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Used Motorcycle Values - What Local Harley Dealers Look At

What's Your Motorcycle Trade-In Value?

The Internet is great because when it's time to make a purchasing decision, information is right at our fingertips. It's also not so great, because not all that information is accurate and up to date. If you're searching for used motorcycle values, there's usually a big discrepancy between numbers, so it's hard to know which resource is accurate. 

At Dallas Harley-Davidson® in Garland, we find most people are just trying to understand what's fair. Sometimes they start with an estimate from Kelley Blue Book motorcycles, then they notice Cycle Trader is selling their model for much, much less. Or, they might get a motorcycle trade-in value from a few different Dallas Harley® dealers and find them hundreds of dollars apart. Let's talk about what goes into computing used motorcycle values so you have a better understanding of what you can expect.

Kelley Bue Book Motorcycles

First off, when people talk about "blue book," often they just mean current market value. They're not necessarily pulling that number from a specific resource. Kelley Blue Book has been around so long and been so widely referenced it has just fallen into common vocabulary usage as a generic term for vehicle value.

When people assign value to a trade, the two most commonly used resources are Kelley Blue Book and the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) guides. The two resources each have their own criteria for assigning used motorcycle values. When you have a different starting point, you'll usually arrive at a different destination - NADA and KBB often disagree. 

However, KBB isn't a bad place to start when you find yourself asking, what's my motorcycle worth? KBB and NADA calculate used motorcycle values based on recent motorcycle sales - how much bikes bring at dealer auctions, what they rent for, how many there are for sale in an area, the national and local economy and the time of year.

Factors KBB and NADA Use

Both resources have easy-to-use websites, and getting a value is free, so it doesn't hurt to run your bike information through both and compare used motorcycle values. The estimate they give you is based on the following:

  • Suggested Retail
  • What private parties are getting for the same make and model
  • Trade-in value at dealerships in your area
  • Certified pre-owned value if applicable

Resources Dealerships Use for Trade-In Value

We start with NADA trade-in value because it uses more information to make calculations than KBB. Insurance companies typically prefer NADA values, partly because they have access to millions of transactions. KBB just asks for your bike's make, model and year to generate blue book value. NADA allows you to enter customizations for a more accurate idea of what your bike might be worth. 

But there's no way to know exactly how many dollars and cents your motorcycle is worth until you come into the dealership. You can get a ballpark idea, but KBB and NADA both get their information from national transactions, and they aren't always up-to-the-minute. Dealers have access to data from the National Auto Research Black Book and the Manheim Market Report. These additional resources let us in on the cost associated with sales in real-time.

When We Quote Motorcycle Trade-In At our Harley® Dealership

You can always contact us online for information about your trade. We regularly work out deals with people from out of state, and if their trade is as they represent it and they want to buy the bike we have for sale, we can agree on all the numbers ahead of time. But if you're local, the easiest thing is to just bring in your bike, see what we offer, look at what we have for sale and go from there. We also have an online link to NADA where you can find out what your trade is worth in 60 seconds or less, no matter what brand you ride.

We're going to quote motorcycle trade-in values based on the factors you'd expect: mileage, your bike's condition, customizations, suggested retail and trade-in value for that make and model and so on. Your engine and transmission, audio and communication upgrades, custom paint and storage options all factor in.

Customers sometimes wonder why different Harley dealerships will quote them different motorcycle trade-in values. Every dealership is different, but for the most part they base offers on 

  • The dealership location - Harley® dealers in different parts of Texas experience huge differences in sales volume.
  • How much traffic the dealership has - A small town dealership in the dead of winter might not have much hope of selling your trade any time soon, but a high volume Harley® dealer draws a steady stream of interested buyers.
  • How popular the bike is you're trading - The good news is, most Harley models stay in demand. But some are more popular in our area. If we know there's a high demand, we also know we can re-sell it for a good price, and we'll pass that on to you. If there's more uncertainty, we can't offer as much. Nor, probably, will other area dealerships.
  • How many of that model they already have in inventory - If we don't have many of your make and model in stock, we're more eager to be able to offer it to customers.

Side Hint: Walking Out Doesn't Increase Trade-In Value for Motorcycles

Maybe someone along the way told you they had the inside track on getting top dollar on your trade or a better deal on a new motorcycle. "Don't accept their deal at first," they advised. "In fact, it will actually help if you walk out." That really isn't going to change the outcome for a couple of reasons.

1. Calculating used motorcycle values for a dealership is about numbers. We know about what we can sell it for, how long we might have to sit on that money, what marketing is going to cost and how that model is selling right now. We're not trying to "get" you, we just have an acceptable profit margin. 

2. Our staff has a lot of experience inlling bikes. That means you won't be the first person who tried the walking out in a huff thing. We know we have the best selection on trades and we offer fair trade-in value. If you're going to buy from us, you'll be back.

3. There's a lot of demand for our inventory. Sometimes people try the walking out trick and when they come back, they find someone else rode off on the bike they wanted. 

Bonus: Let Harley-Davidson Finance Bad Credit

Another factor in motorcycle trade is what you're getting in return. If you're shopping around because you want a new (or new to you) Harley®, you're probably going to need some financing for that purchase. In some cases, people get a higher trade-in value for motorcycles when they sell to a private party. Then they can take that cash and buy their new bike. But if your credit isn't so great and you don't have enough cash to buy the bike you want, you need a dealership that will let you buy on payments.

Our finance department is really phenomenal, which is probably why we finance more Harley motorcycles than anyone else in Garland, Mesquite, Rockwall,and the surrounding area. Often our finance deals mean you pay less overall for your new bike than you would obtaining financing anywhere else. Most qualify even with bad credit.