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I know it is quite easy to sell a road bike that's ready to ride away, as sites like eBay are full of them. But how easy, practical and lucrative is it to sell a road bike minus the wheels?

Why do I ask? Well, I'd been planning to sell my road bike for a while: I barely ever ride it and usually store it indoors. When the in-laws came round for the weekend, I left it in the back yard with the frame but not the wheels locked - and of course, when I came back to it a few days later, the wheels were gone. The saddle was left alone, which implies to me that the thieves were opportunists.

I still want to sell the bike, but I'd prefer not to buy new wheels (+ tyres + cassette). This leads me to some specific questions:

  • Is there demand for a mid-range road bike without wheels? I don't think I've ever seen one for sale before. We're talking a 2011 bike with aluminium frame, carbon fork, mostly 105 components - decent, but nothing special.

  • What kind of discount should I be offering to compensate for the lack of wheels?

  • How should I explain the situation to potential buyers? I know the bike is legit and belongs to me, but they might think it's stolen. I also know that the frame was locked with a very sturdy lock, so the thieves will only have touched the wheels - but potential buyers might suspect the thieves damaged the frame.

  • Would I bring in more money by stripping the remaining components and selling them separately from the frameset? I've never removed a bottom bracket or handlebars, but I'm sure I could figure it out (and I like excuses to buy new tools).

  • Is there a word or phrase to describe a wheel-less bike? For instance, if I were a buyer and wanted just a frame, I'd know to search for "frameset". Is there an analogous term?

  • Is eBay the best place for a fairly niche item like this? It's my go-to site for selling stuff, but is it really best in this case?

  • Do I need to take extra care when boxing a wheel-less bike for delivery? Disclaimer: I have no experience of boxing a bike.

  • Where do you live? In the US Craigslist is good for buying and selling bikes and no shipping. Some times you can find used wheels for good price like someone cracked a frame. – paparazzo Apr 17 '17 at 17:03
  • I live in the UK, near London. – jeatsy Apr 17 '17 at 17:04
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    Note that "item valuations" are off topic here. – Daniel R Hicks Apr 17 '17 at 17:32
  • I sell a bit on our local trademe (local ebay) and if the price is right someone will buy it. If you want it gone, set the reserve to $1 or 1 Pound and pickup only. Stripping for parts might be good if it was almost new, but its not near new. so you're left with a bunch of worn scrap metal. I'd recommend you buy two used wheels from ebay/gumtree or contact a local cycling club, then repair it and ride it. Also buy some decent locks! And use them! – Criggie Apr 17 '17 at 20:21
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  • What kind of discount should I be offering to compensate for the lack of wheels? If I still had the wheels, I'd be expecting to get £250 to £300, judging by completed eBay listings.

It depends on how much the wheels are worth as part of the bike, but it wouldn't be surprising if you weren't able to sell it at (bike with wheels) - (cost of wheels). I'd expect the price to be lower than (bike with wheels) - (cost of wheels) by a decent amount (if you're able to sell it). A lot of buyers want a complete bike that they can take out, do a tiny bit of assembly (stick wheels in, bolt on handlebars, adjust seat and stuff) and go riding. Tracking down a wheelset is work that a lot of people won't put in, especially on a cheaper bike (this is more OK on higher end bikes, since a lot of people faff with wheelsets there and likely have one they want to use).

  • How should I explain the situation to potential buyers? I know the bike is legit and belongs to me, but they might think it's stolen. I also know that the frame was locked with a very sturdy lock, so the thieves will only have touched the wheels - but potential buyers might suspect the thieves damaged the frame.

Tell them the truth. The only believable lie I can think of is that you wanted to keep the wheelset for some other bike (but on a cheap wheelset, this isn't really believable). The other option is to get a cheap wheelset and put it in, though this may cut into profits. On the other hand, you might not be able to sell it without one.

  • Would I bring in more money by stripping the remaining components and selling them separately from the frameset? I've never removed a bottom bracket or handlebars, but I'm sure I could figure it out (and I like excuses to buy new tools). It's an aluminium frame from 2011 with carbon fork, 10-speed STI shifters, and mostly 105 components.

Depends on the bike and market. If you do take this route, I'd strip the crankset, derailleurs and shifter and sell them together or individually. Everything else should probably be sold as one unit, unless something is particularly valuable. Removing the BB and stuff out is probably a faff.

  • Is there a word to describe a wheel-less bike? For instance, if I were a buyer and wanted just a frame, I'd know to search for "frameset". Is there an analogous term?

Normally I see these listed as bike minus wheels. Maybe tag it as frameset and complete bike minus wheels. Look at comparable listings, but there isn't really an established term AFAIK.

  • Is eBay the best place for a fairly niche item like this? It's my go-to site for selling stuff, but is it really best in this case?

Depends on your market. Note that you do have to box and ship a bike.

  • Do I need to take extra care when boxing a wheel-less bike for delivery? Disclaimer: I have no experience of boxing a bike.

Not really. You need a cardboard bike box, which means you'd probably be taking it to a bike shop just cause they'll have a supply of packing materials and old bike boxes. They'll charge you a bit for the work (basically put the seat down, remove handlebars from stem and put it on the side, add padding) and possibly arrange for shipping pickup, but its probably about cost for doing it yourself unless you have bike boxes. You can easily find tutorials on how to box a bike like this one.

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