Craigslist Shopping Tips

I had a request for Craigslist shopping tips. So here are some. Does anyone else have any?

Tips for bike hunting on craigslist:

  • Search the “bikes” category with no search text.
  • Also search the “bike parts” category with no search text.
    (there will be parts in the bikes category and bikes in the bike parts category)
  • Try adding a max price like 100 dollars to search for only cheap/bargain bikes.
  • Try clicking the “search nearby areas” box and including farther areas.
  • Search for multiple specific thing in one search by searching: trek|specialized|cannondale
  • Or for multiword names use quotes: colnago|”de rosa”|derosa|masi
    (notice how I searched for both De Rosa and Derosa…just in case someone listed it with no space)
  • Try searching for mispellings: trek|terk|treck|trex
  • You can exclude listings. If you don’t want to see any listings with a mention of Huffys or Roadmasters, you can add “-huffy -roadmaster” to the search (without the quotes).
  • Keep in mind that searches are not intelligent. bike and bicycle are two different words. So if the listing has the word bike and you search for bicycle, you won’t find it. And vis versa.
  • If a listing title is vague, check it out anyway. Chances are that listing of “Red bike” for $25 is a cheap kids bike, but you never know.
  • If you want to do the same search often, bookmark it. Bookmark lots of searches.
  • SEARCH OFTEN! Multiple times a day. The best deals don’t last long.
  • Contact the seller ASAP. Sometimes first person to call/email/text gets the bike.
  • Try to be the first person to be there to get the bike.
  • If the seller says someone is coming to look at it, follow up. Maybe the person never shows up.
  • Check older listings to see if the bike is still available. If the bike as been listed for a while and hasn’t sold, they might be ready to deal. See if they will take less than they are asking.
  • Search all craigslist areas by doing a google search “ cannondale bike” (without the quotes)
    (keep in mind the google search results will not up to the moment current and may be out of date.


2 Responses to “Craigslist Shopping Tips”

  1. <path_to_url> Kelly Love

    Thanks for these tips. Well, after a few months of meandering on Craigslist I really wasn’t finding anything interesting. I was committed to finding something locally. On a quick ride to the market, I spotted an old Cadillac with some kind of old road bike strapped to a rack on the bumper. I stopped to give it a closer look, and found that something interesting. Shortly, the owner of the car arrives and asked me if I was the guy from Craigslist here to buy the bike. I wanted to say yes, but with truth I told him that I wasn’t but wished that I was. He told me he had been waiting for a half hour without anyone else showing up. With that, he told me the bike was mine for the buying. He told me a long story of how it was originally purchased in New York City by a relative, was stored in a work shed for decades, and then how he brought it with him when he struck out west to California. I was hooked. Not only was the bike complete, it had history. I asked how much, and he said that he would let it go for $40. That is the amount I had to buy groceries that evening, so I weighed it out and decided to go with the bike. After a good wash, I began to sort through the identity of the bike. With some searching on the web, the best I can decipher is that the bike is a early 70’s Peugot UE8. I read plenty about steering clear of French bikes and Ava death stems. No matter, I decided that this was the bike that I was going to build into my first randoneuring machine. So, The Happy Lion, which is what I named the bike, is being cleaned and polished, but is patiently awaiting an overhaul. After watching your videos, I am becoming more confident. So, with all this being said, I am writing to you today to ask if you are willing and have the time to coach me through this process. I can send along some photos for you to look over and give me a good place to start. Not sure what is the best way to contact you other than going through this blog. Thanks for giving it some consideration.

    • <path_to_url> RJ The Bike Guy

      Cool find! I have also once in a while stumbled into a bike. Just a couple days ago I went to look at a 60s’/70s Jeunet that was listed on Craigslist, and ended up buying a 1992 Koga Miyata that the guy hadn’t listed yet. Anyway, I have a ton of videos on just about every part of a bike. Dig through those. I don’t mind answering a few questions here and there. Try to find the answers in the videos first. My main issue with French bikes is the weird threading and sizing that makes finding parts difficult.

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