If you’re looking for a motorcycle, an auction is the way to go. Whether you want a new bike, a custom bike, a vintage Indian or Harley, an auction offers you an opportunity to get a deal. Some auctions will have motorcycles, dirt bikes, sling shots, and related vehicles. The quality varies and you may find bikes with salvage titles. Below I’ll share where to find motorcycle auctions, tips for bidding, what to expect, and my experience with the motorcycle auctions near me.
Map of Motorcycle Auctions Near Me
For “Motorcycle Auctions Near Me”, see below for locations…
How to Find Motorcycle Auctions Near Me
There are many motorcycle auctions everyday in the United States. The styles of auctions will vary as much as the bikes themselves and the quality you will find. Police, government, and repo auctions offer the ability to get a bike under value, while an antique motorcycle auction will find you rare gems. There are also salvage motorcycle auctions, where you can find rebuilt bikes, but you really need to do your homework before buying these.
For any motorcycle auction the key is, knowing where to look to find these events. Here is a list of free resources that I use to find Motorcycle auctions near me:
Google Search and Yelp Listings
Google and Yelp are your best bet for finding established regularly held events. I like searching for “motorcycle auctions near me” or getting more specific like “vintage motorcycle auctions near me” or more granular like “Harley Davidson Auctions Near Me”. A way find pop auctions or events that may be featured in your area , but not at an auction house is to add the date to your search. I also like using Yelp for these searches, mostly so you can dig into user feedback. Not all auctions are reputable, so you should look at the ratings and read reviews.
Pro Tip: One of my best secrets is using Google “Events” to find motorcycle auctions in my area. A lot of auction seekers, don’t look here for motorcycle auctions. Google Events will list all the big auction houses, but also smaller venues who may be holding motorcycle auctions. Many of these are one time events. This means less competition and more inexperienced bidders. You can find these auctions and dominate!
Government Listings of Motorcycle Auctions Near Me
Federal, state, and local governments post their motorcycle auction information online. Most of these are live public events, but some more recently are being held online. These motorcycles and dirt bikes have been seized or are considered government surplus vehicles. This are is my favorite link for government vehicle auctions.
Dealer and Trade Magazines and Websites
Dealer and trade mags or websites often have auction listings in them. Some will run their own auctions, while others will have paid ads from auctions. Here are two sites to get you started:
Local Bike Shows and Meet Ups
There is an amazing monthly motorcycle meet up in my area. You can check on MeetUp.com to find other riders in your area. Many of these folks will attend auctions and now whats going on locally. Some folks will be active buyers, while others will attend bike auctions, just to socialize. Finding your local riders and motorcycle shows will get you in the know about your local auctions.
How Do Live Motorcycle Auctions Near Me Work
There are two types of vehicle auctions: Public and Dealer. A dealer auction means you need a state issued dealers license to bid. To get one you must trade a certain amount of bikes every year. The average person can get one if they meet the requirements, but it takes some time for approval. The average rider is looking for a public auction. This is where you would go to bid only on a few bikes. Below we are going to address only public motorbike auctions.
These events vary in size, motorcycle types, quality of vehicles, and styles of auction. Some will run, some will need repairs, and others may be rebuilds sold with a salvage title. There are plenty of high quality vintage motorcycle auctions out there as well. No matter what kind of bike you are looking for, you can find it at one of these events.
The motorcycles at these events are often their on consignment from the owner. This means the owner agrees to pay a percentage of the final hammer price to the auction upon sale. Some of these percentages can get as high as 30% as some high end events. That may sound like a lot, but if you consider they do all of the marketing, dealing with the public, and grant you an actual sales date it can be worth the value, if your bike fetches a high value.
You can also check police auctions and repo auctions, whcih also feature used motorcycles to bid on.
Flow of the Event
Auctions will begin with a pre-inspection period. These might be hours before the event starts and sometimes held the day before. This is the period where people come and look at the bikes, listen to them run, and get to ask the owner questions.
Next phase is registration. In order to bid you must register. Here you get assigned a bidder number. You need to provide proof of identity, proof of finances, and sign an agreement that establishes your bid as a legally binding contract. Registering early is important, lines get long, and you don’t want to miss the bikes you plan to bid.
When the event starts, the auctioneer explains the rules first. Then will describe the first motorcycle and launch into auctioneer speak, which will sound like a foreign language. People will respond by raising hands, paddles, or yelling “Yep”. These are signs of bids. Each bid raises the price in ascending order until a highest bid is established. At that point the auctioneer says “sold” and the highest bidder becomes the owner.
Motorcycle auctions vary in layout. Some have the bikes pull through an auction lane in front of the crowd. Some have the vehicles drive through a lane in the middle, and others people walk with the auctioneer from bike to bike. At high end auction houses, the auctioneer is on a raised platform and there will be a large screen with the current motorcycles information and the current bid price.
Tips for Bidding on a Used Motorcycle at Auction
While we covered a few basic tips above here are some of my very specific tips to auto auctions:
- Go watch a motorcycle or vehicle auction first to learn the flow of the event
- Read the motorcycle catalog before the auction, take notes in it.
- Look up the bikes you like on Craigslist and Ebay…know what the market commands for them.
- Go to the live auction, do not phone your bids in.
- Register as early as possible. Lines get long and you could miss the motorcycles you wish to bid on.
- Inspect the bikes with a mechanics eye, look for rust, leaks, smoke, funny engine sounds, etc…
- Ask the owner alot of questions. Ask about the bikes documents, maintenance, service records, etc…
- Set a bid price in your mind and stick to it. If you did your research, you should know a fair market value.
- If you win don’t drive the Motorcycle home, let them ship it to you.
For additional tips on bidding on motorcycles read here.
Online Motorcyle Auctions vs Public Auctions
While I prefer to find motorcycle and dirt bike auctions near me, many events are moving online. This offers a convenient way to bid on a bike from home. It’s helpful to a seller as well since they can get a set sales date and reach a broader market on the internet. If you are going to bid on bikes online, you need to read reviews regarding who is the auctioning company. You want to make sure there aren’t payment issues, hidden fees, and the vehicles are of the quality they say.
For me the truth is nothing is like attending a motorcycle auction live and in person. You need to physically touch the machines, listen to the engine, feel how it moves, and speak with the owner. Pictures, videos, descriptions, can not replace a good set of eyes and ears. No one has ever bought a motorcycle on Ebay and thought “this bike is nicer then i thought”. Remember online, people are really slick with pictures, they can hide rust and corrosion and not tell the whole story on the history of the bike.
How to Get Your Motorcycle Sold in an Auction
If you have a motorcycle to sell, you can contact an auction house. An original bike or restored to original motorcycle, will sell more then a custom bike at least at a high end collectors auction.
The benefits of selling your ride at auction instead of privately is that you can reach a broader market, get a fixed sales date, and let them deal with potential buyers. Also in the right situation in a no reserve auction, you may get competitive bidding driving up the sales price.
When you call an auction house you must be the bike owner with the title in your name and it has to be free of liens. They will inquire about make, model, year, mileage, custom parts, condition, and asking. They may also ask you to provide photographs and a description,
The way it works is they will send you a consignment agreement. This means you will give up a percentage of the final sale price. While that may not sound enticing consider they do all the work and you just need to collect.
Motorcycle Auctions Near Me
Live public Motorcycle auctions are a lot of fun, but can competitive. It’s a good idea to go and watch one, before you go to bid. There are professional motorcycle buyers that know how to weed you out. The keys to a successful day at an auction is knowing the market, knowing your limits, and understanding everything about the motorcycle you are bidding on. These events present a great opportunity to get a used motorcycle at a great value if you know what you are doing. While I prefer live public auctions, there certainly good opportunities to bid on bikes online. This is what I have learned from the Motorcycle auctions near me.