When you picture a swap meet, what comes to mind? Is it a field full of vendors with blankets full of parts, cartons full of disassembled bikes, with some complete (or mostly complete) bikes scattered here and there? Maybe there are muddy conditions, or there’s a hot sun baking you from above in your mind’s eye. What if a swap meet didn’t have to look like that at all, though?
One intrepid Australian motorbike enthusiast has been working on a digital alternative. Obviously, plenty of people go to swap meets in person because they enjoy the thrill of the hunt, and maybe also of exchanging stories with the people they meet. However, if you’re a person who just wants to trade your unwanted thing for something you’d actually prefer to have, then SwapU could be a promising idea. For now, it only functions in Australia—and it’s not clear if there are any plans to expand beyond its borders.
By now, most (if not all) RideApart readers are probably familiar with eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and/or Kijiji in 2022. Those online auction sites and/or classified listings make it possible for regular people to sell things they don’t want to someone who does want it. Bikes, bike parts, motorcycle gear, and other items are all readily available on all those sites.
Where SwapU differs is that it’s all about the swap—trading goods for goods, or possibly a combination of goods-and-cash. There’s a category just for Motorbikes, where you can find both complete bikes and parts that are looking for new homes. You can then list something you want to swap, upload your photos, and contact any people you want to try to swap with if you’re in Australia.
There’s also a separate Swap Swipe option that’s sort of like a dating app, only for matching swappable items. As of May 4, 2022, the selection of motorbikes and motorbike parts is rather small, so it’s not clear how much luck someone might have if they wanted to only stay within that category. However, I know that I’ve certainly seen those Craigslist listings where someone wants to trade an ATV for a dirt bike or something similar, so you probably never know what you’re going to find unless you look around.
What do you think of this idea? If you’re in Australia, do you plan to try it? If you’re not in Australia, do you wish you could try it where you are? Do you welcome the idea of an online swap meet solution like this, or does it take some of the fun out of a swap meet for you? Let us know in the comments.