How to sell a used bike: Free Guide

Whether you are looking to upgrade to a new bike or clear some space in your garage, selling a used motorbike should not be a hassle. Most reputable bike shops won’t buy used bikes; in addition, the high rate of bike theft in cities makes selling your bike harder than it’s worth. So it’s probably much easier to sell the bike yourself.


The best place to sell your used bike is on online classified sites such as Craigslist, eBay, Amazon, so on. We have outlines some steps below that will make it easy to connect with potential buyers and strike the best deal possible.

Step 1: Valuation and Pricing

Before you post your bike for advertisement, determine how much it’s worth. When pricing your bike, you need to consider what you paid for the bike, its current condition, relative popularity of your bike’s style and current demand of your bike. For instance, a classic old city bike will generally fetch a premium price compared to a quality old mountain bike. Generally, motorbike valuation depends on factors such as;

  • Model/make/year

  • Custom features, e.g. chrome and paintwork

  • Cosmetic damage

  • Mechanical damage

After your valuations, check online for other similar models to find out what their pricing is and factor this in your final pricing decision

Step 2: Define your bike

Bike type: It’s important to define your bike type in detail so that the buyer knows exactly what they are getting. For instance, mountain bikes often have a relaxed geometry, a 26” wheels, flat bars, and may have a dual suspension or front shocks. Road bikes on the other hand may have aggressive frame geometry, a 27” wheels and drop bars. City bikes often have relaxed geometry, loop or step-through frames and handlebars that sweep back. If it’s a hybrid, it will have a combination of the above features, and probably fall somewhere in the middle.

Model, Make and parts: A bike brand can easily be seen on the frame, unless it has been repainted or it’s too old. You can also get the model name somewhere on the bike rails. You can also find more details of the bike on the manufacture’s website, if it is a relatively new model. In order to attract bike enthusiast who know what they need in a bike, be more specific on bike parts such as cranset, hubs, brakes, racks, fenders, chain guard and so on.

Bike frame size: Most bikes have their frame sizes posted on the seat tube. If the sticker has been removed, you can determine accurate measurements using a tape measure.

Step 3: Note the Bike’s condition

If you feel you don’t have the technical knowledge to assess the accurate condition of your bike, take it to your local bike shop or repairer for assessment: most bike shops can do this for free. The assessment will recommend fixes and describe to you what is required. Ask your mechanic if there is anything you can fix right away to bring the bike back into a rideable shape. Take note of any further maintenance recommendations and communicate the same to the potential buyer.

Step 4: Clean the bike

A little mud on the rims and traces of rust on the frames can dramatically change the pricing and negotiation terms of a used bike. So before posting your bike for sell, rinse it with cool water to remove any loose dirt. Clean the plastic parts using a cloth or soft sponge and a mild detergent. Rinse your bike thoroughly and dry it under shade. Lubricate the chain and other moving parts and remember to test if the brakes are still in good condition.

Step 5: Take lots of good picture

The best way to showcase your bike’s features and condition is by taking lots of quality photos. So after a sparkly wash, take plenty of quality photos and choose the best 4 to 7 that you will use. You do not necessarily need a specialized camera- an average smartphone camera and adequate lighting will suffice.

If you want to get a little fancier, you can organize for a small photo-shoot of some kind. Find a good place in the garden or at least a clean spot in your basement and take some nice shots. Aim to get at least two good shots of the full bike at different angles, as well as close-ups of rear and front brakes, Fork, shocks, freewheel, cranks shifters and brake levers. Remember to highlight any areas with nicks, scratches, gouges and so on.

Step 6: Decide where you want to sell your bike

When it comes to selling stuff online, there is definitely no shortage of options, but each comes with its own downsides. The biggest and probably most professional option is eBay. Both you and the buyer are protected; however, eBay takes a significant cut from your sale as a commission. Adding this to the transaction cost on PayPal, you end up taking home a considerably less amount than what you priced for.

Craigslist on the other hand is free to use and is generally reputable. You will also get a local buyer, which means the shipping cost will be eliminated. You need to note however that you are likely to get a bunch of low offers before you get what you are asking for.

Step 7: Negation

Negotiation is generally unavoidable when it comes to selling a used bike. Having listed your asking price, offers will naturally flow in, and you are going to get some low ballers, as well as some wired trade offers. It’s therefore important that you understand some basic rules, which include;

  • Decide the lowest price you want to offer.

  • Don’t make the first move- encourage the buyer back to the first price first if they attempt to negotiate.

  • Do not allow low offers or negative comments to put you off, rather, let them know your counter offer.


Step 8: complete the deal

Once you have landed on a potential buyer, make sure you complete the following steps before finalizing your deal;

Sales agreement: For future reference and resolution of any disputes, be sure to put your transaction in writing by filling out a bill of sale form.

Agree on deposit: If your buyer needs to work on deposit terms, agree on the amount in advance.

Confirm payment: The best modes of payment are bank cheque, person at bank or electronic transfer.

Send the shipment: After all transaction terms have been laid out and agreed upon, you can pack the bike nicely, and maybe take a last selfie with it before dispatching it to the agreed shipping address.

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