When Is The Best Time To Buy A Used Motorcycle?


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Beginning the process of buying a used motorcycle is an exciting time. But it also can be a bit stressful, especially if you’ve never bought a motorcycle before. Used motorcycles are generally sold by private sellers, so that in itself can give anyone a little anxiety.

During your used motorcycle purchase process, you may be wondering how you can save as much money as possible if you’re a thrifty buyer. The first way you can save money on your purchase is by buying your used motorcycle during the right time of year.

So, when is the best time to buy a used motorcycle? The best time to buy a used motorcycle in the United States is any time between November and February. Generally, the weather is colder during these months which means less people are out riding and more people are willing to sell their motorcycles at a decent price.

I have bought almost twenty used motorcycles in the last ten years and have been able to see first hand when the best time is to purchase them. But there’s a lot more to buying a used motorcycle aside from just knowing the best time of year to buy one.

Why November Through February Is The Best Time To Buy A Used Motorcycle

Some people may say that there’s really no best time of year to buy a used motorcycle, it all just depends on your patience. While your patience is very much required, there’s actually a science behind buying a used motorcycle during the right time of year.

Social science is an interesting concept, and that’s really what this all boils down to. For example, in December of 2023 (in Utah), I bought a 1980 Honda CB750 for $1,750. It was running great, it just needed a few cosmetic fixes. This thing was actually worth about $2,800. I plan on making some of those minor cosmetic fixes and selling it for a good profit in the spring.

There are several reasons why buying a used motorcycle in the months of November through February are the best times to buy. The first reason being that sellers usually understand that less people have the “itch” to buy a motorcycle during the cold months. Those who are selling their motorcycles during these months know they have less of an audience to sell to, so to compensate for that they decrease the price.

You’ll also have a group of people that own a motorcycle and enjoyed using it during the warm months of the year. Once the winter months start approaching, they anticipate having to store it for the winter and taking up space in the garage. People who don’t want to have to deal with that will want to sell their motorcycles quickly which will reflect on the price they post it at.

And let’s not forget about the holiday season during the winter months. As the holidays get closer, people become more desperate for some quick cash and frequently resort to selling their motorcycle. Again, their desperation to sell the motorcycle is often reflected in the price they post it at.

If you’re looking to buy a used motorcycle from a dealership, the very best month to buy would be February. As you know, February is the shortest month out of the year which also means a few less days for salesmen to meet their quota. If you’re lucky, you’ll run into a salesman that may be a bit desperate to make those few extra sales by the end of the month so they reach their monthly goal.

It’s important to be patient while you are looking for a used motorcycle to buy. The winter months are the best time to buy one, but that doesn’t mean the perfect one for you will pop up instantly. You have a few months to shop around and decide what will work best for you.

Why Warmer Months Are The Worst Time To Buy A Used Motorcycle

As you reflect on the reasons why November through February are the best months to buy a used motorcycle, you may also be wondering what could be so bad about buying a used motorcycle during the months outside of this recommendation. Why are the warmer months not suggested for buying a used motorcycle?

The first and biggest reason warmer months are the worst time to buy a motorcycle is because sellers know they can get away with setting a higher price. When spring rolls around, people get the “itch” to be outdoors and feel and warmth they missed during the winter. Sellers will have a lot of interested buyers for the motorcycles they’re selling which enables them to sell for a higher price.

Sellers are also a lot less desperate to sell their motorcycles and may even be on the fence about selling it in the first place. Perhaps they post it for sale to see if they get any interested buyers. Sellers in this situation are a lot less willing to negotiate on a price.

What To Look For When Buying A Used Motorcycle

Once you’ve established the best time of year to start looking to buy a used motorcycle, you’ll need to start thinking about what you need to look for while you’re out shopping during said months.

The first thing you’ll want to be sure of is if the seller has a title or not.

Buying a motorcycle with no title gives you the risk of buying a motorcycle that is either stolen or still has a lien on it. Don’t give in to promises from the seller that they’ll mail the title or give it to you later than the time you actually buy the motorcycle. For more details about buying a motorcycle with or without a title, see my article here.

You’ll also want to make sure the motorcycle is in good running condition. Always take it out for a test ride if the seller is willing to let you. Notice how the motorcycle feels and if you hear any unusual noises.

If the motorcycle isn’t running, that may be to your advantage if you know how to fix motorcycles. The usual culprit for non-running motorcycles is a clogged carburetor which is usually an easy fix. It’s hard to know for sure though, so be wary when buying a motorcycle that isn’t running.

One other big thing you should look for when purchasing a used motorcycle is how long the owner had it in his/her possession, where they stored it, and if they have current registration.

Knowing the answers to these questions can tell you a lot about how the motorcycle was treated in their possession and whether or not it would be a wise purchase for you. See my article here for more helpful tips when buying a used motorcycle.

The Best Places To Look For Used Motorcycles

Whether you’ve decided to take the advice of this article and look to buy a used motorcycle during the months of November through February, or you want a motorcycle sooner than that, the places you’ll need to look remain the same year round.

While you’re in the market, it’s important to look at several different platforms so you have a larger choice to choose from. Your best bet will most likely be the internet.

Craigslist is often a popular choice while looking for a used motorcycle. It’s a nation-wide accepted platform that many people still use today. It’s easily accessible and you’ll be able to get a good feel of what’s available close to you.

Facebook Marketplace is becoming increasingly popular with selling items, especially vehicles. More and more people are using this because you usually don’t have to display your contact information on it; interested parties can simply instant message them which acts similar to texting. I’ve bought several vehicles from Facebook marketplace and it has worked great.

Generally, most places have local classifieds that you can view online. For example, Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming have a website called KSL.com that all the locals use to sell pretty much everything, including motorcycles.

If you’re interested in looking at used motorcycles on more of a nation wide basis, cycletrader.com is one of the best places to look. This online platform advertises both cars and motorcycles and you can usually get pretty good information from the seller on the posting because they have to pay to post their motorcycle for sale.

Conclusion

When it comes to buying a used motorcycle, I have personally seen time and time again that November through February is the best time to do it. Warmer months have higher competition which enables sellers to up the price. Online platforms can give you a plethora of bikes to choose from so I highly recommend starting there. I wish you the best of luck my fellow riders, you won’t be disappointed with these recommendations!

Related Questions

Is it better to buy a used motorcycle or a new one? There are pros and cons to buying either a new or used motorcycle. New motorcycles generally will have less problems and have updated technology whereas older motorcycles are more simple to operate and will be less expensive to purchase. Click here for more information that I wrote about this subject.

Should I always negotiate the price when buying a motorcycle? Negotiation is usually something the seller expects interested buyers to engage in. However, it’s important to know that you need to do reasonable negotiation. If you completely low-ball the seller, they may completely discontinue talking to you altogether.

This article has been reviewed in accordance with our editorial policy.

Kyle Cannon

Kyle currently works as a mechanical engineer and graduated with a minor in automotive engineering. He loves restoring motorcycles, has a vast knowledge of how they work, and has sold his restoration projects to customers from all over the United States.

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