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5 Things to Do Before You Sell Your MTB for the Best Price

By Martin Atanasov

So, it’s time to get a new bike. Yes, I know this is like a catchphrase for most MTB riders nowadays but from time to time, it truly comes the time to get a new trail companion. Regardless of your preferred price range, it’s good to have a nice starting capital. Your old bike is an excellent start, especially if you manage to get a reasonable price for it on the second-hand market.

Many consider it luck to manage to get a better-than-average price on your old bike but luck has little to do with it. It’s all in your presentation. So, here are the five things you must do before you put your old MTB on the market so you can get the best price for it.

1. Clean it like you’ve never done before

First and foremost, you need to clean your MTB. Not like after a ride – better. Clean it properly everywhere. Degrease it, wash the fork, the suspension, the chain, the gears, the cassette, and everything in between. Get in the spots that are hard to get to but usually have an excess of mud, dust, and grease. Make sure your drivetrain is as clean as new. Also, make sure to take special care of the small gaps all over the bike. Take a toothbrush and really get in there.

Going to a car wash is definitely not enough since, in the car wash, you only get the top layer of dirt and mud. You need to really get your bike clean. You are selling a product, and it should look like it. So, when you’ve cleaned your bike, consider spraying it with a silicon spray to give it that extra shine that sells.

2. Set it up for riding

Usually, when someone is looking for a bike, they want to get on it and ride it then and there. At the very least, they’d want to test it out. Imagine how well your negotiations will go if your bike screeches and cracks at each pedal turn. Even worse, imagine the chain falling when the customer tries switching gears. Yeah, not the best way to present your bike.

So, make sure to set your bike up as if you were going on a ride. Grease it up, fix all the minor problems, set your gears, and don’t forget to give your tyres a refreshing few pumps. Moreover, check your breaks, and if they need changing, be a good person and change them as well. Yes, the bike is second-hand but making it rideable will increase its price immensely.

3. Remove all the extras

After you’ve fixed and maintained your bike for the last time, you might think it’s ready to be sold. Nope. You still need to remove all the extra customisations you’ve done over the years. Now, that doesn’t mean to take away all the improvements but rather to strip it of everything that you don’t want to sell. This includes lights, mudguards, stickers, and bodywork that you think looks cool but we all know it doesn’t. Try to sell the bike as if you took it off the shop this morning. Let the new owner customise your old bike as they see fit. Otherwise, you will push away a vast number of buyers simply because they don’t want a specific sticker on their bikes.

Moreover, don’t list additional gear as part of the deal. For example, if you have a second pair of tyres, mudguards or lights you want to sell, listing them separately is much more profitable. Otherwise, they don’t add any value for the buyer, and increasing the price of your bike will only push some prospective customers away.

4. Make some gorgeous photos

MTB in winter
Make some beuatiful pics of your bike. © Profimedia

Your bike is ready. It’s time to make it a star. The first step is to take some gorgeous photos. Refrain from adding photos of you riding it. The customers don’t have to see how you pushed the bike to its limit. I guarantee you that seeing someone jumping with their future bike from a 10-meter drop will be an instant dealbreaker. It’s best to put the focus not on your mad skills but on your bike instead. Make sure to take some gorgeous pictures.

This includes setting the right atmosphere, choosing the right light, and finally, making sure the contrast with the background is favourable to your bike. For example, a dark bike against a dark background won’t stick up at all. You want to make your bike look amazing. Put it in the centre of the photo and make at least 5-6 shots. Also, do some closeups on components like the fork, the drivetrain, and the breaks. A good photo can get your price up or at least bring you some additional potential buyers, which can also drive your price up to an extent.

5. Check the market and individual components

Now that your bike is ready to be listed, it’s time to get down to business. First and foremost, you must know what your bike is worth. A good place to start is to check how much your MTB will cost if it were new. This includes all the additional upgrades and components. For example, if you upgraded your pedals, make sure to add their price to the mix.

Next, see how much similar bikes go for in marketplaces like Facebook, eBay, and local market websites. If you’re not in a hurry, you can always put an extra 10% on top of the average and try to extract as much money from your bike as possible. But when push comes to shove, your bike is worth whatever someone is ready to pay for it. So, be ready to negotiate. Still, it’s far better to deal with knowing your bike’s actual worth than going blind. So, do your research.

You’re ready to list your bike

It’s time to shine. Represent your bike and share your memories with it. Make sure to underline the high emotional value of your two-wheeled buddy and how many adventures you’ve had together. Be honest about the problems, and don’t downplay them. Honesty will take you a long way and will take away your potential customer’s power to bargain at the last stage of the sale.

Finally, make sure to leave your old bike in good hands. Giving it to someone who will strip it for parts and re-sell it for a tiny profit would be a travesty. So, choose your successor carefully. Who knows, you may even find a new riding buddy in the process.