A Few Things To Know About Harley Davidson Motorcycles For Sale

People interested in motorcycles know the value of the best models, and one of the most desired is Harley Davidson. Harley Davidson motorcycles are unique in design – they all have some version of a V-Twin engine and are designed for street or highway riding. The company is offering 35 different models for 2019 with prices ranging from around $6,900 to over $50,000. However, the majority of Harley’s 2019 line pricing is in line with other well-known motorcycle company’s offerings – companies like BMW, Honda, Kawasaki, Ducati and Triumph.

People who haven’t been in the market for a motorcycle recently (or first-timers) may experience some sticker shock. However, like automobiles, today’s state of the art motorcycles have massive technological improvements that make them safer, more reliable, and easier to ride than their predecessors. These improvements always come at a cost, but in case you haven’t noticed, car prices have gone up some to over the years (I bought a brand new Shelby GT500 in 1969 for $6500 out the door). Also, for you folks who haven’t had a chance to ride a big-bore bike recently – or at all, my suggestion is that you take a test ride before you decide. Most Harley dealerships have certain days when Harley corporate personnel visit and conduct the test rides. Finally, for those of you looking to move over from motorcycles that have small-bore, high RPM engines like the “racing” style bikes you see on the street, be prepared for some serious low-end power. Harley lists its engine specs by torque, not horsepower, and the raw power from the huge cylinders will be immediately apparent when you twist the throttle no matter what engine size you choose. The largest engine Harley offers this year is a 114 cubic inch monster – that’s a 1.8 liter engine – larger than some automobile engines!

Buying a pre-owned Harley Davidson motorcycle has many benefits for potential owners, but don’t expect cheap here. Harley motorcycles are considered by many of their owners to be a blank canvas that can be made unique to the owner through the addition of  thousands of aftermarket and Harley Davidson factory customization items. There are some truly beautiful Harleys out there for sale. An added bonus is that when a Harley owner goes to the trouble and expense of customizing a bike, it generally follows that the owner will take exceptional care of it. As a result, Harley Davidson motorcycles have the best overall resale value in the world. Many models are known to have added value with time.

However, if you are looking for bargain Harleys, you could try auctions and swap meets. Motorcycles sold during auctions include new and used. Both can have affordable prices – just do your research on the model you want before jumping into any bidding or swap negotiation so you have an idea of what your desired bike is worth. Motorcycles bought from dealers may be a little more expensive, but can have a guarantee to the customer. This is because many dealers offer good services due to high competition.

How you choose to pay for your new ride is the same as that for buying any type of vehicle. You can get a loan for a motorcycle bought through dealers or lending institutions and many of these institutions support dealers. If you buy a bike from a private individual or at an auction however, the rule is generally cash on the barrelhead. 

For you first-timers, here are some factors that need consideration before making the final decision. The initial cost of the bike is generally the top item in any transaction. However, there are certain costs associated with motorcycle ownership that don’t come into play when purchasing a car.

First of all, you will need some form of protective gear. At a minimum, a helmet – many states require that you wear one while riding and even if they don’t it’s a good idea to wear one. Helmet prices vary from around $30 to over $1000. Just remember, you get the protection you pay for. A good mid-range helmet will average between $250 and $550. Today’s helmets have more style and feature choices than ever before, so don’t jump on the first cool-looking skid lid that catches your eye! Also especially in states that don’t require helmets, I highly recommend some form of eye protection (glasses or goggles), even if your Harley has a windscreen. Your state may require eye protection if not wearing a helmet or if you are wearing a helmet without a built-in face shield.

Next, you will probably want some protective clothing. This includes items like long-sleeve shirts, leather jackets, a waterproof rain suit, some heavy-duty jeans, gloves and motorcycle boots (these have non-slip soles so your feet don’t slide when at a standstill). Take into account the weather patterns in your area. For example, leather clothing is often not feasible to wear during hot summers, so you might want to buy a second “summer” jacket made of rip-resistant and breathable nylon or Kevlar mesh. The mesh construction allows for good airflow through the jacket while keeping the rider protected from road rash in the event of a spill. All this can add up to some extra cash outlays you might not have bargained for. Of course, all this gear (with the possible exception of the helmet) doesn’t have to be purchased all at once, but you should budget for it.

Lastly, ask around about maintenance and insurance costs. Even though your new bike may have a manufacturer and/or dealer warranty, that won’t cover things like tires. Tires for Harleys can be comparatively expensive because they are made for heavy bikes. The tire compound has a great deal to do with how long they will last – especially the rear tire. As you might expect, softer rubber compound tires will grip better (while they last), but will wear out sooner, so ask about the tires that come with the bike. Average lifespan of motorcycle tires is between 5,000 and 10,000 miles and can cost between $150 – $300 per tire to change. The Motorcycle Industry Council maintenance costs average around $140/year (not including tires, if needed).

The bright side is that a well-maintained Harley is pretty-much bullet proof, so the cost of general maintenance such as oil changes is quite low annually. If you are a wrench-turner, then oil changes & the like just cost the oil, filter & time. Other maintenance such as periodically checking/lubricating/adjusting the control cables can also be done in your garage.

Insurance prices vary greatly from state to state. After the bike is paid off, some states only require liability, while others require more than that. Full coverage is always required while making payments on a bike and can be more expensive than for a car. The reason is that if a bike is involved in an accident, it is often the case that the bike will be “totaled”, i.e. it would cost more to repair than the bike is worth. This means the insurance company will have to buy you a new one – an expensive layout for them, so they charge more for the policy. Finally, if you don’t have good medical insurance (including uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage – for those folks who can’t cover your medical bills if they hit you), it might be a good idea to let others do the riding. If you still have the need for speed, look into buying a fast car.

Dealers can use cheap prices to get the attention of a buyer. Check the prices offered for the Harley model being sold. This will assist you in proving that the quality is genuine. Choose a dealer who offers good customer services. It will add confidence that the product in focus is of excellent quality. Different dealers have different prices compare the price quotations to get dealers that meet your needs.

One last thing – purchasing timing & bike location.  If you are buying a used bike online, at a swap meet or at auction, check the area the seller lives in. For example, roads are heavily salted in places where it snows and even after the snow is melted by the salt, it remains on the roadway. If the prospective seller rides during winter “dry days” there could still be considered highly corrosive salt buildup under the bike that can cause major damage over time. Just saying. As far as purchasing goes, try to buy when motorcycle sales are slowest, such as in the middle of winter. Clearance sales often happen when sales are slow or at model year change time to boost dealership revenues or clear out last year’s models. Check local pricing constantly for pricing information, etc. You may not be able to ride immediately, but hopefully a much better deal on the Harley of your dreams will make it worthwhile. Happy riding!

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