Gone Outdoors

How to Price Used Bicycles

by Lisa Parris

For many people, assessing the value of a used bicycle can be an intimidating project. Most people assume it will be a simple task, until they begin to do the research and stumble upon the numerous variables and components that are significant when assigning a price to a second-hand bike. Before you begin, be sure the bicycle in question is ready to ride with no fatal flaws, then follow the steps in the guide below and with a few minor calculations you will have your price.

Factor in the age of the bike. For an older bike in good condition you can expect to get approximately 35 to 40 percent of the initial sales price. For a newer bike, the asking price is generally anywhere from 40 to 55 percent of the original ticket.

Research the cost of the bike when it was new and compare it to the cost of similar models currently available on the market. If, five years ago, the bike cost $600 new, but today a similar model sells for $900, the bike will command a price that is slightly higher than half. As with all things, certain bike styles and features rise and fall in popularity.

Consider the condition the bike is in, paying particular attention to the frame and the drive train components (the brakes, the shifter, the chain, the rear cassette and the levers) as these are the most expensive parts to repair or replace. If you're not sure where these parts are located on the specific model in question or if it has them, different models have different parts, reference a basic bicycle repair guide or search for a model specific diagram (see Resources).

Include the quality of the components in the overall pricing scheme. A frame made from aluminum won't fetch as much money as one made from steel or titanium. Also, if there are significant improvements to things such as the brakes, the gears, the seat or the tires, a higher price tag is completely justified.

Estimate the cost of any repairs that may need to be done. Brake pad and cable replacements are minor repairs and should not have a great impact on the overall price. On the other hand, a damaged wheel costs more and this should be factored in to the final figure.

Items you will need
  • Bicycle
  • General bicycle repair guide (optional)

Tip

  • If you're short on time, as a general rule of thumb, the condition of the chain can serve as a basic indicator of the overall condition of the bike. A chain that is well-oiled and free of debris is a sign of a bike that has seen ongoing, routine maintenance.

About the Author

Lisa Parris is a writer and former features editor of "The Caldwell County News." Her work has also appeared in the "Journal of Comparative Parasitology," "The Monterey County Herald" and "The Richmond Daily News." In 2012, Parris was honored with awards from the Missouri Press Association for best feature story, best feature series and best humor series.

Photo Credits

  • wikimedia commons