How to devalue your motorcycle?

This may seem like an odd perspective but many people are buying motorcycles and are actively going out of their way to reduce the net value of their rides…and they don’t fully realise the implications.

There has been an age old argument between keeping your motorcycle stock, standard and as the manufacturer intended or rather modifying it to best suit your riding preferences.

These can be purely aesthetic or can be performance modifications but the truth is evident in the used bike markets and the reality is that nobody really cares how much extra you have spent on your bike, the prospective used bike buyer will be looking for the deal of the century or will be preferring an unmolested bike so they can make their mark.

One of the big drawbacks from modified bikes is the mundane lack of paperwork to verify what work has been done, whether it is permanent or whether it can easily be reverted back to stock configuration and finally whether the stock parts are included in the sale, which is rarely the case.

So without documentation to prove what works have been done and by whom, then there is a chance, albeit slight, that you could be buying a lemon whereas with an unmolested bike, there is less likely to be owner induced problems to haunt the next owner.

Modifications can help to retain some residual value in a motorcycle. Just ask Harley-Davidson fans who will hold onto that kernel of wisdom with white knuckle loyalty. However any residual value that is above the value of a stock bike is wiped out by the amount of money spent on the modifications in the first instance…the the result is a huge net loss.

Of course this won’t necessarily prevent riders from spending their hard earned cash on making their bike run as they would want, or even stop manufacturers encouraging you to ‘make it your own’ but the common knowledge from dealerships of all manufacturers is that modified bikes are usually the same value as stock bikes for the used bike market and trade in values are more than likely to be the same…which is a big poke in the eye for anyone trying to sell their bike in the hope to finance the next ride.

What owner riders need to understand is that modifying a motorcycle to your own preferences is a purely a subject decision and is likely to be not appreciated by anyone else. Whatever performance upgrade you have done, may be instantly changed by the next buyer so there is no value in it for them. Hence why they can buy a lower priced stock bike and do the same work to it, this in turn brings down the value of any modified bikes.

Modifying any motorcycle is and should be considered for your own pleasure only and not for any potential resale. It may help to keep the stock parts and include those in the sale too or try to sell those separately to offset the modification expense or losses. Of course there are always some motorcycles that will buck the trend or motorcycle models in short supply will hold their value for a couple of years, but certainly any longer than that, there really isn’t much difference in the used bike prices of stock vs modified…in fact the stock price might be higher especially the older bikes reaching any kind of classic status.

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