Whoever said the best things in life are free never owned a motorcycle. No one’s giving away free motorcycles, so if you want to own the bike of your dreams, chances are you’re going to have to pay for it. While a few of us will be able to walk into a dealership and hand over a wad of cash, most potential motorcycle buyers will be looking for some form of financing. If you’re thinking about making a two-wheeled investment, follow these tips so you – and your wallet – don’t get taken for a ride.
Build your credit before you buy a bike. Most lenders consider motorcycles a luxury item, so they’ll be critical of your credit history before approving you for a loan. The easiest way to get a good deal on motorcycle financing is to have good credit. Check your credit score and correct any discrepancies before you apply for a loan. With lenders keeping a tighter grip on their purse strings, it’s harder than ever to obtain financing, especially if you’re considered a lending risk. But, the better your credit history, the better your chances of obtaining lower-interest financing – or being approved for a loan at all.
The easiest way to get a good deal on motorcycle financing is to have good credit.
Shop around for a loan before you shop around for a bike. Determining what you can realistically afford before you enter a showroom can save you time, money and embarrassment. Setting your sights on the perfect bike only to discover you can’t get financing can be a frustrating experience. So do your homework before you go, and be realistic about what you’ll be able to afford.
Save up for a larger down payment – or buy the bike with cash. A larger down payment means smaller monthly payments and interest charges. While it’s not always possible to subdue the desire for immediate motorcycle gratification while you save your cash, purchasing a bike outright will often net you a better deal and eliminates interest charges altogether.
Ask questions. If you’re unsure about a financing deal’s terms, ask questions until you’re absolutely clear. Know about interest accruement and changing rates, late fees, penalties and payment options.
There are many sources for motorcycle financing, but here are a few popular options. Know what’s out there and check around for the best deals.
Most motorcycle dealerships offer financing directly to consumers or they have special relationships with lenders. Dealers want to sell you a bike, so it’s in their best interest to help you obtain financing.
It’s possible to obtain financing for new motorcycles directly from the manufacturer; however, this option is usually only available to customers with very good credit scores, and the manufacturer’s promotions may vary throughout the year.
If you have low interest rates and enough purchasing power, you can pay for your bike with plastic. But be careful, as many credit card companies can change their interest rates at any time.
Check with your bank to see if you qualify for a personal loan. This option can be attractive if you’re purchasing a bike from a private seller or purchasing a used motorcycle from a dealer since you won’t be limited by manufacturers’ promotions. If you currently have a mortgage or line of credit from your bank, you may be eligible for lower interest rates.
Regardless of where you obtain financing for your motorcycle, make sure you’re able to afford the payments and still have enough left over for gear, maintenance, gas, food, rent and other necessities of life.