Whether you’re buying or selling a motorcycle, it’s important to know its value. Researching a motorcycle’s value is one of the first steps of the buying and selling process.
To determine the value of a motorcycle, you can use the National Automobile Dealers Association’s pricing tool, NADAguides. This guide was created by dealers, but it is a great resource for everyday consumers.
To learn how to use NADAguides to determine the value of a motorcycle, continue reading below!
Before we get started, there are some important terms to know first. Go ahead and familiarize yourself with the terms below.
Suggested List Price
This price is the highest manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP) for a motorcycle in the United States when that motorcycle was new.
Note: Keep in mind that this value is the highest suggested dealership price, not private sale price. Also, this price does not include destination charges, dealer set-up fees, state taxes, local taxes, registration fees or insurance (unless otherwise noted).
Average Retail Value
This is the value of a used motorcycle at a dealership that is clean and free of obvious defects.
For example, the lights and switches should be in working order. And, the paint should match and be in good condition.
Its mileage can range from average to slightly above average. This motorcycle should also be able to pass an emissions inspection.
Note: NADA states that a vehicle in excellent condition can be worth significantly more than a vehicle in average condition.
However, NADA does not provide “maximum” retail value for used motorcycles in excellent condition. They only provide low and average values for used motorcycles and maximum values for brand-new motorcycles.
Therefore, if you are using the NADAguides to price a used motorcycle in excellent condition, you should take the suggested average retail value and increase that price accordingly, using your own discretion. Just make sure that the price remains below the suggested list price.
Low Retail Value
This is the value of a motorcycle, at a dealership, that has significant wear and tear.
The damage may be cosmetic, mechanical or a combination of both. Repairs may be necessary to get this motorcycle in running order.
Note: Keep in mind that low retail value is not equal to trade-in value. Also, according to NADA, this type of vehicle is not typically found at dealerships. Vehicles sold by dealerships are required to meet basic safety standards. Consequently, dealers who sell unsafe vehicles can face legal liability.
Private Sale Value
NADA does not provide suggested private sale values for motorcycles. However, you can use the information they do provide to calculate it yourself. We’ll explain how to do this in the section below. It’s pretty easy to do.
Private sale value can be defined as the price a buyer would expect to pay to purchase a used motorcycle from a private seller.
Keep in mind that these instructions are based on NADA’s website as of March 2020. Aspects of this valuation tool may change over time, but these steps should remain similar.
1. Start by going to the NADAguides motorcycle pricing page. Select the make of the motorcycle from the dropdown menu.
2. Select the year of the motorcycle from the results in the dropdown menu.
3 You can now select the model. Each model type can be found in the third dropdown menu. And, all models will be listed below the dropdown menus in three categories according to type.
You can either select a model type from the dropdown menu or, if you’re not sure of the motorcycle’s type, you can scan through the list of models below.
4. Add any upgrades or equipment that might add value to the motorcycle. Simply select a category and check the boxes that apply. Or, you can skip this step and continue to the next page to get base values.
5. Here you will see the suggested list price, low retail value and average retail value of the motorcycle. You can also click “options,” which is located below those values, to add upgrades and equipment if you haven’t done so already.
6. In order to calculate our suggested private sale price, the general suggestion is to subtract $1,000 to $2,000 from the average retail price. Of course, this is just a suggestion and the final decision is yours to make. You know your motorcycle better than anyone else.
For example, as of March 2020, the NADAguides average retail price for a 2018 Harley-Davidson® FLFB Fat Boy is $17,050. Therefore, a good asking price for this motorcycle would be between $15,050 and $16,050.
When determining private sale value, use the suggested list price and the low retail price as your parameters. For example, if the motorcycle is in mint condition and includes additional equipment, you can value it closer to $16,050. And, if the motorcycle has significant wear and tear, you can price it closer to $15,050.
Common Valuation Questions
Most people have a few questions when determining the value of a motorcycle. Luckily, we have the answers! Continue reading below to get answers to the most common motorcycle valuation questions.
And, if you would like more information, check out our blog post on determining the worth of your motorcycle for extra tips.
Why does the NADA seem to provide higher values than KBB?
NADA and Kelley Blue Book (KBB) don’t provide the same types of motorcycle values. The only values that can be considered similar amongst the two are NADA’s average retail value and KBB’s typical listing price.
On many occasions, NADA’s pricing tool generates an average retail value significantly higher than KBB’s typical listing price. However, at times NADA generates a value lower than KBB.
Each company has its own proprietary algorithm. Therefore, each pricing tool generates different results based on different factors.
NADA’s values are based on wholesale transactions, retail transactions, Autotrader, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), supply and demand, MSRP, invoices and equipment assumptions.
KBB’s values are based on information from wholesale auctions, independent dealers, franchised dealers, rental and fleet, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), financial institution lessors and private party transactions.
I listed my motorcycle online at the suggested private sale price. Why am I not getting offers?
Often when buyers are shopping online for a new motorcycle, they are looking for a deal. Is your motorcycle priced competitively?
Find out by searching for listings of the same make and model as yours. You can also narrow down the results to your area.
If you’re listing your motorcycle on our website, you can use the ChopperExchange Bike Price Report to get data on the average, least expensive and most expensive bikes of the make and model you plan to sell. The report will also show if any similar bikes have recently sold and for how much.
Then, compare your price to the other listings. If your motorcycle is more expensive than most, you should consider lowering the price.
Also, different people use different online pricing tools. Compare your price to the suggested price of another pricing tool, such as KBB’s.
As mentioned above, NADA’s values are often higher than KBB’s. But, on occasion, they can be lower. By comparing the results, you can get a solid idea of what buyers expect to pay for your motorcycle. You may find that adjusting your price will get you more offers.
Also, consider the time of year that you’re selling your motorcycle. Is it riding season? Buyers know that fall and winter are slow seasons for motorcycle sales. Many buyers like to take advantage of this by looking for bikes that are priced below their typical value.
Consider lowering your price if you’re selling your bike in the offseason. And, if you’re in no rush to sell, you can always raise the price when spring and summer come back around.
Also, consider if you’ve added the value of upgrades and extras to the price of your motorcycle. These items may add perceived value to your motorcycle, but it can be hit or miss.
Often, when a buyer sees a price over the typical value, they move along to the next. In many cases, it’s best to add gear and equipment to sweeten the deal versus to increase the price.
I just can’t lower the price any further. What are some other things I can do to sell my motorcycle?
Perhaps you’ve continued to decrease the price of your bike over time, but have yet to receive any viable offers. The good news is hope is not lost. There are still some things you can do to sell your bike.
You can add “OBO” (or best offer) or “negotiable” to your listing price. Some buyers feel more comfortable reaching out to sellers when they know there’s some flexibility in the price.
You can also make sure your listing gets more views by choosing a listing option that will highlight your ad. This will make it stand out from the others.
Or, you can post the link to your listing to your personal social media page. You just may have a friend or family member who has been swooning over your bike and would love to purchase it.
Now that you know the value of the motorcycle, you can move on to the next step of the buying or selling process. For buying tips, check out our post on how to buy a motorcycle online.
Looking for more selling tips? Take a look at our Ultimate Guide to Selling Your Motorcycle.
Ready to sell already? We can help! List your Harley or other American motorcycle for sale on ChopperExchange.
What make and model are you researching? Let us know in the comments below!