man with motorcycle

Whether you’re buying a motorcycle for a daily commute or as a way to hit the open road on a sunny day, there are plenty of things to take into consideration before you choose the one for you.

The two-wheeled options are surprisingly varied. You should look at the different types and sizes of bikes available and learn the difference between buying from an owner and buying from a dealership. Here’s an overview of what you should keep in mind:

  1. Know what you need

    How you’re going to use the bike will make a big difference in the kind of motorcycle you buy. Each type of motorcycle comes with its own set of benefits and uses, so look at all your options and think about how, when and where you’ll ride. Do you need an off-road bike? A sport bike? A street bike? A standard motorcycle? These are important questions to answer before you begin looking at motorcycles and comparing models, so take time to think about what you really want to get out of your motorcycle.

  2. Count the costs

    Once you determine what kind of motorcycle is right for you, you’ll have a better idea of what kind of pricing you’re looking at. As a general rule of thumb, you’ll pay between $5,000 and $25,000, but there’s a lot of variation within those two numbers. If you find a bike you like, spend time online researching costs; just as with cars, you can pinpoint the cost of the motorcycle and know that you’re getting a good deal.

  3. Remember the extras

    Of course, the costs don’t stop with the purchase price. You want to factor in such costs as:

    • Gas: Fortunately, motorcycles are extremely fuel-efficient, and you’ll find you’re spending a lot less money at the pump than with a car.
    • Motorcycle insurance: The cost will vary based on the engine size and type of motorcycle you choose. Check out Nationwide’s motorcycle insurance offerings.
    • Maintenance: Read reviews to find out if the motorcycle you’re interested in has a good history of reliability. You can visit forums to find out how much you can expect to pay in maintenance costs.
    • Gear: In addition to the motorcycle itself, you’ll need to buy a motorcycle helmet, boots, gloves and other protective riding gear. These can add up, but they’re important for your safety – so make sure there’s room for them in your budget.
  4. Dealerships and financing

    Just as with a car, you have the option of buying a new or pre-owned motorcycle directly from the dealership, or you can buy a used bike from its previous owner.

    • Buying from a dealership. One of the main advantages of buying from a dealership is a wider selection of motorcycles – and, if they don’t have what you’re looking for, chances are they’ll be able to get it. You will also have a service department you can turn to for maintenance or mechanical issues.
    • Buying from a private seller. If you’re buying from a private seller, you'll probably need outside financing (an option you can choose when buying from a dealership, of course). It’s important you get a loan with payments that will fit your budget, and remember to leave room for the other costs that can pop up unexpectedly.

Regardless of what type of motorcycle you’re buying or from whom you’re buying it, do your homework first. The more time you spend learning about what you'd like to buy and what you need, the more informed and satisfied you’ll be with it.

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