What Is the Bicycle Blue Book?
The Bicycle Blue Book is one of the top pricing and valuation guides for bike buyers. If you’re shopping for a bike and want to compare options, the Bicycle Blue Book offers comparisons between models, years, and styles. and sell price for your bicycle. But how does the Bicycle Blue Book stack-up against other similar guides and how can you use it to find the right bike at your ideal budget? In this post, we’ll present our guide to the Bicycle Blue Book.
Table of Contents
The Kelly Blue Book for Bikes
Tips for Using Bicycle Blue Book
How I Found The Market value for my Bikes
I went to bicyclebluebook.com on a desktop. I was presented with the screen you see above. On the top right, I went to VALUE GUIDE. I didn’t enter the search box, but rather tried to find my bike in their database.
It gave me a page with all the years available, but some were missing. So I picked the year closest to mine: 2002, as mine did not come with disc brakes and so the 2002 model was similar to mine.
For bike condition I went with the default GOOD condition. when i clicked on CONFIRM I was presented with Trade-in value, Private party price range and how much it was sold for at MSRP.
I remember buying my Trek 4300 in new condition from a store for about $400 in 2004. I expected a significant price drop given I bought the bike almost 20 years ago, with a ballpark value of somewhere in the low 2 digits. Imagine my surprise when I saw it valued for private party sale range of $118-$122.
Now I wanted to see if any Trek 4300s were listed and for their Blue Book price.
I went back to the home screen and entered my bike in the search box. My search gave me 1 result for a a 18″ Trek 4300. It was the exact color I have, which was a surprise. It was listed for $140. Maybe the condition is very good. But still within the range indicated when I tried to value the bike.
If you own a 2004 Trek 4300, you can technically expect to get about $140, though it’s debatable another rider would want to pay that much for a 20 year old bike. Would you be willing to pay $140 to get a Trek 4300?
Cannondale Evo 6
Once I chose my model, I was presented again with the bike condition. I choose the default GOOD. I was give the Private party sale price range between %569 to $587. So a mid-tier price of $578 might be a good starting point. I bought the bike for around $2200. The bike retained about 25% of its value.
I wanted to see what Blue Book value VERY GOOD and EXCELLENT conditions would give me. VERY GOOD gave me a Private range of $625-$644, and EXCELLENT gave me $656-$675.
So who is selling the Cannondale in the $500-$600 range?
A Rise in Bike Demand
During the pandemic, in 2021, there was high demand for bicycles. Local Bike Shops (LBS) were having a hard time keeping up with demand for new bikes. So used bike demand went up. Online marketplaces were teeming with activity for used bikes. So when I tried to see how much I would get, I listed the Cannondale for around $1000 on FB Marketplace.
I was balked at for such a high price for a then less than 10 year old bike. I was offered as low as $300, citing the life of carbon frames, the mileage, etc. So even if your bike is good as new, the real world pricing would make re-think the potential appraisal values suggested by the Bicycle Blue Book.
Save Money With the Bicycle Blue Book
There are many ways riders can save money using the Bicycle Blue Book (BBB).
- First, decide a budget for your bike purchase.
- Then use the BBB database to find the value and the condition of the bike you would like to buy or sell.
- Once you know the price range for the bike model you have in mind you have a few options: you can either stay on BBB and look for bikes to buy, or go to another site or shop at your local bike shop to make your purchase.
Buying with the Bicycle Blue Book
If you are buying on BBB, there are 3 options – BBB Direct, Online Store, and Private Seller. For BBB Direct and Private Seller you can send a message to the seller. This can start your negotiation on the bike price, shipping, warranty, guarantee, etc. For the Online Store, it is like a regular ecommerce store where you buy the bike at the listed price. You are not able to message the person (or retailer) for negotiation.
For offline buying options and websites offering local used and new bikes for sale, check out Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, OfferUp, or even your local bike shops or community centers.
The same methods apply to selling your bike, either on BBB after you create an account, on another site or through a local vendor.
Ultimately it comes down to how much you want to either spend, or receive, for the bike. Set realistic expectations, determine your budget, and then go through the Bicycle Blue Book to finetune your research process.
Wrapping Up My Experience with the Bicycle Blue Book
I had three different experiences when trying to assess my bikes’ value with Blue Book.
- The value for my Trek was higher than I expected.
- The Cannondale gave me a more realistic value.
- I could not find a value for the Poseidon X perhaps due to the company’s relatively small size and market.
You can expect this type of experience when you use the Bicycle Blue Book for yourself. For the popular makes and models, you may be able to pinpoint price and potential sale value given the bike’s condition.
I found the Bicycle Blue Book a very good resource for bike enthusiasts to buy and sell their bikes. The site is intuitive and provides clear details regarding the market for both used and new bikes. As the Blue Book gains popularity, I am sure even small bike manufacturers like Poseidon will get in the database, and give more options for hardcore riders users like us.