Carole Nash
Content Writer
Published: 19th October 2019

How to sell your motorcycle online

There are lots of way of selling a motorcycle or scooter but the online world opens up a wider audience and allows people to take a good look at what you are selling.

Before you attempt to sell your bike online, take a moment to read our guide to ensure you get the best price, make the transaction easy and also protect yourself as best you can against potential fraud.

With some simple steps along the way, you can get the best possible price for your bike which will enable you to buy something else for as little extra investment as possible.

Do your research

Spend some time checking out similar bikes to see what they are being advertised by both private and trade sellers to gauge where the market is setting prices. Dealer prices will always be higher than you might achieve privately as there is more comeback for the buyer and dealers do, of course, have some profit margin added into the prices they are showing.

Checking eBay for auctions is a good way of getting an understanding of what bikes are actually selling for and although you cannot find out exactly what they sold for, it will allow you to get a reasonably accurate idea. All you have to do it ‘watch’ the item to be kept up-to-date on the auction.

Prepare the bike for sale

Many motorcycles have some degree of modification done to them by owners; whether it’s an aftermarket exhaust, luggage, a different screen or just some stickers but bear in mind, not everyone’s taste is the same and modifications rarely enhance the value to anywhere near what they cost in the first place.

The best bet is to get your bike back to standard, as far as possible, and sell the parts as a separate deal to the buyer or someone different. Not only will the bike be more appealing to more people, but it is likely you will make more money in the end.

Take decent pictures

Nothing puts off potential buyers much more than terrible pictures of a bike they might be interested in buying.

Firstly, make sure the bike is clean (you’d be amazed how many people take pictures of their bike when it’s still dirty!) as this created the right impression and doesn’t look like you’re trying to mask some damage underneath the grime.

The most important element to get right is to ensure there is some decent natural light. Taking pictures of your bike in a dark garage with a single strip light on the ceiling is not going to work; no matter how good your smartphone camera is.

Get the bike outside, make sure the background is nice and clear and then get down fairly low to ensure the bike is right in the frame. Standing up and looking down on a bike makes them look odd and adds to the feeling you are trying to hide something bad.

Make sure to take lots of images showing both sides, the back of the bike, the front and close-ups of things like brake calipers, tyres and the clocks to show the bike is in the condition you say it is.

Taking pictures of any damage and including them in your eBay listing along with an honest description, helps to reinforce your overall honesty in the listing.

Choose your time to sell

Selling a bike in Spring can help to make a sale more quickly than during the depths of winter as the days of motorcycling being an all-year-round pursuit are not that common any longer. 

If you have what might be described as a ‘project bike’, however, selling this sort of bike during the colder months may actually work to your advantage as that’s the time many home builders are looking for a bike to work on over winter.

With so many people laying their bikes up for winter, making sure yours is freshly ready for spring with a new MOT (if the bike is old enough to need one of course) will all help boost the chances of a sale.

Be honest in your description

It’s particularly true of eBay that being honest in both descriptions and photography can help to sell the bike and also improve the feedback you get as a seller. This super-honest approach can also both attract more buyers but also stop people messing about post-sale when they spot a tiny blemish you failed to mention.

Don’t be delusional

Setting a realistic asking price is key to selling a bike. There are lots of people who will stick their bike up for sale at a ridiculous price because that’s the amount they need to finance their next bike. Unfortunately, the price is not set by optimistic sellers but by the market so that’s why looking at similar bikes for a good guide is a good start. Pitch a bike too high and while you might get lucky, the most likely scenario is you won’t sell the bike.

Be careful when selling

There are some basic steps you can take when selling a bike to avoid being targeted by scams. 

Be very wary of anyone buying a bike they haven’t bothered to come and see. That’s highly unusual and in this circumstance it could be because they plan to damage the bike or get involved in an ‘accident’, deny they did the damage and try and get you to pay towards it. This is why detailing the bike in close-up in relation to condition in photographs is so important.

There are scams where it appears an electronic transfer has been made but once the bike has disappeared with the new ‘owner’ the transactions prove to be false. Asking for bank transfer directly to your account and the phoning the bank to check this has been accepted can reduce the chances of this working.

Cash can obviously be fake so take your time checking all of the notes in any cash transaction. If you’re in any doubt, take the cash to a bank with the buyer to ensure it’s real. No genuine buyer is going to mind you doing that.

Be super-wary of anyone who has ‘overpaid’ for the bike and asks for a refund for the difference. This is almost always a scam.

Don’t agree to meet people away from your home for test rides as they might just happen to bring some mates and ride off. You’ll need to see identification and proof of insurance because you let anyone off for a test ride.

Auction or classified ad?

This very much depends on how much of a risk you wish to take with the price you are going to get and the fees you are willing to pay.

If you are happy to risk setting an auction with no reserve, the fees are lower on an auction site like eBay but the risk is of course with the fact the bike might sell for a low amount. Setting a reserve raises the fees you will pay but does at least guarantee you don’t sell your bike for 99p!

A classified ad on eBay, Biketrader, MCN or any other site can work well to get your bike seen by a lot of enthusiasts which can help sell it. Fees vary but are usually around the £20 to £30 mark.

Things to do after the bike is sold

Don’t forget to let the DVLA know you have sold the bike. Previously you had to fill in the relevant section on the V5C form but this can now all be done online.

It’s also worth remembering to cancel the tax on the bike too as this no longer transfers over to the new owner. If your bike had valid insurance cover, you’ll need to inform your insurance company immediately too. It is imperative to cancel cover, or transfer it to a new bike, and avoid any complications that may arise if the new owner is involved in an accident.

However, if you are looking to purchase a motorbike instead of selling ones, it’s important to factor in the cost of any motorbike insurance you may require for your new purchase before purchasing your bike. Motorbikes are likely to vary greatly in terms of insurance so checking before you purchase your bike will save any hassle further down the line.