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How to Buy or Sell a Vintage Trek

This page has tips for finding a Trek to buy and for selling your vintage Trek. Some suggestions for photographing your bike for the sale process also are included at the bottom of this page.

FINDING A TREK TO BUY

Here are some suggestions for finding a vintage Trek bicycle to buy. Remember - the hunt is part of the fun. Finding a local bike is always best - as you can inspect it personally and you can avoid shipping costs (on the order of $75 - $150 or more). In most loacations, sales are slow for road bikes in the Fall and Winter, which can be good times for negotiating a lower price.

eBay.com is probably the easiest way to find a vintage Trek. One can search for "Trek road" or "Trek racing" with words to exclude "aluminum carbon". Typically, there are 3 to 10 vintage Trek bikes on eBay.com at any one time. You may need to return every few days to locate the right bike. For members of eBay (joining is free), they have a service that will send you an e-mail when an item is listed that meets your description (search preferences). The downside of eBay is that packing and shipping will cost extra and there is some risk of shipping damage, depending on how well the bike is packaged.

College Park Bicycles & Mt. Airy Bicycles Bike List, www.bike123.com. This site, owned by Larry Black, has over 3,000 used and vintage bikes for sale. This is described as the largest collection of bikes of its kind in the world. Follow this link to the two hundred Trek bikes for sale there. Search for other brands and types of bikes as well.

OldRoads.com You could post a "wanted to buy" (WTB) note on the vintage lightweight discussion list at http://oldroads.com/d_ltw_def.asp?rec_count=1. Few rules there, but civility is a requirement.

Internet-BOB You could make mention of your needs on the internet-BOB discussion list. You will have to have a Google account and join the group first but it is easy. BOB is "Bridgestone Owners Bunch", but they have a kinship with vintage Treks.

BOBishBikesFS · BOBish Bikes For Sale on Yahoo Groups http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group/BOBishBikesFS/ is a forum to list (and discuss) BOBish bikes for sale. BoBish bikes include vintage Treks.

Classic Rendezvous Lightweight Vintage Bicycles Mailing List - This list is probably the best source of information on pre 1984 road bikes. These folks are the heavyweights of classic lightweight collecting, so to speak ;-). Many famous names, people with hundreds of bikes, at least one with a thousand bikes. Important - Read the rules before posting. The list was moved to Google Groups in February of 2011. To join the new group one must obtain a Google account and then apply for membership into the Classic Rendezvous Lightweight Vintage group. Membership is required to submit postings and also to even view the postings. Dale Brown runs a tight ship, making the C/R list wonderfully informative. Chat about other than vintage lightweights must be done elsewhere.

rec.bicycles.marketplace
This is a usenet newsgroup that can be accessed through Google Groups. (Google Groups can be accessed at Google.com by clicking on groups.) One can search for particular items for sale or can make a "wanted to buy" (WTB) post.

Craigslist http://www.craigslist.org/ This giant site includes sections for used bikes for sale by city or region. You can post a "wanted to buy" note here. One can search for an item on Craigslist overall (not just by region). Use a search engine (Google or Yahoo etc.) and include "Craigslist" as the first keyword. Follow this by what you are looking for. For example "Craigslist Trek 760".

Used Bike Shop There may be a bike shop nearby that specializes in used bikes. Seattle is fortunate to have Recycled Cycles and Second Ascent. Portland has Sellwood Cycles. Be patient - it may take weeks or months to find a suitable Trek. If you have a specific bike in mind, mention it at the shop as they often will have bikes in the back waiting for floor space.

Bike swap meets are a good place to find used bikes. Even cruiser bike swap meets can be a source of bargains for vintage lightweights. To locate swap meets, try searching on the Internet, visiting local bike club web sites, or talking to folks at local bike shops.

Garage Sales and Rummage Sales. Finding bikes at garage sales takes diligence. People visit perhaps 20 sales before finding a vintage lightweight of any description. However, there are plenty of stories of people "striking it rich". Rummage sales (including church rummage sales) have lots more items. Get there early before the good bikes are gone.

Thrift Stores: Goodwill, St. Vincent de Paul Stores, The Salvation Army, Value Village, Savers, Thrift Town, and others. These are good places to look for used bikes, but the selection is spotty; one had to be diligent. With the return to popularity of road bikes, prices have gone up; the $5 bargain bike is rare. For some stores, employees have first choice at the new items, which limits the quality of the bikes for sale on the floor. Stores in higher-income neighborhoods tend to have bikes that originally sold for more money.

SUGGESTIONS FOR SELLING A VINTAGE TREK

Sheldon Brown Excellent information is given at Sheldon Brown's Guide to Selling your Used Bike http://sheldonbrown.com/selling.

eBay.com is the probably best place to sell a bike that has some value. The buyer paying $75 - $150 to pack and ship makes little sense for a $100 bike. It is a hassle to post the listing, and then you must be prepared to pack and ship the bike, but the best price is often obtained here. Good detailed pictures are a must! Close-ups are critical. Good pictures can mean 30% more in price. (See bike photography below.)

Classic Rendezvous Lightweight Vintage Bicycles Mailing List You can post a for sale message on the list if your bike is a road bike and dates prior to 1984. You must by specify a price; it is not acceptable to list it there as best offer. Important - Read the rules before posting. This list is probably the best source of information on pre 1984 road bikes. These folks are the heavyweights of classic lightweight collecting, so to speak ;-). Many famous names, people with hundreds of bikes, at least one with a thousand bikes. The list was moved to Google Groups in February of 2011. To join the new group one must obtain a Google account and then apply for membership into the Classic Rendezvous Lightweight Vintage group. Membership is required to submit postings and also to even view the postings. Dale Brown runs a tight ship, making the C/R list wonderfully informative.

Internet-BOB You could make mention of your needs on the internet-BOB discussion list. You will have to have a Google account and join the group first but it is easy. BOB is "Bridgestone Owners Bunch", but they have a kinship with vintage Treks.

BOBishBikesFS · BOBish Bikes For Sale on Yahoo Groups http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group/BOBishBikesFS/ A forum to list (and discuss) BOBish bikes for sale. Early Trek road bikes are BOBish.

OldRoads.com You can also list it for free on the OldRoads.com discussion forum for vintage lightweights http://oldroads.com/d_ltw_def.asp?rec_count=1. No firm rules here and it is easy to list. Just click on post.

rec.bicycles.marketplace
This is a usenet newsgroup that can be accessed through Google Groups. (Google groups can be accessed at Google.com by clicking on groups.) One can search for wanted to buy (WTB) posts or can make a for sale (FS) post.

Craigslist http://www.craigslist.org/ This giant site includes sections for used bikes for sale by city or region. Post your for sale listing here.

Used Bike Shops There may be a local bike shop that specializes in used bikes. They may buy yours, or take it in on consignment. A used shop typically will buy a bike for 40 to 60% of what they will sell it for. They may offer more if you take the money in store credit. If they don't sell used bikes, your local bike shops may have bulletin boards where you can place a 3 x 5 card with picture offering the bike for sale. This can be very effective.

Selling success can vary by season. Road bikes typically sell for more money and more quickly in the Spring and early Summer.

BIKE PHOTOGRAPHY

Here are some suggestions for photographing bicycles. For selling online, you need close-ups of various parts of the frames, so you will need a camera that can handle that: either with a zoom lens, or a camera that can focus as close as a foot or so. Use a tripod or other support to reduce shaking of the camera, especially if a zoom is used. Even two crossed sticks, with the camera held above the cross, will help a lot. It is good to have one overall picture from the left side, OK to cut off the ends of the wheels. Close-ups should include: the lugs, bottom bracket, fork crown, brakes, decals, dropouts, derailleurs and crank. Hint: clean the bike first.

Photos without close-ups suggest the seller has something to hide, at least that will be the assumption by potential buyers. The bid price will be lowered accordingly. Pictures showing "warts and all" give the buyer the feeling that there will be no surprises when the bike arrives. The potential buyers can then bid higher with more confidence.

Try for a neutral, contrasting background. Outside on a cloudy day or in the shade works best. Bright light, a flash or the sun, makes highlights that mask the details of the frame. Sheldon Brown offers an alternative method that uses a flash, which gets good results: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/selling.html#photos.

 

 

 

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