New Bikes vs. Used Bikes For The Same Price

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New Bikes vs. Used Bikes For The Same Price

Depreciation. The bane of new bike buyers, but a boon to you and I, who wait a few years to snatch up a pre-owned bargain. Can an older bike really stack up to a brand new one?

Photo by Craig Morey

New vs Used

You’re going to read about some incredible bargains below. So why buy new at all? Well, it gives you the ability to pay for the bike with monthly payments and little or no money down. It also gives you a reliable machine covered by a warranty and one you know hasn’t been crashed or abused by someone else.

The advantage of used is obviously in the lower purchase price. But you also get a few unseen benefits. If you finance a new bike, you’ll often be required to spring for fully comprehensive insurance. Then, if you crash it, you’ll either be out for that payment and the insurance deductible. With a used bike, you can opt for cheaper, third party-only insurance and repair the bike yourself, economically and over time.

New gives you the latest and greatest, used gets your more bang for your buck.

2014 Suzuki GSX-R1000
2014 Suzuki GSX-R1000

Superbike

The cheapest literbike you can buy new today is the $13,899 Suzuki GSX-R1000. It makes 180 bhp, weighs 448 lbs (wet) and does without TC, ABS or other fancypants electronics. That bike received minor updates in 2012 and you can find bikes from that year, with very low miles for a few thousand less. Here’s one in South Dakota with only 660 miles on it for just $9,500.

Trouble with the GSX-R is that, well, it feels a bit plain. The antidote for that is to go Italian. Here’s a 180 bhp Aprilia RSV4 R in St. Louis that has only 1,300 miles and is listed at only $11,500. Not only is the RSV4 a more capable handler than the Suzuki, but it’s far less common, too.

2014 Yamaha YZF-R6
2014 Yamaha YZF-R6

Supersport

The raciest bike in the supersport class remains the Yamaha YZF-R6, even now, eight years after it was introduced.  But why spend $11,190 on one when you can pick up this identical 2006 model in Florida for just $4,000? Heck, it’s only got 5,000 miles on it and someone’s already paid for the pipe, Power Commander and air filter.

Want to go faster? Here’s a 2013 Yamaha YZF-R1 fitted with the new traction control system with only 570 miles for nearly a grand less than a new R6.

2014 Triumph Street Triple R
2014 Triumph Street Triple R

Sport Naked

Our pick in the sport naked class has to be the $9,999 Triumph Street Triple R. But, lots of people positively hate the “Dame Edna” headlamps. Those were introduced for the 2012 model year, along with other changes to the frame, subframe, exhaust and suspension. But, the previous generation isn’t that far off and, as a result, there’s high demand for them in the used market. Don’t expect to save more than a couple grand for one in good condition, with low miles.

The good news is that $10k budget nets you virtually anything you want if you’re buying used. Our friends at Transportation Revolution in New Orleans are selling this tidy Ducati Hypermotard 1100 SP for just $9,499.

2014 Honda CB500F
2014 Honda CB500F

Budget All-Rounder

The Honda CB500F is all the bike you’ll ever need and it’s priced at a shockingly low $6,000 with ABS brakes. But, if you’re not looking for an easy first bike, then that same budget will buy you a lot more speed if you buy used. Here’s a 2006 Suzuki GSX-R1000, one of the best literbikes ever made, for just $5,300. Just please don’t buy it if you’re a n00b.

Adventure

2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000
2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000

The new 2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 busts class convention by coming in at a $12,699. It’s a fast, practical, capable bike, but not one that’s terribly good off-road. The KTM 990 Adventure is. Here’s last year’s model with zero miles for just $13,750.

Continue Reading: New Bikes vs. Used Bikes For The Same Price >>

  • HyperLemon

    The pictured Supersport is actually an R1 and not an R6.

    The first bike I bought was a brand new one, mainly because I got a nice discount, and in comparison it was not worth it getting the same model used. Second bike I bought was also new, because I couldn’t find the one I wanted anywhere nearby used (was in the south of Japan). And I got a nice discount from the dealer again. Third one was a used one … with less than 500 miles on the clock and I actually knew the former owner.

    I have to buy a “new” bike again (or two) when I move to the states in April (can’t bring my bike from here), and I have to say, so far I wasn’t able to find that many used bikes on CL or CT that I’d be interested in for a price that I find reasonable compared to buying new. At least not within 200 miles from where I’m going to move to.

    • Justin McClintock

      Yeah, that’s one of the issues with buying used..gotta have what you want available. Being in Atlanta, the bike market here is pretty big so I’ve been pretty fortunate. That said, I waited on the motard for a couple months because everybody in town wanted WAAAY too much for theirs. Ended up driving a little over an hour north of town to pick one up that was only 2/3 the price of the ones in town. Sometimes it’s good to expand your search, if you can. Also helped that I was buying my 3rd bike, and wasn’t exactly in a hurry.

      • HyperLemon

        Near Atlanta is where I will be moving to, so I guess there is hope!

        • Justin McClintock

          Word of advice….buy OUTSIDE of town. Bikes fetch a premium in Atlanta simply because people do not want to or cannot travel to get them. Go 30 miles out of town and prices drop a good 20%. It’s amazing how much cheaper stuff is away from the heart of the city.

          My SV1000S, I bought 20 miles outside of the perimeter and paid less than most folks in town were asking for SV650′s. My DT175 I bought 25 miles outside of town….for $500. Street legal and ran (and still does) like a champ. My DRZSM I bought almost all the way up in SC, but I bought it for about $3K with under 5K miles on it when most folks in town were asking between $4500 and $5500 for the same thing.

          • HyperLemon

            Thanks for the advice. I usually put 200 miles search radius in CT to see what prices are. Though on CT I find mostly new bikes, and most of the used prices I see on CL are too close to new bike prices in my opinion. But I still got a few months, and first I have to find an appartment and a car anyways.

  • Terry Davey

    @hyperlemon:disqus Try cycletrader.com

    • HyperLemon

      That’s what I meant with “CT”

  • Aaron

    HD introduced Fuel Injection in 2006 (i think) for the Sportsters. Kind of a HUGE improvement, although you can still find a 2006 for >5K.

    • Richard Gozinya

      They also went over to the rubber mounted engine that year for the Sportsters. Which gives a less vibey ride, but adds about 30-40 lbs.

      • Aaron

        Indeed. 2 very significant albeit late improvements to the Sportsters. About 10 years late :/ I still get a kick out of looking at the unbalanced 88 shaking all around in the frame of a tour bike.

        • Eric

          I had the misfortune of owning the world’s least reliable bike, a 2003 Sportster 883. Tho it looks like they haven’t changed much, they change enough to merit some difficulty finding components. It’s true (and was rather nice) to have a lot of aftermarket options for your upgrades/replacements. More than any other vehicle I’ve had. But when it gets down to some components. Like the ignition module (a common stressed part on Sporsters), the 2003 is on an island from the rest. 1985-2002 if my memory delivers accurate information, is the years to buy if you wanna keep it simple and have the best access to parts. Anything beyond and it gets more fiddly. Or, if you’re sensible, like riding and want to save time, sweat and money: don’t buy a Sportster.

          • Aaron

            The Star Bolt is looking more and more like a sportster killer. It really is a good looking bike.

            • Eric

              I think the Bolt is a really cool looking bike, but after sitting on one I couldn’t keep liking it. The airbox is massive and sticks out like you’re holding a cinder block between your knee and the tank. Pegs are way too close for it’s seat height. All things that could be remedied with some aftermarket modifications I’m sure. There’s plenty of variety in cruisers, just pick one with a blindfold and you’ll be happier than with a Sportster.

              • Aaron

                I’ve never sat on one. I think i shall the next time I see one.

            • Colin Samuel

              I rode the Bolt at a Star demo event. It was horrible. The engine was meh. But everything else was just awful. Instruments you can’t read. Cheap, crappy plastic shrouds. Zero ground clearance. I was mortified at how much I hated that machine. Avoid.

              • http://metabomber.com/ Jesse

                I agree on the unreadable instruments, and I managed to grind both pegs on my test ride. The engine had character, but was mostly gutless. Surprisingly, even after all of that, I kind of enjoyed the ride. I wasn’t expecting sportbike handling, nor brakes, but it I still managed to get off the bike after a fifteen minute ride with a smile.

          • mms

            Eh I love my 2010 sportster 883, have put 30k miles on it so far and shockingly it didn’t explode the day the warranty expired. It’s fun to ride, likes gravel, is still sort of fun in the twisties (albeit at much lower speeds than on my Ducati), and is great for around town. It’s slow but it’s torquey. And deceptively heavy, no lie there. I would say avoid the 70s models from when AMF owned Harley. The fuel injection is really nice, gets 50mpg, always starts on cold days. It’s a great bike if you have another bike too.

            • Eric

              I’m sure the newer ones with EFI are better to live with. I’m also sure they build better bikes than the one I had. Someone had to have some bad luck, just wish it wasn’t me! Cost me a lot of money in parts and left me stranded dozens of times. So I can’t help but feel bitter and resentful about my purchase of it. I sold it to a motorcycle mechanic, one who knew how many problems it’s had intimately. I ask him when I see him how it’s running, he always has massive problems with it to report. So I’m glad it wasn’t just me, it was possessed by Satan.

      • chris ordanez

        Good god! Surely there must have been other changes that factored into such a significant gain in weight, no?

        • Aaron

          It’s Harley, maybe thicker/more chrome?

          • chris ordanez

            I wonder if they marketed the extra weight as a” feature”.

            OK, I’ll stop now.

            • Aaron

              TRACTION!

        • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

          More, larger badges?

          • Justin McClintock

            Badges?!! We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!

          • chris ordanez

            More, larger heritages?

        • Richard Gozinya

          Sorry, that was 2004 they did that, not 2006, and they changed the frame and some other bits. All of which seems to have added weight. Can’t really blame Harley for that though, their customers don’t care about handling or speed, so Harley doesn’t give them those things. It’s a shame too, considering how cool their BOTT racing team was in the 80′s. They had a bike that was 286 lbs and 104 hp, and were using it to smack around Ducatis. Lucifer’s Hammer will be missed.

          • chris ordanez

            Interesting. This, along with the V4 motor they came so close to using, makes me wonder what happened to HD. Someone clearly wanted to innovate within that company. Oh well.

            I’m just glad that Erik Bell is finally free to truly make the bikes he wants to make, love em or hate em.

          • Eric Shay

            I just question how they stay competitive in flat track.

            • Piglet2010

              AMA writes the rules to keep H-D competitive, similar to what they did in super-sport, allowing a Buell with an 1125cc Rotax twin to run against 600cc I-4 Japanese bikes.

      • Aaron Kirkland

        The rubber-mounted engine was introduced in 2004, EFI in 2007.

    • chris ordanez

      Also, 1990 (!) and earlier model Sportsters only had 4-speed transmissions.

      Don’t know why I know that, but it’s something for a potential buyer to take into consideration.

    • Jeremy

      I am pretty sure it was the 2007 model year. I owned a 2006 Sportster 883 and it was still carbureted.

      • Aaron Kirkland

        Yeah. Rubbermount in 2004, EFI in 2007.

    • HollywoodRider

      2007 Had the ’06, pissed me off I was one year early

  • Carter M

    I hope the change the looks of the R1′s sooner than latter. I’d like a new one but think the new R1′s are butt ugly. I’ll stick with my 2005 until they can make it better looking.

    • hunkyleepickle

      I still don’t mind the looks of the R1/R6, but god almighty is the R1 a huge pig of a bike these days. Rode that, zx10r, and the Cbr1000rr last spring as demo’s, and the difference is night and day. R1 sounds amazing, i’ll give it that, but cripes has it gotten big!

  • Justin McClintock

    This article speaks to me. It’s why I’ve got 3 bikes in the garage, all of which I bought used. Almost bought a new DRZSM, but then found a very lightly used one….for half the price of new. Already had a topcase even. Hard to beat that.

    • El Isbani

      Yes sir. Plus when you factor in lower price because of no sales tax when you’re buying from a private seller, even harder deal to beat.

      • Justin McClintock

        We USED to have that benefit here in Georgia, but the new title tax killed it. Unfortunately, now “sales” tax (the title tax) is the same % across the board no matter who you buy from, new or used. And even if you got a SCREAMING deal on something, the goobermint can charge you title tax on what they deem the vehicle is worth when you bought it, regardless of what you paid. That….SUCKS.

        • El Isbani

          What the hey! That’s just wrong man.

        • El Isbani

          Wait a second, don’t move to Texas just yet. Apparently you do have to pay just like GA it’s presumptive value too, 6.25%. Now I feel bad on that one because the two used cars I bought from private sellers I didn’t pay jack to the state, but that was a few years ago before I thought about such things as uh new license plates.

      • hunkyleepickle

        It is such bullshit that i have to pay the full 12% sales tax on used bikes, you are lucky that you don’t!!

  • Jordan

    It’s kind of difficult to pin-down, but from what I’ve found on the forums from hardcore club racers’ experience using the current model R6, maybe stay away from the 2006-07 model bikes. They apparently had really low oil pressure below 4k RPM that can damage the main bearings and con-rod bearings. It’s not a big deal if the engine spends most of it’s time at higher RPMs because it can generate enough safe oil pressure, but if it spent a lot of time just cruising around on city streets and idling in traffic, it can be a serious problem. Yamaha issued a dealer bulletin around 2007 to change the tolerances used in their tech manuals for different width bearings, but never really came outright to help the owners. The whole thing was done away with in the 2008 revision. Running at such a low RPM sounds ridiculous on a 600 in the first place, but it’s something people should consider before they pull the trigger on one of these bikes. Consider how many times have you let your bike idle on the stand(s) till the fans came on just to freshen everything up during the non-riding season? A lot of casual riders were completely clueless as to why their engines were popping when they were riding the bikes so gently.

    That was kind of a dark time for the R6 and R1. The 2007-08 R1s seemed to have a potential issue as well with dropped valves and the fueling was pretty bad in the US.

  • Chris McAlevy

    If you’re looking for a cheap all-rounder, it’s hard to beat the bargain that is a kawasaki ex-500 (aka ninja 500). They can be found dirt cheap (in 2012, I bought a 2005 with 2500 miles on it for $2k. Older models regularly show up on my local craigslist for $1k or less), they sold a ton of them so parts are ubiquitous and inexpensive (a riding buddy was having transmission issues, so he just bought a lightly used transmission for $100 and dropped it in), it’s comfortable, and it performs very well for the price point. Similar to honda’s new 500′s, it’s absolutely an appropriate starter bike, but is capable enough to be a blast for an experienced rider. I recommend it to most people over the ninja/cbr 250, especially if they are over 5’10″ or 180 lbs.

    • Joe Bielski

      Heck I got one for $500…. and it’s my daily ride that’s quite fun!!!

    • Dan

      I’ve had two EX 500s… both looked like they were dragged out of a swamp, both dead reliable and great all-around bikes, one bought for $500 one traded a mountain bike for. I did nothing but wring their necks, put away wet and abused them, and got nothing but a good time in return. Against better judgement (which I’ve never been accused of having), I jumped one off a loading dock with a passenger who had possibly worse judgement than I. Landed hard, forks slid up in the trees (first i’d ever seen this), tumbled and slid a bit… the bike started right up and was still a rider. I’d not hesitate to own one again.

    • Mister X

      Man, the EX500, a bike I never appreciated until my sister-in-law loaned me hers to ride with my brother (FZR1000 stage 3) and a friend who borrowed one of my bros other bikes (RD400 Daytona Special) and we rode out to the coast from his place in Healdsburg, up to Fort Bragg, then inland and through the wine country back to H-burg, a long day in the saddle, but oh, so nice.

      I gained much respect for the EX500 on that trip many years ago, through city traffic, freeways, mountains, and tight twisty corners, it was an excellent if unexceptional ride that would serve any rider well, new or old.

  • atvman29

    Just picked up my 2013 CB500X as a demo model with 800 miles on it for $5229 with the $200 rear rack thrown in for free, so figure I’m into the bike for $5,029! Full factory warranty, break in service done, and I’m ready for spring!!

    • hunkyleepickle

      thats a cracking deal! Should be a heck of a summer!

    • Cody Blank

      A demo starts its warranty as soon as it’s classified as a demo, so make sure you weren’t told you’d get a full warranty. That CB will have a 1 year warranty from that date, not your sale date, unless you bought extended warranty too.

      Have someone look up your VIN so you know exactly when your warranty ends if your dealership did not tell you.

  • Dubknot

    I tend to think it’s better for all of us to buy new when we can. Somebody has to keep the manufacturers sending in the bikes, and I wonder if that might be one of the reasons we don’t get shipped as many models as they get in Europe. From what I’ve read, the Europeans like a used bargain as well, but I don’t know if more news bikes are sold there by percentage.
    Also, if you are in the market for a bike around the end of the year, it’s a good idea to check on a new model before you buy anything. I got my 2013 ZX6R for $3000 less than MSRP, and I didn’t even haggle. I just asked them to run the numbers. Also, I traded in my 08 ZZR600 for $2000, so I came out on top on that deal. Just saying, it’s worth looking into.

    • Mister X

      You make a good point about buying new, but some of use would need to come up with large down payment because we can’t afford a high monthly one. I’m still on the wire about this, and I am in the market for another bike this year, I sat on a FZ-09 at the San Mateo M/C show (and many other bikes too!), and it was an awful nice fit, I’m sorely tempted, but the used market for all kinds of boss bikes in the $4-5,000 range totally Rocks right now too, so it’s a difficult position to be in.

      • Dubknot

        I’ve been there. I made that kind of mistake with a new truck some years ago. I really liked that thing, but I couldn’t enjoy it because of those payments. Not a happy place to be.

  • zedro

    Old stock KTM 990s are still in the 17k range here, disgusting…..

  • El Isbani

    Awww snap, the Gladius got some love on the front page of Ride Apart. That review hit it on the head IMO—it’s a cooler looking bike w/ the contrast in colors.

    • hunkyleepickle

      its still sad that the Gladius gets labeled as a ‘girls bike’ so often. It really is a true modern UJM!

  • RideaTart

    Selling a used bike after being the first owner is a humbling experience.

    • Cody

      When I can afford a VFR, I’m planning on giving my F4i away to someone who deserves instead of being haggled down to nothing for it.

      • RideaTart

        Donate it to a charity. I’m sure there are houses of worship or homeless shelters that could put an F4i to good use.

        • Stuki

          Who needs a home; when one has a legendary all round sporty bike……. Priorities and such.

      • Piglet2010

        I got $1K less for my F4i than the dealer re-sold it for.

    • hunkyleepickle

      haha, yeah, i just went through that with a friend of mine, a new rider, selling his first bike to move up. His 1year old cbr250r just about went out the door for half of what he paid brand new, and it nearly killed him. Doesn’t help that the local market is absolutely flooded with cbr’s at the moment.

  • John

    Yeah…..but……people are way too proud of their bikes and will put ridiculous miles and/or will have them for 10 or 15 years and then think they are worth 80% of what a new bike costs, and OFTEN more than the bike cost them new. So it’s good to have excellent new bikes like the Yamaha FZ09 and CB500s to keep people’s egos in check.

    • RideaTart

      Then there’s the guy who’s had his bike 6 months and put 4,000 miles on it and expects you to pay MSRP, because he’s saving you tax and other OTD costs, and says “this price is firm, don’t try to lowball me.”

      • John

        That’s nothing. The guys that ride a bike for ten years, then try to sell it for MSRP as a “collector’s item” are the best.

  • Nemosufu Namecheck

    Used bikes are awesome. My first and therefore always favorite bike was a used Ninja 500 that I bought in 98. Buying a used bike is a lot like buying a used Jeep or off-road vehicle. A lot of issues can come from people beating the hell out of it in a very short period of time. Mechanics always refer to drivability when it comes to the state of a vehicle from a previous owner. The same year and model can be in drastically different shape and look the same cosmetically. Caveat emptor.

    So buy your favorite mechanic a case of brew and bring em along with you. Let them test drive it, and don’t be afraid to walk away.

  • grb

    Your talking about used sport bikes with 550 and 660 miles… Its the classic tattle tale that something is wrong with that motorcycle, I though you guys at Ride Apart would know about this and advice against it… I mean come on, who is going to buy an expensive bike and sell it before even using it? and loose money.. This bikes are not past their “crucial” brake in period, which should mean they have never really used them or tested their power, and if they have then they have already ruined their “crucial” brake in period, and they probably have, if they are going to sell it they probably don’t care. If they haven’t ruined the brake in period then probably something else is wrong with the bike… Unless youre really lucky and find someone in special circumstances where he is forced to sell his new bike without ever using it.

    • socalutilityrider

      Out here in San Diego, we have a ton of military guys that sell exactly that: used sport bikes with low to very miles on them. Deployments, money issues, finding out they’re really not into it, etc I think are the big reasons why they sell bikes like that. Not sure what the case is in your area, does seem weird.

    • hunkyleepickle

      While this may be the case some of the time, i think the majority of the time people buy these supersports with stars in their eyes, visions of squidding about town in style. Then, after buying the bike, they realize they don’t have a all the expensive gear, realize that service on these machines will be expensive, realize that many of them are rather uncomfortable for a new or unfamiliar rider, and realize that the cool factor wears off when the cool weather sets in, and the rain/snow starts to fall. The bike sees one season, one service, and goes up on the block. Sad, but i think true in many cases.

      • Piglet2010

        I sold my F4i because I found myself taking the Deauville for longer rides and the scooter for shorter rides instead.

        • grb

          dont always take the most sensible route, you might become boring before you even notice, sometimes (most of the time) its good to put excitement/fun/adventure over practicality. I think

          • Piglet2010

            When I win the lottery and can afford to lose my driving license, I will reconsider a super-sport for the street.

            As for the track, my natural lack of talent does not justify a super-sport at this point.

      • grb

        Yes, i think that happens often in cases like this, but that still doesn’t diminish the fact that bikes sold with less then 1500 miles on the odometer were most likely ridden with complete disregard for the break-in period, that could not be good for the second owner

    • Mister X

      From what I’ve experienced, people with plenty of disposable income aren’t emotionally attached to their bikes (and possessions in general), so it’s very easy to find a deal on an unabused bike with low miles in the right neighborhoods.

      • grb

        Yes, thats what I mean, it might seem like the perfect deal, but you think a guy that is not “emotionally attached” has no “interest” and “don’t even care” about his bike is going to take good care of it or pay attention to the break-in period? wouldn’t it be obvious to assume that he is going to abuse this bike as much as he can before getting rid of it? Anybody with a sport bike in his hands is not going to give it away without running it and tasting its power, the problem is when you know they did it before it reached its break-in period… You should find out why the emphasis on the break-in process and what it means to the life of an engine

        • Mister X

          Wow, you must a gas a parties with your sweeping generalities, because all the guys I’m referring to are mature professionals, doctors, lawyers, etc., and they certainly are not abusers of their bikes, as I said previously, they lose interest, as in, they had enough interest to purchase it, but after riding it a bit they realize that they aren’t “motorcyclists”, and emotionally walk away from it, it’s completely different than your outlook, which seems to only allow for young or immature sport bike owners who apparently can’t control their throttle hand.

          • grb

            So you actualy think somebody anybody, is going to pay for a sportbike and never twist the throttle and taste its power, never ride it past the parameters of the break-in before getting rid of it… You actually belive that? You actually belive those 600 miles on it were ridden slow and at low rpms… Really? Oh well

    • SneakyJimmy

      Believe it or not, there are a lot of people that get jacked up about a new bike or want to get back into riding and buy a hot sport bike. They find out that its uncomfortable, hard to manage and not as fun as they remembered. It sits in the garage until the wife says sell it or else. Could be a great buy although it’s my belief that sitting in a garage is harder on a bike then riding it every day.

      • Wes Stupid

        …that’s pretty-much the case about any motorcycle. No matter what you ride, even if it’s a Goldwing eventually you’re going to get uncomfortable unless you’ve got heated/water-cooled/waterproof/impact-proof everything.

  • socalutilityrider

    I have had nothing but great experiences buying used bikes off of craigslist here in San Diego. I researched the model I wanted by reading everything I could get my hands on, including the bike’s forum, narrowed it down to the year or range of years for the “best” version that also intersected the depreciation curve I was looking for, and then patiently waited.

    On my last find, the deal on a Vstrom I was looking for showed up while I was at a wedding weekend in Hawaii, drinking and browsing craigslist (seems to go hand in hand). It was 2012 and I picked up a 2008 DL650 with 4,600 miles on it, garage kept, never been off road along with a Sargent seat (plus the stocker), givi crash bars front and the pannier racks in back, windscreen, and two givi side cases. Those extras alone would be almost $1,500 new. I got the bike for $4,500. I put on over 12,000 miles my first year and the bike has run perfectly. The seller was the nicest guy who was a cruiser dude that decided to try a different bike for the first time, and found he wasn’t that into it.

    There are so many great used bikes here it would be hard for me to consider buying new, although Honda has really set the bar by delivering so much value with some of their new bikes and how they’re priced. And maybe a light dual sport, which seem to get beat up a lot-that might be better to buy new just because mechanically you don’t know what it’s been through-what do you guys think on that topic?

    • Stuki

      In general, light dual sports are designed to be beaten up. Wear items may go, and they may be cosmetically scratched up, but the core components can stand up to an incredible amount of abuse. Truth to be told, I have never really heard of a small Japanese dual sport with any kind of fundamental problem; ever….. Not that I’ve gone out looking, and I’m sure they do exist; but I do know people riding DRs, WRs DRZs, KLRs KLXs etc. They just keep on ticking, no matter how neglected and abused they are.

      The higher spec Euro varietals are a different cup of tea. Partly because they seem to be more finicky to begin with, but also because those that tend to be willing to put up with that finickiness for some added performance, are exactly the kind of riders whose riding style manages to put more serious wear even on such basically trouble free bikes. Like a KTM-or-die friend says to anyone who dares to suggest Hondas are more reliable than his always broken bikes: “If you rode your Honda the way I ride my KTMs, it wouldn’t survive past the first jump”

      • socalutilityrider

        This confirms exactly what I was thinking, and I’d rather get a Japanese bike vs a high spec KTM anyway-I wouldn’t even scratch the surface of it’s capabilities. And I have also noticed the KTM guys down here are “ready to race” on those things. Most of them, great riders.

  • ThinkingInImages

    I prefer new. A used motorcycle has to be something special or something I plan to resell. It’s hard to find a well maintained, not banged up, garaged, unmodified, motorcycle in New York City. When I lived in more “sane” areas I was a lot more comfortable buying used.

  • E Brown

    Buying new makes great sense if you’re buying instead of renting, by which I mean you’ll keep the bike a while. Everyone grouses about depreciation because people treat riding like a video game, and they’re always trying to “level up” to the next bike – “Hey, I’ve driven this 600cc sportbike almost 500 miles without dying – time for a liter bike!” There’s a cool pic on advrider of a guy sitting on his new bike with his toddler son next to it, followed by a pic of the guy on the same bike with the son again, only now in his 20s. That is someone that got his money’s worth from buying new.

  • FridaysAreFunDays

    Buying new vs old is a simple choice: you get a new bike you will lose money on depreciation and higher insurance, and aftermarket support is questionable.
    Of course that’s a problem if you buy a bike that is *too* old (or not popular enough) but still given at least a few years a used bike has better aftermarket support, most of the depreciation is out of the bike and all you really have to worry about is that it’s damaged to a degree that you are not aware of when you buy it.

    Ultimately buying a used bike is the same as buying a new bike.
    The deal is as much about the seller as it is about the machine and price.

    • SneakyJimmy

      Great advice. I always make an assessment of the seller first before the bike. If I like both I’ll make a respectable offer without trying to low-ball the guy. I’ve been successful with this strategy. As a seller I have found it best to list a reasonable price and be willing to take $25 to $300 less depending on list price and demand.

  • FreeFrog

    Hmmmm. I think any bike with less than 10k mileage that appears to not be stunted or ridden like it was stolen, or was stored by some casual rider for years, qualifies as a “possible” purchase if you want a used bike. That said, for pure sportbikes I recommend new, because it’s really hard to know how they’ve been ridden — the same is true for supermoto or dirtbikes. For sport tourers, dual-sport/ADV, cruiser or standards you’re probably fine buying used if you accept there is some minor wear and tear. Craigslist in most cities will present MANY awesome options, but beware deals that sound too good to be true. Like anyone, I’ve been burned with bad bikes purchased used that were too cheap, and rewarded equally by bikes that proved to be a somewhat a deal. Still, if you want the the newest, coolest bikes and tech, it’s hard to beat new if you can afford the $$$. The key is good maintenance — regardless of how crazy you ride it — and tires with proper tread and of the proper type for your riding style. There is nothing worse than a GREAT bike going down because you cheaped out by waiting to replace spent tires; mediocre bikes with good tires way outperform great bike with bad tires. There are few bad bike out there… just bad riders. The fun is to take full advantage/enjoyment from each bike, new or used.

    • Stuki

      One caveat about ADVs and Sport Tourers: Many of the most desirable ones now come with electronic suspensions (ESA/Skyhook) that are frightfully expensive to rebuild/replace. And while they may last just as long as more traditional fare; buying a bike halfway though their service life, means you have that much less time to enjoy the bike before getting hit with a major, often harder to finance, cost item.

  • markbvt

    More often than not, when a friend tells me he wants to get a bike, I recommend a used SV650. You can get a good one for around $3000, less if you do some searching, it’s a good bike to learn on, and it continues to be a fun bike for experienced riders.

  • Mykola

    I’ll buy a bike new if I expect to keep it. I think I’ve almost gone through enough used bikes to know what I really want to have.

  • Eric Shay

    You know what would be more of hit here than those 400′s? If they allowed those 650′s here.

  • Mister X

    If one is on a budget, used bikes in the $4-5,000 range can be excellent values, they may have higher miles, but they often have expensive aftermarket accessories (even if you don’t want ‘em, you can sell them later), and if they were well maintained by “adult” riders then you may just find a great deal.

    As much as I miss HFL, Ride Apart is Rockin’ it out big time, you all keep it up please.

  • mms

    My first bike was a Ninja 250, it had 550 miles and I was the third owner. I paid $2k for it, put a couple thousand miles on it and sold it for $2k to someone who put a couple thousand miles on it and sold it for $2k. Used bikes really are the way to go ;)

  • Piglet2010

    The older EX250 and EX500 look much better than the current Ninja 300 and 650.

  • labradog

    As a BMW enthusiast, were I given any of their new bikes, I’d sell it, buy a 1977 R100S like the one I own, and figure out what to do with the leftover thousands of dollars. Maybe take my dog on vacation.

  • socalutilityrider

    It is applicable. I was just pointing out where the majority of those come from here in SD.

    • grb

      sorry for the repeated comment (Disqus is pretty weird sometimes). I get what youre saying, Im just worried when I see deals like this because I think those 600 low miles on the odometer of this bikes most certainly were ridden without regard for the break-in period, who know if there will be repercussions, this can affect reliability and/or peak performance, even fuel economy

  • Sérgio Gonçalves Dinis

    Alright, I’m in need of some help…
    I’m 30 years old, been riding mostly mopeds since i’m 12. Since 3 years ago, i’ve been riding a scooter in the city (which is awesomely confy, and I love the underseat space). However, I want to trade it for a proper motorcycle. I’m on the short side.
    I’m thinking of either buying a CB500X (new – around €6k), an NC700X (used, with one year – around €5k) or a versys (used, with 4+ years, around €5k).
    I do live in the city and ride to work everyday.
    I like the CB500X because it has a propper motorcycle engine and its small and light-ish, however I also love the NC700X tank storage… I’m just a little afraid of growing tired of the 6.000rpm… The Versys is the wild card. Older bike, but with a bit more of oomph.
    What would you buy and why?
    Thanks!