Some not-so-secret ways to boost the resale of your used bike

Craigslist is a haven for used bike finds Maybe you have one bike too many and your wife has threatened mutiny, or maybe junior is preparing to leave for college and you have realized things got really expensive since you were in school. Whatever your reason, it’s time to sell your trusted steed. I have compiled a list of some collective wisdom to get the most out of your used bike. Most this is common sense, but I have looked at and or purchased enough motorcycles in my life to know these situations are the exception, not the norm.

  • Wash the darn thing! Unless you are that guy who has OCD about washing his bikes, chances are your wagon could use a good scrubbing. Even a bike that has the rod sticking through the cases will fetch a higher price tag when it’s clean. Be sure to use a motorcycle specific cleaner. They are specially formulated to rinse off bug guts and add at least 5RWHP. Seriously though, motorcycle cleaners like S100 or Wizards work really well, bringing chrome to life and making faded parts look new again.
  • Cover the basics Make sure the battery is charged, tires have air, chain is lubed and the gas is reasonably fresh. Nothing dampens bike buying enthusiasm like having to mentally add up the cost on a bunch of parts the owner cheap-skated on.
  • Replace missing/mismatched/rusty fasteners Big things like a dented tank or scuffed fender are evidence of a bad day, but missing or mismatched fasteners signal neglect to a potential buyer. The good news, is that unless the word Whitworth is involved, chances are you can get replacement fasteners pretty easily from your local bike shop or online.
  • Ripped seat Sure you have ignored that rip for years, but it’s a big thumbs down for a potential new owner. Think about it, he or she is envisioning showing off their new found wheels at the next local Bike Night but the tattered seat cover sticks out like a cold sore on prom night. The upside of this equation is that the local upholstery guy is not only amazingly talented; he is also usually pretty cheap.
  • Clean up your work area Even if your garage looks like the pilot episode of Horders Gone Wild, it’s important for a potential owner to see you care about your bike maintenance area. It signals that you may not give two shits about the antique dressers you planned on refinishing, but rocked it like a neurosurgeon when it came time to “freshly rebuild the carbs”.
  • Pass on the Knowledge Be sure to dig up all the manuals, internet research, known issues, tech bulletins, etc. Give the new owner confidence they are being armed with the goods to keep the thing on the road into the future. If it’s obviously broke, look up the replacement part ahead of time This can help alleviate any concerns about a costly repair bill. “Sure the windshield has a crack, but I found an aftermarket one for a good price here.”
  • Research comps and price accordingly If your bike is priced correctly, it should minimize haggling and price objections. So take a look around on what comparable bikes are selling for. This allows you to look a buyer in the eye and ask for the sale.
  • Finally, be nice! Some poor sap is considering laying down his hard earned cash on a bike that has been in your stewardship. Nothing turns off a buyer faster than a seller that appears to be inconvenienced at your mere presence. Motorcycles are used in this country largely in a recreational manner so, leave the greasy, used car sales tactics for when its time to broom that old truck.