Most frequently asked questions:
"How much is my old bike worth?"
or
"How do I sell it"

Updated 1.11.2020

BASICS

1.) Original condition is very important, in both parts and finish, including decals. Restoring, in other words 'repainting', damages a great deal of the value that might have been there. Repainted bikes are harder to sell to collectors, no matter how good the paint job is... A good guide: if you choose to repaint your bike, do it for yourself, not for any enhancement of it's future selling price.

2.) The brand or bicycle frame maker should be well known; nostalgia drives most buyers. Sadly, even high quality workmanship means very little if it is an obscure make. Not fair, but true.

3.) Older is almost always better, but see #1

4.) "Fancier" models trump lower-in-the-range models. The higher the model within that maker's line, the more appeal the bike will have.

5.) Historical provenance can significantly increase monetary value -  BUT it must be proven, the seller must have valid original, confirmable documents that support claims. Without that, it is just hearsay and adds no value.

6.) It is difficult to predict what the selling price for your bike might end up being. On occasion, a particular bike might sell for a very high $ amount, but we cannot assume all similar models will match that high price.  To find out what a similar item has actually sold for (not just what was initially asked) check "sold items" in eBay Advanced Search.
    Also there is a section in BikeForums.net called "What's it worth; Appraisals & Inquiries". The opinions expressed by its member vary significantly based upon geography and the experience of writers. Be cautious in accepting the comments there.

7.) Owners often exaggerate their bike values (it must be an ego thing?) In the end, your bike is only worth what a specific person is willing to pay, right now, today. Anything other than that is just wishful thinking. Be realistic!

8.) If nicely asked and supplied with the pictures mentioned in #6, most vintage lightweight bicycle enthusiasts will give you an opinion/an educated guess of what your bike might sell for. It takes a little research to find those people. Unfortunately, as per the rules, the Classic Rendezvous Google forum members are not allowed to be asked "value".  But the individual members could be asked privately.

 


GETTING READY TO SELL:

1.)  Carefully, gently but scrupulously clean the bike; use a tooth brush, car cleaning products like Armorall or equivalent (no build-up in crevices...) Just as in selling a home or an automobile, a grubby  item will not appeal to most buyers. (There are some who prefer to leave the patina 100% untouched. Certainly if this a historical bike, like Gino Bartali's old bike, that makes sense. But, as with a nice object of any kind, clean & well adjusted trumps rough.)

2.) Many high quality digital pictures are needed, of whole bike and many details of frame junctures, decals, and components. Find a very plain background and shoot on a slightly overcast day. (Avoid "scenic" backgrounds; grass, trees, seascapes, etc. and do not shoot outside in sunny days) Natural light and no flash.  It's best to upload these pictures to a photo-hosting web site like Flickr, Google photos, Smugmug, etc. and then refer potential buyers to those pictures. They can also be linked in your online auctions or selling sites. A secondary benefit is that good pictures can engender discussion which in itself can stimulate interest in new potential buyers! This can help your selling effort and onlookers can learn & discuss your item.

3.) List and describe in detail the make , model and dimensions of every component part.

4.) Include precise physical dimensions of the frame. At minimum, include the seat tube length center-to-center and center-to-top, top tube c-to-c, bottom bracket height, stand over at center on top tube, chain stay length, fork rake or offset. Ask any cycling enthusiast to help if you do not understand this stuff.

WHERE TO SELL

1.) Person-to-Person
- Through a local bike shop.
There will likely be a very high commission because your used bike will take the space and staff time of one of their own new bikes.
- Local/regional Swap Meet or Flea market.  Usually offering mostly unsophisticated buyers and very often a low selling price.

2.)  VIA Online Contact
- BikeForums Classics & Vintage SALE section.  Requires an upgraded ($) membership.
- Craig's List (free, but selling something nice on it is a long shot... but you never know!)
- eBay + Paypal Yes, it costs about 15% or so, but you get 'relatively' safe world wide exposure and millions of potential buyers - this simply cannot be matched by any other means. Start high and let the market tell you if that is not going to work. It costs a pittance to place an item up for auction; they get you when it sells.
- Facebook has a number of places where bikes are offered for sale.  For vintage lightweights, pages like Steel Is Real, Vintage bicycles uk - for sale / swap /, and probably others.  wanted
- The Classic Rendezvous Google group requires joining (free) and then offers your bike to the approx. 4000 members. The For Sale announcements can be posted only one time, must have pictures accompanying the offer and must include an 'up front' set price. Therefore, as with any serious attempt to sell something, quite a bit of preparation is necessary before posting.
 

                                           Best of luck!

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