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Collectors Love John Deere Bikes
Some John Deere fans have no interest in old tractors or combines. They say bicycles are what’s worth collecting.
John Deere entered the bicycle business in 1973 and just as quickly stepped out in 1975. The bikes were manufactured in Taiwan and marketed by Deere. In fact, collectors today will be some of the first to share that these aren’t amazing bikes. Their appeal comes from nostalgia. “For many, like me, it’s the connection to our 1970’s childhood when we had a John Deere bicycle,” says avid collector Erich Kretzinger. “Other collectors are just into all things John Deere.”
The most popular model among collectors tends to be the original 3-speed cruiser, painted a bright John Deere green. “As for most rare, it would probably be a boy’s yellow High Rise in good condition,” says Kretzinger. “You’ll find some photos on our group Facebook page, John Deere Bicycle Fans. They’re essentially the same style as the trendy 1970’s Schwinn Stingray, with banana seats and long-reach handlebars. Vintage boy’s bikes across all brands are typically the rarest, primarily because boys beat the heck out of their bikes. Not many survive in good, rideable condition.”
Finding a genuine John Deere bike can be a fun treasure hunt. “Original untouched bikes can be found hanging in barns and sheds across North America,” says Kretzinger. “They show up at auctions and quite often on Facebook Marketplace.”
Restoring a vintage John Deere takes some extra consideration compared to other bikes, primarily because John Deere dealerships got rid of their old inventory decades ago. Some owners choose to do minimal restoration by keeping the bike in its original condition but replacing standard components like the tires, brake pads, and bearings to ensure it’s safe to ride. Others perform a complete reconditioning, which involves disassembling the bike to its bare frame, cleaning or removing all signs of rust, and reassembling it with salvaged parts. Says Kretzinger, “It helps to have multiple bikes that together can supply enough parts to complete one build.”
Kretzinger suggests that anyone interested in learning more join the John Deere Bicycle Fans Facebook page. “There are many owners on this page who’ve done about every level of restoration. They also know the history of the bikes (i.e., who manufactured them for JD, what years they were sold, and how can you tell what year your bike was built, etc.). They’ll also help determine what parts are needed and where to find them, with many willing to sell extra parts they own. John Deere itself isn’t a good source for information.”
Expect to pay about $50 to $100 for a bike that’s complete but needs a full restoration. Once restored, a genuine John Deere bike can sell for $400 to $500.

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2023 - Volume #47, Issue #6