There really is something cathartic about cleaning house and turning my used bikes into cash. Maybe you're like me, and have a nice used bike or two (or ten) you can live without. Maybe you want to fund your next build, or maybe your bike's been neglected, unridden, and you just need it gone. Why not turn it into cash? But how? I've already gone through the painful process of selling most of my collection and have found a multitude of options. Let's look at the top 5 ways you can sell your used bike.
5. Sell Your Used Bike To A Pawn or Sporting Goods Shop
If you're lucky there might be a used sporting goods shop near you that'll buy used bikes. Many modern bike shops don't bother with buying and selling used bikes anymore. One of the quickest ways to turn your used bike into cash is to find a local pawnshop. The old-fashioned, if inelegant, way to turn something like your used bike into quick cash. If you're lucky, you may have a shop nearby that specializes in buying, selling, and consigning used sporting equipment.
These guys might buy your bike, but for the right price? The advantage here is being able to sell locally and having the convenience of completing a transaction the same day you decide to walk in. The major concern, however, is getting maximum value for your bike. Many shops may lack the expertise to understand what your bike is really worth, or they may simply be unable to give you the amount you want. The lack of competitive buyers in a marketplace can prevent you from getting the highest return, or even the true market value of your bike. You might not even have a local place in your town to sell your used bike to. If that's the case, then the Internet is the only place to go.
4. Sell Your Used Bike On Craigslist
Everyone knows Craigslist. It is the place for online classifieds. Listing your bike is quick, easy, and free. Upload some photos, write a description, and within seconds your bike will be listed online. Once again, getting maximum value for your bike is the greatest concern here. The people who browse Craigslist are diverse and can range from experts to enthusiasts, to complete knobs. And the selling grounds on Craigslist are ripe for negotiation, something I personally find exhausting. If your bike is of any decent value expect low-ballers and aggressive hagglers.
When selling online, always try to be wary of scammers. Craigslist, in my experience, is full people who'll spam your email with bogus offers. The most important thing when dealing with and meeting Internet strangers is to make sure transactions are safe and secure. Many police stations now offer special areas for such transactions to occur.
One thing to consider is that your ad has to fight for attention, as it continuously gets bumped down by newer ads. If someone isn't searching for exactly what you're selling, they may never see it. I've dealt with a couple obscure vintage bikes that went ages without a single good offer. Craigslist just wasn't the right place. But it's hard to beat the convenience and lack of fees, and if you're up for the work and interaction it takes, then it may be the way to go.
3. Sell Your Used Bike On A Forum Website
The internet is rife with bike nerds, and places like online forums are where they gather. There are forums dedicated to every cycling discipline imaginable, from specific ideologies to brands, and interests. Sometimes they may be just the place to find the right buyer for your bike. Many cycling focused sites have specific buy and sell forums, which you can think of as a slightly more educated Craigslist. Still, visibility can be hit or miss depending on the site or bike, and you may run into similar issues that you do on Craigslist with low-ballers, potential scammers, or lack of views. Remember, if your bike doesn't sell locally, you'll have to pack and ship your bike. This costs money (sometimes a lot!), and if you don't have the materials or experience, it can be difficult. Here is an excellent post on How to Pack & Ship a Bicycle which can help. Selling your used bike on a forum can be a bit of extra work, but it can definitely help when you want to sell to a more specific type of buyer that you might not be able to find locally.
2. Sell Your Used Bike On eBay
eBay, unlike Craigslist, allows you reach a pool of buyers that spans the globe. You have to deal with shipping and eBay fees, but in exchange, you get great visibility and a high chance of your bike selling for what it's worth. The reason is the nature of eBay. Auctions tend to bring out a used bike's true value. A major hurdle involves developing a reputation through positive feedback. Often, buyers are more inclined to purchase from trusted sellers with good ratings. This isn't to say that you can't sell with poor or few ratings, but if you don't sell often or you're selling for the first time, there's a chance that you could be missing out on some buyers willing to spend a little more for confidence and security. One great advantage, however, is that eBay is the king of the “part out”. More than forums, eBay is where I trawl the internet for specific parts I want to buy. It's search and filtering functions make finding what I need easy. If you're having trouble selling your used bike as a whole, or you want to try and maximize your return by splitting your bike into its component parts. With eBay's global marketplace, it’s just easier to find that one (or hopefully more) buyers looking for what you're selling.