7 tips to sell your bike online fast

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We've all been there: shopping for a new bike by reading product reviews, evaluating components, comparing styles with bikes we know or already own, and saving our money before buying ourselves that special gift!

In order to save money faster (but, more importantly, to make room at home), considering selling your old bike isn’t a bad idea. However, the online route isn’t always as quick and easy as you might think, unless you use a buy-back service like the one offered by Cycling Avenue.

Here, we’ll share the best tips for selling your bike online, including how to post your bike, which platforms to use, what to avoid, and how to proceed if you decide to sell it directly to Cycling Avenue.

1- Set a realistic price

If you bought your bike new for $3,000 a decade ago, you can’t sell it for $2,500 today. Get used to that idea immediately. The bike is old, and trying to play the vintage card won't always fly. You’ll never get as much, or even close to what you paid for it 10 years ago.

Also, be aware that a little cleaning and new bartape and chain won’t make it worth its original value. If your bike has served you well over the years, like it should, take the selling process in stride and just accept that it isn’t worth a fortune anymore.

One way to compare the original value of your bike to what it’s worth today is to search the Bicycle Blue Book, a guide based on a predictive analytics platform that analyzes millions of transactions. You can also look at eBay to see prices listed by other sellers.

2- Be honest about the condition of your bike

Show the scratches and dents (if any) and you'll save yourself a lot of time. If you post it online and the buyer picks it up in person, you don't want to have to renegotiate the price on the spot if some hidden defects are discovered that you failed to show. Or, if you sell it on eBay and ship it by mail, you don't want to have to settle an online dispute with the customer if they file a complaint because you hid some details.

Take the time to inspect all the welds and make sure there are no cracks in the rear stays, bottom bracket and seatpost collar. In short, all areas that put a high level of stress on bike materials.

3- Take as many photos as possible

The more pictures you take, the better.
But be careful, know what to show in your photos and take the time to produce clear photos with good light. You want to sell it, so do the bike justice one last time by showing it in its best light!

Here's what you should show in your photos:

  • The whole bike photographed from the transmission side (a little extra touch if you show it with the chain on the biggest chainring and on the middle of the cassette)
  • The fork
  • The suspension (if applicable)
  • The cockpit (show the complete handlebars, grips or bartape, stem, saddle and seatpost)
  • Wheels and tire condition
  • Brake levers and brake set
  • The shifters and derailleurs
  • The crankset

4 -  Write a detailed description to accompany your photos

It’s important to be clear on several details to avoid buyers potentially bombarding you with similar questions because your ad isn’t precise.
Here's what you should specify:

  • Brand
  • Year
  • Size
  • Price (specify if you’re open to negotiation and/or open to trade)
  • Condition of your frame
  • List your components and their condition
  • Specify any recent repairs done on the bike
  • Specify if the bike needs any repairs

5 - Which platform to sell your bike

There are several aspects to consider when making your online sale. 
Here’s what you should know about each of the web platforms.

eBay

If you decide to sell your bike on eBay, be aware that :

  • eBay takes a percentage of your sale
  • PayPal also takes a percentage of the transaction (if your customer uses this payment method)
  • You’ll need to find a bike box, pack it carefully, take it to the post office or schedule a pickup with the shipping company.

Even if the customer pays the shipping costs, if you aren’t comfortable disassembling a bike and packing it carefully, this platform might not be right for you. On the other hand, eBay gives you worldwide visibility when a potential buyer specifically searches for the type of bike you’re selling.

Good to know! If you’re selling on eBay, it’s best if you’ve already established a good reputation via positive sales reviews. That reassures the buyer that you’re a trusted seller. Also, be aware that the bike parts market is very strong, so if your sale isn’t successful after several weeks or months, you can always try to sell it in parts.

Marketplace, Craigslist, Kijiji

These platforms are great because they’re free. You can post your ad related to your area of residence, and most of the time local buyers will respond. Local buyers also mean in-person pickup, which will save you a lot of time and trouble in terms of disassembling and packing the bike for shipping.

A negative point of these platforms is that you may deal with strong negotiators or lowballers who can waste a lot of your time through numerous email exchanges.

Moreover, since hundreds of offers are added every day on these platforms, yours may quickly fall to the bottom of the list and never get noticed unless the potential client performs a precise search and then comes across certain keywords that you put in your ad description.

Facebook bike groups and Pinkbike

Posting your bike on a specific bike sales forum such as Pinkbike, or other road or mountain bike Facebook groups, has its advantages. People who visit these forums are cyclists who are specifically looking to buy a bike (or bike accessories).

What's convenient about Pinkbike is that it offers many different filters to fill in when you post your bike. This makes it easier for potential customers to search. So even if your bike was posted a few weeks ago, with the help of these specific filters, your bike will come up quickly in the results without the customer necessarily having to search through dozens of pages.

If you can't sell it to a local buyer who’ll show up in person to pick it up, you’ll need to repeat the same steps as if you were selling it on eBay and ship it directly to the customer.

6 - Meeting place

When you’ve reached a final agreement with the client and it’s time to complete the transaction, avoid inviting them to your home, if possible. Provide a meeting place on a street corner or in a public place. Also, if the buyer asks you to test ride the bike, always ask for something of value in exchange while they’re away. The last thing you want is for them to leave and never come back, leaving you with no bike and no money.

7 - Selling your bike at Cycling Avenue

Among the many options available, selling your bike to Cycling Avenue is definitely the simplest and most efficient solution you can find online. Whether you sell it for cash, exchange it for a Cycling Avenue credit, or exchange it for a store credit at one of our partner stores, this option is a no-brainer.

Simply complete your submission request by following the instructions on our Sales & Exchange page and a purchasing representative will get back to you within one or two business days with your customized quote.

Once you receive your quote and it's time to send us your bike, you have several options.

  1. You can schedule a home pickup. Just decide the day and time that suits you best and we’ll be there. Please note that this option is only available to residents of the greater Montreal area.

  2. Take advantage of VeloFix's services when you fill out your pickup form. They will disassemble your bike at your home and box it up safely at a time that’s convenient for you. Be sure to enter your address during the sales process to see what options are available from VeloFix in your area. Then, affix the prepaid return slip that we’ll provide you by email and schedule a pickup with the carrier. 

  3. You can request a rigid shipping box. The box is delivered directly to your door and we provide you with a prepaid return slip. Then, you simply schedule a pickup with the carrier and you're done.

  4. You can pack your bike yourself using a large cardboard box. You can find bike-sized boxes at your local bike store. Then, make sure to protect your bike with foam and tie wrap so nothing moves inside the box. Finally, affix the prepaid return slip that we’ll provide you by email and schedule a pickup with the carrier at your convenience.

  5. We’ll refer you to a selection of our partner stores nearby so that you can drop off your bike and exchange it for a store credit applicable to that store.

If you choose the option of selling your bike to us, you’ll be paid within 5-7 business days following the reception and inspection of your bike at our workshop, either in Cycling Avenue credit or via a bank transfer according to your initial choice.

For more details on how the buy-back process works, the different exchange options available, and what types of bikes we accept, click here.

Summary

Selling your bike online isn’t a snap. It’s a process that requires a lot of patience depending on what you’re trying to sell, at what price, and where. Remember, if your price is realistic and you’re honest about the condition of your bike, things should go well. Don't forget to take as many pictures as possible and write a detailed description to accompany your ad. Then, select the appropriate platform and when a potential buyer decides to come and see the bike in person, choose a safe meeting place in a public area. If you want to skip all these steps and avoid countless exchanges with undecided customers who’ll negotiate you down again and again, take the easy way out and sell it to Cycling Avenue.