Bike Buying Tips

Financing

Approach buying the cycle in the same way you would look at buying a second car or small boat. Banks and other financing houses offer a vast array of options for getting you on the road. With a few simple tips, finding the best one and making the deal will go a lot easier. Just as with cars and houses, rates vary and searching for the best one is the way to go.

But first things first. When you pick your motorcycle, new or used, it is time to find the right price for it. Do a little comparison shopping using our search engine and database of classifieds. Note, however, that motorcycle prices vary greatly by region because of the ever-present economic rule of supply and demand. Just because you found that Harley cheaper in Texas, that doesn't mean somebody in New York will take that amount. Just as it is smart to have a mechanic check a used car before you buy, having your new motorcycle inspected is a good idea. Have a competent mechanic familiar with motorcycles check engine components, breaks and drive chain or shaft carefully. Ask about any problems to watch out for with the model you have selected. Selecting the right bike is just as important. Be honest about what you will be using your motorcycle for most often and be sure to get the right size and style to fit your needs.

A 250cc bike might be fine for cruising your area, but it you want to hit the open road for any period of time, a larger engine will be the way to go. Don't be afraid to talk to other riders in your area and ask for advice.

Insurance

Insurance for motorcycles is a must. It is generally inexpensive and normally can be purchased through the same company you insure your car with. To get the best price, you should shop around with different firms. The best price may not be with the same carrier that offers your car and home insurance.

If you plan to tow your motorcycle on vacations or to off-road riding sites, make sure that your car or truck can handle the towing weight and include your trailer in your insurance coverage. Motorcycles can bring you hours of fun, in part because they require a new set of skills to operate safely and enjoyably. As with any new skill, the novice needs both practice and some lessons.

Most states require a special driver's license (or classification of driver's license) to ride motorcycles. To get this, you must be able to demonstrate necessary skills, such as stopping, turning and riding alone or with a friend on a second motorcycle. These states, and many private companies, offer safe cycling classes that you should seriously consider.

Even long-time riders find the classes fun and informative. As an added incentive, many insurance companies reduce their rates for people who successfully complete the classes and, in some cases, the class certificate comes complete with the motorcycle license. Consult with your insurance carriers and local motor vehicles administration to see what is offered in your area.

Escrow Services

Buying online may also be an option to be negotiated with the seller. Escrow services can bring peace of mind to both sides of the talks in these situations. The services hold the buyer's cash payment, ensuring to the seller that the funds are available and allowing the buyer to make sure he or she is getting what they paid for.

Transport Services

If you are buying your motorcycle from a dealer or seller located a long distance from you, finding safe and secure transportation is a must.

There are several options available to you, but in each case you will need to make sure the bike is insured throughout the transport.

It may be possible for you to travel out to the seller and take a leisurely cruise home on your new purchase. The best option may be to drive out and haul the cycle home in an approved trailer capable of handling the weight of the bike.

If neither of those options is possible, alternatives can be found. Check with local motorcycle dealers to find trucking companies that service your area and are rigged to haul bikes. Rail service is also an option to explore depending on your region. If the cycle is overseas, most freight shipping carriers can handle vehicle moves. With rail and shipping you will need to arrange to have the motorcycle delivered to the applicable terminal and picked up near your home. The fees for overland and oversea shipping can be considerable and it is important to check what liability the carrier agrees to cover during the move.

Parts & Accessories

Riding is freedom made up of equal parts -- art, attitude and equipment. As every rider knows, you need to properly outfit both the rider and the cycle to make things complete.