OK so you’ve got the mountain biking bug. You can’t wait to hit some singletrack, get out in nature and get a great workout. But how do you get a deal on a used mountain bike at a great price. In this post we are going to show you 7 ways you probably haven’t thought of to get a great deal on a used mountain bike.
Here are the 7 weird ways to get a great deal on a used mountain bike:
- Buy A Used Mountain Bike From A MTB Rental Store
- Message A Local Mountain Bike Group
- Maximize Craigslist
- Get A Clearance Bike From The Manufacturer
- Use Bike Specific Classified Websites
- Ask Local Bike Shops If They Have Used Inventory Or Co-sign Deals
- Use Social Media To Find A Mountain Bike For Sale
Alright, so now let’s dig in and help you find that great used mountain bike. Before we do we need to make sure we have a few things dialed in.
- What is your price range, bike size and components that you are looking to get with your mountain bike purchase?
- How do check the value of the mountain bike to insure I’m getting a great deal?
What’s Your Price Range & MTB Specifications
The biggest fear people have when buying a used bike is that they are going to get a bike that doesn’t fit or doesn’t come with all of the specifications they wanted. You don’t want to end up with buyers remorse so be sure to know exactly what you want before you start searching. Here’s a 3-Step checklist you can follow to make sure you know exactly what type of mountain bike you are looking for.
Buying A Used Bike Checklist:
- What’s your price range?
- There are 3 major types of mountain bikes: Rigid, Hardtail & Full Suspension.
- Mountain Bike’s from these categories can range from $300 all the way up to $10,000+
- Rigid Mountain Bikes are the cheapest and range from $300-$1,000 brand new
- Hardtails have a lower entry level price than full suspension but can get expensive if you start adding in expensive components. A basic range for a brand new hard tail is about $300-$3,000+
- Full suspension bikes are the priciest and range from $1,500-$10,000+
- Keep in mind you’ll be purchasing this bike at a fraction of it’s brand new price. The numbers above should give you an initial idea of what type of bike you’ll get in your price range.
- What type of components do you want on your bike?
- Mountain bikes can be tricked out and there are some many upgrades you can make after you purchase. Let’s start by dividing the components into two main groups. Those HARD to change and those that are EASY to change after you purchase.
- EASY To Change Components
- HARD To Change Components
- Dropper Seatposts
- These lists will help you organize your must haves on your new bike. The obvious play here is to try to get a bike with as many of the difficult to change components already installed. If you are dead set on getting a dropper seat and you’re bike doesn’t come with one than just expect to have a big project after purchase to get a dropper seat installed.
- If you get some of the easy to change components already installed just count it as a bonus. If not, you can always just change them down the road.
- What bike size should you get?
- Check out the chart below to figure out the exact size mountain bike you’ll need.
- Keep in mind manufacturers are all different so it’s recommended you visit a store with different brands to figure out which mountain bike brand fits you at that specific bike frame size.
Womens Mountain Bike Size Chart
|Your Height||Recommended Mountain Bike Frame Size|
|4’10” – 5’2″ (148-158cm)||XS 13-14″|
|5’2″ – 5’6″ (158-168cm)||S 15-16″|
|5’6″ – 5’10” (168-178cm)||M 17-18″|
|5’10” – 6’1″ (178-185cm)||L 19″+|
Mens Mountain Bike Size Chart
|Your Height||Recommended Mountain Bike Frame Size|
|4’10” – 5’2″ (148-158cm)||XS 13.5-15″|
|5’2″ – 5’6″ (158-168cm)||S 16-17″|
|5’5″ – 5’10” (168-178cm)||M 17-18″|
|5’10” – 6’1″ (178-185cm)||L 19-20″|
|6’1″ – 6’5″ (185-196cm)||XL 21″+|
How Do I Make Sure I’m Getting A Good Deal
Ok, so now you know what you want. But how do you know if you are getting a good deal? It’s time to do a little research and learn exactly what a good deal is for your particular mountain bike..
Start by finding a few mountain bike models that meet all of your required criteria. I’d make a list of at least 3 different bikes that would all work for you that way you have more options. These can be brand new models. We are just trying to get a feel for what people are paying for that particular mountain bike.
Once we get the brand new price it’s time to look back a few years and see how much those bikes are selling for now. Make a list of the prices of each of your 3 bikes for the past 3-5 years. You can go further back if you want but older bikes will be more worn out and susceptible to breaking.
Here’s a list of resources you can use to find prices on used bikes:
Once you’ve got your list of 3 types of bikes with price values for the past 3-5 years you are ready to begin searching for your mountain bike.
It’s time to dive in to the 7 weird ways you can get a great deal on a used mountain bike.
Weird Way 1: Buy A Mountain Bike From A MTB Rental Store
Almost all ski resorts these days have offer mountain biking in the off season. You can use the ski lifts to cart you and your bike to the top of the mountain and cruise down. Downhill mountain biking can be dangerous so be sure to take a lesson and ride at speeds within your limits.
The great part is just like with snowboards they are constantly adding new inventory to their mountain bike ranks. Depending on the resort they will usually have a high quality mountain bike that is durable and can handle the trails on a daily basis. The rental store will also maintain these bikes at peak levels so that they are fresh and ready to go the very next day.
Time It Right
The important thing here is to time it right. You want to call these resorts and ask them when they will be clearing out their old inventory of bikes and if they sell them to the general public. They’ll basically tell you when they need to unload those bikes and that’s the perfect time to make an offer. I recommend getting some specifications on the the bikes coming up for sale and see if they match what your criteria. You can narrow it down over the phone so you don’t waste time driving to the mountain if they don’t have the right bike.
Take It For A Test Drive
Another great part about this strategy is some places will let you test drive the bike before you buy it and allow that rental fee to go towards your bike. Just let the shop owner know beforehand that you are interested in buying a used bike and see if he’s open to selling it. If so, just ask if you can rent it at the normal rate and if you like the bike you’d like the rental fee to go towards your purchase. I’ve had positive results with this formula at multiple bike shops.
Weird Way #2: Message A Local Mountain Bike Group
Find A MTB Group
Mountain biking groups are all over the world. They are groups of individuals that love to mountain bike and will normally set up weekly group rides and group trips to popular mountain biking trails. These groups are filled with MTB enthusiasts that likely have purchased more than 1 bike in their lifetime.
Contact The MTB Group
A great way to get a deal on a bike is to contact the group and let them know you are interested in purchasing a mountain bike. Most individuals involved in these types of clubs have extension knowledge in mountain biking and will likely have taken great care of their bikes. Offer them your the specifics from the checklist above and see if anyone has a bike they are looking to sell.
Don’t Be Intimidated
Don’t feel intimidated to purchase a bike from an experienced rider. Always do your due diligence beforehand and research if you connect with someone that has a bike. You can ask him or her all about the bike before you meet with them so that you’ll know a comfortable amount you would be willing to offer.
Join The Group
An added perk of this method is that you can join the club and meet some new friends once you get your bike. Group riding is safer than riding alone and you’ll pick up new tips and techniques from experienced riders in your area.
Weird Way #3: Maximize Craigslist
Craigslist is a great resource when trying to purchase used items. Purchasing a mountain bike on Craigslist could be a great way to pick up a bike at a great price. Here are 3 ways to maximize your Craigslist efforts:
- Post A Want Ad – The go to method is always to search the craigslist database for used mountain bikes. Before going that route go ahead and post an ad that you want to purchase a mountain bike. A staggering 60 million people use craigslist. If you post the exact type of bike you are looking to purchase there is an outside chance 1 of the 60 mil has that bike and is willing to sell.
- Expand Your Search – Most people buy everything online these days. Craigslist is a geographically organized database. You have to search your specific region to see mountain bikes close to home. But I recommend expanding your search on craigslist to include neighboring cities you can drive too. And if you are willing to negotiate the shipping you can also try cities outside of your driving range. Target cities where mountain biking is more popular.
- Be Patient – The Craigslist method will require some patience. You might get lucky and find a bike in the first week or so but if you want a great deal it’s always best to be patient and check the database weekly. The 60 million users are adding mountain bikes everyday.
Weird Way #4: Get A Clearance Mountain Bike From The Manufacturer
Check The Clearance Listings
Almost every website has a clearance tab. It lists all of the bikes and components that are currently for sale. These bikes are normally overstocked and are selling at a deep discount. You will pay a higher price than a used bike using this method but you will definitely save a ton off of the retail price.
Take An Extra Step
In addition to checking out all of the websites you can pick up your phone and call the customer service line directly. Each company will be structured differently. Just play dumb on the phone and ask questions like these:
- Do you know who’s in charge of bikes that get returned?
- What do you guys do with bikes that get returned?
- Do you sell bikes that were used and then returned?
If you do this you might end up on the phone with someone in a warehouse that can help you out.
Weird Way #5: Use Bike Specific Classified Websites
In addition to using these 3 websites to research what a good deal looks like you can also just use them to purchase your bike directly.
- Bicycle Blue Book – I would rank this as the top place to find used mountain bike online. There are 1,000s of listings with full details of the bikes condition, shipping costs and specifications. Be aware that some bikes won’t include certain parts like seats or pedals. Always read through the specifics before purchasing.
- The Pros Closet – The Pros Closet has certified pre-owned mountain bikes. They have less listings than the other options but have a great easy to follow website. The certified pre-owned bikes go through a 114 point inspection similar to buying a used car. From the pictures I saw online these bikes look barely used and are selling at deep discounts.
- PinkBike – As of the writing of this post PinkBike had 8,970 Mountain Bike listings. They also list parts and components so that you can upgrade your bike or purchase missing items. The lay-out of the site isn’t as easy to follow as Bicycle Blue Book but they do have pictures and easy methods to take the next step if you find a bike that works.
Weird Way #6: Ask Local Bike Shops If They Have Used Inventory
Your local bike shop will get returns from time to time. It’s a great idea to check in with them and see if they have any inventory that matches you optimal bike.
Do They Have Returned Bikes Or Consignment Bikes
Check in with the stores on a weekly basis to see if anything came back. Some stores don’t take returns after a certain amount of time so they might have deals where they allow a consignment situation the bike at the store for a small percentage cut.
These stores don’t want to have unhappy customers so most bike shops are very willing to help the bike owner find a positive resolution. These bikes will probably be almost new so you most likely won’t get a deep deep discount.
Reach Out To Lots Of Stores
In order for this method to work you will have to reach out to lots of stores. I would start with the 10 closest mountain bike stores near you. See how many results you got and if non of them match keep trying the next closest 10 stores.
Weird Way #7: Use Social Media To Find A Mountain Bike For Sale
Are you popular on social media? If so, this could be a great method to get a used mountain bike. Simply throw it out to the social media hyperspace. Make a post about how you are fired up about purchasing a new mountain bike. Ask your friends if they know of anyone that is selling a used mountain bike.
If it’s true that there is only 6 degress of separation between all of us and you have 1000 friends on facebook…well you do the math. The message of you wanting an XL Santa Cruz with a dropper seat will be cybernetically blasted into the universe. 1000s of people will know what you are looking for and it just takes one of them who is looking to sell.
So as you don’t waste time I would put the exact specs into your post so you don’t bother with people selling road bikes or electric bikes etc.. This is a great way to discover your current friends that are into mountain biking. Another great way to find riding buddies when you do land that epic bike.
What is a good inexpensive mountain bike? This will depend on if you are getting a rigid, hardtail or full suspension mountain bike. A good deal on a rigid bike is under $300, under $500 for hardtail and under $1,500 for a full suspension.
What is a 29er mountain bike? A 29er is a mountain bike with 29″ wheels. They are becoming more and more popular and are selling more than the ever popular 27.5s.