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Looking For Advice in Buying Used Bike off the ST Forum
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I mentor a few athletes and one is looking for her first pure tri bike. I've suggested the classified here but have no experience on preventing a bad experience. For example, I assume that 99+% off the users here are honest and just looking to part with a satisfactory product they no longer need. I have a wetsuit that I used once, found it too tight, and will put it up for sale in the Spring. That kind of thing.

Let's say she finds 3 bikes in her price range that all sound good, one in Seattle, one in Dallas and one in Miami. She can't fly to examine all three. Plus not being an expert, would she potenially get burned and stuck with a carbon frame that the seller knew was cracked or other subtle issue that would eventually bite her? Do sellers ever get an inspection from the LBS that potential buyers split the cost?

I guess I'm reaching out for some direction on how best to advise the athlete and any tips or experience you might be able to share, both positive and negative are welcome.

Thanks for taking the time to help.

John

John H. Post, III, MD
Medical Advisor, TrainingPeaks
Ironman Certified Coach
Contributor, IRONMAN.com, TrainingPeaks.com/blog
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Re: Looking For Advice in Buying Used Bike off the ST Forum [johnpostmd] [ In reply to ]
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I purchased a one year used P3 in 2016 off of the classifieds. I think the best you can do is search through the users post history to try and get some sort of idea who you're working with. Ask for pictures, and lots of them. If there is something that appears off in one of the photos then ask for a closer view of said area. Lastly, make it clear that if you/a mechanic notices defects on arrival then you'd expect to give the bike back in exchange for funds paid, less shipping - not sure if any of that will hold up in court, but if nothing else it's a documented agreement and you can use it to get the ST pitchforks out - which may help.

All that said, I had a good experience and would do it again. I actually posted a request for a road bike on the classifieds in September prior to purchasing from a different outlet. Like you, I think most people on here are honest and not trying to pull one on anyone.

EDIT: I wouldn't expect a seller to split costs with me if I wanted to verify the bike is in working condition. That'd be a write off I'd expect to deal with on my own - if the seller in good faith believes they're selling a good product, further inspection is on the buyer.
Last edited by: pvolb: Jan 18, 19 6:39
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Re: Looking For Advice in Buying Used Bike off the ST Forum [johnpostmd] [ In reply to ]
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There are some pretty well documented cases of users being untrustworthy on the classifieds but overall you're going to find a much lower percentage of scammers and shady people on a dedicated site like slowtwitch, despite the easy anonymity. People selling bad gear will be way more likely to happen on facebook or even ebay. That said the advice above you is good. You could even go as far as to look through their old classified threads, message people who commented who it seems like might have bought something from them, and see how the transaction went. Of course no guarantee you'll get a reply but it wouldn't hurt.

On another note, I just wrote a blog post about how to buy used bike gear (link in the signature), that I've gotten good feedback on. Check it out and send it on if you think it may help!

Benjamin Deal - Rookie Pro - Instagram - Andy Potts Racing
Deals on Wheels - Race reports, pictures, sponsors, and more!
Most recent blog post: St. George 70.3 Race Report
Most recent video: How I built a race ready triathlon bike on a budget
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Re: Looking For Advice in Buying Used Bike off the ST Forum [johnpostmd] [ In reply to ]
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Pay with PayPal and don't use the "friends and family" option.

If there is a problem with the bike, they can file a SNAD complaint for up to 180 days and get a full refund. However, they will have to pay for return shipping.
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Re: Looking For Advice in Buying Used Bike off the ST Forum [johnpostmd] [ In reply to ]
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I've sold quite a bit of stuff, and what I do to protect both of us is to invoice through paypal for higher dollar items. Make sure there is a good description on there also. I'll take as many pictures as they want, and plenty for myself in case they say there is an issue.

Like someone said, ALWAYS pay for good and services, and find out who is paying the paypal fees. As the seller, I figure that into my price so that I don't have to hash that out later but some sellers don't want to pay those, or want to split them, etc.

You could pay a LBS near the seller to look it over, but I am not sure what you will get out of that. It depends on who looks at it, and how well they go over the bike. It could be a 5 min inspection for all you know, and the LBS isn't going to put anything in writing and be liable for an issue.

When I do buy, I go through the sellers posts on ST and see how active they are, and what they have sold in the past.

Pay attention to the fork tubes and seat posts and see how much they have been cut. That could affect the fit later.
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Re: Looking For Advice in Buying Used Bike off the ST Forum [johnpostmd] [ In reply to ]
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I bought lots of used equipment over the years and have advised fellow club athletes on similar purchases.

Seller knowledge goes a really really long way so ask a few specific questions about the item. Also on more expensive items have an LBS inspect and pack the item for shipment. Experienced sellers will understand that by using an LBS they are also getting extra protection . I have been screwed over far worse by a buyer on ebay than a seller and most sellers are as worried about getting screwed as buyers are. Finally factor in extra money for modifying the bike in the purchasing decision. You are going to want to replace something stem, saddle etc. and if you blow the budget on the initial purchase you are not going to be satisfied with the purchase.
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Re: Looking For Advice in Buying Used Bike off the ST Forum [johnpostmd] [ In reply to ]
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I bought a used frame with excellent results. Just trust your instincts. I had a moderate email exchange and saw lots of pictures. The seller was on FB, so I saw the frame in some of his past posts there. I have had a few bad experiences in my lifetime, and in every case, there were early signs I chose to ignore. The vast majority of my experiences have been positive.
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Re: Looking For Advice in Buying Used Bike off the ST Forum [jimatbeyond] [ In reply to ]
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jimatbeyond wrote:
Pay with PayPal and don't use the "friends and family" option.

If there is a problem with the bike, they can file a SNAD complaint for up to 180 days and get a full refund. However, they will have to pay for return shipping.

Like others have mentioned, use a payment method that offers you some protection such as Paypal.
Follow some basic common sense rules.....if it looks too good to be true, bad photos be careful, short to no descriptions be careful, keep shipping in the CONUS if your US based - once you start buying outside of the US, any "claims" you may need to file all of a sudden become very difficult.

I have bought and sold here in the classifieds as well as many other places and have never had a single issue.....but I have also been willing to walk away from lots of purchases and sales just because I lost the warm and fuzzy feelings........
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Re: Looking For Advice in Buying Used Bike off the ST Forum [MKirk] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks to everyone!! I really appreciate the advice, tips, and especially confidence in the Slowtwitch world.

I have passed all this along.

Again, thx.

John

John H. Post, III, MD
Medical Advisor, TrainingPeaks
Ironman Certified Coach
Contributor, IRONMAN.com, TrainingPeaks.com/blog
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Re: Looking For Advice in Buying Used Bike off the ST Forum [johnpostmd] [ In reply to ]
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Where do you live?
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Re: Looking For Advice in Buying Used Bike off the ST Forum [jimatbeyond] [ In reply to ]
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Charlottesville, Virginia

John

John H. Post, III, MD
Medical Advisor, TrainingPeaks
Ironman Certified Coach
Contributor, IRONMAN.com, TrainingPeaks.com/blog
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Re: Looking For Advice in Buying Used Bike off the ST Forum [johnpostmd] [ In reply to ]
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Make sure the pics you have are high-resolution. When I bought a bike on the forum, I asked the seller for "more pictures". He sent quite a few more pictures, but they were all like 640x480 resolution. He said he wasn't much of a "photographer". Fair enough. When the bike arrived, it didn't look as awesome as I'd expected. Not a deal breaker. But I was kinda disappointed. You don't have to be a photographer to take high resolution pictures, and they can help everyone understand what is for sale.
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Re: Looking For Advice in Buying Used Bike off the ST Forum [johnpostmd] [ In reply to ]
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johnpostmd wrote:
Charlottesville, Virginia

John

MyBikeShop.com might be a decent option here. They are located in Maryland, near DC. You can hone in on a few options with them and physically see them at their location.
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Re: Looking For Advice in Buying Used Bike off the ST Forum [johnpostmd] [ In reply to ]
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John, I live in NOVA and have a potential solution depending on requirements. Size, price etc.. In person delivery possible. Follow up by email if interested.

Doug Marocco USAT #1039 I have been doing this sport for a while!
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Re: Looking For Advice in Buying Used Bike off the ST Forum [johnpostmd] [ In reply to ]
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John, are there any local classifieds on Facebook? I know of a few bike specific ones in my area, makes seeing the bike in person much easier.
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Re: Looking For Advice in Buying Used Bike off the ST Forum [tickyboy] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks to all! Advice followed, bike found....and purchased.

Nice to have all of you around when needed.

Watch out for snow.

John

John H. Post, III, MD
Medical Advisor, TrainingPeaks
Ironman Certified Coach
Contributor, IRONMAN.com, TrainingPeaks.com/blog
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