What Should You Know Before Buying a Motorcycle?


Buying a motorcycle can seem like a great idea at first—there’s the opportunity to enjoy the open road and a sense of freedom. However, there’s a lot more to owning and operating a motorcycle than many people initially realize.

The following are some of the important things to keep in mind if you’re in the process of buying a motorcycle.

Motorcycle License

To operate a motorcycle in most states, you’ll have to have a motorcycle license or an endorsement on your regular license. To obtain a motorcycle license in New Jersey, you’ll have to first pass a written test and possibly obtain a permit. Following that, there is a 20-day waiting period before you can take road test.

If you take a road test on a certain type of motorcycle, you may only be eligible for a restricted license.

Often when people are just learning to ride a motorcycle, they opt to go to school or take a class that focuses on driving skills not only so that they pass the licensing exam but also so that they’re safe, because motorcycles can be incredibly dangerous.

The Actual Cost of Ownership

Buying a motorcycle can be relatively inexpensive in some cases, especially if you’re buying a used model. Even with a new model, the cost is only $5,000 to $10,000 on average, but that initial cost of purchasing the motorcycle itself only tells part of the story.

The following are some of the biggest ongoing costs of ownership associated with motorcycles:

  • Insurance can be costly on a motorcycle, often because of the risk. If you’re over 25 and you have a completely clean driving record, you may be able to get a discount,but regardless it’s going to cost you. Other specific factors that can include the cost of insurance for a motorcycle include population density where you live, and how often the bike model you purchase is stolen.
  • Motorcycles tend to require more frequent maintenance than cars, and it can be expensive. A set of tires for a motorcycle, as an example, can usually be anywhere from $400 to $600. Some estimates also put the need for a rear tire replacement at every 3,000 miles. Chains will also need to be replacedfairly regularly, and you’ll need to count on servicing and maintenance checks every 5,000 to 20,000 miles. If you do need repairs or adjustments during that time, it may cost anywhere from $800 to $1,500.
  • Riding a motorcycle requires gear as well. For example, you’ll need a helmet and a jacket with leather designed specifically for riding. Also needed will be gloves and boots, and many riders opt for protective pants as well. Gear to ride a motorcycle can initially cost more than $1,000.

Choose the Right Bike

If you consider some of the technicalities of owning a motorcycle and feel it’s still right for you, how do you choose the bike?

One of the biggest mistakes new motorcycle riders and owners make is that they overestimate how much bike they can handle. Seasoned riders will typically recommend that if you’re new to motorcycles, you start with a slower bike and use that as you gain skills and experience.

Beyond that, what else should you consider?

  • What type of riding will you be using your bike for mostly? For example, if you’re just going to be enjoying it as a hobby on weekends, you can probably deal with something less comfortable as compared to riding long distances.
  • There are a lot of different types of specialized motorcycles available,and a lot of what you choose as far as these specialized options go is going to be about your preferences, so you have to consider these.
  • The size of your body is relevant as you choose a bike as well. Not all bikes are going to be comfortable or functional for all body sizes. Additionally, you might find certain things uncomfortable and unpleasant, leading you in one direction over another.

Finally, you’ll have to think about whether you want (or can afford) a new or used motorcycle. Buying a new motorcycle is going to come with a higher price tag, but some advantages as well. For example, it’s less likely that you’ll spend a lot of maintenance and a new motorcycle is probably going to come with a warranty as well.

Used motorcycles are less expensive, and they can be good for a new rider to learn on. Downsides include the fact that they may be less reliable and ongoing costs of maintenance may be greater.

Author: Susan Melony