Thursday, May 7, 2009

Don't Be an Ass when you Sell your Bike

I've been poking around the last day or two, looking for a second bike. Possibly a 600 supersport that I can use as a "backup", track mule, or just for a change of pace. Possibly a sport-tourer.

What I've noticed is that many people are delusional when selling their bikes. I've noticed a couple of patterns cropping up. Patterns that make the seller look like a total ass. Here's a few tips for you if you're going to sell your bike.

Bikes Depreciate

Not even dealers can sell a bike for MSRP, except to a new rider who doesn't know any better. That means you're not gonna be able to sell yours for $500 less than you bought it for.

Motorcycles drop in value about $1000-$2000 as soon as you drive them off the lot. They're not vehicles, they're toys. People are willing to pay a premium for buying new because they know no one else has played with their toy yet.

It's OK to ask a pretty penny, but be willing to compromise. If you stick to a price that's too high, don't be surprised if no one answers your listing...or if the people who do try to talk you down, despite your ad saying, "FIRM!!"

Performance Modifications Don't Increase the Bike's Value

Again, modifications to a bike are a sunk cost at best. Too many people try to recoup the value of their bike mods. The changes you made to that bike generally aren't worth anything to anyone but you.

Sometimes they can even warn a potential buyer off. If you have a full exhaust and ECU programmer, chances are you ride that bike HARD. Got a -1 front/+2 rear sprocket set? You've been doing lots of wheelies. New engine case covers and fairings? You've crashed it.

Even if all your modifications are tasteful, a potential buyer sees this kind of thing and knows that an amateur has probably been turning wrenches on this bike. Did you use the proper torque specs for everything? Don't know. Is it worth the hassle?

Unless your potential buyer is looking for a race-bike and you have a nice set of Ohlins forks and Marchesini wheels, you're not getting anything for your mods.

No One Wants your Sweaty Gear

My biggest pet peeve when shopping for a used bike is the number of people who think that "throwing in" a helmet or a jacket is worth anything to a potential buyer.

Let's get one thing straight first of one "throws in" anything. If you're offering to give away your helmet and gloves to the buyer of your bike "free", it's not really "free", you've just used that as an excuse to jack up the price of the bike.

So you're not doing me a favor by throwing in gear. I'd be doing YOU a favor by taking that stuff off of your hands. Gear is disposable. You'd be better off trying to scalp it on eBay than throwing it in with your bike...the truth is that you don't care to waste effort selling it, but you think you can throw it in with the bike and get a little extra money. Don't advertise it as "$1,000 worth of extras" when what you really means is, "If you pay me $750 more for this bike, I'll let you take my garbage with you".

Helmets are the most disposable item out there. A buyer doesn't want a helmet that your sweaty, dandruffy head has been inside of...that's just nasty. Not to mention that he doesn't know how you treated that helmet. Did you drop it? Did you bump your head in it? Is the EPS liner still good? It's a safety hazard to buy a used helmet.

Another thing most people forget is that their gear is not going to fit at least 4 out of 5 people who come to look at their bike. Even if the jacket matches the bike, if the buyer can't cram himself into it, then it's a no-sale.

Please...keep your gear. Sell it on eBay. But don't act like you can make more money on a "package deal". Most people just want the bike.

That's all for now. If I keep looking and find any more bike-selling ass-moves, I'll post up.

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