When buying a motorcycle—regardless if it is a brand new or an old motorcycle—the vast majority of people will try to find the best deal possible.
This is only natural, and as a result, I get asked a lot if the statement that you should buy a motorcycle during the winter is really true or a common myth.
Is it better to buy a motorcycle in the winter? As a general rule, it is better to buy a motorcycle in the winter because motorcycles are not in high demand. Usually, the later in the winter, the better the prices of motorcycles can get. Compared to the summer during the winter, some motorcycles may be up to 25% cheaper.
Below I go into more detail about the intricate factors that can affect the prices of motorcycles in your area. That way, you will have a better and deeper understanding of what to expect.
What is the best winter month to buy a motorcycle?
Generally speaking, the later in the winter, the lower the prices of the motorcycles can get.
But are some winter months better than others when it comes to buying a motorcycle?
The peak of the motorcycle season is during the warmer months of the year. Typically April to July are the months when motorcycles are most popular and sought after, so these are the months that will also command the highest motorcycle prices— normally, you may want to avoid buying a motorcycle during those months.
From the onset of August—depending on the weather and atmospheric conditions in the area where you live—the motorcycle season starts to gradually decline, which also means better motorcycle prices.
The best winter months to buy a motorcycle, generally speaking, are between October to February. During the winter months, there will be fewer buyers, and sellers that are trying to sell their motorcycle may be more willing to negotiate lower prices.
On the other hand, if you are living in the southern hemisphere, things will be reversed. The best months to buy a motorcycle will be between May and September.
See article: What is the best month to buy a motorcycle?
Is it cheaper to buy a motorcycle in the winter?
During the winter it is cheaper to buy a motorcycle. On average, some motorcycles can be found 5 to 25% cheaper during the winter. The less demand during the winter can force dealerships and private sellers to offer lower motorcycles prices.
This means that you may be able to save between $400 to $3,000 by buying a motorcycle during the winter.
Of course, those numbers should be viewed as some general guidelines and not the rule. Over the years, I have seen some pretty good deals made during the winter, however, that is not always the case. How cheap motorcycles can get during the winter will vary depending on several factors.
Should you buy a motorcycle in the winter?
Advantages of buying a motorcycle during the winter
The biggest advantage of buying a motorcycle during the winter is the buyer’s leverage in negotiating lower prices.
The thing is that since prices are usually lower during the colder months, so is volume and selection. Usually, the selection is going to be very small simply because nobody sells unless they absolutely have to.
Often owners will realize that they will not be able to use their motorcycle and still have to pay for insurance, storage, and cleaning and maintenance. Keeping a motorcycle around during the winter can end up being very expensive, and people who are already thinking about selling their motorcycle next spring may prefer to sell the motorcycle before the onset of winter and cut down on their expenses.
Because of that, some private sellers may be looking to sell their motorcycle as soon as possible, which gives the buyer an advantage. As a result, during winter, motorcycle prices can often go down significantly.
Dealerships are not that much different. They rely on a good and steady cash flow, and winters are usually the worst months for dealers.
Of course, this is highly dependent on where you live. If the weather is good all year round—and motorcycles are used all year round—then the prices of motorcycles will usually stay the same.
Downsides of buying a motorcycle during the winter
Undoubtedly there are some fairly significant disadvantages to buying a motorcycle during the winter, which is the prime reason why fewer people are interested in purchasing a motorcycle during the winter in the first place.
Riding and testing a motorcycle in the winter is harder, more dangerous, and just unpleasant. On top of that, bringing your motorcycle back home can be a real challenge—especially if the weather is particularly bad.
The next thing you need to consider is whether or not you will be able to use your motorcycle for the rest of the winter. Most owners will simply avoid riding during the winter and winterize their motorcycle.
Even if you are not using your motorcycle during the winter, you may still be expected to pay insurance for it.
Let’s not forget that you may need to do some cleaning and maintenance work on the motorcycle, which may prove to be very tricky if you don’t have a suitable place to do it.
In addition to that, if you do not have a garage or a driveway, you may have to rent a storage space where you can leave your motorcycle for the rest of the winter. (Motorcycle storage can cost between $45 to $70+ per month.)
All that adds more expenses to the bottom line, which should be well considered. (On top of that, most household utility bills will also rise during the winter.)
Is it always better to buy a motorcycle during the winter?
Although, in most cases, buying a motorcycle during the winter will be better, this strategy may not always work for you.
For any shop or dealership, cash flow is important, and the colder months are usually the worst months of the year. This is why any buyer willing to spend some money with them is good news. This can also allow you to make a good impression on them as you will be the person they remember when the warmer months come, and you may need some parts or servicing done. (This small aspect should not be underestimated.)
Even if you can’t negotiate a lower price, you can negotiate some free servicing like an oil change or mechanical cheks.
When it comes to private sellers, things will be a little different.
During the colder months, there will often be very low demand, and the few people who may be looking for a motorcycle will try to negotiate a price that is significantly below what the seller asks for.
If a seller is in a hurry, you are more likely to buy a motorcycle for cheap.
However, if the seller is not in a hurry, they can wait until the better weather comes around. As the weather gets better, sellers will start receiving a lot more offers from potential buyers.
And sellers do understand that. So they may often ignore low offers and wait for offers that are closer to the full price.
Factors affecting motorcycle prices
The colder weather during the winter is just one of multiple factors that may impact the price of motorcycles. This is why it is important to understand what other factors may influence motorcycle prices.
- Motorcycles that are in high demand will usually keep their prices and may not sell for cheap, even during particularly bad winters.
- Around the time when new motorcycle models come out, older models may get cheaper as dealerships try to get them off the shelves. Private sellers may also sell their motorcycles for cheap as they may want to buy a newer model.
- Local motorcycle events may cause the price of some motorcycles to go up for a brief period of time.
- Warmer weather will usually lead to higher demand, and this will raise the prices of motorcycles.
Other factors like the tax refunds some people will receive can also lead to more buyers, which can drive motorcycle prices up. Tax refunds usually come during the last week of February at the earliest, so you can expect motorcycle prices to slowly start to rise from March and onwards.
Is it worth to wait for the winter to buy a motorcycle?
It is recommended to do your research ahead of time, find out how much the motorcycles you are looking for would cost you, and check what is on sale as often as possible.
Try to be on the lookout, and don’t rush it.
The motorcycles that are often sold in the winter may not exactly be the type of motorcycle you want to buy. And owners of quality motorcycles will often hold out until the warmer weather comes around when they know they will get better deals. However, this does not mean you might not be able to find your dream motorcycle.
Often it is a matter of patience.
Generally speaking, buying a motorcycle in the wintertime and selling it at the beginning of spring till the end of the summer is the best practice that ensures good returns and prices.
Money as a factor is important. Nobody will deny that. However, I recommend making sure you get the right motorcycle for you first and then thinking about the price.
Oftentimes finding the motorcycle most suitable to your skill level and needs is more important than a few hundred dollars.