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When’s the best time to buy a new motorcycle?

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For most of us, a new motorcycle is one of the largest purchases we’ll ever make, so it makes sense to shop around and get the best deal.

There is no guaranteed time of year where bike prices are always going to be lower but there are some key areas to understand and use to your advantage in order to get the best deal.

Understanding how dealers work to get a better deal

The retail motorcycle industry is split into three major parts:

  • You, the consumer
  • The dealer
  • The manufacturer

The dealership will have quarterly targets set by the manufacturer and the sales staff at the dealership will have monthly targets set by their employer. It’s likely that in the last month of any given quarter, the sales staff at the dealerships will be highly motivated to sell bikes, to hit not only their personal targets but the dealer’s target too. You’ll often get asked by a dealer when you’re looking to purchase and you’ll notice how they’ll try and steer you in to buy before the month is out. This is a good sign the dealer has one eye on their bonus and you can drive a better deal.

Consider manufacturer-backed deals

When a new motorcycle is announced, the manufacturer will have budget to get behind it and help the dealers drive sales; it’s a key time for them to win more market share by luring customers from rival manufacturers. If they can drum up a storm with their new bike, the chances are they’ll continue to sell them even when the initial buzz has died down.

With this in mind, look out for dealers offering a deposit contribution. This is in essence a discount but it’s only applicable if you take out the finance package connected to it.

If you do your research and you’re ready to move quickly, you can take advantage of an attractive PCP offer where the dealer requires no or a very low deposit and has knocked down the price.

Think about new registrations and new models

As long as a dealer has a motorcycle sat in their showroom without a number plate on it, it is a brand new motorcycle. However, manufacturers have a habit of changing colours schemes from year to year; they’ll drop unpopular colours or bring out a new paint scheme to stimulate sales.

Similarly, if you know a new model is coming out but you’d be totally happy with the existing model, you’re in a good position.

This is when the dealer will be in a weaker position. They don’t want to be trying to sell customers a bike in last year’s colours on this year’s number plate. So if you’re not that bothered about a slight colour update, you can grab a brand new bike at a decent discount.

The winter slump

Motorcycle dealerships aren’t the most animated of environments during the winter months. It’s something to do with the cold weather, dark days and darker nights and, er, lack of customers.

While dealers will adjust their sales targets for the winter months (usually November to January), they’re still in the market to sell motorbikes and scooters and they still get motivated by making a sale.

If you visit your local motorcycle dealer once a month to grab a coffee and check out the bikes, you’ll be able to see the bikes they aren’t shifting. Is there a Yamaha Super Tenere sat in the corner of a BMW dealers, among tens of GS models? If you fancy it, then you’re in a good position to get it for a bargain price.

Buy the one in the showroom

If the dealer has the model of bike that you want and there’s one sat in the showroom but in an ideal world you’d have ordered a different colour scheme, stop and reconsider.

The dealer would much rather shift a bike that’s physically on their premises than order another one from the manufacturer. If you make the dealer aware you’re not that into the colour scheme but you could be persuaded, you might get a discount off the price or the dealer might offer you some accessories or perhaps a new helmet to match the colour of your new bike.

It’s all about the timing

While ordering a new motorcycle from the factory is an exciting event in any biker’s life, remember that the lead times can be as long as three months. You don’t want your motorcycle arriving a month before the new registrations are due and having to make the choice of either not riding the bike for a month or registering it there and then and having it appear older, a month later. This isn’t just a vanity thing – it’ll affect your bike’s resale value too.

See if the dealer has made the first move

Dealers are heavily geared towards selling new motorcycles. That might sound obvious but the margins they make on new bikes and scooters can be as little as a couple of hundred quid on each unit they sell. The real prize for the dealer is to hit their volume-based sales targets to get better remuneration from the manufacturer.

With that in mind, dealers sometimes pre-register motorcycles in order to hit their annual sales volume target. If you search around you’ll find hundreds of pre-reg bikes at a discount price and usually with under 30 miles on the clock. The drawback is that you will technically be the second owner and it won’t be seen as a ‘new’ motorcycle by some finance companies and therefore you may not get as good an APR rate.

However if you’re intention is to keep your motorcycle for a good few years and bang on some miles, then a pre-reg is a great option – the dealer isn’t in a strong position and you can get a better deal.

In summary

So while there’s no exact time of year where you can guarantee a bargain, there are lots of signs out there you can read and use to your advantage to ensure you buy your next motorcycle at the best price.

Questions or Comments?

If you’ve got a question about this article and you need a bit more guidance, drop a comment below and we’ll get back to you.

Likewise, if you’ve got something to add to this article or an experience you’d like to share, let’s hear it!

We love reading your comments and helping our readers.

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