With that in mind, it's good to review the different markets that are available to you for selling your stuff, since there are advantages and disadvantages to each. And for sure, certain places are better for selling certain items, whether it's a specific part or a whole bike. This article helps you understand what's available to you and how to pick the one that will be most successful and bring you the most money for your item.
eBay is the single biggest online market, an auction-style format with which you're undoubtedly familiar. You can find anything and everything there, and for a cyclist looking to sell items, it's a very good choice for small, relatively low dollar items, and items of a unique nature for which there might be only a handful of people who are potential buyers.
Because your buyers are usually going to be distant, shipping costs are a factor in what you sell here. That's why it's not good for selling very heavy or very bulky items. Also, because so much of buying a bike is in-person activity like taking it for a test ride to see if the sizing and fit is right, selling entire bikes on eBay is a challenge.
Where eBay is best is in selling very rare or unique parts for which there might be just a handful of buyers and not lots of similar listings. There are simply so many people looking at eBay that there will be a buyer for just about anything there, and with a single item available for a collector or for a person who needs just the right piece, many times a bidding war can kick up to help you get top dollar for a rare item.
Also eBay succeeds as a great place to sell basic components that a lot of people are looking for, things like pedals, cassettes, sprockets and other common parts. But be aware that with this sort of thing, it basically turns into commodity-type pricing. For instance, if there are fifteen different listings for adjustable stems to choose from, that means the cost will be pushed down as low as possible.
In terms of cost, eBay charges a flat fee for listing your item, and then generally takes a small percentage of the final sales price as an additional cut.
Craigslist is a free, online listing of classified ads, with local sites for major cities in the U.S., Europe and other parts of the world. Because of that local emphasis, Craigslist is great for selling whole bikes, items of clothing and bike accessories such as panniers, fenders and racks.
Craiglist works best for people who want to try out bikes and see items first hand, or who want to test compatibility of parts. Because this usually involves meeting potential buyers in person, a person needs to feel comfortable with this and follow recommended safety tips for using Craigslist or any online marketplace.
There is no cost to post ads for bikes and bike parts on Craigslist.
3. Local Biking Websites/Discussion Forums
Another good place to sell bikes and bike parts is on city-specific bike websites and discussion forums. These sites, which often feature discussion forums on area bike races, mountain bike trails, nice road routes, commuter/advocacy issues, etc., will frequently have an area for buy/sell/trade. An example of this is Chicago's Chainlink website.
Like Craigslist, these sites work based on creating connections and interactions with local buyers who you'll meet in person so that they can check out and test ride your bike and/or try out/try on the bike clothes and accessories that you're selling.
There will typically be no cost for these, but the amount of traffic and page views that these sites get can vary considerably.
Another Craigslist-type website that might be worth checking out is Backpage.com. Generally backpage.com has less traffic than craiglist and is in fewer cities but it may be good to use just cause it's free for these type of ads. Also, it has a nice auto-renewal feature for its ads where it'll send you an email and prompt you to renew when they are about to expire.
5. Bike Shop Websites
In my experience, these bike shop classified ad pages generally have low amounts of traffic but you'll have to be the one to gauge just how much activity is taking place on these sites, and if it's worth your time to post there. You can tell how many people are visiting the site by the number of posts on the site -- whether it's and ads placed or discussion topics in the various forums -- as well as the number of responses to these posts. If there are only two posts in the section, and the most recent one is from six months ago, it may be non-productive. But hey, it's free so if you've already got the ad text written and photos taken, why not take a chance?