Robin Goldstein tried buying a used bike in Portland, Oregon, found them to be pricey, and it led him to do a little data collecting. He tells the story in a post at Blind Taste, but just to jump forward to his numbers:
From each of these cities I collected an extremely basic data set: the asking prices for the 50 most recent cars/trucks and bikes advertised [on Craigslist]. I excluded children’s bikes, frame-only bikes, and non-working bikes; I excluded non-working cars and cars that were being sold for parts. I also excluded obvious dealer spam from each. Then, I looked at the medians. Here’s what happened:
Median price, first 50 items for sale on Craigslist, 8pm PDT, 8/13/09
Metro Area Cars/Trucks Bicycles Phoenix $5,600 $120 Miami $4,800 $150 Austin $4,700 $168 New York City $4,700 $200 SF Bay Area $4,500 $240 Portland $4,500 $240 Seattle $3,500 $250
… what struck me about this informal little analysis was that not one city fell out of line in the inverse order. Where cars were selling for the most, bikes were selling for the least; where cars were selling for the least, bikes were selling for the most; and so on, inversely, in between.
Perhaps there is a seasonal component here. It may be that in the winter, demand for bicycles falls in Seattle and Portland, and rises in Phoenix and Miami.