What’s My Ride Worth?

How to find out how much you can sell your motorcycle for.

What’s My Motorcycle Worth?
What’s My Ride Worth?©Motorcyclist

In an ever-changing used-bike environment, even I might not know the real value of your trade-in. If you do your research online, you've probably stumbled across either Kelley Blue Book or the NADA sites. But there are differences between what you see there and the appraisal guides I use—they can't seem to agree on a value for the same make, model, and year of bike. We use the NADA guide that comes out every four months showing rough trade-in, clean trade-in, and average retail.

Consumer websites and online classifieds give you an idea what others can or are willing to sell their bikes for, but our conversation will always be comparing your bike's wholesale value to those retail prices you see online. If someone has their motorcycle listed for $2,000 over suggested retail, they could be compensating for add-ons or accessories or selling for the amount they currently owe on it. If the bike is still listed, it also means it hasn't sold—yet. A bike that lingers on the used market is priced higher than the local market can stand, is a less-than-desirable motorcycle compared to others in the same price range, or wasn't a good seller when new. All of these will depress demand. Here is what I'm thinking about when I start throwing out numbers to you:

1/ I'd like to sell your trade-in within the next 30 days. Inventory that refuses to move gives shoppers the impression that bikes aren't selling in our dealership. Even though we're moving inventory, it only takes a couple of stubborn used bikes to convey the sense that our inventory is stale. Also, we need to flip your trade fast because that's where the profit is hiding from the new bike we sold you.

2/ I might offer you a bit more for your trade-in if the bike you're looking at has been slow to sell. We're always motivated to sell you a bike, but we can be more so on some models, so it's worth it to me to offer just a bit more for your bike.

3/ Some bikes have very little mark-up between what we offer you and what we can retail it for. Our offer will also reflect any repairs needed to make this unit ready for sale. If there's a larger gap between wholesale and suggested retail, we may increase the offer on your trade. There are always obvious and not-so-obvious factors in determining values, such as curb appeal, mechanical and cosmetic condition, and mileage.