Bike buyer guru Craig Langton Fire It Up

Bike Buyer Guru: More tips on selling your bike


Craig-Langton-Bike-Buyer-GuruCraig Langton has quite the CV. Here at The Bike Show we refer to him as King Midas because, as you might’ve guessed, everything he touches turns to gold. Apart from previous businesses that were massively successful under his watch, he is the owner of Fire It Up in Fourways and within a year of opening its doors it has become the biggest selling motorcycle dealer in the country by a long way. Much of this is down to good honest hard work by him and his team, but much of it also has to do with decades of dealing in motorcycles, spotting trends and noticing nuances. Craig will be passing on much of this knowledge to our esteemed readers in his regular Bike Buyer Guru column. Herewith this week’s column:



Last week we chatted about establishing a value for your motorcycle and what it may be worth in the current market. This week we talk some more about selling your bike and the best way to do it.

Digressing, I will never forget that when I sold my first house years ago, a friend of mine said “forget these agents, sell your house privately and avoid commission fees!”. It made sense at the time, so I proceeded to advertise my house privately. I will never forget the endless phone calls and strangers I had walking through my home followed by nonsensical offers, people trying to swap me their houses or cars, it became very clear I was not qualified to be in the real estate business. I went ahead and called a couple of estate agents, most of them promised me the world, saying “I could name my price” and they would charge a small commission if I signed a sole mandate.

I then met an agent whom I still use to this day – he asked, “If you are serious about selling your home, sell it at ‘X’ price because that’s what the market will pay. I will market your home professionally and I charge ‘X’ amount because I am a professional”. Although the price was marginally lower than what I wanted it was higher than the offers I had received when trying to sell privately. I listened, and after a bit of research on this particular agent found out that his business was reliable, reputable and trustworthy. I felt comfortable leaving my house in his hands and let him market my house professionally to a qualified audience. My house sold within three weeks at the value he mentioned and most importantly I had peace of mind knowing that I was dealing with the right agent. The deal went through as promised and I moved into my new home without any payment issues. I learnt a great deal from that experience and I apply the same principles today.

When selling your bike, you would normally be in one of the following situations and I will try and offer the best possible advice that will offer the best results:

  • Trading In: When trading your motorcycle in, you must consider that the dealer is either going to resell your motorcycle and sees your trade-in/motorcycle as a profit opportunity, or he is going to offer your motorcycle to a ‘trader’ or dealers looking for used stock as he does not have the cash flow to keep your trade-in. This will have an impact on the trade-in value offered where one will be higher than the other. If a dealer mentions “I’ll come back to you with a trade-in offer” it’s normally because they need to call around and sell your trade-in, or call around to establish a ‘cover’ price for your bike, as they are not sure of the value themselves. Always shop around. It is also important to look at the total deal in its entirety which is more important than what you have been offered as a trade-in. As an example, if Dealer A offers you R100 000.00 for your motorcycle as a trade in on a new motorcycle selling for R200 000.00 and Dealer B offers you a trade-in price of R90 000.00 with a price of R180 000.00 on the same new motorcycle, it goes without saying that dealer B is offering the better deal. Don’t think that dealer B is offering you less than your Trade-in is worth. Dealers will use the total profit available to structure the best deal and will do this in various ways. In the end it’s the amount you are paying in that counts and the value proposition being offered. I always suggest getting various quotes/valuations including offering your motorcycle to a pre-owned specialist who purchases pre-owned stock. Sometimes, the same bike can be sold to a pre-owned dealer/ franchise dealer for R100 000 as an example or more and you are left with cash in hand, able to negotiate the best possible deal without a trade-in. As a rule, always get an offer from a busy, reputable pre-owned or franchise dealer as they might pay more than you are offered as a trade-in.
  • Need Cash Quick: If you are in a situation where you need cash quickly, the quickest option is to sell your motorcycle to a dealer that will pay you immediately. I would recommend calling several pre-owned/new motorcycle dealers and especially the busy ones as these dealers rely on a constant flow of good clean stock, which means they have the cash flow to pay you instantly and at a fair price. It’s important to call dealers including those in other provinces (most will collect once you agree on a price) and find out how much they are willing to pay and confirmation that you will be paid immediately and that any finance outstanding at a finance institution settled before you leave. A word of advice, always ensure that your motorcycle has been valeted and is presented in the best condition possible and that your paperwork is in order, books, original Natis (copy if financed) and spare keys. Be cautious of a dealer offering higher prices on the phone and then a lower when you arrive, this could be a tactic to lure you to their store. Send photos and a detailed description of your motorcycle before confirming a price with the purchasing dealer to avoid any discrepancies when you arrive at the dealership. Be as accurate as possible when describing your motorcycle especially the year of manufacture and year of registration. Give the dealer the VIN number so that he can verify as this plays an important factor when establishing a value.
  • No Real Hurry: If you own a motorcycle and are not in a hurry to sell but you are prepared to wait, you can follow two routes, but you need to be aware of the risks associated.
    • Placing Your Motorcycle on a Dealer’s Floor: Also known as ‘consignment’ or ‘Park ‘n Sell’. When a dealer offers this service, they are not using their cashflow and will market and retail your motorcycle for a smaller margin which will work in your favour. Remember, the advantages for you the seller is that the dealer will have access to finance and will be able to facilitate a trade-in. A buyer will be more tempted to purchase your motorcycle from a dealer who has the facilities available and there is buyer protection and peace of mind. This is one of the best options when selling your motorcycle on condition that you choose a qualified, recognised, trustworthy and experienced dealer. A dealer who is motivated to sell your motorcycle rather than placing your motorcycle in a corner and forgetting about it or worse using it for test rides or the more recently fraudulently making use of your motorcycle and original Natis to raise finance for their business. It is important to make sure your motorcycle is insured whilst on their floor. Your insurance company might not pay any claims if your bike is for sale on a dealer’s floor. Verify this with your broker. Do not hand over the original natis document. You should only hand over this document when payment is being made. It is also important to verify that you will be paid once the dealer has been paid by the buyer and not weeks later. In every industry there are the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’. Unfortunately, a dealer might be tempted to use the proceeds of the sale of your motorcycle as cash flow in his business and you might end up waiting months for payment. The practice of using the proceeds of your sale is becoming more common across motorcycle and vehicle dealers as the economy becomes more difficult. Do your research and check the dealer out on social media, ask amongst your friends. There were many examples last year of dealers in all sectors closing and customers trying to retrieve their motorcycles/vehicles from the Sheriff of the Court. Remember to be wary of unrealistic promises made by the dealer claiming to be able to ‘sell at your price’, the market dictates the value and you could be left disappointed. Choose the correct dealer and this method remains the easiest and safest way to sell your bike yielding the best returns.
    • Selling Privately:  If you choose to sell your motorcycle privately – if marketed wisely – you can achieve the results you were hoping to achieve if you don’t mind the phone calls, sms’s, swops and strangers coming to your home. Please exercise extreme caution and always be vigilant as you will be exposing yourself to fraudsters and hijackers. Firstly, check the selling price of competing bikes for sale, especially on dealer’s floors and note that your motorcycle should be priced less to entice a buyer as you cannot offer the peace of mind that a recognised dealer can. Valuing your bike against other private individuals may not be the best option as I know of individuals who over inflate their price, as they anticipate the buyer to try to knock the price down.  Advertise your best price and mention that you are not negotiable. Do not raise the price of your bike, most serious buyers are not interested in negotiating or haggling and will pay your price, alternatively if you raise the price of your motorcycle a potential buyer may look elsewhere, not everyone likes haggling. Take lots of pictures of your motorcycle in its best possible condition and advertise your motorcycle on leading sites such as Autotrader even if it costs a couple of hundred rand, you will attract a better-quality buyer. Advertising your motorcycle on free sites seems to attract a higher rate of fraudsters, tyre kickers and buyers expecting you to accept less in my opinion.

There are many dealers that will assist you in arranging finance for your sale and the trade-in if applicable, find one that you can rely on before advertising your motorcycle.

As a helpful hint, please remember to cancel your motorcycle insurance when you have received confirmation of sale and payment for your motorcycle

Next week we’ll discuss distressed sales if you’re in the unfortunate position of your motorcycle being repossessed including how to purchase safely from Auctions.

Tel: (011) 465 4591


Bike Buyer Guru Fire It Up Craig Langton