There’s nothing quite like the feeling of wind in your hair as you cruise down the open road on a crisp fall day. Perhaps, it’s always been a fantasy to you, but, if you’re ready to make your dream bike a reality, here’s what you need to know.
Choosing Your Dream Ride
But, if we’re being honest, there are a bazillion makes and models to choose from, and you have to wonder, how on earth do I choose the right one? Consider what type of riding you plan to do. Long road trips and highway cruising? A comfortable touring bike like a Harley Davidson Road Glide is a great fit.
If you’re new to riding, choose a bike with a smaller engine size, around 300-500cc. Less power will be more manageable as you learn proper technique. Cruisers and standards are good starter options. More experienced riders can consider bikes with larger engines for extra acceleration and speed.
Sit on different bikes to get a feel for riding position, seat comfort, and overall ergonomics. Make sure you can easily reach all controls and the bike isn’t too heavy or tall. Narrow your choices down to 2-3 models that fit your budget, style and skill level. Take test rides to experience how each handles real world riding.
Preparing for Purchase
Once you’ve selected your dream machine, it’s time to get your finances in order. Set a target budget and stick to it. Financing can allow you to buy sooner for lower monthly payments. But cash deals avoid interest and loans.
Get insured before purchasing, and understand requirements for motorcycle licensing in your state. Attend a Motorcycle Safety Foundation riding course if you’re a new rider. Not only will you learn critical skills, but you may get a discount on insurance.
Inspect any used bike thoroughly before buying, ideally bringing along a mechanic friend. Look for signs of abuse, crash damage, oil leaks, worn tires, etc. Test ride it through multiple speeds and conditions. Negotiate a fair price based on mileage, modifications and overall condition.
Trading In Your Current Ride
If you currently own a bike, trading in your motorcycle can offset the cost of your new dream machine. But you’ll get the best value selling it outright versus trading in.
Start by checking sites like Kelley Blue Book to see average resale values for your make, model and mileage. Clean and maintain your bike to maximize appeal. Note any fancy aftermarket parts or accessories that could increase value.
Advertise through multiple outlets – online and print classifieds, forums and community boards. Spread the word to riding buddies. Take detailed photos showing your bike at its shiniest. Be prepared to negotiate, while avoiding lowballers trying to rip you off.
Consider selling during spring and summer when riding interest peaks. Avoid winter months or saving for a downpayment. Store your bike properly so it stays in good shape.
When visiting dealers, research trade-in promotions ahead of time. But avoid revealing how much you still owe or your minimum needs. Test drive and value their bikes first before mentioning trades. Let them start offer numbers before negotiating. Inspect trade paperwork thoroughly. Be willing to walk away if you can’t agree on fair figures.
Owning your dream motorcycle is an attainable goal with the right prep. Define your riding style, inspect bikes thoroughly, get financing lined up, learn to ride properly. And take time negotiating for maximum value when trading in your current ride. Follow these tips, and you’ll soon be cruising your ideal motorcycle down an open highway!