25-year old Portland resident Tom Daly has worked at several local bike shops and has seen many used bikes in his day. Now that he’s opened his own repair shop, he’s decided to put that experience to use with a unique new service. For a $15 fee, Daly will ride-along with you on used bike purchases to make sure you’re getting the right bike at the right price.
Here’s how it works:
If you’re considering a used bike on Craigslist, but want an expert opinion to make sure it’s legit (as in, not stolen) and worth the money, Mr. Daly will accompany you to check it out. With a frame gauge in hand he’ll make sure the frame is straight and solid, check the forks and all the components, and make sure the bike fits you.
If you buy the bike and choose to have Daly do a tune-up, he’ll apply the $15 ride-along fee to your repair bill.
Daly says the inspiration for his ride-along service came after a realization that “there are a lot of fairly scandalous bikes that pop up on Craigslist.” Daly has bought so many bikes off the popular online classified site that he also knows how to spot someone trying to sell stolen goods. “I know many of the faces of people that sell stolen bikes [on Craigslist] and I know their vibe.”
“There are a lot of fairly scandalous bikes that pop up on Craigslist.”
— Tom Daly, owner of WTF Bikes
Daly says buying a lemon can happen to anyone. “If you’re not a mechanic, you get the bike home and you might notice there’s a crack in the dropout or the derailleur is bent. Or, maybe the guy didn’t set up the drivetrain right and the chain is coming off. You might think the bike’s broken but in reality it’s just a tiny adjustment.”
In the end, it’s all about peace of mind says Daly. “At least you’ll know the bike isn’t broken and you won’t have to worry about getting something that’s completely horrible and ill-fitting for you.”
Last week, Daly helped one of his first customers buy a bike out in Beaverton. “It turned out to be a great little Nishiki. The guy was stoked.”
You can contact Tom Daly at wtfbikes(at)gmail(dot)com. His website at WTFBikes.net (for Well Tuned Fast Bikes) will be up and running in a few days. Stay tuned to his Twitter feed for updates.
Thanks to Joe Bike for the heads up on this story.
that’s a great idea
This is the coolest new service idea I’ve seen in a while. I hope it works out for him, I’d love to see him succeed at it.
I will be taking Tom up on this offer. I am new to biking, recently stopped by Bike Gallery in Beaverton to find my size. I would LOVE to have someone knowledgeable come along for a second opinion. Thanks for offering this service. When the time comes, I will be calling you.
i’ve been told i need to do this for the last year and a half or so. you snooze you lose. damn.
Tom, Id like to fly you out to Fort Lauderdale to check out a bike for me
What a great way to help people get set up with used bikes without the risk. Kudos for coming up with this idea!
definitely worth more than 15 bucks, hopefully he is happy to accept gratuities.
I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Tom through his work at the JoeBike shop on Hawthorne. His enthusiasm and creativity is undoubtedly a seed that will sprout many new ideas.
Allowing us our own personal interpretation of your acronym is a nice little marketing touch. You will always be known as WTF bikes to me.
Good luck Tom!
That is a very affordable deal (too affordable I fear), unless there was such a resource in each neighborhood. The travel time and initial contacting eats up a lot of this metered time.
Actually something fairer would be $15 for bikes under $100 and then plus 10% for value above the initial $100.
Another variant of this model would be for sellers to have the basic quality of a bike checked and ‘certified’ beforehand. Something like paying for ‘points’ in the real estate sales gig.
So if it’s $15 for a basic inspection, how much to play “bad-cop” to help haggle the seller down?
Wow! Thanks for all the positive feedback! Today has been a great day for me.
Todd-Your proposed system is exactly what I was thinking of before I decided on a flat rate. Right now I have a lot of free time and I’m just stoked to be getting my name out there. More than likely, I’ll have to raise the price eventually but better to keep it cheap while i can!
West Cougar-In the name of fostering good business relationships, I will leave all the haggling to you. I’ll totally tell you in private what I think you should pay, though! That will give you more leverage in your eventual purchase.
Thanks again, BikePortlanders!
I’ve wondered before why nobody does this, especially as all three of my bikes were originally purchased off craigslist.
It’s a fabulous idea!
a sorely needed service. The prices on many of the bikes listed on CL ARE scandalous.
I’d strongly consider this service if I didn’t already have a bike. I hope you get your name out thee and make a bunch of money! 🙂
“The prices on many of the bikes listed on CL ARE scandalous.”
Seriously. I’ve seen bikes for sale at prices higher than retail.
Seriously, that’s a bargain. I almost want to buy a bike I don’t need just for the ride-along expert experience.
Tom could expand this (very cool) business model by offering a “virtual” inspection on ebay auction bikes too.
You go Tom!
I’ll do this too. Sounds like a good Idea, I’m stealing it!!! HAHA
Hey ya’ll, the website is up and running again.
Thanks again for the overflow of positivity, I just can’t get enough!
This could also be a service that a seller could use if they’re the sort that would feel bad about selling something that turned out to be a lemon – “certified used bikes”. Also might be good for setting a reasonable selling price.
Great idea. I’ve had mixed success using CL looking for bikes. It can get pretty absurd. I remember going there repeatedly for several months looking for a used mountain bike and every time I found people trying to sell 5-10 year old bikes at prices comparable to new bikes. It’s a huge issue considering the advances in design, components and the decline in the costs. Many CL bike sellers seem to think there is a sucker born every minute. Those top of the line shimano shifters or rock shox do not retain their value 10 years later.
“Well Tuned, Fast” Bikes
Cute … I used a different “WTF” expression this morning when I looked out the window and realised today was the day the studded tyres would be mounted.
How does he verfey if they are legit(as in not stolen)?
And to the #5 poster, if you don’t think the bike shop you are in can size a bike for you, find a new shop!