What Is My Used Motorcycle Worth? Find Out Now

Factors you cant change

Market value.

Think of this as the average of all the sale prices of similar bikes to yours (same make, model, age). For dealers, it’s called the Book figure (taken from either the Cap Green Book or Glass’s Guide), and has adjustments for mileage and condition. How the market arrives at a value is a wonder of economics, depending on initial price, demand and supply. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to shift the price of your bike above the market value using cunning and hard work (see Factors you can influence, below).

Age.

In the first three years of a bike’s life, age is critical because that’s when the price falls fastest. So, for example, the average price of all the 2019 GSX-R1000s currently on BikeTrader is £11,490. For 2018 bikes, that figure is £10,334, a drop of £1156. Do the same calculations for 2016 and 2015 bikes and the difference is £411. And by the time you get to six year old bikes the difference in price is even smaller – the depreciation curve is almost flat. By then condition will be far more important than age (see #9). Eventually some prices start to go back up again – usually around 25 years after the bikes came out, when middle aged fellas start looking for the machines they lusted after as teenagers. Hence the daft prices of early Fireblades, RGV250s, original Africa Twins etc. 

What’s the age and mileage of your motorcycle?

The age of your motorcycle is a big factor in determining its value. Most motorcycles are like cars in that they depreciate in value over time. That’s just the nature of the beast for almost any vehicle, so unless you have a sought-after vintage bike in good condition, realize that an older model will usually be worth less than a newer one. 

A brand new motorcycle will lose a substantial amount of its MSRP value in the first few years after you buy it—an average of 12.5 percent, in fact. However, the good news is that once the initial depreciation period of three to four years ends, depreciation usually stabilizes considerably. A well-cared-for motorcycle usually won’t have a huge difference in resale value at five years and 10 years. 

Of course, that’s before we talk about mileage. An older bike with fewer miles on it may be able to fetch a higher price than a new one that’s been ridden hard. Usually, 40,000 miles and up (or 25,000 miles on a sport bike) is considered the threshold of “high mileage.” 

Note that high mileage isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker for many buyers, particularly if the brand is one known for reliability. Well-maintained motorcycles can often top 100,000 miles and still run just fine, especially touring models that are designed for extended runs. However, a buyer or a dealer will likely offer less for a high mileage bike. 

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Are OEM parts readily available for your motorcycle?

Most people don’t want to buy a motorcycle that’s impossible to fix if it breaks. Thus, the availability of OEM parts for a specific make and model will sometimes have a substantial impact on its value. Before you try to sell it, poke around the major motorcycle parts sites and motorcycle forums to determine how widely available OEM parts are for your model. 

Some popular bikes are practically swimming in parts. Most Kawasaki Ninjas, for example, have parts widely available for almost every year and model. The older and more obscure the model, the less likely that you’ll be able to find parts for it. This is particularly true if the motorcycle’s manufacturer has gone out of business. 

If you happen to have a motorcycle with low parts availability, your best bet is usually a private sale to specialty motorcycle enthusiasts who have experience with that particular brand and/or enjoy the challenge of extensive modding. On the plus side, these buyers may be more interested to begin with, but they’ll also likely know exactly how much the bike is worth, so be prepared for hard negotiations if you choose to haggle. 

Take Modifications Into Account

Tinkering and modifying things is in the blood of nearly every biker and adventurer. Of course, it’s thrilling to get a brand new stock motorcycle off the factory floor. However, it can be equally as exciting when you add on those custom saddlebags or install a new upgraded exhaust system.

Customizing your bike can be one of the most exciting parts about owning a motorcycle, but it’s important to remember that any customization’s are going to impact the value of your motorcycle. Keep in mind that just because you have put your time and money into modifications, the fact is that some potential buyers may not appreciate your upgrades.

At the end of the day, the odds of you getting the same amount of money you have put into customizing your motorcycle back are extremely low. The fact is that money put into upgrades and customization’s is probably not going to result in people willing to pay a higher price tag. If this happens, try not to take it personally. It’s not that your upgrades are bad; it’s a matter of whether your upgrades increase the dollar value of the motorcycle.

Also, there are some bikes that should not be modified if you want them to retain their value. For instance, you wouldn’t want to modify a prototype Harley that you manage to get your hands on. That would put a serious dent in its overall value! Your best bet would be to leave it unmodified and in excellent condition

When you figure out how much you’ve spent on upgrades, you can add some of that cost to your bike and help get one step closer to finding out the value of the motorcycle. Remember that your return on investment regarding your modifications and upgrades are probably going to be minimal.

Not all modifications are going to increase your bike’s value. For example, modifying your motorcycle with cheap or ill-fitting parts is a good way to ruin the value, and take a chunk out of your motorcycle’s final selling price. You should check around and get the best information possible before you make any major changes to your motorcycle.

A good rule of thumb is: don’t start upgrading your bike if you are hellbent on getting all of your money back that you put into it. Hopefully, by this point, you’ve checked to make sure your motorcycle isn’t an extremely rare bike that’s worth way more untouched than heavily modified!

Time Of The Year And How It Can Impact Pricing

Purchasing and selling a motorcycle can be a notably different experience throughout the different times of the year. Depending on your location and the time of the year, demand for motorcycles can drastically differ, which in turn effects pricing.

Summer

Summer is the height of riding season, and as such, this is when motorcycles will be at their highest price point. The warm, sunny days make for ideal riding weather and people will generally be more willing to pay more for a bike.

For buyers, be aware that most sellers are not going to be willing to negotiate a lower price during peak season.

Spring

While summer ticks motorcycle prices upward across the board, springtime can be a bit more unpredictable. Some sellers may price their bikes at summer prices to try and capitalize on anticipation for the upcoming season. Others may set a more reasonable price in order to get their bike sold quick so they can have money in time for the summer riding months.

Pricing in the springtime can be tricky. If you’re looking to sell your bike, you may not have to adjust your prices too much. If you’re looking to buy, you should act quickly before the summer prices start to pop up.

Fall

As the summer riding season begins to wane, so does the demand for motorcycles. Most of the country is forced into hibernation during the winter, and as such, they begin winterizing in the late fall. This is generally where prices begin to dip.

If you’re selling your bike, you may be able to unload at a reasonable cost if you act early enough in the season. Start near the middle of the pricing spectrum, and gradually work your way down. If you’re looking to buy, remember that buying out of season usually means a lower cost.

Winter

Obviously, winter is going to be the time of the year when motorcycle prices are at their lowest. The majority of the country is forced to put their bikes away until springtime, and motorcycles are not really on anyone’s mind.

For sellers looking to price their bikes, it’s important to know that you are probably going to have to lower your price in order to get it sold in the winter. You shouldn’t price it so low that you’ll end up taking a huge loss. If you do your research in determining the value of your motorcycle, you can set the price slightly lower than what you discover and see if it sells.

Winter may be the slow season in much of the country, but if you’re located in one of the warmer states, the winter season may not even affect your pricing.

Conversely, buyers can use the slow season to take advantage of a great deal on a bike. When figuring out a motorcycles value, you can use the information to negotiate a lower price.

How to determine the insurance value of your motorcycle

If you add $2,000 worth of chrome to your bike that does not necessarily mean the bike is worth $2,000 more than before you added it. The question is how much will it cost a buyer to go out and purchase another bike like it. The answer to that question is usually less than the owner thinks. Try going on Craigslist or eBay and seeing how much bikes like yours are selling for. That is why I tell clients that if you want to put chrome on your motorcycle, do it because you like chrome, not because you want to add value to your bike.

So what can you do to protect your bike? First and foremost, if you are financing your motorcycle consider gap insurance. Gap insurance pays the difference of what the motorcycle is worth, and what you owe. It keeps you from being “upside down” on your loan if your bike is totaled. By way of example, let’s say that you buy a bike for $15,000. Two years down the road you owe $13,500 but the fair market value is now $11,000. If you are in an accident and your bike is totaled, the insurance company is going to pay you $11,000. That takes care of the defendant’s obligations with regard to your bike. You will still owe $2,500 on a motorcycle that you do not own. Trust me; those are painful payments to make. However, if you bought gap insurance it would make up that $2,500 difference so that you would not owe further on the bike.

You can also insure your motorcycle for a certain amount, often called scheduled or stated value. If you do that and your bike is totaled, the insurance company will pay that pre-set amount. Take that $15,000 bike that you bought in the previous scenario. You schedule the bike at $15,000. The same two years go by and it is worth $11,000. If you are in an accident and your bike is totaled the insurance company will pay you $15,000. If you do not want to pay for a scheduled or stated value, many policies will offer specific protection for accessories, which guarantees that you will receive value for your accessories. It does not protect you from the natural depreciation in value that all bikes experience over time. If you do purchase coverage for accessories, make sure to save the receipts for any accessories that you purchase.

The bottom line is that the vast majority of us are riding with what is called an “actual cash value” policy (ACV). If our motorcycle is totaled we will get the actual cash value of that motorcycle. If you, as many of us do, see your motorcycle as something that you have a personal investment in and you want to protect that investment, then you need to make sure that you purchase more than just an ACV policy. Otherwise, your investment is at mercy of the free market, and the free market will almost always determine that your motorcycle is worth less than what you think it is.

Learn more by watching the video below, or request a free insurance policy review for your motorcycle.

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