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You’ve been there, done that – sold your beloved motorcycle for some quick cash, only to be consumed with regret, craving that familiar rumble between your legs. Or maybe you’re a forward-thinker, scouting for your next ride before you sell your old motorcycle.
Could it be you’re on a noble mission to convert a friend or partner from the caged life to the boundless freedom of two wheels? No matter the motive, if you’re on the hunt for a new motorcycle, we’ve got the ultimate guide to finding the best places to shop, complete with insider tips and tricks for snagging the perfect ride.
Embrace the Local Dealership
Mention the word “dealership” and watch the collective groans, snarky stealership quips, and horror stories of overpriced repairs that could’ve been fixed with duct tape. Sure, dealerships might be pricier, but they also offer several underrated advantages.
For brand-new bikes, dealerships are your go-to, as only they can sell you a truly new motorcycle.
If you’re after a used ride, some manufacturers and dealerships provide certified pre-owned motorcycles – complete with rigorous inspections, satisfaction guarantees, and limited short-term warranties.
While you may pay a premium at a dealership, there are perks to dealing with a registered business. The chances of getting scammed or conned are significantly lower, and if you encounter any issues with your purchase, you know exactly where to turn.
Most dealerships house a service department that could potentially fix early problems for free or as part of a warranty – all in the name of maintaining goodwill. With their reputation on the line and the ease of posting online reviews, dealerships have the incentive to keep customers satisfied.
Plus, if you do your research and master the art of negotiation, you might just snag an unbeatable deal at your local dealership.
Reputable Motorcycle Online Classifieds
If a dealership doesn’t suit your needs or lacks a good reputation, online motorcycle marketplaces can be your next best option. The top sites in this niche are operated by reputable companies that offer telephone customer service, specialize in motorcycles, and sometimes charge sellers a listing fee. Like dealerships, these websites have reputations to maintain, making them more reliable than less-established alternatives.
Customer service teams on these sites can help you spot shady deals and guide you through safe and secure transactions. While they can’t guarantee a motorcycle’s condition like a dealer, they work to remove fraudulent listings and scams. Ideally, opt for websites that charge sellers to list their bikes, as it indicates the seller is genuinely interested in selling.
Two leading marketplaces in this category are CycleTrader and CycleCrunch. To identify serious sellers on these marketplaces, look for bikes with more photos or a video. The CycleCrunch motorcycle marketplace has fewer listings but is less cluttered and focused solely on motorcycles.
Large Popular Classifieds
There are plenty of other websites that list third-party motorcycles for sale, and two of the largest are Craiglist and eBay. These types of websites also allow for tons of other items to be listed for sale. Don’t expect the same sort of motorcycle-centered experience. These types of sites appeal to different audiences, and the selection of motorcycles may not be as large or diverse.
Customer service is usually all online, and limited to technical problems. You will have to work with the seller directly without any guidance, and they certainly aren’t going to be able to help you with any motorcycle questions.
Craigslist is a huge classifieds site, and it’s free for individuals to list almost anything, including their motorcycles. The size of the site, combined with zero cost, creates a very unique marketplace. You’ll find plenty of motorcycles, but sellers may or may not really be interested in selling.
The site is also very well-known for the free and the bizarre ads posted. Good deals are common here, but they also go very quickly and can come with strings attached. You need to be careful when you meet anyone in person that you met online originally, but as you can see, you may want to be extra cautious with Craigslist sellers. Check if your local police offer a safe zone for online transactions, or look for some other very public place to inspect the motorcycle and conduct your transaction.
eBay is another large site that lets people list a wide variety of items for sale, including motorcycles. It’s not as much of a wild west as Craigslist, because they are very strict with their listings and the categories of products they allow.
They charge very steep fees, but only if a motorcycle sells on their site. This can be good for the seller since they can list for free and only pay if their motorcycle sells. However, it’s not great for the buyer, because you don’t know if the seller is serious. Also, since eBay only gets paid if the motorcycle sells, they have to monitor the actual transaction. They require you to follow strict guidelines when communicating, and they do not allow offers to buy or sell outside eBay.
The above options are your best bets, and they will provide you with an ample selection of motorcycles. Of course, there are always other options if none of those pan out. Ask your friends or fellow bikers at local biker events or rallies if they know of anyone selling their motorcycle.
You can be on the lookout when riding or driving for motorcycles with “for sale” signs. If you’re looking for a classic or collectible, you may also want to check with auction houses like Sotheby’s, Mecum’s, and Bonhams.
Which of the above has worked best for you in the past? Or, do you have another source to find a great ride? Let us know in the comments below.