Friday Funnies: Selling a bike on Craigslist

Forwarded to me by our pal Shek Mukherjee, this is a handy guide for bicycle sellers who advertise on Craigslist. In the famous words of Fat Tony from the Simpsons, “it’s funny because it’s true.

PLEASE NOTE: This probably doesn’t apply to you. But some sellers need to have a good long look at this.

Everyone has the right to sell their bikes for whatever they want, but those who do not know what they are talking about need a sanity check. Granted, I know the economy is bad and you might have found a “jewel” in the rough – but for crying out loud, do some research beforehand.

The following is an elementary guide for those of you who are absolutely clueless about your garage sale or thrift store finds:

1) Just because your bike was made in Europe doesn’t mean you’ve got a winner. They made a lot of junk, too.
2) A low end bike that was $97.00 in 1976 is not, magically, worth $400.00 now.
3) Adult bikes do not have goosenecks.
4) If the chain is conspicuously rusty and kinked in the picture, nobody is going to fall for your claims of “mint condition.”
5) If you get asked how many speeds it has and do not know nor care, pull your ad. Immediately.
6) Telling us that you found it in a barn is not a rationale for overpricing it.
7) Take OFF the $10 price tag from Goodwill before you take your Craigslist picture and ask $250 for it.
8 ) “Light and FAST!” . . . Ok, if you say so.
9) Not everything with those kooky, curvy handlebars is a race bike.
10) Neither is a race bike “improved” by flipping those curvy handlebars upside down.
11) Don’t be offended if someone offers you an insulting amount that is far less than you want for your bike – they’re just smarter than you.
12) Don’t get ticked off if someone low-balls you when you state “make offer” in your ad. You asked for it.
13) Tires are tires and wheels are wheels. These terms are not interchangeable.
14) Breaks should be referred to as “brakes”, petles or petals as “pedals”.
15) Your bike was not made by Shimano, Suntour, or Campagnolo. I know you saw that name somewhere on it, but just trust me on this one.
16) Vintage implies it was worth something when it was new, otherwise it’s just OLD.
17) High tensile steel – yeah, they put a sticker on the bike that says it but I wouldn’t be bragging about it.
18) Go ahead and repost that 10 speed Huffy every week – no one will tire of its charm. If you’re willing to endure the humiliation, we’ll be there for you until you reach your target market.
20) Pictures of the LEFT side of the bike aren’t worth much of anything, nobody can see the drivetrain. All things considered, perhaps you’d rather want to hide it anyway.
21) Blurry pictures add a negative symbol to your price tag.
22) If you steal someone else’s photos (not the manufacturer’s) from the web and use them to represent your own bike, you are absolute scum.
23) “Suitable for fixie conversion” doesn’t make a POS frame any more valuable. For that matter…WHAT makes it suitable?
24) If you think your bicycle is worth a four figure sum ($x,xxx), the LEAST you could do is to spell the brand and component names correctly (eg. Trek, not treck; Schwinn, not shwin; Campagnolo, not Campagnola; and Shimano – not shmano, shimono, or shamano)
25) Include the size of the bicycle! No, it’s not the tire size. It’s measured from the center of the cranks (the big sprocket) to the top of the seat tube (before the silver or black post that holds the seat [saddle].) It needs to be in either inches or centimeters. Both if you are nice.
26) NEXT, Magna, Huffy, Roadmaster, and Murray are NOT highly-respected brands. Get over it.
27) Taking a nice multispeed road bike that was posted here two days ago for a reasonable price raping it of all good derailleur parts, making it a single speed with a $22 Chinese bmx cog from does not double or triple its value or make it a “race bike” or “fixie”.
28) There is no such thing as a road mountain bike
29) Just because you are selling it for a friend doesn’t make you an expert if you are not
30) If you don’t list the brand and it is unreadable in the photos, we will assume it is a POS
31) Research the going price of your bike before posting
32) Just because it cost a lot 10 years ago when it was brand new and you have barely rode it, doesn’t mean it is worth 50% + of new price (see #31)
33) Just because you bought it within the past year doesn’t mean someone is going to pay close to what you paid, especially if the new model years are coming out and yours is now discounted
34) Don’t use terms you do not understand – if it does not have rear suspension, it is not full suspension
35) Proofread – I have never seen a bike measured in feet but I’ve seen a lot of 26′ bikes posted
36) If it is a *mart bike and you just paid to have it “tuned up”, you probably just wasted your money as the tune up was probably more than the bike is worth
37) We don’t want to call for basic information you should have posted or to have you send us pictures
38) Don’t sell a used helmet unless you really did just buy it, otherwise it may have been crashed and is a safety hazard

I hope this has cleared up some things for the cycling-challenged sellers .


  1. Champs June 19, 2009 5:46 am 

    Your bike may have anodized components, but putting “L@@K” in the title should stay back in the 90s.

    Items aren’t held for a week until you get paid to come up with $20 for those handlebars.

    If you’ve been posting the same item every week for the past year at the same price, you might want to either give up on selling your $5 “only washed three times” shirt or dropping the price of your $1575 wheelset.

    (wisdom from Minneapolis)

  2. Rantwick June 19, 2009 6:27 am 

    “High tensile steel” – Snort, snort. Love that one.

  3. Will June 19, 2009 7:59 am 

    Number 16 is a classic. Seems like every POS “possible fixie conversion” frame is “vintage” these days. I have half a mind to copy and paste this on my local CL page.

  4. Clancy June 19, 2009 8:27 am 

    I saw the original ad. Sadly it got yanked, but should of went on to become a Best Of.

  5. Iron Man June 19, 2009 8:43 am 

    Funny thing is marketing copy uses the same nonsense for brand new bikes sold at *mart. For instance friends will be telling me about a bike they are looking at in a department store and they say “It sounds like a really good bike. It has a ‘full Shimano drivetrain.'” Uh, OK. The crappiest and cheapest drivetrain available, but yeah it’s Shimano.

  6. GenghisKhan June 19, 2009 9:58 am 

    Oooooooooooooooooooh, too, too, TOO funny! Thanks for the laugh while I sit listening to a senior management conference call with folks droning on about stuff that means nothing to me–kinda like this comment is starting to turn out to the readers. Hmmm…

    But yeah, super funny post–thanks!

  7. Bill Baker June 19, 2009 10:53 am 

    you can ask outrageous amounts for your “fixie” bike if it comes equipped with laminated cards in the spokes and worn pair of chuck taylor ‘s as well as some skinny jeans.

  8. Ghost Rider June 19, 2009 11:16 am 

    The “fixie tactics” above work beautifully…because folks are willing to part with big bucks in exchange for perceived street cred…who cares if the bike in question was a piece of Bike Boom junk when it was brand-new?

    Funny stuff…glad you folks liked it.

  9. Paul June 19, 2009 5:39 pm 

    My side is killing me from laughing so hard after reading this!!! Austin DEFINES rip-off bikes on Craigslist!! People here are brainwashed into thinking that $20 bikes priced at $250 are SUCH A BARGAIN! Those people have never set foot inside a bike store before, thinking that anything used is cheaper or better. Thank God we still have real bike stores still in business and I think the outragous junk on Craiglist helps them a bit, too.

  10. One Lung Beat June 21, 2009 10:31 pm 

    This is the best, I almost died reading it…funny as hell.

  11. Michael June 22, 2009 10:05 am 

    And what is with all these guys having to hurry to sell theor POS for an outragous price because they are leaving the country? Seriously? If you are leaving the country you would probably have more opportunities to ride it.

  12. LockMaster Jeff June 24, 2009 10:10 am 

    Being a relatively new bike commuter and wanting to get an inexpensive comfort style bike for my wife, I have been trolling around CL. I am soooooooo glad I read this. You did forget to mention the petty bickering. I’m going to use this to sell my wife on a bike from a LBS.

  13. peddlehead June 27, 2009 6:42 pm 

    “Amen to every word you said, brother!”

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