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Buying on the Road, Share Methods to Secure a Bike Purchase Before you arrive!

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Buying on the Road, Share Methods to Secure a Bike Purchase Before you arrive!

Old 01-22-22, 06:57 PM
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Buying on the Road, Share Methods to Secure a Bike Purchase Before you arrive!

Planning on a big road trip, and I am already shopping C/L and F/B marketplace. I've seen some deals for sure, but they may not be there by the time I arrive. I have tried various methods to reserve bikes in advance. All come with some financial risk, but they have worked for me. I'm always looking for deals, so at any point, a local could scoop them up.

Share your successful methods! You probably have better ideas than I have!
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Old 01-23-22, 12:45 AM
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Pray

If the seller keeps the ad up, there is a risk of a local snagging it.
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Old 01-23-22, 07:33 AM
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Pay via digital means only when the seller has deposited in a safe place (e.g. local bike shop, Mail Boxes Etc.) and then pay modest rent for the shop to hold it until you arrive.
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Old 01-23-22, 09:08 AM
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This is a tough one. I assume you’re trying to head off “Sorry, I got a better offer” or the seller wising up to the true value of a smoking deal, especially, when you have other parties who will try to queer the deal because they missed out.

When I sell, the first person to actually show up with cash gets the goods. I’ve had way too many flakes who wanted me to “hold” stuff. I’m sure other seller have had similar experiences.

Wouldn’t pay in advance, unless it it was an established business. Even so, I had a $600 wheelset get “lost” for a few weeks at a package receiving place.
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Old 01-23-22, 09:33 AM
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I'd be very hesitant to put any sort of deposit on a CL item. That said, I have bought a bike while on the road. The listing had only an email through CL contact. I emailed the seller through CL the morning of my arrival in that city explaining my travel plan and ETA, he replied fairly quickly with a phone number . I called the seller a little ways out, was given a meet point and the deal got done. I did feel lucky that it worked..
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Old 01-23-22, 09:58 AM
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I'm a bike rider, a bike lover and a collector in that order. I'll always ride, no matter how old or how slow I go.
I have many awesome bikes. I have learned over the years of buying and selling vintage professional trumpets, high-end audio and bikes that the deal is as important as the item. I have come to value sellers who know what they are talking about and are fair and honest, take the time to give accurate and complete descriptions. I steer away from sellers who don't know or care enough (for whatever reason) to give a good listing. I know others love that risk. Look what I snagged from CL ad with bad photos (no drive side shots!) and erroneous or incomplete info. What a deal!
I already have an amazing collection of bikes that I ride. I'm always open to one more but it's got to be right.
If the seller is flaky or or doesn't communicate well than it's not for me. Let it go.
It's just like any relationship - you shouldn't have to work so hard and fret so much to make a simple transaction.
If I want it and the price is fair, I buy without haggling. If I like it but the price seems way high - I don't even bother with an offer.
Now if it's really a holy grail then none of this matters and you just go get it, bring cash, bring coin - who cares about the seller - just get it.
To answer your question, I don't know what kind of trip you're on - business or pleasure but I don't travel and wheel and deal to buy bikes while I'm at it. I may enjoy visiting a shop, making new friends. I can look forward to riding one of my fine bikes when I get home. I don't try to force deals - get people to hold things for me, worry about deposits and holding the bike.
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Old 01-23-22, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
Planning on a big road trip, and I am already shopping C/L and F/B marketplace. I've seen some deals for sure, but they may not be there by the time I arrive. I have tried various methods to reserve bikes in advance. All come with some financial risk, but they have worked for me. I'm always looking for deals, so at any point, a local could scoop them up.

Share your successful methods! You probably have better ideas than I have!
Bill, you say you are "always looking for deals." You don't want to be the guy who misses out on a great deal that you saw first but somebody more local snagged before you can get your hands on it. Well you know what? That how good deals work. So what? Funny you don't mention what methods have worked for you - maybe they're secret.
Again, if you really want it, you make it work it. If not, let it go. You'll have your turn again.
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Old 01-23-22, 12:07 PM
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I can understand selling to the first one with cash in hand. When my mom was selling her house and contents to live full time in her RV, she turned down several fair offers because someone else had expressed interest in an item, but hadn't committed. In the end she got stuck with a bunch of stuff because she was holding it for someone who never showed up.
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Old 01-23-22, 12:16 PM
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I've done full payment up front, typically PayPal, where you do have some recourse. Once I even mailed a check, rolled the dice (no recourse on that one). I know even locally, C/L and FB marketplace are the land of no shows.

I would not ask someone to hold for me.

Not sure where everyone else is looking, but there are deals everywhere. Most sellers are too lazy to measure size, take great drive side pictures, or list components. So someone with a "good eye" can spot a deal. Me asking for a seller to wait for my arrival involves me paying for the item first. Now if its in my area, I just get in the car and drive.

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Old 01-23-22, 02:20 PM
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I see great deals all the time on FB, especially bikes in the UK. Lucky for me I have little trust that a shipped bike will get to me in good shape.
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Old 01-23-22, 05:32 PM
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I have prepped for road trips by scouting CL and FB along the proposed route and have packed along a compact bike rack but have never needed it. I figure the process would be much like buying at home; while headed for Point A you spot a likely machine on the local CL and try to contact the seller. If you get to it first, pack it along and search for the next one.
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Old 01-23-22, 05:49 PM
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I once bought a Colnago Super while traveling, didn't try to seal the deal ahead of time though. I just called the seller a couple days before I would be passing through his town and told him "If you don't get what you're asking for it by the time I come through town I'll give you $500 for it." I got the Colnago. We were both happy with the deal. I don't like buying things at a price that the seller will later regret.
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Old 01-23-22, 05:55 PM
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Seems to me the only way to satisfy someone who wants cash in hand is to give them cash in hand. You are a seller. What would you do as a seller if someone asked you to hold a deal?
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Old 01-23-22, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by iab View Post
Seems to me the only way to satisfy someone who wants cash in hand is to give them cash in hand. You are a seller. What would you do as a seller if someone asked you to hold a deal?
I get sellers to "hold" items by paying for them in advance. I pay full asking price too. If I want to negotiate, then I take my chances. I negotiate in person, in cash. On a semi-local "hold", the seller was selling multiple bikes and I agreed to buy them all, at his asking price, if he would hold them long enough for me to get there (two hours). I then headed out the door, immediately. Still ran the risk of getting scooped. That has happened too.
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Old 01-23-22, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
I get sellers to "hold" items by paying for them in advance. I pay full asking price too. If I want to negotiate, then I take my chances. I negotiate in person, in cash. On a semi-local "hold", the seller was selling multiple bikes and I agreed to buy them all, at his asking price, if he would hold them long enough for me to get there (two hours). I then headed out the door, immediately. Still ran the risk of getting scooped. That has happened too.
What happens when you are "scooped"?
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Old 01-23-22, 10:33 PM
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I do not do a lot of travelling, but when I do I check listings along the route and around my destination. I visit co-ops and seek out local bike hoarders who will sometimes give me the grand tour of their hoards. I do not typically ask sellers to hold a bike for me. If they offer, I do my best to show up. One thing I find a bit annoying is a buyer that negotiates before putting hands on the bike.
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Old 01-23-22, 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted by r0ckh0und View Post
...One thing I find a bit annoying is a buyer that negotiates before putting hands on the bike.
As a buyer, if I am driving 30+ minutes to drive to see a bike, the seller has the upper hand as they know I will have wasted my time if I don't buy. Due to this, I am completely OK with negotiating before driving. When I am selling, I expect the same.
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Old 01-23-22, 11:29 PM
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Originally Posted by katsup View Post
As a buyer, if I am driving 30+ minutes to drive to see a bike, the seller has the upper hand as they know I will have wasted my time if I don't buy. Due to this, I am completely OK with negotiating before driving. When I am selling, I expect the same.
So if you commit to buying and show up to find a cracked frame or trashed wheels, are you still committed to buying?
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Old 01-23-22, 11:31 PM
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Originally Posted by r0ckh0und View Post
So if you commit to buying and show up to find a cracked frame or trashed wheels, are you still committed to buying?
Negotiating ahead of time assumes the bike is in the condition that it is marketed as.
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Old 01-24-22, 07:20 AM
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Seems like a good way to ruin a road trip. Ymmv!
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Old 01-24-22, 10:02 PM
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A lot of it comes down to luck.

On my last trip through Santa Barbara, I picked up a trunk rack from one fellow, a Vitus 979 from another, and a vintage Fuji from another (all three sellers were named Bill by the way) in one afternoon.

We did have to wait around for one of the sellers to return from playing tennis, but SB is beautiful and so we didn't mind. Went from zero to driving away with two bikes on a rack in less than two hours.

That said, there could have been many snags along the way and I don't expect to have such fine luck again for a while.

I didn't talk price with any of the sellers beforehand other than a soft, "How flexible are you on price" inquiry. That tends to give you an idea without spoiling the fun of reaching a fair price together.
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Old 01-24-22, 10:03 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
Seems like a good way to ruin a road trip. Ymmv!
100%

Either your partner or family is on board with side trips for vintage goodies, or they're not. Fulfilled promises of ice cream or a special treat immediately afterwards tends to help.
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Old 01-24-22, 11:12 PM
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I've flipped many things - not just bike stuff - in the past to finance this hobby. It always seems the Money for Hobby Stuff or How I Flush Benjamins Down the Toilet fund is always never enough for "that jaw dropping thingus-kaflingus" is that I find myself obsessed with at any given month week.

In the course of selling odds and ends for a good 15-20 years or so, I've found that flakes outnumber people who follow through in more or less a 15:1 ratio (depending on the item), so I'm generally apathetic about all buyers until they commit to - *ahem* - showing the hell up. Preferably with cash in hand. Honestly it's not my problem if someone else gets hung up on something I have for sale and can't follow through the next day. If you can't do it, sorry - that's your problem to overcome, not mine to fix for you.

Most recently someone was trying to pressure me into taking a deposit via Zelle for a set of Jeep YJ doors - to pick them up on a day later on in the week. They weren't completely willing to commit to a date, nor a specific time. I kindly refused. What happens if they don't show up and go M.I.A.? What if life happens and I can't make it on our agreed meeting day? It's not worth turning one's life upside down for a c-note. Come with the cash and come first - or don't.

The only people I'll even consider holding anything for are those who I trust or have established a working relationship with.

@wrk101, please don't take this the wrong way, but for every other seller out there who follows these rules, the only thing you can do to seal a deal is be there first. For those who have sold enough in their lives and have experience what I've described, this is what you're up against. To most sellers, you're just another flake offering promises until the moment you "can come by anytime" and are willing to pay the asking price.

-Kurt

P.S.: Another buyer came in and bought the doors. That same buyer made me an offer on the rest of my YJ parts and took the whole lot. Plus, he came back for a paint gun that hadn't sold for weeks. Got rid of a lot more junk than I bargained for, got closer to my goal of making An Epic Hobby Purchase of Questionably Responsible Logic, and did it three days quicker.

P.P.S.: Advice to potential buyers: Don't make your first inquiry to the seller "what's your lowest" or 60% of the current listed price. Great way to trigger the seller's Flake-o-Meter. If you're expecting a seller to bite while making an offer, you better simultaneously prove that you're willing to show up ASAP.
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Old 01-25-22, 06:56 AM
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I buy whole bikes or frames off of CL pretty regularly. My approach is most often to pay asking price, particularly if it’s reasonable, will ensure I’ll make some money if my intent is to flip, something I really want, etc. In those cases, my initial email or text will say something like, “If that’s still available, I’ll pay [asking price] in cash and can come by [specific days and times].” Once in a while I’ll try to negotiate price in the initial email or text, particularly if I feel like I’m dealing with a known flipper (did this recently with a ‘72 Fuji Finest). Most often I ask in person, “You were asking $X, right? Is that negotiable?” Most times, sellers will come back with a lower price. Sometimes they say no and I pay what they’re asking. In either case, we both save face and are fine with the deal. This is in contrast to some experiences I’ve had as a seller when someone tries to low-ball me in person. I know that many people want the warm fuzzies that they’re high-end negotiators, and I’ll often come back with a counter offer, but thankfully that doesn’t happen very much. If it that low-ball offer happens in the initial email, I ignore it, and wait for the next potential buyer.
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Old 01-30-22, 08:57 PM
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Just to close the loop, I picked up the bike I wanted today. To sweeten the deal for the seller, I agreed to buy a second bike from them as well.

Three pictures from the original ad. Bike was for sale for about a month. Not sure what others were waiting for. I thought the price was quite attractive despite the shortcomings.

My pickup was a Mikkelsen with issues. Missing original wheels (I have plenty of Campy wheel sets), missing Campy FD (I can dig one of those out), and it has some kind of crazy abomination going on at the seat post. Looks like some kind of suspension post wedged in there. Since I am 2,000 miles from home, it could be a while before I sort it out.
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