NADA Used Motorcycle Guide to Help you Make the Right Decision

A man riding a motorcycle down a dirt road

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.

Key Takeaways

A motorcycle parked on the side of California State Railroad Museum
  • The Kelley Blue Book gives you a sense of how much you can expect to spend or receive when buying or selling a specific motorcycle.
  • These values are based on nationwide sales transactions, including auctions, dealer sales reports, and dealer surveys.
  • Additional equipment for a motorcycle, such as an engine guard, may also be included as a separate value.
  • The NADA Guide uses a variation on these calculations to come up with its own value for motorcycles.

How KBB Calculates Motorcycle Values 

A man riding a motorcycle down a dirt road

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.

Additional Equipment

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.

So, refer to the NADA used motorcycle guide before you make the decision of buying a motorcycle.

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