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There are few experiences quite like riding a motorcycle. However, the question is not whether to have a bike but how it should be obtained for many riders.

The three main methods are owning a motorcycle outright, leasing one through a company, or financing it. Each offers its advantages and disadvantages. This means you have to make the right choice based on your circumstances.

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This is when you own the motorcycle outright with no financing. This means you paid for the bike with your own money.

Pros & Cons

The upsides begin with having no obligations to any leasing or financing company. You can make whatever modifications you desire. Plus, you can pay for the type of insurance you want.

The rather obvious downside is that outright ownership is the most expensive in terms of the money needed to purchase. But after the initial cost, it is the least expensive since there are no monthly premiums. And you can buy less expensive insurance.

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This is essentially renting a new motorcycle from a company. You pay a monthly fee over a set period. Once that period ends, you turn in the motorcycle. You may lease a new one if you desire.

man taking bike keys in a shop

Pros & Cons

The biggest advantage is paying a monthly fee and changing or upgrading to a new motorcycle every few years.

The downsides include having leases that limit the mileage and include wear and tear fees that can add up over time.


This is when you get financing or a loan from a company to purchase a motorcycle. The lending company essentially owns the motorcycle until you pay off the loan.

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Pros & Cons

This is a popular option because of its low initial payment than outright ownership. Another advantage is that financing may not require a credit rating compared to leasing.

Despite some positives, financing may be the most expensive option over time. You will need to pay for better, more expensive comprehensive insurance.

Which One to Choose?

Which method of having a motorcycle is best for you will largely depend on your financial condition and what you plan to do with the motorcycle.

Outright ownership is best if you have more than enough money to pay for the motorcycle. Plus, there is no one to object to if you want to make modifications. And you can pay for insurance cheaper than a lender requires if you desire.

Leasing a motorcycle is right for those with good credit but who do not want to pay as much upfront as outright ownership. The advantages are considerable for those who want a new motorcycle and include maintenance, repairs, and replacement that are financially easier to obtain.

Financing a motorcycle is well-suited for those who do not have the money for outright ownership. And for those whose credit is less than perfect since the motorcycle itself is the collateral. However, financing is the most expensive option since you have to pay higher insurance costs and perhaps premiums depending on your credit rating.

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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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