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I just don't get the stolen bike market when it comes to medium-priced bikes

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I just don't get the stolen bike market when it comes to medium-priced bikes

Old 05-02-19, 06:36 AM
  #1  
salcedo
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I just don't get the stolen bike market when it comes to medium-priced bikes

By medium-priced, I mean any bike that cost between than 500$ and 4,000$ new.

A couple of years ago, I was trying to buy a second-hand triathlon bike or aero bike. Last year, I was trying to find a second-hand cross bike or gravel bike. The market was extremely thin. I need an XL frame, which is not the most common, but still. I tried every website and bike shop I could find, including Craigs List for big metro areas within 100 miles of where I lived (including NYC). Nothing. I could not find a single bike that was close to what I was looking for. I'm lying, I found one Specialized Venge. Add that's it. Just ONE and the price wasn't worth the risk of buying a used bike. If you are looking for something specific, it is extremely hard to find used bikes for sale.

Now I am trying to sell a Trek Crossrip 3 (I will post an add with the price later on on the sales sub-forum) and I am getting an impression that it is also very hard to sell a bike. Especially in the mid-price range. (I guess if this was a 5,000-10,000 bike and I was asking for 1,000 + 200 shipping cost it would be relatively easy to sell.)

Which makes me wonder, where are all the stolen mid-priced bikes? How do the thieves sell them? How do users buy them? It is a complete mystery to me.
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Old 05-02-19, 06:48 AM
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You need to be very flexible when buying used. Helps to have the knowledge be able to spot something close but comparable. I would compare it to walking into a thrift store expecting to find a specific item. You won't find it 99 times out of 100, but you'll find something else that's a really good deal.

Selling a used bike these days? The market is very weak, and I don't have the patience. I prefer to give stuff away I no longer need (or throw it away) much less aggravation.

(I guess if this was a 5,000-10,000 bike and I was asking for 1,000 + 200 shipping cost it would be relatively easy to sell.)
Not necessarily.
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Old 05-02-19, 07:12 AM
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pretty thin around here also, mostly the same bikes that just get re-listed and never sell
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Old 05-02-19, 07:14 AM
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Lemond1985
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In my area, hardly anything priced above $200 ever sells, as far as I can tell.
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Old 05-02-19, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by salcedo View Post
Which makes me wonder, where are all the stolen mid-priced bikes? How do the thieves sell them? How do users buy them? It is a complete mystery to me.
Someone once told me it was more lucrative to sell the parts and throw out the frame. Easy to dispose of parts on fleabay and harder to get caught.

Buying and selling bikes is a problem. It is super hard weed through all the junk out there to find what you need unless you have a lot of time. Same with selling - how can a buyer know you have what he wants. You can't just buy a mountain bike, but have to research the brand, the style the category, the level of equipment, the fit - for every bike you are interested in. Its just often not worth the effort.
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Old 05-02-19, 09:58 AM
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It is plain hard to sell a used bike. Read OP closely. He is (or was) not looking to buy a bike. Or an XL bike. He is looking for something very specific. Sellers have what they have. They can't call up the distributor and get one in a different color. Buyers want what they want and do not bend.

What happens to stolen bikes? Why are you asking? Looking to buy one? What happens to stolen bikes is the dimwits who steal them accumulate a garage full and then dispose of the evidence. In the dumpster. In the lake. Because they can't sell them at any price. Sometimes they give them away to neighborhood kids at which point there is briefly a possibility of recovering that stolen bike. If a distinctive bike is stolen and appears on the street the odds of recovery are good. And nearly all bikes are distinctive. I have recovered those bikes. Stolen bikes are not often recovered because no one ever uses them again.

Yes, if selling used $200 on CL is pretty much the ceiling around here. There's a commuter forum here in Chicago called thechainlink.org where a peculiar little clique resells certain types of fashion bikes at crazy high prices but I will never be able to figure what's in fashion or why. Also if you do have a bike that checks every box and you want to sell there you take many phone calls and then no one wants to travel more than a few blocks outside of fashion town to look at it. Buyers want sellers to bend over backwards.

Too many bikes chasing too few customers. Free bikes as Lemond 1985 mentions (provides) are becoming normal.
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Old 05-02-19, 10:05 AM
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Bikes stolen by street thugs and local drug addicts are typically disassembled and the parts sold.

High end bikes stolen by professional thieves get loaded into containers along with stolen laptops, phones, cars and motorcycles. They are then shipped overseas and sold.


-Tim-
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Old 05-02-19, 10:46 AM
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I spent a few years flipping bikes by buying them at yard sales, thrift stores and auctions. I wasn't the most efficient flipper but since it was mostly just for fun I didn't fret too much as long as I covered my expenses. Good bikes under $200 went pretty fast but the market started changing when anything other than the cleanest and latest models got harder and harder to sell. I used Craigslist exclusively and became aware of the number of bike flippers and trends on what was and wasn't moving. Another bike seller located closer to a subway station, moved a lot more bikes than I would at similar price points. His location was just much more convenient and I found meeting buyers ended up costing me more time than I was willing to spend.

Bikeshare bikes have killed some of the moderately priced used bike market in my area. Changing tastes toward things like gravel bikes and disc brakes have similarly killed demand for bikes that aren't in those categories or without the desired features. Similarly, the Bicycle Blue Book website, which purports to have real values for bikes, but is mostly just a front for their industrial scale bike buying and bike flipping operation, has people expecting lower prices for newer used bikes and and nothing prices for older bikes.

As for stolen bikes, I had people contacting me offering to sell nice bikes very cheap which made me assume they were stolen. They also wanted me to pick them up in less than great neighborhoods which also gave me pause as to the provenance of the bikes. I suspect most stolen bikes are sold very quickly and very cheaply. There's probably an export market for higher end stolen bikes too.

I don't do facebook but friends tell me that the bike marketplace there is active in my area.
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Old 05-02-19, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Lemond1985 View Post
In my area, hardly anything priced above $200 ever sells, as far as I can tell.
Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
Yes, if selling used $200 on CL is pretty much the ceiling around here.
The $200 neighborhood is pretty much the price ceiling for new bicycles sold at the big box stores, and that is where the majority of new bicycles are sold in the U.S. The customers who shop for bicycles at the big box stores are probably not so choosy about their bicycles as the OP (or the enthusiasts who shop at an LBS and/or post on BF.)
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Old 05-02-19, 11:00 AM
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Keep in mind that a stolen bike is a crime no matter what the cost. For a poor person a $50 bike that is their only transportation to a job is very precious. Or for that matter any other bike that might have special meaning to a person.
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Old 05-02-19, 11:55 AM
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Took me a day and a half to sell my 2018 Roam 3 a couple of weeks ago. Paid 659 plus tax and sold for 430.
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Old 05-02-19, 12:15 PM
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I think a lot of people price themselves out of even having people humor them with a bad offer.

If a model year 2015 bike sold for $2000 new.....and it is currently 2019........yeah, that's worth maybe $1200 now. It doesn't have an odometer like a car, ain't nobody buying the "I rode it three times for 100 miles in an Ironman" kind of bull.

I see a lot of that. Then the person holds onto it and either doesn't ride it, or parts it out, and the frame sits idle for 5 years until someone throws them $100 and a 6-pack of beer for it.

With automobiles, people are often in the used market willing to shop for the idea of a used car. Not that it has to be a 2008 Honda CRV. Could be a Rav4, could be an Accord, could be a Hyundai, or a Ford. That opens up supply. That drives down prices. A freaking running car with a/c is often cheaper these days than a 5 year old $5000 bicycle on Craigslist is. That car is probably $2000 and the bicycle still $3000.
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Old 05-02-19, 12:39 PM
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e-Bay! You can find almost any bike you're looking for on eBay. Sure, you have to look closely and communicate properly with the seller. But, if careful, you find pretty good deals there. I have.
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