When to buy a bicycle.

I already have a road bike and a hybrid, so I’m looking at getting a mountain bike to complete my “fleet”. I want a Trek Fuel, and as expensive as they are I’m limited to buying used. I haven’t seen a whole lot on Craigslist recently. I’m wondering if there’s a certain time of year that’s better than other times? Or is Craigslist simply the wrong place to buy this type of thing?

You might be best to buy near the end of the year when the must-have-the-latest-model crowd are upgrading to next year’s model. That’s a good time to buy new as well. However, given you’ll just be getting a year old bike the savings might not be enough to fit your budget.

Yeah, the fall is the best time as it is the end of the season. You might also get some good deals on new ones, since the stores will need to clear out for the ‘new’ lines.

Craigslist wouldn’t be the place to buy a secondhand good bike in the UK, but I don’t know if it’s different in the US. Route one for selling stolen bikes online and it’s generally just a mess of shite bikes. Ebay is a lot better (over here at least). Also try the classifieds on the mountain bike forums - whatever the US equivalent of singletrackworld is.

Talk to your local bike shops. They often take used bikes in trade and sell them on.

I’ve gotten great deals on clearance bikes there, but that’s probably not going to happen with a popular model in a common size.

They will also know your local MTB clubs and bikers, which is another good source for used bikes.

I wouldn’t be looking at Craig’s list. At the very least, look for MTB-specific groups/maillists/forums/etc. Try the MTB mags, they probably have FSBO listings.

With a casual look, I see them on Ebay for anywhere from $175.00 for a frame to $5,500.00 for a complete bike with many variances in between.

Part of the problem is although I ride a lot, I stay away from the local bike scene, which to me seems to be the spandex and helmet types that ride down city streets in groups at what seems like 30 mph, as opposed to the more casual riding I do. I did finally find a local bike shop that treats me decently; I was in one where I was ignored for close to an hour before I walked out; maybe I didn’t look like they type that was prepared to spend the $600 in a bike that I was. I’ve looked at eBay but it seems to cost a lot to ship something, although it might be still the best way to do it.