How to Sell a Bike on Craigslist Safely

Do you have a bike for sale? If you decide to sell it on CL, then this guide regarding how to sell a bike on Craigslist is for you.

You want to sell your used bike on Craigslist without getting scammed, considering the number of dishonest people on the platform. Nonetheless, Craigslist is one the best places to sell your cycle. It’s a popular and free platform to post classified bike ads.


To sell your bicycle on Craigslist, you must employ a few steps and strategies for safe sale. Therefore, this article discloses the tips to list and sell a bike on CL fast.

Selling on Craigslist is no magic; follow the steps in this article to make a great sale.


How to Sell a Bike on Craigslist

how to sell a bike on Craigslist

Before you read further, we’ve explained what happens when you buy a stolen bicycle.

You’ve thought, “I want to sell my bike on Craigslist.” Well, this section covers the various steps regarding how to safely sell a bike on Craigslist:

Decide Your Price

First, figure out a fair price for your bike. You can determine a decent price by checking the price your bike sells as a new one. Measure the worth of your bike from there. For example, consider the newness of your bike.

Your ballpark should be between 50% and 70% of the original market price. Make sure to be reasonable with your pricing to reduce lowballing.


Finally, compare your price with the price of similar used bikes on CL and other platforms, including eBay and Facebook Marketplace. Sometimes you may not find a similar cycle in your city. Navigate nearby or larger cities to find out the appropriate ball price. Do not overprice your bike.

If you can’t decide a price, inform a bike enthusiast online or within your neighborhood to estimate the bike’s worth.

Prep Your Bike

Prepare to prep the bike for at least an hour. Of course, a shiny bike gets quicker bids. Make sure the frame, tires, chain, and wheels sparkle to attract potential buyers.

First, get your bicycle chain crystal-clean. Wash the tires using elbow grease, scrubbing brush, and soap. You may use homemade car wash soap to wash off stuck dirt.

Depending on how long you’ve owned the bike, the frame might be tougher to clean. Use a degreaser to wipe the bicycle frame all the way down.

If you spot rust, you must remove it. You can remove superficial rust by applying light oil on it, get fine steel wool for the scrubbing and wipe it off with a wool cloth. However, if the rust ate deeply, you can’t fix it with oil; don’t expect to be paid much on the bike.

Give Details of the Bike

Include the component details and bike specifications. Regarding the bike specs, you can copy them from a bicycle website. Of course, you can’t know every detail.

You can also include a link to the bike review to keep buyers from asking too many questions during their research. You’d also have to describe the current condition of the bike filter interested buyers and save you time.

Make Provision for a Bargain

It’s okay to list your bike higher than the price you want but do not overprice it to avoid excessive lowballing. For example, when you list the bike for $400, you’d get $80 bidders.

Make room for a bargain, but do not leave a large room to avoid a draggy deal. Notwithstanding the buyer, increase your expected price by at least 15%. For example, if you want to sell your bike for $470, list it for $580.

After a brief negotiation, give the potential buyer your bottom line price and leave it there. When an interested buyer notices you’re rigid, they’d have no choice but to accept your price.

If possible, produce a receipt of the bike to convince the buyer further. It also serves as evidence that you’re the registered owner of the bike.

Note: For improved safety, negotiate with locals only. Do not trade with out-of-state buyers except they accept to visit.

Don’t Reply All Messages

The objective is to sell your bike on craigslist and avoid getting scammed. While genuine buyers flood into your inbox, scammers are not left out. However, you can tell a scammer from a genuine buyer.

Note that most scammers are not locals; they are foreigners, typically not interested in your bike, but scam you of money. They’d offer to send you a check above your asking price. Some will send phishing URLS that require you to complete an action online. When you enter your credit card details, the phishing site stores them for the scammer.

Ensure to hold a video or voice call with the potential buyer. A scammer will refuse a voice or video call to hide their identity. Most buyers will not negotiate entirely over the phone until they see the bike.

Meet at a Public Space

A public location is ideal. Do not ride to the buyer’s house for your safety. You can use the bank or any public premises. You may turn up with a friend to assist in the trade.

Allow a Test Ride

Most buyers from Craigslist will not pay without a test ride. The buyer considers you a scammer and will not readily pay for the bike without a test ride. The solution is to follow the buyer. Depending on your state, you may use a public apartment for the test ride.

To avoid the risk of being liable if the buyer crashes the bike, collect cash first. If the buyer hesitates to pay without a test ride, secure at least 50% of cash payment.

Do not lose sight of the buyer and do not overly distrust them. You can keep the paperwork until the test ride is complete.

Accept Cash Only and Hand Over Paperwork

When you agree on the selling price with your Craigslist buyer, insist on cash payment only. Hand over the ownership paperwork to the buyer and the deal is over. If the buyer does not complete the cash payment before the test ride, keep the registration documents.

How to Write an Ad to Sell Your Bike on Craigslist

You must write a catchy ad to sell your bicycle on Craigslist. So, this section reveals how to write an ad to sell a bike on Craigslist:

Take Clear Pictures

Before you take pictures of your bike, figure out where to start. Some picture strategies annoy potential buyers, and they would feel you’re selling a stolen bike.

After capturing pics of the bike, consider what could be wrong with it. For example, snapping the bike upside down means the buyer has to turn their computer or smartphone upside down to view the picture.

An internet stock photo is a turn-off! Although some internet pictures are stunning, potential buyers find it difficult to believe that the bicycle ownership is genuine. Moreover, software like Google Lens allows people to perform reverse image search, meaning that a buyer can trace the stock image to its origin. Thus, making you an insincere seller.

Take clear pictures using an excellent quality camera. Capture at least two photos of the bike showing both sides. Do not apply filters or any form of photo editing, using tools like Photoshop and PicsArt.

List the Bike as “For Sale”

The subject line should read “for sale”. You do not have to include “bike” because you are listing your bicycle ad in the “Bikes for Sale” category. Make sure to keep the subject brief and concise.

Describe the Bike Extensively

Many Craigslist sellers make the mistake of not describing their items in detail. To attract buyers, give clear-cut details of the bike.

Bike Make: First, mention the make of your bike. The make of your bike can Redline, Giant, Specialized, Trek, Burley, Scifit, etc.

Bike Model: You also want to list the bike model. For example, Felt BMX, Raleigh Detour City Sport, Kona Commuter, Mongoose Crossway 150 Fem, Trek 820, Trek Mondone SLR 9, etc.

Model Year: Mention the model year of your bike. The model year can be 2010, 2014, 2020, 2030, etc. You can research the model year of your bike online or refer to the owner’s manual. Do not lie about the model year; some buyers can tell a 2015 bike from a 2020 bike, for instance.

Specify the Ownership Status

Do you have the registration papers? Does the bike belong to you? You can’t list a stolen bike for sale on Craigslist, but some people do so. You can refer to our guide to know what to do if you see someone with your stolen bike. Many cycle owners have read the article!

If the bike has a lien on it, specify it. You do not want buyers to withdraw from the deal after going a long way. The essence of this information is to filter the right buyers to your inbox.

Specify the Bicycle Size

It’s reasonable to specify the bicycle size on Craigslist to filter unsuitable buyers. If you write that your bike will “fit any adult”, it’s the wrong ad! An adult can be a dwarf or giant, so how does the buyer tell whether your bike for-adult bike is for a dwarf or giant?

Attempt to be accurate with the size specification. Your bike can be a 54-cm road bike or 15 inches hybrid or mountain bike. Refer to the owner’s manual.

If you can’t tell the size of your bike, inform a professional within your neighborhood. Alternatively, you can describe the bike as ‘small’, ‘medium’, or ‘large’. You can also mention something like, “I am 5’9 and it fits me perfectly”. In this way, a potential buyer who is 5’1 shorter or 6’7 taller can tell whether the bike is for them.

Mention Why the Bike is for Sale

A Craigslist buyer wants to know why you’re selling your bike. They may not ask, but it helps to verify ownership. After considering your reason, say it in the manner shown below:

I had recently had a knee surgery; cycling isn’t for me anymore.

My new location demands a road bike; I’m selling this mountain bike.

The bike is too small for me. I’m 6’4.

I need the money to finance my motorcycle.

I’m offloading this bike to get a new model.

Cycling isn’t for me.

I need a motorcycle for my new job.

There are many more reasons you’re selling your bike, and your reason depends on your circumstance. Just be sincere; give a reason you can defend, and don’t be jerky when a buyer questions it. The buyer just wants to avoid buying a stolen bike.

Describe the Current Condition

Include the current condition of the bike. You do not have to mention that you crashed with the bike, but if there’s slight damage, you want to inform the buyer beforehand.

You must include information like:

This is a newly purchased bike.

It is a used bike in good condition.

I’ve cycled with it about 13 times only.

I mostly ride it during dry weather.

It’s a 5-year old bike in great shape.

If you dropped the bike once, twice or multiple times with visible damage, include it in the description.

Dropped once, but no damages.

Brakes are not working.

The handle needs replacement.

Just be sincere, and provide every available information, especially the visible problems of the bike. If you keep visual information from the buyer, they will find out during the test ride.

Sample Ad to Sell a Used Bike on CL

You’d have to write a convincing ad to sell your bike faster. Meanwhile, you might be interested in the steps to write an ad to sell your motorcycle faster.

This section features a good Craigslist bike advertisement sample. First, pay attention to the sample CL ad subject line. The subject line includes the bike year, make, model, size, and price. Keep the subject brief!

Bike Information:

Bike Year: 2019

Make: CUBE

Model: Litening C:68 SL

Size: 56 cm

Gender: Men

Price: $600 OBO (Or Best Offer)

CL Ad Subject:

For sale: 2019 CUBE Litening C:68 SL, 56 cm, Men, $450 OBO

Body of Bike Ad on Craigslist:

I’m selling my fully operational black CUBE bike. Men’s design. Size: – 56 cm. Suitable for a person around 5’6-5’9. I’m selling this bike to finance a new motorcycle for my new job. This bike is 2-year old, and I’ve mostly used it in dry weather, covered about 600 miles. It’s well-maintained, serviced regularly and ready to ride home. It uses a mudflap, and comes with a helmet. Excellent for commuting, light and easy riding. I’m selling it at $450 or the best offer.

Additional Tips

If you are familiar with the bike components, you may include them to prove to the buyer that you know your bike.

It’s okay to obtain technical bike information from the internet, but make sure it describes your bike and don’t mistake it for a different bike.

You can also include a link to a review article of your bike make, model, and model year. The best option is a link to a full description of the bike by the manufacturer. Write something like “here’s a link [add link] to an article describing my 2019 CUBE Litening C:68 SL”.

Technical Details:

Frame – Advanced Twin Mold Technology

Fork – CSL EVO Tech, 11/8 – 11/4” Tapered

Brake system – Shimano Dura Ace BR-R900

Color – Black

Tires – Mavic Yksion Pro, 25-622, etc.

Most CL buyers are not interested in the technical details, except a few pro cyclers.

Sample Bicycle Photos for Craigslist Ad

Craigslist allows you to include photos of your bike. One photo is not enough, except buyers can have a 360 view of the photo. A buyer wants the coolest shots from the best angles, revealing every bit of scratch on the bike.

Make sure you capture the chains clearly. Capture the frame from both sides and do not apply photo filters.

The first photo you upload should be the best shot because CL uses it as the image for preview.

Below are sample bike ad images originally uploaded by Paulothomasi on Imgur to advertise his Whyte S-150 Works Carbon bike on Bike Radar. The shots are typical shots you need! However, you might upload more than 5 pictures.

Photo 1

how do i sell a bike on craigslist
Full Front View

Photo 2

Sell used or old bike on Craigslist
Full Side-Back View

Photo 3

how to sell a bicycle fast on craigslist

Photo 4

Advertise bicycle for cash on CL

Photo 5

how to sell your bike on craigslist

Bad Ad Sample for Selling Bike on Craigslist

When you exaggerate the condition of a bike, it’s a bad ad. For example, describing a bike as “world’s best bike”, used but still new.

Avoid writing bad ads to sell your bicycle. Let’s begin with the subject line.


Rugged CUBE Litening Bike, perfect condition, cheap, and FAST! For Sale

Body of Bad CL Ad:

I’m selling this bad boy bike very cheap at $450 to a lucky buyer. I got a new bike, I don’t fancy it anymore. NO RUST! All wheels are still new and never dropped. Bought new tires recently, so I’m increasing the price. Giving it away to the fastest bidder. I will fix the damages for free before you ride home.

Above is a bad ad with almost no information about the bike. A potential buyer might think it’s a stolen bike because the advertisement tone is aggressive.

How Not to Get Scammed Selling a Bicycle on Craigslist

How you deal with potential buyers determines whether you become a scam victim or not. Understand that most scammers are not interested in your bike but in your money. As mentioned earlier, you may receive phishing link messages designed to steal your credit card details.

Do not invite buyers to your address if you do not feel safe with the idea or have a friend or two. Sometimes, buyers arrive with friends.

When the buyer shows up, allow them some time to inspect the bike physically. When they request a test ride, request their photo ID. Do not issue the bike papers until the test ride is complete. Of course, a buyer will not pay cash before a test ride; it’s rare.

Follow the buyer during the test ride, but make sure to keep their items, such as driver’s license or half of the money. As mentioned earlier, no checks, only cash.

How Long Does It Take to Sell a Bike on Craigslist?

How long it takes to sell a bike on Craigslist depends on many factors, including the number of genuine buyers, bike price, condition, seller distance, picture quality, and the type of bike.

Some bikes sell faster on Craigslist; don’t expect to sell a large vintage bike so fast. Nonetheless, you can sell your bike faster with the right price, attractive pictures, and excellent Craigslist written ad.

The season also determines how fast you sell your bike. For instance, there’s a higher demand for kids’ bikes during spring and summer.

Final Thought

This article is your all-in-one comprehensive guide to sell your bike on Craigslist. Meanwhile, make sure to list your bike in the appropriate bike category and your city.

When writing an ad to sell your bicycle, be natural and descriptive. Your ad should provide all information if possible, such that no genuine buyer visits your inbox with questions like “is the bike yours?”, “you didn’t specify the model”, etc.

How fast you sell the bike depends on the demand. For instance, a little girl’s bike sells faster because many adults have little girls who want bikes. If you list, for example, a $90 motorcycle passenger helmet and specify it for children, it’ll take longer because children are not frequent on motorcycles.

Don’t exaggerate the condition of your bike to sell it on Craigslist!

The Family Instructor
SHARE this update with others
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like