New or Used First Motorcycle?

Buying your first motorcycle can be a daunting task, especially if you’re weighing up between a shiny new machine that’s just hit the dealership floors or a nice and inexpensive second-hand bike that you may be trawling through private sales to find, or spot in a motorcycle dealership. Here’s my latest video covering the basics.

There’s a lot to think about buying new and used, as there’s advantages to both, and lots of different factors come into it. Young, especially male riders tend to pay enormous insurance premiums and deductibles for comprehensive insurance, and with a new bike, or a new bike with finance you’ll probably want (or be required to have) that peace of mind.

Kawasaki's Z400 lined up at MotoHub in Castle Hill, Sydney, waiting for their new owners
Kawasaki’s Z400 lined up at MotoHub in Castle Hill, Sydney, waiting for their new owners

New bikes come with a warranty, and you’ll know the service record as you’re responsible for it, and of course all the consumables are new. That means you should have tyres, brake pads, fluids and similar that last a good while, helping minimise costs, although the first service will normally be required after 500 or 1000km to give the bike a check over and an oil change, to help ensure many years of trouble free riding.

Kawasaki's Ninja 400 is a highly popular beginner option that really eclipsed the older Ninja 300
Kawasaki’s Ninja 400 is a highly popular beginner option that really eclipsed the older Ninja 300

If you’ve bought a new model you may also benefit from a better resale, as there’ll be limited competition, especially if you’ve managed to keep your bike in good shape. In markets like Australia where there’s a lengthy requirement to use a LAMS or 35kW restricted machine that also means these bikes hold their value well, even older bikes, inflating resale on newer machines and old alike.

There's a huge range of new machines available, from dual-sports to touring machines and cruisers
There’s a huge range of new machines available, from dual-sports to touring machines and cruisers

Now a second hand bike can be bought privately or from a dealer, which private sales adding further risk if you don’t do your research and ensure the bike isn’t stolen, written off or owing finance – with the latter passing to you if you purchase it. A dealer second hand purchase shouldn’t have these concerns, but there’s also big services or maintenance and any consumables that need replacing to think about.

You can buy a great second hand deal, but if you spend the next year throwing money at it to fix genuine issues – especially forseeable ones – then you’re not coming out ahead. All the wear items, and even damaged items may be something you need to invest in. Buying a rashed up older bike may seem a great compromise, but there’s a good chance if you have the bike for a while, pride will take over and you’ll want to get it looking clean.

Second hand options offer an affordable entry point to motorcycling, with new bikes like the Ninja 400 pushing prices on the Ninja 300 down, which is a win for riders
Second hand options offer an affordable entry point to motorcycling, with new bikes like the Ninja 400 pushing prices on the Ninja 300 down, which is a win for riders

Naturally basic insurance like third party property (as we call it here in Australia, alongside the compulsory green slip, which covers other people’s injuries) will do on an older less valuable machine, where comprehensive may be half the value of the bike – or in the case of an older machine, MORE than the value of the bike!

There’s even more to consider when you look into specific models as far as common problems and fixes, the chance of picking up someone’s lemon or being scammed in a private sale, or otherwise ending up with a bad result. Whichever way you go, you need to do your research and don’t rush into anything.

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