How to Determine Your Used Bicycle Blue Book Value
So, the time has finally come for you to part with your beloved (or formally beloved) bicycle. Like any relationship, the best possible way for it to end would be clean and on good terms, because no one wants a painful break up. But when it comes to selling your used bike, things might not always go so smoothly. This can be especially true if you’re unsure of the used bicycle blue book value. The last thing you want is to experience the bitterness of selling your bike for too little, but you also don’t want to draw the whole ordeal on for too long by asking too much.
The market value, or “blue book value,” of your used bike is indispensable knowledge. It lets you know what you should ask for and what you should accept for your bike when it comes time to sell. But how do you determine the used bicycle blue book value?
In my experience the best way to determine a bike’s blue book value has been to use the same resource I use to sell most of my used bikes: eBay. eBay is the online marketplace for anything used and its growing cycling marketplace is powered by a vast global network of buyers. People go to eBay in search of bikes on every end of the spectrum, from bargain basement to high-end. As a result, most types, styles, and brands of bikes have changed hands on eBay at one time or another, making it the perfect tool to determine a used bicycle blue book value.
eBay’s selling format and vast customer base makes it very easy to see what people are actually paying for specific bikes. Compared to other methods, I prefer eBay because it provides recent real world examples of successful sales.
Bicycle values are not a static thing. They fluctuate, which is why other bicycle blue book databases give you vague ranges of values. It can be affected by a number of factors, ranging from the amount of available inventory on the market and the quality of inventory, to fashion and trends, to something as simple as the changing of the seasons. eBay allows you to monitor the blue book value of a bicycle in real time and make the most accurate determination of your bike’s current value.
Option 1: eBay
Using eBay to determine a used bicycle blue book value is easy. I rely on two tools for collecting data from past auctions. The first is the most obvious, eBay’s own search engine. It’s always best to start the parameters of your search as narrow as possible. The more specifics about your bike you can input into the search, the more accurate the results will be. Start by inputing the year, make, and model of your bike and any other relevant or unique information such as series, or edition.
Say, for example, race season has passed and you decide to finally sell your Cannondale CAAD10 so you can upgrade to the CAAD12. You’d input something along the lines of: 2013 Cannondale CAAD10 3 (year, make, model, series). For increased specificity select ‘Sporting Goods’ from the drop down menu on the right side of the search bar. You can also select ‘Shop by category’ to the left of the search bar to enter the eBay cycling category.
When you hit enter, eBay will take you to the active listings for your bike. This is an inventory of what sellers are currently asking but it is NOT representative of what it is worth. To begin to assess the used bicycle blue book value, click the ‘Sold Listings’ checkbox under the ‘Show Only’ heading on the left.
This is where we begin to see a picture of your used bicycle blue book value. In this example, we see three listings. One Caad10 3 has recently (within the last three months) has sold for $760. We also see two that had been listed at $1199.99 and $1400 that sold, where the seller accepted a ‘best offer’. eBay provides a handy metric here. Under the first listing price eBay has a caption that states: “Trending at $1,250.00.” eBay estimates this number based on similar items that have sold in the last 14-90 days.
At this point you can begin to expand your search to include more results if you want more information. Maybe drop the 3 after CAAD10 or search without the model year because some listings do not include all the relevant information.
It is important that you compare the condition of your used bike with that of those that have sold. For example, look at the photos and description of the CAAD10 that sold for $760. Is your bike in better or worse condition? If you’ve expanded your search, is your bike newer or older than the examples you’re finding. Is your build spec (the level/tier of the components on the frame) higher end or lower end in comparison? How recently did it sell? Also keep in mind that size, location, and the quality of the photos can affect the sale price of a bike. An extreme size, long distance shipping, and bad photos can all work against a used bicycle’s blue book value, while average sizes, close/free shipping, and good, detailed photos can work for it.
By finding bikes similar to your own and making these comparisons, you can begin to paint the picture of your used bicycle’s current blue book value. Maybe in this example, your CAAD10 is closer in condition to the one listed at $1400. This, however, seems high and maybe too optimistic. Ideally you’d like to know exactly what the best offer was that the seller accepted. Or maybe you want to take all the of the sold prices and average them to get a sense of the mean selling price.
Option 2: Checkaflip
This is where, Checkaflip, the second tool I like to use to determine used bicycle blue book values becomes very useful. Checkaflip is a handy search engine the compiles data from sold listings on eBay. It draws all of its data from items sold in the last three months, so it is always current.
As you can see, when using the same search terms as eBay, Checkaflip will present the exact same listings. The difference here is that the prices displayed represent the offers the sellers accepted. For the $1400 listing it shows that the bike sold for $1100. That means if your bike is comparable then it is likely worth close to that amount, and it is conveniently close (though just a bit below) what eBay reported as trending. Checkaflip also provides two very handy metrics at the top of the page. The first is the average selling price compiled over the last three months. In this case it’s $1015. The second is the sell-through rate. This lets you know how well the bikes sold at that average price. Anything above 50% is a fairly decent sell-through rate and the higher it is the better the bikes are selling.
So after doing all this, you should have a fairly good sense of your used bicycle blue book value. In this example, the CAAD10 is comparable in condition and build to one selling recently for $1100, CAAD10s in general have been selling well for the last three months at around $1015, and let’s say this one is a common size, and you’ve taken great photos. You can fairly confidently figure your CAAD10 is worth at least around that $1015 mark up to maybe just past the $1100 mark. Armed with this as the bicycle’s blue book value, your selling strategy then is up to you.
Option 3: The Pro’s Closet
If you don’t have the time to determine your own used bicycle blue book value, then The Pro’s Closet (TPC) can definitely help. With expansive expert knowledge and experience in all sorts of bikes, vintage and obscure, plus the resources to collect every possible bit of information, TPC can determine your Trade-In value quickly, accurately, for free, and with no obligations. To make things even easier, TPC can make you an offer of your bike, today!