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How To Buy a Used Motorcycle and Save


I recently needed to buy a motorcycle to use in reconstructing an accident.  There are issues in the case that required an identical motorcycle, and the original was not available.  I was looking for a specific year, model, and color, and I want the end product to have the same accessories as the original.  Since this involved a six year old motorcycle, used was the way to go.

I did the usual stuff, tried to find a salvage bike that was complete enough for what I needed, checked Cycle Trader, Craigslist, and a bunch of dealerships.

Not surprisingly, I found exactly what I wanted at a dealership in a small town located all the way across the country.  It was a sweet deal, because the bike was bone stock, the exact make, model, color as the accident bike, and extremely low mileage and perfect condition.

Here’s the kicker  it was almost $1,500 less expensive than any number of higher mileage bikes located in California with a variety of other characteristics that made these bikes less perfect.

Aha! You say – but you will have to ship this motorcycle all the way across the country.

Yes, true.  But guess what?  It doesn’t cost that much.  In fact, as gas prices stay low, it should get even cheaper.

Forgetting that this is a much better motorcycle than anything I was able to find in California, let’s just consider this motorcycle $1,500.00 cheaper.  Shipping will be between $600-$700.  With work, even this can be brought down another $2-300.

Net savings?  At least $900, and this ignores the fact that the particular motorcycle is better than the more expensive options, and this will be delivered to my door.  Awesome.

OK.  Let’s assume that you are not comfortable trusting a seller across the country.  Either find someone to look at it from an online forum who is familiar with that particular make and model, or if necessary pay $150 or so for someone to look at the motorcycle.  Of course, whoever regularly services the bike should also be familiar with it, and often these shops will review the records and tell you what they know for free.

Of course, it is also true that even if there is an issue, it is likely to cost less to take care of than the amount you have saved by buying an out of state bike.

By way of covering my butt, I am talking about mainstream, reasonably recent model motorcycles.  You need to be certain that you can register the bike when it gets here.

Also, I suggest you put some of that money you saved into Uninsured Motorist Insurance coverage.  This will pay you if you have an accident with an uninsured driver or a driver with a lower limit than your Uninsured Motorist Limit (some states do not “stack” this coverage).

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About the Author

Michael Padway is a motorcycle accident attorney with over 40 years of experience in motorcycle cases. He’s been a lifelong motorcycle rider, and fanatic for its culture, advocacy, and safety. If you need assistance with a motorcycle accident, contact him at (800) 928-1511 or visit michaelpadway.com for a free consultation.