Guide to Buying a Motorcycle

Top tips to follow when purchasing your first motorcycle

04/21/2014

Some people dream of owning their own car or home. But if your fantasy is revving the engine on your very own Ducati or Harley Davidson, you may be ready to take the plunge and buy your first motorcycle. But where do you even begin? There are many things to consider when making the big purchase. Ask yourself these questions when motorcycle shopping:

What kind do I want? If you’re a beginner rider, you’ll probably want to stick with the basics. Cruisers offer a less demanding ride than sports bikes, which are known for their high speed and maneuvering. However, these rapid riders might be the bike for you if you’re already confident in your ability to ride.
 
Also, ask yourself if your motorcycle will be your only form of transportation (e.g. will you be riding it to work every day, sitting in rush-hour traffic?). If you’ll be using it each day, a touring motorcycle may be a good fit. These have wind-protecting windshields, gas tanks that offer longer times between filling up and a more upright seating position, which would be more comfortable if you’re sitting in traffic. A cruiser is also a good choice for every day use, or a bike that has saddlebags so you can carry belongings in it. But if your motorcycle will just be, say, a weekend “toy,” you may be happier with a “sexy” sports bike.

Is it comfortable? Before jumping into the big purchase, understand that motorcycles come in all different shapes and sizes, just like cars do. See if you can take the bike you’re interested in for a test spin. That way, you’ll be able to get a sense of what works and what doesn’t work for you.
 
For example, that beautiful sports bike you love the look of may actually put strain on your wrists, shoulders or back. One caveat: If you’re buying a bike to ride long distances, a short test ride may not give you the full effect. In that case, make sure you do your homework online and research how motorcycles differ among various body types.

How much can I afford to spend? With any big purchase, you should set a budget that you feel comfortable with. Find out the insurance rates beforehand, comparing several carriers, and factor that in for different bikes.
 
"That's the number one by far best suggestion I can make," says Ben Sheridan, general manager for motorcycle insurance with Progressive Casualty Insurance Co. “Rates really vary a lot. From one bike to another, they can be five to ten times different." Other costs you may forget about include all of the safety gear you’ll have to buy, such as a high-quality helmet, gloves, riding pants and more. And, like with a car, motorcycles may require upkeep, which can vary among the different types.

Do I want new or used? This is your personal preference, and also depends on your budget. New bikes may be pricier, but they typically come with a peace-of-mind warranty. Older bikes may be better for a beginner, since dinging it up wouldn’t matter as much as if it was new. However, while used bikes may be less expensive, you’ll want to consider how much repairs will cost if the bike is old and needs work. Consider the bike’s vehicle history if it’s used — mileage, accident history, etc.
 
Regardless of what you choose, be sure to stop by and talk to us about financing your dream bike.

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