How to buy a motorcycle for a price you can afford

By Allstate

Last updated: January 1

If you're looking to buy a motorcycle, you may be picturing long rides on the bike of your dreams. But, does your perfect ride actually fit into your budget? From shopping around to understanding financing options, consider these tips for buying a motorcycle you want at a price you can afford.

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Be an informed shopper recommends researching any bike you're interested in. Know how much local dealers are selling it for and whether it's a new model or if the manufacturer is releasing a new one soon. Research the dealer's reputation, as this will give you an idea of whether the dealership is known for great prices, service or, even better, both. It's also helpful to know the fair market price of any motorcycle you're interested in so that you can tell if it is a good deal or overpriced. You can typically find this information in the National Automobile Dealers Association Guides and Kelley Blue Book.

Consider buying a used motorcycle

Buying a used bike is one way to get a great motorcycle at a good price. Whether you're buying from a dealership or a private seller, it's a good idea to do your research up front. It's also important to check out the bike's condition, ask for service records and take a test ride whenever possible. If you're not sure or have questions, have a mechanic look over the bike. suggests waiting until the fall to shop for a used motorcycle, as the deals tend to be better when the colder weather arrives. Also consider extending your search area, as you may be able to get a better deal if you're willing to travel a bit, says

Know your price and negotiate

Know what you're willing to pay and keep it in mind as you discuss pricing with the seller. You know what you can afford and how much a bike is worth, so you should be confident in stating your price, says

Focus on the overall cost — including taxes and fees. Stay away from negotiating based on monthly payments, says, as this may not get you the best deal even if you can afford the payments.

Know how you're paying

It's ideal to purchase a bike outright, says The Balance. This will often net you a better deal and eliminates interest charges altogether. The next best thing is to save up for a sizable down payment, according to The Nest. The larger your down payment is, the less you'll need for monthly payments and interest charges.

If you need financing to buy a motorcycle, shop for a loan before you shop for a bike. The Nest notes that looking into different options means you can select the loan with a favorable interest rate.

Here are a few options to consider before you head to the dealership.

Consider a personal loan

Check with a local bank or credit union to see if you qualify for a personal loan, suggests The Balance. You may be able to receive a better rate and terms than you can find elsewhere, particularly if you already do business with the bank or credit union. This can also be a good option if you're purchasing a bike from a private seller.

Get financing through the manufacturer

It's possible to obtain financing for new motorcycles directly from the manufacturer, says The Balance. Called original equipment manufacturer loans (commonly known as OEM loans), these financing programs tend to be available only for new models or models that are not currently selling well. Ask your dealer if there are any OEM loans available on the models you are interested in.

Get financing through the dealer

Most motorcycle dealerships offer financing directly to consumers or they have special relationships with lenders. Keep in mind that they may offer a higher interest rate than you'd find elsewhere, says The Nest. However, it may be easier to get financing through the dealer than through other means.

Regardless of where you buy your motorcycle or obtain financing, make sure you're able to afford the payments and still have enough left over for gear, maintenance, gas and insurance. With a little preparation and a willingness to negotiate, you should be able to find a great motorcycle that fits your budget.