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The bicycle is a Moots Mooto X RSL.

I bought the bike in June 2017 and just learned when I registered the frame that it was manufactured in 2012.

The tag on the bike showed that the price as offered was about 30% less than the original price. Big discounts for last-years stock are common. Such a discount is usually less than 30%.

Typically Moots are made-to-order, but through a dealer network; this bike was offered for sale as a complete bike though I suppose it is not uncommon--i.e., someone orders, pays the deposit, but does not return to take delivery.

Last week, when I registered the frame with Moots, I learned that the frame was manufactured in 2012 (and assembled and shipped to the LBS in that year).

The components--which might be original, I don't know--are about the same age; for instance, the particular XTR component set was discontinued in 2013.

I purchased this as a new bike (I don't think this LBS sells used bikes in fact); I don't know for a fact that this bike is used, but the fact is that it was five years old when I bought it.

So for instance the resale value of a 2012 model versus a 2017 is substantial.

Should the LBS have disclosed the fact that this bike was a 2012 model--given that I bought it in 2017 from a shop that only sells "new" bikes?

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    Its still a brand new bike with zero mileage on it when purchased? But the bike has been hanging about in the shop for 5 years unridden and unsold ? So its an example of "New Old Stock" or NOS.
    – Criggie
    Jan 3 '18 at 4:02
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this is a question about sales and descriptions of products sold. The fact its a bike is actually an aside to the underlying question, which is not disclosing the age of a product sold as implicitly "new" Perhaps would be better to ask on legal.stackexchange.com
    – Criggie
    Jan 3 '18 at 4:04
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    They gave you a 30% discount on the bike. So...
    – Carel
    Jan 3 '18 at 8:55
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    I voted to leave open based on the strength of Nathan's answer and the peculiarities of the bicycle market.
    – RoboKaren
    Jan 3 '18 at 8:58
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    I've willingly bought "new" parts which are 40 years old, so... Jan 3 '18 at 9:31
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If it's actually used, as in previously owned with real mileage, they should have disclosed that. If it's in new condition, or new condition with some amount of the discount being for shop wear or due to being a low-mileage return, then I would say there's nothing disingenuous about omitting the manufacture date unless asked directly.

For better or for worse, it's not the standard practice in bike shops to include the model year on the sticker, as is seen for example on a car lot. Maybe it's a reasonable question whether that makes the whole industry that much scummier, but following the practice doesn't make any particular shop especially scummy.

Many who work at or run shops don't have great feelings about the industry's general insistence on model year cycles. The way it tends to play out is the model year cycle is one of the back industry's tools to generate sales based on perceived obsolescence, whereas we in shops know if a bike was good and worth standing behind 5 years ago, it very probably still is today. Meanwhile, however, the model year cycle creates a need in the retail environment to constantly worry about selling through stock before it becomes last year's model, an artificial panic which really doesn't do the retailer any good in the end. This is only to give some background about common attitudes in shops on the topic.

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    This would make sense for a 1 or 2 year old model, but 5 years? It has to make you wonder why they hadn't sold that one and restocked with a newer version.
    – stannius
    Jan 3 '18 at 23:25
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    @stannius: There's always the obvious explanation: random chance. Unless there's a causal bias, the time it takes to sell through everything the shop had 5 years ago is going to be several times longer than what one might intuitively expect (the coupon collector's problem is related). This answer actually suggests there's a bias the other way: that shops prefer to sell newer stock. This would make the older ones sit around for that much longer.
    – user36141
    Jan 4 '18 at 4:14
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    @stannius An anedocte: my mother once worked at a furniture store, selling couches, tables, etc. One co-worker of her wanted a specific model of sofa badly, so the guy put the piece back in the warehouse but didn't register the entry of it on the storage area. He was fired a bit later for an unrelated matter but nobody cared enough to undo the storage trick he did. The end result was that that sofa spent a few years on storage without really being registered for sale, and eventually saw itself on the employees break room when it was too old to sell.
    – T. Sar
    Jan 4 '18 at 10:27
  • Entirely possible Moots required the shop to order a "pre-made" rig to become a dealer (some custom manufacturers do this). The rig basically sat around until it was sold at a steep discount. No need to replace it because it was a requirement they don't need to fulfill again. Jan 10 '18 at 22:53
  • Actually, it is quite common to include the model year for bikes, skis and similar equipment as the vendors normally release a new version every year. Maybe they do not shot it in shops on the street, but in e-shops it is completely normal.
    – Vladimir F
    Jan 25 at 10:30
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I'm trying to put myself into your shoes if this were to happen to me with the LBS that I frequent. I own two bikes, which almost sounds like the start of an inverse Twelve Step Program--one that increases one's bike purchases.

My Kona Dew is a 2007 that I bought in mid 2008. That was a different LBS from the one I frequent now. Nothing wrong with the LBS, but I'm living about 40 miles away so I no longer go there. I don't recall if the tag indicated it was a 2007, and I don't recall them telling me it was a 2007 model. It ain't like with automobiles. The product turnover isn't the same, and there are no laws that I am aware of governing the sale of bikes and the publishing of the model year.

If the bike was not previously owned when you bought it, then it was technically new. It is not unheard of for a new bike to be sold out of an LBS, even though the bike is several model years old. There is another LBS near me from which I have heard tales of brand new, still in the box, bikes in their inventory that are 10 or more years old. It is an odd place.

30% off of the original price doesn't strike me as unreasonable, if the bike was not previously owned when you bought it. If the bike has been good to you, you are happy with it, and otherwise happy with the LBS, then don't sour that. I would recommend that you visit the LBS, with the bike. Be honest and polite and just ask. Don't go in with an attitude or making any threatening sounding noise, like asking to speak with a Manager or the Owner. That tends to make any business more on guard and defensive. If you treat the conversation casually, then it's more likely that the LBS will.

"Heh, I bought this bike back in June, and I've been very happy with it. I went to register the frame on the Moots website, and I learned it is a 2012 frame. I just wanted to ask whether it was previously owned."

Then shut up and let them talk. The person you talk with likely won't know, so give them a break if they say, "I really don't know."

Remain polite, but be a little persistent. "That's cool. Is there any way you can check?"

Maybe they have a computer system with sales and inventory and they can look up the purchase, the bike, or both. Maybe they haven't joined the Paperless Society and everything is in filing cabinets. Whatever the case, gently push to find out if the bike was previously owned.

If it was previously owned, then you have to consider whether the price you paid was a fair one or not.

I would not expect the LBS to offer you up any money to offset what you paid for a used bike. They might be willing to inspect the bike for any signs of serious wear, but even if they are then they are entering into a very delicate area.

For argument's sake, let's say the bike was previously owned and there is noticeable wear. Now what. Did you put that wear on the bike or did the previous owner? There's probably no way to tell.

Again, if the bike was not previously owned, then in my view 30% off of the original price is a fair deal. If so, call it good.

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  • The only thing I would consider asking for would be new tyres (unless they already fitted new before selling) though I wouldn't expect much degradation in only 5 years. Jan 3 '18 at 17:38
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    @BrianDrummond in 5 years the tires could certainly dry rot.
    – Steve H.
    Jan 3 '18 at 20:12
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    Of course, if it's a real LBS, then it's possible that the frame and components are 5 years old, but the consumables (tires, tubes, grease, etc.) are recent.
    – shoover
    Jan 4 '18 at 19:48
  • I would add something about the "consumables" to the answer if I were @Kennah. This is a really good opener for the OP. It's not about getting money or whatever, but about making sure whether things that could rot in 5 years of non-use are new (which is probably only the tires, anyways)?
    – AnoE
    Jan 4 '18 at 22:14
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The thing that would give me pause about this would be if there were a generational shift in technology during the intervening years, and it might be harder to get replacement parts (like the transition from 26" to 27.5" in mountain-bike tires). This would leave me with a new-but-obsolete setup, which is not something I would generally choose.

OTOH, you as the buyer need to take some responsibility for knowing what you're getting, and if a bike obviously had 26" tires, you should ask about it.

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It is interesting that "new" is used as an antonym of "used"; logically speaking, "used", "old", and "pre-owned" are all distinct concepts that have been conflated for simplicity, and only some of the concerns that come with an old bike are due to it being used. If the 2012 model uses different parts, then it will likely be more difficult to find replacements (or the point at which it becomes difficult will come sooner) compared to a 2017 model. The frame might be made out of sufficiently anti-corrosive materials to survive five years without significant damage, but if the tires are five years older than you thought, that's a serious concern. Other components such as the seat or handlebar grips can also be a concern.

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    Provided the bike has been sitting in a climate controlled retail or storage space, tire rubber and other "soft" parts will not have undergone any significant degradation over such a short timespan. Similarly, while parts compatibility is something to take note of, entire segments of the bike industry are dedicated to serving people who maintain 20, 30, even 40 year old bikes. Nothing on a 5 year old bike is going to be especially difficult to get ahold of for a good while. Jan 4 '18 at 19:29
  • Any bike frame is "made out of sufficiently anti-corrosive materials to survive five years without significant damage" sitting in a shop. Indeed, any bike frame shouldn't have corrosion issues after being being used outdoors for five years, as long as it wasn't scratched or chipped. Jan 10 '18 at 20:09
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    Small side note: "New old stock" or NOS is a term that's sometimes used to reference vintage items that haven't been used. The definition of vintage is probably in the eyes of the beholder. I think it would be a pretty big stretch to call a 5-year old bike "NOS" and that most people wouldn't do so.
    – Weiwen Ng
    Jan 25 at 14:52
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IMHO .. if it's sold at fair market value, regardless of age .. no.

The point of any retail operation in a capitalist country, is generally, to sell for as much profit as possible or at least .. fair market value.

The onus is on you. Buyer beware. Comparison shop. If you paid fair market value then you really have no reason to complain. If you paid more than fair market value, then its still on you for not finding and buying cheaper elsewhere.

I agree with the other answers regarding the subjective definition of "new"

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I don't agree with some of the comments that a discount is an indicator for an old bicycle. Discounts can be applied for various reason such as clearance (better model just arrived shortly after the previous one was purchased), slightly damaged (normally issues with the paint job due to poor transportation) etc. And yes, old stock is also often subject to discounts.

You should check tires, handlebar, seat, the grease etc. (from what I understand the bicycle was pre-built). While the seller is not obligated to tell that the bicycle is 5 years old, he is obligated to sell a bicycle that is safe to ride right outside of the shop. 5 years old tires - even if properly stored, which I highly doubt especially if the bicycle has been sitting in the shop, where customers roam - is a safety concern. Check and if you find something that indicates a problem you can ask for refund or replacement/repair. Whether you will get it without a fight is a different matter.

If the bicycle was sold as a model from let's say 2020 but is actually a model from 2015 that's a whole different matter. It's called fraud.

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If a bike is stored in dry, warm conditions, as it was probably done by the shop, it does not degrade in quality much. The only parts that may suffer from age are:

  • Plastic parts like the brake pads, the grips, the saddle, and those flimsy modern mud-guards. Most of these are a) relatively cheap, and b) don't really suffer within a 5-year period. Nevertheless, checking these parts is probably a good idea, but most likely you will find that all of these are in fine condition.

    Note that the brake pads are special in that they are a wear item, and that they are critical for safety. You should definitely check that your brakes work satisfactorily after braking them in: The rubber of the pads may have lost its flexibility and thus its grip on the rims.

  • The tires. These age, and buying five yean old tires means that they die from age five years sooner. Good tires are also not exactly cheap, but you can get a set for under 100 Euros.

The real value of a bike is in the frame, the bearings, and the drivetrain. These parts do not age at all. The chain might like a few drops of oil after being kept in the shop for so long, but I highly doubt that even that is really necessary.

I would say, if the discount you got is more than about 100 Euros, be happy that you got a bike that's worth more than the price you payed.

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  • 100 € is quite a lot for tyres. I only checked Schwalbe ones at one German e-shop and I did not find any that would go above in a pair. And those include Pro-One and G-One ADDIX ones. Those put on factory bikes would be more like 20€/piece.
    – Vladimir F
    Jan 25 at 15:09
  • @VladimirF I'm no expert of the tire market. I know that I need to pay roughly 70 Euros for a pair of Marathon Plus tires in my country, but I have no clue what some niche, high-performance tires might collect, so I went for the round and rough upper limit of 100 Euros. At any rate, it's irrelevant how much the factory payed for the tires: If the tire has reached its age limit, you will need to replace it with new tires that you need to buy from a shop. That price which you pay for the replacement tires at the shop is your loss from the original tires being too old. Jan 25 at 18:37
  • I meant that the shop price for those tyres that are put on factory bikes is more like 20€/piece.
    – Vladimir F
    Jan 25 at 19:17
  • @VladimirF pricing is hard - I'd be happy to get a pair of good tyres landed for under $120.
    – Criggie
    Jan 25 at 19:47

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