By kenneth_moore:

What is my bike worth?

Over the years there have been numerous posts here asking for advice on pricing a VStrom for sale. Having spent some time selling Harley Davidsons at Bruce Rossmeyer's dealerships in Florida, and simply by being old enough to have gone through a lot of vehicle sales, I have learned a few things that may help:

1. Dealers make big money on trade-ins. Even when a dealer offers a very nice price on a trade-in, you can bet they have a factory incentive that's motivating that price and more than covers it. By example: I could make twice or three times as much commission selling a used Harley than I could a new bike! The trick is the "Trade-In Value" that all the dealer's pricing services quote, versus the "Retail" value. Generally speaking, you can make more money selling your bike outright than you can trading it.

2. Accessories are worthless. Wait, let's put that in context: if your bike's "book value" is $5,000, and you have $3,000 in accessories, you aren't going to sell the bike for $8,000. Unless you hit the "sucker jackpot," of course The value of accessories is that they increase the market appeal of your bike versus others, or they might help close a sale. In spite of all the ads stating "over $$$$ invested!," a vehicle is a depreciating asset, not an investment.

3. Time is money. If you're in a hurry, you probably won't make as much on your bike as you will if you have time to wait for the right buyer to come along. Dealerships make a lot of profit because people want their new bike now, and are depending on selling their old bike to make the new bike purchase possible. If you can detach the sale of your old bike from the purchase of your new bike, you'll make a lot more money.

4. RTFM. There are three major sources for motorcyle pricing available to average citizens: NADA, Kelly Blue Book, and the marketplace. NADA and KBB are easy to find and use. NADA presents a range of prices; for instance, an '07 DL1000 prices from $4,345 to $5,720. KBB prices the same bike at $6,070. It's up to you to decide where your bike falls in those price ranges, but, keep in mind, no knowledgible buyer is going to pay more than book value for a bike, nor can they get a loan for more than book value. The marketplace can show you what your bike is being offered for elsewhere. I like to use's Advanced Search to research bike prices around the country. Our example bike has prices from $4,050 to over $7,000! Dealers have a "Black Book" they subscribe to, but most people don't have access to this source. The prices quoted there are very favorable to dealers: low trade-in prices, high retail prices. Again, selling outright is a better deal for you.

5. Haggling is usually expected. Decide before you list if you're going to set and keep to a firm price, or if you want to be ready to drop a few hundred off the price to close the deal. Set your price accordingly. Personally I depise price haggling, so I advertise the lowest price I'll sell for, and make that clear up front. Here's where accessories can come into play to help close a deal: hold back something nice, like a custom seat, from your ad. If a buyer says "I'll buy the bike but I want $500 off your price," throw the seat/luggage/windscreen on the table. If the buyer is at all serious, they'll take the deal and you'll sell your bike.