How to buy a motorcycle: 12 Steps (with pictures)

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How to buy a motorcycle: 12 Steps (with pictures)
How to buy a motorcycle: 12 Steps (with pictures)

There are many things to consider when buying a motorcycle; This particular Wikihow is aimed at first-time users. After your first purchase you will feel more comfortable with the purchase process.


Buy a Motorcycle Step 1
Buy a Motorcycle Step 1

Step 1. Buy a motorcycle

There are several questions to consider when choosing a motorcycle.

  • Do you really want or need a motorcycle?
  • What is your price range?
  • What would be an appropriate displacement, weight and type within your abilities?
  • What use do you want to give the motorcycle?
  • Should it be new or used?
  • If used, what should be the condition of the bike?
  • Would you be generally satisfied with your purchase?
  • Where could you find the right motorcycle for you?
  • How will you pay for the motorcycle?
Buy a Motorcycle Step 2
Buy a Motorcycle Step 2

Step 2. Do you really want or need a motorcycle?

A motorcycle is a unique form of transportation that is not for everyone. The first question to ask yourself is if you really want to ride a motorcycle and why. Only you can answer those questions. One of the best ways to find answers is to do some research first.

  • Go to your local library and check out books on the subject, such as David Hough's.
  • Talk to motorcyclists and ask them about their experiences, both positive and negative.
  • Watch documentaries about motorcycling, such as "On Any Sunday."
  • Also discuss this new interest with your family and loved ones to get their feedback. Your decision will affect them too.
  • If after following these steps you are convinced that motorcycling is the right thing for you, the next step is to see what you can afford to buy.
Buy a Motorcycle Step 3
Buy a Motorcycle Step 3

Step 3. What is your price range?

To determine what you can buy, first set a monthly budget.

  • Determine what your cash funds are.
  • Put in writing your total entries less taxes and expenses.
  • Subtract your expenses from your tickets and, what is left (minus a part that you will save as a safety margin), is what you can pay per month.
  • Multiply the monthly amount by the number of months you plan to take to pay for the purchase, it should not exceed 60 months.
  • You can apply your cash assets to the total purchase price.
  • It is important to include a margin in your calculations. That way, your purchase will not cause difficulties. In addition, this will increase your chances of being granted financing. Your margin of safety should include additional expenses such as annual registration, insurance, maintenance, and fuel.
Buy a Motorcycle Step 4
Buy a Motorcycle Step 4

Step 4. Determine the appropriate size and type of motorcycle for you

Motorcycles come in a wide variety of sizes, weights, styles, and performance levels. It is very important, both for you and for your fun and safety, that you choose the right one for your purposes. Follow these guidelines:

  • Am I a beginner or an experienced driver?
  • Do you want to use the motorcycle for sports and recreational use, short trips, long trips, riding in the city or cross country?
  • Although it is not critical, your physical size should also be taken into account. Are you tall, short, stocky, or thin?
  • Generally speaking, if you want a motorcycle for long-distance travel, you should find one with the right displacement (> 750cc) and that is equipped with some form of luggage and wind protection.
  • If you prefer a motorcycle to show off, then one with a low frame, low seat, and a lower axle torque motor will do.
  • To go to work, or the city, a standard or sport motorcycle will be a good choice.
  • For sports, the sport is designed for that.
  • For cross country or trail and cross country, choose any dirt bike, enduro or mortar.
  • As a general guide, avoid any motorcycle that weighs more than 500 pounds or has more than 70 horsepower if you are a beginning rider. Inexperienced drivers should be especially careful not to buy a sport bike, as it has a lot of power, low weight, sensitive controls and is not a good learning tool, it does not forgive. Instead, try a standard one until you have enough miles and experience to feel safe and secure.
Buy a Motorcycle Step 5
Buy a Motorcycle Step 5

Step 5. New or used?

  • If you are a beginning driver, it is often best to start with a good, low-mileage, used machine. This way, if you accidentally drop it, or want to change it for a bigger, or more powerful one later, you won't have lost much in depreciation and repairs. In many cases, you could sell your beginner bike for almost the same price you paid for it.
  • If you are an experienced driver, first ask yourself if you are mechanically inclined and enjoy your own machines. If so, a light to moderately used motorcycle could be a good choice that could save you a lot of money. You might even wish for a much older classic motorcycle, which will only go up in value over time.
  • If you're not mechanically inclined and want reliable commuting, then a new bike might be the best option for you. A new bike often has the added benefit of better seller incentives and financing terms.
Buy a Motorcycle Step 6
Buy a Motorcycle Step 6

Step 6. If used, what is the condition of the bike?

With any used motorcycle there is a degree of risk. The history of the bike, including regular maintenance. How it was used and if you had an accident could be difficult, or impossible, to determine. These tips might help:

  • Ask the landlord lots of detailed questions.
  • Although many owners / sellers will not allow this, there is nothing wrong with asking for a test drive of the motorcycle. Only ask for this if you are an experienced driver with a current motorcycle policy that covers damages in almost an accident.
  • Ask to see any maintenance invoices.
  • Ask if the mileage is correct.
  • Examine the invoice carefully for previous owners and transfers. Make sure the information on the invoice, such as the vehicle's year, model, and VIN is correct. Make sure it is not in mortgage or borrower collateral. If the motorcycle does not have a clear invoice, do not buy it.
  • Examine parts of the motorcycle such as the chain, sprockets, tires, exhaust system, footpegs, handlebars, grips, lever and bodywork, looking for signs of equal use, damage, new or different colored paint parts, scratches or signs of recently replaced parts. All of this generally indicates an accident or possibly more mileage than stated.
  • Look carefully for signs of corrosion.
  • Check for oil or antifreeze leaks.
  • Ask to hear the motorcycle start and with the engine running. It should turn on easily and work fine once it's warmed up.
  • Make sure the brakes, clutch, throttle, and electrical equipment are working properly.
Be Generous on a Limited Budget Step 6
Be Generous on a Limited Budget Step 6

Step 7. Could you be satisfied with the purchase?

As with any large purchase, you have to be happy with your choice, as you may have to live with this purchase for several years. Your answer must be "yes" to all of the following questions:

  • Will you be proud of this bike?
  • Can you see this bike in your garage for several years?
  • Is this the type of motorcycle that you envision yourself riding when you go out with your friends?
  • Will you still believe that this is the right bike for you 5 years from now?
  • After you've done enough research on this machine, are you convinced that it will be reliable enough and that it will perform to your standards?
  • Will this bike do what you need it to do?
Buy a Motorcycle Step 8
Buy a Motorcycle Step 8

Step 8. Where can you find the right bike for you?

If you are looking for a used motorcycle, there are classified sections in local newspapers and online resources, such as Craigslist, Mortorcycle Trader, and eBay. If you are looking for a new motorcycle, finding a dealer is as simple as searching the Internet for the brand you want, or looking in the yellow pages. The following are some tips:

  • If you are using the classifieds, Craigslist, or otherwise, be very careful to avoid potential fraud. Always meet the person in a public place and never alone. Let someone know exactly where you are going. Never give the other party a personal check, which will have your bank account number on it. Bring cash and ask for a signed receipt, or bring a cashier's check for the exact amount.
  • Remember, if you buy on eBay, there is an auction site, so you will be paying a lot of dollars for your purchase. Once you win the auction, you will be required to complete the transaction, so be prepared to honor the agreement. Pay close attention to any shipping costs, especially for large items like motorcycles. Ask lots of questions about the item before bidding.
  • If you use an auction site, don't bid with your feelings. Don't go over your limit no matter how great you think the bike is.
  • Always research motorcycle prices using the Blue Book or the NADA guide. You can find the information for free online or at your local library.
  • Never pay more than what is stated in the Blue Book.
  • Once you examine the bike in person, take notes of any discrepancies or damage. If something doesn't look right, don't buy it. When dealing directly with a private seller, don't be afraid to haggle over the price. There is nothing wrong with asking.
  • You should always be prepared to pay immediately and in full the price of a used motorcycle. Be sure to pick it up immediately after the sale and get a signed receipt, signed invoice, signed sales contract, accurate mileage statement, keys, manuals, and any loose parts or accessories if you have any.
Buy a Motorcycle Step 9
Buy a Motorcycle Step 9

Step 9. If you are buying a new motorcycle, follow these tips:

  • Find a reputable seller. Search online, on consumer websites like Yelp or Google, to find consumer ratings, ask questions.
  • Don't be afraid to visit two or more dealerships that sell the exact same product.
  • Question the total price, including destination and assembly charges. Ask for them to be discounted or reduced.
  • With very few exceptions, it is generally best to avoid technical support coverage for a new motorcycle. Sellers make a considerable profit on those policies. If you want one, you can often buy it yourself after purchasing the bike from various online companies.
  • Don't argue with the seller about how much you can pay per month. Agree on the final price of the bike first, then discuss the financing terms. Always read the contract very carefully before signing anything, especially the purchase agreement.
  • Do not believe a salesperson who tells you that you must take your motorcycle to the dealership's mechanical service in order for your warranty to remain valid. The law states that you have the right to work on your own vehicle or take it with someone else if you wish, without voiding the warranty.
Buy a Motorcycle Step 10
Buy a Motorcycle Step 10

Step 10. How much will you pay for the motorcycle?

The best payment method is generally cash, as this eliminates a wide range of variables from the purchase process; however, with a large purchase, financing is often used. The following is a guide:

  • Make the largest advance you can to reduce time and fees.
  • Do not extend the term for more than 5 years. In many cases, the bike will depreciate enough in the first two years, and you may find the loan too expensive. By choosing a shorter term, you minimize this risk.
  • Do not accept a payment that does not fit your monthly budget.
  • Make sure it is declared that the interest rate is not variable.
  • Make sure the amount of the payments is exactly what the seller told you.
  • If possible, secure financing through your bank or credit union before negotiating the sale. Credit unions will often offer low interest rates to finance vehicles.
  • Always get signed copies of any document and keep them until you finish paying for your vehicle.
Buy a Motorcycle Step 11
Buy a Motorcycle Step 11

Step 11. Final tips

  • Buy insurance. Motorcycle insurance, for most drivers, is usually inexpensive and there is no reason to delay.
  • Register the motorcycle in your name immediately. Your local transportation department will check the VIN for problems.
  • Pay the correct taxes for the bike. Don't try to falsify information about how much it cost you.
  • If you are a beginner driver, take the motorcycle safety course, do not carry passengers and be very, very careful.
Buy a Motorcycle Step 7
Buy a Motorcycle Step 7

Step 12. Enjoy the bike and have fun


  • Buying at the agency gives you the option of financing the motorcycle and making monthly payments. Some agency financing is very attractive and can include free accessories, a first payment of zero pesos, or 0% interest for all or part of the term. Be very careful when it comes to financing, as you could be paying too much interest in the long run. In addition, at the agency you will normally pay offers / taxes on the vehicle at the time of purchase, and this will be deducted from the financing.
  • With a private seller you will generally have to pay for the motorcycle in cash. Some sellers will accept a pre-deposit to reserve the bike until you can go to the bank to withdraw the cash or request a cashier's check.
  • Register the motorcycle in your name immediately. The local transit department will check the VIN to make sure there are no problems. When you buy the motorcycle from a private person, you and the seller may have to go to a notary to finalize the registration, plates and invoice.
  • Pay the correct taxes for the bike. Do not try to falsify information about its price. Although it may be tempting, don't lie in order to pay less in taxes; this is illegal and simply not worth the risk.
  • Buy insurance. In general, motorcycle insurance is cheap and there is no reason to postpone it.

      If you are a beginner driver, take the motorcycle safety course, do not carry passengers, always wear protective clothing and be very, very careful. Your family and loved ones will thank you

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