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Old 02-18-10, 09:09 AM   #1
tombilcze
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Buying on Craigslist... any worry about bike being "hot"

I am currently in the market for a bike. I've been visiting bike shops and check Craigslist daily. Recently a very nice bike (Trek 7.7) appeared in a listing. The seller says the bike was bought last fall and only ridden 50 miles. He is supposedly moving to Africa and must sell the bike to raise some funds. The bike is not cheap ($1,900 list and he is asking $1,300.) I am considering making an offer. My fear is that it may be stolen. I hate the thought of taking it in for service and having it confiscated as a hot bike. Should I have this concern? What are some things I could do in making sure this bike and seller are on the up-and-up? A $1,000 plus purchase via Craigslist makes me nervous. Thanks, Tom
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Old 02-18-10, 09:37 AM   #2
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Last spring I bought a 2007 Specialized Tricross Comp via Craigslist. The guy who owned it said he rode it home from the shop, and never rode it again. He knew very little about it. I was suspicious, but went to test ride it. The bike was completely mint, clearly not ridden more than 10 miles -- not a scratch, not any sign of wear, not even on the original tires. Kept in a spare bedroom.

So, I went to the shop where he bought it. They confirmed for me that he did in fact buy the bike there, and even told me he paid $1700. I went right back to his house with the $900 in hand. Probably could have haggled him down a bit -- but it seemed like a great deal and he didn't seem to be rolling in cash.

See if the seller has a receipt, or even if he has manuals that would come with a purchase.
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Old 02-18-10, 10:26 AM   #3
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I bought a used Trek 1.5 last December that was on Craigs List. I registered it on the Trek site and also checked the seral number on www.stolenbicycleregistry.com to confirm that it wasn't hot. You could put a deposit on the bike pending a quick investigation - if the seller objects I would not make the purchase.
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Old 02-18-10, 11:10 AM   #4
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i baught my trek off CL. if youre concrned, go to a more reputable place such as your local bike store, or even walmart/kmart/target. order it online. sporting goods stores, etc.
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Old 02-18-10, 01:54 PM   #5
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I agree with Billyymc. A bike that new should have the paperwork and at least the paper trail from where it was purchased.
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Old 02-18-10, 03:30 PM   #6
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My roomie bought a bike on CL two summers ago, before either of us knew much about cycling. The guy met us @ a storage unit and said it was one he got tired of riding. My roomie bought it and we went on our way.

Couple weeks later we're riding through a park and out of nowhere some guy starts yelling "HEY! You! On the Cannondale!". We stop and he runs over to us. "Hey your on my friends old bike - it got stolen a couple weeks ago". The bike had a lot of aftermarket parts on it so it was rather believable. The guy said the insurance on the guys bike had kicked in and that it wasn't a big deal that we had bought it. We got lucky on that one. Just ended up talking about how shady the guy we bought it from was in hindsight.

The moral to the story I suppose is don't buy from anyone you feel is shady. Anymore I have to have a phone number and actually be meeting the person @ their house to look at a bicycle. Anything else seems shady to me and I pass.
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Old 02-18-10, 04:21 PM   #7
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If they allow you to pick it up from their house, more than likely it's on the up and up. If they insist on meeting you at some parking lot be concerned. There are deals to be had on CL, and not all bikes are frequently ridden. I have a co-worker that also bought a nice Trek 7.7over a year ago, and has ridden it.. twice.
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Old 02-18-10, 06:10 PM   #8
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See if they offer you their cellphone number. Theive selling stolen bike usually don't like giving away telephone number. Ask specific question about the bike. I once met a seller in front of Mac Domald selling a Alvalanche mtb. He claim the bike is clean and he's been riding it everyday. The guy was over six feet tall and the bike was medium frame bike with the seat adjustment all the way down. That raised the red flag for me. I've seen better bike fitting on taller guys riding small bmx.
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Old 02-18-10, 06:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CCrew View Post
If they allow you to pick it up from their house, more than likely it's on the up and up. If they insist on meeting you at some parking lot be concerned. There are deals to be had on CL, and not all bikes are frequently ridden. I have a co-worker that also bought a nice Trek 7.7over a year ago, and has ridden it.. twice.
+1

I wouldn't worry about a hot bike on CL. If it were stolen, that would be a stupid idea because one could track the bike to the thief if you have the serial number. Around here, it seems like most bikes are either sold at swap meets or stripped/Ebayed for the parts.
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Old 02-19-10, 05:01 AM   #10
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Thanks for all your feedback. He has given me his name, cell phone number and offered for me to look at it at his house and test ride it. If I proceed, I think I am going to ask to see the receipt and if not available, where he bought it. I suspect it came fro ma large Trek dealer in this area. -- Tom
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Old 02-19-10, 05:24 AM   #11
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If they insist on meeting you at some parking lot be concerned...
I dunno...
I think that some CL sellers like to meet at a neutral spot because they're worried about you stealing the rest of their awesome swag from their awesome home.
Such was my experience meeting a guy who had wheels that I'm confident he built. A busy spot, mind you, not some back alley.
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Old 02-19-10, 12:37 PM   #12
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Thanks for all your feedback. He has given me his name, cell phone number and offered for me to look at it at his house and test ride it. If I proceed, I think I am going to ask to see the receipt and if not available, where he bought it. I suspect it came fro ma large Trek dealer in this area. -- Tom
If it checks out- should be fine but $1300 still sounds a bit high. Any bike leaving a shop will lose a lot of its value. This is now last years model and it is possible that you might be able to get a good price on a special deal from the LBS. Last years models sell cheap.
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Old 02-19-10, 02:32 PM   #13
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Stapfan, You know I was thinking I would give $1,000 for it but am afraid to low-ball him. Like you said, it's lost some value just moving off the showroom floor... just like a car. I do like the extras you get with a bike shop. I am going back to find out where he bought it. If it's where I think he did, I am confident they will stand behind it for sure. It's a tough decision for me. It's above my budget but I know the value of quality. It's like been 15 years since I bought my last bike and know that this one will last me some time too. -- Tom
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Old 02-19-10, 03:15 PM   #14
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Ask for the serial number. Check with the police to see if it has been reported stolen.
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