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How To Buy a New Motorcycle From a Dealer

By Walter F. Kern

You should buy a new motorcycle from a local dealer in a face-to-face situation. Even though you can save a few bucks by buying a bike 200 miles away, there is nothing like having a dealer close to your house.

Here's How to Buy a New Motorcycle from a Dealer:

  1. Know what you want. Your motorcycle should fit your needs and you should look around and compare as much as possible before going in to see the dealer.
  2. Do your homework. Understand what you want and talk to the salesperson about several different bikes that meet your needs.
  3. Find out the dealer invoice price. Use an online service such as to obtain a report on each bike. The dealer will do his best to make 10% total profit on the motorcycle.
  4. Most common dealer fees are destination charges, setup fees, documentation fees, and taxes. There is no easy way to find out their profit margin on these items but it should be between 5% - 15%.
  5. The salesperson will also try to sell you extras, for example, an extended warranty and accessories. The dealer makes a little on these too. These are specifically choice-driven. If you want it, you buy it.
  6. As for trade-ins, do your homework here too. You can go to (Kelly Blue Book) and find out the price of the vehicle either selling it outright or trading it in.
  7. If you've decided on a bike and you've done your homework, you'll be ready to negotiate. A dealer wants to make about 10% profit on each deal. This means you may be able to talk them down substantially.
  8. Most dealers like cash deals. If you cannot pay cash, try to put down a big chunk of change. If financing, the larger the down payment, the less the monthly payments and the less interest you will pay.
  9. Get a pre-approved loan from a lending institution so financing will not be a consideration. Often dealers will have low-percentage loans available for certain models. These deals may influence your decision.
  10. As for getting the most for your current bike, your best move is to sell it privately rather than using it as a trade-in. Try to sell it before you buy the new bike.
  11. Play hardball with the salesperson. The dealer wants to work with you. If they work with you, give them your other business such as apparel, repairs, and accessories.
  12. After the deal is nearly done, you can almost always get them to sweeten it. A helmet or jacket can possibly be thrown in since the salesperson has spent a lot of time and doesn't want to lose the sale.


  1. Harley-Davidson dealers have a product in great demand. They tend to fall into two camps: Sell over MSRP with short waiting period; Sell close to MSRP with long waiting period. Above steps may not work.
  2. For non H-D models in great demand, you may have to pay whatever is asked.

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