How To Buy Your First Harley-Davidson Motorcycle
Source: Hot Bike
Buying your first Harley-Davidson can be like your first kiss—a little bit scary, a tad awkward, and a whole lot exciting. Okay, so maybe that’s a stretch, but we’re pretty sure that butterflies will dance in your stomach with anticipation, anyway. And that first time you fire up your new Harley and feel its V-twin, then pop it into gear and ride it off the lot, we’re betting sparks will shoot through your body. You’ll never be the same.
It’s a big decision, and you need to be honest with yourself because your life depends on it. We know that some people frequently bite off more than they can chew, so we figured we’d provide some food for thought and smooth out the process.
First and foremost, be truthful about your riding ability. Are you a first-timer or a seasoned rider? What are your intentions for the motorcycle: to use as a daily form of transportation, as a commuter rig, for weekend joyrides with your buddies, or as a platform to tour the country? Think of your Harley-Davidson as a finely tailored suit. You want one that best fits your needs in terms of ergonomics, personal style, riding ability, and intentions. Certain Harleys work better for certain situations, which brings us to our next topic.
Do your research. Harley-Davidson has so many models it can make you dizzy, so spend some time on Harley-Davidson’s website and familiarize yourself with the various platforms. Currently The Motor Company lists six categories of motorcycles: the Street series, which features Harley’s introductory-level bikes; Sportster, a model that’s been in continuous production for more than 60 years, and that’s a step above Street machines in terms of power and performance but still serves as a frequent gateway to Harley ownership; Softail, a category with a wide range of the cruiser motorcycles Harley-Davidson is famous for; Touring, bigger bikes suitable for a rider and a passenger that can be loaded and ridden for days on end; CVO, which are top-of-the-line Harleys embellished with premium parts and paint; and Trike, a series of wide-stanced Harley motorcycles rolling with one wheel up front and two in the back. Seeing how this is your first Harley, we recommend eliminating the Touring, CVO, and Trike models right off the bat and focussing on the other three groups.
Now it’s time to decide on your budget. Along with skill level, figuring out how much you’re willing to spend will dictate which motorcycles fall into your price range. Every time you step up a category, the price increases accordingly. Have the top price you’d pay set in your mind before heading into a dealership, and again, do your research. Harley-Davidson lists the MSRPs of its new motorcycles on its website, along with added expenses for different paint schemes and options like antilock brakes and security systems. If you’re thinking about buying a used Harley, resources like Kelley Blue Book and NADA can tell you what motorcycles are selling for based on your location.
And be sure you stick to your guns during the negotiations; if you’ve done the research you’ll know the true fair price for the motorcycle you’re trying to buy. Dealers, by nature, will always try to maximize their commission by squeezing the highest price possible out of a potential buyer. And while you could buy a used bike off the local classified ads or on Craigslist, for your first H-D motorcycle we’d recommend a used or new one from a dealership. With so many Slim Shadys out there right now, there are just too many variables that could backfire when buying a used bike from somebody you don’t know (unless you’re a bona fide mechanic). Motorcycles that have been sitting neglected for too long could have rust in their tanks, clogged fuel lines, cracked seals and gaskets, janky wiring, or even worse, a cracked frame. Who knows? If it seems like too good of a deal, the bike might even be stolen.
Now, you could get the VIN and check its history with CycleVIN or a similar service, but often motorcycle histories aren’t as well documented as with automobiles. If your used motorcycle is coming from the Harley dealership, on the other hand, the service department most likely has gone over the bike and reconditioned it appropriately for resale. And you might even get lucky and score a limited warranty of some sort (though probably for an extra fee). If you buy new, obviously you’ll gain the benefit of a full warranty.
Before stepping into a dealership, go to their website. Nowadays, most dealerships post much of their inventory online, so you can do some scouting ahead of time in the comfort of your own home. If you see something you like, you can reach out to the dealer by email or phone for more information, but be sure to price shop at more than one dealership before you buy; the first showroom you stop into might not have the best deal on the bike you’re looking for. Depending on where you live, most likely there’s more than one Harley establishment within driving distance. When and if you do begin the negotiation process, be on the lookout for hidden fees; added freight and setup charges for the bike are to be expected, but handling, administrative, and documentation fees should not be tacked on to the sales price. Scan the invoice carefully.
A couple of last tidbits of advice:
Figure out how you’re going to finance the bike before you go in. Now, Harley-Davidson has its own financial services division and you could go that route if you choose, but it’ll likely be the most costly path. Check your credit score before you go in, get quotes from a few banks, and have some money set aside as a down payment if possible. Doing these three things can help you leverage a lower rate at the dealership if you don’t secure a loan from an outside institution beforehand.
You’ll also want to take care of acquiring insurance for your new bike. Quite a few companies are biker-friendly when it comes to motorcycle insurance. You can even log on to GEICO and get price quotes from several providers online without having to talk directly to an insurance salesman.
Becoming a Harley-Davidson owner is like a rite of passage. Making the commitment brings about a sense of pride, as The Motor Company is a heralded American institution with a 115-year history—and one of the most recognizable brands in the world. Welcome to the club. Now get out and ride!
Source: Student Loan Hero
By: Kat Tretina
Motorcycles are more popular than ever because of their fuel efficiency and relatively low cost. A new car costs an average of $36,270, according to Kelley Blue Book. By contrast, you can buy a new motorcycle for under $5,000.
Motorcycles can be a budget-friendly form of transportation. However, finding a motorcycle loan can be difficult, and you might have to pursue financing alternatives.
Although the process of purchasing a motorcycle is basically the same as buying a car, your financing options are different. In many cases, you can’t take out an automobile loan to purchase a motorcycle. Instead, you have to take out a loan specifically designed for motorcycles, recreational vehicles, or specialty vehicles.
Motorcycle loans and specialty loans often have different terms than auto loans, including interest rates and repayment periods.
For example, as of April 6, 2018, you can qualify for a rate as low as 3.09% for a car loan from SunTrust. However, SunTrust classifies motorcycles as recreational vehicles; they’re in the same category as boats and motor homes. If you want to take out a motorcycle loan with SunTrust, the lowest rate you can get is 4.44%.
4 motorcycle loan options
Because motorcycle loans are so different from auto loans, it’s a good idea to consider multiple financing options to ensure you get the best deal.
Whether you’re buying a motorcycle as your primary source of transportation or simply want to ride on the weekends, there are four main types of financing available to you.
1. Manufacturer financing
Some manufacturers offer motorcycle loans directly to buyers. For example, Harley-Davidson partners with Eaglemark Savings Bank to offer loans. Depending on your credit history and income, you could qualify for a loan with a rate as low as 3.99%. In some cases, you might not even have to come up with a down payment.
It’s important to keep in mind that the lowest rates on manufacturer loans are usually reserved for select models or loans with short repayment terms. If you’re buying a lower-priced model or need a loan term longer than 36 months, you’ll likely get a higher rate.
2. Dealership financing
Another option is financing through a motorcycle dealership. Some dealerships offer loans from manufacturers, but they also might partner with third-party lenders. These lenders often have less rigorous standards than manufacturers, so you’re more likely to qualify for a loan if your credit isn’t great.
However, dealership loans can be more expensive than other financing options. You might end up paying more in interest than you would if you went with a loan from another source, such as a credit union.
3. Bank or credit union loans
You can save money at the dealership by securing financing on your own beforehand. Many banks and credit unions offer motorcycle loans and tend to have lower interest rates than dealerships.
If you have poor credit or don’t have an established credit history, going through a credit union could be a smart choice. Unlike banks, credit unions are nonprofit organizations and might have more relaxed requirements for loans. If you’re not a member of a credit union already, you can find one near you through MyCreditUnion.gov.
4. Personal loans
One other option to consider is taking out a personal loan to purchase your motorcycle.
Depending on your income and credit history, you could qualify for a loan with a rate as low as 4.98%. If you have excellent credit and can comfortably afford the monthly payments, you might be able to save money by opting for a personal loan.
On the other hand, if your credit isn’t steller, you might be more likely to qualify for a personal loan than a motorcycle loan. Some personal loan lenders will work with borrowers with credit scores as low as 580.
But the more relaxed credit standards mean personal loans can have much higher interest rates than other forms of financing. Although you might qualify for a loan, you could end up with an interest rate as high as 35.99%.
You might think the high rate is worth it if it helps you buy your dream vehicle, but it can cost you over time. For example, if you qualified for a 60-month loan from Harley-Davidson for $10,000 and had a 3.99% interest rate, you’d pay back a total of $11,047.
By contrast, if you took out a personal loan and qualified for a $10,000, 60-month loan at 35.99% interest, you’d pay back a staggering $21,676.
Also, personal loans typically have shorter repayment terms than motorcycle loans. With a motorcycle loan, you can have a repayment term as long as 84 months. With a personal loan, you’re often limited to just 60 months.
It’s a good idea to compare personal loan offers from multiple lenders to get the lowest rate. With Student Loan Hero, you can get quotes from multiple lenders at one time without affecting your credit score.
Buying your motorcycle
A motorcycle can be a fuel-efficient and cost-effective form of transportation. If you need help researching models and getting the best price at the dealership, check out our guide on how to buy a vehicle for more tips.