Tips on Buying And Selling Used Bikes

With bikes in short supply this year, many are turning to the used-bike market to find a better bike than the one they’ve been riding. In the last few years, The Pro’s Closet has risen to become one of the top buyers and sellers of used bikes in America. We contacted them to see what tips they could share with MBA’s readers about buying or selling used bikes. Travis Erwin, the chief revenue officer at The Pro’s Closet, was happy to answer our questions.

This shows only a part of the listing page from The Pro’s Closet for a 2020 Norco Aurum downhill bike. The price of the bike was marked down from $3749 to $2999.99.


MBA: What are the main things people need to think about before buying or selling a used bike?

The Pro’s Closet: When buying used, you want to make sure you’re getting the right type of bike for your needs. From wheel-size to travel, there is a lot to consider. Once you know what style of bike you want, it can be easier to nail down specific models that fit within your budget. When selling, it’s best to clean your bike thoroughly and check for any damage or wear. Either fix those issues before you list it, or be transparent with potential buyers about what issues might need to be addressed.

MBA: How can you tell if a used bike is worth buying?

TPC: Obviously, newer bikes are usually more desirable due to how fast technology can change, so something from the last five model years is often worth consideration. Condition is also a huge factor. It’s probably not worth buying a bike that’s been ridden into the ground with tons of wear and crash damage, no matter how modern its design and technology might be. Some brands also are more desirable than others, but that can really vary from person to person, depending on what they like or are familiar with.

The Pro’s Closet is careful to show any scratches or chipped paint in their pictures of the used bikes on the site, letting potential buyers see the exact condition of every bike in which they’re interested.


MBA: How does the staff of The Pro’s Closet determine the value of a used bike?

TPC: Our experienced industry insiders carefully inspect each bike submitted, component by component, allowing us to accurately price a bike. We also draw upon a wealth of data insights we’ve gathered over the 15 years that we’ve been in business. This means every quote is custom. Unlike an algorithm, this method ensures we can account for expensive aftermarket upgrades, wear, condition, and even limited-edition models.

MBA: How can a buyer check a used bike to make sure it is not damaged?

TPC: Carefully inspect the frame for any cracks or dents, especially in hidden spots, such as under the bottom bracket and chain stays. Also check rims for dents or damage. Take a close look at suspension stanchions for any nicks or scratches that may lead to leaky seals down the road. Make sure that the wheels, headset, and rear suspension linkage don’t feel clunky, which could indicate damaged bearings

The “Certified Pre-Owned” sticker from The Pro’s Closet lets other people know where you got the bike.


MBA: Which components does a buyer need to pay special attention to before purchasing a used bike?

TPC: A buyer needs to pay special attention to any frame damage, especially in harder-to-notice areas like under the bottom bracket. Make sure the components are as advertised, or that the price accounts for any downgraded components. Also, be aware of wear on consumables such as tires, chains, chainrings, and cassettes and factor those replacements into your budget.

MBA: How can you keep from accidentally buying a stolen bike?

TPC: We work with BikeIndex to check all of our bikes against their global registry of stolen bicycles. If we ever discover a bike that is flagged as stolen, we can alert the proper authorities and reunite owners with their bikes. If you’re suspicious of a bike that’s for sale, you can always check its serial number against BikeIndex’s extensive database to see if it is flagged as stolen.

The Pro’s Closet website lets you browse through all the bikes they have available for sale. They had about 150 available this day. If you find one you want at a price you like, you may need to act fast so you don’t miss the chance to buy it.


MBA: What are the biggest dangers for the average person who is looking to buy a used bike?

TPC: The biggest concern when buying used is purchasing a bike with a damaged frame. Small cracks or stress fractures are easily overlooked and can have catastrophic effects.

MBA: How does someone sell a bike to The Pro’s Closet?

TPC: We wanted to make the process of selling a bike quick and easy. All you have to do is upload two photos of your bike (drive side and non-drive side) and fill out a few basic details. If the bike meets our standards, The Pro’s Closet will provide a free quote within 24 hours. If you accept our offer, we provide a label so you can ship your bike to us for free. After the bike has been received and inspected, you’ll be paid. This usually takes about three business days. You can choose cash, TPC store credit, or credit at your local TradeUp bike shop.  (Please note: We are only purchasing bikes that had an original MSRP of $1500 or higher;

MBA: How does someone buy a bike from The Pro’s Closet?

TPC: Check out our constantly changing online inventory of hundreds of bikes. If you have any questions or want help deciding what style or type of bike is right for you, our Ride Guides are available to chat at any time. When you find the bike you want, you can purchase it immediately, and it almost always ships within 24 hours. Bikes are shipped using our RideFast boxes so that they can be assembled in less than 15 minutes using the included tools. No experience needed.

This Devinci Spartan was one of the bikes on display when we were checking out the bikes on the website. In addition to telling us the price, they also showed us close-up pictures of the key components and parts of the frame to make sure that any potential buyers know what they’re getting.


MBA: What does the staff at The Pro’s Closet do to a used bike before they sell it?

TPC: We developed our own Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program to ensure you can purchase your next bike with the same confidence you would have when buying new. Each bike goes through a 141-point inspection process, including a pro tune and servicing. If any parts are worn, such as grips or tires, they are replaced with new parts.

MBA: What are the advantages of buying and selling used bikes through The Pro’s Closet?

TPC: Ease, trust and confidence. Some people have the time and knowledge to buy and sell through places like Craigslist, which is great. But for a lot of people, The Pro’s Closet lowers the barrier to buying and selling used. TPC is the only place to buy used while having the assurances you get when buying new. Each bike goes through a 141-point inspection process and comes with a 30-day return policy. Plus, we offer a guaranteed buyback on every CPO bike we sell, meaning that down the road, you can count on us to help you upgrade or switch to a different bike.

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