We’ve looked into when to sell your motorcycle before, but selling your motorcycle in winter has some especially tricky idiosyncrasies. Given that, we’re going to dive into the quirks of selling your motorcycle in the heart of wintertime and the darkest of riding seasons.
First up is the change in weather. Much of the United States, and the Northern Hemisphere for that matter, is getting colder, darker, and experiencing more dangerous precipitation like hail and snow. This leads to a variety of dangerous riding conditions like limited visibility and icy roads. This lead to fewer bikers riding and less riding by those who do decide to venture out. Fewer riders mean fewer buyers of motorcycles. So, selling during a brutal winter can feel almost like you’re selling ice to Eskimos. Luckily, there are places like Arizona, Florida, and California where plenty of people are still riding. If inclement weather is a problem in your region this time of year, look to sell to a biker that lives in an area with more temperate winters. To accomplish this you’ll likely want to use an online service to help get you exposure for your motorcycle nationwide.
Christmas & the Holiday Season
The holiday season encompasses a large portion of the winter for many people as they celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, and other holidays and festivals. People are busy shopping for Christmas gifts, visiting with family, and attending parties with friends and colleagues. This usually means less time for riding and less money for buying a nice preowned motorcycle. Now, of course, there are toy runs and parades. But those are going to be the exception, and many potential buyers are going to be strapped for cash as they spend their extra money on decorations, gifts, and other holiday necessities. Some lucky riders may have a significant other looking for a big surprise gift, and if you can find someone like this to sell to you may be in luck. However, you’re probably about as likely to get a motorcycle as a gift yourself, as you are to find that lavish gift giver willing to buy your current motorcycle for fair market value.
Where to Sell & Pricing
We’ve just discussed how demand is likely lower for most sellers in winter, but what should you do if you still want or need to sell your motorcycle? Do not despair, because you still have options. And it doesn’t mean giving away your bike for almost nothing. Your best bet is to be willing to carefully research what your motorcycle is worth, and then be ready to let it go slightly below that market value.
Local or Out-of-state Dealerships
Dealerships are businesses, so they do have to make money, but that doesn’t mean their services aren’t worth it for many riders. Dealerships need used inventory, and you can use this to your advantage. Look for a local or out-of-state dealership looking to stock up on used inventory during the offseason. You aren’t going to get full market value, but you can often get a fair valuation given the season. If you can find a willing dealer, this can be a great option, especially if you’re ready and willing to buy your next motorcycle from the same dealer.
Private-party Buyers in Warmer Areas
Reach out to private buyers in regions that are warmer with plenty of riders. Get your motorcycle exposure in places that bikers would think of when they are deciding where to buy a motorcycle. Use methods that will get you interested buyers in warmer parts of the country or, even better, nationwide.
You’ll probably need to use a motorcycle shipping service, so do your homework on the logistics of shipping a motorcycle. If you sell to a private seller, you’ll like have to pay a few hundred dollars to ship to the buyer. If you’re working with an out-of-state dealer, you may be able to negotiate the shipping into the sale. Even after paying for shipping, you will often wind up way ahead of selling locally to a bargain buyer.
You can also look for a third-party cash for bikes buyer, but these buyers are just middlemen that often have to lowball you. They may not even sell the motorcycle themselves, and therefore have to offer even less than a dealership would. Then they just ship it into a warmer region to sell at a premium or get rid of it at a dealer auction, like National Powersports Auctions, for some fast cash in their pocket. If one of these third-party buyers is offering you an amount significantly below market value, just know that you have other options. If you need to sell it right away and can’t find a better offer from a dealer, selling here may be your best option. If you can wait a few days or weeks, it’s best to try to sell it online or call some more dealers that may need inventory.
Should You Sell?
Ultimately, the decision is up to you. If you decide to sell your motorcycle in winter, just make sure to sell smart. Winter isn’t the best time to sell your motorcycle in many colder areas, but it doesn’t have to be a total loss either. Just make sure you do your research, know your options for selling your motorcycle, and don’t sell to the first guy offering half the true value of your motorcycle.