Top 5 Tips for Buying a New Motorcycle
Buying a new motorcycle is a great way to find exactly what you’re looking for. You also won’t have to worry about what it may have been through with a previous owner.
However, it is typically more expensive than buying a used motorcycle. In some cases, it is much more expensive. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to buying new or used. It’s all about what works for you.
It’s important to be prepared when making any large purchase. A brand new motorcycle certainly falls under this category.
Continue below for our best tips on new motorcycle shopping!
Understand Your Finances
Fully understanding how you are going to pay for your new motorcycle is extremely important. Set a budget beforehand to avoid overspending. How much do you have to comfortably put towards a down payment? Will you need to finance it? What will those monthly payments look like?
If you feel any hesitation or uncertainty while asking yourself these questions, you may want to consider shopping for a used motorcycle. Keep in mind that a new motorcycle can depreciate around 25 percent after the first two years. In most cases, a new motorcycle depreciates as much as 10 percent right after you purchase it, because it’s no longer considered new. You can still have fun on two wheels without the stress of a bigger price tag.
There are a couple of financial benefits when buying a new motorcycle, though. If you need to finance it, new motorcycles generally have lower interest rates than used. Newer motorcycles with more safety features are also typically cheaper to insure than older models. Don’t forget to account for insurance, taxes, registration fees, maintenance, and gear when calculating the total cost of ownership.
Take Safety Courses
If you do not feel comfortable riding a motorcycle by yourself, do not advance in the motorcycle buying process. If you think you may be sort of comfortable but aren’t sure, stop right here.
Riding a motorcycle can be very dangerous if done without knowledge or confidence. Luckily for everyone, many states require basic level courses to be passed before you’re able to ride. For some people, this may not be enough. You may pass the basic level course, but still have anxious feelings when getting on two wheels.
If this is the case, it’s best to err on the side of caution. Take as many courses as you need to until you feel 100 percent comfortable being on your own. Consider enrolling in courses such as the MSF Basic RiderCourse and research local providers to find suitable training options.
Obviously, your life and health are the most important factors to consider when riding. But, getting in an accident or laying down a brand new motorcycle due to inexperience stings a lot more than beating up a used one.
The good news is that you can often find substantial insurance discounts when submitting proof of training courses to your provider. The training staff can also recommend which types of motorcycles would be good fits for you.
Choose Your Preferred Motorcycle Style
Now that we’ve completed the responsible steps, it’s time to have some fun! It’s important to understand the money and safety involved, but you’re buying a new motorcycle because you want to have fun with it. This part of the process should be enjoyable, too.
You may not know exactly what you want before seeing anything in person, but you can do some prep before heading in to check things out. Walking in (figuratively) blind and not knowing what you’re looking for can waste a lot of time and make the process more challenging.
Think about the type of motorcycle that suits your needs and preferences. Are you interested in cruisers, sportbikes, touring bikes, or another category? Have you owned a motorcycle in the past? Did you like it? What would you have wanted to be different about it?
Are there any motorcycle manufacturers you’re specifically interested in? Do you want something big, small or in the middle? Are there any recently released features that you’d like your new motorcycle to have?
Whether you’ve been through this process before or are new, these are good questions to ask if you’re not sure where to start looking. Hopefully some internet browsing allows you to narrow your scope before venturing out to some dealerships.
Visit Multiple Dealerships
Now that you’ve whittled down your wishlist to your top choices, it’s time to shop!
Research dealerships, read reviews, and ask for recommendations from fellow riders to ensure a positive buying experience. Head to some of your local dealerships that have motorcycles you’ve researched. Sit on the ones you are the most serious about and get a sense of how they feel. Your feet should rest comfortably on the pegs and your arms should be able to reach the handlebars and turn them without struggling.
Make sure your feet can also reach the ground and that you can easily operate the controls and the brakes. Ensure that the motorcycle is not too heavy, either. If you’re not able to push it around manually, it’s too heavy for you. That’s not safe.
Once you’ve settled on a possible choice, ask the dealer if they offer test rides. This can be tricky, as they all operate differently. You may have a better chance securing a test ride at a branded dealership. If your dealer does not offer this and you prefer to ride the motorcycle before you buy it, we discuss an alternative in the next section.
Lastly, don’t buy a new motorcycle from the first dealership you visit. Salespeople can be very persistent. They’ll likely try to influence you to believe that the motorcycle may be gone if you don’t sign for it that day. It may be, but it’s best to look around and find a deal that’s a great fit for you. The more dealers you visit, the better your negotiating tactics will become.
Consider the Season for Buying
If you are not in any hurry to buy a new motorcycle and are looking for the very best deal, consider the time of year to go shopping.
Many parts of the country cannot accommodate motorcycle riding during the winter because of the frigid temperatures and rough conditions. This is a great time to look for a deal you won’t be able to find during other seasons, specifically after the holidays. Dealers often experience low sales after the holiday shopping season. So, you may find a solid number of markdowns around this time.
February is also the shortest month of the year. This means that dealers have fewer days to meet their sales goals. Some may be inclined to offer discounts during this time.
Many potential buyers choose to go shopping at dealerships on weekends. Because of this, some dealers may happen to reduce prices between Mondays and Thursdays. Keep an eye on local dealer social media accounts, to see if they make any last-minute announcements regarding sales.
If you want to test ride the motorcycle but your local dealer does not offer test rides year-round, look out for demo days in your area. Demo days are special events that let prospective buyers test ride the latest models.
Keep in mind that you will need a valid motorcycle license and proof of insurance. Some event hosts will also require you to have year(s) of street riding experience. Check with them to ensure you have everything you need before you head that way. And don’t forget your riding gear!
Now that you’ve learned some tips, you should be confident heading into the dealership to buy your new motorcycle. Stay true to your preparation, and don’t let salespeople talk you into anything you’re not comfortable with.
Which is your favorite out of the tips we mentioned? What have we not mentioned that helped prepare you for new motorcycle shopping? Let us know in the comments below!