You don't have to gold plate your bike to fetch a high resale value, but some basic tips regularly applied can retain hundreds or even thousands when it comes time to upgrade.
Ever browse Craigslist or Pinkbike and notice the difference in condition between bikes for sale? How do some owners sell a bike that looks fresh off the floor after two years of ownership while others look like they belong in a flea market? Following a few simple rules of thumb to protect and preserve one’s bike can lead to a world of difference in resale value when it comes time to upgrade.
1. Clean And Oil Your Chain!
Nothing’s worse than checking out a used bike and seeing a drivetrain totally worn or one that’s gone red with rust. The chain touches every part of the drivetrain and nothing leads to premature wear and tear more than a neglected chain. It may seem obvious to some, but frequent oiling with proper bike lube will add months to the life and condition of your chain.
Oiling doesn’t need to be a complex process, but but for best results always remember to wipe the chain, oil it link by link and wipe it one more time. Benefit from increased performance and a nicer kickback selling a bike that doesn’t require $300-600 dollars in replacement parts just to make it an attractive purchase.
2. Is That Rain Ride Worth It?
Mud and water can be disastrous for modern bikes. While that loamy trail can be tempted, it’s always best to avoid fresh mud and riding during a downpour. All the moving parts on a bike hate to be jammed full of water and dirt, and while the techs at Sunshine are always happy to help with maintenance and repairs, a bike being put up for sale will look its best staying dry!
If the trails are calling no matter the weather, a bike covered in mud and grit should be rinsed down as soon as possible with low pressure water and hand dried (particularly the drivetrain and places where water could seep into bearings or the frame) followed by oiling your chain and moving parts promptly!
3. Lean & Clean
Without kickstands on many modern bikes, when it comes time to lean them up, many people aren’t quite sure what to do. To avoid unsightly scratches and dents, proper leaning technique can be easily practiced. Avoid contact with any part of the frame and instead focus on contact between softer areas of the bike and a wall, such as the tires (rear is best), grips, saddle etc.
4. Going For A Car Ride
A lot of scratches seem to come from nowhere and one of the biggest culprits are trips in a car. With ultra-wide handlebars and 29er wheels, many modern bikes have a hard time fitting in the compact cars of many, and the attempts to fit them in, while challenging, can be ruinous for pristine paint-jobs.
Take care when shuttling the bike or invest in a rack to baby your bike! If you stow your bike, watch out for rub and contact points subject to vibration which can produce scratches or wear through the paint during even a short drive. And consider adding anti-abrasive padding between a rack and your frame - soft cloth or something more permanent.
5. A Little Love Goes A Long Way
While frequent trips to the bike store may add up, a maintenance approach of changing certain wear items more frequently helps to avoid higher repair and parts replacement costs. Replacing brake pads and chains more frequently can save money by preserving the life of more expensive items such as cassettes, chainrings and brake rotors -- many of which have gotten particularly expensive in recent years.
Learn to eyeball the condition of these critical components, or stop by the shop and our experts can gladly check up on things and show you what to do. How does this relate to the resale value of your bike? Preventative maintenance demonstrates care and leads to easier sales.
6. Inside or Outside?
Like a nice car, a nice bike loves living inside the best. Whether it’s the garage or a nook in the bedroom, bikes that spend their off days indoors benefit from increased performance and resale value. Besides protecting from rain, nasty weather, changing humidity, particulates, dew, corrosion and thieves, a bike kept indoors will inspire frequent cleaning, promoting healthier maintenance habits all around. Prevent that cobweb-laden rusty look by finding the perfect bike spot inside.
7. Protect That Paint
Shiny, new paint. Or an unscratched matte finish. It’s what we all want in a bike, new or used. Despite the condition of a bicycle on the used market, first impressions are often made on the condition of the paint job alone. Rinsing, wiping and cleaning the paint after dirty, dusty rides goes a long way to preserving that factory shine. Small investments in cleaning products (with specific options for gloss or matte coats!) keeps things looking fresh. And remember, never wipe a muddy or dirty bike with a dry rag or your hand.
Are you a fan of that urban commuter aesthetic and want to cover the frame in stickers? This is a great look for city bikes meant to take a beating, but won’t quite cut it on a performance road or mountain bike. Stickers can make your ride look rad, but too many makes selling the bike later on difficult. While stickers are fun, removing them is not. Keep the sticker placement tasteful (we love shop stickers!) and buyers down the road will appreciate it.
9. The Suspens(ion) Is Killing Me!
Full suspension mountain bikes are the overall hottest aftermarket bikes, and discerning buyers commonly ask about suspension and the condition of those components. The parts that make modern mountain bikes fun need the most love, and keeping on top of service keeps things tip top and commanding the best resale price!
One thing many folks don’t realize is the gradual performance degradation of a suspension system is hard for bike owners themselves to judge over time. Let the suspension experts at Sunshine feel and inspect your suspension fork and shock every few months or so as to keep things running nicely. That way the bike will be a blast for you as well as impressive for potential purchasers.
10. Know The Value Of What You Have
Before listing your bike online, it’s best to know where to start. A bit of research on the bike and what it might be worth will help earn the most value on the aftermarket. If you need guidance on resale pricing, roll it in the door and Sunshine is happy to help.
The Bottom Line
It also goes without saying that regular tune ups greatly help your current and future experience and value. Keeping everything fresh rather than finding out your bike needs almost as much work as it's worth is a better way to go.
Bikes make everyone happy, and selling a used bike shouldn’t be like trying to unload a worn out used car. By incorporating these simple steps into a routine, a bike will perform better for you plus fetch the highest dollar and move fast when it’s time to sell.
After all, more value for the old bike leads to an even sweeter upgrade! :)