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How To Sell Your Used Motorcycle

So you're ready to sell your motorcycle. Of course your biggest concern is getting a fair price for your beloved bike.

Successfully selling your motorcycle takes 3 things: a trustworthy seller (that's you), a fairly priced bike, and good advertisement. We've got a few tips to help you get the best price and have a safe transaction.

Verify your bike's working condition

It goes without saying that your bike is going to be hard to sell if it doesn't work properly. Check your bike's oil levels, battery, and tire pressure. Make sure the chain and sprockets work properly and that its lubed up.

In some states, you may be required to have your bike inspected by a licensed professional before selling it. An inspection will probably cost $20 - $40. Honestly, even if your state doesn't require this, you probably want to do it anyway.

It's in your best interest too to make sure your bike is running properly and everything is as it should be. It's a hassle to deal with an angry customer demanding a refund. And you never know what they did with the bike during the time it left your hands, so you probably would want to get it looked at anyway.

Where to List Your Motorcycle

Our favorite places to list a bike are Craigslist, CycleTrader, or Ebay. To increase odds of selling your motorcycle quickly, use all three.

Before setting up shop you need to:

1. Do keyword research on "selling used motorcycles"
2. Clean the motorcycle: Wax and lube that baby up - make it shiny and attractive!
3. Repair any minor damages like dents or scrapes
4. Take good photos of the motorcycle from all angles - pictures are often the first thing people see, so take them in a nice, clean background in good lighting conditions
5. Find any information like service records (if you're smart, you'd have kept all of them)
6. Know the value of your bike (more later)
7. Write a stand-out description (see next section)

Quick Reminders:
- Ebay charges low listing fees but takes a percentpage of the final sale price
- CycleTrader offers optional premium tiers

What to include in the description

List relevant history about your bike, such as mileage, accident history, major repairs done, and aftermarket upgrades. Include the inspection report if you decided to get one. Also include details like how much time is left on the warranty. It's also good if you include how the bike was used (such like "mostly for commuting to work").

A lot of sellers hide this information, so being upfront about it will make you stand out (and less questions to answer). Naturally, people will be concerned about buying a used vehicle, so ease their worries sooner.

Aftermarket upgrades - to keep or not to keep?

This can be tricky: if you've done aftermarket upgrades, it can up the value of your bike, especially if you replaced OEM parts with brand name parts. But it could also be a turn-off to a lot of people too as they can't be sure that the aftermarket upgrades were properly done, not to mention that it may not be to their style.

It's a good idea to clean the original parts and offer them to the buyer too, as part of the entire offer price. Or you may even want to reinstall the original parts and separately sell the accessories. You may be able to sell your bike faster and fetch a better price overall for the accessories.

How to price your used motorcycle

Recently, costs have lowered in the "new motorcycle" market. For a used motorcycle salesperson that means disaster if you're not positioned with a competitive pricing strategy.

As the seller, it's important to know your product's value. Research websites like Craigslist, CycleTrader, or Ebay Motors to get an idea of what others are selling theirs for. Find official estimations for your machine at Kelley Blue Book's guide via category, make, year, and model.

Basic negotiating tactics and payment options

When you've established the bike's market value, decide on offers you will and won't entertain in negotiations and how to get your money safely.

While negotiating, what price do you feel is fair for you and your customer? You'll probably get a lot of really lowball offers by people trying to test their luck, but hold fast to what you know your vehicle is worth.

When it comes to payment, you've got to protect yourself first. Cold, harsh cash is the only form that offers real security. But not everyone may be able to get a large sum of cash immediately. In that case, you can ask for a cash deposit for you to hold the bike and give them a certain number of days to come up with the rest.

If they want to pay by check, then deposit the check first and only after it clears, do you let the buyer come pick up the bike. Again, you can't trust that the check won't bounce and the buyer disappears off the face of the earth. If they want to pay by Paypal, same deal. Make sure the money is in your account first before giving the bike up.

But honestly, paying by cash is the best for both parties. Because just like you can't be sure that buyer's check will go through, they can't be sure either that when they're ready to pick up the bike, you disappear off the face of the earth.

Meeting with buyers

When meeting with buyers from ecommerce sites, we suggest you do so in a well lit, public place.

If the buyer ask for a test drive, make sure to have the full money in your hand first before letting him/her on your bike. It's unlikely, but you could lose your bike to someone who decides to take your bike for a permanent test drive.

Business deals are built upon trust, but it's best not to take chances. Just be quick and professional.

Title transfer

Last, but most important, make sure you have title-transfer paperwork ready for your customer when you meet.

Have you had experience selling your bike? Do you have any tips to add?

By Daniel Relich

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