How to Buy a Motorcycle: In 3 Steps (A Complete Guide)

When buying a motorcycle whether it is new or used, you need to pay attention to lots of details so that your purchase would be good

Buying a motorcycle without following the due process could bring untoward consequences, For example, did you know that there are loads of used motorcycles that are stolen, and when you buy a stolen motorcycle the police could blame you for theft? Now, this is just one of the many troubles that could be associated with buying motorcycles without due diligence. 

And that’s why I wrote this guide to show you the step by step process of buying a motorcycle the proper way.

This guide is going to be divided into three steps and they are…

  • What to look for when buying a motorcycle
  • Questions to ask before buying a motorcycle
  • Tips for buying a motorcycle

Step 1. Questions to ask before buying a motorcycle

white markee light

Do I really need a motorcycle?

Look though I personally do love motorcycles; however, they are not suitable for everyone especially when you consider that they can be relatively dangerous and scarier than other vehicles

No doubt that riding motorcycle can be fun but the excitement often fades after a few months, so you may also take that into account

So, if you are not completely sure, I will recommend that you read books on a motorcycle or even consult your friends and family for guidance

How much money are you willing to spend?

When you buy a new motorcycle lots of people forget that beyond buying the motorcycle there are other things to consider such as maintenance and fuel economy, that could cost a few thousand dollars each year and because of that you must do the calculation yourself before you buy a new motorcycle

Usually, motorcycles that have a very large engine size will need more maintenance and more fuel so you also need to take this into account

I personally highly recommend you calculate how much money the fuel and maintenance expenses will cost you for at least 3 years.

If you do not have much money to buy a new motorcycle you can opt for a used motorcycle which can also be excellent. I will elaborate more on this later

A used motorcycle would be a great choice for beginner riders especially because a beginner rider is going to make a lot of mistakes and falls on his motorcycle, which will hurt him. So used motorcycle is also a very good option since there is not too much difference between a new motorcycle and a used motorcycle.

However, a new motorcycle can be great for those that want to spend more money on a good and expensive motorcycle that will last long.

I personally would always recommend for new riders as well as for advanced riders to buy used motorcycles mainly because there isn’t much difference between new and used motorcycles.

Am I an experienced rider?

Lots of riders are often economical with the truth when they are asked this question…

If you ride a motorcycle that does not fit your riding level, you end up not only endangering your life but also that of anyone else that ride with you

If you don’t know your riding level, I highly recommend that you ask your parents or friends so you can know better

If you are a new rider and you have never ridden a motorcycle I will recommend that you get a riding or training course to help you ascertain your competence level

What kind of motorcycle do I need?

If you don’t know there are several types of motorcycles today

For each of them has its unique features; its drawbacks and advantages so you will have to do this search yourself and check what you are looking for

In general, these are the different types of motorcycles …..

  • Dirt bike
  • Sports bikes.
  • Standard motorcycles
  • Sightseeing
  • scooter
  • electric
  • dirt bike – Dirt bikes are the best motorcycles for off-road riding and are less designed for road riding. Typically dirt bikes range from 50 cc tailored for small children to monsters that reach engine sizes up to 500 cc.
  • Dual Sport / ADV – Sports motorcycles are very powerful motorcycles. However, they are very lightweight and fun and are mostly used for those looking for speed and they are great for racing and they usually range from 200 cc to over 1200 cc but for most sports motorcycles the range is 600 cc
  • Touring – Touring Motorcycles are the best for those who want a motorcycle that can take them on long-distance. They are usually very heavy and powerful and offer a great variety of different features to help you ride well and efficiently for long distance
  • Scooters – Scooters have a stigma associated with it; is its old and noisy nature but nowadays scooters are very modern and advanced and they are a great choice for riding in the city and they usually have engines between 50 cc and 650 cc while most scooters are 300 cc
  • Electric – Electric motorcycles have only entered the market in recent years and are becoming more and more popular around the world, and as you know they operate on electricity rather than gasoline and are simple and great for beginner riders. So you can opt for it if you are a beginner rider and it is also important to preserve the environment, therefore electric motorcycle could be a great option for you
  • Standard motorcycles – Standard motorcycles are the most popular in the world and offer all the basic features a motorcycle needed and range from 250 cc to 1200 cc and they are a great option for riding in the city as well as in the country.

Where should I buy a motorcycle? (Agencies or private sales)

The question that is often asked when buying a new motorcycle is from which seller to buy then you will need to know that there are 2 types of ways through which you can buy and they are a private seller and agency company and each has its advantages and disadvantages So you will need to decide what type of seller you want to buy your motorcycle from

Private sellers

Private sellers are just like private individuals as all of us that own a motorcycle may decide to sell it at some point due to one reason or the other, sometimes used or new, and in most cases, they would be much cheaper than a dealership and usually, a private seller had a used motorcycle.

In addition, private sellers will offer you a number of other things and improvements that agency companies will not offer

And if you have an old motorcycle that you are not using then private sellers would very much like to negotiate and exchange with you

It is very important that the private seller you buy from is trustworthy and you will have to be careful because there are loads of private sellers who are fraudulent and unreliable so it is important that you pay attention to the tips I will show you later in this guide

Agencies companies

Agencies are a service department that usually have lots of different types of motorcycles to choose from and are very reliable and work for a much larger organization such as Honda and other large companies

And something that I really love about Agency companies is that you can even request a test drive before buying a motorcycle unlike when buying from private sellers that won’t allow you to test drive based on one reason or another

What kind of riding are you going to do?

The type and style of riding you will be doing will determine the type of motorcycle you will need

In fact, there are several different types of motorcycles, and each one has its own unique features

You will need to ask yourself what kind of riding you do

  • Maybe you ride in hard-to-reach areas and places
  • Maybe You want to ride long distances and do adventures with your motorcycle
  • Maybe You want to ride in the city or even the countryside

For all these types of riding, There are specific types of motorcycles that are Adapted for them, so you have to answer this question

Which motorcycle brand should I buy?

When it comes to choosing a motorcycle brand, it is far more important than other branded vehicles because there are many diverse differences between the different companies that each has its unique feature so you have to do your research and see which company you like best

Some of the 10 best motorcycle companies in the world …

  • Harley Davidson
  • Honda
  • BMW
  • Suzuki
  • Ducati
  • Yamaha
  • Kawasaki
  • KTM
  • Triumph
  • Aprilia

For example, if you want a motorcycle for racing then KMT seems to be the best for you

If you want a luxurious and impressive motorcycle then BMW seems to be an excellent option for you

If you want a classic and powerful motorcycle then Harley Davidson will be a great choice for you

If you want to read more about motorcycle companies and how to choose one you are welcome to read the post I wrote click here to view

Steps 2. What to look for when buying a motorcycle

The design and look of the motorcycle

One of the most important things you will need to do is choose a motorcycle that will look good in terms of appearance and design and because of that it is very important that you pick a motorcycle that you love

In addition, it is very important that the frame is made from high-quality materials that can protect the motorcycle in a good way. Usually steel metal is often the best

In addition the design has several other functions; for example, the color of your motorcycle is very significant and important for your safety. While it is very difficult to see dark colors at night compared to bright colors and because of this if you ride a lot at night, I strongly recommend that you pick a Brightened and not darkened color to make you more visible to other riders/vehicles

Engine size

The biggest mistake I see a lot of new riders make when buying their first motorcycle is to choose an engine size that doesn’t fit their competence level. They think they are very good even though they are not yet experienced enough and choosing an engine that is not right for you can be very dangerous

For example, a new rider will never be able to ride with a 1000 cc engine motorcycle because it is very difficult to control which increases the risk of being involved in a dangerous accident that can even endanger life but on the other hand, an experienced rider since he has experience with small engine can ride on such large engines

Engine sizes that ranging from 250 cc to 400 cc is perfect for beginner riders mainly because they are very safe for beginner riders and would allow them to make mistakes without making a life-threatening accident, however, large engines are 1000 times more likely to die

In addition, it is very important that the engine size is not too small because if it is too slow it can also be dangerous and in addition engines under 250 cc are usually illegal in many countries Especially in the United States

If you want to hear more about why big engines are Dangerous, I highly recommend you go and read the post I wrote click here to view

Also if you want to check good motorcycles For Beginner riders feel free to read this post as well click here to view

Seat size that suits your height

Choosing a seat height that suits your height is very critical

Especially because you are a new rider, if the seat level is not right for your height it will be very hard Getting your feet to the ground which will make it very difficult for you to control your motorcycle.

In addition, a suitable seat height gives you a lot of confidence when riding so I highly recommend taking the seat height issue seriously and consulting consult an expert to help you get a seat height that suits you

In addition, if you want to see more about seat height selection that suits you I highly recommend you watch this video


In addition to the seat height, you will also need to take into account the weight of the motorcycle which also plays an important part in your safety

The average weight rule for motorcycles is 400 pounds, but for large engines, it can weigh very heavy, especially because of the materials they are made of, which are usually of a higher quality and heavyweight

In general, it is always better to have an easier motorcycle weight, because the more the motorcycle is easier to handle the better it will be for you to control it.


Buying from agency companies is usually the most reliable service through which you can buy in 99 percent of the time your motorcycle will arrive without fail and its quality will be excellent

However, when it comes to buying from private sellers you are much more likely to get a motorcycle with defects so you must check carefully that the quality of the motorcycle is good enough and even with this it is a used that does not mean you should not get a good motorcycle in good condition

What you should look out for when buying a used motorcycle

When it comes to buying a used motorcycle you will have to put in a little more effort because of the fact that it is used and you do not know what defects can be And in what situation the motorcycle

It is very important that you pay attention to the following things

  • Ask the seller questions about the condition of the motorcycle
  • Make sure the motorcycle has insurance so it has no need to renew and even save quite a bit of money
  • Check all important components and parts such as wheels, chain, handlebars, exhaust system, fuel, grip, damage, scratches, frame status, and brake status
  • Check the islands for leaks or leaks in oil or refrigerant
  • Although most sellers won’t let you take a test drive, I would still highly recommend you ask and even offer a sum of money for a test drive.

Tips for buying a motorcycle

Make sure you have an insurance motorcycle

Motorcycle insurance is a very important thing and most countries in the world require motorcycles to have it by law

And if you are caught riding without an insurance cover you can get a financial penalty

Insurance can give you the…

  • Refund of bodily injury
  • Refund of parts who were hit by the motorcycle
  • Refund of theft cases

I personally highly advise you to do motorcycle insurance mainly because it is very cheap relative to the car and the prices vary from state to state so you will need to check it yourself and also it is very important that you know the price of insurance before buying a new motorcycle so that you can budget you have can afford the cost of the insurance

Get a test drive

One of the most common mistakes I have seen before buying not only a motorcycle but all vehicles is not to ask the seller to take a test drive

Actually no matter how much you read about the motorcycle, as long as you don’t feel how it rides you will never know if you really love it and you will be surprised that many riders thought they were going to buy the perfect motorcycle for them but after they did a test drive they were very disappointed and regretted

Most agency companies will allow you to do a test drive, but on the other hand, private sellers are much less likely to do a test drive and it’s even quite rare to find someone

I personally very recommend you to offer your seller another amount of money for a test drive especially if you found a good seller that offers a great deal

Buy the motorcycle in the right site

It is very important that you buy your motorcycle in a good and reliable place and most importantly from a reliable seller because there are loads of rogue and unreliable sellers who can sell you a motorcycle in a bad situation and because of that you must to be very careful when buying especially online

You can buy motorcycles at various sites on the Internet, while sites like Craigslist and CycleTrader can be great for buying used motorcycles and if you want, you can even buy through Facebook groups

  • It is very important that you meet the seller in public places and never in lonely places where there are no people because you do not know the seller anyway and I would even highly recommend you tell someone where you are going
  • In addition, never give credit number information to the seller because he can take advantage of it and hurt you
  • Don’t be afraid to stand up and ask for a discount from the seller
  • If you feel like the seller is not trustworthy, I do not recommend to buy from such person remember always listen to what your gut feeling says
  • And it is very important that you always check that all the motorcycle is fine and has no defects or damage

You really have to be careful and know how to do it right by that if you want to see a complete tutorial that will show you step by step where you can buy a motorcycle Feel free to read the post I wrote Click here to view

Know how to pay for the motorcycle?

You will have to know how to pay for the motorcycle properly and safely because if you pay wrongly You might end up losing your money especially if you are buying from a bad seller

In order to pay for the motorcycle safely and correctly, you will need to adhere to the following rules…

  • Always pay cash because it is the best and safest way to pay
  • Don’t spread your payments too long because you don’t know what your budget will look like in the long run. It is not a guarantee if you have a permanent job that pays you a regular salary because you never know when Get fired You and that is why I won’t advice you pay long term rather I would recommend you pay a single fee on the motorcycle and if you do want to spread payments, make sure it is not too long and it is not over your monthly budget usually 2 years stretch should be the maximum limit
  • Always ask for signed copies or receipts of any paperwork and keep them
  • Always be sure that the total price is as accurate as the seller closed it with you
  • Make sure the seller is trustworthy and not a cheat

Plan your budget

Lots of riders forget before buying motorcycles what they have to pay for other things like protective gear, maintenance, fuel, and insurance

So you must do your calculation and know how much each one costs

  • A motorcycle should cost you between $ 5000 to $ 25,000
  • Insurance should cost $ 500 a year in most states
  • Maintenance and fuel should also cost several thousand dollars a year
  • And of course, the protective equipment especially if you want good quality equipment you have to pay between 200 to as much as 1000 dollars

So sometimes the accompanying things can cost you more than the motorcycle itself so you may have to go along with a money manager to help you calculate the final price

And you will need to always remember to calculate it for at least 3 years from now

Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount

Maybe when it comes to agency companies it would be very difficult to impossible to ask for a discount but when it comes to a private seller it is much easier to ask for a discount from the seller

You need to understand that the motorcycle seller wants to get rid of it just as much as you want to buy it especially in nowadays that It is much harder to sell a used motorcycle so don’t be afraid to haggle and ask for a discount

Also, feel free to ask the seller if he needs his protective gear like a glove or Helmet and any equipment he no longer uses anyway Don’t be afraid to ask that many sellers will forget to mention that they have protective gear You’ll be surprised a lot of sellers will be happy to give you their equipment

Do your research

Once you find the motorcycle models that you are considering to buy, you should do the hard work and look for the pros and cons of each

So that you can compare the models you find through reviews and forums to help you, and I personally even recommend you take a test drive on each of the models

Make sure your motorcycle is registered

One of the important things you will need to do after buying a new motorcycle is to register it on your name

To register it you will need to check the VIN license plate and title and give it to the notary

Let a professional check the motorcycle

Whether you are buying through an agency or a private seller you should always ask a professional to check that all the parts are in good condition and have no flaws even if you have checked it yourself

Usually, a good technician or friend who understands motorcycles can do so in a good way and check that all parts are in place

And believe me, it is very important that even in private dealers or sellers can sell you a motorcycle that has damage without you noticing and you wouldn’t want to find out only after a month that there is a motorcycle problem because at this point there is guarantee that you will be refunded

Make sure the motorcycle is not stolen.

If you are in a crime scene then don’t be surprised a good number of motorcycles you see are stolen and if you accidentally buy one you can be blamed by the police for stealing them and because of this you will have to go through the following steps to make sure it is not stolen

  • Check that the prices are not too cheap – because many sellers already want to get rid of the stolen motorcycle as soon as possible So they sell it at a very low price so it’s very important that you check the average price the motorcycle is sold
  • After that check, if the seller has pictures of the motorcycle so it is very important since the seller had a picture that he shows the motorcycle in the ad
  • Check out the ad of the seller and if you suspect anything out of place I recommend you call the seller and check with him
  • In addition it is very important to ask questions and of course you cannot ask the seller if the motorcycle is stolen but instead ask the seller questions such as the maintenance or improvements and repairs that the motorcycle had in recent years or even personal questions such as where he recommends to ride and more so that you can see the reaction of the seller and if he responds in a way that looks like he doesn’t know or lie so you better not buy from him
  • Check if the seller’s house has any suspicious signs of stealing motorcycles like many other motorcycles in his house that appear to be stolen and also make sure there are no suspicious signs on the motorcycle itself, such as various damage locks that indicate possible theft
  • Ask the seller for the motorcycle serial number
  • And finally to be sure you have to check with the police or the DMV that the motorcycle is not stolen

Bring a friend with you

No matter how much you think you know to speak well, it was very important to bring a friend with you because you never know which person can sell the motorcycle.

I personally would even recommend that you bring a motorcycle technician or expert to help you do a test and see that everything is correct on your motorcycle

In addition, always tell at least one person like friends or family where you are going so if you are gone they will come and look for you


In summary, I have shown you through this guild, the step by step process on how to buy a new motorcycle

It is very important to know that this guide can also be used for buying a new and used motorcycle


I’m Rob, the owner of RX Riders Place. My family and I have a long history of riding dirt bikes and ATVs and want to share what we have learned.

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