“When is the best time to buy a motorcycle?” – it’s a question I get, a lot. After working for a number of years in and out of motorcycle industry, it makes sense my friends would ask me. So let me give you some advice to help you on these first steps of your journey.
First off, let me make it clear from the very beginning: Winter is the best time to buy a motorcycle, because less people are looking and you are able to get yourself a great deal on a new or used motorcycle. But if you think that’s it, you’re oh-so-wrong. There is so much more to it than that.
When is the best time to buy a motorcycle?
Like most things in life, motorcycles are seasonal. If you have ever tried to get a service in the early spring only to have wait hours or days for service? As soon as the weather gets better everyone gets their bikes out of the garage to get them ready for the summer.
If you visit your local dealer in the warmer months then you will find plenty of people looking at new bikes or trading in their older one for a new one. Deals are harder to get when there is money coming in. Autumn and winter are a whole other story. During the colder months there are hardly any motorcycles passing through a dealer’s showroom becomes very empty.
The sales start to dry up and the service department keeps busy watching episodes of Sons of Anarchy, waiting for work to come in. As a dealer this is not good news. Cash flow is key, so whoever is willing to spend money in the winter is welcome. As new models come in, the previous year models look less appealing. Unsold stock on a dealer’s floor is money that is tied up so sales people will be keen to shift the stock. This is true for new and used motorcycles.
Things to consider when buying a motorcycle.
If you are thinking about buying a motorcycle then you will need to ask yourself a few questions:
- Am I an experienced rider?
It’s fun to ride motorcycles, but when done wrong it can be deadly. You will need to assess your skills and abilities before you decide to buy a motorcycle. If you are a newbie then you need to learn or if you have been out of riding for a while then you might need a refresher course.
- How do I plan to ride?
The type of bike that you get will depend on the kind of riding that you have planned. Riding can become a large part of your lifestyle and the motorcycle that you get should reflect the riding that you want. Take that into consideration before you look at the performance and mechanical aspect of a bike. Are you a racer? Do you like the slow ride? Are you using the bike for your daily commute? Think about these things before you get a bike.
- What do I want to spend?
Even though you are bound to get a good deal in the winter months, you still need to know what you can afford. Will you need financing to pay for it? Will you be able to fit that in your monthly budget?
- Do I need a new bike?
It might not be entirely necessary to get a new motorcycle as a used motorcycle might just suit you better.
- Is this bike for me?
As you shop around for a motorcycle you need to take into account your own body, weight, height, and strength. If you can’t put your feet relatively flat on the ground when it is upright then the bike is too tall for you. If it is your first bike then try and stay away from those tempting high performance motorcycles that might be more power than you’re ready for right now.
The motorcycle you get should be in line with the life style and needs you have from your motorcycle, based on how you will ride it. Choose one that you love but that also suits your life.
- But is it safe and how much work will it need?
In a lot of states and provinces, your motorcycle is going to need to pass some kind of government-mandated inspection before you can get it on the road. Those tests are meant to meet a minimum safety standard, but they don’t actually ensure that your motorcycle is in good condition, or that your motorcycle won’t need hundreds or thousands of dollars in repairs.
Example: A motorcycle you’re interested in buying can have brake rotors (which can cost hundreds of dollars) in terrible condition, but as long as the brake pads (a $30-$40) are in good shape, the bike would still pass an inspection in most states and provinces. That’s because the motorcycle would still function properly (it would still stop). However, you’d be going through brake pads every year due to the poor condition of the rotors. To make sure you aren’t getting duped, take the time to get a detailed motorcycle pre-inspection done on a bike before you buy a used motorcycle.
With all that being said, before you commit to buying a bike you’ll need to inspect it for wear and tear. Here are a few things you should check when buying a used motorcycle, you can find a more detailed list here.
Odometer: Whether you buy a used bike from a dealer or a private person you will need to compare the odometer reading with the reported mileage of the bike.
Service Records: Ask to see maintenance and service records.
Fairings: Have a look for scratches and rust on the bodywork, fenders and tank. Ask if the bodywork is aftermarket or original. If they are aftermarket fairings then the resale value will be decreased.
Foot Pegs: Take a look at wear on the foot pegs. If they are worn on the top then it will mean it’s done a lot of miles. If they are worn on the bottom it means that the rider was leaning to far over in corners.
Seat: A seat that is cracked and worn means the bike has had a rough life.
Aftermarket Parts: Take a look for any new or aftermarket parts.
Chain: The chain should be tight and clean with about an inch of slack between the sprockets on the bottom run.
Have any questions? Leave a comment.