How to Buy a New Motorcycle

You've read our New vs. Used Motorcycle Guide and decided to go with the shinier option. But, the process of buying a bike may seem difficult to navigate. It doesn’t have to be, here’s how to buy a brand new motorcycle.

What To Expect

Expect the salesperson will tell you how cool you’re going to look on Bike X, and how cool other people are going to think you’re going to look too.

Expect the salesperson to give you some reason why the motorcycle will probably not remain available beyond the immediate time period. Ignore that, it’s worth waiting to find the price or financing that fits your needs.

Expect the salesperson to try and convince you of the value of an extended warranty. Ignore that too, most motorcycles already come with a one or two-year, unlimited mile warranty and most repairs are relatively cheap and easy to make. Unless you crash, in which case that extended warranty won’t cover you anyhow.

Expect the purchase process to take a few hours. After negotiating a final price, you’ll be passed off to someone in the finance department who’ll want to know how they’re getting payment. They’ll also begin washing and prepping the bike which, combined with the paperwork and handshaking, takes longer than you’d expect.

How To Buy A New Motorcycle - Advice for Dealership Virgins

What You Need To Know

Know whether you’re walking into a dealership to learn about the bike or to make the actual purchase. Don’t let the salesperson bully you into making a decision you’re not ready for.

Know about the motorcycle. Nothing helps minimize sales tactics like a well-informed buyer. The salespeople themselves are often woefully under informed, don’t assume they are experts. Do your own research on price, specs, performance and try and score some test rides on similar bikes beforehand.

Know about insurance costs. There’s nothing worse that getting your heart set on a bike, only to find you can’t afford the insurance payments. You can get a quote from Progressive in under a minute. Providers can vary greatly, some consider a bike like the Ducati Monster a standard, while others classify it as a sport bike; the difference in prices between the two can be massive. That classification and the engine size are the two main factors with rates.

Know your budget. There are a lot of costs beyond just the bike’s purchase price, especially if this is your first time. Factor in:

  • Riding Gear
  • Dealer Fees ($300 - $1,000)
  • Sales Tax
  • Title Transfer

Know how you’re paying. Unlike houses or cars, you can buy a motorcycle with little or no money down. The more cash you’re able to bring to the table, the more leverage you have in negotiating a better rate. Interest rates vary widely, between zero and 15 percent and are dependent on your credit, the amount being financed and the loan period. Motorcycle loans tend to be shorter than car loans, but can be found for up to 60 months.

How To Buy A New Motorcycle - Advice for Dealership Virgins

Common Sense Advice

Take riding gear with you. Whether you’ll be riding the bike home or are just taking a test ride, be prepared. But, if you can, leave the gear in the car so the salesperson won’t think you’re planning on riding home that day.

Plan insurance ahead of time. This allows you to find the lowest rate, then call and activate it once you’ve signed the paper.

Take an experienced friend. Especially if this is your first bike or if you don’t yet have gear or insurance. They’ll be able to ride it home for you.

Don’t forget your license and proof of insurance. Vital if you want to take a test ride or ride a bike home.

Many dealerships will take trade-ins, but it’s much harder to value a used motorcycle than a car. You’re usually better off selling your bike privately.

One benefit of purchasing gear at the dealership is that you can usually package it into the finance payment. If you’re starting fresh and buying head-to-toe gear, this can help spread the burden of payment.

What are your tips for buying a new motorcycle? Share them in comments.

Recommended Reading


Buying a New Or Used Motorcycle — Which Is Right For You?

A Beginners Guide To Motorcycle Gear

The Complete Guide To Motorcycle Categories

The Best Motorcycles For New Riders

How To Get A Motorcycle License

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