If you have been considering purchasing a used motorcycle, we have compiled a comprehensive list of things you should consider or do prior to making that purchase. Some of these tips will also be beneficial if you plan to buy new.

  1. Decide which style of bike will best fit your lifestyle. There are several types of motorcycles available: sport bikes, cruisers, road bikes, touring motorcycles, standard, dual-purpose, and more. Do some research into each style to determine which will best fit the purpose you plan to utilize the motorcycle for. Also, be sure to read online reviews, check motorcycle forums, visit a local bike rally or dealership event, and get word-of-mouth advice from biker friends.
  2. Contact your insurance agent for the availability and the cost of motorcycle insurance. Once you have decided on the style of bike you are planning to purchase, be sure to contact your insurance carrier to get a quoted rate for motorcycle insurance. Rates can vary with the type of bike, like it does for car insurance. This will help you to properly budget for the increase in your rate of you have other vehicles.
  3. Research the current value of the model you plan to purchase. You can use Kelley Blue Book and NADAguides to look up the going rate of the motorcycle you are interested in, including what to expect from a dealership or a private seller. Also, keep in mind that some bikes may be more popular in a particular area and may have a higher resale value in that area.
  4. Take a motorcycle safety/training course. According to the Florida DMV website, the “State ofFlorida requires that new Motorcyclists (regardless of age) must take and pass the Basic Rider Course through the Florida Rider Training Program before they get a motorcycle only license or can have the Motorcycle Endorsement added to their driver’s license.”
  5. Decide where you plan to buy your bike. Private dealers may be offering less but they are unlikely to have a maintenance plan or warranty. Compare the benefits that a dealership may be offering to private sellers to ensure you end up with the best deal. Also, consider the time of the year; winter months may see a drop in sales and sellers may be more motivated to make a deal. Expand your search area if shopping local doesn’t provide any added benefits or if the selection is limited in the style you are after.
  6. Have a qualified mechanic inspect the motorcycle. The reason to do this is the same as buying a used car – to check for defects or upcoming maintenance that is required. You can either use the defects or repairs as a bargaining chip or as a reason to walk away from the bike and keep looking if the repairs are too costly.
  7. Get a service and accident history report for the bike. You don’t want to end up getting a motorcycle that hasn’t been properly maintenance or has recently been repaired from an accident otherwise you will be inheriting any future problems stemming from the accident or lack of care. Getting a history report will also let you know of any recalls were issued, or if there is a particular complaint or issue with the year, make, and model you are planning to buy. Also ask if the original manufacture’s manual or factory tool kit is available and be sure they are a part of the sale if they are.
  8. Test drive the motorcycle. You may think you like a particular style of bike based on what you have read and heard about it, but it may turn out that you don’t like the way it rides. Sport bikes may be about the thrill of the ride but are not all that comfortable for long rides, so if you are using the bike to commute a long distant to work, you may find that you are uncomfortable especially if you hit traffic. Test driving the motorcycle will also give you a feel of how to handle the bike in addition to how it rides. Height, weight, and strength can affect your ability to handle the motorcycle while it rides and more so when you are stopped.
  9. Be sure that the title is available and all paperwork is ready for transfer. This step is more important if you are buying from a private seller. A dealership will have the title and registration paperwork and will assist you in transferring the motorcycle into your name. Never buy a used motorcycle that is missing its title. You won’t be able to legally register the bike and you don’t want to be held responsible if it turns out the bike was stolen. Also, be sure that the title and current registration is in the seller’s name so that you know they are authorized to sell the bike.
  10. Now it’s time to make your purchase! You have done your research on which style of bike you want, taken your new motorcycle rider’s course, test drove the bike and ensured it had a clean history. Now it is time to close the deal. Consider the value of the bike compared to the asking price and any benefits, like a warranty, that may be included. If the deal is right, take it. Otherwise, you can keep looking or expand your search to nearby cities.