The Pros and Cons of Buying a Used Motorcycle - SUV VEHICLE

The Pros and Cons of Buying a Used Motorcycle


Without a doubt, a brand-new motorcycle boasts the undeniable allure of modern design, gleaming chrome, and the latest technology. However, that shiny new bike comes with a hefty price tag which may shake up your financial situation. This is where the used motorcycle market becomes relevant.

It presents a treasure trove of possibilities. You can find well-maintained gems at a fraction of the original cost, potentially even a barely ridden machine for a steal. The environmental benefit of giving a pre-owned bike a second life is another perk. However, the absence of a warranty and the inherent risk of encountering unforeseen repairs is why many of us shy away from them. So, is it a gamble worth taking? Yes and no. Here’s a detailed explanation.

Looking at the information from authoritative sources like, and, we came up with this list of pros and cons of buying a used motorcycle. They’ve been arranged alternatively to make your life easier.

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10 Pro: Budget-Friendly

Best for Beginners

2012 Honda CBR1000RR rear 3/4 shot

Affordability is the main reason behind the huge popularity of the used motorcycle market. New motorcycles can significantly dent your wallet, whereas used bikes offer substantial savings. Heck, you can often get a rarely used offering for a fraction of the original price. For example, the base MSRP of a brand-new Honda CBR1000RR is $16,699. But in the used motorcycle market, you can find a 2017 model for around $12,105 (as listed in Kelley Blue Book). You can use this almost $4K saving for gear, maintenance, or even customizations to personalize your ride.

Expert Tips

  • Make your mind about a particular model and year and visit multiple sellers to have a price comparison.
  • Thoroughly inspect the motorcycles offered by each seller, one might have them in better condition than others.
  • Do your research on the motorcycle you want to buy and get an idea about the features the manufacturer offered for that particular model year.

9 Con: Reliability Issues

May Have Hidden Costs and Performance Issues

Ducati Panigale 1299 R

There is a difference between owning a motorcycle and loving a motorcycle. Loving a motorcycle requires constant maintenance, which includes servicing at regular intervals, using recommended fluids, and changing consumables when needed (air filters, brake pads, and control cables at the least). But, unfortunately, some riders are just owners.

They do not follow regular maintenance routines and only take their motorcycle for servicing when it’s already too late. If your used motorcycle is coming from such an owner, there is a good chance you may inherit expensive mechanical problems. Besides, you can never know the complete history of a used bike unless you take it for a check-up at an official dealer. It may have crashed severely and then repaired poorly. This can ruin your riding experience.

Expert Tips

  • Do a visual inspection of the motorcycle to identify structural defects, rusting, and cosmetic aberrations.
  • Consult an expert/technician to identify mechanical problems, if any.
  • Check the cold start. A properly maintained motorcycle should start instantly.
  • Take a test ride and try to identify unusual engine noise and vibration.
  • Ask the owner/seller for service records and the history of repairs/replacements.

8 Pro: Depreciation Advantage

Almost a New Bike at the Price of an Old

Offer Up

Motorcycles, like any other material asset, experience a drop in value the moment they leave the showroom. On average, a brand-new motorcycle will lose around 15 percent of its value within the first year of its purchase. This is known as the depreciation of value, and it will happen regardless of whether a motorcycle has two miles or two thousand miles on its odometer. This can be a goldmine for budget-minded motorcycle enthusiasts. Imagine you find a motorcycle a year old but only has 100 miles on the odometer. It looks practically brand new. In essence, you are getting a nearly new bike without the hefty new bike’s price tag.

Expert Tip

  • Depreciation will not work if you are looking for a highly sought-after vintage model. Such models demand a way higher price than the original.
  • Make sure to know why the motorcycle was sparsely used before making a deposit.

7 Con: Low Safety Features

Cheap Can Be Expensive


Manufacturers are now putting great emphasis on rider safety, as we see various electronic safety features on new motorcycles. While ABS and traction control are becoming increasingly common, more advanced safety measures like wheelie control, engine brake control, cornering ABS, and hill start assist have emerged to make riding a safe experience. But things can be different with a used motorcycle. Depending on the manufacturing year of the motorcycles, the safety features of those can vary to a wide degree. The older it is, the less safety it has. This can potentially put your life at risk.

Expert Tip

  • If you find an old motorcycle, check if the previous owner had put optional safety features from the manufacturer.

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6 Pro: Wider Variety

Discontinuation Will Not Stand in Your Way


Being motorcycle enthusiasts, we might all agree that our love for motorcycles started with watching a particular model(s). But at that time, you might be a student with no money, and when you started earning, the manufacturer had discontinued that motorcycle. So if you go for a new bike, you’ll never live that dream. Enter the used market. It offers a vast selection of motorcycles across different makes, models, and ages. You might find a discontinued model you love or a well-maintained classic at a fraction of its original price. Worth every penny, considering nothing feels better than living a childhood dream.

Expert Tip

  • Do your research on discontinued models for peculiar issues during the time.
  • Find recall information so you know whether the bike you’re buying went to the shop aside from regular service.

5 Con: High Running Cost

Fuel Inefficiency and More

2015 KTM RC 8

A major part of the running cost of any motor vehicle goes towards fuel. Modern motorcycle engines and fuel delivery systems are designed to focus on fuel efficiency. This not only reduces running costs but also produces low emissions. However, old, used motorcycles might have less fuel-efficient configurations. Things can get even worse if there are other issues, too. Normal wear and tear is inevitable with used bikes. You may encounter worn-out parts and if the bike is much older, its spare parts will be rare to find on the market and expensive. You can opt for cheap but poor-quality counterfeit parts which are prone to failure and will shoot up the maintenance cost.

Expert Tips

  • Try to find motorcycles that aren’t too old
  • Fuel-injected bikes are better than carb setups, as many mechanics no longer work on the latter

4 Pro: Perfect Training Platforms

Hone Your Skills

2014 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R
TheMalsa via Wikimedia Commons

Imagine you are new to motorcycling, trying to build riding skills, or you like certain types of bikes (for example: a cruiser) and want to try out different categories. In such cases, used motorcycles are the best to start with. Certainly, you can purchase a new motorcycle and start learning to ride, but chances are that you will drop the bike several times, which may hurt you emotionally, and most importantly, financially.

Similarly, a cruiser rider may find a sports bike too intimidating and might regret the decision to purchase a pricey new one, ultimately suffering the wrath of depreciation discussed above. Hence, it is better to start your training or transition with used motorcycles which will not hurt your pocket much while reselling or sourcing. Once you’re sure about your choice, you can always get a new bike later.

Expert Tip

  • Try to find a motorcycle that is lightweight and low-powered if you’re a newbie. Don’t pick a liter-class bike just because you’re getting it cheap.

3 Con: Warranty Worries

You Are On Your Own

2017 Aprilia Dorsoduro 900

One of the biggest drawbacks of buying a used motorcycle is the lack of a manufacturer’s warranty. New bikes typically come with warranties that cover repairs or replacements for defects in material or workmanship for a set period or mileage limit. Without a warranty, you’re responsible for shouldering the cost of any repairs yourself. If you are purchasing a used motorcycle from a private seller, then there will be a very slim or absolutely no chance of a warranty. Official used dealerships may offer you a short warranty period, for example, six months, but that’s it.

Expert Tips

  • Always buy from trusted dealerships and ask for warranties.
  • Some ex-owners opt for extended warranties when they buy the motorcycle. Do inquire.

2 Pro: Lower Insurance Costs

More Savings

Cobalt Blue FJR1300

A used motorcycle will attract less insurance costs than a new motorcycle. Insurance cost depends on several factors, such as the type of motorcycle, age of the rider, gender, state, driving history, and the insurance company. These criteria are the same for both old and new motorcycles. But one factor that goes in favor of used/old motorcycles is their age and simplicity.

Nowadays, motorcycles are launched with premium components like titanium frames, radar-aided cruise control, ABS, forged wheels, and carbon fiber. These are expensive to replace/compensate if damaged in a crash or lost in theft. Hence, insurance companies charge higher premiums to insure such bikes. In contrast, old motorcycles are fitted with simple things. Even if certain tech features are there, those will not be as expensive as their modern iterations. This will be reflected in insurance prices.

Expert Tips

  • Used motorcycles often come with insurance purchased by a previous owner. Make sure to transfer the insurance to your name to avoid trouble in the future.
  • If you have to purchase insurance, do research on plans offered by different companies and then select one that suits your requirements.

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1 Con: Limited Financing Options

You May Have To Pay In Full

While the allure of a gently-used motorcycle at a fraction of the new bike’s price is undeniable, securing financing for it can be a different story. Most sellers will expect a full payment upfront, and even if they arrange a third-party lender, the interest rates will be quite high. For lenders, a used motorcycle is a vulnerable asset because of its higher depreciation rate and reliability issues. These lenders will try to recover the loan as soon as possible, which may also lead to shorter loan repayment tenure. It’s the same story with banks.

Expert Tips

  • Try to make the full payment when buying a used motorcycle.
  • Avoid direct bank loads, as interest rates are much higher for used vehicles than new ones.


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