If you are new to the aftermarket road bike scene, then you might initially find yourself browsing through ads on Craigslist and eBay. While this strategy works for a lot of people, there are a few tips for you, which will make it easier to find a used road bike and for the best bike locks to ensure safety of your new bike do read The Ultimate Buyer’s guide to bicycle locks.
So, let’s get started with the tips and tricks to buy a good used road bike.
Clearly define what you need
There is nothing such as the best road bikes. All road bikes have their pros and cons and if you want to buy a used road bike, you first have to clearly define the features that must be present in the used road bike. For example, if you an average cycler and mid-range road bike, you cannot expect to get a carbon frame road bike. For you, something like a steel road bike, with 55 cm to 57 cm size, traditional geometry with flat top tube, navy blue or black colour and Shimano 105 components is going to make sense. So before you jump to conclusion that there isn’t a good used road bike available, make sure you are not stretching your requirements. A bike like the one I described above will cost you anything between $600 and $1000, depending on the condition of materials and age.
eBay vs. Craigslist: Which marketplace is the best?
Both marketplaces are well established and have different models all together. While eBay is an auction based aftermarket site, Craigslist is more or less like online classifieds for used products. On eBay, you will find used bikes with photos, by real users. You cannot test ride it before buying it, but can be assured that your money is going to be safe with eBay, till you tell them that the bike you received is ok. Once you find a good used bike, simply pay for it, and get it delivered at your doorstep. If you like it, keep it, else eBay has an excellent returns policy. As far as Craigslist is concerned, you will find dodgy listings from a lot of sellers. You can test ride the bike, but only if the seller lives nearby. Since the seller won’t be paying any listing fees and commissions, you can expect a good discount from him.
So, from where should you buy a used road bike?
Well, if you are looking for premium, expensive road bike, go with premium listings on eBay, and if you want a cheap used road bike, prefer listings from Craigslist.
Bargain till you drop
Used bike market is not as popular as used Apple products market. While Apple computers are known to retain their value over the years, used bikes don’t. So, when you finally meet a seller, ask him for steep discounts. If a road bike is more than 3 years old and looks moderately to heavily used, do not pay more than 30% of retail price. Also never be afraid to walk away if the seller is not willing to cooperate. Finding a good used bike is difficult, but there’s no point in losing money unnecessarily.