Should you buy a new or used motorcycle?

There are pros and cons to buying either a new or used motorcycle. You should consider a variety of factors when considering a new versus a used motorcycle, including costs, features, the condition of the bike, and safety. Buying a new motorcycle could be more expensive, but a used motorcycle could be less reliable. Whether it's new or used, the best motorcycle is the one that fits your needs.

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New vs. used motorcycle: Cost, financing, condition, and safety

New vs. used motorcycle costs

A new motorcycle generally costs more than a used motorcycle, but your total costs will depend on the make and model of the motorcycle, insurance costs, future maintenance or repairs, and more. Here are the listed prices for a few of the most popular new and used motorcycle models in the U.S. in 2023:

New motorcycle costs

Used motorcycle cost

  • 2013 Honda CBR600RR: typical listing price of $9,105 (KBB)
  • 2007 Yamaha FZ1: typical listing price of $5,730 (KBB)
  • 2006 Triumph Speed Triple: typical listing price of $5,505 (KBB)

The cost of motorcycle insurance and maintenance will also factor into the total cost of owning a motorcycle. These costs can vary greatly depending on your bike's safety features and history, so it's important to research more than just the listed price.

Pro tip:

You can buy a motorcycle without insurance, but it's illegal to ride it without your state's minimum coverage limits. Find out if you need motorcycle insurance and what motorcycle insurance covers.


If you have cash in hand and don't need to finance, you'll have much more flexibility whether buying new or used. If you're financing your bike, a used motorcycle may have a higher interest rate than a new one.


Motorcycles are often hobby machines. Owners tend to make modifications by swapping out parts and tuning them up. Motorcycle crashes are also more common and more damaging. Buying a used motorcycle means you might be purchasing a bike that's been in an accident and has had significant repairs or modifications.

If you don't mind a motorcycle that isn't in its original condition, buying a used motorcycle can be an easy way to reduce costs. However, if you're worried about long-term damage or expensive repairs down the line, buying new gives you a blank slate.

Also consider the climate in which the previous owner stored the bike. If you buy a motorcycle from a dealer, you can expect the dealership to store new motorcycles indoors, away from the elements. If you're purchasing a used motorcycle, it's important to know if it's been stored inside or left outside in potentially damaging weather.


New motorcycles have more safety features than older models. Newer models have traction control, different riding modes, and more. Many riders want the most up-to-date safety features to compensate for the higher risk.

If you're buying an older model of motorcycle and don't want to sacrifice safety, keep an eye out for these features:

  • Anti-lock brakes
  • Adaptive headlights
  • Airbags

New vs. used motorcycle: Pros and cons

Buying a new or used motorcycle will come down to your experience, budget, the dealer or seller, potential expenses, and more. Both new and used motorcycles have their benefits and drawbacks.

New motorcycle pros

  • Updated safety features
  • Knowledge of its condition
  • Often includes a warranty
  • Potentially lower loan interest rate

New motorcycle cons

  • Often more expensive
  • Sharp post-purchase depreciation
  • Higher costs for replacement parts

Used motorcycle pros

  • Often less expensive
  • Spare parts may be more available

Used motorcycle cons

  • Outdated safety technology
  • Potential maintenance issues
  • May not have a warranty

Take the time to research which motorcycle fits your needs and budget, and then look at the market in your area. Based on the selection available to you, you can decide whether a new or used motorcycle is the best choice.

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