How To Buy A Bike On eBay | Maintenance Monday

How To Buy A Bike On eBay | Maintenance Monday

– Buying a bike or bike parts
off Ebay is big business. And we could reason, you
can find loads of good, and interesting and potentially
rare bits of bike on there. We covered how to buy a
used bike just last week, but buying a bike off Ebay
tends to be slightly different. ‘Cause it’s unlikely
that you’ll be able to go and see it first, so you
are just going off photographs. And that is a risky proposition. So with that in mind, I
would much rather buy a bike off Ebay that I can actually go and see, it’s close enough to home. However, if you can’t and that’s
probably the likely option, what can you do to make sure you’re buying something half decent? (bubbly piano music) My first tip would be to buy a brand that you’re familiar with. There is an awful lot of weird stuff lurking around on the internet,
but buying a familiar brand at least eliminates some of
the risk of going secondhand. Yeah, you might not get the warranty but at least you know that it was decent when the product was new. (light drum hi-hats) Is the bike or are the
parts in the photos clean? Because I don’t know about you, but if I was gonna sell something, I would make sure that at least it looked like it was in good condition. Because if someone hasn’t even bothered to clean the bike for its’ Ebay photos, I think you can guarantee
that it’s probably not been very well looked after. So you want to proceed with
a little bit more caution. (mellow music) A poorly maintained bike isn’t necessarily one to be avoided though. You just have to factor
into the price of the bike the cost of replacing few key parts. So that might be brake
cables, or brake pads, a new chain possibly and therefore
cassette and chain rings. Maybe a bottom bracket,
the list does go on. Now hopefully you wouldn’t
have to spend that money, but this way, if you do,
you’re not gonna be upset at having to invest in
order to get the bike back to as good as new condition. (relaxing drums) Don’t be afraid to ask
questions of the seller. Although, don’t be one of the people that asks annoying
questions that have already been mentioned in the description. So do not ask dodgygeezer-69
what this bike was made out of, because look, it’s clearly said there it’s made out of something metal. Instead, you might say “Well when did you last change the chain?” Or, “Why are you selling?” When “How much did this bike get ridden?” Look, before the last three years, and the “Where is it stored?” Although again, don’t
ask dodgygeezer that, because he said he’s just
dug it out of the garage. Seriously, though, if someone
has looked after their bike, the chances are that they
will happily and very easily be able to give you the
answers to your questions. And give you a little bit of reassurance. (light jazz) Another good although far
from failsafe technique is to look at the feedback
that’s been left on the seller. Now I wouldn’t buy a bike on this alone but you can tell a lot
about what type of seller someone is from their feedback. And then also have a look
and see what other items they’ve previously sold. Alarm bells would be ringing
here, I’m not gonna lie. (light bass strumming) Here is a super cool tip
that John, who works here, not chocolate-voice, another
one, just told me about. People make mistakes when
listing items on Ebay, so they might, instead of
writing Colnago write Kolnago. Or Colnagi, or Colnag, or Colango… Would you believe it? Anyway, so when searching
for something that you want, head over to
which is basically a website that searches for
spelling mistakes on Ebay. So you could find yourself
a total hidden bargain. (bubbly music) So you have found something that you like, now you have to buy it. We won’t go into too
much detail here because it’s probably worth a video in itself. But, do have an idea of
what the bike is worth and then offer what you’d be happy paying. That way if all of us
really do get outbid, you won’t have any regrets. (gentle jazz) If when you do get the bike,
it’s a complete pile of pants, then there is one possible
thing that you can do. If it’s not as described,
although be careful about loose descriptions, and
you have paid using PayPal, then Ebay has some kind
of money back guarantee. So you may well be able
to send the bike back and get a refund. But having said that, if
you’ve already put into place and practise one of our
previous points, then it shouldn’t ever really come to that. Just do your groundwork,
ask plenty of questions, and scrutinise those photos thoroughly. Now do make sure that you
have subscribed to GCN before you leave this video. It’s very easy, just click on the globe. It’s completely free, then
if you want more content, well I talked earlier on
about that video about how to buy a used bike,
if you want to see that you can get through to it just over there. Or, if you want to see how
to recondition old bikes we’ve tackled a couple of
bits and bobs including a rear derailleur which was
quite hard, but very good fun. And that video is just down there.

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. Good info. I recently bought a used CX bike "for my wife"from eBay…Your vids made CX all seem like too much fun to be missing out on, especially when Lasty got stuck in a tree. Roll on next Wintertime.

  2. In Philadelphia there are at least 3 bike shops that specialize in used bikes. I would rather go there. eBay makes me nervous.

  3. I took my old Trek to my LBS who has a following on Ebay. The proprietor took all the photographs, answered all questions, for 15% of the selling price. For me it was worth his commission to handle the sale.

  4. @Global Cycling Network Be careful with big spelling errors: could be someone who is a bit dyslexic OR could be someone who knows nothing about bikes so the bike could be stolen…

  5. No word on counterfeits ? Man when you say brands you know I might as well just stay away from some of them just because they are notorious for being counterfeited a lot. I think you might not even be allowed to say that but some of your sponsors are amongst the most counterfeited brands. I give you a hint, it starts with a Z. Being able to distinguish original from fake is a tedious task. When I was in the market for a guitar, there were even terms for those fakes: Chibson for instance. One thing you didn’t mention is ask the buyer for the original bill for a bike. It might be a good indication that the bike is first hand or that the second hand buyer was careful enough to ask for it. It may also be a way to know the value of the bike when it was first bought. I’m not sure how you can amend the video now that it’s online, but please do if it’s at all possible. BTW, I got all my bikes second hand, vintage steel bikes are my thing, even there you can find people who take no-name steel bikes and refinish them and apply, say Colnago stickers and sell a lemon 10 times the price it’s actually worth it.

  6. Another great suggestion is to open a tab and have bicyclebluebook on tab to look up today's value as well as the Original Manufacturer's suggested retail price on your prospected purchase… personally I wouldn't buy a bike without this info.. thanks lads/cheers and good hunting !

  7. Never a whole bike… usually brand name parts from sellers with a good reputation. I live in Canada and shipping/duty from US or UK is usually very high, so the discount needs to be significant to make it worthwhile. Typically, I can get a better deal from an online retailer selling new parts at discount with free shipping.

  8. I forgot to mention to look at the number of sales the seller has… like with your dodgygeezer example he or she had "0" sales… a huge red flag..

  9. I've actually made a road bike out of parts I bought off eBay. the frame and wheels were brand new, and I got them for a fraction of the msrp price, and the rest is second hand, but In near new or very good condition. made of a mix of fsa and shimano ultegra parts, I took a running total, over a year, I spent around $800ish for the parts and put it together myself watching gcn how to videos, and it rides like a dream. I even had someone offer me $3000 for it. I don't highly recommend doing what I did, but for being on a budget, and knowing what to look for when buying, it can be a great option. check out crosslakesales, bought my frame and wheels from them, and they've been a pleasure to work with.

  10. bought a vintage Raleigh. new chain and cassette for personal preference. looks
    brill and is smooth as silk. out on it all the time.
    there is good sellers out there.

  11. Bought a Wilier off Kijiji (Like craigslist) 2012 gran turismo with 1 year old Force 22 groupset, gold KMC 11spd chain less than a year old, two carbon bottle cages and Campagnolo Shamal Ultra wheels (gold) all for $1400 CAD, major steal

  12. I just bought a Japanese hi-mod frame from a reputable seller on ebay for 350£. And the thing is brilliant.
    Another to mention with any ebay purchase. If it is too good to be true then it is a scam.. Lots of full carbon wheelsets for 40£ shipped from china.. Funny how many ppl buy them!!!

  13. Good advice! I've purchased lots and lots of bike stuff from eBay. This includes two road bikes (a Team Fuji and a Specialized Ruby Elite — both with composite carbon frames and forks). But the majority of my eBay purchases have been for parts and tools. Some of my best finds were NOS (new old stock). Most of my Park Tools were purchased from a bike shop via its "eBay store". In many cases, it took patience. For example, it took about 6 months each to locate the two bikes in the condition I wanted and the price I could afford. Here's a tip that I use to help with that: "save" your eBay search and "follow" it. That way you'll receive an email whenever a new listing appears that satisfies your search. When you do this, it's important to make sure your search is narrow — if it's too broad, you'll get too many emails for listings that you don't want to see. It pays to learn the syntax for the eBay search engine so you can structure your searches well.

  14. I've purchased 5-6 bike & frames from ebay. I use all the ideas you've mentioned, but also try to make contact with them by phone to discuss the bike. If they don't want to discuss it, that's a clue to if you want it from them or not. I also look to see if its from a LBS or an individual. A demo bike can be a great deal.

  15. I missed one important point in your video: Learn something about geometrie befor buying. Cause not every middle size or 55 frame is equal and you can´t sit on the bike.

  16. I sold my BMC on ebay..
    As a seller, when I was asked a question I could tell you everything about that bike because it was my pride and joy at one point… which is my point, I'd be very wary of buying a nice bike from someone who knows nothing about it.

  17. Thank you GCN for telling everyone about FatFingers, not much of a secret anymore is it. Now over 951,369 bike people know about it.

  18. My experience might be a little different on eBay as the bike was new, but in December 2007 I won a bid on a LOOK 555 Ultegra for $1825 with shipping! That bike has just been outstanding, great seller feedback mostly cycling items and I have had nearly zero issues with it, just minor adjustments like all bikes need. Also picked up a nice set of Shimano RS80 carbon clincher wheels for $325 with shipping, new off another bike. And thousands and thousands of miles later it still is like practically new. I did a lot of research before deciding on three bike to look, no pun intended, for to purchase.

  19. Buyer: excuse me sir, why are you selling your bicycle? The good folks at GCN said that I should ask this question. Seller: How else would all the thousands of bikes that are stolen each year get launder into cash! The big question is whether so many bicycles would be stolen each year if they couldn't so easily be laundered nationally or overseas ?

  20. screaming deal right here…

  21. #torqueback I have been informed that my seat height has to go up. I have a big race in 3 days. Should I put it up? I am 15

  22. Rather than buying a bike off ebay- I know a lot more people that are buying bikes and parts of facebook groups, of which there are loads and seem to be more local so can visit or see in person.

    Sellers tend to be more dedicated cyclists, so you don't have to hunt through all the ebay rubbish to find quality parts.

  23. the fat fingers site seems like a great idea! I used to do that manually by searching for misspellings of brands. Picked up some old Enves for £350 because they were "carbom clinchers"

  24. Bought many bikes without seeing them: 70s Bertin with full 1st gen dura ace, 61 Stratton, 2 Quintana Roo tri bikes, MB Dronfield 531c, 2 cross bikes, Argos TT bike, 3 fixies, 80s Claud butler, moser. Plus many wheelsets. All been great, with some great positive surprises, e.g. £70 bike that came with 2 as new mavic Paris Roubiax wheels with DA hubs.

    Top tip – look for 'pick up only' within asy a 2 hour drive – many times they do not sell and can be picked up at min price

  25. I buy lot of bikes & parts on Ebay.Heres a few of my own advice,
    Always stay away from these sellers who use these saying/words in their listing.
    "I'm selling for a friend"
    "I don't know anything about bikes"meanwhile all he sells is bikes and parts
    "It worked great the last time I used it"
    " I think"
    "Maybe" etc…All those indicisive words
    When buying complete bikes,I always assume the chain,cassette and tires are no good,and if they arrive in good condition its like a bonus,it feels like Xmas all over again.

  26. Bought a steel frame off e-bay a couple of years ago. The pictures looked great. He included pictures of the steerer tube, but not 360 degrees. Received the bike, all was good except for the ground flat threads in the photo blind spot.

  27. You revealed Fat Fingers!! NOOOO!! Pretty much all the eBay bike purchases I've made in the past few years have been Fat Fingers inspired discounts. Like the "Shamano" cassette and the "Ultega" power meter on my bike right now.

  28. I bought my Specialized Tarmac Pro SL3 off Ebay 3+ years back. What I first did was go to a couple LBC's, got measured and fitted and narrowed down my choices to a couple frames that I liked best. In my case it was the Tarmac and the Giant Defy Advanced. Then I proceeded to look on Craig's List and Ebay for those bikes. I already had an Ultegra Groupset sitting in the corner of my garage, so I was mainly looking for frames I could build up. Having not been on Ebay for about 7-8 years, I did begin to notice how many bike shops and online resellers put their products on Ebay. What I also noticed as that a lot of race teams' (smaller ones) mechanics would sell old bikes on Ebay after they were done with them. This is a risk, I know, as one has no idea how the bike's been treated by looking at the standard photos available. Neverthess, I began following a few bike shops and team mechanics for a few months, thinking that I would probably focus a purchase in the early to late fall (after the season). I knew that my boss (my wife) allowed me a budget of $1500 for a frame and $2200 for a full bike, so I had my work cut out for me. As luck would have it, a certain team was changing bike sponsors from Specialized to another brand, and dumped about 4-6 bikes into the auction market. I bid on a couple, and the price soon ballooned up over $3000, so I lost those bids. However, one bike had a misspelled title line. I found and bid on that but the reserve was never hit in 2 rounds of the auction. I patiently awaited relisting, seeing if the spelling would be corrected (which it wasn't), and looked to see if the reserve was lowered (it had been about $3500). This time, however, the seller forgot to put a reserve on the bike. Obviously, the other bidders shied away because nobody was willing to go over the previous reserve. I won with a $1600 bid, a 6 month old 'spare' Tarmac with about 600 miles on it. It had a Dura-Ace groupset (9000) on it, but since the guy knew he made a mistake on the listing, he tried to back off giving me those components with the bike. Taking a little pity on him, I let him change it out to a 7900 straight out of the box. So for $1600 + $75 freight, I got a model year Tarmac with Dura-Ace groupset for what I was willing to spend on just a frame.

  29. @0:49 There are a lot of fake products. Chinese wheels advertised as Zipp wheels… So a familiar brand is not necessary a safe buy.

  30. I'm currently in the process of bidding on a 2016 Giant Defy Advanced 1 and if people will stop bidding on it I'll have my first road bike.

  31. Shipping is a big pain. In the USA expect to pay $80-$100. If you are looking to get into cycling and don't want to spend a lot of money 20-30% of your budget can be shipping

  32. This seems to miss the biggest single issue around eBay and cycling, it is used as a laundering mechanism for stolen bikes. Most cyclists have been affected by bike theft at some point. I would never buy a bike that I had any doubt may be stolen, and have strictly limited myself to bidding on bikes where the seller has proof of purchase. It is a shame that this video doesn't touch on this issue.

  33. Everything I find on eBay is usually more expensive than buying the same bike brand new from a shop and if it's not it's usually in horrible shape

  34. How to Buy A Bike On eBay – close the eBay page, turn off your computer and go to a bike shop and buy a bike. This way you won't be supporting bike thieves.

  35. I bought a Santa Cruz nomad on eBay ! ( used) I did drive 300 miles each way to pick it up 😉 good experience but I wish I would have watch your video first:-) good tips !

  36. hello. my husband saw an ad on facebook and bought himself a bike,


    i just wanna ask if anyone here knows if it is a legit bike seller?

  37. I got a trek emonda for £240 because it was listed as "road racing style bicycle." The pics were quite blurred. Got it and it had loads of upgrades like s works seat and seat post and ultegra mechs. I only wanted the frame, I made more than I paid selling the bits off it. Free frame! Ebay is great.

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