Selling a motorcycle is a big deal.
It’s not like selling a piece of furniture, or the second car you don’t really use.
It’s way more emotional than that.
And so it helps to ask yourself some strategic questions before you do it.
Because in a month’s time, when there’s no more motorcycle in your garage, will you be OK with that?
You don’t want to wake up in the middle of the night with your stomach in knots, wondering WHAT WAS I THINKING?
Make no mistake: this is a big decision.
So it helps to be 100% clear on your motivation for doing this – as well as the potential consequences.
Selling a motorcycle is not something you do every day. Once that motorcycle is gone, it’s gone for good – so you need to be sure that this is what you want. These 10 questions will help you make up your mind.
Selling a Motorcycle: The 10 Questions You Need to Answer Before You Do
Let’s get into some biker soul searching, and help you make the right decision.
1. Are you selling your motorcycle because you need the money?
If this is a way of exchanging a fairly major asset for cash, do you have any other options?
Is there another way of getting that money, perhaps?
Could you sell something else?
Get a low interest loan?
Maybe have a very charming conversation with your boss about a pay rise?
Rather than panicking about money, take a second to figure out if you’ve explored all of your financial alternatives first.
2. If you sell your motorcycle, will you regret it?
We’ve all heard of buyer’s remorse – where you make a big purchase and then freak out at what you’ve done.
But there’s also seller’s remorse.
Once the money’s changed hands and the paperwork’s gone through, your motorcycle will belong to someone else.
Can you live with that?
Or will you regret it?
Is there something very special about this motorcycle that you won’t have again?
Is it a rare model that’s hard to find?
You don’t want to set up a process where this motorcycle becomes The One That Got Away.
And 20 years from now, you’re still wondering where it ended up and how you could’ve parted with it.
You need to be 100% sure you’re done with this motorcycle.
3. Have you checked out the marketplace?
Do you know how much you’re likely to get if you sell your motorcycle?
What’s the going market price of motorcycles like yours?
What can you reasonably expect to get for it?
There are lots of ways to get a feel for the market:
- Spend some time looking at your local online motorcycle auction sites.
- If you live near a big motorcycle store or dealer, take the time to look around at their stock and talk to their staff about current values.
- See if your favorite motorcycle forum has a thread about relevant bike prices.
- And talk to your friends about what they would expect to get if it was their bike.
Once you do some practical research, you’ll be in a much better position to name a price that you can live with – but will still move the bike on.
4. Are you riding your motorcycle a lot less often?
As we know, selling a motorcycle is a highly emotional process.
It’s hard to separate fact from feelings.
But one way to do that is to figure out how much you’re riding the motorcycle you’re about to sell.
Think back over the last few weeks or months.
Have you done only a handful of miles compared to what you used to cover?
Do you wheel it out of the garage less often because you’ve stopped enjoying riding it?
Is it tucked away at the back of the shed behind the spare mattress, rusting metal chairs and the lawnmower?
Has it been under a motorcycle cover for as long as you can remember?
If you’re hardly ever riding it, that’s quite a strong sign it might be time to sell your motorcycle.
5. Does your motorcycle have a quirk that you’re sick of working around?
Pat and I laugh often at the individual oddities of motorcycles.
So many motorcycles have a ‘trick’ to riding or starting them.
It’s a total drama to kick start Pat’s Norton Commando.
By the time you’ve tickled the carbs so that your fingers and jeans are soaked in gas, turned the key off, then on, and kicked it over a few times, you’ve lost the urge to go for a ride. It’s just too hard.
Then there was our Guzzi that blew 7 fuses every time you started it.
Yep, you could try shaking it around in the driveway for half an hour.
Or replacing the battery every 6 months.
But who wants to do that?
Eventually those little personality quirks get old, and you just can’t be bothered with the daily issues involved in riding the thing.
If your motorcycle has particular needs like this and is just too much work, well, that could definitely move you in the direction of selling your motorcycle.
6. Do you have time to sell your motorcycle?
Selling a motorcycle can be surprisingly time consuming.
You’ve got to write a killer ad for a start, and figure out where to post it.
If you’re selling it online, you’ll likely have to answer questions people post about it.
You may well need to field phone calls about it.
And you’ll be having potential buyers coming around to look at the bike, and take it for a ride (if you allow that).
There are always the weekend dreamers who have nothing better to do than to come around, hang out in your garage, and talk about how great these motorcycles are and how they used to have one, and how they’re TRYING to organise the finance, but they just need to sell their own motorcycle first…
Etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.
Pat’s a lot more patient with these time-wasters than me.
He’s always happy to chat.
But I’m a lot crankier with the tire kickers.
I always feel a strong urge to do my best Arnie impersonation and just growl at them…
So do you have time for all the personal follow-up needed when you sell a motorcycle?
7. Will you be around to sell the motorcycle?
If you’re about to go on vacation, travel for work, or will otherwise be out of town, it might be best to postpone selling your motorcycle.
You’ll need to be available for the phone calls and visits.
(And to do your own Arnie impersonation when necessary.)
Because what if you get the perfect buyer on the hook?
He shows up with a pocket full of cash (or is ready to transfer the money to your account).
But if you’re not in town to close the deal, he’ll go spend his money somewhere else.
8. Do you already know someone who might buy your motorcycle?
We’ve sold motorcycles to friends and acquaintances a few times now.
And sure, you’ve got to be careful about mixing friendship and business.
Even so, it’s generally a quicker and simpler process than having to go through official auction channels and negotiate with strangers.
So you might already know the next owner of your bike, too.
He might be:
- Someone you talk to at your local bike shop
- A member of the same motorcycle club
- A friend with a shared fetish for the same type of motorcycles
- The former owner of the bike before you (does he want it back)?
- A friend of a friend (put the word out on the grapevine and see who responds)
- On a Facebook group you’re part of.
Chances are you already know a variety of people who are also obsessed with motorcycles.
Will one of them be interested to hear you’re selling your motorcycle?
9. Is it time to get another type of motorcycle?
Chances are the kinds of bikes you rode when you were 25 (and somehow survived) may not suit you anymore.
If you have a knee injury or joint stiffness, it might be time to get rid of the vintage motorcycle you have to kick 20 times to get started.
Maybe you need a bike with a lower center of gravity.
You may be ready for 60 horsepower instead of 130.
Or vice versa.
In this case, it might be a really wise decision to sell your motorcycle.
But if you’re planning on replacing it with one that’s more your style now, do a little research into what you want, what it will cost, and where you’ll get it.
That way, as soon as you sell your current motorcycle, you can immediately replace it with a different one that better suits your needs.
You won’t be left suddenly stranded without no motorcycle.
And – even more important – the money from the bike you’ve sold won’t miraculously disappear into the household budget, or be used to help finance that nice new Volvo the wife’s been angling for.
Speaking of wifely pressures…
10. Are you under domestic pressure to sell your motorcycle?
Sometimes the decision to sell a motorcycle won’t have been made by you.
It’ll be the result of endless domestic “discussions” about motorcycles.
It turns out your motorcycle is:
- A total waste of money
- Very dangerous
- Not appropriate if you have children to support until they’re in their 40s
- Getting in the way of having a more appropriate family vehicle, and also
- Just an embarrassing way of clinging onto your youth.
We’re in fairly dangerous relationship territory here.
If this applies to you, you might want to read my post My Wife Hates My Motorcycle: What Can I Do?
See if you can negotiate a compromise, because being bullied out of having a motorcycle when you really need one will likely be the death of any relationship, let’s face it.
Try to find some common ground – what does your partner want that she’s not getting?
Get her that, and hopefully that’ll be the end of the discussion.
If you don’t, instead you could always say: “Yes dear, let’s go for a nice Saturday drive in the Volvo”.
Out of the question, isn’t it?
So find a compromise on the domestic front, so you can be sure you’re selling your motorcycle for all the right reasons.
Selling Your Motorcycle is a Big Decision
Sometimes it’s the right decision.
Sometimes it’s not.
Only you can know what the best course of action is for you.
But when you’ve answered these 10 key questions, you’ll have a much clearer idea of what to do next.
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