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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
As the title would suggest, I am having difficulty deciding on new versus used as a first bike.

I have zero experience on a motorcycle but that is about to change sooner rather than later hopefully. My local ads have bikes all day long that are well within my budget($3k) and are in all shapes and sizes. I am not at all interested in sport bikes. I’m interested in cruisers because they appeal to me more.

I am a maintenance mechanic in an industrial plant so I have experience working with my hands and the tools to go along with it, but I know diddly squat about bike maintenance except for oil and filter/plug changes. My coworker who is retired from the army has owned several bikes over the years and he said if he were me, he would buy new and start from scratch with a clean maintenance record on the bike. He said there’s nothing wrong with buying used, but that I may also be buying someone else’s problem that was not disclosed at time of sale. He went on to say that I will get the best feel for my driving style and what my driving habits are like with a new bike.

I know $3k won’t exactly get a suitable new bike but I can save the money and get what I want. I do not want to finance a bike and I would rather pay cash. The Honda Rebel seems to be suitable for a first bike in my opinion and this is the bike I am currently looking at. If you guys have any suggestions I am all ears and I’ll take any and all criticism.
 

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I would rather buy a bike outright than finance it too. Take your time looking for a bike. Sit on a few to find out what "fits" you.
A diligent owner will have maintenance records showing everything ever done to the bike with the date and mileage. Ask to see that.
Hunting for a new bike can be a lot of fun, just don't rush into anything so you'll have something that still excites you a year from now.
 

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If you start out with a new bike, carefully drop it in a parking lot to scuff a hand lever, grip, turnsignal, and mirror.
Just get it over with and have one less thing to worry about.:wink:
 

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Retired twice: Navy and as a govt contractor
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lol at Chute. Your coworker is correct with a new bike you are starting fresh until you drop it. 99 % of riders drop their first bike. If you can live with that buy it, if not go used. Just evaluate anything you buy hell take your coworker with you. See if the seller will let you take it to a shop to have it gone over.
 

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I bought my first bike last September. It was new. I decided on a new bike because I didn't know anything about maintenance. If there was a problem with a used bike, then I'd be screwed. I wouldn't even know what to look for when buying a used bike. I have not dropped it so far.
 

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Just curious what the size is of the rebel your looking at? I think a 500 would be a good size to start with as in my opinion you would grow out of the 300 or 250 to quickly.
 

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First thing's first, take a safety course before you buy. It may change your outlook on the kind of bike that you want to end up with.

As for new v used? Well that really depends. A lot of new riders will drop or crash their bikes. Amusingly enough, almost all of the times I've nearly dropped a bike happened when I wasn't even sitting on it! I've almost learned the hard way that 600+ pound bikes get really heavy if you let them lean too much!

I much prefer used bikes. You can experience a wide variety of styles, brands, and power without worrying about the depreciation that comes from simply rolling a new vehicle off a dealership lot. I'll definitely buy new one day, but the bike(s) I buy new will probably some forever bikes. :)
 
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Well I bought new simply because I knew nothing about motorcycles. Still don't. But I figured a warranty would be better than me knowing nothing should something catastrophic happen in my first year of riding. But knowing what I do know now, what little I do, used is much to your advantage. You might not be afraid to try that super tight U-turn kind of thing with a used bike. Whereas with a new you might be afraid of dropping it and hurting that shiny new thing. But there is no right or wrong direction as long as you get what fits you and how you plan to ride. Used also would let you trade sooner if you see something you like too. Whereas with new, those payments, if you are making them, might keep you from taking a loss and move on. I know it would me anyway.
 

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I suggest that you buy a good running used bike, not a basket case, but as long as the guy can ride it around (or bring an experienced friend as a test pilot even better) and it sounds good you will probably be fine. You will probably scratch and maybe dent it a few times so don't worry if someone else already did when they learned on it. When your ready to move on you can probably sell a 5 year old bike for the same thing that you paid for a 4 year old bike..this is not true for a new starter bike which will sell for 1/2 it's original value the day after you buy it.

From one industrial maintenance guy to another, these things are pretty simple, you'll be able to work on it with your skill set and just what you can find in forums like this and manuals you can find online, besides they really are pretty reliable, a reasonably modern Honda, Yamaha, etc will run for years with only gas, oil,tires, and spark plug changes and a couple of routine adjustments now and then, they usually just run. If you like the Rebels find one, it's a perfect choice as a first bike.

Take the basic riding course, you will learn valuable skills there quickly.
 

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I have bought two new motorcycles my first was a 1985 Honda Nighthawk.

I will most likely never buy new again, there are just so many low mileage used bikes out there.

I would stay away from rare, vintage yada, yada, yada. For your first anyway.

Your best deal will be found from an adult ridden individual sale.

But there is a lot to be said for buying used from a local dealer that provides service. You will pay a bit more, but there is real value in building a relationship with a local shop. Note that when I say "dealer", I don't necessarily mean a dealership.
Google motorcycle shops in your area and visit a couple.

Ask a simple question like; If I need my tire changed by this weekend can you get to it?

Example, I was going to buy a tire from a dealer, standing in front of the service manager with the wheel in my hand. All I needed was the tire mounted on the rim. He told me it would be two weeks.

That same day I took it to a second dealer who went out of his way to mount the tire on the rim, and beat the first guys price by over $100. Guess who I now do business with? He is a Honda dealer and in large part why I own a Honda today.

$3K is plenty to get a good reliable first motorcycle.

Keep in mind that this is your first motorcycle. If you like riding like you think you will, it will not be your last. Don't try to check every box with this one.

I have been Industrial maintenance and engineering for over 30 years. When you decide on a bike, get a shop manual for it, you will be fine.
 

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BUY NEW:grin:

That 'new bike' smell and knowing you have a warranty, good Nation wide, does it for me! That and knowing that no ones sweaty Bum has ruined the seat:smile_big:

New bike prices for the starter or smaller bikes right now are DIRT cheap and this has forced used prices down and there are a lot of very nice, low mileage used bikes available right now.:grin:

I was at a big multi-brand Powersports dealer yesterday, looking at a possible purchase of a new Honda VFR1200X Crosstourer or a new Africa Twin and I commented on their lack of 'large' streetbikes and a Salesman I knew told me that only small to medium displacement and CHEAP bikes were selling at all.:surprise:

Get the 500 and a few weeks down the line you won't be disappointed at the lack of power of the 300:wink2:

Sam:nerd:
 

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There are many slightly used bikes out there that may as well be new. People buy motorcycles as toys and then either sell them because they're not riding as much as they thought or trade them in for bigger models. You can find a slightly used, much higher end bike for the same price as an entry level new bike. This is true especially for cruisers which tend not to be ridden very hard and are dropped less frequently than sportbikes. Cruisers in the 750-800cc range are still soft on power and easy to learn on but will keep you entertained longer than a 300-500cc bike. You should check out some tips on YouTube on what to look for when shopping for a used bike. Good luck with your search.
 

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I've owned well over 100 bikes of all versions and brands and have to date purchase one new bike. That was a 1975 900Z1. I see no advantage in buying anything new especially in the asian brands as most have a real life expectancy of 300k or more. I actually know of a GL1800 that is factory and has over 800k on the clock. lately I have been buying insurance wrecks which are a super deals. I have never been disappointed with any used bike in fact the Brand new Z1 was no more trouble free than any used bike I had owned.

Personally I would never buy any vehicle new, unless you really need to use it as a loss on taxes.
 

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As the title would suggest, I am having difficulty deciding on new versus used as a first bike.

I have zero experience on a motorcycle but that is about to change sooner rather than later hopefully. My local ads have bikes all day long that are well within my budget($3k) and are in all shapes and sizes. I am not at all interested in sport bikes. I’m interested in cruisers because they appeal to me more.

I am a maintenance mechanic in an industrial plant so I have experience working with my hands and the tools to go along with it, but I know diddly squat about bike maintenance except for oil and filter/plug changes. My coworker who is retired from the army has owned several bikes over the years and he said if he were me, he would buy new and start from scratch with a clean maintenance record on the bike. He said there’s nothing wrong with buying used, but that I may also be buying someone else’s problem that was not disclosed at time of sale. He went on to say that I will get the best feel for my driving style and what my driving habits are like with a new bike.

I know $3k won’t exactly get a suitable new bike but I can save the money and get what I want. I do not want to finance a bike and I would rather pay cash. The Honda Rebel seems to be suitable for a first bike in my opinion and this is the bike I am currently looking at. If you guys have any suggestions I am all ears and I’ll take any and all criticism.

I'm in a similar situation, New or Used. I leaning towards a used cruiser. Everyone I've spoken to has told me I will out grow my starter bike in a few months.

Good Luck on your bike search. I hope you find a good one.
 

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I must be the 1% that never dropped a new or used bike and I've had 85 to date:grin:

Sam:nerd:
 
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