Motorcycle Down Payments – Updated Guide for 2021

A car is considered a necessity so most lenders will work with you to help you get it. However, a motorcycle is considered a luxury item so your bank might set the bar a bit higher for this.

Much like for all loans, you have to be debt-free and fix all the credit issues you may have. Only then you can shop around and look for the best rates. Another thing that helps is a substantial motorcycle down payment.

Financing a new bike is sometimes easier than doing that for a used one. Either way, a realistic budget, and solid down payment are a must. If you’re wondering how much should that be, we’re here to help you figure that out.

How Much Should a Motorcycle Down Payment Be?

The bigger your down payment is, the less you’ll have to pay through monthly payments. Still, there’s a catch to this because buying new and used bikes isn’t the same.

First of all, used motorcycles are often sold privately where people don’t offer to finance. In this case, you’ll have to get a bank loan which isn’t always as easy to get.

Used vehicles are harder to finance because of their value. When a bike is new, its resale value is also quite high. Lenders and even dealers tend to offer to finance on new motorcycles only. Used ones are considered too risky.

Pros and Cons to Low and High Payments

High down payment might not sound as appealing, but there are many benefits to it. However, some people still prefer low payments due to benefits those bring along. Though it’s a matter of your preference, you should know your options.

If you put more down, you might get lower interest rates later. Most lenders like large down payments because they can get their money back easier. This reduces your lender’s risk, along with your interest charges.

On top of that, if you put more money down at the beginning, you’ll have lower monthly payments to worry about later.

A smaller payment is what most people are more comfortable with. Depending on how much your motorcycle costs, you might not be able to come up with as much money to put a high payment. In that case, you can go for a smaller amount.

Even if you do have that money, you might want to have that cash for some unexpected expenses. This is especially useful when buying a used bike.

image of biker riding a new motorcycle image

Weighing Financing Options

Before you make the final decision, make sure to explore your options a little. By shopping around a little, you’ll find different lenders with all kinds of lending criteria.

You might find credit unions and banks that offer vehicle financing and motorcycle loans. Some dealers and manufacturers also offer such loans.

Keep in mind that dealers and manufacturers usually try much harder to help you than banks. This is because the manufacturer and dealer make money off the interest as well as the sale. On the other hand, banks only make money off the interest.

They might charge higher interest rates than banks but are a bit easier to work with in terms of financing.

Don't Forget to Take Sales Tax Into Account

As always, there’s more than just down payment and interest. Sales tax varies by state, but you should always count it in.

Dealerships and manufacturers tend to list one price, but unless they specifically say that they’ve included the setup fees, taxes, doc fees, etc. you need to consider those additionally.

Another hidden fee is insurance. Find out the cost.


Essentially, you should put down as much as you can. Some people prefer to spend some time saving up, so they can buy a bike in cash avoiding down payment and interest rates altogether. Still, that’s not as simple for everyone.

If you can’t pay the full price in cash, at least save some more money for a down payment. A larger amount will make it easier to pay off the vehicle since interest, and monthly rates will be lower.

Some people don’t like parting with as much money right off the bat, but many think it’s a better decision since it helps pay off the debt much faster.

Additional Resources:

The team at Road Racerz aims to be a source of knowledge for all riders, whether they are beginners, intermediate, or have been riding for 20+ years. We want everyone to enjoy safer rides and have access to rider-specific content to get the most out of every mile.

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