How to Sell Your Customized Motorcycle


If you love your motorcycle, then you might be willing to spend loads of money on upgrades and customizations to have it reflect your personal style and enrich your riding experience.

Many motorcycle riders take pleasure in customizing their motorcycle and begin to modify it at the dealership before ever taking it home. Since 2015, motorcycle parts and accessory searches have increased by 16%.

However, when it comes time to sell, owners aren’t getting a return on their investment. If the aftermarket customization industry is continuing to grow, then why are potential buyers unwilling to consider the value of all the aftermarket parts?

How can you improve your chances of getting the most money for your customized motorcycle?

Why you won’t see the return on investment

The look of your motorcycle is the first thing a buyer sees. Of course it’s not the only featured considered, but it is one of the more important factors. You can limit the mass appeal of your motorcycle once you start customizing its appearance.

To get the full return on your investment, you’d have to find the one person who wants your customized motorcycle exactly the way you do. Most buyers feel they shouldn’t pay more for someone else’s customizations because they’ll need to spend more money changing it back to fit their own style and needs.

Plus, any customization done to the motor, transmission or camshaft affects a variety of other components most buyers don’t want to risk. We asked our 700,000 followers on Facebook if they took into consideration the value of aftermarket customizations when purchasing a used motorcycle and the consensus was pretty clear:

Back to Basics:

Once you decide to sell your motorcycle, there are a few things you should do in order to get the most money for your customized motorcycle:

Stock Parts

Assuming you kept all the stock parts neatly stored away, it’s best to replace your customizations with the stock parts if you can. You’re most likely going to get the same offer for your motorcycle whether your customized parts are on it or not.

When someone makes you a serious offer for your motorcycle, let them know which custom parts or add-ons you have. If the buyer is interested, you can sell them in addition to your motorcycle. If they’re not interested, you can sell your parts online or keep them for your next motorcycle.

Clean it Up

The appearance of the motorcycle affects the buyer’s perception of its overall condition. Washing and polishing every inch of your motorcycle should be the first thing you do before moving forward in the selling process. A motorcycle that’s particularly clean leaves less room for the buyer to negotiation.

A small scuff of the side of your motorcycle might mean normal wear and tear to you, but to your potential buyer, that could mean the bike was handled roughly. Do your best to buff out the scratch or repaint the bike if need be. Look for any tar spots of rust and remove as much as possible. Clean all the spokes and cables and wax and finish all the pipes and paint.

Setting a Price

Depending on how you plan on selling your bike will determine how much you can sell it for. To set a realistic asking price for your motorcycle, you need to first do some research.

Price guides like, Kelley Blue Book (KBB) and the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) are great resources to use to find the trade-in value and suggested retail value.

The trade-in value tells you how much a dealer would buy the bike from you for and the suggested retail value assumes what the dealer would sell it for if it were in perfect condition. However, it doesn’t take into consideration regional bias. There’s other shortcomings such as not be able to calculate the mileage, upgrades or routine service checkups.

You can conduct a search that’s specific to your area in a national motorcycle marketplace by typing in your zip code. There, you’ll be able to find listings of your make, model and year in your area with the average selling price.

Make note of the average asking price and bike details. If you find motorcycle’s with similar upgrades, base your price around what they’re asking.

Another option is to check out what local dealers have in their inventory. Generally, buyers expect to pay between $500 and $1,000 under KBB’s asking price when buying a motorcycle from a private seller. It’s best to start your asking price somewhere between KBB and the asking price of other motorcycles listed in your area, and  work your way down.

You want to start at a reasonable asking price that gives you some room to negotiate. Starting at an extremely high asking price will discourage buyers from even reaching out to you. They’re likely to think that your price is not negotiable..

Customizing the Right Way

If you plan on customizing your motorcycle and know one day you might sell it, then it’s best to decide on a theme and follow it through from front to back. You want to make sure you choose parts and accessories that are consistent and match the style of each other.

The right paint theme can have the most dramatic effect to the customizations of your motorcycle. Custom paint can really add to the value of your motorcycle which is why it’s so important to find a shop who not only specializes in motorcycles but also find a painter who suits your own style.

If the custom paint is too unique, then be prepared for it to negatively affect your asking price when you decide to sell your motorcycle down the road.. Or you may want to consider having it repainted for an affordable price. Get a second opinion of your motorcycle from someone with an objective point-of-view.

Even if your motorcycle has never let you down and still draws compliments, major changes to the original bike can go either way. You want to make sure the motorcycle rides and feels as good as it looks.

It seems like everyone loves to customize their motorcycle with chrome. This is a definitely a safe option for customizations. If you have lots of chrome on your motorcycle, make sure you wash it regularly and stray away from abrasive cleaners.

Not everything on your motorcycle needs to be chrome either. Consider other metal finishes like polished aluminum or stainless steel. They all shine with slightly different tones. Plus, chrome tends to scratch easily.

Another options is to add leather saddle bags. They definitely provide a more classic look and feel of your motorcycle. If you add leather bags, make sure it’s compatible with the style of your bike and matches closely with the seat. You’ll want to treat the leather periodically with a high-quality conditioner.


The truth is, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That’s why so many buyers look past motorcycles that have been customized. They’re going to spend money trying to put the bike back to how they want it.

You added these customizations to your motorcycle to mirror your own style and have you feel great when you ride. Keep in mind, these customizations were meant for you.

A potential buyer may think it looks great, but the customizations could possibly decrease the desirability of of your bike because it doesn’t match the buyer’s taste and style. Always know that you’ll never get out what you put into it.

Enjoy the bike you have now. If you choose to customize it, make sure you understand the risk that comes with your decision. Both customizing and not customizing are perfectly good options, as long as you have realistic expectations when it comes time to sell your motorcycle.

Looking for more information on selling a motorcycle? Be sure to check out our Ultimate Guide to Selling Your Motorcycle.

Ready to sell already? We can help! List your custom motorcycle for sale on ChopperExchange.

Have a story or tips on selling a customized motorcycle? Let us in the comments below!

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