Buying wheelsets on eBay

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Roscoe_lee, Feb 8, 2006.

  1. Roscoe_lee

    Roscoe_lee New Member

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    I'm new to the forum and I've read alot of favorable reviews about Mavic Ksyrium SLs. Question is: has anyone bought these rims on eBay and had a good experience doing so - they seem much less on eBay than anywhere else - are the wheelsets legit on eBay, and would the forum recommend buying them there? Thanks.
     
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  2. badkarma

    badkarma New Member

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    Every Ebay seller is different, I'd check out the person's history to see if they're legit. If they've sold a lot of stuff and have a good rating, then they're probably safe to buy from.
     
  3. John M

    John M New Member

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    I have bought wheels and other parts on eBay, and will make the following comments based on MY experience. I am sure that others may have different experiences.

    1. Only look at final sale prices to gauge the eBay market value of an item. The real bidding only begins in the final minutes. The experienced buyers know what the market is, and rarely is there a true steal of a deal, especially on items that are popular like Ksyrium wheels. Seems that for the really good stuff, the price pushes up to a little below that which is available through discount online retailers.
    2. Yes, some of the great deals are legit. Recently I got a new, in the box, Centaur rear derailleur for $70, and a new Sun rim for $5. Many shops sell new items as overstocks on eBay at reasonable savings. These are what many of the "Buy it now" listings are.
    3. Anything listed as used is a bit of a gamble. Most of the time you will get a fair deal, sometimes an exceptional one, rarely you get ripped off. The condition may not be quite as good as advertised. This may be OK if you pay a low enough price, and if you can handle the less than ideal condition. I had to overhaul a front hub, including new bearings and cones, that was advertised as "very good condition"--definitely not, but still a good deal even with my time and cost of parts.
    4. Make sure you know what the item really is. Items may be previous year models, missing certain things (like owners manuals or the special Mavic spoke wrench that comes with their wheels). "As new", or "like new", may not be NEW. Ask questions ahead of time since you can't change your mind.
    5. There may be NO manufacturers warranty if the item is bought on eBay from a non-dealer, and you probably will not be able to return the item if you don't like it or it doesn't work out for you.

    So my opinion is that the informed buyer may get great deals on eBay, but there are definitely fewer protections than buying from a local shop or an established online retailer. If you want to get something at a bargain, you need to be patient, know your bidding limit, and wait until the item you want comes along at the price that you want.
     
  4. Deanster04

    Deanster04 New Member

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    Agree completely with JohnM. That was the best commentary on eBay purchases. The only thing I will add is to ask for additional pics. Ask any number of questions you have of the seller using the eBay link. Most people are honest. You get a good profile of a seller by the feedback. You will usually get what you want. With wheels you might have to take them to a wheelbuilder and ask him (0r her) to true the wheels or at least check them out. I have only had one item come to me much less than advertised. The person posted something for a friend and didn't do a visual on the item...he made good on returning my money and paid the postage.

    Good luck.
     
  5. capwater

    capwater New Member

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    eBay is what it is, an auction site to buy stuff sight unseen. You have to be comfortable with this setup. Search based on "completed listings" to get a guage on what stuff ends up selling for. eBay isn't for the weak ay heart. If the idea of sending some guy money clear across the country makes you antsy, shop elsewhere. That being said I've gotten some great deals there, just have to know the value of your item and don't get caught up in the bidding frenzy.
     
  6. JohnO

    JohnO New Member

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    I have purchased two wheelsets from ebay: Rolf Vector Pro, and later Zipp 404. Got good deals both times. Love the 404's, just can't take them off the bike.

    A few things to consider about ebay buying:

    Check the seller's feedback rating carefully, don't just glance at the number next to their name. Ebay is bad about letting troublesome sellers continue (they pay the bills, after all), so review a summary of all comments. Also, see what they have been selling - do they sell a lot of bikes and/or components, or is this the first bike related item they have sold?

    Look at the photos - are they 'stock' manufacturer photos, or were they taken at someone's home? Stock photos indicate the person might not have the wheels, and is running a scam.

    For an accurate final price, search completed auctions and see what the wheels you are after actually sold for. Consider signing up for a sniping engine - I use www.auctionstealer.com, it's free (if you don't use it much) and it works well.

    If you are sending payment, send it priority mail and get delivery confirmation. Doesn't cost much more, gives you proof that payment was sent, and you can hit a bad seller with a mail fraud charge.

    If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is too good to be true.

    Wheelsets in particular should invoke caution. They are easily damaged if not packed properly, or they can be out of true. Try to buy from someone who sells cycle equipment regularly - they will describe the wheels more accurately, and pack them better.

    And remember what you are doing - sending a lot of money to a total stranger, and hoping they will do the right thing.
     
  7. tourdelivermore

    tourdelivermore New Member

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    Great advice.

    For big ticket items, I send a message with my cell phone number. If they are reputable, they call and we discuss the item. This helped me overcome the uncertainties when I purchased a practically new bike last year at $2K less that retail...great experience.
     
  8. Roscoe_lee

    Roscoe_lee New Member

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    Much thanks for the feedback to my question, I am better informed for having received such informative responses. I'll keep the forum informed on my experiences. Is there such a thing as counterfeit wheelsets, and how can one tell the difference?
     
  9. Adam-from-SLO

    Adam-from-SLO New Member

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    Well said Paul ! ;)

    I've had more success on Ebay buying + selling new/used parts , then bad luck. There have been a few instances of bad luck on my end when buying(paid a seller $13-shipped for a ITM Pro 260 road bar... to have NEVER have recieved the item :( , just recently... a couple of BAD Campy 9-speed cassette deals gone horribly wrong...... just WRONG. First guy I sent payment to, he said he never recieved the payment, so I had to stop payment on the money order :( , then another guy from San Diego sold me what was advertised as a "used Campy 9-speed cassette" , and what showed up was a 9 cassette rings/zipp tied together ....... but the rings were from different campy 8-speed cassettes- not to mention, the inner part of the rings were "chopped/chunked" out - thus they could not even have been used on a 8-speed hub :( :confused: :eek: :mad:

    The positive experience buys/sells on Ebay far out-weight the negatives.
    As far as buying wheels of Ebay, I have had good experiences w/buying used wheels. The deals are on there.... I constantly see Chorus or Record hub wheels going for $150-200 shipped...... mainly slightly used , thats about a 1/3 or 1/2 off savings :eek: ;)
     
  10. mikael17128

    mikael17128 New Member

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    Only buy BRAND NEW wheelsets from eBay. I have never purchased a used wheelset on eBay that I have been happy with (Zipp 404, Mavic X517). When I removed the stickers on the 404's 3 months after the close of the deal I found an epoxied blemish under one of them. The Mavic X517's (mountain wheels) were, quite simply, junk that I had to return (the seller did refund my money). Might I suggest the Shimano Dura Ace models.
     
  11. PeterF

    PeterF New Member

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    I have bought a couple sets of wheels on e-bay. In both cases I saved over $200 from what I would have spent at a discount on-line shop. For $200, I can live without a warranty, since there is no one part of the wheels (rim, hub) that I couldn't replace for less. Read the seller's feedback and stick to ones that have a positive rating of 99% or better. The serious sellers live and die by keeping their feedback high. I actually have a much higher comfort level buying from e-bay than Performancebike. Ksyrium's, as previously stated, are very popular, and you will find that they usually sell for a pretty high price. I bought a set from my LBS. The price was reasonable, especially after my club discount and no shipping charges. Plus they have stood by them, which is key, since I hear Mavic can be a bit fickle to deal with.
     
  12. Roscoe_lee

    Roscoe_lee New Member

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    Thank you all for the enlightening and detailed advice - I've bought tires, cassettes, a polar cs100 computer and the Mavic SLs, everything new and very much satisfied with the money I've saved by purchasing the items on eBay. I couldn't (and wouldn't) have done without everyones timely advice - much thanks.
     
  13. kiddoh

    kiddoh New Member

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    1. JohnM's got it down for how to proceed on ebay. I've bought lots of bike stuff and sold a bike; highest amount paid for an ebay product was for a used Nikon D1x for $2200 (- good deal, awesome camera). You should sign up for a PayPal account, too, if you don't have one- another step for security.

    Ebay shopping- You must be thorough with questions. I go by two main criteria when shopping on ebay- 1. Is the description honest and forthright? Are there clear details, (familiar) payment procedure (nothing strange); descrption should leave little need to know more. 2. Are they responsive when you email them...and reply within a day? A flag goes up for me when I get a two word response when inquiring about a product...or leaving out an answer I'm looking for when asking a few questions...or there are misspellings. My main questions of interest are why selling, a request to restate the condition, where'd you get it (first owner?) and shipping details (if not clear). I almost blew off the Nikon camera seller above when she didn't email her responses for a few days, didn't nail the reponse to my question and seemed a bit flighty overall. Then I learned she was a housewife who wasn't technically oriented and was selling her and her husband's camera after little use. It was a great deal- fair price, upgraded buffer, orig. sales receipt, original box and accessories. But I had to dig for that info...as her original description left a lot to be desired.

    2. I was also recently shopping for a new/used Ksyrium wheelset (ebay, roadbikereview, this forum) and finally found out that a new Ksyirum wheelset will not be warrantied by Mavic if you buy them from an unauthorized seller, such as someone on ebay (ask them if they are..and maybe cross reference with Mavic). (I've just mounted a slightly used pair of Ksyrium ESs for $700 found on roadbikereview.com- they're awesome.) Also find out a definite, new, ready-to-ride ksyrium sale price from the LBS so you know what to work from....then if an auction price gets close to that LBS price, you should by from the authorized seller because the one-year warranty for Ksyriums may be worth a hundred bucks...or so.

    3. Download and install the ebay toolbar (for PC); this will help with avoiding any scam sites and lets you know when you're going to an unauthorized ebay site. More protection.

    4. Try to do all of your communication with the seller through the ebay's Message system for 1) a record of exchanges on ebay's server and 2) anyone contacting you through this system may be a bit more legit than a random email. Here's why:

    5. If you bid on something and don't win it, and someone emails you saying they're the seller and that you qualify for a 2nd chance option to buy (meaning the winner wasn't able to pay, so now it's yours to buy), it's probably a scam. If you are the 2nd highest bidder of the auction and receive this email, email the seller (as listed in the description) through ebay's Message system and ask them if it's true. If you're not the 2nd highest bidder, delete the message.

    Good luck.

    KDO
     
  14. kiddoh

    kiddoh New Member

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    Always purchase tracking along with shipping insurance! Insurance alone carries a tracking number, but you have to go in to the post office for them to scan your receipt. For $1.50 more, adding a tracking number is certainly worth it because you have a number that can be plugged in at usps.com by anyone. I mailed language tapes to the winner of the auction...and she never saw the postal slip (it blew away?) for pick up. Goofy accusations flew about not sending the package after she paid for it. Then I had the post office scan the insurance number then I relayed to her what the post office verbally told me ...because she couldn't track it herself online since insurance tracking is not available online. WIth tracking, I could have just emailed her the tracking number and she could have seen for herself online that a delivery attempt was made. What a freakin' headache. Never again.

    -KDO
     
  15. yamaha_mike

    yamaha_mike New Member

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    Either Ebay has _zero_ oversight or they are indeed an evil empire. Be very critical of the seller. Assume he/she is a crook first because you are bidding in the back alley.

    That being said, I still look sometimes :rolleyes:
     
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