There are many things to consider when you buy your first scooter or motorcycle. There are however a few simple things to think about first…
Take your time. Take the time to travel to some shops and sit on a few of the bikes you are interested in riding. Most people have an idea of what they want, but this often changes if they try out all the options.
Be careful whose advice you take. Everyone knows somebody who had a bad experience with a certain manufacturer or model of motorcycle, and who would never consider buying that type of bike again. Similarly, some motorcyclists have such loyalty to a certain manufacturer that they wouldn’t even consider buying anything different. However, the established Japanese brands like Honda and Suzuki have consistently offered the best quality bikes in the market, and are usually a reliable choice for a great first motorcycle.
The best advice will always come from experienced, qualified mechanics. Internet forums in our experience do have some value, but as with everything on the internet, it’s often a case of “have a good experience, tell your friend, have a bad one and tell the world”. If in doubt, buy from a reputable dealer providing some form of warranty. If buying privately, we can provide a pre-purchase inspection.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. New or used?
A. The single most common thing we hear when talking to a prospective new rider is ” I’m looking for a learner bike, I don’t want to spend too much as I only want it to get me through my Ps…..”. As with most things in life, you can’t have it all. Less money means compromises are made, either in the area of mechanical condition, km travelled or simply cosmetic presentation of the bike. We are happy to sell used bikes with cosmetic damage, but will not sell bikes we consider to be unsafe or likely to deteriorate rapidly soon after you buy. Being realistic about your budget is therefore essential. Bear in mind that the NSW laws mean you may spend a long time on ‘L’ or ‘P’ registration plates, so it may pay to finance a new bike as you’ll get the value out of it.
So, New or Used;
A major advantage of buying new is a long, comprehensive warranty. Also, everything’s new (tyres, battery etc.), meaning that you’re not buying worn parts that will need replacing soon. Parts will be more easily available on the better brands. The disadvantages may include initial depreciation and higher cost. With the NSW learner laws in force at present you may be on a restricted licence for a while, so it may make sense to buy new.
Advantages in buying used can include lower initial cost, and a slower rate of depreciation. Disadvantages are the potential for increased costs for replacement parts, and limited warranty. In short, if you have the money, buy new. If your budget is limited you may benefit from financing part of the purchase, so that you can upgrade to new as it can save you money in the long run. For example, a used two year old bike with 10,000km travelled may need tyres, road registration and a major service soon after purchase. This could be $1000 plus. Also consider that the factory warranty may have expired and the requirement to pay stamp duty to pay on the transfer, and it may actually be less expensive to buy a new bike instead.
I used to own an old ute. Every week there was something needing replacing or fixing. I financed a new ute instead, and all it’s cost me so far is regular servicing and a new set of tyres. Certainly something to think about when the gap between new and used may only cost you $30 a week. At the end of the day, you get what you pay for, and you should expect cheaper options to cost more in the long run.
Q. I’ve seen a great deal on a new scooter or motorcycle, but I haven’t heard of the brand. How do I know if it’s reliable?
A. Well known brands like Honda and Suzuki are famous for reliability and build quality, but of course there are plenty of lesser-known brands, some of which are terrible, some are OK. If you haven’t heard of a particular brand, we strongly recommend you do lots of research as there are many manufacturers of poor quality and inexpensive motorcycles and scooters (some with European sounding names) that may result in disappointment. If in doubt, we believe sticking to the better established brands is the wisest choice.
If you see an offer of a long warranty on a cheaper brand, look closely at what is covered and included in the agreement (the small print). Check what the warranty covers and what your responsibilities are. Some have so many conditions and exemptions the warranty may not be as valuable as it seems.
It’s worth thinking about resale value too. Better known brands will have a higher resale value than the lesser known brands. If you are buying a bike or scooter to keep forever, this isn’t too much of a concern. However, if you know you’ll be selling the bike in the near future – say when you’ve finished your restricted license period (L’s or P’s) – then a high resale value becomes very important. Established brands have greater value and can be more easily sold when you’re ready.
As a general rule, look for a brand that has an established dealer network across Australia. It’s a good sign if a plenty of reputable dealers are stocking the product.
Q. How much should I spend on gear – helmet, jacket, gloves?
A. We can supply you with a helmet, jacket and gloves from around $400. Of course, there are more expensive options, but you don’t need to spend thousands for good protection. We are always doing deals with the suppliers, and know what our customers need. Daryl (one of the owners) has had extensive experience with a variety of motorcycle clothing manufacturers, so will make sure you are fitted properly. This is absolutely vital if the gear is to perform correctly.
Q. Bike or scooter?
A. Decide what you want it to do, and perhaps more importantly, what it will actually do. If you live in Bondi, and want to get to work in the City and to the beach at the weekend, then a scooter is suitable. If it’s a weekend thing, and you see yourself getting out of town now and again, it’s probably better to buy a bike. For local transport, a scooter has some clear advantages (such as low purchase and running costs). A quality 125cc scooter or bigger (such as a Kymco, Honda or Suzuki) will get you over the harbour Bridge with no problems (The most commonly asked question we hear!). If you’d like to travel further, or on freeways then a larger scooter would be more suitable. If you the luggage space of a scooter and intend to travel longer distances, a 250cc or bigger bike would be a better solution.
Q. How do I get started?
A. The RMS is the road and vehicle licencing authority in NSW, and is the best place to start. Click here for the RMS website. There’s often a waiting list to get onto the licensing course, so this is time you can use visiting the bike and scooter shops to narrow down your choice of purchase.
Q. Can I test ride the bike/scooter
A. Yes – If you have a licence and provided we have a demonstrator available. If you’re not yet confident, we can arrange for one of our fully licenced staff to take you out so you can get an idea of the performance and feel of the bike.
Finally, don’t be afraid to come in and ask us questions. For the inexperienced, choosing a bike or scooter can be a challenge, and you need all the help you can get. We’ll answer your questions, and help you make the right decisions.