Motorcycle loans: How to get financing for your dream bike

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Ask a Lender
September 8, 2017 | Updated October 18, 2017


Key Points

Motorcycle loans explained

  • Check your credit before you shop and correct any errors or negative factors.
  • Motorcycle financing includes loans, credit cards or dealer financing.
  • Getting prequalified can give you an advantage at the dealership.
  • Motorcycle refinance loans can save you money.
  • Used motorcycle loans are trickier than loans for new motorcycles.
  • Getting a motorcycle loan with bad credit is possible if you put in some work.

The only thing standing between you and the open road is money. The question is, “How do I get a motorcycle loan?”

Getting a bike loan is similar to financing a car, but there are a few things working against you. For one, lenders consider motorcycles luxury items, where cars are considered more of a necessity. That makes obtaining motorcycle financing a little more difficult. When you do get a loan, it may be more expensive than an equivalent car loan.

Another thing working against you is that loans designed specifically for motorcycle purchases are less common than car loans. You may have to get a little more creative to find financing for your motorcycle purchase.

Getting a motorcycle loan

Some lenders offer specialized loan products specifically designed for motorcycle purchases. Looking into lenders who offer such products may be a good place to start, but there are other options.

  • Dealer financing. When you visit a motorcycle dealership, keep an eye out for financing options. Dealerships may offer in-house financing or partner with other financial institutions to offer loans on their products.
  • Personal loan. An unsecured personal loan is an option for purchasing a motorcycle, and one major benefit is that, because the loan isn’t secured by the motorcycle itself, the bank can’t repossess it if you’re unable to pay off the loan. Because that’s riskier for the lender, however, you’ll likely end up paying higher interest rates, and may have a tougher time qualifying for a loan.
  • Credit card. Some motorcycle manufacturers and dealers offer credit cards tailored specifically for motorcycle purchases. Credit cards tend to have high interest rates, however, so consider other options first. Credit cards may offer introductory periods of low or zero interest, good options only if you can pay off the balance before that period ends. Read the fine print before you go this route.

It’s a good idea to check your credit report before getting too far into the loan application process. Obtain a copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit-reporting bureaus at Look for any errors or negative factors dragging down your score. Dispute any errors and see if there are ways to improve your credit before seeking financing.

Before heading out to a dealership, it’s a good idea to get prequalified for a motorcycle loan. Not only does getting prequalified let you know in advance approximately how much you can afford to spend on a motorcycle, it can also help you negotiate more favorable financing from the dealership.

Motorcycle refinance loans

There are two main reasons to refinance a motorcycle loan: Either you want a lower interest rate, saving you money over the life of the loan, or you want a lower monthly payment. You can get started by contacting lenders and seeing if they can offer you a lower rate. Be aware that some lenders may require you to obtain a professional appraisal of your motorcycle.

Used motorcycle loans

Financing for a used motorcycle shouldn’t differ too much from financing a new motorcycle, but it may be more expensive — that is, you may pay a higher interest rate — since it’s seen by the lender as a riskier loan. For a used motorcycle loan, you may need to make a larger down payment to qualify for financing.

You’ll want to be careful when you’re evaluating a used motorcycle as well. Check the VIN to make sure it hasn’t been tampered with, and be sure to take the bike out for a test drive. You may want to get it inspected by a reputable mechanic as well.

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