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This article will discuss the possibility of test driving a motorcycle and how the answer can change depending on whether you buy a motorcycle from a dealer or a private seller.
We'll also explore the options for securing a test drive from the buyer's and seller's sides and what to look for during the ride.
Highlights/ Key Takeaways
- Motorcycle test rides are possible but not too common
- Most dealerships will only let buyers test selected models on special “demo days,” given that they sign a special waiver.
- Private sellers are more likely to allow test rides, but they come with strings attached - you may be required to leave a deposit.
- When coming for a test ride, make sure to have your motorcycle license on hand and be ready to test the bike in “life-like” situations.
Can You Test Drive a Motorcycle?
You can test drive a motorcycle before finalizing your purchase or applying for a motorcycle loan.
Test driving a motorcycle may not be as easy as test driving a car. To test ride a motorcycle, you need to have a valid license and find a dealer or a private seller who is willing to let you take the bike out on the road.
Do Motorcycle Dealers Allow Test Rides?
Most dealers don’t allow test rides, since motorcycle accidents can come at a high cost, - a bike is likely to sustain serious damage, and motorcycle riders can get seriously injured.
Instead, they run special demo days, when many dedicated test vehicles are available to try.
Still, some dealers do allow test rides, but they must carry insurance on the motorcycles available for testing.
Can You Test Drive a Motorcycle without a License?
Having a valid motorcycle license is a must for test driving a bike. If you don’t have one, you could bring a friend or a family member to test ride the motorcycle for you.
How Old Do You Have to Be to Test Ride a Motorcycle?
There is no age limit on test riding a motorcycle, but you must have a valid license to do so. In most states, this means that you are at least 16 or 17 years old.
How Long Can You Test Ride a Motorcycle?
When test riding a motorcycle at a dealer, you will likely be required to follow a pre-selected route lasting 10 to 15 minutes. Private sellers may allow longer test rides, but the duration is completely up to them.
Most dealers don’t allow test rides. Instead, they run special demo days, when many dedicated test vehicles are available to try.
How to Test Ride a Motorcycle: What to Look For
Test riding a motorcycle involves more than just taking the vehicle out for a fun ride. Familiarize yourself with the bike first, check all the safety features, and get going. Keep these factors in mind when making the purchase decision:
- Only compare new bikes with new bikes and old bikes with old bikes. If you are test driving a brand-new bike, it will feel so much better than your current motorcycle that’s several years old and is due for service. Don’t fall for that!
- Test ride several competitor models to see which one fits your need better.
- If possible, test ride the bike for at least several hours to see how it performs during longer trips. Rent it for a few days if needed!
- Ride on a variety of roads to see how the vehicle performs under different conditions.
- Simulate what the bike will be used for - commuting, cruising, touring, sport, or off-road riding.
- Try pushing the bike around to simulate getting it in and out of the garage.
- Take into account the motorcycle’s weight and make sure it feels comfortable to ride. The bike’s weight can play a huge role in its speed and ease of riding.
- Check whether the bike’s power is right for your needs.
- Consider the motorcycle’s ergonomics, especially if you are planning long rides.
- Make sure the electronics’ layout is functional and intuitive.
- Check whether the bike has all the necessary features like a sat nav or USB mount.
- Measure the motorcycle’s fuel consumption by checking the gas level before and after the ride.
- Never buy a motorcycle immediately after a test ride - don’t let the excitement cloud your judgment!
Should You Let a Buyer Test Drive Your Motorcycle?
When selling your own motorcycle privately, it is up to you whether to let a potential buyer test drive your bike. Of course, letting a person you just met take your beloved vehicle on a test ride can feel risky. However, allowing test rides is recommended, as most buyers won’t complete the purchase unless they can go for a test run - plus, there are certain ways to protect yourself.
How to Safely Let Buyers Test Ride Your Motorcycle
To minimize the risks associated with letting buyers test ride your motorcycle, keep in mind the following tips:
- Take a picture of the buyer’s driver’s license before they leave. This may motivate the potential buyer to be extra careful when test riding your bike.
- Ask for a deposit before giving a motorcycle for a test ride. The deposit will serve as collateral against the buyer in case they damage the bike.
- Don’t assume that holding onto the buyer’s car keys is a good enough precaution. Their car could also be stolen!
- Have a friend with you during the sale transaction. They can act as a witness if something goes wrong.
- Ask the buyer where they plan to test ride the motorcycle and ask them to stay within the allotted time frame. This way, the buyer may feel more obligated to stick to the pre-determined route and return on time.
- Keep the gas tank almost empty before a test ride. If the buyer attempts to steal the bike, they won’t be able to go too far before needing a refill.
- Consider following the buyer during their test ride to ensure they aren’t doing anything dangerous while riding your bike.
Test Ride Motorcycle Insurance Explained
Whether you are test riding a motorcycle or giving your own bike for a test ride, you must have proper insurance coverage to protect yourself.
When Test Riding a Motorcycle at a Dealer
Any dealer giving a motorcycle for a test ride must carry insurance on the vehicles available for testing. This insurance coverage can get quite expensive, so dealers will often host demo days instead.
During a demo day, all potential buyers must sign a motorcycle test ride agreement and an insurance waiver making the buyer responsible for any damage during the test ride.
When Test Riding a Motorcycle from a Private Seller
When test riding a motorcycle from a private seller, you should have active motorcycle insurance in case of an accident, regardless of the seller’s coverage.
When Giving Your Own Motorcycle for a Test Ride
When selling a motorcycle, you also need to make sure you have decent insurance. This will help you get reimbursed if a potential buyer steals your bike or damage occurs during a test ride.
Final Word: Get the Most Out of Your Motorcycle Test Ride
While it may be difficult to arrange, test riding a motorcycle can help you make a more informed purchase decision. Given that most test rides are limited to 10 to 15 minutes, make sure to get the most out of the allotted time by testing the bike in real-life situations and checking all the must-have features and functionalities. Good luck!