If you're looking to sell a mountain bike for the first time, it's likely that it's in preparation for a new bike purchase. Mountain bikes are only getting more expensive so having a solid plan for selling your bike will at least help reduce the sting of your upcoming purchase a little bit.
This post provides some tips for selling your mountain bike including:
- when to put your bike on the market
- what to include in in your listing and how to price it
- where to put it on the market
This post will not help you explain to friends and family who still don't understand why you would need a new bike after a couple of years). If somebody wants to try and crack that nut, please contribute to ViteBike :)
Don't wait until your bike is toast
I have gotten into the rhythm of turning my bike over every two years, and would recommend this to a large portion of riders who ride often and ride hard. To put that in perspective, I ride around 2000 miles a year on often on rocky, steep, and technically depending terrain. For those who ride less, you can definitely go longer than this and keep the bike in good condition. I also know others that sell their bike every year. They get more on resale but are always needing to budget the extra amount needed each year. I'm not an accountant nor a financial advisor; do what you think works best for your individual situation.
However, as the years tick by, keep in mind that your bike will just become less valuable because newer and newer models will be available for purchase. My best advice for this area is: just try to ride your bike as much as possible and sell it at around the two-year mark.
Staying within the two-year time frame allows you to strike a balance between reaping the value of the first bike when it's new while still recouping some of the cost to offset the next bike purchase.
As far as time of year, spring is a great time because many people are itching to ride once the snow melts and the ski resorts close. Although in 2020 it seems that any time is a good time to sell as there are more people looking to buy bikes than there are bikes available to sell. There's no reason to think that 2021 will be any less advantageous for bike sellers.
Write a comprehensive, honest listing with a reasonable price
Writing a bike for sale listing isn't going to be the highlight of your weekend (well at least I hope so). But taking the time to write a listing to include all relevant pieces of information the first time is going to save a lot of back and forth communication with people who may not even be that interested in buying your bike. There are numerous occasions when information such as the size of the bike is even left out. Be sure to include:
- The brand, model, and year, and size of your bike - This should all be in the title so that the reader can quickly know if they want to click on it to learn more or if it's not an option because of the size.
- Any damage to the bike or components cosmetic otherwise - If there are some tiny scratches feel free to leave off, but for any larger scratched or damage to components, it's important to note these. Scratch on your stanchion? Always say so upfront so you don't waste time when someone comes to look at it.
- Any upgrades you've made or components that are newer because you replaced them.
- At least 3-4 photos of your bike - consider providing an up-close shot of your fork and the rear triangle.
You know what you don't really need to provide in your listing? How much you rode it. It's annoying when somebody writes, “lightly ridden" because a) that's a subjective and relative statement from a stranger b) It seems like they are trying to market it to get more money. If you really didn't ride your bike that much and it doesn't have a scratch, that's fine to say but don't just default into saying “lightly ridden."
Finally, how much should you list your bike for? That is going to depend on the condition and how patient you can afford to be. I'd start with about half the price of what you paid for it–give or take any upgrades or recent services.
List your bike in the right channels
If you have time to wait around for the perfect buyer that's fine, but typically my personal goal is to move the bike at a reasonable cost quickly (but make sure you have your new bike in hand!) Depending on where you live, there will be different marketplaces for you to consider. Denver and the surrounding Front Range have multiple Facebook marketplace groups such as Front Range Bike Swap that consist of over 22k legit people looking to buy and sell bikes. Talk about the right audience.
There's always Craigslist as well although be prepared for a lot of inquiries from random strangers who you may or may not want to respond to. That's why something like Front Range Bike Swap makes a lot of sense for many sellers. Better yet, list them on both channels.
This is my least favorite part of the process. Once your bike is listed, be prepared to spend some time responding to people and setting up times for people to come by and look at your bike. This is not something most would call fun. A lot of people flake out and don't show up. Others may come and just be very indecisive. It's annoying, but it's also unavoidable.
More often than not, a potential buyer will try to offer a few hundred dollars less than what you listed it for. In the past, I would say that it's probably worth conceding to for the sake of moving the bike quickly. However, in 2020, there's a bit of a frenzy going on in terms of inventory. If you have a decent bike within a reasonable price range, you're likely going to be able to get what you ask for it.
Even though selling a bike always means that a new bike coming, it's always a little emotional to see someone wheeling off your bike never to be seen again. But to make the selling process as simple and painless as possible:
- Spend a little time writing your listing and double-check to ensure you've included all relevant information including year, size, and important components to note
- Commit to meeting as many potential sellers as is required and accept that this will probably throw off some of your plans
- List your bike in as many applicable marketplace channels as possible. For those who reside in the Front Range, Front Range Bike Swap and Craigslist are great places to start
- Determine how much negotiating you want to do in order to move the bike. How much is your time worth vs. getting a few hundred extra dollars on the sale?
I hope these tips help out. 2020 has been a funny year and I don't expect many people to have that many challenges when it comes to selling a mountain bike. Am I missing any major tips or considerations? Please leave them in the comment section below. And please consider contributing to ViteBike. We're a new community-based platform that welcomes any and all bike-related musings.