Is there ever a bad time to buy a motorcycle? If you have enough disposable cash in the bank, enough room in the garage and an understanding partner who’ll do no more than roll their eyes at you when you turn into the drive, then go for it I say.
For those hoping to buy a motorcycle on a budget though, it may be useful to know that price wise there are better times of the year to purchase a bike than others.
When is the best time to buy a motorcycle? Whether buying new or used, the colder months are when the best deals can be found. Motorcycle dealerships need to sell excess stock to make room for the new Spring inventory which can mean lower prices.
Read on for more about why motorcycle prices lower and to discover why private sellers are more likely to part with their used bikes for less once the motorcycle season ends.
Why Winter Is The Best Time To Buy A Motorcycle
There are several reasons for this, but the main root cause is simple: there are less motorcycles on the road in the Winter.
There are a good portion of riders who only ride their bikes in dry and warm weather, leaving just the hardcore all-year riders to face the colder months on the road.
As a result there are fewer customers going into dealers looking for a new motorcycle, therefore dealers are more likely to offer lower prices to shift their old stock.
This also crosses over into used motorcycle sales as there are usually less people looking to buy a bike in the colder months and so people will price them lower.
Let’s look at how Winter is the best season for both private and dealer sales.
People looking to make a private sale are more likely to offer a good deal after the Summer riding season.
- This could be because they are planning to upgrade in Spring or they just don’t want their motorcycle sitting around all Winter not being used.
- Christmas bills also hit some people pretty hard and Winter can be a tough season financially.
- Sometimes you can find a private sale easier in Winter because someone may have purchased a bike in the Spring and decided its just not for them.
- Often people buy into the marketing (looking at you Ducati and the “land of joy”) and purchase on a whim only to realise biking is not for them.
You will be amazed by how many low mileage, barely broken-in used motorcycles come up for sale just a few months after being released.
Essentially you can therefore pick up a nearly new motorcycle at least 20% cheaper than retail as it immediately depreciates when rolled off the forecourt by the first owner.
For those of us looking for a bargain, this is great news as there is serious money to be saved by waiting for the warmer months to end and buying a barely used motorcycle instead of pre-ordering at retail prices from a dealership.
Buying a Motorcycle From Local Dealerships
When it comes to buying a used or new motorcycle from a dealership there are several reasons to hold off on purchasing until the Winter months.
Many dealerships will have sales targets to achieve. Should these targets not be met by October/November, prices of motorcycles in stock are likely to be cut.
This way dealers can hit the sales target within the yearly time frame.
Coming up to the end of the year manufacturers will start to hint at new years models due to be released, the marketing tends to slot right into the cold season and can run up to the end of February.
Dealerships will therefore start to prepare for the release of the new model and in order to make way for a new bike in the showroom, especially one they anticipate will do well, it is common for current stock to slowly decrease in price.
What you will find in dealerships that also have a pre-owned section, it will be the pre-owned bikes that get their prices slashed first.
The longer a pre-owned motorcycle sits in the showroom the more it depreciates and the less money the motorcycle makes the company, so if cash flow is tight or sales are slow, dealers will reduce the prices to get them sold while they can still turn a profit.
The most likely time for this to happen is just before another year passes and the motorcycles are then another model-year older.
You may also find at the end of the year if a particular model hasn’t done so well sales wise, that the dealership will start to put not only discounts together but sales packages such as deals including motorcycle gear, helmets etc. to entice the customer in.
This is a great opportunity for new riders to get hold of some of the extra motorcycle related gear they need without having to pay extra for it.
It is also worth knowing that some motorcycle dealers will have multiple franchises within their showroom such as Kawasaki, Suzuki and Ducati. If this is the case, they may have targets set by the manufacturers that they have to register X amount of motorcycles per quarter/year.
Therefore, by the end of the year depending on stock levels and availability they may pre-register some of their motorcycles in order to meet targets.
So, when a customer purchases a pre-reg motorcycle they save the on-the-road costs as the dealer has already absorbed these.
Can You Negotiate New Motorcycle Prices With a Dealer?
There is definitely room for negotiation when buying a new motorcycle from a dealer.
At one time the general consensus was that cash is king. However, this has changed in recent years with finance options becoming more readily available and accessible.
A dealer will often get commission based on using specific finance companies, so you may find yourself encouraged to finance a motorcycle over and above paying cash.
While financing a motorcycle often ends up being more expensive than paying a cash price, you may find you have more expensive bike options available to you as a result.
For the consumer however, paying cash means that you will make a greater saving particularly if you can negotiate a discount off the MSRP.
Please note though that on new motorcycles they will have very tight margins and so discounts are never going to be substantial, it is much more likely they will offer you a clothing or accessories package instead.
Discounts from dealers on pre-owned motorcycles however, are more common as the margins are greater and dealers are more likely to be lenient from their end; as they have options available to write off profit from one bike and finding it elsewhere in another part-ex that they take on.
When Should You Not Buy a Motorcycle?
On the whole, when you are looking to make any sort of savings, you should avoid buying a motorcycle in the Spring/Summer months.
In Spring new models are released, pre-orders open up, excitement is high, anticipation of the new riding season is palpable in the motorcycle world and by the time Summer hits, motorcycle fever is at an all-time high.
There is nothing worse for a biker than not having a motorcycle when the sun is shining because all you want to do is get out and ride.
Dealers know this and they know they can get away with selling their stock at the manufacturers suggested retail prices, as the motorcycles are coveted and people don’t want to wait.
When new models are released motorcycle sales are at their highest.
You will find the competition high between dealers during the Summer and it would be unusual for prices to change much between them, so if you are looking for a genuine deal you are better off waiting until the end of year.