May 11, 2019

Motorcycle Depreciation: How Fast Does a New Bike Depreciate?

Ericka Ellis

Here’s why knowing the depreciation rate on motorcycles is so important when you’re trying to get the best trade-in value.

First of all, a KBB motorcycle value doesn’t reflect the live-market depreciation value of motorcycles. I know this because the first time I tried to sell my motorcycle, I nearly ralphed when the buyer gave me his counter-offer. “But this bike is basically brand-new!” I assured him. “Just look at that squeaky-clean paint job, and listen to the engine purrrr.”

In the end, he upped his offer a bit. Still, it was hard leaving the negotiation feeling like I hadn’t been cheated out of the highest trade-in value for my new motorcycle. Turns out, Kelley Blue Book is rarely (if ever) able to keep up with live-market trends. And it’s these live-market trends which should be used to determine the depreciation value of motorcycles.

And this got me thinking, When it’s time to sell my next bike, what else determines new vs. used motorcycle values? Sure, age is taken into account, but not for long. After a while, mileage and condition take a front seat.  

Consumer preference also affects motorcycle resale values. For example, the motorcycle brands you were loyal to when you first started riding might not be popular years down the road. And, as history has shown, most consumers tend to follow the latest trends.

So what’s the depreciation rate on motorcycles after they leave the showroom?

Fortunately, if you’re interested in selling your used motorcycle, you can rest easy knowing age stops affecting resale value after the bike reaches 5-6 years old; just be sure you maintain it properly while it’s in your possession. However, the same cannot be said for brand-new bikes, whose value depreciates significantly (20 percent, to be exact) during the first 3-4 years of ownership.

It’s enough to get your blood boiling, I know, but it’s important information to keep in mind before you buy a new motorcycle. Take it from me, guys, buying used is nearly always the way to go.

Want to know a little more about motorcycle depreciation? Check out Value of the Ride: How a Motorcycle Depreciates and learn where your motorcycle resale value stands.

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