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!
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
View the bike during the day if you can
If you can, it’s better to look at bikes during the day. When you’re considering how to buy a motorcycle, it’s surprising what poor light can hide. If you can’t make it before dark, bring a decent torch with you and pay even closer attention to every element we discuss here. It’s also a great idea to enlist the help of any friends who know more about bikes, engines, and even cars than you do. If you’re not getting a third-party inspection, try to bring a long someone who has some mechanical knowledge. An additional benefit of this is that two heads – and an extra pair of eyes – is always better than relying on your own judgement.
Top tips for first-time motorbike buyers
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.
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.
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.
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.