Should You Buy a New or Used Motorcycle?


Every new motorcycle buyer is faced with the decision to purchase a new or used motorcycle. Buying new comes with the peace of mind in knowing your motorcycle is going to run smoothly each time it starts. Whereas, purchasing a used motorcycle, although less expensive, may come with a set of pitfalls. The bottom line is that both options have their own pros and cons. Here are some things to consider when shopping for your next motorcycle.

When it comes time to purchase a motorcycle, buying new can seem like the best option. However, when someone makes the decision to purchase a new motorcycle, they tend to overlook some of the costs that hide behind the initial sticker price. Depending on your state, documentation fees, set up and destination charges could cost you upwards of $2,000. Since new motorcycles can be pretty expensive, most people choose to finance the bike. Nearly all dealerships offer financing with little to no interest depending on the buyer’s credit score and financial standing, but you should also explore other options like your bank or credit union. That way, you’ll know exactly what to expect for the out-the-door price.

Here’s an example of hidden fees. Take the 2019 Yamaha Niken:

$15,999 MSRP.
$500 Shipping/Receiving
$300 Documentation Fee
$300 Setup
$100 Tags
$474.97 Sales Tax (3%)

$17,673.97 Out-the-door price

And to think that the huge price you just paid will depreciate anywhere from 15-30% as soon as you drive it off the lot.

If you were to buy a used motorcycle, you would save a bucket of cash. Since the initial owner took the hit for the drop in value, it’s absolutely possible to find a great deal for a bike with higher specs. If you plan on buying used, try searching for used bikes online that are in your area. That way you can see what’s popular near you to find the best deal and avoid the hassle of shipping costs. If possible, it’s best to wait until winter when people are motivated to sell their bike quickly.

If you are looking for a good deal and do not care about the benefits of buying a new motorcycle, buying a used motorcycle from a private seller or a dealership may be the way to go. The price is usually right, and you can often find a used motorcycle has been well maintained, has lots of extras and is fairly priced, especially if you buy from a private seller. Sometimes, you can get a really good deal on a motorcycle that is a year old and essentially new, but the dealerships wants to sell it to make room for new units coming in. Buying a used motorcycle also does not mean that you can’t finance the purchase. In fact, most dealerships and lending institutions finance used motorcycles, as long as your financial standing meets their requirements.

Another thing to consider when buying a new motorcycle is the cost of insurance. If you plan on financing the motorcycle, you will be required to carry full coverage. Insurance companies take into consideration the value of the motorcycle, although some bikes may cost the same but could be twice as much to insure. If it’s more expensive and has a high crash or stolen rate, it will cost more to replace, resulting in a higher premium. It will only go up from there, if you’re a new rider or have previous violations on your driving record. However, safety features like anti-lock brakes, which are found on newer bikes, are less likely to be involved in an accident, so it will be cheaper to insure.

In a sample collected by Value Penguin, sport bikes were 388% more expensive to insure compared to cruisers, despite having an average blue book value of only 82% more. Touring bikes were 40% cheaper to insure while having a much higher average value.

Condition of the motorcycle is mainly a concern when buying used. Unless you’re a first time buyer, you probably know what you’re looking for. However, it’s important to have a checklist when test riding a motorcycle. How does the bike look? Has it been left outside or garage kept? Does the seat have cracks or tears? Look down the centerline of the motorcycle. If the mirrors stick out at different angles or the windscreen looks tilted, the motorcycle has probably been in a crash or had a hard drop. Avoid motorcycles with bumps, scratches or a bent frame. You can tell a lot about how the motorcycle was treated by the first glance. Look for a motorcycle with low miles, anywhere between 20,000-50,000 or less. Most motorcycles require major service around the 10,000-15,000 miles range, which can cost anywhere from $800-$1,500. It’s ideal to look at the service records so you know if you need to replace the brakes or tires soon after you buy it. Avoid motorcycles that have a salvage or rebuilt title or was used for stunting. Stunted motorcycles, or motorcycles that were raced, could have damage to the engine, transmission and suspension. It’s a good idea to test ride the motorcycle after you go over any safety issues.

Mechanical Issues
If you plan on purchasing a new motorcycle, you shouldn’t have any mechanical problems for a while. But if you plan on buying a used motorcycle, most dealerships charge $50 per hour for labor if you need work done. If you consider yourself pretty savvy with mechanics, you can afford to take risks on cheaper motorcycles since you’ll be able to work on them yourself. Some dealerships offer limited warranties on used motorcycles, which may cover some of the basic repairs for a fixed period of time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *