A very real guide to sniffing out fake bike deals

By Rikki Suarez | Photo by Rob Bye/Unsplash

Let’s discuss what you should look for when you make purchase a bike online.

The Specs of Both the Item and the Seller

A number of admins require a list of specs sellers need to indicate before they allow postage.  Jjay de Guzman Gonzales of Buy and Sell Bike and Bike Parts Ph has in his rules for posting these required information:

  1. Price
  2. Actual photos
  3. Condition (Used/Brand New)
  4. Contact number
  5. Meet-up location
  6. Reason for Selling (Optional)

It is to your advantage to prefer those who take extra effort to fill in details. However, if you see something you cannot resist that lacks detailed description, message the seller directly.  At the same time, try to do a bit of sleuthing yourself. Check if their personal pages are legitimate. If it was created just a few days or even months ago, that’s more likely the work of scamper.  “Admins filter members with bogus accounts.  It is an automatic deletion for those with hazy accounts to prevent scams within the group,” says Arvin Lasala of Best Buy for Cyclists – BBC. Page admins are usually very accommodating when it comes to inquiries like if the seller has some previous infraction or if a particular account has been placed on their watch list. Usually though they adopt a one-strike policy on this.

Research, Research, Research!

Take the specs provided with a grain of salt. Image-enhancing apps are convenient these days so take a closer look at the image of the product and read the specs carefully. Be wary of terms referring to imitation products like OEM, replica, version of, cheap China carbon, etc. However, in the absence of these terms, do lots of research over the internet. Use Google image search to generate product photos, then compare these to the picture of the item for sale to determine if it looks original and well-kept.

Another great avenue is forums.  Major local biking websites have dedicated forum pages.  You may join these conversations to pose queries. You will be surprised at how more than willing they are to give you their two cents.

When it comes to pricing, it’s best to consult dedicated and established selling websites like OLX just to have an idea of how much the brand new and second hand items costs. Ariel Arias II offers this advice. “Usually there are good deals here, but if you have the luxury of time, you can do more research by going to OLX.”  Now, when something pops up that is too good to be true, well, it probably is. It could be a fake, not well maintained, or the seller just wants to get rid of it fast because it’s a stolen item. “Ask, ask, ask, ask, canvas, canvas, canvas.  That simple!,” says Lasala.