How do you know what your used motorcycle is worth? When you ride, your bike becomes an extension of who you are. It's not just wheels, it's self expression. It has a personality, often a name. When you look into replacing it, you want an accurate motorcycle trade value.
Getting a reliable used motorcycle value is tricky. What your used bike is worth varies depending on what guide or price checker you use and where you're located. Plus, bikers are rarely content to leave a Harley® the way it shipped from the factory. It's hard to know what a motorcycle is worth when it's a vintage or custom bike.
The reason you're looking for used motorcycle trade in value really doesn't matter. Your bike is valuable, and you want to get the most for it when it's time for a trade or a replacement. Let's look at the used motorcycle value basics.
Motorcycle Blue Book Value
When people talk about motorcycle blue book value, most of the time they're talking about the price listed in a reference manual or online resource. Kelley Blue Book used to only come as an actual book, and as you might have guessed it was (shockingly enough) blue.
Individuals and dealerships used it to look up used motorcycle and used vehicle value. You probably remember seeing advertisements for prices "below blue book." Eventually, that became a generic term.
Now, when people or motorcycle dealers talk about motorcycle blue book value, they're just referring to what it's worth according to whatever standard they use. The numbers aren't necessarily straight out of Kelley Blue Book. They might not even come from an industry standard. If you're trading a bike, it's a good idea to ask what the dealer or individual used to establish the right amount to pay for it.
One important thing to keep in mind is how much location matters. If you're looking at used motorcycles for sale in California and you live in Texas, you're going to see some variation. Sometimes it's a huge amount. If you're selling or trading a used bike in Dallas, you need to know the correct used motorcycle value for our area.
Harley® Trade Value
One of the great things about buying and owning a Harley® is how well they hold their value compared to other brands. A Harley® is a Harley®. They run forever and every one is destined to become a classic. You never look at an older bike and think, "I can't believe people rode that back in the day. It looks so dated." Many become more valuable with age.
The Bad News About Used Motorcycle Value for Harley-Davidson®
One of the challenges when establishing used motorcycle value for a Harley-Davidson®, as we've mentioned, is that so many of them become custom motorcycles. They're built to be amazing, but most owners see their bike as a means of self-expression. Here's where we have to be frank.
If you've put thousands of dollars into creating a custom motorcycle, you're probably not going to see all of that reflected in your used motorcycle value. You didn't customize your bike for someone else, you did it for you.
Where that presents a problem is after an accident. If something happens and you total your bike, insurance isn't going to pay you what it's worth with all your upgrades. If you have a custom motorcycle, look into insuring your bike for a scheduled or stated value. It might cost you a little more, but you'll be covered for closer to what your bike is worth.
Get the Most for Your Custom Motorcycle
When you're selling to a private party or trading at a Dallas motorcycle dealer, they're more likely to understand the value of motorcycle customization. You know what you spent on it and can raise the motorcycle value by a percentage of what you've spent. Start with the value of your bike without all the custom parts and add what those parts are currently worth.
At Dallas Harley-Davidson® in Garland, creating custom motorcycles is one of the things we do best. We understand what parts, accessories and labor cost. We also know it's a labor of love. When people come to us with a trade, we factor customization into our trade quote.
Motorcycle Trade Value vs. Motorcycle Retail Value
Just like with a car, your motorcycle trade value is different when it's part of the deal on a new bike. Motorcycle trade value is what a motorcycle dealer will give you for your bike. Retail value is what they'll sell it for or what you could ask from a private party.
Motorcycle trade value is typically lower than retail value. Dealers have expense involved in inspection, repair and resale. They also may have to sit on the bike until the right buyer comes along.
Both types of value are based on averages. Both take into account factors like your bike's mileage, condition, service history, accident reports and so on. If you have a high mileage bike, check out our post on how much mileage matters when you buy, sell or trade a motorcycle.
KBB vs. NADA
So which resource is better? Which one will give you the most accurate used motorcycle value?
Kelley Blue Book (KBB) is the oldest resource, one that's been around since 1926. Now they have an online platform instead of a print publication for finding the resale value of cars, bikes, boats, snowmobiles and RVs.
The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) has been around almost as long. They also provide resale pricing for a range of vehicles.
Both tools will give you a value for new and used bikes. They both let you enter similar info like your bike's year, body type, features and location. Lending institutions use both when making loans, which indicates they're both pretty trustworthy.
KBB gathers data from dealers, auctions, manufacturers and consumer transactions. They break values down into what you can expect when buying from a private party, trade-in value, suggested retail value and pre-owned value.
NADAguides pulls data from more than 1.5 million transactions every month and uses a sophisticated algorithm to create a robust data archive. They look at auction sales, retail motorcycle sales and classified ads to see what different bikes are worth and factor that in when they compute your used motorcycle value. In other words, the data used to supply that value comes from actual sales in your area.
More financial institutions in our area use NADA to calculate used motorcycle value. That may be because they gather data from more sources, so they are more likely to present a clear picture of overall used motorcycle value. When you look up your bike, NADAguides will tell you the Suggested List Price (Like MSRP), Low Retail (when your bike is in bad shape) and Average Retail (what a dealer might sell it for).
With motorcycles, both sources have fields where you can enter upgrades in these areas:
- Engine and transmission
- Wheels and Tires
- Audio and Communication
Whether you're trading your bike at a motorcycle dealership or selling to a private party, one of the most important things to know might be that NADA values tend to be a little higher. That means owners receive more on average for a trade than they would using KBB value.
Find Used Motorcycle Value on Your Bike
At Dallas Harley-Davidson®, we have a tool that makes it easy. Find the used motorcycle value for your bike in 60 seconds using our online calculator. Or, get in touch and we'll run the information for you.