Monthly Archives: August 2007

How to Sell your Bike on Craigslist

Selling a bike can easily become an ordeal. But it doesn’t have to! It’s possible to list a motorcycle and have it sell that very week! How do you do that? Here are six simple tips:

Tip #1 – Name your asking price!

It’s surprising how many people list for sale items w/o listing a price. Even in old fashioned Middle Eastern markets (where you are expected to heavily negotiate the price) there is an asking price! So when a person lists a motorcycle without an asking price, that just tells everyone that the seller doesn’t know what he’s doing. And sellers who don’t know what they’re doing can be difficult – even when you make a decent offer. So if you want to sell your bike, give an asking price.

Tip #2 – Set a reasonable asking price

This is difficult because we become emotionally attached to our bikes – and because we spent a whole lot more money on the thing than we’re going to get back from the sale…but unless you can set a reasonable asking price, you’re just setting yourself up for grief. What’s a reasonable asking price?

Start with the Kelly Blue Book value and expect your bike’s value to be lower. Think of it as “list price” – no one expects to pay list price. I’m amazed how many CL ads have an asking price ABOVE the kbb value! Just because you paid 8k for the bike in 2000 (and you’ve made upgrades) doesn’t mean it’s worth 6k today! Actually, when it comes to upgrades, don’t bother figuring them into the asking price. If you plan to sell a bike, don’t bother with the “custom” upgrades. Because it’s only “custom” if the owner wants it – if you are no longer the owner, then it’s not custom… Would you buy a new bike from a dealer that the dealer made “custom” upgrades to without asking you? And would you pay extra for it?

Even a brand new bike from the dealer’s showroom that is brought home with 5 miles on it loses around a thousand dollars in resale value once you bring it home! The only one who makes money off of these transactions is the state government – who gets to charge sales tax to both you (the original owner) and the second-hand buyer.

So start with the KBB price and start calculating what it would cost you to get the bike back into showroom “new” (and NOT “custom”) condition.

Tip #3 – Pictures!

You know the saying, “A picture says a thousand words…” Well we don’t want to read a thousand words, so includes some decent quality pictures! It doesn’t have to be beautiful, but don’t just use your camera phone. Whether your bike is in pristine condition or has some rust, let it all show. This will help the people who would actually buy your bike find you. So if I can’t afford a brand new shiny GZXCBR2000, I might be able to afford a three year old fixer-upper with a few scrapes. The goal is to let me see what you got. Also, if there’s something that makes your bike special, a special paint job, aftermarket pipes, etc, make sure you take a picture of it – that way the people who really like that kind of thing will notice and give you a call.

Tip #4 – Just the facts maam…

Here are the facts that any buyer will want to know: [a] Year and model (this should be in the title of the ad), [b] mileage, [c] condition (any scrapes, dings, accidents?), also does it need new tires at some point or a tune up, or is it good to go? [d] asking price, [e] your location (the easier it is for the buyer to reach you, the more likely he is to call and take a look).

Tip #5 – Protect yourself and your property…

Most of the people who come to check out your bike will be looking to buy your bike. But some of them will be looking for something else. The easiest way for thieves to check out bikes is to answer CL ads. They can come to check out your bike, your other bikes, your home, your car, etc… So you can protect yourself by putting all these other things out of sight. You can even meet away from where you live – a nearby supermarket parking lot for instance.

Make sure your bike isn’t located someplace a person can make a quick getaway. It’s easy for a thief to sit on your bike, start it up, and then take off without a helmet (to meet a friend around the corner where they can change the plates and put a helmet on). If you’re in a driveway, point the bike toward the wall where it’s hard to back out. Put a disk lock on the front wheel.

Thieves may also scope out your security and plan to come back at 2AM – so if you’re showing your bike in your driveway, make sure your home and your bikes are secure and the garage door is closed (so they only see the bike that’s for sale).

Tip # 6 – Naming your Ad…

Serious buyers use the “search” function to find the bikes they’re interested in. What that means is, if you’re listing a “CBR 600RR,” don’t list it as a “Honda RR 600.” It won’t come up under a search. So what you need to do is list the model name a couple of different ways (e.g. both “600RR” AND “600 RR”). Also search CL and EBay for similar bikes and see what they call it. Don’t call your bike a “Hornet 600” if everyone else is calling it a “Honda 599.” There’s someone out there who wants to buy your bike – make it easier for him to find you.

So these are the six tips… There’s also a lot to be said for things like luck and timing. It’s hard to sell your bike in the middle of January when it’s cold and everyone’s broke after the holidays… The best time to sell is while the weather is still warm. Once you’ve got people responding to your ad, set up times when you can show the bike… A Wed. night and Saturday morning for instance… If your price is right and your ad was clear and honest, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t sell to one of the first few people who come to take a look. So good luck! Cheers!