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When considering buying a motorcycle, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether to purchase a new or used one.

Buying a new motorcycle provides the advantage of a flawless machine with zero miles, which you can choose to suit your color, make, and model preferences. On the other hand, used motorcycles can provide excellent value for your money, especially if you’re on a budget or new to riding.

Choosing your next motorcycle requires assessing the pros and cons of new and used options and how these can affect your safety on the road.

Pros and Cons of Buying New

Purchasing a brand-new motorcycle can provide several benefits when you head out on a scenic motorcycle ride. However, there are also a few drawbacks to buying new. Consider the following pros and cons when looking at a new ride:


  • Brand-new condition: With a new bike, everything is in pristine condition. There are no miles on the odometer, wear on the tires, or hidden mechanical issues.
  • Latest technology and features: New motorcycles have the latest technology, safety features, and performance enhancements. They may offer improved fuel efficiency, better handling, advanced suspension systems, and state-of-the-art digital dashboards.
  • Customization: When you buy new, you often have the opportunity to customize your motorcycle to your exact specifications. This can include everything from the color and accessories to performance upgrades.
  • Warranty coverage: New motorcycles typically come with manufacturer warranties. This warranty can cover repairs and sometimes even routine maintenance for a certain period of time or number of miles.


  • Higher initial cost: New motorcycles have a heftier price tag compared to used ones. A new motorcycle can cost up to tens of thousands of dollars for a premium model, with the average new bike in the U.S. costing $15,867.
  • Higher cost of parts and accessories: New models often come with new designs for which parts and accessories might be more expensive or harder to find.
  • Rapid depreciation: Motorcycles lose value quickly in the first few years, affecting their resale value. As a new rider, you are more likely to drop it or ding it in the first few years of ownership, which can reduce the motorcycle’s value.
  • Potential for initial issues: Although rare, new models can sometimes have “teething issues” or defects that aren’t discovered until the bike is ridden for the first time. These issues are typically covered under the warranty but can still be a hassle.

Pros and Cons of Buying a Used Motorcycle

While new motorcycles have shiny new features that make them attractive, used motorcycles offer advantages as well, especially in price point, that may influence your decision-making process. However, they also have a few cons, such as requiring more maintenance and potentially being less safe on the road.


  • Lower cost: One of the biggest benefits of buying a used motorcycle is the lower price. The average cost of a used bike is around $4,000 to $10,000, depending on the model. This can make owning a motorcycle more affordable, and it also means you might be able to afford a higher-end or larger model than if you were buying a new one.
  • Less depreciation: Used motorcycles have already undergone the most significant part of their depreciation, which occurs when a new motorcycle is initially purchased. If you maintain the motorcycle well and decide to sell it later, you could get back a larger percentage of your investment.
  • Insurance savings: Insurance rates are usually lower for used motorcycles, which can lead to significant savings over time.
  • Knowledge of the model’s performance: Buying used means you can research and understand any problems or issues the model you’re considering might have.


  • Potential for hidden problems: With used motorcycles, there’s always the risk of hidden mechanical issues. Without a complete history of the bike, you may not know how it was treated or maintained by the previous owner(s). This means you may be more likely to experience problems on the road, and increase your risk of a crash.
  • Lack of warranty: Used motorcycles often come without a warranty. This means if anything goes wrong with the bike, the cost of repairs will come out of your own pocket.
  • Shorter lifespan: A used motorcycle, especially one with high mileage, might not last as long as a new one. You might need to replace parts or deal with breakdowns more frequently.

How to Ensure Safety When Buying a Used Motorcycle

Ensuring safety when buying a used motorcycle involves thorough research, careful inspection, and, when possible, assistance from a trusted mechanic. Research the specific make and model you’re interested in to understand any common issues or recalls. This information should also inform you about the longevity and reliability of the bike, as well as potential safety concerns.

When inspecting the motorcycle, look for signs of damage, neglect, or excessive wear and tear. Key areas to inspect include the tires for tread depth and any signs of aging, the brake system for proper operation, the condition of the chain or drive belt, any leaks from the engine, and the condition of the frame for any signs of cracks or accident damage. Ensure the lights, horn, and turn signals are all operational as well.

Having a knowledgeable mechanic inspect the bike before purchasing it is also highly recommended. They can help identify hidden issues and provide an unbiased opinion on the bike’s condition. If the seller refuses to allow an independent inspection, that may be a red flag.

Check the motorcycle’s paperwork. Ensure the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) matches the number on the bike and in the paperwork. A VIN check can also provide information about the bike’s history, including any reported accidents or title issues.

Making the Right Choice: Your Safety and Satisfaction Matter

Whether you decide on a new or used motorcycle depends on your personal preferences, budget, and comfort level. Buying a motorcycle is an investment in your joy of riding and your safety. Always choose the option that makes you feel confident and secure on the road.

If you ever find yourself dealing with a personal injury claim after a motorcycle accident that wasn’t your fault, contact the Louisiana motorcycle crash lawyers at Dudley DeBosier. We understand the unique challenges motorcycle riders face and can help you navigate the legal system.

We specialize in personal injury claims and are committed to protecting the rights and safety of riders like you. Schedule a free consultation with our legal team today to learn your legal options after a crash.

This content has been reviewed by Chad Lederman, Director of Legal Operations at our New Orleans office.

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