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Kelly blue book motorcycles tips and tricks

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Find out how the Kelly blue book motorcycles can help you make the most informed decisions when buying or selling your motorcycle

The Kelly blue book for motorcycles is probably the most useful tool for helping buyers and sellers of motorcycles make the best decisions at a very difficult time (I can’t think of anything more stressful than having to sell your pride and joy, can you? ) Before I tell you about some useful strategies for using the Kelley blue book – motorcycles, let me tell you how the book came about……


In 1918, a young man named Les Kelley parked a couple of Model T Fords in an open lot, put $450 in the till and started the Kelley Kar Company. In time, it was to become one of the largest dealerships in the world and, along the way, created a need for being able to value used cars quickly and easily, known as "Blue Book values." Les Kelley was the son of a preacher from Arkansas. He made his way across the US to California in 1914 at the age of 17. He had very little money and no job, but he owned an old car. (Old is probably being a little kind!) It was in good shape though because he had a mechanical aptitude and had overhauled it himself. All of his friends admired his car and frequently tried to buy it. After much persuasion he finally did sell it to one of them.

With the money he received from this deal Les bought another old Ford. After giving this car a thorough overhauling, he traded it off, taking in two used cars and a little money on the deal. He reconditioned these cars and sold them. With the money he bought other used automobiles and found himself making enough money to pay his way through college.

And in Los Angeles, Les Kelley decided to expand the list of automobile values he had been producing since 1918 and published the first Blue Book of Motor Car Values. He showed factory list price and cash value on thousands of vehicles, from Cadillacs to Duesenbergs, from Pierce-Arrows to Hupmobiles.

Les named the publication "Blue Book" after the Social Register, because it meant that you would find valuable information inside. From relativley small beginnings, the “Blue book” has grown into a huge info – publishing concern, with prices on almost anything that has wheels and a motor – including motorcycles!

The kelly blue book motorcycles is now recognised as one of the premier source of information on motorcycle pricing.

How are values determined?

Kelly blue book motorcycles gathers information directly from dealer sales reports and dealer surveys across the United States. Their replies and experience helps us to determine values along with auction results nationwide. They often receive consumer sales information that they also incorporate into Kelly Blue Book Motorcycles Site. Values are based on bikes that according to Kelley have “average mileage” about 4000 miles a year. However, they make the comment that a sport bike could expect to have about 3000 miles a year, while tourers would be about 6000 miles a year.

What the Kelly blue book – motorcycles doesn’t tell you...

  • It wont count in any extras
  • It doesn’t allow for very good condition (or very poor condition)
  • It won’t give you a “lemon check” on the motorcycle you are interested in.

Luckily from my extensive detective work (and by hanging around too many dodgy motorcycle dealers) I can give you my tips on what to do if you are buying or selling a motorcycle. If you use this advice with the price guidelines you get from the Kelly blue book motorcycles, you won't go far wrong!


Kelly Blue Book Motorcycles have announced a new partnership and site launch with motorcycle Web site, to connect motorcycle buyers for the first time directly to local dealers, via their Web site. The system will be similar to the company's existing online tool BuyerConnect, which links auto dealers and car buyers. Online visitors looking for motorcycle pricing will now have the opportunity to submit a no obligation purchase request for the motorcycle of their choice. CycleVantage will connect them with a local dealer who will provide a free price quote.

Check out my tips for buying a used motorcycle, which when combined with the information from kelly blue book motorcycles will help you get a great deal!

Don't buy the first bike you see. Bring a mate & a torch.
Check a friends bike over if you can and discuss the results.

PRICING Have you checked the pricing using the kelly blue book motorcycles as your guide?

APPEARANCE Is the bike clean and straight? Sight down centerline, and down forks.

HAS IT BEEN CRASHED? Check for any bends in bars and exhaust pipes, and severe scrapes and scratches on any plastic .Long deep gouges are an indication of a crashed bike, while superficial scratches would indicate (to me anyway) that the bike has tipped over(we've all been there haven't we?)But be very careful looking for damage of this kind and assessing it correctly. Getting a price guide from kelly blue book motorcycles is pointess if you cant tell whether a bike has been crashed or not. If in doubt, err on the side of caution.

LEMON CHECK Know the likely lemons for the model you are looking for - do your own research!

CLUTCH Check the lever effort, and whether the clutch releases when squeezed.

PETROL TANK Look for rusty colour on the inside of the tank
Dark gas (tea colored) probably means it has been sitting in there a while and needs changing. If there is rust in the tank it might clog the carbs so watch out for that one.

SEAT Look for cracks/tears/etc. replacing a seat is an easy job but it is a bargaining tool. It will allow you to knock a few dollars off the kelly blue book motorcycles price that for sure.

TIRES Check: remaining tread depth, rubber rot, profile of the tire (round? squared-off?), and the date code. check my article on discount tires for more background.

ELECTRICAL & BATTERY Test all lights and switches to make sure they work.
The sound of the starter cranking is a decent indication of a battery in reasonable condition.

SUSPENSION Check forks for seal leaks,and any bends or twists in the legs

WHEELS Check both sides of both wheels for dents/cracks.

CHAIN/SPROCKETS Check for chain/sprocket wear (hooked teeth, stretched chain).

EXHAUST Scratches/rust/damage. Exhaust pressure equal on both sides?

ENGINE/FLUIDS/CARBURETOR Check starting and operation of engine and carbs. Check for leaks.

CENTERSTAND CHECKS Get wheels in air and check wheel bearings, brake operation, etc.

SERVICE Service records available? Proof of warranty work? Etc.

ACCESSORIES, PRICE, and DEALING Are you willing to pay more for add-ons?

HELMETS Used helmets are worthless. Don't use 'em, don't pay more for 'em. see my article on cheap motorcycle helmets for more information.

TITLES & PAPERWORK Make sure it's clean & that the VIN numbers match up.

TEST RIDE Go on one if you can -- you can learn a lot about a bike this way!

Make sure you or even better a qualified mechanic gives the bike a pre-ride check to make sure it's safe to ride!

using this ebook with the kelly blue book motorcycles will give you the best chance of making a really good deal on your bike purchase. I have a confession to make: I could feel the embarassment welling up inside me when I read this book; it made me realise how many stupid plays I had made buying bikes in the past. Do yourself a favour and read it if you are thinking of buying a bike.I paid $30 for it; I think it is on sale at $20 now, but it could save you hundreds, maybe thousands! And the author is very approachable too! So don't miss it, as my old metal shop teacher used to say, knowledge is power...

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