Not so long ago, we told you about Zero Motorcycle‘s Cash For Carbon Program.  The basic premise of the program was that Zero would give you $1,500 over and above the dealer’s trade-in offer when you trade an internal combustion engine (ICE) motorcycle for a new 2020 Zero SR/F or SR/S.

Zero has now improved the offer and dropped the requirement for a trade-in.  You no longer have to trade an ICE engine machine towards an SR/F or SR/S.  Zero will throw an extra $1,500 factory incentive into the deal without a trade-in.  All you have to do is make your best deal with your dealer, and Zero will add an extra $1,500 towards your machine.  It’s sort of a rebate, without the wait.

Making a win/win deal

If you are interested in a new electric Zero SR/F or SR/S, you’ll want to polish up those dealer negotiation skills and make your best deal.  But if you do want to trade in your machine, how do you get the best deal?  Knowing what a dealer wants gives you the best chance of making a sale that both you and the dealer feel good about.

When both parties feel good about a sale, you get a good price and support the dealer and all the people that work at the dealership.  These kinds of deals keep all their staff employed and their service levels high.

Right now, small businesses are suffering the most from the COVID pandemic.  And most dealerships aren’t of the megastore variety that can survive economic downturns for a significant time.   So if you are in the market for a new bike and want to help keep those mom and pop moto shops open, now’s the time to pull the purchasing trigger.

zero sr/F

Zero’s SR/F is eligible for the Cash For Carbon program. A trade-in is no longer required.

What do dealers want?

But just what does a dealer look for in a trade-in or other things that can help make a sale?  How can both of you receive maximum benefits?  To find out, we asked a small dealership that sells Zero motorcycles what they look for in a trade-in and what helps them give you the best deal possible.

We contacted Tamara Boise (Dealer Principle) and Andy Duggento (Sales and Finance Manager) of CycleWise in New Haven, Vermont. The discussion touched on what they look for in a trade-in and other things that can help both parties arrive at a win/win deal.  Andy stressed that no two sales are the same.  From his standpoint, he tries to adjust to what the customer wants and needs.


As far as trades go, any bike in good running condition is up for discussion.  Some dealers don’t like bikes more than ten years old, but Cyclewise’s sweet spot is for machines between one and fifteen years of age.

That said, an older bike may be more attractive to a dealer than a newer bike that needs significant work.  Andy and Tamara were clear that a trade-in bike doesn’t have to be perfect.  In fact, they sell lots of pre-owned inventory in the range of $3,000 to $4,000.  So don’t labor under the impression that you have to bring a nearly new or pristine machine for a trade-in.


If you are looking for financing, dealerships can make a little money from the lender for sending you their way.  But financing is not necessary, and cash is actually easier for the dealership.  So if you want to pay cash, that’s fine.  It won’t necessarily help the dealer’s profit line but could help them with cash flow and floor planning.

Obviously, if you are financing a bike, a good credit score will help you get better rates and be approved more quickly.  Dealers will work to find a suitable finance deal because if you don’t get financed, they don’t make a sale.

zero SR/S

Zero’s fully-faired SR/S is also a part of the $1,500 Cash for Carbon program.

Extended warranty

Some dealers also offer extended warranties and similar maintenance related items.  And, they can also make a little profit on them.  So if you are considering an extended warranty, the dealer may have the chance to make a few extra bucks, and you end up with some additional piece of mind.

Service and accessories

Obviously, dealers can also make money on service and accessories.  If you need either of these two things, some dealers are open to giving you a break on these costs when negotiating a deal.  However, this makes the deal more complicated for the dealer since they often treat service/parts/accessories as separate cost centers.

But it can be done depending on the dealer and potentially even the time of year.  If you’re trying to negotiate a deal on service during the busy part of the year, the less likely they will be able to accommodate your request.  But if you are negotiating during the slow season, they will have more incentive to negotiate internally and work any discounts into your purchase.

A win/win deal

Win/win deals are always the best.  They are far better than sales, where one party feels like they made a killing at the other party’s expense.  When a dealer gives you a good deal, you will likely come back to them for service and accessories.  When the buyer provides a dealer with a fair profit, you incentivize the dealer to better support you and allow it to support its staff.

The key to all of this is to know how both people can walk away from a deal happy.  If you are in the market for a Zero motorcycle, or any motorcycle for that matter, hopefully, you have a little more insight into making a deal that’s good for both you and the dealer.


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