The Perfect Line

All Things Motorcycle
All Things Motorcycle

I have personally bought and sold nearly 10 motorcycles over the past 10 years. It’s not that I disliked the bikes that I sold; it was just time to try something new. Life is short, and the amount of time you spend riding is even shorter, so if you’re getting past the honeymoon stage with your bike, and you are starting to eye up a different model, it’s time to list your motorcycle and search for something new!

Illustration for article titled Tips for Selling Your Motorcycle

Here are some tips for selling your bike:

Before you put it up For Sale

You need to prepare your bike and yourself for the potential sale.

First preparing yourself, and I don’t mean trying not to shed a tear when your beloved wheels are being trucked away by a stranger; you need to make sure you have your shit in order.

  • Find your ownership papers.
  • Draft a Bill of Sale.
  • Obtain a used vehicle information package if required by your State or Province at your local DMV.
  • Have the bike safety completed if you are planning on selling with one, or sell as-is.
  • Gather your parts, repairs, and service receipts (buyers like this).
  • Find your spare keys.
  • Gather any spare parts that will be sold with the bike.

Now for preparing the bike, the simplest thing to do is to give it a thorough cleaning. My bikes stay pretty dirty as rule as I would rather ride them then wash them, but I give them the best shine I can before listing them. I highly recommend Motul Motowash for getting rid of hard to remove grease and dirt.

  • Cleaning, cleaning, and more cleaning.
  • Adjust the chain and other parts to make sure everything is in order.
  • Remove any accessories and farkles that are not going with the bike. A great way to maximize value is to remove accessories and sell them separately. You will always get more for the extras when they are not part of the original sale.


For sale ads with pictures get twice the number of replies, so good images are a must.

  • Get your hand on the best camera you can.
  • Ensure the lighting is adequate.
  • Take lots of different angles, sides, front, rear, etc.
  • Post as many images as the advertising platform allows.
  • Have pictures of the tire tread and wear parts available for interested buyers.
  • Many sites allow you to embed a video which is a great supplement to the images.


Post your for sale ad on as many platforms as possible. Print advertising is dead, so don’t waste your time and use online sites only. Choose the sites that are most popular in your area. If you don’t know which sites are popular, search the various sites’ motorcycle for sale sections and see if it is in use. The most popular ones tend to be Craigslist, Ebay Classifieds / Kijiji, and AutoTrader. Local Facebook classified groups are hugely popular right now as well as Motorcycle Forums. Post in multiple cities should you live close to them, people will travel far and wide for the right bike. At a minimum, your ad should include:

  • Year, Make and Model
  • Miles / KM
  • Overall Condition (be honest)
  • Condition of wear parts such as tires, chain and sprockets.
  • Modifications
  • Major maintenance and repairs completed
  • How long you owned it and how many owners there has been
  • Reason for selling
  • Asking Price and if you are interested in trades

Avoid Scammers

Unless you are actually selling the bike on eBay, do not accept paypal.

  • Cash only.
  • Deal in person only.
  • Meet in a public area such as a Walmart parking lot not at your residence.
  • Should you get a scam email, report it to your selling platform.

Negotiating with a Potential Buyer

It is important to set a realistic price for your bike. Before listing, check local classifieds for similar make/model/year bikes to see what the going rate is. If the demand for your bike is high and the supply is low, you can reflect this in your price.

  • Set your price OBO (or best offer) or FRIM in your ad.
  • If selling as OBO, have your bottom line decided beforehand.
  • Be courteous toward the potential buyer.
  • Try not to get offended by low offers, but be clear that you are not hacking your price down.
  • Buyers might try to pick apart the bike in an effort to bring the cost down, so being honest with yourself on the bike’s needs and value is a must. Know the bike and disclose everything in your ad, this will prevent the buyer from nitpicking.
  • If you have the means, throwing in delivery can be a good negotiating tool.
  • Throw in that old gear you have been meaning to replace to make the sale. Check out Motorcycle Superstore on Amazon for deals on new gear.

The Deal

Try not to get antsy and rush the sale. I have sold bikes in a matter of days, while others have taken months. Unless you need the cash, be patient and if your asking price is realistic, the right buyer will come along. If you agree on a price, consider the following:

  • Cash only, do not take a personal cheque.
  • If the buyer needs time to get cash, take a deposit. Make sure you put this in writing, including an agreed upon timeframe, signed by both parties.
  • Stick around and help the buyer load the bike.
  • Have fun looking for your next one!

Good luck with your sale. If you plan on buying your next bike new, check out Tips for Buying a New Motorcycle.


Photo Credit: Keith (evilbahumut) on Flickr by way of Creative Commons 2.0.

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