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2021’s best/worst trends in used bike sales

Hot takes and hot messes on the resale marketplace

The market for used bikes has never been hotter than it is right now. With the ongoing shortage of bikes and replacement parts there’s never been a better time to clear out your spare gear bin, or more incentive to finally post your N+1 bike for sale.

At its best, the hot used market is connecting riders with the small parts or bikes they need to get riding this year. On the other side of things, the seller’s market is leading to some more questionable practices.

Here’s the best – and worst – trends in used bike sales right now. And yes, we’ve seen every one of these at least once.

Looking for Vintage Campagnolo Delta Brakes? Try your local Facebook marketplace. Photo by James Ramsay

2021’s best / worst trends in used bike sales

The Good

The comments

Internet comments sections do not suffer fools quietly. The bad vibes of rude or unreasonable sellers (see below) are arguably balanced out by the sheer entertainment of watching the comments section unleash on overpriced bikes. Or the obvious stoke in the comments for an especially cool bike.

Actually being able to find the parts you need

If you’re looking for a very specific part to get your dream build rolling again, the used market is a great way to track down the odd, or obscure part you need.

Cleaning out your parts bin

The flip side of the above is that now is the perfect time to clear out your parts bin. That weird part you thought you’d be stuck with forever? Right now is the best time to post it, knowing it’ll go to a good home. You’re sure to find someone who is stoked to see it.

Cool vintage bikes coming out of the woodwork

With every TV and newspaper running features on the cycling boom, all kinds of cool vintage bikes are emerging from garages to online marketplaces.

The beautiful soul posting their perfectly good bike at a totally reasonable price

Some people are taking advantage of the bike boom to set unreasonable prices for used gear. Other, amazing humans are sticking closer to what their used bike was worth 12 months ago.

Who wouldn’t want to buy this “barely used” beauty?

The Bad

Terrible pictures for online posts

We’re not asking for studio-quality photography, but buyers should be able to tell what kind of bike is for sale. A drive-side photo, and detail shots of any damage are essential. Anything beyond that can only help. If you need some tips on getting better bike photos, award-winning photographer and Canadian Cycling Magazine regular Nick Iwanyshyn shared his trade secrets with us, just to help you out.

RELATED: Tricks for taking better photos of your bike

No size, no info

Nothing’s worse than asking thousands and thousands of dollars for your used bike and not bothering to let buyers know what size it is. Other details that are key are component details like drivetrain, brakes, wheels. But size is the absolute minimum.

Selling dirty parts / claiming clearly used items are new

If you’re trying to sell something to a stranger, at least take a couple minutes to clean it. And if you’re claiming a component is new, a cassette, for example, it probably shouldn’t have a thick layer of grease and debris embedded on it.

The very real intro to a real post, which has since been removed and reposted in a much more polite tone. Also, don’t post your personal information online!

The Ugly

Setting prices over MSRP

Price gouging sucks. Just because parts are in short supply doesn’t mean you should charge more than it’s worth. Parts are still available in stores – so don’t fall for this one, either. At least one store in your area will have what you’re looking for.

Ancient relics for new bike prices

Now is a great time to dust off that bike you’ve been holding on to, but never riding. But, while someone out there will surely be excited to see a bike – any bike – in their size, charging the same price for the 1997 version of a bike as what it sells for now is lame. Better to enjoy the good Karma of letting it go for a reasonable price, knowing someone else will enjoy that bike.

“I know what I have” / being rude

Just because it’s a seller’s market doesn’t mean you can be a jerk. In fact, just don’t be a jerk in general.