How to Buy a Motorcycle

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, updated on August 31st, 2023       

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How to buy a motorcycle – Savvy’s guide for riders

Whether you’re a seasoned rider or you’re looking to buy your first bike, Savvy’s tips for how to buy a motorcycle will make the process easier – and cheaper. There’s no better way to see Australia than on a bike, so if you’re thinking about buying a new motorcycle, you'e come to the right place. We’ll look at the associated costs of riding a bike, take you through selecting the right type of motorcycle for your needs, and provide a checklist of what to think about and look out for when you go to view your shortlist.

How to buy a motorcycle without breaking the bank

Buying a new bike is all in the planning. Getting mobile these days comes with a whole bunch of extra costs, like insurance, fuel, registration, and maintenance, but you can get on the road a little bit cheaper if you do things the right way. At Savvy, we're partnered with specialist lenders who offer products designed specifically for riders. You can get started with a free, no-obligation quote through us today!

Motorbike finance banner

How does bike finance via Savvy work?

Motorcycle finance via Savvy is pretty quick and straightforward to arrange. Just get in touch with one of our helpful consultants, and we can talk you through the application process – which is just a case of submitting a few simple documents via the website.

In terms of qualifying for bike finance, lenders will perform a credit check; then, they’ll look at your last few month’s bank statements to gauge your suitability for a loan. You’ll need to demonstrate enough regular income to handle repayments – and that can be from full-time or self-employment. You can even get bike finance on Centrelink. The main qualifying requirement is that you can afford to repay the borrowed amount.

Once your loan is approved, lenders pay the dealer or private seller directly, so there’s no waiting around for cheques. Repayments are flexible. You can choose terms between just one year or use up to seven years to pay back the amount you borrowed. Interest rates are fixed, so the amount you repay is the same every month. Bike loans get secured against your motorcycle, which means the interest rates are lower than for personal loans. You can also use a deposit if you’ve saved up some cash or opt for 100% bike finance. You can use a bike loan to buy from an auction site, private seller, or a dealership – and it doesn’t matter if the machine is new or used.

How do I choose the right bike for me?

There are several different types of bikes on the market these days. Each one is designed for one or a couple of specific sets of riding conditions, and it’s important to get one that fits your requirements. Likewise, don’t forget that you can always upgrade your bike if your riding requirements, job, or situation change. With a secured bike loan, you’re not tied to one machine until the finance term ends – so only spend what you need and keep your borrowing costs down.

First off, don’t buy a superbike if all you’ll be doing is riding around the city or commuting in rush hour traffic. You’ll pay a lot of money, the value of the bike will lessen during your ownership and it’s unlikely you’ll ever get through all the gears. Match the performance of your machine to the riding it’s likely to get. If this is a commuter bike, consider economy and grunt in lower gears. If you’re riding in traffic, prioritise handling, keep it compact and think about safety and comfort. Some of the scooters and hybrid machines available today are great fun to ride.

Many bikers purchase a model predominantly for weekend riding and covering longer distances in comfort. If that sounds like you, you’ll probably be looking at a touring machine. Think about ride quality rather than acceleration. If you’re riding rougher terrain – perhaps for off-road camping trips, or you live on unsealed roads, consider off-road bikes. You might want to think about luggage capacity and mounts for tank bags, saddlebags, and panniers.

Why nore Australian bikers source products via Savvy

What to look for when buying a used motorbike

Top tips for first-time motorbike buyers

Should you buy new or used?

The best starting point when you work out how to buy a motorcycle is your budget. Buy the best bike you can afford without putting an unnecessary strain on your finances. If you follow our steps for inspecting a bike, chances are that the more you spend, the more reliable your new ride will be. It’s better to look at older or slightly slower models with fewer kilometres and less wear than it is to set your heart on a faster, harder-ridden model if your budget is tight.

If you can afford to buy new, that brings some benefits. You’ll get a warranty, and there’s a lot to be said for knowing a motorcycle hasn’t been abused, missed countless services, or gotten knocked around. That being said, stick to what you can afford, do your homework, check the bike out thoroughly, and stick to your budget.

Should you buy private or from a dealer?

Buying from a dealership comes with some advantages – like warranties and more scope to return a faulty machine, but you will pay a premium for the experience. Again, you might want to consider private sales if you’re working to a smaller budget, but it’s vital you follow our guidelines for bike inspection if that’s the case – and walk away every time you’re in any doubt – there are plenty of second-hand motorcycles out there.

Private sales are almost always cheaper than going to a dealership. That might seem a bit daunting if you’re a first-time buyer, but the savings on offer can be worth the extra effort – and you can always get a third-party inspection.

Learner Approved Motorcycle Scheme

If you’re just starting out on your bike riding journey, you’ll need to limit your search to bikes that meet the requirements of the Learner Approved Motorcycle Scheme (LAMS). It’s up to you to make sure you ride a legal bike. The police won’t advise you about this; they’ll just hand you a very costly ticket, a ban, or both if you get things wrong.

LAMS is set up to make riders safer while they’re still learning the ins and outs of riding a bike. You’ll need to make sure you do your research, but the scheme is about restricting new bikers to certain motorcycles based on their power to weight ratio. It applies to all riders during their first year on the road, and all LAMS-compliant bikes have a maximum power to weight ratio of 150 kilowatts per tonne. They're also capped at 660cc.

Use buyer power and shop around

As mentioned, never lose sight of the fact that your next bike inspection isn’t the last bike inspection available. There’s a reason that riding is so popular in Australia, and that means there are thousands of bikes on the market at any one time. Don’t get pressured to rush into a sale by a dealer or a private seller. When you’re informed someone else is coming to see the bike straight after you, get told there are half a dozen viewings this weekend, or hear the much-uttered, ‘first to see will buy,’ take it with a pinch of salt – and take your time deciding, too.

Nobody ever didn’t buy a bike because they couldn’t find the right one for sale. How to buy a motorcycle is sometimes about common sense and control. Remember all you’ve learned in this guide, keep your cool and your money in your pocket until you find the right motorcycle for you, and you’ll be on the road in no time.

Common motorbike finance questions

How do bike loan interest rates work?

Interest rates are based on the quality of your credit report and the bike you buy. For instance, when you’re weighing up the costs of buying different bikes, remember that second-hand machines attract higher interest rates than new ones. Even a small difference can add up during a five-year bike loan. How to buy a motorcycle that suits you is sometimes a case of weighing up costs and advantages. Figure out if you might be better spending a little more on your motorbike rather than interest.

How do I budget for a new motorcycle?

Remember to budget for all the costs of owning and running a bike – not just for the price of the machine itself. That extends to working out the regular costs of finance, insurance, registration, day-to-day fuel, servicing and maintenance. It’s vital to keep a motorcycle perfectly maintained – there are things you can get away with on a bike that can prove dangerous when you’re a rider. Allow for a healthy maintenance budget, and work out the costs of rego and insurance before you commit. You can get a quote for the latter and information on the former is easy to find.

How much can I borrow with a motorcycle loan?

Part of that depends on how much you earn and spend each month. Each borrower gets a different borrowing limit, but it’s also important to work within your budget. Most bikers find it useful to get pre-approved for a bike loan. That basically entails supplying your details, and then a Savvy consultant will get you pre-authorised for a specific amount. You can get pre-approved for most types of finance and doing so gives you more bargaining power.

What happens when my bike loan ends?

During the finance term, your lender will register an interest in your bike with ASIC. That’s how secured finance works to lessen their risk and reduce interest rates. It just means if you fail to repay the loan, they can repossess the motorcycle. Once you’ve finished repayments, they remove that claim, and the bike is 100% yours.

Can I get motorcycle finance if I’ve got bad credit?

You can still get considered for motorcycle finance with bad credit. Bike loans tend to cost a little more if you’ve got a less-than-perfect credit score because interest rates are higher. Talk to one of our expert bike finance consultants about referring you to one of our specialist lender partners.

I’m an apprentice, and I need a ride for work. Can Savvy help?

Getting a vehicle loan when you’re new to borrowing can be tricky. A lack of credit history is often just as prohibitive as a bad one when it comes to traditional lenders. At Savvy, we deal with some lenders who specialise in helping apprentices and younger people get mobile. Talk to one of our friendly consultants about an apprentice vehicle loan – and you could even consider using a guarantor to help you get on the finance ladder. 

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