Buying a Used Motorcycle from a Dealership Vs Private Seller: What to Consider First

So, it's time to buy a used motorcycle. But should you hit up a dealer or go for the private sale? Here are the pros & cons of each.

Purchasing a new motorbike brings advanced functions and technology to your disposal. However, new motorcycles are expensive, and not everyone can afford them. So, what’s the next best thing? Going preowned and buying a used motorcycle or perhaps an older classic.

It will allow you to purchase your dream bike at a lesser cost. Once you have decided to buy a used motorbike, there comes the next puzzle to solve. Should you buy it from a dealership or a private seller? 

Here, we weigh each option and see its pros and cons and which route of buying preowned is right for you: the pricier dealership or no frills private sale. If you’re buying your first bike, here are our top 6 picks for best beginner motorcycles.

Purchasing from a Dealership

Buying from a dealership has many advantages over making a deal with a private seller. However, this deal comes with some risks, so it’s crucial to understand the pros and cons before making your decision.

The perks of buying a used motorcycle from a dealer include:

  1. A dealership may offer you a financing facility. Unlike purchasing from a private seller where you have to pay the whole amount at the transaction time, a dealer may allow flexible financing options. It is particularly beneficial when purchasing an expensive used motorcycle, as it divides the payment into monthly installments. Additionally, a motorbike dealership may also provide warranties to cover repair expenses.
  2. A dealer is likely to have a range of used motorcycles to choose from. If you’re unsure about a suitable option, the salespersons can help you with that.
  3. Some dealers allow trading in your old motorcycle. It will further cut down the cost of your next purchase.
  4. Dealerships may also let modification/addition to your chosen motorcycle. If you feel your chosen motorcycle doesn’t have any desirable function, you can ask the staff to add that component.

However, buying a used motorcycle from a dealer also comes with some drawbacks:

  1. You’re likely to pay a higher price. Dealers allocate marketing and other expenses to the selling price of each motorcycle; hence, you end up paying more.
  2. The dealership may not pay a fair amount when exchanging your old motorcycle. It is often the scrap value.

Purchasing from a Private Seller

Buying a used motorcycle from a private seller also has its benefits and risks.

Let’s first look at the pros of purchasing from a private seller:

  1. A private seller may accept a lower selling price than a dealership. They do not have business-related expenses and do not try to sell additional warranties, meaning you benefit from a lower price.
  2. There is little salesmen pressure and more possibility to negotiate the price.
  3. Purchasing from a private seller means the process is faster. Individual sellers do not sell motorcycles for business and want to return to their life as soon as possible. Therefore, if you value time, consider purchasing from a private seller.

On the other hand, buying a used motorcycle from a private seller has its own disadvantages:

  1. There is no financing facility, meaning you’ll have to pay the entire amount upfront unless you know the seller very closely and he/she agrees to a payment plan.
  2. Without a warranty, the risk of repair is there. If any of your motorcycle’s components go faulty the next day, you’ll have to pay for them.
  3. Some dealers give you the option to cancel the purchase within a few days if you don’t like the motorcycle. However, you cannot enjoy this perk with private sellers.


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Buying a used motorcycle is an excellent choice when you’re low on budget, or simply looking for a great deal on what is typically fairly expensive purchase (plus, all the gear you’ll need to buy).

You can either buy one from a dealership or a private seller and it really boils down to your priorities: do you value that extra service, more used inventory, and ability to finance in installments enough to pay a dealer premium? Or do you have the cash and simply looking for the best deal without the frills?

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