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Buy a Motorcycle - Learn All the Steps - Part 1

By Walter F. Kern

Part 1: Buy a Used Motorcycle

I get a lot of email asking me for advice on the best way to buy a motorcycle. How do you negotiate with dealers? Is the process just like buying a car? What about borrowing money to pay for it? What should you expect to get as a trade-in value when you buy a motorcycle?

Consumer Reports has a yearly issue of its magazine devoted to rating the new cars and giving all kinds of advice on how to get the best deal. There doesn't seem to be anything out there that tells you all aspects of how to buy a motorcycle. So what's a guy or gal supposed to do?

New riders should always start out with a used motorcycle until they get trained and get plenty of practice spread over perhaps a year. New riders tend to take a few spills early on. Damaging a new bike may run into thousands of dollars in repairs, not something that will instill confidence in a rider just starting out while they are trying to develop their skills.

What are your choices?

  • Buy a Used Motorcycle
    • From an Auction
    • From a Classified Ad
    • From a Friend or Acquaintance
    • From a Dealer

  • Buy a New Motorcycle
    • From the Internet
    • From a Dealer

The rest of this page discusses buying a used motorcycle. Part 2 of this article discusses Buying a New Motorcycle while Part 3 discusses Closing the Deal.

Buy a Used Motorcycle:

Buy from an auction

Buying a motorcycle from an Internet Auction is the newest way to buy. Here are two of the most popular services.

Buy from a classified ad

  • Local Newspaper Want Ad
    Every newspaper has motorcycle want ads. You probably won't have far to travel to see the bike. It will be easy to have a local mechanic check out the bike before you buy it.

  • Want Ads on the Internet
    There are many Web sites that offer free want ads for motorcycles.

    You can also check out the classifieds on the various motorcycle forums.

Buy from a friend or acquaintance

  • Tell Your Buddies
    Always tell your friends that you are looking to buy a motorcycle. Someone may know someone else who has a bike for sale.

  • Tell Your Motorcycle Club Members
    If you belong to a motorcycle club, announce at a club meeting that you are looking for another bike. If there is a club newsletter, look for motorcycle ads there. Since any bike you might buy from a club member will probably be well known to you, you don't have to worry as much about the condition of the bike.

Buy from a dealer

  • You're probably going to be visiting your local dealer anyway. Look for trade-ins in good condition. Why not mention to the salepeople that you are looking for a certain kind of motorcycle to buy. They may work to find a bike for you if they don't have one on the floor.

Be sure to read Part 2 of this article to learn how to buy a new motorcycle. In particular, the special problems of buying a new Harley-Davidson are discussed.

Next page > Buy a New Motorcycle

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