Below are some points to consider when buying bicycles on Ebay:
1/ Frame Size - A lot of seller's don't list the frame size of the bike they are selling. Sometimes they have just plain forgotten to include it in the description, and other times they simply don't know because they've owned the bike for a few years and forgotten. If you are concerned, drop a polite message asking for measurements of the frame.... It should take no more than 5-10mins to do.
2/ Tyre Tread - On expensive models where the tyres are costly to replace, ask for a close up photo of both the front and rear tyres so that you have a better idea of the tread remaining.
3/ Rust - On steel and some alloy frames, rust is a problem which you cannot see without closer inspection. If at all concerned (eg the bike is more than 5Years old), try to arrange a deal with the seller to pay on collection - with the understanding that if you see excessive rust then you reserve the right to withdraw. On expensive models, it is sometimes better to have one poor feedback rating than to waste thousands of pounds on a rusty bike!
4/ Delivery - Unless you live locally, this is likely to be expensive. Ask for a quotation before committing. Also ask if they can partially dismantle the bike (eg Quick release wheels, saddle, etc) to minimise the final package size. For especially dirty bikes ask them to give it a good clean - it is surprising how much weight mud and other particles can add to the cost of postage!!!
5/ Theft - On UK bike sellers, ask for a close up shot of the top left of the frame near the saddle. Some bikes are on the security register and the tag will be printed there. If the seller refuses and you are not collecting in person then you have the right to be suspicious. On another note, if the tag exists and the bike is registered in the name of the seller - you should ensure that ownership is transferred to you as soon as the sale has taken place.
6/ Suspension - Mountain bikes and some hybrids increasingly come with these as standard. Unfortunately there is no sure way to judge the condition of these from a photo alone, but if the bike in question is relatively new you can ask the seller if it is still under warranty..... at least that way there are some re-assurances. Avoid cheaper bikes with suspension as they tend to become faulty early on in their working lives..... if the value of the bike is cheap then a rigid setup is safest.
Buying Bicycles/Bikes on Ebay
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23 August 2007
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