How Much Does a Used Motorcycle Cost? | 9 Factors to Consider


Motorcycle Vector Image on Warning Ramp

Motorcycles are great for daily transportation, and they’re also fun to own as a second vehicle. Whether you’re going to be using your motorcycle to drive to work every day, take a cross-country trip, or use it as your project bike, you may be wondering how much it will cost to buy one. As an insurance adjuster who has handled hundreds of motorcycle claims, I have gained a feel for exactly what used motorcycles cost.

The cost of a used motorcycle will depend on factors such as age, miles, engine size, condition, season, and the type of bike you are buying. You may find some bikes as low as $1,000 and as high as $10,000, but a decent motorcycle that has no problems will usually cost between $3,000-$6,000.

To learn about factors that can affect the price of a used motorcycle, how many miles a used motorcycle should have, and how much motorcycle insurance costs, continue reading. 

Factors That Affect a Motorcycle’s Price

When buying a used motorcycle, expect the price to fluctuate based on the factors outlined in this section. By paying attention to these things, you may even be able to get a seller to lower their price. Here are 9 factors to consider:

1. Its Age

Age is one of the top factors affecting a motorcycle’s price. A motorcycle that was manufactured in 2010 will cost a lot less than a used motorcycle that is only three years old. 

Unless a motorcycle is rare and is being bought because of that, older motorcycles usually sell for less because they tend to be slower and have more problems. They are also often made with older, outdated technology. 

2. How Many Miles It Has

Another top factor that will affect the price of a motorcycle is how many miles or kilometers (for you non-US people) it has. An older motorcycle that was rarely used and was kept in good condition might sell for more than a newer motorcycle that was driven across the country. This is because the more miles a motorcycle is ridden, the more its parts and engine will get worn out. 

3. How Well It Was Maintained 

A major factor you should be looking at is how well the motorcycle was maintained. We mentioned that a motorcycle that was barely ridden and had a few miles would often cost more. However, if the motorcycle wasn’t maintained and was instead left to sit in a garage, the engine might die on you or not work at all, and there may be rust eroding the motorcycle’s parts. A motorcycle needs to be started up and ridden regularly to keep the engine functioning smoothly. 

If a motorcycle was used often, on the other hand, you would want to make sure that the previous owner took good care of it.

  • Was the oil changed regularly?
  • Did the owner take the motorcycle to be repaired when there was any kind of problem, or did they just leave it there, leaving you to discover that problem later on? 
  • Were the tires changed or are they old and worn out?
  • Does everything work correctly?
  • Was the battery replaced, or is it still stock?
  • Was the motorcycle taken for a tuneup regularly?

Ask if the owner has maintenance receipts. 

4. Its Condition

The condition of the bike will also affect the price. If the bike looks all banged up, you may not want to pay a high price for it, even if it does work flawlessly. 

There are a number of things you should look at when assessing the condition of a used motorcycle.

  • First of all, have a look at the tires and check whether they look worn out.
  • Test the brakes to see if they work properly.
  • Ask the motorcycle owner to leave the bike cold when you come to inspect it so you can start it up cold and detect any engine problems. 

Important: You absolutely must take any bike you are thinking of buying for a test drive. Never buy a bike you have not tried out yourself! An owner that refuses might have something to hide, and riding the bike yourself for a few minutes can help you get a feel for problems such as a wobbly suspension

5. The Size of the Engine 

The bigger the engine, the more the bike will usually cost. If you are buying a 250cc motorcycle, it will usually be much cheaper than a Honda Goldwing, all other factors considered. Remember that more cc doesn’t necessarily mean that the bike is actually faster. 

6. What Type of Bike It Is

There are all kinds of bikes out there — sports bikes, cruisers, adventure tourers, scooters, mopeds, dual sports, and dirt bikes. Sportbikes are often the most expensive, especially super sports. Naked bikes and cruisers are often cheaper, but it does depend on how big the cruiser is. Touring bikes, like the Honda Goldwing, are usually very expensive as well. 

Dirt bikes are usually cheapest, especially if they are not street legal. Children’s dirt bikes can often be found for just a few hundred dollars, and an adult’s dirt bike can often be found for just $1,000-$2,000. Used dirt bikes are often banged up, however. 

7. How Many Repairs Are Needed

Often, people sell bikes that have problems and need repairs. Although you may think that it’s just a minor repair you can take care of yourself, keep in mind that such bikes often have additional, hidden problems that only become apparent later. 

There are even some bikes that are sold with a dead battery or an engine that isn’t running. These bikes can sometimes be bought for as little as $500, but they are not usually great for daily commuting and are better suited as project bikes.

8. What Season It Is

Seasons play a factor, especially in locations that have cold winters. At the end of the summer or during the winter, you can often find bikes for much cheaper than at the beginning of the riding season. That’s because there are few buyers and little demand at the end of the season, but some people will still be selling bikes because they are moving or need the money. 

9. How Many Additions Were Made

If a motorcycle was improved upon, such as if the owner added a higher-quality exhaust, the price can go up. However, a project bike that has almost no stock parts left and hasn’t been significantly improved other than made to look interesting isn’t usually worth paying extra for, despite how much work the owner put into it.

Don’t let a seller get away with claiming his bike is worth much more than it actually is just because he added a few aftermarket upgrades to it. Just because he bought a fancy $1,000 exhaust system does not mean that $3000 bike is suddenly worth $4,000. The bike already had an exhaust system on it so, at best, the bike is additionally worth the difference between the aftermarket part and the original part’s replacement cost. Usually much less.

In my experience, a $1,000 upgrade will typically add around $150 to $200 in value to a bike. So that $200 fancy windshield he is so proud of will probably add $50 or less.

How Many Miles Should a Used Motorcycle Have? 

Generally, a used motorcycle should have around 50,000 miles (80,467.2 km). Anything above that should be considered high mileage and should lower the price of the bike. For most bikes, a good range is miles (48,280.32 km).

However, it all depends on the type of miles put on the bike. A sports bike that the owner raced up and down dirt roads will wear out a lot faster than a touring bike that has nothing but “cruising” highway mileage on it. It’s not uncommon to see sports bike engine need work at about 25,000 miles and touring bikes continue to work perfectly up to 200,000 miles or higher with little work.

Just keep in mind that how well a bike was maintained is just as important, if not more important, than how many miles the bike has. Get maintenance records from the owner. If he has none or they are sparse, it’s usually best to walk away.

How Much Does Motorcycle Insurance Cost? 

The cost of motorcycle insurance will depend on what type of insurance you are getting, what type of bike you ride, your age, and the age of your bike. For example, if you are young and are riding a new sports bike, you will usually pay more than an older rider with a lot of experience who is riding a banged-up cruiser. 

The average annual motorcycle insurance cost is usually around $520. However, if you are buying a used motorcycle that you only paid a few thousand dollars for, it may be as low as $16/month

Conclusion

As you can see, the price of a used motorcycle depends on many factors. For a decent motorcycle that is of average size, runs smoothly without any problems, and also isn’t new or low-mileage, expect to pay around $3,000-$6,000.

Of course, be sure to make sure it ticks off all the boxes before you hand over your hard-earned cash. There are tons of bikes up for sale out there, there’s no need to fall in love with the first one you see and end up with a turd.

I hope this article has been helpful in giving you an idea of what you should be paying. Thanks for reading!

You may also be interested in: How Much RVs Cost

Jim James

Jim James spent most of his childhood outdoors fishing on lakes in his area. Due to his scouting background, he has always been interested in survival, camping, and the outdoors in general. Jim is a best-selling author and has a degree in History, Anthropology, and Music. He lives with his family in Charlotte, NC.

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