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Thread: How To Price A Bike

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    Flirting With The Redline 2000 Posts! MarcS's Avatar
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    How To Price A Bike

    So, you're trying to buy or sell a bike. How do you determine how much to pay, or how much to reasonably expect?

    There are the NADA (http://www.nada.com) and Kelley Blue Book (http://www.kbb.com) guides. Of course, these are notoriously inaccurate -- due to availability and climate, bike prices fluctuate a lot. That said, NADA usually under-estimates and KBB usually over-estimates.

    Average retail prices are for a bike that is ready to be ridden. If the bike in question needs routine maintenance (valves, oil, hoses, rust removal) or new wear items (tires, chain, sprockets, brake pads, rotors, exhaust repacking), the price should consider those. It's not fair to expect the buyer or seller to totally eat these costs, but don't expect NADA Average Retail on a bike with warped rotors, 5 year old tires, and a chain stretched past the wear limits. If the carbs need a rebuilding, the tank has rust, and the brake hoses are dry-rotted, then it's going to be hard to get low retail (that, or you're going to have an unhappy buyer on your hands. Or you'll be an unhappy buyer). Even if your bike has extremely low miles for its age, it may not be worth as much as you think, because of all the routine maintenance it will need: if you get the work done at a shop, you might be looking at $100 in hoses, $300 in valves, $300 in tires (new tires plus shop mounting work), $300 in carb work, $100 in gas tank work (rust removal and coating), and $200 in brake system work. And a bike with neglected maintenance may not be safe to ride. Maintenance is much more important, intensive, and expensive on motorcycles compared to cars. Pay now or pay later.

    Also consider cosmetics. Average retail differs here: some people consider a little bit of rash or paint damage to be average, while others expect everything to be pristine. Since even minor rash is extremely expensive to replace, finding a happy medium can be hard. Consider that paint can be upwards of $500, and replacement can easily exceed several thousand dollars. On a 5-10 year old bike, replacement of damaged bodywork with new OEM parts can easily exceed the value of a bike. Severely damaged bodywork may also indicate structural damage. Unless you know what you're doing, you don't ever want to buy a bike with obvious structural frame damage (cracks, bends, excessive rust). Without the (expensive) repair or replacement by a skilled welder or mechanic, a bike with frame damage could be a death trap.

    Finally, consider timing. During the off season (when temperatures are regularly below 55 or so), prices drop significantly. Ultimately this is up to the buyer, seller, and area.

    Your best bet is to use resources like KBB, NADA, eBay, and Cycle Trader to find out the average price of bikes in similar condition in your region. During the off-season, you'll also want to use eBay and Cycle Trader to find out the "winter depreciation": look for what bikes in the same class in your region are selling for during the winter, and compare that price to what they sold for in the summer. You might also consider asking friends or forum members what they think a reasonable price is, even if they aren't willing to buy.
    Last edited by Missy B; 11-28-2005 at 09:43 PM.
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    Flirting With The Redline 1000 Posts! HotFix's Avatar
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    Good write up. I need to sell my old bike. I was going to try the usually free places and then ramp up if not sold by March.

  3. #3
    The exact right time will be when you see other bikes out and really get the urge to ride yourself. That could be March or maybe not until May.
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    Flirting With The Redline 1000 Posts! christhisguy's Avatar
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    Original post edited to reflect below. -Missy B

    Good post Marc... just one note:

    Quote Originally Posted by MarcS
    There are the NADA (http://www.nada.com) and Kelley Blue Book (http://www.kbb.com) guides. Of course, these are notoriously inaccurate -- due to availability and climate, bike prices fluctuate a lot. That said, NADA usually over-estimates and KBB usually under-estimates.
    It may be a regional thing, but I've consistently found the opposite of this to be the case... KBB suggested values are consistently higher than NADA, at least for my region, whether I'm looking at dirt or street bikes.

    Example with a 2000 Ninja 500:
    KBB Trade-In = $1910
    KBB Retail = $2820

    NADA Low Retail = $1630
    NADA Avg Retail = $2145

    Not a biggie, just wanted to add it in case potential shoppers were confused by their price-search results. No idea why values from the two guides would vary compared to what you've found.

    Cheers!
    Last edited by Missy B; 11-28-2005 at 09:45 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by wraith0078 View Post
    I started to get worried when I was looking for a rear shock from a Gixxer 1000 for the Bandit...
    Current: '93 Yamaha Seca II "Tonbo"
    BITD: '00 Honda XR250R, '95 Yamaha RT 180

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    Flirting With The Redline 2000 Posts! MarcS's Avatar
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    Dangit, chris, you're right. I got it backwards. That's what happens when you write an article at 1am, I guess. I meant NADA underestimates and KBB overestimates. Would a mod mind editing the original post to reflect this?
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    Contributor 10,000 Posts! Cindy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by christhisguy
    It may be a regional thing, but I've consistently found the opposite of this to be the case... KBB suggested values are consistently higher than NADA, at least for my region, whether I'm looking at dirt or street bikes.
    I find the same thing where I am and our local Powersports only uses NADA.
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    Flirting With The Redline 1000 Posts! christhisguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarcS
    Dangit, chris, you're right. I got it backwards. That's what happens when you write an article at 1am, I guess. I meant NADA underestimates and KBB overestimates. Would a mod mind editing the original post to reflect this?
    Hehe, just trying to add to the service you've offered here...

    And fwiw, I too find the "sweet spot" is somewhere between NADA and KBB prices.

    General addition: http://craigslist.org is another good resource for finding bikes for sale. As with ebay you have to watch for scammers, but the "community" is pretty good about spotting those. I found both our dirtbikes on the local craigslist.

    Happy hunting to all bike shoppers!
    Quote Originally Posted by wraith0078 View Post
    I started to get worried when I was looking for a rear shock from a Gixxer 1000 for the Bandit...
    Current: '93 Yamaha Seca II "Tonbo"
    BITD: '00 Honda XR250R, '95 Yamaha RT 180

  8. #8
    Moderator/RiderCoach We've stopped counting... Missy B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarcS
    Dangit, chris, you're right. I got it backwards. That's what happens when you write an article at 1am, I guess. I meant NADA underestimates and KBB overestimates. Would a mod mind editing the original post to reflect this?
    Done!
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    Flirting With The Redline 10,000 Posts! Shadow Shack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cindy
    I find the same thing where I am and our local Powersports only uses NADA.
    Of course what you want to watch out for are the shady dealers that buy at NADA and sell at KBB. Don't go to any dealer without arming yourself with both sets of figures. Take that aforementioned Y2K 500 Ninja...said dealers would pay a lowball $1000 for it via NADA (instead of the KBB wholesale $1900) and then price it at KBB $2800 (instead of NADA's $2100) or more.

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    Contributor 8000 Posts! Ash's Avatar
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    Shadow - Are you the one on the old site that made a checklist of the things to do when buying used?
    If so, I wanted to say thanks. I printed those pages of points out and got a clip board and went over the bike 4 sale way better than I would have ever inspected. Heck Kobati and I even laughed we probably looked like we knew what we were doing LOL!

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