Friendly advice on the ins and outs of selling your motorcycle online

So you've got a bike and you want to sell it. Maybe it's time for an upgrade, maybe you don't ride it much anymore, or maybe you're just tired of it. Whatever the reason, you have a bike to sell and there are people out there who have no bike and would like to buy one. How do you sell them your bike, though? You could try Craigslist, but eeeeeeeh... that's a crap shoot. You could park it in front of your house, hang a For Sale sign on it and see what happens, but that takes forever and may not even work. If you really want to sell your bike fast and at the price you want, you need a strong ad and a broad audience. We asked Kensey Edwards of Cycle Trader—someone who knows a thing or two about strong ads and broad audiences—to give us some tips on posting and selling your bike online.

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Prep For Sale

Before you list your bike for sale, make sure it's presentable. Give it a wash and maybe even a wax to spruce up the paint and chrome. Clean any grime, oil, or other spilled/leaking fluids off the engine, forks, transmission, final drive, or anyplace else gunk tends to collect. Give the bike a tune up, 'cause a good running bike is a good selling bike. If there are any really serious mechanical issues with the bike, make a note of them and make sure you list them in your ad. Then adjust your expectations accordingly. Mind you, prepping to sell only matters if you're selling a running bike. If you're selling a parts bike, don't bother. No one's interested in the cleanliness of a parts bike.

Now that you have your bike all gussied up and running well, it's time for the next step—crafting your ad.

Your Ad

The first step in selling your bike is crafting a strong, eye-catching ad for it. Your ad should be clear, concise, and have a lot of pictures. Make sure you list any issues—scuffs/dents, mechanical problems, faded paint, etc.—'cause it's best to be honest. You don't want someone coming to check out your bike then turning around and leaving because you didn't disclose a dent in the tank or a rip in the saddle. What does Kensey have to say about crafting your ad? Let's ask him.

"We would give private sellers the same advice we give to dealers—build out your listings to the fullest. Riders want as much information as possible—so this means including a price, a description, and a number of pictures. We know it takes a little more work to get your listings in tip-top shape, but it's worth it in the end because it will perform better for you in the long run."

That's strong advice. What about price though? How much is your bike worth and, more importantly, what will people pay for it?

Asking Price

Figuring out your asking price is one of the toughest parts of selling your bike. You want to get a fair price for it, but how do you know what a fair price is? Let's see what our man Kensey has to say.

"If you're struggling to come up with a price point—take a look at how many other bikes similar to yours are available in your market and nationwide. This will give you an idea of how much competition you have and what the going rate is for your unit. Also, check out NADAGuides, which is a great resource for pricing."

Remember, just because <em>you</em> think you're sitting on a gold mine doesn't make it so.

Another thing to take into account is the bike's level of customization. Bike owners tend to fall into a trap of thinking they have a gold mine on their hands when selling their bike, especially if it has a lot of custom bits and bobs. Remember, just because you like your fancy paint job or Stage II kit or hand-tooled alligator skin saddlebags or whatever, doesn't mean other people necessarily will. Mechanical upgrades—engine work, intakes, exhaust, upgraded suspension, etc.—often add more value to a bike than simple bolt-on appearance customizations.

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Also, don't be afraid to ask a little more than you typically might to account for hagglers. People love to haggle over price (Ugh. UGH! -JM), so you might want to have two prices—your asking price and the absolute minimum you'll take for the bike.


Okay, you got your bike all cleaned and tuned up, put together a killer ad with lots of pictures, and you have an asking price guaranteed to move. Now what? Well, since we have a guy from Cycle Trader here giving us tips, let's see what Cycle Trader has to offer a seller.

"Well, one big draw is that it's always free to list your bike on Cycle Trader. No matter what, you can put it up for two weeks for free. We do have the largest audience of motorcycle buyers—with an average of over 2.2 million unique visitors coming to us every month—and it is a targeted audience of just motorcycle buyers. You can definitely put your bike up on a more generic site, but you don't really know who's viewing it. You aren't going to run into that issue on Cycle Trader. On top of that, our buyers like private sellers and show a distinct interest in seeing what's available in the market."

Check your market and customize your ad to fit it.

Sounds pretty great. A place to post a free ad to a targeted audience, members of which are probably looking for a bike just like yours right now. Of course, Cycle Trader offers paid ad packages with various features if you want to go that route. Like Kensey said though, a two-week ad is free and is both a great place to start and a great deal.

Other Advice

So there you have it, the basics of selling your bike online. While Kensey definitely had some great advice, we asked around RideApart HQ to see if anyone had anything to add.

"The time to sell is in March and April," said Managing Editor Jason Marker "Spring is springing and people are getting the itch to ride. It's a seller's market".

Director Kanishka Sonnadara reiterated the need for good pictures and honesty in your ad.

"Be thorough with your photos and honest in your description, good sellers attract good buyers."

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What about you, faithful readers? Do you have any advice for selling a bike that we missed, or anything you'd like to expand on further? If so, let us know! Oh, also, if you're looking to sell your bike right now, Cycle Trader is offering five dollars off the "enhanced" and "best" ad packages. If you want to try it out, head on over to Cycle Trader, choose either package, and enter the code RAFIVEOFF when listing your bike. The five off offer is good until March 31, 2018, so have at it.

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