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Your Guide to Buying a Motorcycle

Finance | 09/29/2022 22:00

The temperatures are dropping and the leaves are changing color, which means one thing: it’s perfect motorcycle weather. Now is a great time to get out there and enjoy the fall on two wheels. And if you are thinking about buying a motorcycle, now is a great time to do so.

Whether you are looking to buy your first motorcycle or you are a seasoned rider looking for a new bike, we’ve got you covered.

Here’s everything you need to know when looking to buy a motorcycle.

Riding a motorbike on a mountain road

What do you look for in a motorcycle?

There are a lot of things you need to consider when you are selecting which motorcycle is right for you. Here are some questions you should ask yourself.

  • What is your price range?

  • How will you pay for it?

  • What is your intended use? For commuting, for distance, for off roading?

  • Are you looking for a new or used motorcycle?

  • If used, what condition are you looking for?

  • Are you comfortable working on your motorcycle? Do you know where you will go if not?

Make sure you consider all of these questions before committing to anything. But if you are comfortable moving forward, your next step is to decide what bike is right for you.

The bike style

There are a few different types of motorcycles out there, all of which have different advantages and disadvantages. Consider how you will be using the bike to determine which makes the most sense for you.

  • Standard: All purpose bikes that have an upright riding posture and are best for beginners and commuters. These are not ideal for long distance rides or off roading. (i.e. Honda Nighthawk)

  • Cruiser: Heavy bikes with a relaxed riding position and a V-twin engine that are best for taller riders who are looking for comfort. These are not ideal for smaller riders. (i.e. Harley Davidson)

  • Touring: Touring bikes are large bikes built for long distances, characterized by heavy engines and room for luggage. These are not ideal commuting bikes. (i.e. BMW R1200GS)

  • Sport: Smaller bikes that are built for speed and performance. They have a forward-leaning riding position and are built to be aerodynamic. These are not ideal for beginners. (i.e. Honda CBR)

  • Dual Sport: Lightweight bikes that are built for off-roading. They are not ideal for distance riding. (i.e. Suzuki DRZ)

All motorcycle styles are quite different, so it shouldn’t be too hard for you to determine what style is right for you and your lifestyle.

Engine size

In addition to the style of bike you will need to determine the best engine size for your needs. Most styles come in a variety of engine sizes, and those on the smaller end (like 250 cc or 500 cc) tend to be less to insure and are better suited for beginners. 

The reputation

Be considerate of a brand’s reputation when buying a bike. By this we mean:

  • Is the bike reliable?

  • What parts tend to have issues?

  • Where can you get parts and get the bike serviced?

Looking online and on forums is a great way to get a sense of how a bike will be. You want to read as much as possible to get a good sense of whether or not this is the right motorcycle for you.

What are the steps to buying a motorcycle?

Once you determine what you are looking for in a motorcycle, you can start looking around. You will have to decide if you are looking for a used bike or a new bike first and foremost. There are some pros and cons to both new and used bikes, so consider what will work best for you.

The pros and cons of a new bike.

With a new bike, you have the security of knowing that you are the first rider. There is no mysterious history to be weary of and no worries of improper repairs.You also get the peace of mind of a factory warranty that comes standard with new bikes in case any problems should arrive. You will also be able to finance your bike, which may be preferred for you.

On the other hand, you will certainly be paying more money and the bike will be devalued as soon as it leaves the lot.

The pros and cons of a used bike.

Many riders prefer to get a used bike instead of a new bike. Used bikes are typically a better value, as you will miss out on the sharp depreciation of the first few years. You can also choose to work on your bike yourself as it will not be under warranty anymore.  But the flipside of this is that you do not truly know the bike’s past and there might be more issues with the bike. 

Steps to buying a new bike.

  1. Find a dealer. If you are buying a new bike, it will be easy to find a dealership that has what you are looking for. Look for a dealer with a good reputation and good customer reviews. If you can, try to visit at least two dealers that have what you are looking for so that you can compare the rates and terms. 

  2. Negotiate the terms. Question all of the prices and negotiate as much as you can. There is usually wiggle room on the MSRP and the fees such as the destination charge and the assembly charge.

  3. Decide how you will pay. Are you paying in cash or are you financing? Paying in cash will get you a better deal overall and give you more negotiating power, but if you have good credit then financing shouldn’t be an issue. 

  4. Pick a lender. Shop around for financing before you get to the dealership. Dealer financing is notoriously more expensive. Instead, get pre approved and think about how much you can comfortably afford every month. Making a significant down payment (at least 20%) will greatly help your monthly payments. Pick a repayment period that is between 2-5 years; the shorter your repayment period is the higher your monthly payments will be but the less you will pay overall.

  5. Register and insure. After you sign on the dotted line, you will need to register and insure your new bike. And that’s it! You can enjoy your new wheels immediately (after picking up the right safety equipment, of course).

Steps to buying a used bike.

  1. Find your bike. If you are looking for a used motorcycle, you may need to do a bit more research. Craigslist, Motorcycle Trader and eBay are all great places to start. 

  2. Do your research. Know what the Kelley Blue Book value is before you see the bike so you know you aren’t getting scammed. The more familiar you are with the bike, the better off you will be.

  3. Be safe and smart. If you decide to see a bike, be sure to take safety precautions. Meet in a public place and bring a friend along. 

  4. Assess the condition. Be thorough when looking at the bike to make sure it is in good condition. If you notice any of the following, proceed with caution: high mileage, salvage titles, excessive wear, or difficulties starting, running or stopping.

  5. Pay in full. If you are comfortable with the condition of the bike and feel that it is fairly priced (you can always try a little haggling!), then be prepared to pay in full with either cash or a cashier’s check. And remember to get a signed receipt.

  6. Register and insure. You will still have to get it registered and insured, but after that it’s all yours.

What do lenders look for when buying a motorcycle?

If you are looking to get a new bike and get it financed, lenders will take a few different things into consideration. They will look at:

  • Your credit score

  • Your debt to income ratio

  • The down payment you made

  • The price of the motorcycle

Depending on these factors the lenders will determine what motorcycle loan APR is appropriate. It is a good idea to make sure your credit score is in top shape before applying for financing. 

If you already have a motorcycle that is financed, you may be able to refinance your motorcycle loan and save a lot of money. By using a company that specializes in refinance, you can quickly and easily reduce your motorcycle loan APR and reduce your monthly payments drastically. If any of the following apply to you, it is definitely worth considering:

  • Your credit score has improved since you first financed

  • Your debt to income ratio reduced since you first financed

  • The market rates have decreased since you first financed

And that’s everything you need to know about buying a motorcycle.

When buying a motorcycle you want to take your time and do your research to make sure you are fully prepared. A motorcycle is a big responsibility but it can lead to some pretty great adventures. 

If you are considering refinancing your motorcycle loan, get in touch with Auto Approve today to get a free quote. It’s quick, easy, and can save you A LOT of money. 

So don’t wait, contact Auto Approve today!


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