Ad closing in seconds....

Avoid paying over the odds for a used bike

Published: 17 October 2016

Updated: 17 October 2016

Bikes for sale

Bidding on a used bike? Set yourself a limit or you’ll come unstuck

You must have blinked at the prices some bikes sell for on eBay. Private sale used bikes sometimes go for more than you’d pay a dealer for them; sometimes even close to discounted new prices.

Yes, you can get a bidding frenzy. What also happens is that, to be sure of not being pipped at the post, people will put in an over-high bid. Say you want to pay £2400, but are willing to be flexible and you don’t want to lose it for the sake of a few quid. So you bid £3000.


People don’t consider what might happen if somebody else has the same idea. When two of these bidders collide, you have a seller whooping for joy.

I’m convinced this happened with a 400 Four I was chasing – original and low miles, but stored in a shed for 20 years and in need of restoration. It went for £3350, for which you could buy... well, my own superb one, for a start.

I’ve watched stuff I sell – usually classic parts – do the same. How about an original complete toolkit, in its bag, and the tool tray and lid it sits in (old Honda 400 Four again)?  Normally that’s £60-£70, but on one occasion such a combo fetched over £180, having jumped from around £50 in the last 10 seconds (which is when all the serious bidders appear).

Don’t make the mistake of doing this – one day you’ll come unstuck. Set yourself a limit and if you get outbid, just shrug. 

I sometimes use a sniping programme – works for me. Very good at slamming in an unexpected bid in the last five seconds.

Also catching my eye this week

1978 Yamaha XS400, £2500

Seller says Fully restored, 16,000 miles. Neil says Humdrum bike in its day, with lousy carbs and an electric starter that struggled. Can’t imagine why anyone paid two and a half grand for it.

2002 Honda XR400R, £2487

Seller says Only 1360 miles, only two owners, recent full service, new road tyres, chain & sprockets Neil says  Really good fun semi-serious trail bike in fabulous condition at a good price.


Looking for the perfect two-wheeled companion? Visit MCN Bikes For Sale website or use MCN's Bikes For Sale App.

Bauer Media

Bauer Media Group consists of: Bauer Consumer Media Ltd, Company number: 01176085, Bauer Radio Ltd, Company Number: 1394141
Registered Office: Media House, Peterborough Business Park, Lynch Wood, Peterborough, PE2 6EA H Bauer Publishing,
Company Number: LP003328 Registered Office: Academic House, 24-28 Oval Road, London, NW1 7DT.
All registered in England and Wales. VAT no 918 5617 01
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd are authorised and regulated by the FCA(Ref No. 710067)