The Used Motorcycle Price Guide
Navigating the used motorcycle market is difficult at the best of times. With so many factors to consider, it isn’t easy to know what your motorcycle is worth.
This motorcycle price guide will delve into the most important factors that affect the value of a used motorcycle. So, let’s get down to business!
Rightly or wrongly, mileage plays a massive role in the resale value of a motorcycle. Many folks often associate lower mileage with reliability, and whilst there is some truth to this, factors such as maintenance are far more critical. For instance, a motorcycle with 30,000 miles that’s been meticulously cared for will often be a much safer bet than an unloved example with only half the mileage!
In short, lower mileage examples don’t always guarantee superior reliability despite the higher price tag they often command.
The first three years after rolling off the showroom floor are when motorcycles experience the most significant depreciation hit. After around 5-6 years, however, the rate of depreciation begins to taper off. This is one of the best times to bag yourself a bargain!
Once you hit the 20-25-year-old mark, you’ll often find prices on certain motorcycles starting to creep back up. The Aprilia RS 250 illustrates this perfectly as many of us still lust over high-revving two-strokes.
If you’re looking to save a few quid, then it may be worth considering ex-demo machines. Relatively new, low mileage examples are often dotted around dealerships with a sizeable discount on the MSRP. Dealers often struggle to shift ex-demo bikes, so we recommend haggling for some freebies or additional savings.
Plain and simple, service history becomes increasingly beneficial the older a motorcycle is.
Having a full-service history won’t dramatically increase the motorcycle’s value. It will, however, reassure potential buyers and work in your favour when it comes to negotiating.
In an ideal world, your motorcycle will come with the official service booklet stamped at each service interval. Providing the receipts for maintenance carried out elsewhere comes in at a close second, though.
On the flip side, there are plenty of well-maintained motorcycles out there lacking a full-service history! This could be a great bargaining chip as long as you carry out a thorough pre-purchase inspection.
You could put the extra cash towards that pair of RST gloves you’ve been longing for!
You don’t have to be a motorcycle technician to recognise rust, damaged bodywork, or overly worn tyres. Condition is undoubtedly one of the most important factors mentioned throughout this guide!
Here are a few key things to look out for:
Bodywork that’s damaged or generally in poor condition can drastically diminish the value of a used motorcycle. Replacement fairings, particularly on sports bikes, are often ludicrously expensive to replace. Be sure to weigh up the potential returns before pulling the trigger.
Alternatively, small pots of touch-up paint are readily available online. This could prove to be a much more cost-efficient solution to minor blemishes.
Bonus tip: Keep an eye out for horizontal scratches across the fairings. These generally indicate a slide rather than a stationary drop!
Low oil/brake fluid, overly worn tyres, a knackered chain, the list goes on.
Prospective buyers will quickly point out these issues and often expect a hefty reduction in the price.
As the name suggests, consumables are there to be used and replaced. Thankfully, none of the items mentioned above are particularly expensive or difficult to switch out.
Keeping on top of regular maintenance will remove the need to worry about this point at all!
Rust and Corrosion
Even if you avoid riding in the rain altogether, failing to protect your motorcycle will leave it susceptible to rust. This is particularly true during the harsh winter months.
When it comes to corrosion, it’s far better to be proactive than reactive. Ensure to regularly clean your motorcycle and apply a protective spray to the engine casings, metal components, and any other surfaces that are likely to deteriorate over time.
Depending on the overall value, you may consider having components such as engine casings refinished. Like fairings, this can often be a money pit and more effort than it’s worth, though. Be sure to browse the used market and calculate the expected returns beforehand.
Accessories & Modifications
Tasteful accessories fitted from the factory will often warrant a price increase, exhausts and touring accessories being two great examples.
Like the 1290 Super Duke, some motorcycles even have certain electronics locked as standard from the factory! Whether or not you agree with this controversial practice, having these activated will undoubtedly increase the value of a motorcycle.
What about aftermarket accessories, I hear you ask? Well, they’re unlikely to add much (if any) value to your motorcycle, unfortunately. Buyers could argue that certain modifications aren’t to their liking and expect a price reduction to justify the sale. To avoid this, we recommend keeping the original parts stored away safely during ownership. This way, you’ll have the option to swap them out when the time comes to sell.
MOT (Length & History)
Let’s get straight to the point – spend £30 and get a fresh 12-months MOT. Prospective buyers will use short MOTs as leverage, so you’d be wise to rule this strategy out from the start.
Whilst pre-purchase inspections are more important, the MOT history of a motorcycle is certainly worth a glance. A quick scan of the history could reveal a dubious past and save you a lot of hassle in the long run.
If you happen to live out in the sticks, you might be hard-pressed to get the full market value for your machine. This applies despite what we’ve already mentioned in this used motorcycle price guide, unfortunately.
Most marketplaces will often apply an automatic radius which filters out a lot of potential buyers. Even then, is the price attractive enough to warrant the journey?
If you’re struggling to gain interest, it could be worth reducing the price to slightly under the going market value. This financial incentive could tempt buyers into making the arduous journey.
We’ve all seen some real shockers out there. I stumbled across an ad recently that didn’t mention the mileage, brand, or model once!
Aim to provide the reader with a brief history of your bike. This includes a summary of the good and bad points and anything of importance to the next owner.
It’s also vital to include a range of high-quality images that accurately reflect your machine. For example, any accessories/extras, damage, and corrosion, or the lack thereof!
If you’re trying to flog a sports bike in the dead of winter, think again. You’re unlikely to get the full asking price unless you’re happy to sit tight and wait for the right buyer.
Motorcycle sales begin to decline through summer and all but grind to a halt around September time. Positioning the sale in anticipation for summer (March-May) will put you in good stead for the season. This will often result in a higher sale price too!
Despite the alarming number of factors that we’ve outlined in this used motorcycle price guide, don’t be discouraged! Follow our advice, and you’re sure to get a fair price when the time comes to sell your used machine. Who knows, you might even make a few quid on top!
Have we missed anything out? Perhaps you’ve got a used motorcycle horror story that you’d love to share with us? Feel free to get in contact with us, and we’ll get back to you right away.