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Have you ever sold your motorcycle or considered selling your motorcycle? Many in this situation realize they don’t really know what their bike is worth.
It is a very common problem when selling anything. But it’s especially difficult with many motorcycles. One reason is that demand and pricing can depend on so many different factors in the motorcycle industry.
We’ll look at a few important tips on motorcycle pricing. We’ll also discuss some places to get professional opinions on your bike’s value.
Understanding Motorcycle Demand
First, let’s explore a few major factors that influence used motorcycle prices.
One of the most well-known and predictable factors is the seasonality of motorcycle demand. More bikers ride in warmer weather. This especially has an impact in the Midwest, the Northeast, and other cold-weather regions.
This effect shapes demand in cold-weather states the most. It can also have an impact nationwide. This is especially true with higher priced motorcycles because those buyers and sellers are willing to travel further or use a motorcycle shipping company.
This makes demand and prices the highest as summer begins. Solid demand usually continues into fall as well. Towards the end of fall, ride-ability decreases in certain states. You’ll often start to see demand weaken and prices fall a bit.
Then comes winter. Demand becomes very low and even many motorcycle dealerships migrate to limited hours. Selling in the winter will require additional luck or a killer deal.
As spring begins, you’ll start to see some bikers looking for a new ride before the riding season moves into high gear. Demand and pricing will often slowly increase, weather permitting. And soon enough it will be summer again.
New Motorcycle Inventory
There is another challenge when you try to sell a late model motorcycle. You may begin to compete with competitive deals on new motorcycles from certain dealerships. This is especially common when the manufacturer hasn’t made many changes since your model year.
Or even worse, they have leftover new inventory that has been on the lot for a year or two. The dealerships with those bikes will be highly incentivized to offer killer deals that may come in striking distance to used motorcycle pricing. These bikes will still be technically new and offer a full warranty. That gives the dealer a slight advantage. And that hurts your ability to sell at a higher price.
Customization & Aftermarket Add-ons
Some motorcycle enthusiasts spend just as much money, or more, on customizing their rides as they did to purchase the motorcycle itself. While this is great when you own the motorcycle, you can’t expect to recoup all of this money when you resell the bike.
Each modification you make and every add-on you purchase makes the bike more unique. That potentially decreases the pool of riders who find the motorcycle appealing. If they don’t like the modification, they will become less interested or devalue the bike in their mind. That is because they would need to modify it back to stock or re-customize it to their liking.
The bottom line here is that you almost always lose the majority of the money you spend on these modifications. Unless you happen to find that perfect buyer who wants the exact same things that you wanted. In that case, you should expect to allocate extra time to the selling process for that buyer to come along.
So, What’s My Bike Worth?
You should take all of the above into consideration, and then look for one or more reputable sources to appraise your motorcycle.
Vehicle Valuation & Research Companies
There are a few companies that specialize in the valuation of many types of vehicles, including motorcycles. J.D. Power is an information services company that offers motorcycle valuation estimates as part of their NADAguides. This pricing guide was originally created by the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) in 1933. It was sold in 2015 to J.D. Power.
The NADA motorcycle pricing guide lets you know what the original list price was at the dealership and provide a low and average retail estimate. Private party sales usually occur towards the lower end of those two retail prices, but also depend on condition, mileage, and the other factors we’ve discussed.
Another company, Kelley Blue Book, has also been offering pricing guidance on vehicles since 1926. They offer a similar free estimate that includes both a trade-in value and a retail value for most motorcycle models. These values are what you should expect when buying or selling at a dealership, and again private sales usually fall between those two prices.
Another option is to look for similar motorcycles on various online classifieds websites like Craigslist, eBay, CycleTrader, and CycleCrunch. Browse around and see what other people are asking for similar motorcycles, and you should get a pretty good idea on what the market will bear.
CycleCrunch also offers a free motorcycle price report that compares your bike to similar motorcycles that have sold on their website recently. This saves you valuable time and takes the guesswork out of browsing and comparing endless motorcycle advertisements.
You can always ride your bike down to a local dealership and ask what they think. They will always be happy to provide a valuation, but keep in mind that they may have an incentive to low-ball you. If you sell or trade the motorcycle to them, they will want to get the best deal they can.
If you do decide to sell the bike to the dealership, it’s similar to when you buy from them. There is probably some negotiating room. The dealership is also probably ready to give you cash or a check on the spot. That gives them additional leverage.
And of course, it’s the opposite when you sell to a private party. There is no middleman. So your motorcycle should sell for slightly more than the dealer offered you. You and the buyer kind of split the money that would have gone to the dealer.
Finally, many other factors can play a role too. If your bike is a rebuild or salvage motorcycle that will decrease the value. Other things may slightly increase the value too. For example:
- You’re the first owner.
- The bike was always garage kept.
- You have all the stock parts you removed.
- You have a transferable warranty.
There are many factors, but the above should get you started on the right track.
Do you have any other ideas on how to price your used motorcycle? Let us know in the comments below.