For many people, buying a bike is much like buying a car. Tight budgets, competitive dealerships, and a market flooded with different models and options all translate to decision-making difficulties. Knowing a few dos and don’ts can mean the difference between a stressful and an enjoyable motorcycle shopping experience. Here are some basics to help you get started.
DO plenty of research before ever arriving at the showroom. Your goal here shouldn’t be to blow away the salesperson with your knowledge, but to know in advance all the questions you would like answers for. Starting out the process as an informed customer will save you time and money.
DON’T get hung up on brand. While it’s true that some friends may give you a hard time if you buy a Honda rather than a Harley or vice versa, remember that it should all come down to what you want.
DO expect to pay dealer fees. The bottom line will almost always include fees such as assembly, prep, freight, and doc (documentation), all of which come at a legitimate cost to the dealership. Rarely, if ever, is a doc fee negotiable, because the law stipulates that all customers be charged the same amount for the paperwork process on a given unit, but don’t be afraid to ask for a discount on other fees.
DON’T lie about your budget or credit score. A good motorcycle salesperson won’t judge you for being broke or having bad credit; if you’re serious about getting a new ride, they’re serious about getting you on one, regardless of your financial situation. Being up front about what you can afford will save time by helping them narrow down your options from the get-go.
DO account for the cost of insurance in your budgeting. At many dealerships, new bikes aren’t allowed to be rolled off the floor without proof of insurance, and if you decide to finance your purchase, don’t be surprised if the lender requires full coverage.
DON’T expect to find the best deal by simply calling around. While some dealerships may price over the phone, most won’t do more than give you a general idea, and you will almost always get a better offer in person.
DO be very personable with dealership employees. Whether it’s with your salesperson, the finance manager, or the guys at the parts counter, a friendly rapport will give them a reason to want to do you favors. A little common ground can go a long way when you’re sitting at the negotiating table.
DON’T settle for a dealership or salesperson that you don’t feel satisfied with. A motorcycle is a long term investment, and it pays to have a personal connection with the place or person you bought it from. When it comes time for maintenance, repair, or a trade-in, you’ll be happy you spent the time to build a relationship with someone you trust.
In short, buying a motorcycle can be a depressingly tedious process, or an incredibly rewarding one, and whether you are a first time buyer or a veteran, you may find that by using these tips, it is possible to eliminate many unnecessary hassles and surprises. Regardless of your methods, it is important to buy with confidence, and ride safe!
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