Seven Tips for Buying Used Gear

Gear ReviewBuying used gear or parts is a great way to save yourself some money.  On the flip side, it’s a great way to make a few bucks and subsidize new moto-purchases.  But seriously, some of you folks need to polish your skills on being a buyer.  Shitty sellers exist too, but I’ve found FAR more shitty buyers in my time.  Based on a recent experience I had, here are some tips on buying gear and parts.

Do your homework.

Read the ad and ask questions before you agree to a price.  “What’s the fit like?” “How old is it?” “Can I get a couple more detailed pictures?”  “How many miles are on it?” “What’s it size like?”  “How often was it used?”  These are just a few examples.  Ask questions before buying or you’ll be disappointed with your purchase.  A good ad-post has all the info you need.  Don’t respond to an ad for a medium-size jacket when you’re CLEARLY a large sized guy.

Mileage is your problem.

Just like if you were paying for shipping, mileage is a ‘you’ problem.  Expecting the sellers to knock something off the price because you drove ‘all that way’ is a dick move.  If you don’t want to drive far, agree to somewhere in the middle.  Don’t demand the seller cut you a break just because you drove.

Bring exact change.

If you’re paying in cash, bring the agreed sell price in cash. Yes, bring a combination of bills for last minute price adjustments, but don’t expect the seller to have a wallet full of small (or large) bills to break your $100 on a $35 purchase.  The USD $100 bill is the most counterfeited bill outside the United States.  Don’t be surprised if someone is anxious about breaking your big bills.

Know the market price.

Know the market price of what you’re buying. Sellers expect some haggling, and it’s usually built into the asking price, but don’t expect thrift store prices from riders who know the value of an item.  A good-condition leather jacket, a helmet, or bike has a bottomline value.  Don’t demand a huge discount on something under the asking price once you meet.  You’ll go home empty handed if you’re expecting a price lower than the market value.  If you play the game, be prepared for the seller to walk away.

This isn’t the sellers job.

Selling used gear and parts usually isn’t someone’s job.  Maybe they make a little side money or they subsidize their habit by selling old stuff. Sure there are some professional flippers out there, but most people are just trying to clean out their closet or garage.  That said, people know what something is worth.  Telling them their item is crap because of some reason you make up won’t gain you any points.

Don’t lie.

If you’re going to run some kind of price haggle, don’t lie.  Don’t use the tired old “all I have is $50,” and when you open your wallet it’s full of $100’s.  Don’t run some sob story about how your dog died and times are tough and blahblahblah.  Hey, times are tough for everyone.  This transaction has nothing to do with your made up life events.

Don’t be a dick.

You’re buying something. The seller has something you want.  Find a price in the middle and work it out.  Being a dick doesn’t help anyone and it actively degrades the online selling community.  Examples of being a dick:  aggressively pressuring the seller into taking your 30% discount price because you don’t want to ‘waste their time;’ guilting them into a price because ‘you drove all that way;’   yelling at them in a parking lot because they’re ‘not nice.’  Many cities are setting up safe zones for selling because people are dicks, or worse.  Don’t be that guy.


Buying and selling used gear can be an easy experience. I’ve sold a lot of stuff to strangers over the years, dating back to the pre-internet days of The Recycler and BBS systems. Mostly I’ve had no-shows, low-ballers, and tire-kickers. However I recently had a sale that violated almost all of these tips. This guy acted sketchy and he made me so uncomfortable I almost called the cops.  Have you had a scary selling experience?  Let me know in the comments.

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