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Old 12-07-13, 06:23 AM   #1
Lucillle
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Ebay

I think Ebay is a gamble- I've had positive and negative experiences buying there over the years (mostly positive). I think it may be more of a gamble trying to buy bicycles if one does not have a lot of experience.

Last edited by Lucillle; 12-07-13 at 02:50 PM.
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Old 12-09-13, 07:19 AM   #2
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You're right, Lucille. Those with experience, a keen eye, and patience...they win out on eBay, at least as buyers. You have to be able to find what you want with disguised in poorly described and photographed items. Craigslist offers better opportunities to find bargains, though.
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Old 12-12-13, 12:17 PM   #3
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I tell folks that I wouldn't have the bike that I have if it wasn't for the internet.

I heard about the Xtracycle Free Radical online. I decided that I wanted one. I bought my donor bike at the LBS.
Just about everything on it, I got online, a lot of it from ebay, because some of the things I wanted, they don't make anymore. For example the Shimano Fingertip shifters, vintage Cannondale panniers and handlebar bag, and the Grunge Guard derailleur boots.

I usually also get my upgrade/replacement parts on the bay as well. I would get them from the LBS except for the fact that almost everything I have wanted to get, the LBS has had to order. I found that I could order it online/ebay and get it just as fast or faster.

The thing with online shopping, is you have to know about what you want, as well as what you want.

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Old 12-12-13, 01:32 PM   #4
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I mostly buy new stuff on ebay. Many vendors ship USPS Priority so it gets to me in 2-3 days if I need something quickly.

The used stuff tends to get bid up to within 10-20% of discounted new prices IME so it's rarely worth the effort. I'm actually shocked by how much some sellers/stores seem to think their stuff is worth. You really need to shop around the internet to find the best prices on stuff. I would never buy a complete bike that I couldn't see in person first.

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Old 12-13-13, 11:18 AM   #5
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I have bought bikes on domestic eBay as well as on eBay.it, eBay.at (Austria), and eBay.uk. Never had a problem.
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Old 12-13-13, 12:15 PM   #6
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I've gotten a few good deals on complete bicycles on Ebay.

I filter the search for distance from my zip code because I want to pick the bike up in person for a couple of reasons. First, I don't want to spend on shipping which adds quite a bit on a bike. Next, I get to examine the bike in the presence of the seller, so if there is a dispute about the condition we can settle between us. So far, that hasn't been a problem.

I also snipe bid. I will only bid in the last 15 seconds of an auction so that I don't have somebody else bid me up, and if I get outbid I stay committed to my maximum bid (no time to bid again).

If lack of knowledge about a bike and its value is a problem, a few questions here in the forums or an archive search can get you the knowledge you need before the auction ends.
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Old 12-13-13, 01:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucillle View Post
I think Ebay is a gamble- I've had positive and negative experiences buying there over the years (mostly positive). I think it may be more of a gamble trying to buy bicycles if one does not have a lot of experience.
I buy most of my bike stuff on Ebay, and have had mostly good experiences. There are some guidelines for this - know exactly what you want and know the condition of what you're bidding on.

Second, make your final (serious) bid during the last few seconds of an auction so as to defeat shill bidders and prevent fuel for tit for tat bidding wars. If you do think you are bidding against a shill, bid an increment like $99.99 in the last second. This will very well result in the shill winnng their own auction and having to pay a bunch of auction fees. Never accept any "second chance" offers.

Never bid in even dollar increments, and do not bid in predictable increments.

Lately, my Ebay activity coming in from the US has pretty much dried up due to the International Shipping program. Basically, a high so-called "Import Fee" is being tacked on to most auctions. Since I have never paid an "Import Fee" on bike stuff coming into Canada, I am not clear as to who is collecting this auction-killing expense or why. Sellers should be asking the same question.

There are still great deals to be had from Europe and especially China. Plus the shipping is a lot lot lower from China to Canada (usually free!) than from the US. I can see the border from my house, so it seems strange that it costs multiples to ship 20 miles than 10,000 miles.

Shipping by USPS is still reasonably priced - God help you if the couriers deliver your package. Horrible service including losses, damage, and extortionist delivery fees.

Finally, Ebay is a great venue for getting replacement parts that shops cannot or will not stock. I am tired of the usual line that 9-speed stuff is obsolete and unattainable and I therefore need a new bike.
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Old 12-13-13, 02:24 PM   #8
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I've had good experience on Ebay with motorcycle & bicycle parts. The few less-than-favorable episodes were mostly me being ignorant, assuming, and not asking questions. It's hard not get caught up in the the thrill of bidding, but most of what I want will show up again next week. Don't blow past your maximum bid for no good reason.
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Old 12-13-13, 04:46 PM   #9
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Only real issues I've had buying bikes on eBay has been damage during shipping. Awhile back I got a NOS Schwinn F1 racer,but the seller didn't pack it right and in addition to scratches,the fork got bent. I let the seller off with a partial refund,but now that I've seen what a PITA it is to find a proper replacement,I should've made him take it back. So if you buy a bike and the shipping is dirt cheap,be prepared for it to be messed up when it arrives at your door.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Mayer View Post
Lately, my Ebay activity coming in from the US has pretty much dried up due to the International Shipping program. Basically, a high so-called "Import Fee" is being tacked on to most auctions. Since I have never paid an "Import Fee" on bike stuff coming into Canada, I am not clear as to who is collecting this auction-killing expense or why. Sellers should be asking the same question.
Interesting. I don't ship international anymore after having a couple problems,but I had a buyer from England buy a DVD set and eBay automatically did the Inter Shipping Program. I just paid regular shipping and it went out without me having to do any paperwork,so I figured all was copacetic. I haven't signed up for the ISP,but if they're charging crazy fees to the buyers,I def won't be.
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Old 12-13-13, 08:36 PM   #10
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I have purchased 5 frames on Ebay. No problems but I have been a bike mechanic decades ago. I have gotten some a couple of bad parts on ebay but out of 100 purchases, that not too bad. When getting components online you need to know what you are getting and need to know if it is compatible.with the other components.

A couple of years ago I was upgrading my touring bike to get lower gearing, I needed to get a new rear derailleur that had a larger capacity, but I had 105 brifters that were 10 speed but the shimano 10 speed mountain bike derailieur has a different cable pull. After getting a lot of great information from Bike forums, I purchased the cassette and RD, it all worked perfectly. I discussed this setup with many LBS but they had no idea if it would work.

So, make sure that you know the parts that you are getting online are compatible.
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Old 12-17-13, 07:49 AM   #11
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One Example Of Many...

At the end of summer, I ran into a cycling acquaintence who had replaced the chain on his early 1990s Trek 520, Uniglide equiped indexed 3 x 7 tourer with Biopace. He was having irritating skipping/slipping due to chainring and cog wear. He's a bit of a masher, despite having a pretty wide range of gears.

Long story short - a bike shop told him that there wasn't a way to correct his 3 x 7, and that it was too expensive, and that he should modernize the drivetrain if he wants to keep the Trek. I looked at it and told him in 2 minutes that we could replace two chainrings, the uniglide with a hyperglide freehub and the cassette for minimal cost.

eBay to the rescue. Truth be told, I didn't advise paying for the Biopace chainrings, which sell at a premium. Total parts cost (two chainrings, freehub, 13-28T hyperglide cassette, cables) was about $110. Once parts arrived, it was maybe a 90-minute fix. I charged him $50 in labor, but he gave me $100 in gratitude. The drivetrain is terrific now. He took it on separate multi day tours of the Carolinas and Virginia during the fall.

Could this have been done on Amazon rather than eBay? Sure, but the chainrings would've cost more, as would the cassette.
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Old 12-17-13, 12:51 PM   #12
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Buying something sight unseen remotely from an individual you don't know and never met is a risk, via eBay or otherwise. Prices are lower to reflect that, but in the end the buyer needs to decide if they're comfortable with it.
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