BicycleBlueBook.com signed up affiliate retailers at Interbike as well as extolled the virtues of developing used bike departments powered by their valuation tools.
Generally, the folks we ride with fall into one of two camps-the kind willing to pay top dollar for the latest, greatest; and the ones who buy their hand-me-downs. Regardless of which category you fall into, it means buying or selling a used bike is something you do every couple years.
But determining the real value of a used bike is surprisingly difficult, no matter which side of the transaction you're on. Unlike, say, the used car or collectibles markets which have numerous valuation guides, pricing a used bike is often an exercise in guesswork, subjectivity and emotion.
Selling an old bike is a good first step towards funding your new one--BicycleBlueBook.com's valuation and marketplace tools can help.
An upstart online valuation and marketplace solution called BicycleBlueBook.com is changing all that. Not only does the almost-two-year-old service provide pricing guidance, it's building a network of dealers to verify the condition of bikes on offer, and has a built-in marketplace functionality designed to remove the reservations people have about using existing online venues like eBay and Craigslist.
"We saw a very real need in the bicycle sales ecosystem for a mechanism like this," said BicycleBlueBook.com's Director of Marketing Ryan Yee, noting used bikes in the US account for an estimated $2.4 billion in business every year. "Our database is a living, breathing thing and it's updated daily with information on sales and depreciation so our users can have the utmost confidence in the information and services we provide."
Database provides accurate, up-to-date values
Like similar guides for the automobile market, the app-which is available online and on iOS and Android mobile-uses a constantly-updated database consisting of millions of data points from numerous data sources that include eBay's vast archives of used bike and component transactions to determine the value of each used bike. The estimate is based not only on current market value and condition, but on any upgrades and refreshes made to the bike over time through its component upgrade module.
If you, say, swapped out that cheapy OEM headset for a premium Chris King model, or replaced the bike's alloy handlebars with carbon ones, the site accommodates and adds value for those changes. If you just bought a new suspension fork for an older bike you've decided to sell, you'll be able to recoup some credit for that as well.
Getting an accurate appraisal for your bike is easy with BicycleBlueBook.com's database. It starts with the basics (shown here) but lets you get granular with the details, allowing you to add in any upgrades you've made to the bike over time.
Local shops verify condition
As a final step of reassurance, BicycleBlueBook.com engages local dealers to inspect and verify the bike's condition making sure it was fairly represented in the Marketplace and that there's full disclosure of its condition. That dealer can also pack and ship the bike right from their shop, upping the convenience for sellers.
Like automotive blue books, BicycleBlueBook.com valuation provides both a peer-to-peer price, as well as a wholesale value, which is what a shop would give you on trade-in for the bike.
In addition to condition verification through their Inspection Program, many of BicycleBlueBook.com's affiliate shops are getting into the used bike business themselves and taking trade-ins as credit toward new bike purchases (see "Riders like trade-in, trade-up" below sidebar).
Not unlike car dealerships, you may soon see more bike shops selling used bikes.
Continue to Page 2 to find out how BicycleBlueBook works »
How BicycleBlueBook Works
BicycleBlueBook.com's database contains more than seven years of transactional data for bikes built between 1993 and the 2014 model year. That data along with daily incoming information and proven value and depreciation algorithms keep BBB's model constantly updated. With that data as the backbone, all a user needs to do is follow these simple steps:
- Log-on to the BicycleBlueBook.com website or app, enter details, upgrades and condition report and get an accurate estimate for your bike.
- List your bike for sale on BBB's marketplace.
- Use BBB's Retail Partner Network to inspect, package and ship your bike.
- Get a fair price for your bike using the Retail Partner Program.
Riders like trade-in, trade-up
The system is not only designed for private-party sellers but dealers who sell used bikes as well. Wheel & Sprocket, a chain of shops in Wisconsin and Illinois routinely named one of the best bike retailers in the country, used BicycleBlueBook.com to determine the trade-in value of more than 400 bikes back in April at their annual Bike Expo sale. They ended-up issuing some $30,000 in store credits that weekend, many of which were rolled into new bike purchases.
"Allowing our customers to trade in their existing bike is an important tool to help them justify a new bike," said Wheel & Sprocket's Steven Nichols. "Like with automobiles, trade-ins net the seller less than a private sale, but make liquidating your old bike much easier and safer."
BicycleBlueBook has been signing-up an increasing number of shops to do inspections as well as helped many add selling used bikes to their existing business. Not unlike car dealerships, customers can choose to buy from either inventory with a greater degree of confidence.
A heartfelt inspiration
While Yee and most of BicycleBlueBook.com's staff are long-time cycling enthusiasts and racers, one of their founders-Timothy Bumb-is a more recent convert to the sport. And that conversion was a big part of how BicycleBlueBook.com came to be.
"One of our founders-Tim-had a heart attack about seven years ago and his doctor prescribed exercise as part of the rehab," explained BicycleBlueBook.com President Jeff Farrell. "Tim decided to give cycling a try and wanted to start with a used bike but was bewildered by the range of prices for what appeared to be the same bike, as well as the fact there was no centralized pricing index like there is for used cars."
Inspired, Bumb, along with co-founders Bill Ruffner and Jeff Farrell, took his knowledge of used or "secondary market" products and forged ahead with the company.
Free, fun and accurate valuations
Looking up bikes and determining values on BicycleBlueBook.com is free. Not only that, it's kind of fun. We spent some time poking around the system, entering the data of our personal bikes and thought the valuations sounded accurate.
With an estimated value of $3535, one staffer's 2012 26-inch Santa Cruz Nomad Carbon seemed a bit rich at first blush. But factoring in the carbon wheels, top-of-the-line componentry, upgraded fork and other premium hop-ups, the price seems right.
Coming in at less than half its original 2009 price, another staffer found their Titus Racer X frame's value tough to swallow. But when you back out the emotion and consider it's a five year old aluminum 26er frame with a few nicks, $600 falls right in the strike zone.
BicycleBlueBook.com's marketplace is a clean, hassle-free alternative to the pitfalls involved in other online auction and sales sites.
Fair fees and reasonable shipping
BicycleBlueBook.com makes their money when people sell through their marketplace. Once a bicycle is purchased and passes inspection, they collect an 5-percent fee on the sale price up to a maximum of $250. A 3-percent fee is collected by the financial transaction site, and for $50, a Retail Partner can box and ship the bicycle for you. Buyers pick up the flat $100 fee for shipping, unless they're local and can pick up the bike, in which case the charge is waved.
For more information or to give BicycleBlueBook a try, go to BicycleBlueBook.com or download the app from the iPhone App Store or Google Play.