One of the best things about riding bikes is buying one. But not many of us can afford new bikes, with the prices of most desirable new bikes starting from 4 figures.

So the next best thing is a pre-loved bike – and that’s what Togoparts is best known for – finding used bikes or parts, at palatable prices. But buying used bikes usually comes with with some caveats – namely these below:

#1.       Fake goods

With the rise of China’s manufacturing prowess comes their amazing ability to create knockoffs of branded goods. This applies equally to bike parts, and bike frames. So, how do you spot a fake good?

Generally, if the price is too good to be true, like say, a carbon seat post available at half the prices of other brands or the purported brand’s recommended retail price, it probably isn’t good enough to be the real thing. A premium product should come at a premium price, when it’s brand new. Anything less should smell suspicious.

#2.       Incomplete or damaged goods

Incomplete or damaged goods are harder to spot. Generally, you might not be aware of a bike’s missing parts if you don’t find anything missing during your test ride. It might take a longer ride to discover that the brakes only work for the first 15 minutes, for example, or that the pedals unwind from the drive side cranks over time because half of its threads are gone.

Frankly speaking, the only way to avoid buying goods with hidden damage is to buy new, from an actual store – which offers a warranty.

Incomplete goods are hardly easier to spot. Bring along an experienced friend to deal, who can help by going over the goods with a critical eye and is more cynical about the idea of a “real bargain”.

Don’t accept a partial product either, even if the seller tells you that the missing parts are somewhere else and will send it to you another day. This is a recipe for holding you at ransom, with a higher price for the missing part – or he may not even have the missing part at all.

Don’t pay a deposit either – nor by Paypal, Internet banking or some other cashless means, on the promise that the missing parts will be delivered to you.

#4.       Goods not fit for function / Goods not as described.

Does the product in the ad photo match the one in real life? If it doesn’t walk away. Or, for example, if it’s a 10-speed shifter that only shifts 8 cogs, walk away.

#5.       Overpriced goods

Of course, the price of a used bike is entirely subjective. Both you and the seller have to agree on the price of the bike – and preferably, if you think the quoted selling price on the ad should be more than 10% different, don’t even bother going to meet then trying to haggle with the seller. This is called ‘low-balling’ and is considered extremely bad ettiquete. You waste your time, the seller wasted his time, everybody’s time is wasted.

On the other hand, sometimes a bike is genuinely overpriced. Calling this out to the seller won’t hurt. Simply look around for similar items and their prices, and engage the seller to see if a better price can be sought. All this, of course, before you meet up, to eliminate “time-wasting”.

If you come across sellers with the above defects, report their listings to the administrators of Togoparts by flagging the ad with the “Report Abuse” button, or send an email to mailto:moderators@togoparts.com.

 

If you are selling…

These are the dangers to look out for.

#1.       Low-ballers

You know the type. You’ve already told them your best price before meeting up. They agree, come to meet you and then proceed to haggle for a lower price anyway.  Or, some of them may claim that they didn’t bring enough money, or ask for a special discount because they are “students” – either way, you are forced to accept a lower price than was originally agreed upon.

I can’t help you say no to them. It will be a test of your personal mettle and how urgently you want to be rid of the bike. Let’s hope you harden your heart and stiffen your resolve.

In other words, to deal with low-ballers, you have to man the F up. The lower they ball you, the harder you can kick.

#2.       Thieves

There are stories from time to time of people who show up for the sale, ask for a test ride, and disappear with the bike. Thankfully, there are more stories of people who don’t let that happen to them.

Ask for collateral upfront, before you let a total stranger sling a leg over your precious bike. Personal identification like an IC or driving license would be nice to have, as you can then show what the perp looked like when you make a police report.

#3.       Late-comers

Last but not least in my list is the late-comer. You’ve agreed to meet at 6pm at Stamford MRT station. But he messages you at 5.55pm to tell you he is still 2 stops away, please wait. What if, in reality, he’s only just stepped out of his home?

Hence, always arrange meetups in places most convenient to you, where turning around and going home is as easy as just… well, turning around and going home. The onus is on buyers to be punctual, not sellers. Remember, as the seller, you have something a buyer wants. Let him prove himself worthy of it.