Buying a motorbike

Buying a motorbike can be an exciting time, but with so many options and choices available, you may not know where to begin. Let us guide you through the various factors to consider, to ensure you get the right motorbike to suit your needs.

What to consider when buying a motorbike

Before you start the process of buying a motorbike, there are a number of considerations to make and questions to ask yourself:

What to consider when buying a motorbike

Motorbike use

  • Why do you want or need a motorbike? – are you buying a motorbike for work, for cost efficiency, to be more environmentally friendly, or perhaps for sport?
  • How do you plan to use your motorbike? – will you be covering long distances, will you be carrying heavy loads, will you often be driving off-road?
  • Will you get good value from this investment? – consider the long-term value of the motorbike, and if it will be put to good use.

Budgeting for a motorbike

  • What is your budget? – knowing what you can afford will inform the type of motorbike you choose and how it is financed.
  • How will you pay for the motorbike? – are you comfortable paying outright for the motorbike, or would taking out a personal loan make more sense?
  • Can you afford the running costs? – while motorbikes are generally cheaper to run than cars, if you’re an enthusiast and plan to cover a lot of miles, then the costs may quickly ramp up.

Type of motorbike

  • Should you get a new or used motorbike? – while a used motorbike may be an appealing option, they can also be a riskier investment.
  • What motorbike engine size should you get? – the capacity of your chosen motorbike engine can impact its performance and running costs.
  • What motorbike type and brand should you get? – different motorbike types and brands are often built for specific purposes. While cruiser motorbikes are best suited for longer journeys, motocross motorbikes are best suited for off-road travel. Think carefully about the motorbike type that will fit with your lifestyle the best.

Once you’re able to answer these questions, you should be in a great position to buy a motorbike!

Buying a used motorbike

While the prospect of buying a used motorbike may be appealing, it’s important not to get blinded by excitement. There are a few important considerations and red flags to look out for during the buying process. And while a motorbike up to two years of age may still be in relatively good condition, older motorbikes will require more careful examination.

Make sure you ask to see all the used motorbike’s paperwork, and verify that it is accurate and legitimate – this is something you can ask to be prepared in advance before meeting with the seller. You should also check the motorbike’s service records, MOT history, as well as conducting an HPI check.

Inspect the bodywork for rust and signs of scuffs and damage. Ensure the lights work properly, that the chain is oiled and correctly adjusted, and that the suspension, steering, brake pads and tyres are in good condition. Depending on age, the battery may also need replacing. The older the bike is, the more likely these components may need to be replaced – the costs of which can quickly add up, even surpassing the total asking price of the motorbike.

It’s a good idea to bring a pad and pen to make note of anything that stands out. Any problems you find can be raised with the dealer and used as potential haggle points.

For further details of checks you should conduct when buying a used motorbike, visit the GOV.UK website.

Two guys looking at a used motorbike

Motorbike buying options

It’s very important to consider the various buying options when buying a motorbike.

Buying a motorbike outright

Buying a motorbike outright can be a good option if you have the capital to do so, as you’ll have no additional outgoing payments after the purchase. If you don’t have the funds available yourself, you could consider a personal loan to help.

Leasing a motorbike

Leasing a motorbike is a popular option for many, though like with leasing a car, you won’t ever technically own the vehicle. You’ll simply be renting its use for an agreed period of time, for a fixed monthly fee. You are typically restricted to a mileage limit when leasing a motorbike, so there are certain restrictions to consider

Buying a motorbike on finance

Finance agreements require fixed monthly loan repayments over an agreed time period, and in some cases a final payment before you become the owner of the motorbike. Some finance deals require a deposit, which can be cash or from a part exchange of another vehicle you own.

For help and advice on motorbike finance, we can help today. We can even help you get motorbike finance if you have bad credit or if you’ve been refused finance in the past.

Motorbike engine size

The capacity of a motorbike engine is an important factor when considering buying a motorbike, as this impacts performance and costs of the vehicle. The capacity of a motorbike engine is usually measured in terms of ‘cc’, which stands for cubic capacity. Motorbike engines typically range from 50cc to 1500cc.

Lower cc motorbikes will generally be cheaper to buy and more economic to run but will have less power so it will compromise on speed and performance. Depending on what you plan to use your motorbike for, you should consider the size of engine carefully, so your bike delivers what you need.

Motorbike types

There are several common types of motorbike, ranging from cruiser motorbikestouring motorbikes and sports motorbikes. As well as personal preference, you should consider what you intend to use your motorbike for, to ensure your ride is comfortable and the bike suits your body.

When choosing a motorbike type, be sure to consider –

  • Saddle height
  • Motorbike length
  • Motorbike weight

Read our in-depth guide on motorbike types for more help and advice.

Group of different motorbike types

Motorbike brands

Each motorbike brand offers something different and unique. There are many to choose between, such as the world’s largest motorbike manufacturer Honda, to trusted vehicle producer BMW, or perhaps the most recognisable and iconic name in motorbikes, Harley-Davidson.

Your choice of motorbike brand should fit your personal preference and affordability. Some makes and models are more desirable so hold their value better than others, but these often have higher running and maintenance costs too.

When choosing a motorbike brand, be sure to consider –

  • Reliability
  • Running and maintenance costs
  • Value and depreciation

Read our in-depth guide on motorbike brands for more help and advice, and be sure to visit our motorbike finance page for further information on motorbike financing, motorbike loans and bad credit options.