The Art of Buying and Selling Used Bikes and Components

There comes a time in every mountain bikers life that they want to upgrade their current sled or get rid of unused parts. This is a normal progression as tastes, riding styles and parts change over time. Some of us fortunate riders carry a huge monkey on our back known as UGI. UGI…or in the medical world known as upgradeitis…is the constant need to have the latest and greatest from the mountain bike world to thrash around some great singletrack or dh run. In its worst cases, UGI can completely obsess the thoughts of its easy prey and convince its host that upgrading several times over a single season is a good idea!

With all of this bike and parts swapping, what is a rider to do with all of the excess? SELL IT! The used bike part market is a great chance to recoup some investment, fund a new project or just get some extra cash from pieces that are just hanging out on your garage. It is also a great source for high quality used parts at a discount over retail cost. Already know that UGI is going to hit you hard in the near future? It might be time to buy used to fend off that deadly depreciation.

Where do I go to buy/sell used parts?

Typically, there are several places the eager buyer or seller goes to enter the used bike and parts market.

  • Forum Classifieds (,, local boards)
  • Craigslist
  • eBay

I have found that eBay has the highest price followed by the forum classifieds and then Craigslist as a general rule. eBay also provides the greatest amount of buyer and seller protection, so there is a benefit to the increased cost. However, the forum classifieds are a great source to find the exact parts you are looking to sell quickly or buy from other forum members. Craigslist can be a great source to buy and sell used items, but beware of scams.

For the most part, I keep my used part addiction centered around the forum classifieds and the occasional ebay sell/purchase. Forum members…on average…are easier to deal with and the cost of doing business is much lower. Forum classified posts are either free or maybe a couple bucks, so the upfront cost of listing your items is very low. If there isn’t a bite on the forum sites, the item hits eBay for that lucky high bidder.

The opposite is true if I am in the market for some used UGI greatness. I hit the forums first, eBay second.

I Need to Sell!!

So you have a garage full of biking stuff and you need to get rid of it to fund a new project. There are a couple of things to keep in mind as you go about your journey as a bike and component broker.

  • SRAM X.O Rear DerailleurThere is more money in parting out complete bikes – All things created equal, you are going to get more money parting out bikes over selling them complete. This takes much more effort on your part, but you get more money per item. You also have a larger buyer audience that is going to be interested in what you have to sell. This also allows you to keep parts that can go on the next project or serve as backups. I typically go through more frames than components by bringing the applicable parts from the previous build to the new one.
  • Mass Produced Brands – Right after I told you to part out your ride…I am going to tell you not to! Brands like Trek, Specialized, Giant and other big names in the industry do not sell well as frame only. You are going to have a easier time selling these types of bikes as a complete ride. Why is this? The typical buyer of a big box brand is looking for a complete bike because that is what is offered from the factory. How many times have you heard of someone buying just a Trek frame? Not too often…and the buyers of used goods are thinking along the same lines. Some of the bigger brands also rely on proprietary components that make selling them individually even harder.
  • Your listed price is not the final price – Unless you are selling on eBay, the price you list for an item is not going to be the price you end up selling it for. Much like the used car market, the used bike market has a small amount of bartering built in, so be prepared for that as you list your asking price.
  • Do some research – Before you list your bike or component, do some research around the typical buy/sell areas to see what like items are going for. If you need to get rid of it quickly, list a price slightly lower to gain some increased attention. Also pay close attention to the condition of your item vs. those of others…this affects overall selling price.

I Need To Buy!!

In the market to upgrade your current sled and don’t want to pay taxes or for that pretty box it comes packaged in? Great…there are some incredible deals out there that will make your ride feel new again at the fraction of the cost of retail.

  • Niner Jet 9Watch out for scams – As much as I wish everyone was honest…they aren’t. Do your homework and make sure you don’t get caught in another one of those Craigslist scams. Use Paypal or pay cash in person…
  • Only buy bikes and components with high quality, detailed pictures – In many cases, the parts and bikes you are purchasing are too far away to see in person before buying. For this reason, only buy parts or bike components that have very detailed pictures so that you can make an educated decision before spending the cash.
  • Check your local forums first, national second – Check out the forums first. You will…most times…get a better deal locally and you will be buying from someone you trust. Even if the part or bike you are looking for is not listed, throw up a “hey…I’m looking for _____” type post…you never know what might be laying in one of your riding buddies garages.
  • Listed price is not final price – Just as I mentioned in the selling part of this article, the price that is listed for that bike or bike component is not the expected selling price. Always try to get a price slightly lower than advertised…with in reason.
  • Provide as many high quality, detailed pictures as you can – People want to see what they are purchasing before they hand you that cash they work so hard for. If you want to sell your bike and bike components…provide pictures that show your possible customer exactly what they are getting.

The Used Bike and Component Market

The used bike and component market is a great source to upgrade, downgrade, sell or change things around a little bit at a fraction of the cost of buying retail. There is always a ton of great deals out there and I constantly keep my eye on what is available.

You do not get the service and return policy of local bike shops and online retailers, but if you shop it right…you should be a happy cyclist in the end. Much of the used bike and component market is filled with riders…just like me…who swap out components on a regular basis. These riders are buying and selling parts that probably appear to be brand new. They might even have the original box!

As we get ready for the riding season, take a look through your garage and use parts to fund something new. Every rider loves a new bike or component! I think it is in our blood…

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