Motorcycle. Even when you hear the word it elicits excitement and adrenaline in you. It is safe to say that most people know what a motorcycle is and have seen them on the road. If you have always dreamed of owning a motorcycle, now is a great time to explore the options and see if it is for you.
A motorcycle can bring you a lifetime of adventure. But it can also be a whole new experience for you as well. You will need to learn how to ride the motorcycle. Plus, you will need to make sure that you are in tune with your bike. We must also address the fact that being on a motorcycle can be more dangerous than a car. So you must always bear that in mind and be aware of your surroundings.
Before you head out to purchase that motorcycle you have been eyeing, you want to take a step back and think about whether it is the right choice for you or not. As you ponder the thought of a motorcycle, ask yourself these questions too:
- Will a motorcycle fit into your budget? Can you afford the long-term costs?
- Do you want or need the motorcycle?
- Do you want a new or used motorcycle? Could you settle for used over new?
- What is the intended use of the motorcycle?
- If it is going to be your only mode of transportation, what will you do in adverse weather?
- Can you pay for insurance on the motorcycle?
- Where will you keep the motorcycle?
- Do you need to transport others using your motorcycle?
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These are all important questions to answer. For example, if you choose a motorcycle as your only means of transportation, what do you plan to do if it is raining outside? Will you take the bike, and will you take a bookbag of new clothes with you?
Often, consumers find themselves stuck in a difficult spot. Because they really want a motorcycle, but they do not necessarily need one. Motorcycles offer you a unique form of transportation and they can be easy to maneuver, store, and ride. In fact, many people find them more convenient than a car, but they are not the right choice for everyone.
Before you make any type of purchase, you should take your time and check out what type of motorcycles are available and decide on which one would be the best type of you. As we will discuss below, you will find there are some motorcycles that are better for riding. Others are better for off-road applications.
Always do your homework as it does matter. The more you know, the better you can go into a dealership prepared and ready to make your purchase.
You’re probably thinking about a motorcycle and being the proud owner of one. So take some time to explore the small guide below. We will talk about the different types of motorcycles, how to set a budget for your motorcycle, introduce you to the top motorcycles on the market, and discuss insurance for your motorcycle.
Let’s get started!
Choosing the Right Motorcycle for Your Needs
We have said it before and we will say it again – choosing the right motorcycle matters. Often, first-time motorcycle purchasers are influenced by the cool-looking street bikes that make a lot of noise and race up and down the highway. While these are nice motorcycles, they are not likely what you are looking for. Unless of course you are looking to race and have the skillset needed to drive them.
There are so many types of bikes available on the market. You may find yourself quickly overwhelmed and confused about which one to choose. Hey, it happens to the best of us.
You want to take your time when choosing a motorcycle because a rushed decision can only and will only lead to issues down the road. Below, we will cover some of the basics as you start to think about and choose the right motorcycle for your needs.
Where will you be driving the motorcycle?
The type of bike you choose should meet your needs well and you will need to determine where you will be driving the motorcycle. Do you plan to travel long distances, or do you plan to commute around town only?
A motorcycle that offers you some cargo or luggage room is a good choice. Especially if you plan to travel longer distances. This way, you can take your essentials with you. Plus, you do not have to wear them on your back the entire time. You would want a motorcycle that is made to be in the dirt and perform well in dusty conditions if you plan to drive off-road most of the time.
Size does matter
They always say that, don’t they? If anyone tells you that size doesn’t matter in this situation, they are doing you a disservice. You never want to underestimate how important the size of your motorcycle is.
A rule of thumb in this situation is to never purchase a motorcycle that does not allow BOTH your feet to sit flat on the ground when you are sitting on the bike. You want your motorcycle to be easy to handle. And if your bike were to start leaning and you cannot reach the ground, you will be in trouble.
Your comfort is important
Just because a motorcycle is in your price range, made for beginners, and the right size does not mean it is the right motorcycle for you. An uncomfortable motorcycle can be just as dangerous as one that does not allow your feet to touch the ground. Your comfort is important. You must be able to sit on the bike without your back hurting or feeling out of place.
If you find that you are uncomfortable on one type of bike, try another one. Sometimes, the style of the motorcycle makes a difference. So don’t be shy and try out as many as you need to before you make a decision.
Types of Motorcycle Designs
Before you head to the local dealership and jump on a Harley and take off into the sunset, you want to spend some time thinking about the type of motorcycle you want to purchase. There is more than one type available and you will find that you have a plethora of options. Which can quickly make your decision THAT much harder to make.
There are several types that we will cover below. But do know that in addition to these types, you will come across others. It all depends on what your reasoning for wanting a motorcycle is or your reason for driving one around town. Each type has its own pros, cons, and can fit your lifestyle.
In general, these are the types of motorcycles you will come across in your search for the right one.
The term street bike is used to include several different types of motorcycles that are designed to be and are legally driven on a paved road. There are many types within this category, but these types of bikes typically come with:
- Lighter tread patterns
- Beefy engines
- Smooth tires
Below, we will talk about some of the different types of street bikes available.
Standard and Traditional Motorcycles
A traditional or standard motorcycle is, essentially in the bike world, referred to as a naked bike. This is because the bike does not come customized or fully loaded like some of the other options out there. Essentially, this bike is void of the bells and whistles.
A standard bike is one of the most popular bikes on the road. They are used for general purposes such as getting to and from your destination.
Recommended for new riders, standard or traditional motorcycles are an ideal choice. They are cheaper than other option and they allow you to sit in a natural position. This helps prevent dropping the bike or losing control when balancing.
Being on the road, you have likely heard and watched as a motorcycle flies past you in a blur. These are sport bikes and a popular option. This motorcycles were built to race and provide excitement to those on it. You will usually find these motorcycles traveling at higher speeds or performing tricks as opposed to the standard or naked bike which cruises.
When looking at a sport bike, you can expect it to have a lightweight body, strong, high-performance engine, and a superior suspension and braking system. Since these bikes are made to be fast and sporty, they often cost more than the standard option.
It is important to keep in mind that these sport bikes are NOT for beginners. If you are a beginner, you do not want to attempt to ride one. The power will be too much for you to handle. You need to have experience and be confident in your ability to handle them.
Since these bikes do go at higher speeds and are built to be racing bikes, they are not as fuel efficient as some of the other models out there. So, if fuel economy is a top priority for you, a sport bike is not the best choice.
Touring and Sport Touring Bikes
The touring motorcycle is designed for individuals who need to travel more often than just around town or to and from work, so it is a bit different than the standard edition. You can expect a touring motorcycle to include a large fuel tank and engine to accommodate your needs.
Since touring motorcycles are used for travel, they often are the heaviest of the motorcycles available. Which means they are not suitable for a beginner rider. They can be harder to handle than a standard bike but are easier to handle than a sport bike.
In addition to the touring motorcycle, there is the sport touring motorcycle. This option is like the touring except it is a bit sportier. Which means it weighs less and has a different suspension system in it. The sport edition is edgier and a bit smaller overall than the touring edition. But you can still use this bike to travel as well.
Choppers, or cruiser motorcycles, are typically custom-made bikes or Harley Davidson motorcycles. They have a distinct riding position where the rider sits slightly reclines and their feet and arms are stretched out. This riding position is very different from the sport bike position where you are generally upright as opposed to reclined.
Cruiser bikes are used for leisure activities or cruising around town as their name would suggest. You do not have to put as much energy into these bikes. They typically shift automatically and allow you to maintain control and speed.
While these motorcycles are ideal for leisure riding, they are not recommended for new motorcycle riders. Their riding position can become tiring or uncomfortable quickly. Especially when you are not used to it.
A dual-purpose motorcycle is not as common as the other options above and is more of a street and off-road motorcycle in one. You can use these bikes for recreational riding on different terrains or you can take them on a local cruise around the city, which does make them a wonderful option for riders.
One of the unique things about these dual-purpose bikes is that they come with side-view mirrors, a horn, turn signals, and headlights to ensure you feel safe and comfortable while driving them.
Commonly referred to as a dirt bike, an off-road bike is meant to be driven off the pavement and on dirt, grass, or sand. These bikes are made different than the other ones we have looked at as they can handle the pressure of the different terrains.
When looking at these off-road bikes, you can there is a distinct difference between them and the others. You will find that dirt bikes have a more rugged look to them and are not as polished as the other options. They do have a superior suspension system in them that allows you to slide, jump, and go over rocks and bumps with ease.
A dirt bike is powerful and is not recommended for new riders or riders who do not have some experience. It is also recommended that you do not take the off-road bike onto the highway.
Mopeds and Scooters
While mopeds and scooters are not considered motorcycles, they are within the category and many consumers do use them. In general, these options are ideal for you if you plan to just cruise the city streets. Or if you are commuting around a college campus. You never want to take a moped or scooter on the highway. It is not recommended and can be extremely dangerous to do.
When you compare a traditional motorcycle to a scooter or moped, you will find that the scooter or moped is:
- Slower and easier to control
- Smaller in size
- Loaded with storage space
Most mopeds and scooters come with an automatic transmission, which makes them a breeze to ride and they are a wonderful tool to use when learning how to ride a motorcycle.
Before You Buy Your Motorcycle: Check This Out
Making that big step towards purchasing a motorcycle is fun and exciting but it can be scary too. How do you know that you are choosing the right motorcycle to meet your needs? Or, how do you know you will still be happy with your motorcycle purchase in two or three or maybe even five years?
It is crucial that you spend time considering what type of bike you want and what features you need to make the motorcycle work for you.
Before you buy any motorcycle, consider your EXPERIENCE LEVEL.
Unfortunately, consumers will jump in with both feet forward and assume the first sport bike that catches their eye is the one for them. Your experience level is the BIGGEST factor in determining what type of bike you should and should not buy. There is a reason that some bikes are designed for pros and others for beginners. You do NOT want to overestimate or overcompensate on your abilities in this area because if you do, you may find yourself in a serious accident.
If you are NEW or SEMI-NEW to riding a motorcycle, you should look for a bike that is:
You want to be able to steer, accelerate, and balance the bike without any serious issues. If you choose a bike that is too heavy, you may find that it falls or lays down when you balance or steer. In addition, a motorcycle that is too heavy for you may slip out from under you when you accelerate from a stop, which is extremely dangerous.
Since this is your first bike, you do not want to jump onto an expensive bike. Since you are more likely to drop the bike as you learn to ride it, stick with a cheaper model so that you can learn and get the damage out of the way now, so you can sit on that more expensive bike later.
Adjustable Seat Height
An adjustable seat height allows you to accommodate your style while on the bike. If you cannot find a motorcycle with an adjustable seat height, you should look for one that has a lower seat height. This also allows your feet to touch the ground on both sides of the motorcycle when you stop, which will prevent the motorcycle from leaning too much to one side or falling over.
Skip the Custom Features
As we mentioned, you do not want to choose a motorcycle that is expensive, and you do not want to choose one that is riddled with custom features. This is because you want to focus on learning how to ride the bike and not how to use all the accessories on it.
You want a motorcycle that has ABS or Anti-Lock Brake System. This feature is designed to help make stopping easier on you and will allow you to stop quickly if there is impending danger in front of you.
Do Not Compete with Others
Always, always, always choose a motorcycle that fits your riding style and experience level. It can be easy to try and compete with others around you, but you want to avoid doing this as much as possible as it will only affect you in the long run and may lead to injury or an accident.
One Last Reminder
As a rule of thumb, if you are a beginning rider, you should choose a motorcycle that has less than 70 horsepower and does not weigh more than 500 pounds. By sticking to this, you can get yourself a motorcycle that is easy to control and does not drop quickly while on it.
Another thing to keep in the back of your mind is that you should avoid sport bikes until you are 100 percent ready to get on them. These types of bikes come with A LOT of power and they have sensitive controls that can cause you to panic or become overwhelmed.
Creating a Budget for Your Motorcycle Purchase
In general, a motorcycle purchase is like that of a car and it takes a lot of pondering and thought before you make the leap. Since a motorcycle may be considered a non-essential purchase, many consumers must justify why they want to purchase the motorcycle. This makes sense because as we mentioned above, if you plan to use it as your main transportation and give up your car, what do you do in adverse weather.
While we have considered the types of motorcycles and talked about why you may want a motorcycle, there is one topic we have not covered yet that is crucial in the process. Financing the motorcycle!
If you are like most people, you cannot just walk into a dealer, hand over cash, and drive the motorcycle away. You have a budget you need to set, and you need to stick within that budget to avoid financial hardship.
Setting a Budget for Your Motorcycle
No matter the type of motorcycle you choose, you can expect, on average the bike to cost from $5,000 to $25,000. Now, customized bikes, choppers, and specialty sport bikes can and usually will cost you more than that. But, for starters, we will estimate using $5,000 to $25,000.
Once you have the type of bike you want in mind, it is now time to sit down and figure out if you can afford it. Sometimes, you may think you can afford something because it sounds easy to afford. For example, you may say, okay, I make $30,000 a year, so $10,000 for a motorcycle is nothing. This may not be the case depending on your current bills and more.
Before you shop for a motorcycle, consider how much you are willing to pay for a motorcycle too. If your motorcycle is going to be your only mode of transportation, then $20,000 may seem reasonable to you but if you plan to keep your car as transportation too, then $20,000 may be too much.
What Are Some of the Hidden Costs When Buying a Motorcycle
As you start to budget for a motorcycle, there are some costs that you may not have considered and will need to consider. These costs should be factored into your budget to ensure that you do not overspend without intentionally knowing it. For example, if you do not factor in the cost of fuel, you may find that you spent your $15,000 budget on the motorcycle itself and forget about the cost to fuel it up or even the cost of taxes and registration fees.
Below, we will explore three of the most commonly forgotten yet important hidden costs to consider as you buy your motorcycle.
The Motorcycle Itself
One of the primary hidden costs when buying a motorcycle is the actual cost of the motorcycle. You may think it is cut and dry, but it can be far from that. Most motorcycles will cost you somewhere between $5,000 and $25,000 as we mentioned above.
While you may think that the sticker on the motorcycle is the only price associated with it, you are in for a wake-up call. Depending on where you live, you may need to pay a sales tax or even state tax on the motorcycle, which can add a couple hundred dollars. For example, if the sales tax is 6.5% and you choose a 12,000 motorcycle, you will pay an extra $780 in tax alone.
You also need to think about the cost of registration and titling the motorcycle in your name. This can run you another $500 to $1,000 above and beyond the cost of the motorcycle plus the taxes.
Lastly, keep your eye out for any dealer fees, transportation fees, or seller fees as these can add up quickly. It is recommended that you avoid any dealership that does have a dealer fee or ask them if they can wave it for you. Sometimes, dealer fees are $500 extra – something you don’t want to have to worry about.
Insurance for the Motorcycle
Another hidden cost of your motorcycle is the insurance required on it. While some states do not require insurance on your motorcycle, it is a good idea and most states make it mandatory.
There is no set amount that everyone will pay for their motorcycle insurance and there are several factors that go into figuring out your individual rate. Later in this guide, we will cover motorcycle insurance and motorcycle insurance quotes more in depth to help you out.
In general, you can expect to pay anywhere between $200 up to $1,000 for motorcycle insurance for the year.
Maintenance and Equipment for the Motorcycle
Lastly, you must consider maintenance and equipment for your motorcycle. While you may be thinking, yeah, yeah, that is a ways away, it could come quicker than you think, and maintenance is not always cheap.
Unfortunately, motorcycles do not go as far in between oil changes as cars do, which means your motorcycle will need an oil change far more often. Because of this, you can expect to pay anywhere between $25 to $50 for the oil change every 3,000 to 3,700 miles.
Making Your Motorcycle Purchase
Now that you have a budget in mind and we have talked about some of the hidden costs you should consider in your budget, we can move on to making your motorcycle purchase. Yes! This is a time for excitement and you are probably ready to ride on home. But, before you do, there are some things you will need to understand first.
Unless you have been saving up for some time, you likely do not plan to purchase your motorcycle with cash. Most consumers finance their motorcycle purchase through the dealer.
Should you need to finance your motorcycle, there is no reason to panic about a down payment because, unlike a house or traditional car, most motorcycles do not require a down payment, especially if your credit is satisfactory. Should you need to make a down payment, you often have some flexibility in the amount you put down and can choose amounts as little as $500 or less. However, do keep in mind that the more money you put down on your motorcycle, the less you need to finance.
If you do plan to finance the motorcycle, it would be a good idea for you to seek out a pre-approval FIRST for the motorcycle loan. This way, when you walk into the dealer, you already know how much you have been approved for and it can save you a lot of time too.
When thinking about interest rates on the loan, you can expect the rate to go down or up depending on the length of the loan you choose, your credit history, and the amount of the down payment.
Below, we will provide you with some tips that can help you get the best financing for your new motorcycle.
Tips for Financing a Motorcycle at a Price You Can Afford
Financing a motorcycle is a great choice for those who want to buy one but do not have all the money upfront. Of course, you want your motorcycle to be affordable and get the best loan terms, but is that possible?
Of course, it is, but you may need to put in a bit of elbow grease BEFORE you head into the dealership to make it happen. Nothing in life is just handed to you and you are not going to get your hands on a free motorcycle or a loan with 0% interest unless you make it happen.
You will find some helpful tips below to help you get prepared to get the best financing for a motorcycle and keep it at a price you can afford.
ALWAYS build your credit before you try to buy
When looking at motorcycle loans, lenders often do not consider the purchase necessary and more luxury, which means they may be more stringent on who they lend to. Because of this, you want to work on building up your credit BEFORE you apply for a loan. This way, you are more likely to receive an approval and not get slapped with a high interest rate.
To find out exactly what you need to work on, check your credit report and inspect it for any errors and fight those first. If you have any debts, make sure to get it down to the acceptable income to debt ratio and keep it there.
Of course, you need to have a good credit history to get a great financing deal. If you have any derogatory marks on your credit history, they may affect you in the long run, but if your credit looks sound everywhere else, it may not affect you as negatively as you may think.
Look for a loan FIRST and not a motorcycle first
One of the mistakes that consumers make is they shop for the motorcycle first, which can lead to you overspending. When you shop for a loan first, you will know that you are approved, and you will know exactly how much you are approved for. Going in without a loan is like putting on blinders. You will not know exactly how much you are approved for and may find that you are denied later when it comes time to submit the financing application.
Be realistic about what you can afford. Even if your budget is a bit low, do not be discouraged as there are many options out there.
Have a good size down payment ready
Often, you can finance a bike without a down payment or a low one and it is okay to take advantage of this option if you want to. However, if you are looking to save the most money over time, you should place a larger down payment than requested. The reason behind this is because it lowers the amount you need to finance, and you will pay interest on a smaller loan amount.
In addition, when you make a larger down payment, financial institutions like this and they are more likely to offer you a better interest rate and deal.
NEVER agree to a deal you’re not comfortable with understand
Never sign a contract unless you are 100 percent sure it is what you want, and you understand the contract fully. Do not be afraid to ask questions and always review what you are being charged and why. Sometimes, dealers will sneak in dealer fees, seller fees, and other fees, so be cautious.
Buying a New Motorcycle vs. a Used Motorcycle
Buying a new motorcycle is exciting as you will be the first owner of the motorcycle and you can truly make it your own. It is a major purchase and you will find that it is more expensive than a used option, but it is up to you to weigh the pros and cons to determine which option suits you better.
Buying a new motorcycle is a personal choice and is a great idea for those who:
- Want to customize their motorcycle on the spot
- Know that the motorcycle has not been damaged, driven, or mechanically faulty
- Are new to riding motorcycles
- Want a specific type of motorcycle or specific features that a used bike wouldn’t have or offer
- Don’t want to have to worry about immediate maintenance costs or repairs
Purchasing a used motorcycle is a great option for those riders who want to save money. You can find a nice motorcycle for a fraction of the cost of it new. If you are patient and willing to wait, you may be able to find a used motorcycle that comes with all the bells and whistles for LESS than the cost of a new baseline or naked model.
Buying a used motorcycle is a personal choice and is a great idea for those who:
- Have experience riding motorcycles
- Are looking to save money or score a good deal
- Can wait a bit to find exactly what they want
- Are mechanically inclined or those who do not mind minor repairs and maintenance on the bike
Tips for Buying a Used Motorcycle
A used motorcycle is a great choice especially if you want to score an amazing deal on a motorcycle. One of the biggest advantages of buying a used motorcycle is that you do not have to take the depreciation hit like you would if you purchased the motorcycle brand new.
Used motorcycles are cheaper in price because they have taken that depreciation hit already. You also do not have to worry about the dealer or seller fees and so on.
Below, we will go over some tips to help you get the best used motorcycle for the money.
Watch Out for Problems
Unfortunately, a new motorcycle is bound to be void from any mechanical problems and will come to you in great condition. The same cannot always be said about a used motorcycle and you may notice that some of the used motorcycles you look at are not worth it.
Before you even test drive or further consider a used motorcycle, look out for the following problems and issues:
- Damaged or rusty chain
- Paint that has started to oxidize
- Scratches or rust on the body or fenders
- Smoke that billows out when the motorcycle is started
- Cracks or wear on the seat and pegs
- Uneven or worn-down brake discs
- Leaks or wet/oily areas near the engine or transmission
Tip #1: Make Sure the Used Motorcycle Fits You
We talked about it in the beginning of this guide that you need to choose a motorcycle that fits you and meets your needs. We cannot stress how important that truly is. A used motorcycle is no different and you should not purchase it just because of the cheap window sticker.
While you will find an array of different types of motorcycles, only choose a used one that will meet your needs. So, for instance, do not choose a sport bike for long trips and do not choose a chopper to race in.
Always sit on the motorcycle too and make sure it fits your body, height, and weight too. If you are unsure of how to make sure a motorcycle is the right choice for your, do your research so that you are prepared.
Tip #2: Research the Price of the Motorcycle
Even if you already have a motorcycle style and brand in mind, you still want to research the price and know what you should pay for the bike. It can be easy to get caught up in the moment and ignore the price and just buy the bike. This can lead to you overpaying for the motorcycle or you may have paid much less than what it was worth which could signify hidden problems with the motorcycle.
Always do your research by looking at multiple sale websites and dealerships to get a good idea of the price range for your motorcycle model.
Tip #3: Buy the Used Motorcycle from a Reputable Place
Nothing is worse than purchasing a used motorcycle from the wrong place. While you may be thinking you did not know that was even possible, it is. You want to avoid sites such as Craigslist or other local sale sites when it comes time to purchase a used motorcycle. This is because you never know where the bike came from or what has happened to it. Yes, you can run a check on it, but you may find that check turns up missing maintenance records and so on.
The best place to shop for a used motorcycle is at a dealership or registered dealer. Typically, the motorcycles you find here are in better condition than you find just on a sale site. You will also have more buying options when you choose to go through a dealer and sometimes even warranties or guarantees.
Private sellers are not a bad option either and can provide you with a cheaper price on your used motorcycle. However, keep in mind that these private sellers are unable to provide you with the warranties and protections you can receive from a dealer.
Tip #4: Look at the Motorcycle’s History Report
While a visual inspection of the used motorcycle is important, you never want to just trust that it is in good condition. This is often one of the biggest mistakes that consumers make and later find out they could have avoided the problem with a little digging.
Before you purchase a used motorcycle, ask to see a copy of the maintenance records. Most dealerships will have this on file but if not, you can check the motorcycle’s vehicle history report to see if the information is there. As you know, motorcycles do need maintenance so if the reports are missing, this could be an indication the bike has not been well maintained.
At this time, you should also make sure the VIN of the bike matches the VIN on the paperwork. If it does not, walk away. This is a huge problem and you do not want to get caught up in this.
Lastly, check to make sure the motorcycle does not have any recalls on it. While motorcycle recalls are not as common as conventional car recalls, they do happen, and they can pose a safety risk to you if they are not corrected. You can have the dealer perform the recall check for you or you can perform one on your own utilizing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website. Should you find that the motorcycle has an active recall, ask the dealer to fix it prior to your purchase of the bike.
Where Can I Get a Motorcycle History Report?
Protecting yourself from a poor0quality motorcycle can save your life and prevent an accident from occurring. Motorcycle vehicle history reports are important and can provide you with a little more information into the life of your chosen bike. In most cases, you can readily get the information from the dealer, but sometimes the dealer does not provide the report.
In general, you can expect a motorcycle history report to include the correct VIN for the motorcycle and whether the motorcycle has ever been recalled, junked, stolen, or issued a salvage title.
- Vehicle specification information
- Title records
- Insurance, junk, and salvage records
- Theft records
- Problem checks
- Lien, export, and impound records
- Accident checks
- Record summary and vehicle specs
- Current value
- Junk, salvage, and loss report
- Title information
- Odometer reading
- Vehicle recall information
- Lien status
- Theft history and status
- Accident checks
- Towing and impound history
Tip #5: Have the Bike Inspected and Perform a Test Drive
Always get the used motorcycle inspected before you buy it. You want to perform your own inspection on it and then have a certified mechanic inspect it for you as well. Unless you are a professional motorcycle mechanic, you want to hire one. While some problems will be noticeable to your eye, there may be other problems you miss. It never hurts to have a second set of eyes look at the motorcycle for you.
As your mechanic inspects the motorcycle, they will pay attention to any damage or rust present on the body of the motorcycle, the wear on the brakes and brake system, the sound of the engine and transmission, and wear on the tires, in addition to all other components of the motorcycle. If your mechanic alerts you to a problem with the bike, you have a couple of options. First, you can walk away and find another used motorcycle that is in better condition OR, if the repairs and problems are relatively small, you can request that the dealership fix the problems FIRST before you buy it or fix them once you do buy it, but ALWAYS get it in writing.
Your mechanic will take the motorcycle out for a test drive to get a good feel for it. This does not mean that you should skip the test drive portion though. You want to test drive the motorcycle for yourself. This way you can see how it feels and operates while you are on it. You should ride the motorcycle on as many road as you can including the highway and local streets. Attempt to stop and go as often as possible and keep your ear out for any odd sounds.
Always take turns on the motorcycle and perform any activities that you would if the motorcycle were already yours. You want to do this to really get a feel for it and make sure it not only drives well but if a good fit for you too.
Dealerships vs. Private Sales: Where to Buy Your Motorcycle
We briefly talked above that you should purchase your used motorcycle at a reputable place and both private sellers and dealers came into question. Both options are sound choices if you check and inspect the motorcycle and feel comfortable with the person you are dealing with.
Keep in mind that both options have their pros and cons. The choice really comes down to what you feel comfortable with in the long run.
Buying a Motorcycle at a Dealership
One of the biggest advantages of buying a new or used motorcycle at a dealership is that you will have more options when you make a decision.
Dealerships can offer you:
- A wide assortment of motorcycle types, colors, and features
- A guarantee or a warranty
- Financing options
- A service department for repairs and maintenance
- A motorcycle history report and VIN check
Purchasing a motorcycle from a dealership is ideal for individuals who want a newer motorcycle, do not mind a bit of a higher price for their peace of mind, and want a motorcycle that is likely to be more mechanically sound and inspected.
Buying a Motorcycle from a Private Seller
Typically, private sellers are only going to offer used motorcycles as it would not make much sense for them to have a new one on hand that they are selling. With that in mind, you will find that you pay a lot LESS for your motorcycle than you would at a dealership, even if you chose a used option at that dealer.
When you do choose to purchase from a private seller, the process is more involved because you must inspect the motorcycle and obtain a history report for the motorcycle. Dealerships typically provide both things but with a private seller, it would be an expense you take on.
Most private sellers are honest, and you will find that the used motorcycle you purchase is in good condition, but it is possible that a seller may try to hide or fail to disclose an accident, theft, or how many owners the motorcycle has had.
Caring for Your Motorcycle: Maintenance to Keep in Mind
A motorcycle requires maintenance just like any car does and without the proper maintenance, the motorcycle will not remain safe on the road or reliable to drive.
Caring for a motorcycle is important and a process to ensure that all parts function correctly. In general, most motorcycle enthusiasts do their own repairs and maintenance on their bike. If you are not mechanically inclined, you can always take your motorcycle into the shop for service and maintenance. You can refer to the owner’s manual if you are unsure of when your motorcycle requires maintenance.
As a rule of thumb, your motorcycle should be serviced every 3,000 miles or so. Some newer models can go as far as 4,000 to 6,000 miles.
Below, we will talk about some of the areas where maintenance and service are required regularly.
Tires and Tire Pressure
You will need to make sure you have a tire pressure gauge to assist you in this process. For starters, you will need to visually inspect the front and back tires for any issues that may be present. You should look for lumps in the tire, bald spots, or even areas where there may be a nail. If you do find a nail in the tire, avoid pulling it out as this can cause more harm than good and leave you with a flat tire. You should take your motorcycle into the shop for a patch or patch the tire yourself.
Lastly, check the air pressure in your tires to make sure they are where they need to be. If the psi is too low, add more air to the tire to ensure it is at the correct level.
Engine and Oil
One of the most important areas that needs routine service is the engine and oil within the motorcycle. You can have your oil and engine serviced at the local dealership or motorcycle shop.
Some things you should keep in mind as you are in between service include:
- Checking the oil dipstick regularly to determine if the oil needs to be topped off
- Checking the engine for any leaks periodically
- Topping off the oil when needed, but be careful not to overfill it
One big maintenance requirement that is needed is valve adjustments. These should be done by a professional mechanic. Different motorcycles require this service at different intervals. This, according to their factory maintenance schedule.
The drive system in a motorcycle is responsible for making sure the power from the engine makes it to your tires. These drive systems need maintenance over the course of the motorcycles life.
In general, you should have a professional mechanic check your drive system and belts. It’s better to ensure there is no wear or fraying of the belts themselves.
Coolant and Brake Line Fluid
Your coolant and brake fluid are vital components of your motorcycle and without them, you would find that your motorcycle does not operate the way it should. If your motorcycle’s coolant is low, you can top it off. Low coolants levels could indicate a leak somewhere in the system too.
Typically, your brake line fluid will last in between your ridings. You don’t have to worry too much about it. But if you notice that your brakes are not functioning as well as they should or it has been some time in between a brake inspection, it may be time to have it looked at.
Motorcycle Insurance: A Simple Guide
Motorcycle insurance is one of the most important ways you can protect yourself while owning a motorcycle. Whether you think you do or not, you NEED motorcycle insurance. Whether you ride for fun on the weekend or you use your motorcycle full time, you should always have an insurance policy in place to protect you and your bike should something happen.
Most states do require that you have an insurance policy with only a few states not requiring insurance for motorcycle. Even though you may live somewhere that does not require motorcycle insurance, you should carry it.
Below, we will talk more to you about what motorcycle insurance is, the requirements, options, and more. Do take time to go over this insurance guide. It will help you and protect both you and your investment.
Motorcycle Insurance Requirements
As we mentioned, not all states require you to carry motorcycle insurance, but it is a good idea either way. The states that do require motorcycle insurance often require you to legally carry liability insurance. Which covers expenses incurred by someone else who is injured due to an accident you were involved in. The lowest amount of liability insurance you can carry is determined by the state you live in and is equal to the same amount of required liability minimums for car insurance.
Insurance companies do not require you to have any additional coverage above and beyond the minimum required amount; however, it is in your best interest to carry more than the state minimum. It is also important to note that if you finance a motorcycle, you will likely be required to carry additional coverage on the motorcycle to receive the financing.
Motorcycle Insurance Coverage Options
Coverage for your motorcycle is not limited to just liability insurance. Even though that is mainly all that states require you to carry. Some of the other insurance coverage options include:
Personal Injury Protection
This type of insurance coverage pays out when a claim is filed for medical bills incurred by you, one of your passengers, or a pedestrian. Fault is not a determining factor in whether this claim is paid out or not. Most states offer PIP or personal injury protection, but not all do.
This type of insurance coverage pays out when a claim is filed regarding your motorcycle. Typical claims include when your motorcycle is damaged by something that is NOT a collision or when it is stolen. You will need to pay a deductible before service is rendered. This deductible can range from $0 to $1,000 or more depending on which option you choose.
This type of insurance coverage is optional in most cases as is comprehensive. However, if you have a loan on your motorcycle, this type of coverage is usually required and mandated to receive financing. When a claim is filed for damage due to an accident, the policy pays out to repair your motorcycle. You will need to pay a deductible. This is the amount you chose when you set up the policy. It ranges from $0 to $1,000 but can be more too.
This type of insurance coverage is not available in every state, so it may not be an option for you. If you do have this coverage, all medical bills incurred due to an accident are paid. These payments are designed to ONLY provide payment for medical services and not for lost wages.
Discounts: What to Know about Motorcycle Insurance Discounts
There are several ways that you can receive motorcycle insurance discounts. Exploring your options is a great way to save the most money monthly. Below, we will explore some of the ways you may receive an insurance discount:
- If you are 55 and over
- You have a clean driving record
- If you are over 25
- You are a student
- If you have completed motorcycle riding classes
- You have multiple policies in place with the same company
Stolen or Damaged Bike: How Motorcycle Insurance Works
One of the nice things about motorcycle insurance is that you do have coverage if your motorcycle is damaged or even stolen. In these cases, there are three different actions or settlements that the insurance company may take when you file a claim.
This is when the insurance company pays an amount. This is the amount that both you and they agreed on when you purchased the policy from them. This amount does not change and is fixed.
Actual Cash Value
This is when the insurance company pays out what the motorcycle is worth. Minus your deductible and any depreciation of the bike.
This is the amount that you selected when you purchased your insurance policy.
Get a Motorcycle Insurance Quote & Top-Notch Coverage
Purchasing auto insurance is easy and does not take a lot of time to complete. In general, you can receive a policy the same day you call and apply for one. Fortunately, since motorcycle insurance is needed, you do not have to meet any specific requirements to receive it. There is at least one company out there that will accept you. Given you have not been pulled over for a DUI. Or given you have extremely poor credit and a bad driving history to go with it.
Below, we will discuss some of the places where you can look for a motorcycle policy. You can get an idea of how much motorcycle insurance may cost you year after year.
Where You Can Get a Motorcycle Insurance Quote & Buy a Policy
Many of the largest automotive insurance providers in the country also offer you motorcycle insurance. Some offer it in addition to other policies or they may have standalone policies for you to choose from. Below, we will list 10 of the top motorcycle insurance companies. We would invite you to check them out. You can see if they service your area, and apply to receive a quote from them.
- State Farm
- AAA Insurance
- Liberty Mutual
- Farmers Insurance
- American Family Insurance
How Much Will Motorcycle Insurance Cost Me?
Motorcycle insurance costs vary from state to state, but you can expect to pay, on average, somewhere between $200 and $1,000 per year to insurance your motorcycle.