Hundreds of dirt bikes are sold privately every day. If your ad has been up for weeks and getting no action, you’ve probably scared the serious buyers away. Now you’ll have to deal with the bottom feeders making embarrassing lowball offers and laughable trades.

I spend a lot of time scouring Kijiji and Craigslist on a daily basis looking at dirt bikes and I’m dumbfounded by some of the stuff I see. You may not even see the few good ads because those bikes literally sell within hours of posting. By good ads I’m referring to bikes that are in decent condition, selling for a reasonable price and the seller seems to have successfully passed their 3rd grade english class.

In this article, I’ll start by offering some simple tips and tricks on getting your bike ready for sale. Basic things are often overlooked and can not only fetch you more response on your ad but also get you more cash! We’ll then dive into how to prepare your ad for the best response possible. Find out how people really see your ad and how it makes you look. Some of these things are common sense to most of you but judging by the majority of ads out there, I’m calling some of you out.

Prepare your bike

Follow these guidelines to make your bike show better, find better buyers and earn more respect. Sometimes spending less than $100 can fetch you an extra $500 more than you were hoping for.

Wash it!

If you’ve just posted an ad for your bike filthy from your last ride, give your head a shake and delete the ad before you embarrass yourself! Give your bike the most thorough wash you ever have. Remove your subframe, tank and plastics and use a proper cleaner/degreaser. Focus a lot on the engine, get it spotless! Show potential buyers your bikes are well taken care of and they’ll be more confident in buying from you. Remove the chain for a good clean as well. This deep clean also lends you an opportunity to give the bike a good looking over to ensure there are no surprises along the way.

Cosmetics

  • Your plastics don’t have to be perfect, we all understand these are dirt bikes and they will receive some decent abuse. Just be sure to replace any broken bodywork. It doesn’t matter if you’ve zip tied it back together, nobody wants a frankenfender. Also, never list a bike with missing body work.
  • New graphics are not always required but if your plastics are rough, it will be cheaper to buy a set of random Ebay graphics than to buy a full plastic set. Don’t just buy a random sticker sheet and place stickers sparatcally across the bike though, this won’t show well.
  • Don’t spray paint your plastics, there is no good reason to paint your plastics. It looks awful and will not last. Paint does not adhere to plastic well especially on something that gets beaten up as much as a dirt bike. Just don’t do it.

Chassis and ergonomics

  • Nobody looks at a bike without grabbing the grips and squeezing the levers. If your levers are broken off or shaped like a fish hook, replace them, they’re only $10-$20 in most cases. This goes for grips as well, for under $20 a fresh set of grips will show and feel quite nice to the potential buyer. Use this time to properly align your levers and make sure they function and feel tight. Shoot some lube down your clutch cable (if you got one) to make it extra smooth.
  • Your handlebars better not be bent! I don’t care if they’re scratched or a different colour. just make sure they’re straight.
  • If your fork seals are leaking and you aren’t going to change them, get a Motion Pro seal mate ($6). Use this to pull any dirt particles from between the oil seal and fork tube. Otherwise buyers will spot that drip of oil right away and instantly de-value your bike.
  • Replace all missing bolts! Don’t sell a bike with missing hardware. You can purchase a common bolt pack from your local shop. Otherwise find out what size bolt you’re missing and visit your local hardware store. Zip-ties do not count.
  • I’d recommend pulling your axles and greasing them. Make sure your bike rolls well and doesn’t sound like an old tank when you push it out of the garage. It goes without saying, bearings that are pooched should have already been replaced!
  • Tires are tough, you may not want to drop $200 on a new set of rubber but bikes always look better with big chunky knobbies on them. Use your judgement but if the tires are bald or missing knobs, replace them. I shouldn’t have to tell you to make sure they hold air but I’ve gone to see many bikes that have had flat tires.

Prepare your ad

This is where I may offend some of you. Maybe it’s just because of my extensive history in the motorcycle industry but this is where a lot of the ads I see are falling apart.

  • Spelling and grammar. I shouldn’t have to mention this but I do. This is my biggest pet peeve reading bike ads. More than half the ads out there are tougher to read than your girlfriend during an argument. All of our devices these days have spell check, use it.
  • This isn’t Tinder. There’s no need to be mysterious. Provide as many details about your bike as possible. How long you’ve had it, any work that was done. There’s no such thing as too much information here.
  • As stated earlier, please wash your bike before selling. Nothing says I don’t care about the things I own more than posting your bike for sale that is still sporting mud from last season.
  • Using the term “Mint” should be avoided at all costs because that word means nothing now. I encourage you to view bike listings right now and search “Mint” you’ll be shocked to see what’s in this category according to some people! Dirt bikes are only mint once, on the showroom floor.
  • Take proper photos! You’re not going to attract a decent buyer if your photo is of your bike sandwiched between two cars in a dirty garage. Screenshots from your snapchat story are not acceptable either, plus you risk posting those nudes by accident. Your photos should showcase how well you take care of your bike. If your photo is 40 feet away of a dirty bike, I already think you’re hiding something.
  • Do your research as a seller. You’ll be shocked at how many bikes are listed as incorrect years. Some people are lieing on purpose, some just may not know. Regardless of your excuse, if I can tell your 2011 KTM is actually a 2010, I no longer trust you and don’t believe a word you say about the bike.
  • “Best deal on Kijiji” Do not use this title! The best deal on Kijiji or Craigslist is located in the “causual encounters” section! Your clapped out 97 CR250 for $4000 is probably the among one of the worst deals.
  • “Never raced” In a lot of cases, race bikes are better maintained than others. Buying a bike that has been ridden hard but properly cared for is way better than ol’ Cletus the fire road heros bike.
  • “Rare” Unless you’re selling restored vintage bikes, your bike is probably not rare. Your “rare” claim just tells me parts are going to be impossible to find.
  • “Custom” Sorry but there’s nothing custom about your bike and this isn’t Biker build off. Changing parts and graphics is something everyone does. If you’ve spray painted the frame and plastics some weird colour combo, all you’ve done is create a lot of work for the next owner.

That’s all for now. I anxiously await the E-mails regarding my own spelling and grammatical errors.

Good luck selling your bike!