Do Harleys & Indian Motorcycles Hold Their Value? (Or Not?)

Harley-Davidson and Indian are two of America’s most well-known and recognizable motorcycle brands.

Both have been around for over a century, but not all so successfully.

While Harley-Davidson has enjoyed continuous operation and success since its founding, Indian has had more of a tumultuous past. Both are known in particular for making powerful cruiser motorcycles.

This article answers the question: “Do Harleys & Indian Motorcycles hold their value?”…

Do Harleys & Indian Motorcycles Hold Their Value?

For Harleys, the answer is generally yes.

Indian is a brand that has been through so much inconsistency through its lifetime, that the only models that people take seriously are the ones made since the Polaris takeover in 2011.

A Harley with its prestige branding, longer history, and overall brand value will retain value quite well.

Indian motorcycles tend to lose value more quickly because very few models have any “classic” value and the brand is still rebuilding itself.

How Much Is The New Price Of Harleys & Indian Motorcycles?

Both Indian and Harley-Davidson produce a range of motorcycles with different price ranges.

On the whole, it’s difficult to pin exactly which is the most expensive of the two, which you’ll see in the data below.

Harley Davidson’s range includes several categories: Sport, Cruiser, Grand American Touring, Adventure Touring, Trike, and Electric.

You’ll find the price range in each category below:

Harley-Davidson CategoryPrice Range ($-$)
Sport14,999 (only 1 model, Sportster S)
Grand American Touring18,999-44,099
Adventure Touring17,319-19,999
Electric29,799 (only 1 model, Livewire)

Indian Motorcycle’s range also includes several categories: Scout, FTR, Cruiser, Bagger, Touring, Dark Horse, Elite

Indian Motorcycle CategoryPrice Range ($-$)
Dark Horse16,999-29,999

As you can see, at the lower end of the price range there are better prices in Harley-Davidson’s range, though the most expensive individual bikes still remain those of Harley.

Harley has bikes under $20,000 in 4 out of 6 categories, whereas Indian only manages that in 4 out of 7 different categories.

How Much Do They Depreciate In Value?

Objectively speaking, both brands tend to hold on to their value quite well over a period of 5 years or so.

Of the two, however, Harley-Davidson does tend to hold its value better.

The average rate of depreciation sees Harley-Davidson’s retaining as much as 84 percent of its original value over a 5-year period, which is very impressive.

Not every single model will achieve these levels, but it is possible.

Indian, on the other hand, has a maximum retention rate of 77 percent after 5 years, but it is also less likely that an Indian will reach this level; less likely than that of a Harley-Davidson.

The main reason for Harley’s superiority in the depreciation factor is the brand prestige and history.

Among older millennials, Gen Xers, and even the Boomer generation, Harleys have held a powerful pull factor.

This has helped values to stay high.

As the younger members of Gen Y come to the fore, however, along with Gen Z, this might change, but not reverse.

Younger generations place less value on these old-school motorcycle brands.

It’s likely, therefore, that in the coming years, neither Harley nor Indian will be able to retain the current average depreciation numbers.

What’s The Resale Value?

Using top-selling models as examples, and looking at 2016 as a base year (5 years from the current year), you can expect to pay $12,580 for a pre-owned Harley-Davidson.

That’s based on the value of an FLS Softail Slim from 2016.

For an Indian Motorcycle, you could expect to pay $13,285.

That’s based on the value of an Indian Chief Classic from 2016.

What’s The Best Year To Buy A Used One?

For models with a bit more history, it’s worth looking at Harley-Davidson Sportster models from 2007-2009, and the same goes for the FXSTC Softail.

These model years were great for reliability and the bikes are likely still in good condition.

In the more modern context, the year 2014 held some great models, too, including the FXDWG Dyna Wide Glide, which is a customizable model that was much lauded for its performance and reliability.

When looking at Indian Motorcycle bikes, it’s important that you always check recall history because there have been quite a few recalls on models since the Polaris takeover.

Despite that, the years 2016-2019 brought some really excellent models, like the:

Indian Chief Vintage,

Indian Chief Dark Horse,

Indian Chieftain Dark Horse,

Indian Roadmaster Classic,

Indian FTR 1200,

and the Indian Scout Bobber.

Buying from 2016 will ensure a lower price, but because Indian Motorcycle models typically start at higher rates, the retained price is higher even after losing a larger percentage to depreciation.

Another decent year for many Indian models was 2011, especially for the Indian Chief Classic.

Do Harleys & Indian Motorcycles Hold Their Value Better Than Competitors?

Harley-Davidson has hardly been free from all controversy.

They’ve also experienced recalls and criticism, but on the whole, you can expect a Harley to retain its value more easily than that of an Indian currently.

This is an interesting fact because, over the past decade, Polaris has invested heavily in improving the reliability of the model.

In this, they have largely succeeded, too, with many pointing to the superior points of modern Indian motorcycles compared to Harleys.

With Indian motorcycles being “younger” in people’s minds due to their long absence and only very recent resurgence, Harley has the prestige factor and the brand recognition that help it to retain value better.

Neither Harley nor Indian is in the top-5 fastest-depreciating brands, which are Victory, Hyosung, BMW, Triumph, and Honda.

These brands depreciate for different reasons, but all end up going down faster than Harley or Indian.

Take Honda, for example, which depreciates faster than both Harley and Indian because of the sheer volume of motorcycles that they produce and sell.

With each new model year comes a flood that causes the used market to become overstocked and thus prices to go down.

What Are The Main Depreciation Factors With Harleys & Indian Motorcycles?

For Harley-Davidson, depreciation seems to only be heavily influenced by age, by which we mean it’s a kind of natural depreciation rather than anything caused by a specific issue with the bike that drives down prices.

This might change in the coming years, however.

The fact is that Harley-Davidson sales have been in decline and the fear is that the previously core demographic is declining and younger upcoming generations don’t have much love for the Harley-Davidson brand.

It could be that Harley-Davidson experiences greater depreciation as more eco-conscious younger buyers shun the loud, powerful engines of the traditional Harley in favor of alternatives.

All of this is yet to be seen.

For Indian, the biggest factor of depreciation is past recalls.

In general, an Indian will depreciate about as much as you’d expect just according to the age and availability of the model.

The more exclusive models depreciate less, and more common ones depreciate more.

When you consider recalls, however, it adds a degree of uncertainty to the brand, especially since some recalls have been over electrics and the gearbox, both very fundamental to safety and reliability.

All models impacted by recalls, even if not actually part of the recall, will experience depreciation because of this.

What Factors About The Brands Could Increase The Value?

Harley-Davidson’s brand heritage and recognition currently help it in sometimes increasing its value.

The biggest thing, however, for Harley-Davidson is the limited availability of some models.

In fact, both Indian and Harley-Davidson have produced special editions, custom editions, and limited-edition bikes, but especially Harley-Davidson in its many more years of continuous operation.

This exclusivity factor when applied to both brands is the main force that would see values increase.

It’s more likely to happen with Harleys, however, since almost all Indian models on the market nowadays are from 2011 onwards.

What Extra Costs Can You Expect:

Buying-Cost To Purchase A Motorcycle

For a Harley-Davidson, you should expect to pay anywhere from $10,000 to $45,000 depending on which model you are looking to get. The average cost is about $20,000.

For an Indian Motorcycle, the bikes range from $9,000 to $40,000, with the average also being about $20,000. Indian has fewer bikes below $20,000 than Harley-Davidson.

What About Taxes & Insurance?

Both Harley Davidson and Indian will cost $1100-1200 or more per year in insurance because they are typically so much larger than the average motorcycle.

The brands are also known for engine power and speed, which makes them riskier.

In addition, both brands tend to find many models in the higher price brackets, which naturally adds insurance risk and therefore premium cost.

Indian motorcycles also come with a lot of integrated technology, which helps drive up insurance costs more.

What’s The General Maintenance Cost Per Year Of Harleys & Indian Motorcycles?

The average maintenance on a Harley-Davidson bike is about $1600 annually.

The typical 5,000-mile service is about $400 on average.

For Indian, the average service is about $550 but can be $800 on some models such as the Chieftain and Roadmaster.

The average annual cost of maintenance is $1800.