Whether you’re looking to sell your bike or just want to get a general idea of how valuable your ride is in case you have to sell, there’s one question you’ve probably been asking yourself, “How much is my motorcycle worth?”
There are a lot of different factors that go into determining the value of your motorcycle. First and foremost, you have to consider the make and model of the bike, and more high-end bikes tend to fetch far more than entry-level starter bikes. However, you can’t just go off that when coming up with a value.
Today, we will go over all the factors determining how much your motorcycle is worth on the second-hand market. Hopefully, you’ll get a better understanding of just how much money you’re sitting on, literally in this case.
How Much is My Motorcycle Worth Based on its Make and Model?
The make and model of your motorcycle will be one of the most significant determining factors in its value. After all, let’s take a look at cars. If you were comparing the value of a random 1995 sedan to any model of Lamborghini, there would be a massive price difference. The same goes for motorcycles. Suppose you have a basic, entry-level bike that was mass-produced 20 years ago. In that case, it probably isn’t worth as much as a Harley Davidson Cosmic Starship topping the charts at a whopping $1.5-million.
Unfortunately, most bikes aren’t going to have such a drastic price difference between them, and it’s not quite as obvious where your bike sits on the market. It can be a little more challenging to determine your bike’s value based on its make and model. That is unless you have something truly extraordinary or exceptionally basic.
Luckily, there’s a pretty easy way to see what your bike is worth with a bit of research. Just check the Kelly Blue Book. It’s the same price guide that people use to see how much they should expect from their cars, and it does have a motorcycle section.
The Kelly Blue Book has pretty accurate, study-based price listings you can rely on. However, don’t look up your price and automatically settle on whatever it says. The price guide doesn’t consider seasonal price fluctuations, what people are willing to pay at any given time, and other crucial factors you’ll want to consider.
First, let’s start with the age of your bike. A newer bike with less wear and tear will sell for more than a 40-year-old beater that has seen better days. After all, very few people want to invest in a vehicle where they will likely have to put a lot of time and money into maintenance.
However, age can sometimes be a boon, too. A 1949 Porcupine goes for roughly $7-million nowadays. Not many bikes appreciate in value like that, but it is something to consider. If you have a very old bike that stands out on the market, having an evaluator check it out might be in your best interest.
Condition is also important, and it’s honestly a bigger deal than the bike’s age. People will buy old, entry-level bikes at reasonable prices if they’re well-maintained and reliable. However, even a two-year-old motorcycle with light mileage won’t be worth even a fraction of what you paid for it if you rammed it into a building and left it in significant disrepair.
Again, some very rare bikes might still fetch an excellent price despite fairly substantial wear and tear. Just parts for the Porcupine mentioned above can cost as much as a new, modern bike, but that is something that has to take rarity and demand into account to be relevant.
This goes hand-in-hand with the previous factors. Specific makes and models are not only made to extremely high and luxurious standards, but they’re also made in very limited numbers. Even some relatively standard bikes can have their value driven up on the second-hand market just because there weren’t many of them made. People are willing to pay more for motorcycles that few people can get a hold of.
This is also affected by age. An exceptionally rare bike, one that only had 10,000 units produced before production ceased, will appreciate in value dramatically over time, especially if there are interested buyers. As the model gets older, some bikes are sure to get totaled. As the bike ages and wears out parts, replacement parts are bound to get hard to come by, and overall, it becomes a collectible in many ways.
This is a lesser-known fact about motorcycle evaluations. Let’s say you have a mid-range bike that, based on the previous factors, is worth about $25,000. Did you know that, while the bike doesn’t change at all, the amount you can realistically ask for it can drop or rise a bit depending on the season?
Some of you reading this will inevitably be die-hard riders who will hit the roads with thick ice sheets and pouring rain all over the place. Still, the average motorcyclist isn’t going to be willing to do this. For this reason,they’re usually looking to buy a bike around springtime or whenever the weather begins to facilitate safe, peaceful cruises where you live.
Winter also tends to be when many bike owners start selling their bikes. Whether the holiday season has thrown their wallets for a loop or they just don’t get enough time in the good seasons to warrant maintaining a motorcycle. Since supply and demand heavily impact the value of practically anything, that means your bike’s real value drops in the colder, drearier months.
This isn’t a massive amount, though. Your $25,000 bike won’t suddenly be worth the price of a decent dinner date just because it’s winter. You should expect its value, or what the market is willing to pay, to drop by a small percentage.
Keep in mind that this can be useful, though. Suppose you’re looking to buy another bike or upgrade your current bike. In that case, you can easily sell your bike in the summer when people are willing to pay a little more and go bike hunting in the off-season when prices are a bit cheaper.
When you buy a motorcycle and start getting attached to it, you’re bound to want a few add-ons. You might buy some leather motorcycle seat pads, add some cool motorcycle radio, or do more extensive work to make the bike your own.
Those investments don’t necessarily increase your bike’s value.
You can usually get a little more out of your bike than its base price, especially if your additions add value to the overall package. Still, you should never expect to get all your money back from them. Maybe changing the exhaust cost you $5,000. That fancy exhaust isn’t going to bring $5,000 worth of value to the new owner.
Some additions might even lower your bike’s value. Remember that many of the things bikers add are part of their personal taste. If you put bright pink handlebars with rainbow streamers on them, don’t expect that to be a significant selling point that makes people want to pay more for it.
If you add things to your bike, consider those for your personal enjoyment. While you can factor them into your bike’s worth, you can’t simply quote whatever you paid for individual parts. No one is likely to pay for that.
What’s My Motorcycle Worth? Sure-Fire Methods for Exact Pricing
Of course, just knowing the factors that play into your bike’s worth isn’t enough to come up with a number. Simply looking at the Kelly Blue Book won’t give you all the information you need to have an accurate number.
So, here are the top ways to get an exact value for your motorcycle without as much guesswork.
Have Your Motorcycle Evaluated
One of the most accurate and sure-fire ways to learn how much your motorcycle is worth is to have it professionally evaluated. This is a service just like any other. You call a service provider that you find online or your friends to refer you to one. You either bring the bike to them, or they come out to you before they inspect the bike. They use their professional knowledge of the market, motorcycles in general, and sales history to determine an accurate value.
You can then use their appraisal as general information or to sell your bike for the right price. However, keep in mind that this price will fluctuate with time. A motorcycle might become more desirable or depreciate in value over time. If you get the bike evaluated and then wait a few years, the evaluation might be obsolete. So, it’s best to have this done when you’re looking to sell.
This is similar to a professional evaluator checking out your motorcycle. Still, you have to be a little more careful with this method. All you do is take your motorcycle to a dealership and ask what they’d give for it. Dealerships deal in the sale and trade of motorcycles all day long, and they know what they’re talking about for the most part.
Unfortunately, it would be best to be careful because the dealership might have a personal stake in their quote. They can see you as a potential customer looking to trade in your bike or sell it to them. In that case, they can try to lowball you a bit to cover their bottom line. This isn’t certain to happen, especially if you know that you’re not looking to sell the bike, but it is something to consider.
Like the previous method, your bike’s value can fluctuate. So, try to hold off on doing this until you’re almost ready to sell the bike. That, or have it re-evaluated for a more up-to-date quote in the future.
Researching the Market
Another great way to check your bike’s value doesn’t require any third-party opinions. You can simply check the market yourself. This has some pros and cons, but it’s a pretty good way to see what people are willing to pay for your bike.
To do this, you simply look up online motorcycle marketplaces. These are sites where other users try to sell their bikes directly to the next user. Some function as online used motorcycle dealerships once they’ve sourced used bikes from previous owners. If you can find your make and model in a similar condition, you can use the listed price as a pretty good value for your own bike.
Read more here: What’s the Best Place to Sell Motorcycle and Get the Best Deal?
The downsides to this are that you first have to find your specific make and model. This isn’t as easy with more obscure bikes, and you might have trouble finding any good information on your bike.
The other issue is that you can’t just use one source. You need to check out multiple sources and make sure the prices line up. After all, if your first price discovery is coming from someone overcharging for their bike considerably, you can think your bike is worth more than it really is. Try to cross-examine list prices on multiple marketplaces and find the average price. This will keep you from lowballing yourself or asking for so much that no one wants to commit to a purchase.
Check Out Our Other Biker Resources
If you’ve enjoyed this “How Much is My Motorcycle Worth?” article, make sure to check out the rest of our in-depth motorcycle guides and resources at TheMotorBiker.
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