How to Use Kelley Blue Book to Price Your Motorcycle

How to Use Kelley Blue Book to Determine Motorcycle Value

We bet you’re here because you’re planning on buying or selling a motorcycle. How exciting! 

If you’re buying a motorcycle, you’ll want to avoid overpaying for it. And, if you’re selling a motorcycle, you’ll want to avoid pricing it significantly above or below its actual value.

We recommend using Kelley Blue Book (KBB) to determine the value of a motorcycle. It’s a great tool that can be used by buyers and sellers alike. 

To learn how to determine the value of a motorcycle, continue reading below! 

Key Terms 

Before we get started on the steps to using Kelley Blue Book’s valuation tool, there are a few terms you’ll want to know first. Go ahead and familiarize yourself with the terminology below. 

Typical Listing Price 

This is the average price of a used motorcycle (in good condition with typical mileage) when purchased at a dealership. This price includes any repairs the dealership made before putting the motorcycle on the market. 

Trade-In Value 

This is the price a dealer would expect to pay to purchase a private buyer’s motorcycle (that it is in good condition with typical mileage) when that buyer purchases a motorcycle from their dealership.

Private Sale Value

Kelley Blue Book does not provide the private sale value of motorcycles. However, you can use the information they provide to calculate it yourself. We’ll explain how to do this in the section below. It’s quite easy to do. 

Private sale value can be defined as the price a buyer would expect to pay to purchase a motorcycle from a private seller. 


Keep in mind that these instructions are based on the Kelley Blue Book (KBB) website as of March 2020. Aspects of this valuation tool may change over time, but these steps should remain similar. 

1. Visit KBB‘s motorcycle valuation page. There will be three drop-down menus. Select the year, make and model of the motorcycle from the options provided. 

2. You’ll be prompted to select trade-in value or typical listing price. You can take a look at both. 

Note: Don’t worry. You won’t have to re-enter all of the bike’s information to see the other value. After you select one, the other will be available right next to it.

3. In order to calculate the private sale value of the motorcycle, we recommend subtracting $500 to $1,000 from the typical listing price. 

For example, as of March 2020, the KBB value for a 2018 Harley-Davidson® FLFB Fat Boy is $15,845. Therefore, we suggest that this motorcycle’s private listing price be between $14,845 and $15,345.

Note: The typical listing price nor the trade-in value represent the private purchase value. KBB does not provide suggested private purchase values for motorcycles. Hence why we recommend the calculation above. 

Common Valuation Questions 

It’s not unusual to have questions when using an online pricing tool. Continue reading below to find answers to the most frequently asked questions. 

Why is private purchase value less than a dealer’s typical listing price? 

When a dealership buys a used motorcycle, it has to be inspected. After the inspection, the vehicle has to meet basic safety standards or the dealership could face legal liability. 

Therefore, dealerships must pay to repair unsafe vehicles before selling them. Private sellers are not required to do so. 

A dealership may also make cosmetic repairs and add upgrades to make the motorcycle more attractive to potential buyers. This, of course, costs the dealership money, which is why the typical listing price is more expensive than the private sale price. 

Furthermore, dealerships may slightly markup prices to cover overhead expenses, such as rent, labor, utilities and insurance. Certainly, if these expenses aren’t covered, the dealership can’t stay in business. 

Note: If you want to buy a used bike out-of-state but are concerned about its condition, you can get a vehicle history report or have the bike inspected. Also, always review the Certificate of Title before making the purchase. The title will tell you if the motorcycle is a lemon, salvage vehicle or is severely damaged. 

I want to sell my bike, but I doubt it’s worth this little. What about the added value of maintenance, repairs and upgrades? 

You may feel that the KBB value does not reflect all the hard work you’ve put into your motorcycle. But, keep in mind that the value calculated by KBB represents a motorcycle in good condition with typical mileage. 

If you feel your motorcycle is in great condition, feel free to reflect this in its price. For example, a motorcycle that is practically brand-new with very little mileage will be worth more. 

Or, if you recently made a significant repair, such as replacing the engine, you can reflect this in the price as well. 

You can also add value to your motorcycle by clicking “view options.” This is located on the results page below the description of the motorcycle’s engine, which is located below the motorcycle’s value. Here you can add the value of various equipment and upgrades.

Note: Keep in mind that buyers frequent KBB just as sellers do. Meaning, buyers have access to the same information you do, and they are often looking for a deal. If a buyer sees your bike priced equal to or higher than the dealership (typical listing) price, they might skip your listing and go on to the next. 

However, if you are selling your motorcycle online and insist on listing your bike above the suggested value, it’s best to add “OBO” (or best offer) or “negotiable” next to your sale price. 

Why is the dealership offering less for my trade-in than KBB suggests? 

One way dealerships increase their margins is by paying as little as possible for trade-ins. The less they pay for your trade-in, the more you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket and the more money they’ll make. But, don’t take it personally; it’s just business. 

For example, if the dealership values your trade-in at $5,000 and the cost of your next bike is $15,000, you will pay the dealership $10,000 (not including fees). But, if the dealership values your trade-in at $2,500. You’ll pay $12,500. 

Dealerships also take into account the amount of demand for your motorcycle. For example, if your model is quite common and not very popular, it will have a lower value. But, if your model is in high demand and is “hard to keep on the shelf,” its value will be much higher.

Why is the typical listing price for my motorcycle so low? 

Immediately after a new motorcycle is purchased, its value begins to depreciate. On average, the value of a motorcycle decreases by 10% as soon as it leaves the dealership. And, each year it will continue to depreciate. 

Note: It’s a good idea to keep tabs on how much your motorcycle is depreciating each year. This way, you’re not surprised by how much worth when you decide to sell it. 

Many seasoned riders recommend replacing your motorcycle every two to three years. This way, you always get to try something new and the resale value of your motorcycle is reasonable. For more advice on why you should sell your current bike before buying another, check out our blog post. 

In conclusion

It helps to do a bit of research before buying or selling a motorcycle. The more knowledge you have, the better. 

In addition to valuation, another factor you should consider when buying or selling a motorcycle is negotiation. If you plan to buy, check out our blog post on how to negotiate when buying a motorcycle.

And, if you’re selling, go ahead and check out our Ultimate Guide to Selling Your Motorcycle.

Was the motorcycle’s value what you expected? Let us know in the comments below!

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