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We’ve written about determining what your used motorcycle is worth. Now let’s explore what factors impact the Harley-Davidson® brand and their bikes’ values. Love them or hate them, Harleys are their own breed of motorcycle, and it has an impact on their valuation. So, what exactly is a used Harley worth?
Harley-Davidson is an American motorcycle manufacturer. They are one of the largest producers of bikes in the world, and Harley also enjoys an unparalleled amount of brand loyalty, especially within the United States.
The Harley Brand
Harley is a century-old brand that is studied by marketers and those in business academia, because of their extended success in the industry and immensely loyal following. The brand is iconic and well-known even among those who do not ride.
The brand’s recognition is partially driven by the fact that Harley-Davidson motorcycles are deeply interwoven into popular culture and the history and society of bikers. Consider the counterculture phenomenon of the 60s, the movie Easy Rider, and the explosion of customization and choppers into the 70s and beyond. Harley-Davidson was smack in the middle of all of this, and they continue to be very popular and culturally significant among a large segment of the biker community.
The Brand’s Value
This brand equity that Harley has invested in over the years carries through into every bike they sell. This means every Harley motorcycle is worth slightly more than if another company had built the exact same bike without a Harley-Davidson logo.
Fans of the brand will say their motorcycles are American-made, higher quality, and yield a singular riding experience that can not be replicated on another bike. Naysayers contend the bikes are more prone to break down and require more frequent and more expensive repairs.
Whatever the case, there is a large and loyal following that are willing to pay a premium for the Harley name, and that drives up the price for Harley motorcycles. This is doubly or more so if you get into vintage Harley motorcycles, because there is a decently-sized collectors market for their older bikes.
Some people believe that Harley-Davidson attempts to control the value of both their new and late-model used motorcycles. It’s speculated that they modify production quotas to control the pricing of their brand’s motorcycles. This may or may not be true, but they certainly do control the number of motorcycle they produce each year.
If they increase production and oversaturate their dealerships with new motorcycles. This in turn decreases used motorcycle pricing, because dealers are more aggressive with new motorcycle deals. Likewise, if they limit production, the existing used motorcycles will increase in value, because fewer new motorcycles will be available to potential buyers. It’s hard to know if this is a corporately led effort or just the natural ebb and flow of their supply chain and the overall economy and motorcycle market.
In the past, Harley-Davidson corporate and their dealerships rarely offered cash rebates or other incentives. However, in 2017 they did offer a limited rebate on their 2016 model year bikes at their US dealerships. It’s unknown in they will continue this practice, and how that may further effect pricing.
Individual Bike Pricing
We recommend using all the same tips we discussed in our article on determining what your used motorcycle is worth. You can also check out ChopperExchange, which is a used classifieds website that specializes in Harley-Davidson and other American V-twin motorcycles. They have an article, What is My Harley Worth, that talks about how to value your Harley-Davidson motorcycle. It also includes links to tools like their price report for determining a fair price for your Harley. The more knowledge you have the better of you’ll be when it comes time to sell your Harley.
Have any other tips, tricks, or stories regarding buying, selling, or valuing a Harley? Let us know in the comments below.