Selling Your Motorcycle Through a Broker: Top 10 Things to Know

Selling Your Motorcycle Through a Broker: Tips and How-To
The deal done, the author with We Buy Old Motorcycles Chuck Tullberg (R) readying the Honda V65 Sabre for its move to Titletown!

As a motorcycle owner, the day may come when you consider selling your beloved machine. Not so many years ago, the options for doing that were pretty basic and limited. One was to put the bike out at the end of the driveway with a  For Sale sign on it. Another was to put a classified ad in Cycle News, the local newspaper, or circular. In some areas, you might even call into a local radio station’s broadcast want-ads program. While most of those options still exist, there are several other means of advertising, including Facebook Marketplace, eBay,, and others.

There is plenty of competition on Facebook Marketplace.

The problem with all of the above is the hassles with buyers that can arise out of haggling over price and condition, setting up showings, and the potential for serious problems with a test ride—or if you should even allow one.

For example, the prospective buyer is a physically small rider who pulls up on a Yamaha V-Star 250 and seems to have a little trouble handling it. The buyer claims to have been riding for a year and feels ready to move up to something bigger, and has decided the Honda VF1100S V65 Sabre you have for sale may be it.

Time to sell that 1984 Honda V65 Sabre? There’s a motorcycle broker for that. It proved to be right in the wheelhouse of We Buy Old Motorcycles out of Green Ba.

Situations can come up where tire-kickers want to have a look, take up an hour-and-a-half jawboning about bikes in general, then come around to asking if you’d take a hundred bucks down, sign the title, and release the bike until a loan can be secured.

Even if you get a legit buyer who has the money and is ready to do the deal, you still have to do the paperwork, which varies from state to state. Even after the sale, there can be hassles when the buyer, for one reason or another, cannot ride the bike away or transport it and expects you to deliver the bike while providing some kind of warranty if something goes wrong.

Motorcycle brokers are a simpler option. That’s right—sometimes, adding a middleman can be a good thing.

While we use the term “broker” in this article, the business model of the various services that may engage in buying or selling your motorcycle may differ and be addressed differently under the state laws where they operate. If you have questions about the specific service you may consider using, don’t hesitate to ask them.

Selling Your Motorcycle through a broker: Honda CJ360T
The author’s 1976 Honda CJ360T is in the age range vintage motorcycle brokers often prefer.

For the purposes of our look at this approach, let’s consider my 2015 Triumph Bonneville T214 (which is not actually for sale) as a late model example, and my 1984 Honda VF1100S V65 Sabre and 1976 Honda CJ360T (which actually are for sale) as vintage examples.

The overall process is straightforward for both late-model and vintage bikes, though there are some things to know in advance that can help prevent delays. Each service listed in this story has an online information form so you can submit your contact information and details about the motorcycle you want to sell.

Here are the top 10 things you’ll need to know and do before working with a motorcycle broker:

  1. Get the VIN number for your bike. Have it ready to provide to the broker during the online process or on the phone.
  1. Have the model year, manufacturer name, model name, and mileage handy. If you don’t know the actual mileage because the speedometer/odometer is not functional or is a replacement part, disclose that.
  1. Have high-quality digital images available to upload. Photos should include shots of the front, left side, right side, rear, and the cockpit view with the odometer visible to show current mileage. Some brokers may allow additional images to be submitted, so having shots of special features or accessories is helpful. Five to ten images typically get the job done. If you’re not handy with a smartphone or a dedicated digital camera, get a friend to help. The photos don’t have to be perfect, but they have to accurately represent the motorcycle.
  1. List all options, special features, and accessories, including those that may not appear in photos. In the case of my Triumph Bonneville T214, there would be the Triumph0branded portfolio, certificate of authenticity signed by John Bloor, optional centerstand, Triumph saddlebag mounting rails, aftermarket saddlebags, tail bag, Spitfire windshield, aftermarket handlebar-mounted helmet lock, and British Customs Predator mufflers. The sale package would also include the stock mufflers.
  1. For vintage bikes, such as my V65 Sabre and CJ360T, anything that is not original equipment is likely to be of interest, as original equipment is generally preferred over aftermarket parts. My V65 has the original exhaust system, bodywork, side covers, fairing, seat cover (intact), instruments, lighting, and fully functional levers and switchgear; these are all pluses. Similarly, the CJ360T is all-original and fully functional. Aftermarket bags and windshield, if included, may or may not be of some added value, depending on type and condition, and if they are era-correct.
  1. The bike’s overall condition, be it late model or vintage, is usually important, but not always. In some cases, the broker may take non-running, poor-condition parts bikes, depending on the make, model, year, and resale plan.
  1. Provide your complete contact information and preferred method of contact. Using e-mail or text messaging rather than phone calls helps create a transaction record, which can prevent confusion later.
  1. If you don’t own the bike free and clear, disclose the lien and lienholder, and other financial information that may apply.
  1. Know what the bike is worth, but be realistic in your pricing expectations. Remember, the broker is looking to cover costs and profit on the resale. Online sources such as Kelly Blue Book, J. D. Power, Edmunds, and others can help with values for late-model bikes. Specialized resources such as The Comprehensive Vintage Motorcycle Price Guide can be quite helpful for determining the condition rating and average auction value of rare and vintage bikes.
  1. Be prepared when the broker/buyer comes to check out the bike. Have the title ready to sign over, a blank bill of sale to fill out, extra keys, manuals, tools, and any additional items that go with the bike ready to be transferred.
Selling your Motorcycle through a broker: Triumph Bonneville
Suppose you want to put your Triumph Bonneville T214 up for sale, but you don’t like the hassle of showings, price haggling, iffy test drives, and non-standard payment arrangement requests. Letting go of that gorgeous Bonnie is hard enough. Isn’t there a better way?

Motorcycle Broker Examples

  • Powersport Buyers buys and sells used motorcycles from 20 modern manufacturers, pays current retail trade-in prices, and will pick up and deliver bikes it buys or sells. The Powersport Buyers website states that experts evaluate the bike in terms of mileage, condition, modifications, accessories, and so on. If you accept Powersport Buyer’s offer for your bike, you get paid by company check when the bike you drop it off or have it picked up. The Alaska-based company handles all the paperwork, and has 200 locations in the United States.
  • Used Motorcycle Store buys and sells used motorcycles of all brands. UMS picks up and delivers the bikes they buy and sell, and claims it has them inspected by factory-trained technicians. Used Motorcycle Store does not generally consider vintage bikes, but may make exceptions. If you accept the UMS offer, you get paid by company check when the motorcycle is picked up, and the company handles all the paperwork. Illinois-based Windy City Motorcycle Company owns the Used Motorcycle Store and claims to move 6000 motorcycles a year.
  • We Buy Old Motorcycles prefers 1980 and older motorcycles, though the company will consider other years. Advertises cash payout and handles pickup. Information on the bike can be provided by online form or by phone contact. Co-owner Chuck Tullberg was interested in having a look at my V65 and came down from Green Bay. He gave the bike a good, long look, decided it was a good value, and paid me on the spot. We did the paperwork and loaded the bike for the trip to its new home in Titletown. He checked out the Honda CJ360T, but declined to buy it. The entire transaction was smooth and professional. In short, the whole transaction went as advertised.
  • Vintage Cycle Buyer. Headquartered in Green Bay, this firm is particularly interested in bikes built from 1920 to 1980. However, the company is willing to consider other bikes. Advertises cash payout, they do all the work and handle fast pickup. The site indicates interest in 15 brands—Ariel to Yamaha—with preferences for specific models. Again, other bikes may be considered, as well. Information on your motorcycle can be provided via an online form or over the phone.