How to Sell Your Bike on Craigslist

Craigslist is one of the finest places to sell your bike. What’s not to appreciate about something that’s free, popular, and effective? I’ve sold several bikes on Craigslist — frequently for the same price as I bought for them. Indeed, several individuals successfully sell their bicycles on Craigslist. However, it is not a magical occurrence. Here are some recommendations to help you sell your bike on Craigslist for a reasonable price.

What price should you ask on Craigslist for your old bike?

Bikes, like automobiles, lose their value the moment they are no longer new. Even if you’re never going to ride it. Therefore, if you purchased your bike new, do not expect to recoup your investment. This virtually seldom occurs. (I did it once, but only because I purchased the bike at a significant bargain and took excellent care of it.) Therefore, you want to determine what is a reasonable price that you may fairly anticipate to receive.

To determine a reasonable price, examine what the same model sells for new. Then work your way down. If the bike is almost new and in mint condition, you may expect to receive around 75% of the new price. Most likely less. Consider between 50% and 75%, and you’re in the ballpark.

Then, cross-check that ballpark by visiting Craigslist to see what similar bikes are selling for. If you are unable to locate any in your immediate area, search Craigslist for a much larger city. This will provide you with an accurate ballpark figure. Determine if your bike is in better or worse condition than the listed bikes and adjust your pricing appropriately.

Allow Room for Negotiation on the Price

It’s usually a good idea to advertise slightly higher than the price you desire to allow for negotiation. Certain individuals like bargaining and will avoid purchasing something if they cannot obtain a “discount.” Others believe that bargaining is impolite. On Craigslist, you never know who will show up.

Two examples from my experience selling bikes on Craigslist: one person directly asked me, “What is your absolute bottom line price?” I informed him, and he arrived and test drove the bike for an extended period of time. Then he reappeared and extracted the precise bottom line price in cash from his pocket.

Over another occasion, the gentleman was a little evasive on the phone. He arrived and had a good look at the bike up close. I invited him to test drive it. He declined, which took me by surprise (I would never recommend this when buying a used bike). He stated that he was not required to ride it because he had read my review and knew it was the correct bike for him, as well as the fact that it was in excellent condition. Then he extracted my exact asking amount in cash from his pocket and walked away with the bike.

That was the bike I sold for the same amount as when I purchased it a year prior, but I purchased it at a 33 percent reduction, ensuring the buyer received a terrific deal. Particularly since I treat my motorcycles like newborns. (And being the mother of three newborns, I understand how to care for people and things.)

Writing an effective Craigslist post to sell your bike
The critical point is to craft an effective Craigslist advertisement. To begin, here is an example of an advertisement that is completely incorrect.

That was the bike I sold for the same amount as when I purchased it a year prior, but I purchased it at a 33 percent reduction, ensuring the buyer received a terrific deal. Particularly since I treat my motorcycles like newborns. (And being the mother of three newborns, I understand how to care for people and things.)

Writing an effective Craigslist ad to sell your bike

The critical point is to craft an effective Craigslist advertisement. To begin, here is an example of an advertisement that is completely incorrect.

  • Mention the manufacturer of the bicycle (such as Trek, Specialized, Raleigh, Fuji, Mongoose, etc.). The public is really interested in knowing this — it is critical information.
  • Additionally, describe the bike’s model in as much detail as possible (such as Trek Valencia, Specialized Secteur Triple, Raleigh Detour City Sport, Mongoose Crossway 150 Fem, etc.).
  • If possible, provide the year of manufacturing (such as 2015). If you are unsure about the year, provide an age as accurately as possible. You should be able to determine the year if you go online and conduct some research. Do not attempt to fudge this one — motorcycles come in a variety of hues throughout the years, and a smart buyer can easily determine if you are lying about the bike’s age. On the other side, this simplifies the process for you as well.
  • Indicate the size. Specify the size as precisely as possible (e.g. 15 inches for a mountain bike or hybrid, or 54 cm for a road bike). If you need assistance with this, there is a great page about bike frame sizes here. If you are unsure about the size, attempt to determine if it is a small, medium, or big. Additionally, it is really beneficial to state anything along the lines of “It fits me great and I am 6’8”. This way, folks over the height of 5’2″ won’t have to spend their time coming to test out a bike they couldn’t even climb aboard. Failure to indicate the size saves neither you nor the potential buyer time. When I enquired about the size of a bike recently, the overly enthusiastic salesman assured me that it would “fit any adult.” That annoyed me sufficiently that I proceeded to the next bike. Adults, after all, range in height from 4.5 to over 7 feet.
  • Indicate (truthfully) why you’re selling the bike, such as “I’ve concluded that road bikes are not for me; I’m selling this to get a mountain bike.” “This bicycle is just too large for me.” “I’m unable to cycle due to knee surgery.” “It turns out that cycling is not for me.” “I’d like to get a new bike, but my partner says I cannot till I sell this one.” “I need to get an electric bike because my commute has increased significantly.” Essentially, strive to express something honest and relatable.
  • Include information about the bike’s condition, such as “This bike is in like-new condition – I have used it about 30 times, mostly in dry weather and in urban environments,” or “This bike is used but in good condition – I have put several thousand miles on it, but I have maintained it well, and it is still in great shape.” Alternatively, “It’s been sitting in the garage for 30 years; I can’t guarantee for its condition.” Be candid — you do not want someone to return the bike two days later and demand a refund. And you certainly do not want someone to be harmed as a result of your failure to report that the brakes were not working!
  • Include as much information as possible on the components and their specifications. If you don’t know all the specifics (and frankly, who does?) you may just copy this from a website.
  • Include a link to a positive review of the bike if you can locate one online. This will save the potential customer some time and effort in conducting research, and is extremely likely to persuade them to purchase.
  • A nice Craigslist advertisement for selling a secondhand bike
  • The following is an example of an effective Craigslist advertisement for a secondhand bike. Notably, it includes all pertinent information in the subject line, saving customers time from clicking on the ad and discovering the bike is too small/old/expensive, etc. The subject line includes the year of production (2013), the manufacturer (Trek), the information that it is a women’s bike (WSD = Women Specific Design), the model of the bike (7.5 FX), the size (small), and the asking price ($500 or best offer).

The body of your Craigslist ad reads as follows: Selling my lovely Trek bike. This is a Female-Specific Design. Small – 49 cm Would be appropriate for someone about 5’3″ with tiny hands (glove size Small). I’m selling this bike since I’ve been forced to give up cycling due to knee surgery. The bike has been barely used — perhaps less than 500 km in excellent weather. It is in excellent condition and has recently been serviced; it is ready to ride away. Rat-trap, mudflaps, and lights are included. Excellent commuter bike, lightweight and simple to ride! The asking price is $500 or the best fair offer.

Following that, include any technical specifications for the bike, if you have them. They are frequently available for download from many locations on the Internet. If possible, include a link to a positive review, such as this one that assisted me in selling my Specialized Sequoia. Once, a customer informed me that he noticed my advertisement connected to my OWN review and wondered how he could trust it. I said that I wrote the evaluation 18 months prior to selling the bike, indicating that it was not prepared with the intention of selling the bike. He purchased the bike, and both he and I were overjoyed!

Photos for your Craiglist bike ad

Bear in mind that you must include at least one current image. The majority of consumers will disregard a bike advertisement that lacks photographs. Craigslist enables you to simply (and for free!) upload many photographs, which is a terrific concept. Photograph the gears, the brakes, and the wheels — in short, photograph everything and put it in the advertisement. Ascertain that the first photo is the greatest possible, as this will be the one that appears in the ad preview.

Getting your bike ready so you get a good price

Allow at least two hours to thoroughly clean the bike until it sparkles like new. Wheels, frame, and chain should all be cleaned. This package is a terrific offer from Amazon — it covers everything you need to clean a bike for a reasonable price.

To polish the frame, wipe it down carefully with a good degreaser. This can restore it to near-new condition!

Additionally, if the bike has any rust, attempt to remove it. If the rust is very superficial, it is typically possible to remove it by applying a little oil to it, washing it with fine steel wool (bronze or brass steel wool works best), and then wiping it clean with a towel. If the rust is severe, you are unlikely to be able to repair it and should not expect to receive a high price for the bike. I am aware of an outstanding solution that effectively eliminates surface rust with a single thorough cleaning. Additionally, I use it to preserve my bicycles from rust. I personally use this product on a daily basis and can testify for it. Due to my frequent travels, my bikes are frequently left outside, which I despise. This product, on the other hand, preserves them and restores them when I am forgetful. Additionally, it lubricates.

Dealing with potential buyers of your bike

As with any interaction with strangers, caution is required. If you are in any way vulnerable, avoid inviting strangers inside your house and instead meet them in public. And never allow someone to test ride your bike without forcing them to leave anything with you, such as a driver’s license. When I test ride another person’s bike, I typically offer to leave my driver’s license and vehicle keys. That way, they’ll recognize me, and if I steal their bike, they’ll also have my vehicle! This should suffice to tell them that you have no intention of stealing their bike.

Be Safety Aware

Although I’ve had nothing but positive experiences buying and selling bikes on Craigslist, there are some unscrupulous individuals out there. Recently in Canada, a man was killed while taking a test ride in a vehicle he was trying to sell with two strangers. While this is quite uncommon, it serves as a lesson to exercise extreme caution with strangers. It is usually preferable to meet strangers in public — for instance, outside their condominium complex, rather than inside their unit.

Prepare to haggle over the price and have a final, bottom-line figure in mind. If you still have your bike’s receipts, providing these may frequently clinch the sale, as they establish that you are the legal owner. And frequently demonstrates to the buyer how much they are saving in comparison to the new pricing.

Once a price has been agreed upon, refuse to take checks from strangers and insist on payment in cash.