I’m writing today,
asking you, no, imploring you, at all costs, please don’t sell your bike to a jerk. Let your Local Bike Shop (LBS) sell to jerks. Jerks should pay nothing less than full price (and your LBS should benefit from them). Also, they should not be permitted to acquire a piece of equipment on which you made marvelous, heartfelt memories and achieved immense personal growth.
As you may have surmised, I recently sold my bicycle. Not just any whip; this was the first brand new (to me) steed I ever purchased that had shiny, fresh, quality components and for which I paid a pretty penny. His name? Mr. Nipples aka Nipples. Mr. Nipples named himself. The wheel builder didn’t accurately prep his rear wheel, and nipples would come unscrewed and fall into the rim. I lost many spokes in that period. Eventually, a Seattle shop replaced it during my first bike tour when my LBS contacted them to ask that they build me a new one. (I was losing spokes left and right and wasn’t going to make it to Oregon on one spoke alone!) The old wheel remained at the store for the distributor to retrieve.
Nipples and I had many adventures together. Three bike tours, my first cyclocross season, gravel races, end-to-end rides of many local trails, my initial completion of the DAMn, and yes, a crash (don’t worry, I took the brunt of the hit for him). Mr. Nipples was my Giving Tree (but I do think I cared for him much better than that punk did the tree.)
Lucky for me, I live in the Twin Cities, where there is a thriving bike scene and cyclists are always ready to sink their teeth (or feet?) into a new-to-them ride. Thus, there is a brilliant trading post on Facebook in my area where you can buy and sell used bikes. I decided that would be my first place to try and sell my precious two-wheeler.
After consulting with friends about a fair price, I posted my bike, feeling hopeful I’d successfully pass down my loyal chariot to someone who would be as appreciative and excited as I had been. Crickets. A couple of days later – a bite! I had a message (hint: it was the jerk). I’ll summarize, but it went something like this: “Hi. I see your bike. Even though it’s a quality build, the new one is only $X (a new one didn’t exist – they were comparing my Handsome frame built with custom components to a stock build on the website). I would pay $X ($350 less than my asking price), but no one will pay what you are asking.”
Everyone wants a deal, but there is a way to negotiate and a way not to. That is an excellent example of how not to. Don’t undermine the person who will potentially sell you their beloved bicycle. If they are selling an expensive bike, they generally know what it is worth. A perfect example of how to ask for a deal? “Hey, that’s a sweet build you have there, it caught my attention. Would you consider accepting $X rather than the listed price?” If they decline, respect their answer. Then save up or find another bike you can afford.
Arguably, a teeny percentage of people posting may not know a bicycle’s worth. Perhaps it’s a deceased loved one’s, it got passed on to them, or maybe they want to get it off their hands. In that case, your duty as a non-jerk (unless you think it’s stolen,) is to inform them. My groupset alone cost as much as the stock build bike to which the jerk was comparing it. I replied to the jerk, “I appreciate your interest, but I am unwilling to part with it for that price at this time. I’ll let you know if I change my mind.” What my internal voice really said was, “Even if you offered me more than my asking price, with that approach, I don’t want your filthy attitude on my bike!”
But enough about the jerk because a few days later, I found the knight to ride my stallion to his new stable! Someone contacted me in search of a new ride for their partner. It was for a NEW FEMALE GRAVEL RIDER! I couldn’t have been more ecstatic! After a few messages, we arranged a meetup date. Originally I had been quite sad about parting with Mr. Nipples – even though I had a shiny new bike at home. We bonded; we had memories and experiences together. But parting ways to introduce a new female-identifying rider to the gravel world?! Heck yes! She tested it, and they agreed they wanted to give Nipples a new home and considered my price fair. Best of all? She’ll be riding Mr. Nipples alongside myself and my friend, Annie (another first-time gravel racer,) at The Filthy 50 in October. I couldn’t be happier with the result of my bicycle sale. It was worth it to wait for a proper offer but also feel joy about selling my bike.
Some pointers on selling your beloved bike:
- When I began the process of selling my bike, my friend, Tim, had some sound advice for me. He told me, “Have an amount in mind that you want, and if you have a lower offer but won’t feel good about it, don’t sell it.”
- Research your bike components and frame. Learn about trends and the feasibility of selling a bike like yours at the time of sale.
- If you aren’t up-to-date on trends and are unsure if you are asking a reasonable price, connect with folks who work in the industry for advice. Visit an LBS or use an online forum. It’s as essential to be as fair to buyers as your bank account.
- Don’t sell your bike to a jerk.
- If you must sell your bike to a jerk, refer to Rule #4.