the definitive guide to

The Definitive Guide to Buying a Motorcycle

Does the thought of going to a dealer to purchase a motorcycle makes you cringe? It doesn't have to anymore. Gone are the days of lame sales people, endless sales processes and back-and-forth negotiating with a mysterious sales manager. Our process is simple, transparent and honest. We work to find an option that fits you and your budget. 

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Picking a Motorcycle That’s Right for You000768_KN_19GAP_181261_DOM_FN

Purchasing a new motorcycle is a fun experience. There are so many different models to choose from, each one with a personality of its own. Not sure where to start? We’re here to help. With so many options out there, finding the right bike for you can feel overwhelming. Many of our guests have felt the same way you do right now, but we have found that it is helpful to focus on three main things.

What’s your motorcycle style?

Every individual has their own unique style that appeals to them, whether it has to do with personality, music, clothing or, in this case, motorcycles. Close your eyes and picture your new Harley-Davidson sitting in your driveway. What do you see? Does it have tall ape-hanger style handlebars or a sporty feel? Does it have tall skinny tires or a great big chopper rear end? Is it chrome and polished or more of a dark custom?

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Buying from a Dealer vs Private SaleStreet Bob on the Ocean

Are you looking for your dream motorcycle online? Have you found something close on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist or in your buddy's garage? Here are a few things to consider if you are looking at going that route:
  • The guy you are buying it from filled up the tank and wiped it down... if you are lucky. All of our motorcycles go through an extensive reconditioning process with a factory-trained technician before it hit our showroom.

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How Much Do I Need to Put Down?


Down payments are important. Maybe one of the most important parts of buying a new Harley-Davidson motorcycle. We get the question all the time, “how much do I need to put down?”

Well that comes down to what your goals are.

If you are trying to keep your payment small...

A larger down payment means you typically finance less, which means smaller monthly payment.

If you are trying to do get away with paying $0.00 down...

Be prepared to pay a little bit higher interest rate. And read up on risk (Financing A Luxury vs A Necessity)

If you are just getting started and are trying to plan for a typical credit situation...

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What Will My Monthly Payment Be?Payment%20Calculator

What will my monthly payment be? This is one of the more interesting question we get on almost a daily basis. The Harley-Davidson Motor Company has a payment calculator on their website and a lot of people will use it to try and get an idea of what their payments might be. On the surface this seems like a great idea, right? I know that if I was purchasing something I would want to know what it might cost me, especially if I am just starting out and not ready to run my credit yet. Here’s the thing. H-D has to make this calculator work the best they can for all 50 states. Not all states have sales tax (which in the state of California at the time of this writing was 7.25%). Not all cities and counties tack on their own sales tax (ahem. 10% in San Leandro). Not all states have License fees. And the interest rate they start you at is one of the best that is available. 

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How can I get the most money for my trade?0701536_MW_MY20_191302

So you have a motorcycle and you are thinking about upgrading to a different motorcycle. And you want to get rid of your current motorcycle to make room for your new one. You have two options. You can sell it on the private market (Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace or similar) and deal with all of the things that come with it. Or two, you can trade it in at the dealership where you purchase your new bike. And you are probably thinking to yourself "How can I get the most money for my trade?". We've done hundreds of trades a year for many years and we would love nothing more than to give you top dollar for your beautiful motorcycle. So we have come up with 7 tips that anyone can take advantage of to get the most money for their trade.

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Why Is the Difference Price Important?0024_165C_FXDLS_152539_DOM

If you have a trade, why is the difference price important? We'll run you through a few scenarios to help you make sure that you are getting the right deal when negotiating a new (or pre-owned) motorcycle. 

The difference price is the total price of the bike, plus dealer fee, sales tax, and licensing (the out the door price, OTD.) minus the equity in your trade.

Let’s say you walk in to dealership ABC, they tell you the out the door price of your new Harley-Davidson is $20,000, we are going to use round numbers because it’s easier for me to do the math. Then they tell you that the value of your trade is $6,000. That gives you a difference price of $14,000.

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Why Finance When I Have Cash?00213_17WEB_PHX_161441

Are you the type of customer that has the cash on hand to pay for a motorcycle? Why finance the purchase of your new Road Glide Special when you can pay for it upfront? Let's look at the question "Why should I finance a depreciating asset?" 

How about an example. Let's say you had $20,000 cash to buy a motorcycle. If you finance that $20,000 motorcycle purchase at 3.99% interest on a 5 year loan, you will spend $22,094 over the course of that 5 year time period. If you had taken that $20,000 in cash and put it in a bank account (don't touch it - that's the key) that earns 2.0% interest at the end of 5 years you would have $22,101. Nearly the same amount right? 

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What exactly is the "Extended Service Plan"?H-D-ESP-Logo-862531-edited

In one sentence: The Harley-Davidson Extended Service Plan protects you from costly repairs on covered claims for up to 7 years and Unlimited miles (with a few exclusions, conditions and restrictions*).

How is this different than my standard limited warranty?

The standard limited warranty on a new Harley-Davidson motorcycle is 24 months/unlimited miles. The motorcycle's owners manual has the complete warranty spelled out complete with owner's obligations, exclusions, limitations, and other good-to-know information.

"Harley-Davidson warrants for any new 2017 Harley-Davidson motorcycle that an authorized Harley-Davidson dealer will repair or replace without charge any parts found under normal use to be defective in factory materials or workmanship. Such repair or replacement of defective parts will be Harley-Davidson's sole obligation and your sole and exclusive remedy under this limited warranty."

Now here's what the Extended Service Plan includes.

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Top 10 Reasons to Get H-D Tire and Wheel ProtectionTire%20and%20Wheel

Your Harley-Davidson® motorcycle comes with a factory warranty that covers mechanical components, but what about a flat tire, damaged tire, or bent wheel rim? With H-D Tire and Wheel Protection, you can protect yourself from out-of-pocket repair costs due to damage to your tires and wheels caused by unexpected road hazards, such as potholes, or debris on the road surface, like nails, rocks, tree limbs, glass or plastic.

H-D Tire and Wheel Protection covers costs associated with the repair or replacement of tires and wheels, plus labor and taxes, if a road hazard causes a covered failure. Coverage begins immediately upon purchase, and continues for the duration of your term, covering your tires and wheels, plus any replacements, with no maximum occurrences and no deductible. Additionally, you will enjoy an expense reimbursement package that covers towing, rental vehicle, and even lodging and meal expenses if a covered failure occurs more than 100 miles away from home. To summarize here are the top 10 reasons to get H-D Tire and Wheel Protection on your motorcycle:

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Why should I get the H-D GAP Plus Plan?GAP

No one likes to think about having their motorcycle stolen or totaled in an accident - but the fact is, it can happen. And if it does, there's something you should know: 


This difference between what you owe on your loan and what your insurance company will pay is known as the "gap," and it's money that you'll have to pay - unless you get the Harley-Davidson® Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) Plus Plan. It could literally save you thousands of dollars, up to $25,000. It could even cover the cost of your insurance company's deductible, up to $1,000. 

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All About the H-D Appearance ProtectionAppearance%20Protection

If you're like many riders, your motorcycle's appearance is as important as its performance. With Harley-Davidson Appearance Protection you can keep your bike looking as good as the day you rode out of the dealership.

Scotchgard Paint Protector guards against the elements you will encounter on the road, like salt, hard water, tree sap, insects, bird waste, acid rain and more. If covered damage does occur, affected areas will be repaired and resurfaced. Here are the highlights:

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A Complete Beginner's Guide to Motorcycle Insurancemotorcycle-insurance_blog

What is motorcycle insurance?

Your motorcycle isn't just a mode of transportation; it's an expression of who you are. Anyone who's been through a painful breakup knows how hard it is to lose expression of who you are. And while there's no breakup insurance, there is Motorcycle insurance. That way, if something happens to your baby, you may not have to lose it 100%.

How Is Your Motorcycle Insurance Calculated?

Anyone who has a history of riding safely is likely to get a good deal on their motorcycle insurance. A safe driving record will have a positive impact on your insurance rates. There are other factors as well, like age and gender.

-The motorcycle you ride:

Everyone's bike is "priceless," but they don't all cost the same. After all, a collectible isn't worth the same as a piece of junk (no matter how much you love it). An older bike with a lot of power that you use often presents a different risk from the highly valued chopper sitting pretty in your garage. So, value and power are two significant factors. There are also probably things you love about your bike, so it's good that your insurance company cares about them too.

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Things to Bring with You When Buying a Motorcycle073485_ST_19GAP_181261_V2_FN

At Oakland Harley-Davidson we want to ensure that your motorcycle purchase is effortless, efficient and fun. There are some things you can do to help, so that you can spend most of your day riding your new bike!

What do I need to bring to purchase a motorcycle?

  • Make sure you bring two forms of valid I.D. (one U.S. issue photo ID and a second ID that can have just your name on it, such as a credit card, insurance card, library card etc…) Please make sure they are not expired.
  • Bring the money you can put down on your new motorcycle (this can be cash, cashier’s check, credit card, personal check etc…)
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Current Vehicle Sales Promotions

While the motorcycle you are currently eye-balling might not have any promotions or deals at the moment, it can never hurt to check. If you see a promotion offered at a different dealership, let our team know. 

Check Out Current Promotions

Complete Guide to Getting Into Motorcycling

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