Is it possible to buy a bicycle and not see it change in some way?
Maybe. But think of the obstacles to a truly unchanged machine.
Let’s say you buy the bike only to hang it up. (And aren’t the unused dolls the saddest of artifacts on Antiques Roadshow?) Oxidation could be a challenge, leading to dull paint and cracked sidewalls.
If you actually ride the bike, no matter how careful you are, friction leads to brake pad, cable, bearing and tread wear.
If you have the bicycle long enough, you’ll need replacement parts. Often, exact replacements aren’t available.
Take the Schwinn Corvette in the picture.
The paint was new in 1964, but in 2018, it’s showing its age as surely as a boxer missing his front teeth.
(Remember, Schwinn marketed this bike as a middleweight.)
The bike had to change just to be rideable. The rims rusted thin from sitting in a basement puddle for 30 years. The cords in the tires fell apart. The original seat and seatpost were missing.
(We lost the brave Bendix kickback on the table, though parts of it have been donated to another hub.)
Today the Schwinn has aluminum pedals, wider handlebars, Chinese tires, a Brooks B17 saddle, a Sturmey-Archer drum brake up front, and a SRAM automatic two-speed hub in the back.
A few years ago, it was barely a bike. But it could be rebuilt. Made better than it was. Better, stronger, faster.
Maybe not if you look at the paint, but still…
It’s the Six Million Dollar Bike reincarnated for pocket change.
Which is all the change I have to spare until it’s time to change the tires again.