How to Sell a Used Motorcycle: Top Tips and To-Dos

Are you ready to get rid of your used motorcycle to save up for that shiny new one you’ve had your eye on? When it comes to selling used motorcycles, if you take the right approach, you can make the sale on your own without going through a dealership.

Of course, you could sell your bike directly to a dealership for a bit less hassle. However, you could get a higher price for your motorcycle if you sell it directly to the new owner.

Not sure where to start? You’ve come to the right place!

Keep reading for the top tips and to-dos you need to know to make a winning sale. 

Research Thoroughly

The first thing you need to do if you want to learn how to sell a used motorcycle is to do your research. You’ll need to determine the value of your motorcycle before you can identify a good selling price. You may love your current bike, but perhaps the style or model isn’t the most popular in the buyer’s market.

Research your competition and see what other used motorcycle sellers are listing similar makes and models for. You want to set your price to be profitable, but not so high that buyers will simply flock to the competition. Know your motorcycle values from the start.

Does your car have little imperfections such as scratches, dents, or minor maintenance issues? These are all factors you’ll need to take into account when setting the price. Is the paint job up to date? What are other bikes in your city or state selling for?

These are all questions to consider before you ever make your listing. If you own a custom motorcycle, you could find it more challenging to determine the exact resale value of your bike. Do sufficient research and use online tools like a motorcycle loan calculator. That way, you can still assess a broad price range so you can pay anything outstanding while still making a profit.

Do Some Maintenance Work

Before you list your motorcycle on an online seller’s marketplace, be sure to do any maintenance work that could impact the performance and appearance of your bike. You want to make sure your bike is in mint condition for when prospective buyers come and take a look.

First thing first, you’ll want to clean your motorcycle. Do a general cleaning to get rid of things like grime and grit, then do a deep cleaning. Take special care with areas that are more vulnerable to dirt accumulation, such as under your bike seat. Clean out battery terminals where calcium deposits could have formed. Wipe off surface rust that has gathered on metal or chrome surfaces on your bike.

Buff out minor scratches and putting on a fresh coat of wax as well. If your bike as any well-worn areas that could use a touch-up, now would be an excellent time to apply a new coat of paint. Try to match the new sheen and color closely as you can to the old color so that the new paint job goes on with ease.

You will also need to do a tune-up to make sure that your motorcycle runs efficiently and with ease. It may be worth considering making a trip to the mechanic to get a professional check done of all your motorcycle’s components. You’ll want to check parts including the:

  • Controls
  • Tires and wheels
  • Lights
  • Oil and fluids
  • Stands
  • Electrics
  • Chassis

Doing a radiator flush and changing the antifreeze will run you just $20 or so. You can also clean out and replace the engine air filter, which would cost about $15. 


How do you get your bike to sell? Advertising is vital! You could use your local paper, but an online marketplace with hundreds to thousands of potential buyers perusing listings will give your motorcycle more exposure. Other ways to advertise your motorcycle include putting a listing up at your local motorcycle club or a nearby dealership’s bulletin board.

You could also list your bike on a national motorcycle website. Be sure to put an honest, detailed description of your motorcycle on any listing you make. Details such as the price, mileage, make, and model are all essential elements potential buyers will want to see.

You will also want to take photos of your motorcycle. Doing so will catch the attention of prospective buyers and let them see your beloved bike in all its glory. Keep your background simple when you take your photographs. Try to take the photos on a day with clear weather, so you don’t risk shadows or bad lighting impacting the shot.

It’s also a good idea to photograph your bike from all angles to emphasize any specific selling points and to be as transparent with potential buyers as possible. If you have any cool customizations or accessories on your bike, these would be features to highlight in the photos for your listing.  

Working with Potential Buyers

Along the lines of transparency, you must be open, and upfront with any potential buyers form the outset. Even if you’ve already had a tune-up done on your bike and you know it’s in mint condition — still invest the time and money to have a mechanic look it over. Prospective buyers will almost certainly want to see a receipt proving that you had the bike serviced recently and inspected.

You’ll also want to have other paperwork readily accessible when you start to work with potential buyers. Documents include financing details, proof of ownership, the warranty remaining (if applicable), prior maintenance, and servicing history.

Once you officially have a buyer, you’ll need to finalize the transaction. You can do this by preparing a bill of sale. Also, you’ll have to transfer the title of your motorcycle over to the new owner.

Every state differs in terms of their requirements for title transfers, so be sure to check out what your state’s regulations are. Be sure to comply with any requirements your state imposes regarding title transfers and bills of sale, then mail the ownership transfer paperwork in right away.

Besides this, remember to remove your vehicle registration from the bike. Finally, set up an agreement with the buyer for payment. 

Final Tips

Whether you’re trying to sell a 3 wheel motorcycle or your faithful 2 wheeler, knowing how to sell a used motorcycle is invaluable. You could own multiple bike throughout your riding life. Take care to maintain the bike and perform upgrades as you need to. You could get a much better price for your motorcycle selling it on your own then you would by going through a dealership.

Try not to make any final agreements regarding price on the phone. The best way to negotiate your price is in person where the potential buyer is looking at your bike with payment in hand. You could get plenty of texts and calls from possible buyers, but you only need one to make the final sale.

When the right buyer comes along, and you sign the final transaction papers, the process should run pretty smoothly from there. Your buyer should be elated with their new set of wheels, and you’ll walk away with a tidy sum of money to save or spend on your new bike.

Do your due diligence from the outset, research the competition, and know your price point. If you invest the time and work necessary at the outset to get the ball rolling, finding a buyer and selling your bike doesn’t have to be an ordeal.