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Bicycles are elegant and simple in design and build. The basic mould of a frame and forks are largely unchanged by time. Travelling this way is as straightforward in the 21st century as it was when the bicycle was invented.
Once you’ve made your initial investment, you should be guaranteed years of enjoyment allied to the health benefits of cycling. There have been technological advances of course – developments in suspension, carbon-fibre, and disc brakes are three examples where the industry has moved forward.
Modifications like these are not mandatory purchases. You may simply love the one bike you own and keep it for life, without needing to consider how much it is worth. However, your love for riding may encourage you to upgrade, or to travel further, or to new territories.
If your first purchase was at the budget end of the range, you may want an upgrade and need to sell your current ride. If your bicycle is simply unwanted, explore here how to dispose of it.
How Much is My Bike Worth?
Our calculator uses a formula that assesses the main factors in bicycle value. It takes the purchase price, then assumes a 50 percent deduction within the first year. Then it assumes a loss of 10 percent each year, which is multiplied to the power of ‘n’ where ‘n’ is the age of the bicycle.
We assume this is factoring in all discounts and accessories which you intend to include in the valuation of the bicycle. The calculator works well with fewer upgrades. For example, it’s more difficult to add and subtract the difference between the stock wheels, and your upgraded wheels.
Not all bicycles halve in value, or reduce by 10% each year beyond the first year. A vintage ride, or one which contains a ‘first’ such as full suspension, a unique frame design, or was formerly ridden by professionals might attract a niche audience, and non-standard sale process.
Used Bicycle Value Calculator
Used Bicycle Value Calculator
Your Bicycle is Worth
Do Bikes Keep Value?
Generally speaking, no. Many of the components are made to wear down. Our use will add to the depreciation as we rack up the kilometres. When bicycles are in plentiful supply, it’s easy to get your hands on a new model. When waiting times extend then used prices for certain types increase.
There are plenty of strong bicycle brand names we list here that have a good record of holding on to their value. Heritage, scarcity, hand-built frames and reputation will help prop-up the worth of your ride.
Keeping your bicycle in the best condition will see it hold onto more of its original price. Accidental damage is almost inevitable, but you can avoid scrapes along the frame by locking it up carefully. If you can avoid laying it down you will limit damage and scratches to the bolts or quick release elements at the centre of the wheels.
You can even limit wear to the cranks and scratches to the pedals if you keep it upright at all times, and watch out for kerbs.
Do Bikes Depreciate?
Inevitably (like most consumer products) bicycles lose some of their value over time. In accounting terms, depreciation is defined as ‘the annual allowance for the wear and tear, deterioration or obsolescence of the property’. Bicycles will never fade, but some components have a shelf-life.
The simplicity of a bicycle design is also something of a curse for manufacturers. Well-cared for and maintained, the frame, forks and wheels should not require replacement, and that’s why manufacturers like Trek offer a lifetime frame guarantee to the original owner.
Therefore you shouldn’t really need to replace anything other than the essential components designed to wear out as you use them.
So while we’ve seen that a bicycle does depreciate, we should pat ourselves on the back for investing and owning a product which, if looked after, gives us a lifetime of service. We have more detail about how long a bicycle should last here.
Some bicycle models are in high-demand – not just the expensive copycats of professional racing teams, but also e-bikes, commuters, and runarounds. When considering the value if your bicycle is less than two years old, we recommend looking at the waiting list for the latest version of the same model. If there’s a long lead time, a prospective owner might be willing to pay more for a top machine.
How Much Does a Bicycle Depreciate Each Year?
You can expect bicycle value to halve in the first year of purchase. After this you might see a 10 percent drop in value each year after that. Condition, popularity, and brand are also going to play their part in the perceived value, as well as demand and supply for the model.
We’ve identified that taking care of your bicycle will have a positive impact on the value – a 20 percent increase from fair to very good condition will give a big boost at the end of the calculation.
If you grab a bargain at your own point of purchase, you will benefit from an improved depreciation in an indirect fashion. The amount you saved when you got your own deal need not be passed on to the person buying from you. The newer your bicycle, the lower the depreciation will be if you saved a lot when you bought it.
Best Places to Sell a Used Bicycle
The internet has specific marketplaces to help you to sell a used bicycle, but before you start taking hundreds of photos, it may pay to look closer to home. Take a look around your commute or your local area to see if you can sell via word of mouth.
Your market may be closer than you think. Work colleagues, local Facebook cycling groups, even Strava pages can be used to advertise your bicycle. It’s easier and simpler to make direct contact and you can each make a confident assessment about the sale.
If you have to go online, the traditional routes of Gumtree or eBay are good options. Using PayPal helps both parties, especially those who are concerned about the process, but you have to take the time to photograph your bike and be prepared to answer FAQs.
Finally, you could consider using a third-party to sell your bicycle for you. There are many sites to have a look at, but consider that there may be a fee involved in the sale price. Before you can list the bicycle, you may have to prove to the site that your model is of a sufficient quality to be sold.
Many will only look at good sellers from strong brands, and have a minimum resale figure which is usually north of £750 / $964. We’ve talked more about where to sell a bicycle here.