How to get the best value for your bike

31 May 2012

How to get the best value for your bike

However you decide to sell your bike, it is only by describing it properly that you will be able to ensure you get the best price with minimum hassle. When you describe it accurately the buyer will feel much more confident about who they are dealing with and what they are buying. At we want to pay what we bid – and we will if the bike is described correctly. Give your bike a thorough examination and careful description by following these simple 10 points;

  • When you describe the model of the bike be accurate. Take the model code from the warranty book or the registration document. It’s common for bikes to registered out of year, e.g. A 2009 machine can sit around in a showroom unsold until 2011, when sold it will be registered on a 2011 number plate even though it’s a 2009 model. So for example, if this scenario was a Honda Fireblade, it could be a CBR1000 RR-9 that was registered on 1st March 2011, this bike would have an 11 number plate. But a 2009 bike could be different to a 2011 machine and so getting this right is important.
  • Make sure the mileage you quote is accurate. Supporting documents such as service history and old MOT’s are valuable. Collate the documents in date and mileage order and keep them safe. If the bike isn’t old enough for MOT history then find finding all the bikes original documents and keys will still be important. And double check the odometer, don’t guess on something this important!
  • Is the bike an Import? If your bike is a UK supplied machine, it may be slightly different to an import. If you’re not sure the documentation should help. All official UK bikes come with warranty books, these often have either an adhesive label printed with the bike details on, or come with a warranty card. They are also stamped by official franchised dealers. Bikes that are imports usually have a less official looking warranty/service book that will often be bespoke to the selling dealer rather than the manufacturer. Of course if you are the first owner, you will know whether or not the supplying dealer was an official dealer or not.
  • Accessories and extras are often forgotten. Always remember to list the extras fitted to the bike, and remember to note when the standard parts are also available. Some people may want to put the bike back to standard so having standard parts as well, may add value. Don’t throw that standard exhaust away!!
  •   Is the bike damaged? Be honest and list all damage, it will most likely be spotted anyway. Even if your bike has never been in an accident or even fallen over, it’s worth examining it carefully. Although most of us lavish love and attention on our bikes and love cleaning them, we may not often look at our own bikes with a critical eye, so take a fresh look. List any damage or marks that you might see if you were buying this bike yourself today. Does anything look bent? Are the steering stops OK? Check these by moving the steering lock to lock, clearance should be equal between the handlebars and fuel tank on both sides. It’s not just accident damage that you should look for. Check for stone chips, dull paint and lacquer damage, these should all be noted.
  • Has the bike ever been damaged, then repaired? Look out for repainted panels, original decals lacquered over or panels that don’t line up. Are footrests and handlebars all straight, or is anything crooked?  
  • Is the bike corroded? British roads are covered with extremely corrosive salt most of the winter, and modern bikes are not built like they used to be and cannot with stand winter use without suffering. Even in the summer, leaving modern bikes wet and dirty will be enough for the rust to set in. So have a good look, standing at the front of the bike, what does the front of the engine look like? The exhaust and the radiator are expensive items, how do they look? Then move to the side of the bike and look underneath the engine, how is the rear shock linkage and the centre stand? Lastly, look at rear of the bike, how does the chain & sprockets look? Is the rear shock OK or is the paint starting to flake off? If the bike is corroded, these are the areas that it will show the most. Remember, an accurate description will not necessarily mean you will get a lower bid, but will mean that you get a more accurate bid.
  • Does the bike need anything? All buyers will want to know in advance of any expense needed. A three minute examination is all that is required. Look at all the expensive items, are the tyres in retail condition? Check that the tyres match, have good tread depth and a smooth and even tread pattern. Check the chain and sprockets, are the teeth on the sprockets still even? Does the chain move from the sprocket when pulled tight? Does the engine sound OK? Any abnormal noises? Think back to the last time you rode the bike, did the engine & gearbox feel OK? Did the brakes feel OK? Warped brake discs usually show up as a pulsing feeling at the lever.
  • Describe your bike with a mark out of ten. With 10 out of 10 being new, and 1 out of 10 being scrap!
  •   When you answer the question about price, enter a figure that makes sense. Remember, this is a trade website and although we genuinely do most often pay more than any other dealers or traders, we won’t pay fairytale prices so please be realistic.
  • By following these simple steps you will be able to describe the bike accurately, this will help to make a smooth and trouble free sale. Hopefully to us, after we have made you an offer you cannot refuse!!


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