How to Sell Your Motorcycle Online

How to Sell Your Motorcycle Online

Getting ready to sell your motorcycle? The reasons why are numerous, but one thing remains the same: getting maximum price with minimal hassle is likely one of your top priorities. 

Once upon a time, achieving this meant flipping through the classified section of your local newspaper, scanning the “wanted” listings and hoping to connect with a buyer nearby. Or, simply placing an ad for your bike and hoping a qualified buyer might find it. 

However, the digital age has revolutionized this process, offering a plethora of online platforms where sellers can reach a wider audience with just a few clicks. Four popular options in this digital realm are Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, eBay and Cycle Trader.

In this article, we’ll break down the essentials of selling your motorcycle online. We’ll look at the online motorcycle market, tips for preparing your motorcycle for sale, including pricing and strategies for creating an effective online listing. We’ll also explore some key guidelines for navigating the sale process. 

Along the way, we'll also touch on how the Kelley Blue Book can play a vital role in helping you sell your motorcycle at the right price.

Ready to jump in? Here’s what you’ll find.

 

  1. Understanding the Online Motorcycle Market
    1. Key Players: Craigstlist, Facebook Marketplace, eBay, Cycle Trader
  2. Preparing Your Motorcycle for Sale
    1. Importance of Motorcycle Maintenance 
  3. Pricing Your Motorcycle Correctly 
    1. Factors Influencing Motorcycle Price
    2. How to Use the Kelley Blue Book for Accurate Pricing
  4. How to Create an Effective Online Ad
    1. Writing a Compelling Descriptions 
  5. Navigating the Sale Process
    1. Communicating with Potential Buyers
    2. Safe and Secure Payment Methods
  6. You’ve Sold Your Bike and Bought a New One. Now What?



Understanding the Online Motorcycle Market

Online platforms allow for seamless communication and fast transactions between buyers and sellers. They provide a virtual marketplace where motorcycles of all makes, models, and conditions are displayed and advertised to a global audience. However, they aren’t without their drawbacks, like listing fees, risks of scams, and in some cases, shipping woes. 

That said, imagine being able to showcase your motorcycle to potential buyers from all over; without leaving the comfort of your home. The internet has made this possible, breaking down geographical barriers and expanding the reach of motorcycle sales.

Today, online platforms offer various tools and features to enhance the selling experience. From detailed listings with high-resolution photos to secure payment options, in some ways there’s never been a better time to sell your motorcycle. 

 

Key Players in the Online Motorcycle Market

Some of the most popular options for selling your motorcycle online are Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, Cycle Trader, and eBay. Let’s take a look at each of these options. 

 

Craigslist, often dubbed the wild west of online classifieds, provides a straightforward and free platform for listing motorcycles and connecting with potential buyers. It’s also one of the oldest online marketplaces - and offers a plethora of items, events, and services far beyond vehicles. 

Here are some pros and cons associated with Craigslists.

Pros:

  • Simple and easy to use
  • Local audience can eliminate the need for shipping 
  • Not an auction based platform, so you can set your price as you like

Cons:

  • Safety concerns - you’ll be meeting potential buyers face-to-face
  • Limited moderation can lead to spammy or less-than-serious buyers
  • Local audience can limit the reach of your listing

 

Facebook Marketplace combines the local appeal of Craigslist with the social networking power of Facebook. And given how many people not only have a Facebook account, but visit the site regularly (probably more so than many other sites), it could be a great option for selling your bike.

Here’s a couple pros and cons associated with Facebook Marketplace.

Pros:

  • Posting on an active site that gives you both local and distance buyers 
  • Facebook Messenger can facilitate easy communication between both parties 
  • The option to share your ad on your page, in local groups, etc can significantly increase your reach
  • No fees for listing your bike 

Cons:

  • Lack of stringent moderation can lead to unreliable buyers or scammers 
  • Privacy concerns as related to Facebook generally 

 

Cycle Trader serves as another excellent option for individuals looking to sell their motorcycles. As a specialized online marketplace dedicated solely to motorcycles, Cycle Trader offers a platform tailored to the needs of both sellers and buyers within the motorcycle community. 

Some of the biggest pros and cons for Cycle Trader are below. 

Pros:

  • A highly target, and generally more knowledgeable audience
  • Nationwide reach
  • Easy platform with a team of professionals available to help you

Cons:

  • Tiered fee structure that charges more based on the price of your bike and how many photos you’d like to use
  • Increased competition thanks to an extensive library of listings 
  • Quite a few unrelated ads scattered throughout that site that can be distracting

 

One additional option to consider is eBay. Another platform that survived from some of the earliest days of the internet, it offers an auction-style approach to selling your motorcycle. 

Keep reading for the pros and cons associated with eBay. 

Pros:

  • Nice collection of seller tools and features
  • Robust buyer and seller protections that can help to weed out scammers and facilitate a sense of trust between both parties 

Cons:

  • Fees to list start from $19 and do not include the 2.8% deposit processing fee
  • Auctions can result in a lower sale price than through other platforms

 

Preparing Your Motorcycle for Sale

Once you’ve decided where you’d like to list your bike, it's time to prepare it for sale. Proper preparation can help to make your motorcycle more appealing to potential buyers while also ensuring a smooth process.

But what exactly does it mean to prepare your motorcycle for sale? It goes beyond simply posting an ad online and waiting for offers to come pouring in. It involves taking the time to give your bike the attention it deserves, ensuring it’s in top condition and ready to impress.

Importance of Motorcycle Maintenance Before the Sale 

One of the key aspects of preparing your motorcycle for sale is ensuring its physical condition is the best it can be. The best way to achieve this is through regular maintenance and service checks. So, if you’ve been taking care of your bike until this point, you’re already one step closer to a successful sale. 

On the day you decide to sell? Start by checking for any mechanical issues that may need attention. Is the engine running smoothly? Are there any strange noises or vibrations? Addressing these issues before putting your motorcycle up for sale will not only save potential buyers from headaches but also increase their confidence in the quality of your bike.

But it's not just the mechanical aspects that matter. Cosmetic flaws can also affect a buyer's perception of your motorcycle. Take a close look at the bodywork. Are there any scratches, dents, or paint chips? If so, consider investing in some touch-up paint or even getting a professional to restore the bike's appearance. Remember, a little effort can go a long way in making your motorcycle stand out from the crowd.

While you’re at it, also be sure to gather any receipts or other records for any maintenance carried out on your bike. These can help to justify a certain price and to demonstrate to potential buyers that the bike has been well taken care of. 

clean motorcycle

 

Tips for Photographing or Videoing Your Motorcycle

When selling your motorcycle online, high-quality photographs play a vital role in attracting potential buyers. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, and in this case, it could be worth a thousand dollars. And in some cases, a video even more. 

Before taking pictures of your motorcycle, pay attention to the details – clean the wheels, polish the chrome, and make sure everything shines. A clean motorcycle not only looks more appealing but also gives the impression that it has been well taken care of.

Now, let's talk about capturing the perfect shot. Lighting is crucial when it comes to showcasing your motorcycle's features. Find a well-lit area, preferably outdoors, where natural light can highlight the bike's contours and colors. Avoid taking pictures in direct sunlight, as it can create harsh shadows and wash out the details.

For the composition of your photos, think about what potential buyers would like to see. Take multiple shots from different perspectives, highlighting key details, upgrades, and any unique selling points. 

Show off the sleek lines of the bike, the intricate design of the engine, and any custom modifications that set it apart. Be honest and transparent with your photographs, ensuring they accurately represent your motorcycle's condition and appearance.

A video can also give you a chance to capture the bike’s sound, as well as aspects that can only be seen while it is in motion. If making videos yourself isn’t a skill you’re confident in, see if you can ask a friend to help you out. And remember - videos don’t need to be complicated to be effective. 



Pricing Your Motorcycle Correctly

Choosing the right price for your motorcycle is crucial for a successful (and speedy) sale.

Factors Influencing Motorcycle Value

Before determining the selling price for your motorcycle, consider the factors that influence its value. The most important ones to keep in mind are age, mileage, condition and any additional features unique to your bike. If you’ve made any upgrades, those can also affect the market price of your motorcycle.

If you are unsure where to begin, research similar motorcycles listed for sale online to get a sense of the current market trends and pricing. Take into account the overall demand for your motorcycle and adjust the price accordingly. 

Your geographic area can also play a role in both the demand for your bike and the price sensitivity of the local market. Keep in mind that you may be able to ask for a higher price in other regions, so in some cases it may be worth advertising your bike outside of your immediate region. 

How to Use the Kelley Blue Book for Motorcycle Pricing

The Kelley Blue Book can be an invaluable resource when pricing your motorcycle. It provides a reliable and widely recognized valuation tool for both cars and motorcycles, offering insights into their current market value.

Visit the Kelley Blue Book website and input the specific details of your motorcycle to get an estimated value. This will give you a starting point when setting the price for your motorcycle, ensuring that it is competitive and appealing to potential buyers.

 

How to Create an Effective Online Listing

Remember those photos and videos you shot earlier? Now’s the time to put them to work. Your online listing is your first chance to showcase everything amazing about your bike, so don’t skimp on the time and effort spent on it. (Especially given that you can likely reuse the ad you create on multiple platforms so that it is seen by many more eyes.) 

Writing a Compelling Description 

When writing the description for your online listing, be comprehensive and detailed. It’s important to always start on a positive note, so begin your description by highlighting your motorcycle's key features, and any notable upgrades or modifications. Be sure to include other crucial details like make, model, year, and mileage early on in the ad. 

Don’t be afraid to use language that will appeal to potential buyers by clearly outlining the benefits and unique selling points of your motorcycle. However, don’t overpromise - everyone’s time is precious and there’s no point in misrepresenting your bike. 

Don't forget to include important selling information, such as whether the motorcycle has a clean title, comes with any warranties, or has undergone recent maintenance work.

selling motorcycle

 

Highlighting Key Features and Upgrades with Photos and Videos

Make sure to emphasize any key features or upgrades your motorcycle has in your photo and video efforts. This could include performance enhancements, custom paintwork, upgraded exhaust systems, or any other modifications that set your motorcycle apart from others on the market.

 

Navigating the Sale Process

As potential buyers express interest and make inquiries about your motorcycle, it's essential to navigate the sale process effectively and efficiently.

Communicating with Potential Buyers

When communicating with potential buyers, be timely, professional, and courteous. Respond promptly to inquiries, providing additional information, answering questions, and scheduling test rides or inspections.

When you have test rides, choose a safe and suitable meeting space. An empty parking lot next to an open road is a good choice. To ensure your personal safety, consider bringing a friend with you during the test ride. Take a photo of your potential buyer’s ID so that you can confirm their license and also have proof of their identity should something go amiss. 

Safe and Secure Payment Methods

When it comes time for payment, be prepared to negotiate the price and terms of the sale, while also ensuring a fair deal for both parties involved.

Once you’ve arrived at a mutually agreeable price, prioritize safe and secure payment methods. Avoid accepting cash or personal checks from unknown buyers, as they can be prone to fraud or counterfeit issues. 

Consider utilizing secure payment platforms such as PayPal, Venmo, Zelle, or other similar services that offer protection and minimize the risk of fraudulent transactions. You can also request a cashier’s check as these offer a guarantee of funds and are harder to forge.

 

You’ve Sold Your Bike and Bought a New One. Now What?

Selling your motorcycle online can be a rewarding experience, both financially and in terms of finding the right buyer who appreciates your beloved two-wheeled machine. 

By understanding the online motorcycle market, properly preparing your motorcycle, pricing it correctly, creating an effective online listing, and navigating the sale process, you'll be well-equipped to sell your motorcycle with confidence. Remember, the Kelley Blue Book can serve as your guide in ensuring that you set a fair price and attract interested buyers. 

If you are selling your bike to make space for a new one, you’ll likely need new accessories to go along with it. That’s where we come in. You can shop by bike or brand to find the perfect accessories to make your new ride truly your own.

 

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