As cycling enthusiasts know, good bikes range in cost from expensive to very expensive. That dynamic naturally creates a keen market for previously owned bikes. Crank Farm, a startup based in Nashville, Tenn., has recently launched a social auction platform focused solely on cyclists who want to buy or sell performance bicycles.
“There are many amazing pre-owned bikes ready to be enjoyed by new owners, and we want to help make this happen, said founder Chris Caughman, a biking enthusiast since childhood who has owned and privately sold many bikes. The experience was often been a hassle, as bikes are only registered voluntarily, which means buyers seldom have a quick or easy way to determine if the seller is the legitimate owner.
“Bike theft, especially in the high-end market, is becoming more widespread, and online flipping and other scams are having a negative impact on the cycling community,” said Caughman. “We are building software and processes to help support individual buyers and sellers who use our platform. If we do it right, our community can focus less on the hassles of buying and selling in the community and more on what makes us happy: riding awesome bikes on the roads and trails.”
Crank Farm works with outside organizations to vet each bike to confirm that it has not been reported stolen. and sellers must provide a serial number for the bike. Once the bike is vetted, the seller posts it on the site and begins accepting bids. Each auction has a social Feed to support Q&A, knowledge sharing and bike talk, which makes the process more transparent.
“Software and processes are important, but it’s the people within the Crank Farm community that matter most,” Caughman said. “Together, we can have a positive impact.”
Crank Farm has a commission based business model. The buyer pays 1% of the winning bid up to $40, and the seller pays 7.5% of the winning bid up to $500 if the bike sells. There is no cost to list. The auction service is currently limited to buyers and sellers in the US.
Crank Farm participates in 1% for the Planet.