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Are you looking to get a bike but aren’t sure whether to buy a new or used motorcycle?
Both brand-new and second-hand bikes have their pros and cons, and both can present an excellent option for getting around or simply going for a fun ride.
In this article, we are going to take a closer look at important factors to keep in mind when making a decision about which type of motorcycle to purchase.
Highlights/ Key Takeaways
- Both buying a new and a used motorcycle are great options to get out on the road, with their own pros and cons to consider.
- The ultimate choice should be dictated by your price range, preferred motorcycle condition, your own skills, and the technical features you are looking for.
- When buying a used motorcycle, make sure to conduct thorough research and perform due diligence to ensure that you are getting a good, honest deal.
Should You Buy a New or Used Motorcycle?
Both new and used motorcycles have advantages and disadvantages, and the ultimate answer will vary from person to person.
New vs. Used Motorcycle: Factors to Keep in Mind
When choosing between a new and used motorcycle, you would want to keep in mind several factors:
Your price range - Check what types of bikes fall within your price range. Obviously, older bikes are cheaper, but new starter bikes are no longer the bare-bones vehicles they once were. It is completely possible to find a new bike with the necessary features within a reasonable price range.
Motorcycle condition - Motorcyclists ride, crash, and customize their bikes more so than car drivers do. This means that if you are looking for a bike in a pristine condition, buying it new would likely be your only option.
Motorcycle technology and safety features - New motorcycles have more advanced technology and safety features. If cool things like traction control, ABS, and riding modes are a deal-breaker, you are probably looking at a fairly new bike.
Your skills - Used motorcycles are likely to require more maintenance and repairs than new ones. If you have the skills to wrench the bike yourself, buying a more affordable, used vehicle could be a great option for you. Otherwise, opt for a new bike with an intact manufacturer’s warranty.
|New Motorcycle||Used Motorcycle|
|Price Range||$6,000 to $15,000 for a decent model||20% to 50% cheaper than a new motorcycle of the same model|
|Motorcycle Condition||Brand new||Likely has past crashes or customizations|
|Technology & Safety Feautres||The latest technology (traction control, ABS, riding modes, etc.)||Outdated technology|
|Necessary Repairs||Not many rapairs needed. If needed, repairs are covered by a manufacturer’s warranty.||Likely more repairs needed. Manufacturer’s warranty is possibly expired.|
Used motorcycles are likely to require more maintenance and repairs than new ones. If you have the skills to wrench the bike yourself, buying a more affordable, used vehicle could be a great option for you. Otherwise, opt for a new bike with an intact manufacturer’s warranty.
Pros and Cons of Buying a New Motorcycle
There are obvious benefits to buying a brand-new motorcycle, however, some issues like rapid depreciation and waiting times should not be overlooked. Let’s explore the main pros and cons of buying a new motorcycle.
Advantages of Buying a New Motorcycle
- Possibly cheaper financing - When buying a new motorcycle, you can secure great rates if you finance it directly through the dealer. When purchasing a used bike from a private seller, you may have to turn to a personal loan instead, at considerably higher rates.
- No pre-existing damage - A new motorcycle doesn’t have any hidden damage from previous crashes or accidents. Plus, you get to enjoy the unforgettable smell of a brand-new vehicle.
- Intact warranty - When you purchase a new motorcycle from a dealer, it will usually come with a manufacturer’s warranty for 2 to 3 years or up to a certain mileage amount. This warranty will cover any major issues like the breakdown of the engine, gearbox, cooling system, electrical problems, and more.
- Modern technology and safety features - New motorcycles have all the latest technology in place, which makes them safer and more fun to ride.
- A blank slate for customization - Many motorcyclists choose to customize their bikes, - if you want to start fresh with your own customizations, opt for a brand-new bike.
- It’s easier - Shopping on a used motorcycle market requires additional knowledge and extra due diligence. Buying a new bike, on the other hand, is as simple as visiting your local dealership and shopping around.
Disadvantages of Buying a New Motorcycle
- Buyer’s premium. You will pay more just for the fact that the motorcycle is “new.”
- Rapid depreciation. Motorcycles depreciate the most in the first few years
- Waiting times. Some new motorcycles need to be ordered from the factory.
- Expensive parts. Fewer aftermarket parts are available, and replacement parts tend to cost more.
When buying a new motorcycle, you can secure great rates if you finance it directly through the dealer. When purchasing a used bike from a private seller, you may have to turn to a personal loan instead, at considerably higher rates.
Pros and Cons of Buying a Used Motorcycle
If you are looking for a more affordable alternative to a new motorcycle, shopping the pre-owned motorcycle market might be your best option. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of buying an older motorcycle.
Advantages of Buying a Used Motorcycle
- More affordable. Just like a used car, used motorcycles are much cheaper than brand-new ones. Even if a second-hand bike is only two years old, you can save as much as 25% to 50% of the original price.
- Flatter depreciation curve. A new motorcycle loses 5% of its value as soon as it leaves the dealership. Pre-owned motorbikes have a much flatter depreciation curve, which means you will be able to recover more of your money should you decide to sell the bike.
- Often fully serviced by dealerships. Many dealerships fully service both new and used motorcycles before displaying them for sale. For a second-hand bike, this may mean extensive work such as an oil change, a reworked engine, new lights, and new transmission fluid - all for a fixed fee.
- No need for “breaking in.” New motorcycles need to be serviced after the completion of a “break-in” period to change out the original stock fluid for synthetic or conventional oil. When buying a used bike, you won’t need to worry about this necessary service.
- Wider selection. Each year, manufacturers produce only a limited number of motorcycles that are labeled as “new.” On the other hand, the used motorcycle market is filled with virtually endless options to choose from.
- Come with extras and customizations at no additional price. While new motorcycles are a blank slate for customization, many used vehicles have the customization already taken care of for you. This will allow you to save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in upgrades.
Disadvantages of Buying a Used Motorcycle
- Less fuel-efficient. Older motorcycles often consume more fuel than new ones.
- Fewer financing options. When buying a used motorcycle privately, you won’t have access to the dealer financing.
- May not have a warranty. The manufacturer’s warranty usually expires after 2 to 3 years or after a certain mileage.
- May require maintenance and repairs. Older bikes are more likely to break, - plus, there may be some pre-existing damage already.
A new motorcycle loses 5% of its value as soon as it leaves the dealership. Pre-owned motorbikes have a much flatter depreciation curve, which means you will be able to recover more of your money should you decide to sell the bike.
Tips for Buying a Used Motorcycle
Buying a used motorcycle can save you more than a few bucks, but it requires due diligence and some prior research. Below are some helpful tips to keep in mind when buying a second-hand bike.
Where to Buy a Used Motorcycle?
If you are looking to buy a pre-owned motorcycle, a great place to start is to visit local dealerships. Alternatively, you can explore online marketplaces like Craiglist or Facebook Marketplace - or visit dedicated websites like Cycle Trader.
How to Buy a Used Motorcycle?
The process of buying a used motorcycle is similar to buying a new one, - except, you will need to be extra careful when checking the motorbike’s condition and previous history.
- Review your financial situation and set your budget.
- Choose a motorcycle type based on your budget, your skill level, and the intended use of the bike.
- Explore the inventory of used motorcycles at local dealerships and through dedicated websites.
- Once you find the right bike, carefully inspect its condition: check its appearance, breaks, tires, exhaust, frame, and other parts. You may hire a mechanic to complete this step for you.
- Check the motorcycle’s title history, registration, and state inspection to ensure that everything is in order.
- Pay in cash or secure motorcycle financing if necessary.
- Sign all the necessary documentation and complete the sale. The motorcycle now has a new owner!
What Is the Best Time to Buy a Motorcycle 2nd Hand?
The winter months of November through February are the best time to buy a motorcycle, as this is when the best deals are offered. When buying a used motorcycle, February is likely the best month of all: after extensive holiday shopping, many people are faced with credit card bills and are looking for a quick way to make some cash by selling their bikes.
What Is the Average Used Motorcycle Price?
While how much a motorcycle costs can vary greatly, most second-hand bikes cost between $4,000 and $10,000. To compare, a typical new motorcycle will set you back $6,000 to $15,000.
What to Ask When Buying a Used Motorcycle?
The most important thing before sealing the deal on a used motorcycle is to conduct thorough research. Make sure to ask the seller the following questions before completing the purchase:
- Why are you selling the bike?
- Do you have the title?
- Are there any modifications?
- Are there any issues with it?
- How has it been used?
- When was it last serviced?
- Where is it serviced?
- Has it ever been crashed?
What Is a Good Mileage for a Used Motorcycle?
While around 20,000 miles is considered low mileage for a used motorcycle, anything under 40,000 miles is a good deal. That being said, a well-maintained bike with a higher mileage can still make a great purchase.
Final Word: What Motorcycle Should You Buy?
When it comes to deciding whether you should buy a new or used motorcycle, there is no right or wrong answer. The decision is up to you and comes down to whether you are willing to pay extra bucks for more modern technology, an intact manufacturer’s warranty, and simply for the fact that your bike is new. So, review pros and cons of both options, consider your preferences, and find your dream motorcycle - whether it is new or used.