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  1. #1
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    Buy a used bike this way... TRUST ME!

    OK, I am going to do all you bike shoppers a big favor and give away my secret. I do really believe this is a secret and considered not posting it for fear of making it more difficult on myself... Contributing to the community won out...

    Here goes...

    #1. Don't browse for adds on craigslist. If you do, you're weeding through many adds that others are also looking through. If you find something you like and is a good deal, you're competing with every other yoyo out there, including those trying to resell stuff for profit. It's hard to hit the right timing of finding an already posted deal. Bottom line is that browsing ads is not worth the effort.

    #2 Post a "WANTED - ..." ad to bring the sellers to you. List exactly what you want... '"Trek or Giant 26" full suspension mountain bike, disk brakes...", "looking to spend $300 or so for the right bike". Make it personable... "Just getting back into riding. Want something that will help me restore my passion...", "I'm not looking to resell it or make a profit, I'm just a guy who needs a better bike"...

    #4 Ask them to contact you directly via phone or email. You'll be surprised how many replies you will get with different offers - even pictures. You don't want replies via the forum or you will be introducing other shoppers into the conversation.

    #5 If available, post the inquiry on your local mountain bike forum. In Michigan we have a great forum with a classified section. By posting on yours you are both hitting guys who have GOOD bikes to sell and participating in a community that likes to be helpful to fellow riders.

    Here is an example of how I found my son a sweet 2007 Giant for $200... MMBA • View topic - WTB - Small Hardtail - thanks all set now

    If you take this approach you will find people who have not yet decided to see their bike, effectively giving you "first pick" of all those bikes. Sellers always scan the sale postings to see what their bike might sell for. When they see your post their first thought is "I don't have to even post. I can just call this guy".

    Trust me... IT WILL WORK!

    Does anyone else take this approach?

  2. #2
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    Great advice. Need to pass it on to some friends who are looking to buy a cheap bike from Wal-Mart. I advised them to look on Craigslist and get a decent used one and not buy a new cheap one.

  3. #3
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    im not trying to argue here, IMO if you know the market, CL is the best place to buy used/new bikes, motorcycles, cars and furnitures. i believe most people will tell you the same. also, most people who try to sell their stuff dont even bother looking the WTB posts. ive been selling stuffs for yrs on CL ebay, you will be amazed how many emails per day you get for stuffs on CL and how high the bids are on ebay.

    you will find deals like this all the time http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/bik/2591772038.html
    05 specialized p2 for 200 bucks !!

    buying on CL you just have to be that first few people who calls/emails, if you miss dont give up, a good deal will come along within couple weeks.

  4. #4
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    As a frequent seller on craigslist I never search for wanted. Everyone's location has its own market and works differently. Your method would not work in LA or Socal area. Sellers who are looking through the wanted are sometimes scammers, spammers, or just desprate to sell because they cant find a buyer. If you have sold anything at all on craigslist you would know how easy and how fast people will respond.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by anekin007 View Post
    As a frequent seller on craigslist I never search for wanted. Everyone's location has its own market and works differently. Your method would not work in LA or Socal area. Sellers who are looking through the wanted are sometimes scammers, spammers, or just desprate to sell because they cant find a buyer. If you have sold anything at all on craigslist you would know how easy and how fast people will respond.
    right on !! same thing in the bayarea , lots of scammers.

    ive seen quiet a few cars got sold right after listed

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by xycarp View Post

    Does anyone else take this approach?
    I have, but haven't yet had success with it.

    I love craigslist, having bought and sold bikes, guitars, amps, cars and other stuff. But craigslist sometimes requires patience, it's hit or miss. You got a good hit with yours right off the bat; doesn't guarantee that will happen again.

    I've had a "looking for GT Peace (or similar) single speed 29er" ad for weeks now, with only one call. Call seemed promising, but he's never followed up on subsequent messages I left.

    Just gotta be patient...

  7. #7
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    I have had excellent results taking this approach with a go cart, free ping pong table, trailer hitch, bike, ATV...the beauty of it was that each time the people contacting me had not even decided to sell yet. They saw the ad and decided to act. No one else had even spoken to these folks about what they were selling. With the bike for my son, not only did the guy selling it decide to sell because of my posting but he used my price as his guide.

    Use this approach or don't, but I have nothing less than perfect success every time I did...

  8. #8
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    This is great advice! Thanks!

  9. #9
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    My rule of thumb on Craigslist is that if the asking price is reasonable, and the ad has scrolled out of the top 20 or so listings, I've probably already lost it. So I don't bother going down more than half a page.

    My best results were when I found something I wanted just a few minutes after it posted up, called the guy right away, and hauled ass over there, cash in hand. I got a mid-80's Santana tandem for $100 that way, which only needed new tires & cables, a wheel true, and a general clean-up. I also got a killer deal on a LeMond Al/Carbon road bike for $350. In both cases, the seller told me that right after I called saying I was on my way, ten other people called, sometimes offering above asking price.

    You've got to move quickly, especially when the seller maybe doesn't know the market value of the item they're selling.

  10. #10
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    I guess the main thing is to know the products you are getting, if you know what you are looking for and the going price when you see the listing you'd know if it's a good deal or not. I've been buying and selling on classified so on a certain bikes I can tell if the asking price is a good deal or not.

    I can tell you this, in general you can get a much better deal buying things when you don't need them. When you need them you'd pretty much paying premium for them. For example, I bought a $99 Fox Flux helmet for $35 free shipping from Huck'N'Roll as well as a $99 5.10 shoe for $35 both no tax and free shipping. I buy extra helmets because I can always put it in the rotation and if I crack one I'd always have a spare and not having to spend $100 for it. Same can be said about a bike

  11. #11
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    Posting a want ad is good advice, craigslist is free & it certainly can't hurt anything...like the OP says it can potentially give you 1st crack at a great deal from sellers who are on the fence about selling their bike. But deciding not to shop the for sale ads is bad advice IMHO. You can miss out on a lot of awesome deals. I got a $1700 Giant with $1200 worth of upgrades for 800 bucks on CL.

    My advice is to enlist the help of your most knowledgeable mountain bike buddy to help you weed through the waste of time ads, and help you decide if you've found a good deal whether it's from a WTB or FS post. That's what I did and I couldn't be happier with the deal I found searching through for sale ads.

    Oh, and search often. I had been searching a few times a day every day for about a week & had a good idea of what I was looking for. I contacted the seller less than 2 hours after he posted the ad for my bike, went there with my friend to check it out that same afternoon & had cash in hand. It wasn't going to stay on the market for long.

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