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The One That Got Away: Bikes We Wish We Hadn’t Sold

By Spencer Powlison


On my powder-blue Peugeot BMX bike with white mag wheels, I learned to do basic flatland tricks in my driveway. On my green Rockhopper I rode my first 50-mile mountain bike race. On my gold Voodoo, I raced all over New England as a junior. On my red Yeti, I got throttled in my first season of XC racing in Colorado. 

I have a very long list of bikes that I rode, I loved, and then I sold or gave away. At times, I've missed them all, regretted letting them go. I figured a lot of other cycling fanatics here at The Pro's Closet had similar stories to tell. So, I sat down with a few of my teammates to hear about the most memorable bikes they've owned that they wish they hadn't sold or given away.

Do you remember a bike that you loved, lost, and now wish you still had? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Matt, Chief Marketing Officer: 1983 Lotus Legend Compe

Lotus bike

“I was living in Durango, going to school, and I got into racing mountain bikes. There was a guy there, Hal McLane, who owned the Southwest Sound record store. He was this huge, bigger-than-life guy, and he got me big into road bikes. A friend of mine, his parents owned a bike shop in Aspen and they were friends with the Grewals. He had this bike and they never rode it, and I got it for a song — $300, $400 or something like that — and I got it with Alexi Grewal’s Panasonic jersey.

“That was the first bike that I raced. I did the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic on it. There was one time at that race when I was riding the Cat. 4 race, we started at seven in the morning — bitter cold. The guy in front of me over-braked and locked up his wheels. We both went down. The train was coming up the valley, the narrow-gauge railroad that you race. We were chasing, chasing, chasing. I went for it. I still break out in sweats thinking about it. It was so close that the guy who crashed us, who was behind me, he slammed on the brakes. He wouldn’t do it. I went over the tracks, and I could see the conductor freaking out, pulling the horn. I made it by, caught on, and I think I got fourth or fifth.

“I could kick myself, I would love to still have that bike. But I fell in love with a Ciocc frame that was total early nineties fluorescent faded paint job. I wanted that frame so bad, and I thought that I had to get rid of that simple Lotus it was just plain gold. I sold it to a friend of a girl I was dating who had never ridden before after I’d stitched up the leather handlebar tape, brand-new, shiny white. It was awesome.”

Chris, Bicycle Technician: 1989 Schwinn Le Tour

“I was living in Iowa City where I went to school, and I realized I should get a bike to get around. It was my buddy’s bike. It was way too big for me, he was like three inches taller than me, but he gave me a screaming deal on it, he sold it to me for $75. For what I was looking for it was absolutely perfect and I rode the hell out of it and learned to love riding a bike.

“It was bright red, a bit big for me, which you could tell by looking at the head tube and seatpost. It had chrome trim, chrome bars and stem, and fork. Really robust tri-cross road wheels, classy looking. Down tube shifters, 2x5 gearing. I had a sweet brown Centurion saddle. I remember learning that Lance Armstrong rode those at one point — I was proud of that saddle.

“I rode it into town one time to meet with a guy who would eventually hire me to do sales at Dimond Bikes. I rode into town from a suburb, North Liberty. I think I thought it would be impressive to him if I rode my bike to the meeting. It was probably a 30-mile ride, and it was February or March, which is not pleasant in Iowa. And I got the job.

“I donated the bike to Community Cycles, so hopefully it’s still rolling.”

Nick, CEO: 1993 Raleigh John Tomac Signature

Raleigh Tomac bike

“This was specifically a test bike for Mountain Bike Action. The bike is special for multiple reasons. It was the next evolution of the carbon Yeti C-26, where they had the carbon bonded tubing for the first time. Tomac rode for Yeti on that C-26 with the drop-bars that Zap [Mountain Bike Action’s editor at that time, Zapata Espinoza] also has … That is a whole nother story.

“So Zap called me about this Tomac Raleigh that Litespeed made, and this was rare because it has the green decals. Any time he calls my ears perk up because his taste and his passion for the history is impeccable, and he knew everybody. We bought the bike from Zap, and it needed a significant restoration, but it was really rare, one of only a few Tomac Raleighs made by Litespeed with the green decals.

“We bought it, and then the business had to raise capital, and sometimes the museum bikes are the first thing to go. At this time we didn’t have any investors behind us, we were self-funded. That bike was low-hanging fruit and really easy to sell. It was a restoration project that required a lot of time, which I didn’t have, and it was a bike I’ll probably never see again because it’s so rare.

“The combination of Tomac, who was my childhood hero, and the connection with Zap, and then the Mountain Bike Action connection made that bike really special.”

Jeff, Merchandise Associate: 1967 Huffy Rail

“It was a bike to cruise around town on. I used it on my paper route in Manchester, Connecticut. It was just such a cool bike, it had this purple color that just popped. Everybody in the neighborhood was in envy of it. Probably my other favorite part was the shifter that was in the center on the top tube.

“I was delivering papers every day. In total, I had five paper routes. Not all on this bike, but definitely for a few years. Getting to ride to school on it was also cool. My mom didn’t let me do it every day because she was nervous, she was an X-Ray technician at the time.

“I think something broke on it, it might have been the shifting. I remember it was kind of in parts, and I don’t know what happened to it after that. I keep asking my dad about it, and he doesn’t remember. If I could find one, it would be kind of cool to bring back some memories of riding around when I was young.”

Uriah, Shipping Coordinator: 1998 GT Attack

GT bike

“I found a guy in Denver who was selling this really cheap, I think a couple hundred bucks. I also had an Avalanche, and I remember having an early GT BMX bike. The Triple Triangle frame is classic — that plus the candy red paint, and I was sold.

“I was working for Jimmy John’s at the time. It was my courier bike, and I just did everything on it. Eventually, it was the bike I took on a bike tour from Seattle to San Francisco. Totally ill-equipped, aluminum frame, no braze-on mounts. I had C-clamps for all the racks, which broke pretty quickly.

“Near Ukiah, California, my rack totally gave out, all our stuff was flopping out, and this guy we’d been riding with for a few days saved me. He nonchalantly dug around in his bag and found the right diameter bolt to fix it. He’s actually still a friend to this day. That’s the magic of bike touring. Things work out even if it is a little sketchy at times.

“I think I was just in a mindset of downsizing the stable, and I had a friend who was working at Jimmy John’s who really wanted it. So I let it go and found out a few months later that it had been stolen. It was a gorgeous bike. Not a lot of them and just that iconic geometry that people, including myself, go crazy for.”

Lucas, Customer Experience Representative: Trek Domane Koppenberg

Trek bike

“For about 32 days in early summer 2016 I rode through Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, and then Colorado on this non-touring bike. It was a high-end Trek Domane with zero mounts. So I put a trailer on it, and I hauled this trailer — it worked!

“I got chased by some dogs in Kentucky. It was definitely way too nice of a bike for a bike tour, but the Domane was good. It was a good experience.

“After the trip, I flew back to Virginia and I left my bike in Boulder and drove out with all of my stuff to move out here. I rode it and raced it for another year, and then I sold it to The Pro’s Closet before I started working here.

“It was rough, I was kind of sad moving on from it, because I’d ridden that bike more than any and done something cool on it. I got some cash to get another bike, another Trek Domane.”

Spencer, Content Marketing Manager: 1999 Voodoo Bizango

Voodoo bike

“In high school, I worked at a bike shop, and then I took all the money I made and I spent it at the bike shop. This Voodoo and its components were some of my biggest spends. It was a steel Reynolds 853 frame. I built those Chris King hubs into the matching mango-powder coated Velocity rims. And of course, the King headset was mango too.

“I did tons of junior cross-country races on that bike, brutal races like the Mount Snow and Snowshoe NORBA national races. It’s crazy to think back on racing that hardtail with a noodly 80mm-travel RockShox SID with tubed tires pumped up to 40psi. All those XC races were rough and muddy back in New England — Coyote Hill, Meadow Muffin Madness, Plattekill, and anything down in Pennsylvania. Just brutal terrain.

“Eventually, I made this bike into a singlespeed and as time went on and I moved to Colorado, I found myself riding it less often. I can’t remember if I gave it to a friend or sold it for a song, but either way, I regret letting it go, especially because it had some old-school Cook Bros. cranks on it, which are so iconic.”

Do you remember a bike that you loved, lost, and now wish you still had? Tell us about it in the comments below.


  • Schwinn Orange Crate. Slick in back, small tire up front, shifter with cool knob on it between seat and handlebars. Handlebars were upswept a little like a choppers. Early 70s, I’m think. Thought I was so cool! Stolen right out of our back yard.

    Mark King on

  • In the mid-seventies I owned a Sekine 10 speed that I could barely ride without injuring myself. The bike was Canadian made and the company only lasted a few years. Everyone in the neighborhood was riding Schwinns, Raleighs or a generic Canadian Tire bike. The Sekine seemed so exotic, and the paint was this iridescent green, it was the most beautiful bike I’ve ever owned. I was just this short little guy that was a bully target, but when I rode that bike I was a giant! I was so fast on that bike! Organized racing was non-existent in our neck of the woods but I won the Tour de France three years running. Sadly the bike was stolen and I have not seen the likes of it since. I keep searching so if someone has one out there I would like to get my hands on it.

    Kevin King on

  • I was 20 yrs. old, in college at Auburn University and a walk on playing football. I had had also run track in high school and simply loved competition and pushing myself physically. It just made me a better person. However, this college football gig was abusing me. I, along with every other person on the team, was hurt all the time…everyone…all the time. I Hung up cleats in spring of 1983 and after 1 month of recovery I headed to Cahaba Cycles in Birmingham and purchased a steel framed Trek 400. Coolest piece of machinery I had ever owned. Within a few weeks I had a new set of riding friends. I rode that 400 and loved every mile. Jumped into the triathlon scene that summer and was really hooked on this new found, enjoyable, self inflicted torture of a hobby. I rode that 400 for a few more years and decided I needed a new bike that would make me go faster. I had a $1000 I had put aside for an air conditioner for my 4×4 Toyota pickup. After much thought I made the wise decision to forego the air conditioner and, instead, buy that shiny blue/white fade Trek 1200. Great decision on my part to upgrade but terrible decision to trade in the 400 for a measly $100. Should have kept it, hung it on the wall, memorialized it, relived the memories it had shared with me. Dang. So now I am cruising on my Trek Emonda that is like riding a magic carpet but still wonder what became of that faithful 400. Thanks Cahaba Cycles and Trek for the memories and for the true joy of riding a well made bicycle.

    Mike Schor on

  • 1998 Specialized Allez Comp. Cippolinni zebra stripe version. Coolest paint job ever.

    Chris Scott on

  • I had a custom Moser that was built for me when I was on the Italia Velo Sport Team back in the ’80s. It was a beautiful candy metalflake red and was all Campy SR. It was stolen from me years later along with a Bianchi SLX, Campy Nuovo Record bike. I still get a little angry when I think about it. Both bikes were so awesome!

    Bruce Langsteiner on

  • 1997 Haro Monocoque. The bike was a dream of mine and I picked it up in 2000 from another racer. It had a mishmash of non-OEM parts – an Answer carbon fork, Shimano dx brakes, Mavic XIXIX wheels. I loved that bike. Eventually wanted something with a euro bb and a little less flashy so I sold it to a guy doing a retro build. I wish I’d kept is even as a wall ornament.

    Adam G Hecht on

  • My first two road-racing bikes were both Peugeot PX-10’s. First one was early Nervex-lugged model; looked good but was too small for me. Bought a larger PX-10 with Prugnat lugs, which didn’t look as fancy but fit properly.

    And then…at the age of 15, I bought an Italian-made Masi Special, white with Nuovo Record components, very likely built while Mario Confente was guiding the operations at Masi Milano under the Vigorelli (the velodrome, which I visited in later years), from a fellow in north Boulder, living in a rental house with several other bike junkies and a few chickens (no, I’m not making this up: there was a chicken coop in the corner of the living room). That would’ve been 1975. I raced it as a junior for several years, then sadly sold it while in college about 1979 for the same price I paid for it: $600. If it’s out there, I’d love to hear where it ended up. I don’t want or need it at this point, but that bike still holds a special power over my cycling spirit. And I still know the serial number: 106. And while overhauling the bottom bracket, I found a piece of paper stuck up the left chain stay with the name and address of the owner at the time: Tim Isaac, who went on to become a framebuilder of some repute in his own right. Drop me a line if you know its whereabouts.

    Dave Walker on

  • I was 15 in 1992 and my dad saw my interest in cycling had grown beyond just the “Huffy” that was passed down to me. So one day he said lets go look at some bikes, we went to the local store here in Georgia “Bicycle South” and i came home with my brand new 1992 Yellow Giant ATX 760, Full CroMo, Rigid, Deore DX. After 2 years on that bike i had bent the front forks from doing so much jumping and hard riding that it was time for a new rig, I loved that bike so much. I wish i could just get the frame to hang on the wall, so many great memories.

    Brian on

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