What Do You Need to Know When Buying Motorcycles?


Most of the time, when someone has decided to buy a motorcycle, they have an idea of the style they want. If one is planning to use the bike for the dirt and on trails, that person will be shopping the Motocross or Enduro styles. If the rider wants the motorcycle for commuting or cruising the streets and highways, those will be the styles to concentrate on.

Having narrowed the purchasing process within these parameters, shopping can be directed at selecting an exact fit in terms size, cost and reliability. For first time shoppers, the best thing to do is start by visiting several dealerships or private party sellers, and browse the selections of new, and used motorcycles. By doing this, one can begin to learn what size and peg configuration feels the best.

Most motorcycles are manufactured to accommodate the average person, which is somewhere between 5’ and 6’ in height, and 150 to 250 pounds. If one is shorter, or taller, the selection process may take a bit longer, but there are plenty of motorcycles to choose from.

In terms of cost, the price of a new motorcycle is going to vary according to style, engine displacement and the extent of any accessory options. In addition, a dealer is going to attach overhead costs to any showroom purchase. Once this figure has been established, it should be researched to determine if it is competitive with other dealer’s prices. If this is not the case, the better deal should be investigated further.

Buying a motorcycle from a private party will save the cost of a dealer’s overhead, and there is a fairly good selection of well maintained, previously owned motorcycles on the market. If a buyer is fortunate enough to find one of these, and the asking price is where it should be, the search for the right motorcycle may very well be over. Always ask to see maintenance records, repair invoices and look the bike over closely. If a motorcycle, or any vehicle has been well maintained, it will be apparent in a number of ways. A good visual inspection will disclose a lot about a vehicle.

By all means, don’t walk away from a potentially great deal simply because there is a scratch on the transfer case, or a rear fender is cracked. Motorcycles go down. It is a fact of life, and the reason we have helmet laws. If the pegs feel right and the bike is easy to handle, the rest is a matter that can only be concluded between the particular seller and buyer.

The main thing to look for when buying a motorcycle is reliability. The big name manufacturers remain in business because their products perform well on a consistent basis. Reliability is not always something that can be seen by sitting on a motorcycle, or by riding it around the block several times. Investigate the options, such as a dealer or manufacturer’s warranty that carries over to the next owner, or simply a contract that binds the seller for a period of time.

Finally, there are requirements and laws that pertain to owning and riding a motorcycle, whether on the street, or off road. The first is a motorcycle rider’s license. This can only be obtained by filing an application with the appropriate motor vehicle department, taking a written examination, and producing evidence of liability insurance. The process is not complex, however all requirements must be met.

The next requirement is a Department of Transportation approved helmet. Some states require proof of purchase before a license will be issued. In other states, there are areas where a person could ride without wearing a helmet, and it may not be a violation. However, riding a motorcycle without helmet protection, and at least arm and leg protection, is not recommended.

If one is buying a motorcycle for the first time, the cost of liability insurance and protective wear should be factored into the overall price of the purchase.

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