Guide to buying your first motorbike

Posted on Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - 00:00

You’ve decided to take the plunge and buy yourself a motorbike. Great! Motorbikes are excellent road machines that are exhilarating to ride, cheaper to run compared with most cars and can go almost anywhere. Taking the first step can prove daunting. This guide will cover the basics on motorcycle buying.

Ask: how experienced am I at riding?

First, you’ll need a motorcycle licence before you’re street legal. If you’re an experienced rider, a tourer or sports bike with high ccs will be no challenge for you. If you’re new to bikes, a lower cc engine might be best. Some licences restrict purchasing engines with higher ccs. It’s also worth asking, how will you be using the bike? Will it essentially replace your car, only used for touring, or just spun around a few weekends a year?

Set your budget

You’ll need to set a good budget before you start putting red circles (or rather, saving them to your bookmarks) around the ones you like. Once you have a good idea of how much you’ll be able to spend on the bike, factor in running costs such as servicing and fuel, plus insurance. The ongoing costs are easy to overlook. You also have to factor in initial costs for a bike, especially if you’re coming into motorcycling new. You have to buy a helmet, leathers and riding gloves too.

Loans and pre-approval

Once you have your budget set, you should start shopping for motorcycle finance. It’s quite likely you’ll need a bike loan to help you cover the costs. Many lenders and brokers have online loan calculators so you can compare how much you can afford to spend each month (or fortnight or week) on repaying a motorbike loan. Once you get pre-approval (also known as in-principle approval) you can then start researching bikes properly.

Pick a type

There are many different types of bikes out there, suited to different purposes. Do you want a tourer? Maybe a sports bike or a quad bike? Something classic? Are you looking for an old chopper you’re willing to fix up yourself? It’s worth doing your homework.

Comparing makes and models

Now that you know how many ccs your engine needs, you can start comparing makes and models. There are many enthusiast magazines and online marketplaces you can start making shortlists of models you may look for. You also have to decide if you’re buying new or something used.


Motorcycles are statistically less safe to ride than cars. That’s not to say you can buy a bike that is just as safe as or even safer than some four-wheeled vehicles. You’ll need to check if the bike you are buying is safe to ride. If you’re buying privately, it’s much harder to assess the safety of a bike. To get peace of mind, you should employ the services of an independent assessor or mechanic to test a bike’s safety.

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