Get new tires BEFORE I sell my barely used bike (?) and other questions
December 29, 2018 8:37 AM   Subscribe

About a year ago, I impulse bought a very nice road bike (Specialized Sirrus) with some accessories for all told, around $800. Fast forward to now: bikes just aren't for me, and I want to sell it.* I'm sure I won't get nearly as much as I paid, and I'm ok with that. Wondering the best way to go about selling with some specific questions.

The first is: I have literally ridden the bike ONCE, but because I stored it for many months without checking the tires, the tires both flattened and one literally is coming off the bike (happened when I rode it). I'm probably going to go the craigslist route as it seems simplest (also because when I have called to inquire about selling to a bike shop, many don't buy OR try to sell me on further products to improve my experience). My question is: should I get new tires first and then sell? My instinct says yes, but I'm not a knowledgeable bike person, and I hesitate to spend more money since it's already a loss. Additionally, I wonder if a knowledgeable bike person looking for a deal would prefer to buy the bike as is for a discount and add the tires of their choice, is this likely?

Any advice on the tire situation and pricing is welcome (oh yeah, second question is price...? Not sure what to ask but willing to negotiate, and not sure the price difference with or without new tires).

Also FYI, accessories include two usb lights and two bike tubes (also can I put those on the bike? I'm out of my depth here).

Also, I'm in the NYC area, and don't have a car (though I do have zipcar), so carting the bike around to multiple shops/areas is not an ideal scenario).

*(I have had lots of well-meaning convos** with bike shop owners and friends and no, it's not a problem with the bike, yes, I'm riding it correctly [...], yes, I have the right equipment, and yes, I'm aware bicycling is fun [double "..."]-it was a retail therapy decision fail made while grieving due to a major life event and I'm certain I want to sell it).

**Lectures by
posted by Kemma80 to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Don't buy new tires. Advertise it with tires flat, and mention this as a selling point (similar to a 1973 car owned and garaged by a single driver who just drove it to church once per week).

Definitely don't put more money into it. Since you're in NYC, I think craigslist would be the ticket, but if you have issues with that stick it on ebay, it will sell.
posted by arnicae at 8:46 AM on December 29, 2018 [2 favorites]

My hubby sells on CL often (not bikes, just stuff). He will often put an ad up for his hoped-for price and if he gets a ton of interest, pull it down and repost at a higher price. This is common, as we've also had this happen to us as buyers. Depends on how niche your product is of course.

Don't put more money into something you are already taking a loss on. You will waste your own time if you don't at least mention the tires in the ad, but you could start with your highest hoped for price and then leave room for yourself to he negotiated with (you should have an idea of how much new tires will cost). If you don't get much interest you could pull the ad and repost at a lower price. Be prepared to post different pictures if you repost, otherwise people will know you are gaming the price and may ignore you altogether.

As always with CL, public place, cash only, and for a high dollar item such as this, bill of sale.
posted by vignettist at 8:50 AM on December 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

You likely just need air in the tires. Road tires and tubes commonly lose air over a few months.
posted by advicepig at 9:16 AM on December 29, 2018 [3 favorites]

I don't ride often, so I take my bike into a bike/repair shop every few years for a tuneup. It's less than $100. They will put air in the tires. You would probably get closer to the value of your bike if the tires have air. Not sure about the tire that is almost coming off, but it can't hurt to ask a bike shop about it.
posted by gt2 at 9:35 AM on December 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

As you've found out, most bike shops aren't keen on consignment. However, talking to bike shop employees and owners can be productive as they talk to lots of other cyclists who may be in search of a bike like yours. They like selling the bikes they already have for sale, but they're also interested in customer retention so if they know about your bike and find a customer who would be perfect, they may want to get in touch with you to broker the sale.

On the other hand, I took my unwanted bike to a shop that advertised its consignment service. They're still listing it, and it's stupid pricey for a used bike, but it turned out I didn't need the cash right away so having them deal with the whole rigmarole for a cut of the sale was worth it to me. If you're in the Los Angeles area, the one I used is called Around the Cycle.
posted by carsonb at 9:49 AM on December 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

If you sell it to a bike shop, you’ll get a lot less because they’ll want to tune it up and re-sell it.

It might be worth spending $50 on a tune up. The tire might be coming off simply because it needs to be inflated. Was this a new bike? It probably doesn’t need new tires, but anyone who buys it will want to ride it, and they can’t if the tires are deflated. (The tires are held on to the wheels in part by the pressure of inflation.)

I suspect the bike shop employees aren’t trying to upsell you so much as they want you to be into biking and they think they are being helpful.

Here’s a few ways to approach this:

1. List it on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist for $700. Say it was a mistaken impulse purchase and it’s only been ridden one time. You’ll need to say people can’t ride it, though. This will make it harder to sell.

2. Figure out what your good, local bike shop is (I can help with that if you want to MeMail me). Call them and explain you bought a new (?) Sirrus and want to sell it and you want to do the least required to get it sell-able. I wouldn’t say you need new tires unless a bike person has told you that. That would be a really weird thing to need on a brand new bike. Take the bike in, and it may be that you pay them $10 to inflate the tires properly, and that’s it.

So, as a heads up: this is what’s considered a hybrid or town bike. Maybe a fitness bike. It’s not a formal road bike, because those have different handlebars. People interested in your bike might not know much about bikes, or they’re way into bikes and buying it for someone else.

I think you could get at least $600, since it’s pretty much brand new, if you got the tires inflated and it’s been stored indoors (right?).

But, this also isn’t the best time of year to sell a bike. That’s spring or summer.
posted by bluedaisy at 10:12 AM on December 29, 2018 [3 favorites]

I'm assuming that, in that year, you've literally never pumped up your bike's tires? A cheap pump will set you back on the order of $10, and you can sell it alongside the bike. Buy one, fill your tires, increase likelihood of sale. You do not need new tires.

(but also, yes, immediately after Christmas is a terrible time to try and sell a second-hand bike. Everyone who wanted a bike got one for Christmas)
posted by parm at 10:34 AM on December 29, 2018 [2 favorites]

I would say that if I were going to buy your bike, I'd want to ride it a bit first. A bike that's not rideable would be a significant turn-off, even if the seller was telling me that it was just the tires. I assume the tires are actually fine and just need to be re-inflated; I doubt that just one year of sitting would ruin them, although it's not good for the sidewalls for them to sit flat like that.

Did the shop you bought it from offer a free tune-up? Most bike shops do, in my experience. If you bring it in to them they will probably pump up the tires and do a few other minor things like adjusting the cable tension and making sure that the chain lube is good. It's part of what you paid them for when you bought the bike. They'll get it riding nice again, after which any prospective buyers should have nothing to complain about.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 12:45 PM on December 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Well, I couldn’t have asked for better answers and this is why I came here! Thank all of you very much!
posted by Kemma80 at 1:14 PM on December 29, 2018

Oh hey, in case it wasn't clear—bike tires just go flat
over time, it's normal. They're higher pressure and use thinner rubber than car tires, so they leak air (right through the rubber itself, like a party balloon) much faster than a car's tires. There likely is nothing wrong with them, they just need to be inflated.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 7:18 PM on December 29, 2018

Definitely don't buy new tires, they're still practically brand new! Just pump them up, as mentioned. They still have the little hairy bits on them, as they've never really been ridden yeah? I'd point that out to prospective buyers to demonstrate how new the bike is.

You don't need to pay for a shop service either, unless the gears have serious shifting issues (which could only really have happened from accidental rough handling in storage bending the derailer...guess what my bike is in the shop right now for!)

The second hand bicycle market is usually a buyer's market I'm sorry to tell you. There are...well...a lot of stories just like yours. And, unfortunately, a lot of stolen bikes too. A rule of thumb I've heard is 40% deprecation in the first year and 10% each year after that.

Speaking of stolen bikes, a careful buyer will ask for the bike's serial number, to check. If you flip the bike upside down and rest it on the handlebars and saddle, it should be stamped on the frame underneath the cranks.

Good luck.
posted by other barry at 3:46 AM on December 30, 2018

I think you could get at least $600, since it’s pretty much brand new
I'm sorry to rain on this parade, but for lower-end commuter bikes like this I'd be SUPER surprised if OP got more than half the initial cost of the bike. The lights have probably depreciated more; that world moves FAST.

That said, any prospective buyer is going to want to test ride it. There's almost certainly nothing truly wrong with the tires or tubes -- like, no holes and no rot -- so just refill them. Any bike-riding pals of yours ought to be able to resolve that situation in pretty short order. I routinely have to do this for my mountain bike because I ride it so rarely (~2-3 times a year; I'm a roadie with some MTB pals, basically). Airing it back up is a less-than-10-minute task.

The only other thing that might be wonky at this point is the shifting. Cables stretch, especially new ones, and it doesn't sound like OP rode it enough to get through the initial shakedown period. If it's not shifting cleanly, it's the cables, but the good news is that this, too, is a quick fix (assuming the bike has barrel adjusters; bribe that bike-friendly pal again).

Was it stored indoors or outdoors?
posted by uberchet at 8:56 AM on December 31, 2018

« Older What is this Navy medal??   |   I'm in the US and need to get Venlafaxine, FAST Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.