Commercial Feature

Go Compare’s guide to getting the right motorcycle for your budget

You're going to buy a motorbike. How can you get the best value for money on the sale price, bike insurance costs and maintenance?

Advertisement Feature -

You're going to buy a motorbike. How can you get the best value for money on the sale price, bike insurance costs and maintenance?

Usually, the best bike deals hit the forecourt in Spring, so Winter's your time to read reviews, test ride and comparing what you think of the second-hand bikes and brand new models ripe for the taking.

Which motorcycle is right for you?

There are two questions to have in mind when you’re choosing a bike:

  • Can you easily move and sit on the bike comfortably?
  • Can you handle the weight of the machine? 

Ideally, you should be able to ride a slow U-turn and still hold up the bike if you put a foot down. 

The size and weight of the bike impact the cost, so if you've got a moderate budget, look at bikes with smaller engines.

For example, a 125cc motorbike or 50cc moped or scooter is smaller, lighter and less powerful - they're usually cheaper to buy, tax and insure.

But, if you love the looks of a custom Harley, or can’t wait to take a GS BMW on the road, nothing will persuade you otherwise - buy the bike you want, just make sure the price is right.

New motorbikes

From March 2020, newly registered bikes will come with a ‘20' plate. Pre-registered ‘69’ plate bikes hit the dealerships between September 2019 and February 2020. 

January and February are quiet months for bike sales, with the bulk of units shifted between March and September. If you're ready to buy after Christmas, there's no reason to wait for Spring - there could be other deals to be had on 69 plates as dealers make room for the Spring stock. 

There are other cost perks of buying a new bike from a dealership:

  • For new riders, buying a dealer bike that’s been checked over and has a warranty might be a more attractive purchase than buying privately
  • You don't need an MOT until the bike is three years old

Used motorbikes

As soon as a bike leaves the dealership forecourt, its value starts to depreciate - a bike that's just a few years old will cost significantly less than its new counterpart.

If the seller is an occasional, fair-weather rider, it's possible to bag a used but nearly-new model with very few miles on the clock.

If the seller has a bike still in warranty, or they've purchased mechanical breakdown insurance (MBI) - extra points for betterment cover - it's a good sign the bike is well maintained and cared for, with a long life ahead of it.

You might also get more for your money if the seller has improved the bike with practical modifications like heated grips, panniers, trunks bags, crash protectors, or performance mods like power-increasing exhausts and supercharging. 

Extra performance features will increase the price of insurance, so compare the premiums of turbocharged bikes before you hand over the cash. 

If the seller is parting ways with their bike, ask what's happening to their unwanted bike accessories and clothing - they might offer them as part of the package for a small fee. 

Paying with cash, personal contract purchase (PCP) or finance 

Paying with cash privately or at a dealership? You may get a reduced ticket price if you negotiate. You'll pay once and the only other costs are your tax, insurance and MOT charges.

You can still pay with finance if you're buying privately - you'll need to secure a loan from the bank, or another lender like a peer-to-peer or credit company. 

The bike manufacturer may finance your purchase with its credit which can be arranged through the dealership.

It may also have personal contract purchase (PCP) deals. If you haven’t heard of them before, the idea is that you pay a deposit plus a monthly fee for an agreed timeframe. At the end of the term you can:

  • Trade the bike in for the newest model
  • Keep your bike pay and pay large balloon payment
  • Just hand the bike back and walk away

Sometimes, helmets, gloves or leathers could be part of the package too. 

If finance or PCP are the most cost-effective options for you, carefully review any optional insurance extras the dealership bolts on, like gap insurance, to make sure you're not overpaying - it can cost you hundreds unnecessarily. 

Motorbike insurance

Once you've got the bike, it's a legal requirement to insure it.

The highest level of cover is comprehensive bike insurance - it covers you if the bike's stolen, damaged, and if you're in a traffic accident. It also covers the third-party vehicle, driver and passengers, so it's well worth having.

Just because it's the highest level of cover doesn't mean it's the most expensive. Check the price against third party fire and theft (TPFT), and third party only (TPO) cover and find the level of cover that suits your riding routine.

Even if you’re planning to ride just during the summer months, you still need to insure the bike year-round, so it’s worthwhile comparing insurance to find the right cover at the right price.

Join the conversation!

Let us know what you think, just sign up for a free account, leave a comment and get involved!
Register Now

Latest Reviews


Latest Videos