Should You Buy a New Or Used Motorcycle?

Man playing with model motorcycle at desk in office

Making the decision to buy a motorcycle is a big one, and it’s also exciting. It may be a dream you’ve had for much of your life. 

Once you make that initial decision, you have some others to make as well. 

The biggest?

Are you going to buy a new or used motorcycle?

Below are things to know about each option. 

Buying a New Motorcycle

There’s always something appealing and alluring about going to a dealership and seeing a brand new motorcycle that seems like it’s calling you. No one else has used it, and you don’t have to worry that the previous owner abused it too much. 

If you choose a high-demand type of motorcycle, there’s probably going to be very little room for negotiation on the price. You might end up paying more than the Manufacturer’s Suggest Retail Price. 

If you want to buy new, you need to understand how much a dealer actually paid for a motorcycle because this will help you negotiate. 

A good rule of thumb is to add around 10-15% to the invoice price, and that’s likely the amount the dealer is ready to sell at. From there, you also have to add anywhere from 5-15% for all the other dealer fees that will be added on. 

If you can pay cash, a dealer is probably going to negotiate with you quite a bit more than if you need to finance. 

Along with the generally higher price, one of the primary downsides of buying a new motorcycle versus one that’s used are the taxes and fees. These can be hundreds of dollars up to thousands of dollars. 

Like cars, when you buy a brand-new motorcycle, by the time you drive it off the dealership property, it’s already depreciated an average of 15-30%. 

Of course, along with the feeling a new motorcycle gives you, there are upsides. First, you know that no one has tinkered with it. Owners of motorcycles are notorious for tinkering with their machines, and the adjustments made could end up compromising your bike’s safety and quality. 

You just don’t have any way of knowing what happened to a used bike before you buy it. 

A new motorcycle will typically come with an unlimited mile warranty, so even if something is less than perfect, you may have coverage. 

New motorcycles also have all the newest safety and tech features.

Running costs are going to be cheaper when you buy new as opposed to used, and fuel efficiency will be better. 

Buying a Used Motorcycle

The price of a used motorcycle is always the biggest upside of this option. A used motorcycle is almost always going to be cheaper than a new one. If you’re a beginner, this is especially important because you may not even be sure if you’re going to keep the bike long-term. 

Some experienced riders prefer buying used because they’re looking for vintage bikes that are no longer in production. 

Used motorcycles will hold their value better in terms of depreciation, so if you do sell the bike, you won’t lose as much money. 

If you are going to buy used, there are red flags to avoid. 

First, stay away from a bike with a salvage title. Another red flag is a stunted motorcycle and a bent frame. 

Things that you want to see in a used motorcycle include a clean title and low miles. 

Factors That Weigh Into Your Decision

A lot of whether you buy new or used when shopping for a motorcycle will come down to your budget, preferences, and who are you are as a rider. 

Are you someone who’s actually going to fix an issue if it arises? Some people like the idea of tinkering with a bike and making their own custom upgrades, in which case the used option is best for them. 

Other people don’t want that and aren’t willing to put time or money into it. 

If you buy a new bike, you probably won’t have to worry about any issues for quite a while, plus you may have the added protection of the manufacturer’s warranty. 

A new bike can, in some instances, end up being cheaper in the long run than a used one. 

On the other hand, if you’re someone who might not ride a lot or isn’t even sure about your future as a rider, you should go with something used, so you get a feel for what it’s like before you make a bigger investment. 

Article by Born Realist