Motorcycle Blue Book Value
The motorcycle blue book value is the generic term for the market value of a motorcycle made in a particular year by a selected manufacturer. The Kelley Blue Book (KBB) is the origin of that term and is one of the most well-known pricing guides for those in the market for a used motorcycle.
The other major motorcycle pricing resources are the NADA Guides produced by J.D. Power. NADA stands for the National Automobile Dealers Association, and J.D. Power has licensed the use of the association's name.
NADA Guides offers print appraisal books on both newer motorcycles (as well as snowmobiles, ATVs, and personal watercraft) and vintage, collectible, and retro motorcycles. Cycle Trader, an online marketplace for buying and selling motorcycles, uses NADA Guides pricing on its website.
How KBB Calculates Motorcycle Values
KBB says it determines values for motorcycles based on data obtained from "auctions, dealer sales reports, and dealer surveys, plus dealer and consumer listings and sales transactions nationwide." The company says it also takes into account current market and economic conditions.
Trade-In vs. Listing Price
After you've searched for a particular motorcycle—by providing the year, make, and model and clicking on Next—you are asked to select either Trade-In Value or Typical Listing Price. The former is the amount you might expect to get when trading in a used motorcycle in good condition with all of its original standard equipment. The latter is what a dealer would likely ask you to pay if you were looking to buy a used motorcycle in good or better condition.
Some motorcycles you search for will have information on the value of additional equipment, which you can see by clicking on View Options. For example, cruise control and an engine guard might each add $25 to the value of the bike. KBB assumes these additional options are also in good condition.
KBB does not take into account the mileage on the odometer. KBB says road conditions and the previous owner's riding style have a larger effect on the bike's value than mileage.
How NADA Guides Calculates Motorcycle Values
You can start your search for motorcycle values on NADA Guides' website by selecting a manufacturer or a category of bike, such as Cruisers or Motocross. Ultimately, as on the KBB site, you'll choose a year, model, and make. You will also be asked for your ZIP code and any special options.
The site may provide values for Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor conditions. It also lets you compare as many as three specific motorcycles side by side, offering up to four prices:
- The manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP), which includes only standard equipment and excludes taxes and transportation and destination fees, which cover the cost of getting the vehicle to the dealer.
- Suggested list price, which is the manufacturer's or distributor's highest suggested list price in the U.S. when the motorcycle was new. It typically does not include destination charges or taxes.
- The low retail price, which is for a vehicle that may show "extensive wear and tear," including "dents and blemishes" on the body, but is still safe to drive. Motorcycles with this low quality usually aren't sold by dealers.
- The average retail price, which is for a vehicle that is clean and "without obvious defects." The mileage should be about average, and the bike should be able to pass an emission inspection.
NADA Guides says it uses data from more than 1.5 million vehicle transactions a month to help determine values. Those transactions include wholesale, retail, and auction sales. NADA Guides also considers asking prices posted on classified listing sites and Autotrader.
Additionally, NADA Guides says its valuation team "uses the latest technology, deep knowledge of each segment's market, statistics, analytics and econometrics to derive our values." It does not use a depreciation schedule for used vehicles because there is a lot of variation in the rate of depreciation among different used motorcycles.