographic and was
important to see in a collectors show.

For the guys who swap for a living, the best events are the ones with lots of tire kickers.
The more random people, the better.

The event is pretty much done Friday afternoon. Work/week day schedule, outside
without a real evening orientation(lghting or events) will continue to make this a
pure collectors swap. Not a bad thing, just my observation.


Monroe is another level of swap.
Very few could match the scope and venue.
Easy in, casual and organized.
Close to 300 vendors in my view.

I made arrangement to help a friend unload, and was able to wonder the
grounds on Saturday, after the work was done.

I ran into a retailer I have known for a number of years. He does a number of swaps, and his comment was
"This is great. This (move in )is so casual"

As the place began to fill, you could sense the scale of the event.

I had been to Ann Arbor as a vendor a number of times, but have missed
the show/swap since the move.

Vendors made their way to one of the three buildings and the array of outside spots.
Some on their own, some guided by a volunteer in a 4 wheeler.

The weather cooperated and the outside sites filled.

The array of goods and level of "sophistication" of the sellers was across the board.
Junk tables and boxes with used parts and pro level displays of vintage goods.

Very new to extremely old.

Some of the bikes were showing hours of work to get them ready.
Others, well not so much.

Prices of goods ranged from dimes in some cases to a conversation I overheard walking the
show on Saturday bicycle sold for over $4k.

Lots of people, babies in strollers and dogs.

People test riding bicycles on the grounds.

All really good signs for an event like this.

My personal opinion as (usually) a vendor these all represent "new money", rather
than trading dollars with fellow collectors. (my focus is bicycle books and ephemera currently).

The bottom line is just that. I invest a lot of time, energy and $$'s into attending these events.
While it is not to make a living, I do like my hobby to pay for (most of/some of)itself.

The displays, coral and juried events were right on the money.
Well displayed and well executed.

Some of the most interesting comments were about the change from the days in Ann Arbor.

One vendor thought the new location was growing, and this year looked good.

He, and a couple others lamented the "kinda wild" and "great sales and prices" times in AA.

Seemed like bigger crowds, the able to draw more easily on a larger urban area.
One with a large college community.

His sales volume for him was significantly greater in those days.
More people buying more stuff.
Today, fewer buyers, being a bit choosier, but buying the nicer things.


The general feel is there is a "slump" across the bicycle industry as a whole and the collectors and
enthusiast side in particular(our group).
Generally flat to falling prices and too much product chasing too few buyers.

Tighter money and covid carryover were also mentioned as having impacts on both of the events.


BMX
What I didn't see at ML was a significant BMX offering, which is a hot category now.

Monroe had s number of vendors with some quantity/quality offerings.
Although it isn't my category of collecting, it was great to see what
was there.

On the other hand, to me the array and depth of goods didn't feel representative of the
volume and $$ involved in (as I see it) BMX vintage market right now.

One thing I found a bit telling were the vendors I expected to see(as they had med-large
offerings in the past) at ML were not there, but did have displays in Monroe.
Am curious about that?

Both wonderful events, each with their particular orientation and feel.
And I'll be back to both!
 
You're not imagining it - there has been a slump in the bicycle industry generally, including vintage to some degree, for a couple of years now. New bikes and parts underwent a boom during COVID because biking was something people could do. This all crashed a couple of years ago, and shops and builders who over-ordered during the boom period got burned by the crash. There is a lot of corporate talk about "right-sizing" now, which is code for downsizing. E-bikes have also complicated this a bit by eating away at some of the demand for traditional bikes.

The vintage market is different from new, but it's not immune to the overall market effects. The market for really good, high-end bikes is still there, but mid-market and down has softened. What concerns me more is that the entry-level, "casual" vintage bike person - the person who has maybe 1 or 2 vintage bikes of modest value - is gradually disappearing because of stagflation and alternative hobbies. There are still plenty of hardcore collectors and riders, but I'm coming across and hearing from fewer people these days who are in the transition from just starting out to becoming serious about the hobby.
 
I used to go to Memory Lane in Grand Rapids. I don't come across as much as I did 10 years ago so it's hard to justify taking time off to go to Findley.

I go to Monroe every other year now as well.
Went this year, sold 7 or 8 bikes for decent money. Had a bike in the show that went home with a new owner.

The swaps are getting less appealing to me from a time commitment perspective the older I get.

The money is never really the draw...
I like seeing some of the guys from the Cabe that I've met over the years.

I take stuff priced to sell and sometimes make a little or break even, but at least I can help someone get something they can use.

Monroe venue is a huge upgrade from Ann Arbor. Easier to get in and out with much nicer amenities.

Might go again next year.
Really depends on if I find something new between now and then.
 
I enjoyed both shows. I bought a TON of stuff at both shows. I got to talk to several other people who also own Rocket bikes. And several others who wanted to talk to me about my rocket bikes. Lots of friendly folks!
I’ll always be a buyer at both shows!
 
The quality of bikes at both shows has been outstanding the past few times. And it is a fun social event. That's why I drive cross country both spring and fall. If you are not going to these shows you are missing out.
 
First time at ML for me this spring. It was a great time. We only went on Thursday. I didn’t set up but I brought a bike and a bunch of parts that I had Pre-sold in the weeks leading up. That is how I will roll for these shows I have to drive a good distance for because can only take the car on road trips. The old truck is only trusted for more localized use. Was great putting faces to a lot of members I’ve interacted with here as well as others I’ve crossed paths with before. And meeting more nuts who share the love of this hobby. It is such a good community of folks. If there is a Fall show I’ll try to go again. Next year I plan to attend Monroe. That will be my first time there also. Probably can’t do both. But we’ll see. Would like to make it a tradition going forward.
 
I have been attending the various versions of these swaps over the years,
plus Copake and a host of other mid-west swaps.

This year, I made it a point to attend both as an observer (and buyer....).
Exploring an upper mid-west show(more later on that)

Very interesting conversations and some pretty valuable insights.

I spoke with people I have known over the years, and some random vendors
as well, both at ML and Monroe.

These were casual conversations, rather than a more "survey" type
research.

ML offers the collector everything you mentioned.
Very nice to see a group held together by a strong, common interest.

The other side is that there is very little in the way of locals or general visitors
to the event. Hence, little in the way of outside money.

I did see muscle bikes/Stingrays. That represents a certain age demographic and was
important to see in a collectors show.

For the guys who swap for a living, the best events are the ones with lots of tire kickers.
The more random people, the better.

The event is pretty much done Friday afternoon. Work/week day schedule, outside
without a real evening orientation(lghting or events) will continue to make this a
pure collectors swap. Not a bad thing, just my observation.


Monroe is another level of swap.
Very few could match the scope and venue.
Easy in, casual and organized.
Close to 300 vendors in my view.

I made arrangement to help a friend unload, and was able to wonder the
grounds on Saturday, after the work was done.

I ran into a retailer I have known for a number of years. He does a number of swaps, and his comment was
"This is great. This (move in )is so casual"

As the place began to fill, you could sense the scale of the event.

I had been to Ann Arbor as a vendor a number of times, but have missed
the show/swap since the move.

Vendors made their way to one of the three buildings and the array of outside spots.
Some on their own, some guided by a volunteer in a 4 wheeler.

The weather cooperated and the outside sites filled.

The array of goods and level of "sophistication" of the sellers was across the board.
Junk tables and boxes with used parts and pro level displays of vintage goods.

Very new to extremely old.

Some of the bikes were showing hours of work to get them ready.
Others, well not so much.

Prices of goods ranged from dimes in some cases to a conversation I overheard walking the
show on Saturday bicycle sold for over $4k.

Lots of people, babies in strollers and dogs.

People test riding bicycles on the grounds.

All really good signs for an event like this.

My personal opinion as (usually) a vendor these all represent "new money", rather
than trading dollars with fellow collectors. (my focus is bicycle books and ephemera currently).

The bottom line is just that. I invest a lot of time, energy and $$'s into attending these events.
While it is not to make a living, I do like my hobby to pay for (most of/some of)itself.

The displays, coral and juried events were right on the money.
Well displayed and well executed.

Some of the most interesting comments were about the change from the days in Ann Arbor.

One vendor thought the new location was growing, and this year looked good.

He, and a couple others lamented the "kinda wild" and "great sales and prices" times in AA.

Seemed like bigger crowds, the able to draw more easily on a larger urban area.
One with a large college community.

His sales volume for him was significantly greater in those days.
More people buying more stuff.
Today, fewer buyers, being a bit choosier, but buying the nicer things.


The general feel is there is a "slump" across the bicycle industry as a whole and the collectors and
enthusiast side in particular(our group).
Generally flat to falling prices and too much product chasing too few buyers.

Tighter money and covid carryover were also mentioned as having impacts on both of the events.


BMX
What I didn't see at ML was a significant BMX offering, which is a hot category now.

Monroe had s number of vendors with some quantity/quality offerings.
Although it isn't my category of collecting, it was great to see what
was there.

On the other hand, to me the array and depth of goods didn't feel representative of the
volume and $$ involved in (as I see it) BMX vintage market right now.

One thing I found a bit telling were the vendors I expected to see(as they had med-large
offerings in the past) at ML were not there, but did have displays in Monroe.
Am curious about that?

Both wonderful events, each with their particular orientation and feel.
And I'll be back to both!


Very well said Rus & I agree with you 100%.
ML is more for visiting & Monroe for selling.
Totally different crowds at each.
Much Much better with 2 days at Monroe tho.
it was good to see you there!
 
Monore is a nicer venue than the orginial site in Saline. The Ann Arbor/Saline crowd was more into bikes overall plus it helps the area was more affluent and a collegge town. Monore has locals who are just enjoying the day looking and not really into classic or vintage bikes. Hopefully Monore will catch on and draw the affluent cyclyist from other communities.
 
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