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The best time to purchase a used motorcycle in the United States is between November and February. These months are the coldest of the year, especially in the northern states. Since the bike isn’t being ridden, it can become a source of cash when someone needs a little extra.

It’s also a great time to shop for a used motorcycle at dealerships because inventory levels are higher, and demand is low. Moreover, you can get storage insurance at the lowest possible rate.

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If you live in the southern or western states, the best months to buy a motorcycle are December and January. Although the weather is still supportive of riding, people have holiday responsibilities and other chores to complete that limit the time to be on the road.

Black Friday sales are also available from some manufacturers during these months.

What to Remember When Shopping for a Used Motorcycle

Once you’ve found a motorcycle you love, and the price is right, reviewing some essential information to ensure the transaction meets your expectations is time.

Here are the things you’ll want to watch for when shopping for a used bike.

old bike key handing over after buying

1. Seller Has the Title

Although it is possible to have a new title issued for a bike when the seller doesn’t have one, it’s easier to walk away from that transaction. Please don’t listen to promises that you’ll get it in the mail or receive it later than the time of purchase.

Without the title, there is no way to verify if a lien is on it – or that the motorcycle has been stolen. It also helps to ask to see the current registration to know if the bike qualifies for a license.

2. Good Operating Condition

A beautiful motorcycle becomes a hefty paperweight when it doesn’t run. It would help if you always took a bike for a test drive before completing a transaction. As you ride, think about how it feels at different speeds or if any unusual noises develop.

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If you know how to fix motorcycles, purchasing a used bike that isn’t operating could be advantageous. Some repairs, such as a clogged carburetor, are relatively easy to manage.

3. Number of Owners

If you have a low-mileage used motorcycle under consideration, try to find out how many people owned it before you. Multiple riders and no road time indicate the bike is uncomfortable or prone to breakdowns.

How long has the current owner had it in their possession? Where does the motorcycle get stored when it isn’t in use?

FAQ About Buying Used Motorcycles

These commonly-asked questions explore why it is often cheaper to buy a motorcycle during winter.

What Is the Best Month to Buy a Used Motorcycle?

February is the best month to purchase a used bike. It’s still cold, demand is low, and supplies are high because the latest makes and models reach dealerships nationwide.

What Time of Year Are Motorcycles the Cheapest?

If you live in the northern states, you’ll see motorcycle prices lower in mid-fall to early spring. When you live in warmer climates or all-year riding areas, the best time to find a cheap used bike is in December or January.

Do Motorcycles Get Cheaper in Winter?

The changes in supply and demand during the winter months make most modern motorcycles more affordable. Antiques, classics, and sports bikes don’t always follow that principle.

How Can I Negotiate Prices for a Used Motorcycle?

  • Point out serious issues with the bike that you see
  • Have cash available for the purchase when contacting the seller.
  • Ask if extras, such as take-off parts or oil filters, are available.
  • Purchase the motorcycle and not the story a seller gives you.
  • Book values aren’t indicative of market value, so go as low as possible with the offer without offending the seller.

What is the Best Way to Buy a Used Motorcycle?

The best place to look for a used motorcycle is online. Websites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace are popular because they offer low-cost ways to sell to the local community. Most newspapers provide online classified ads to supplement that resource.

Some of the best-used motorcycle finds have happened by chance. You’re riding down the street one day and see a beautiful model for sale.

Another option is to shop at your local dealership. The costs are typically higher with this choice, but you might receive warranties or guarantees that aren’t available from private sellers.

It might be better to buy new if you want updated features or fewer risks of an unexpected breakdown. For everyone else, a used bike offers a great deal to get out there and explore the open road.

Author

Mike Navarette has more than a decade of experience in the auto insurance industry, but that's not his true passion. He loves getting on a motorcycle to explore roads he's never traveled. You'll find Mike in the garage working on something when he isn't helping clients or leaning into curves. It's sometimes a side hustle, more often a favor, but it keeps his hands busy doing something productive. Since the first time his father strapped on his helmet and took him for a ride, Mike has loved bikes. That passion, along with a desire to help others through a deep understanding of insurance policies, led to the creation of Motorcycle Ride Coverage.

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