Motorcycles 101: Buying New vs. Buying Used
If you have finally decided it’s time to buy your first motorcycle, your budget might dictate buying used is best. You might also be looking for a rare find, such as a customized bike, a special make or model or even something vintage. While you should have fun on your hunt for the perfect ride, it’s also important to consider the pros and cons of your choices.
Here we offer the beginners’ guide to motorcycle buying and we will compare buying new to used to help you in your quest.
Buying a New Motorcycle
Nothing is more tempting than a shiny new bike, with all the latest technology. You can feel confident it has not been ridden to death or poorly maintained since you will be the first owner.
You’ll also have peace of mind with a full warranty should you run into any issues. All of these things make it easier to feel confident when making your selection. Some considerations when deciding if new is best for you include:
- Where You Travel: If you plan to travel to remote locations or on roads less travelled, the new bike makes the most sense. You will avoid the increased risk for breakdowns and feel more confident when you plan a more exciting adventure off the beaten path.
Reasonable Warranty: While the warranty might be a draw, it can also be a drawback. Make sure you understand the terms of the warranty as it could end up costing you money. Some dealers provide a warranty as a source of income for their shop.
For example, they might stipulate you have to have a certain amount of oil changes to optimize performance but then charge an astronomical amount for the service. Balance the pros and cons of the warranty before making it the deciding factor.
- Technology: No doubt the newer the bike, the newer the technology. This can mean some pretty cool bells and whistles from adaptive lighting to tire pressure monitoring. These features aren’t just cool, but serve an important purpose in keeping you safe. When you choose a new bike, you improve your ride and in turn improve your safety.
- Budget: In most cases, unless you are buying a highly customized or vintage used bike, your new bike will cost you more. Consider the safety benefits of the bike, how you intend to use it and even the insurance implications to make the right decision for your budget.
Buying a Used Motorcycle
The allure of the lower price tag can be a big factor when buying used. Because bikes depreciate quickly, even a bike that’s just a few years old can save you a very respectable amount of money. You also might get a bike that’s been ridden less, with fewer kilometres and who knows, might even still be under warranty. There are some risks to buying used as well. Here are the main considerations when buying a used motorcycle:
Where You Travel: As with buying new, you want to consider where you plan to travel. If your bike is just to get around town or to work and back etc. then used is not such a bad idea. However, if you plan to hit the open road with lots of road trips then you need to be very careful that your used bike can live up to your expectations.
Buy from a Reseller: When buying used, avoid buying from a private seller. More can go wrong with a private seller and it can be very difficult to get some form of compensation if the bike turns out to be a dud. A reseller at a dealership will often offer a good working guarantee as well as proof the bike is certified. Although the warranty won’t be for more than a few months, it offers a bit more peace of mind. If you take to the road once you get the bike, most issues will appear within the first few months.
Consider Purchasing an Extended Warranty: Depending on the make and model, you might have the option to purchase an extended warranty. It might be worth the investment to avoid paying for issues in the first year or two you own the bike. A dealership can let you know what options are available.
Beware of As Is Sales: The private seller is selling their bike as is. That means you have no way of covering costs if the bike malfunctions. Because of this not only should you test drive the bike, but also arrange for an inspection at the garage of your choice.
Never go to the garage the private seller recommends as they might not offer an unbiased recommendation. It will cost you for the inspection, but it’s the risk of losing $100 for the inspection versus several thousand if the bike is in poor condition. You also have to consider risks for accidents due to malfunctions. Don’t be surprised if the seller doesn’t allow a test drive or inspection. They also shouldn’t be surprised if their refusal makes you decide to walk away.
Buying 101 New or Used
The bottom line when buying a motorcycle new or used is to be sure you feel you are working with a reputable dealer. As mentioned above, when you enter into as is sales, or walk into a showroom where you get a bad vibe from the sales team, you really should look elsewhere. Even at major lots where they are selling brand new bikes, the dealership could be less than honest. In fact, even if the dealership is honest, you might just find a shifty salesperson.
Confirm all the information you are provided including if you were told the colour you want isn’t available, as the dealer might be trying to get rid of a less popular colour they can’t seem to sell.
Plus, when buying new, consider buying at the time the new models are coming out but there are still plenty of unpurchased models left from the previous year. This way you can get the older model, pay less but still get a brand new bike. You’ll have almost as many bells and whistles, for a much more attractive price.
Last but not least, consider motorcycle insurance when choosing a motorcycle. Keep in mind that insurance premiums are determined by a number of factors, including the make and model. So you’ll spend way more for a racing bike.
This is because the more horsepower you have, the faster you can go and the higher risk you’re at of being in an accident. If you tend to be a bit of a daredevil on the road, you also want to consider getting increased liability and medical coverage, just to be safe.