March 2024

A Comparative Guide to Trade-in and Shopping for Used Bikes

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The digital age has significantly changed the landscape of trade and commerce. In the cycling community, there are a few major platforms that have risen as dominant players, offering the cyclists various options to trade-in or sell their bikes and to buy others. Bicycle Blue Book and The Pros Closet have been offering trade-in and used bikes for sale for nearly 10 years. BikeExchange has a referral-based marketplace for new and used bikes, and more recently, Trek launched its Red Barn Refresh used bike program. While each company operates and specializes in the used bicycle market, their operation and business models set them apart in distinctive ways. Here's a deeper look into their respective trade-in processes and online resale platforms.

1. Trade-In Process

Bicycle Blue Book

Bicycle Blue Book is the pivotal bicycle valuation database for the cycling community. By inputting a bike's specific details, users immediately receive a Private Party and Trade-in value range based on factors like brand, age, size, model, and overall condition. The values are created by an algorithm that aggregates resale data of used bikes sold on various online marketplaces, including its own platform. These values are then applied to its extensive database, producing the publicly displayed values.

Once a bike's value is established, Bicycle Blue Book provides one option: trade-in at a local partner store in exchange for store credit. This approach ensures that the monetary value of the bike traded in remains within the cycling industry, which provides its retail partners additional revenue opportunities and inventory sell-through. Bikes traded in to Bicycle Blue Book are reconditioned and resold on its online marketplace.

The Pros Closet

The Pros Closet caters primarily to higher-end used bicycles and more recently started offering new bikes for sale. For trade-ins, they mainly work directly with consumers and also have retail partners that offer their program. The Pros Closet provides a quote within a couple of days and after receiving the bike, individuals have a couple options. They can receive cash for their bike, a credit with the retailer they used to trade-in their bike (if they used one), or a credit with The Pros Closet to use on their marketplace. While it’s great to give several options, the retailer can be left out of the transaction or the cash from the trade-in is taken outside of the cycling industry.


While BikeExchange does not directly offer a trade-in program, online shoppers looking to purchase a new bike can search for a retailer in their local market that offers trade-in. After finding their new bike online, they visit the retailer in person with the trade-in and use the credit from their current bike towards the purchase.

Trek Red Barn Refresh

Trek recently launched its trade-in and used bike resale program, expanding on its successful long-term partnership with Bicycle Blue Book’s trade-in program. Their program uses the comprehensive Bicycle Blue Book database and Value Guide as the backbone of their trade-in program while focusing exclusively on Trek bikes. Cyclists looking to upgrade to a new Trek can currently utilize the Red Barn Refresh program at Trek factory stores but it will soon be available nationwide at participating Trek retailers.

Similar to the Bicycle Blue Book trade-in program, cyclists looking to trade-in their bike for a new one will receive an instant value for their bike which can be used towards the purchase of a new Trek.

2. Resale on Online Marketplaces

Bicycle Blue Book

Bicycle Blue Book offers an expansive marketplace with a diverse array of brands, models, and conditions, catering to the entire cycling community. Whether you're a local reseller in search of quality wholesale inventory or passionate cycling enthusiast seeking a fully reconditioned bike ready for your next adventure, Bicycle Blue Book has something for everyone. Every bike listing on Bicycle Blue Book is graded using their standardized system, providing clarity and managing buyer expectations effectively.

The Pros Closet

The Pros Closet’s marketplace is a mix of their reconditioned used bikes, new bikes, parts, and accessories. The bikes tend to be on the higher end because of their minimum trade-in value, but you can find some lower-end bikes periodically. They have recently expanded their product offering to also include new bikes, parts, and accessories.


The majority of inventory being resold on the BikeExchange marketplace is unique because it’s not held in a central warehouse or owned by them. The inventory displayed for sale is actually being sold by retailers across the country within BikeExchange’s online marketplace. Cyclists looking for something new will likely find what they’re looking for here.

Trek Red Barn Refresh

Trek’s used online marketplace is hosted on their company website and does a great job offering its current customers a way to find their next Trek bike, whether it’s new or used. While their trade-in program and used bike marketplace is new, this is a great place for cyclists interested in a reconditioned Trek bike, backed by the manufacturer’s frame warranty, to find it.

Final Thoughts

While each company offers similar services to the cycling community, you can see how they are very different from one another. While they are all pivotal in the online bike trade-in and online marketplace arena, each company caters to different segments and operates based on contrasting philosophies.

Bicycle Blue Book champions a retailer-centric model, reinforcing the cycling industry's economic flow, bolstering local business sales, and has a trade-in and resale solution for everyone. The Pros Closet provides a specialized trade-in program with different ways to payout the customer and an online marketplace with higher-end bikes. BikeExchange operates mainly as a marketplace offering cyclists a way to connect and purchase new or used inventory from retailers. With Trek’s Red Barn Refresh program, it provides current and aspiring Trek customers the ability to trade-in their current Trek bike and purchase a new one within its retailer network. There’s a solution for everyone; it just depends on the needs of the individual.

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Used vs. New Bicycles: Weighing the Pros and Cons