Home » Motorcycle Advice » Buying a Motorcycle

Checklist to Buy a Cruiser Motorcycle

By James Russell

  Use this valuable checklist from James Russell Publishing to help you buy the V-twin cruiser motorcycle that is right for you.  Take the list with you into the dealer showroom and compare the motorcycles they have with this list of items you require.  You will quickly locate the right bike for you and help you establish some preliminary pricing before striking a deal. Take this sheet with you to each dealer you visit (copy as many as you need, it is free). 

  Visit James Russell Publishing website for more free articles and helpful advice.  We even have a special free article on buying a Harley Davidson. Sometimes motorcycle accessories will conflict with other accessories.  This list will help you sort out the major conflicts.

 This list is to be used "after" you have evaluated each cruiser motorcycle make and model, and now you are ready to buy one of the three choices.  This list will help you narrow your search down from three to one bike to buy.  Extra space is given for other items important to you.  Print three copies of this checklist form and then go to three dealers.  Examine each item one-by-one.

MOTORCYCLE MODEL & STYLE
_____________________________.

DEALERSHIP NAME
_____________________________.

SALESPERSON NAME
_____________________________.  Date: _______________.

  1. Fuel tank capacity at least 5 gallons.

  2. Handlebars can be raised or pulled back 4" without cutting cables, wires or brake line.

  3. Throttle has friction device to maintain throttle position at highway speeds (or cruise control).

  4. 16" tires minimum size front and read.  Tires may be larger, but not smaller.

  5. Clear windshield - adjustable or tall enough to cover eyes and forehead from sleet & hail.

  6. Self-canceling turn signals (handy to have).

  7. Fork mounted wind deflectors available to assist windshield.  Part #__________________. $________.

  8. Windshield-mounted storage accessory is available.  Part #_____________________. $________.

  9. Front fork mounted extra headlights.  Part #_____________________. $________.

  10. Mag wheels - spoke wheel rubber tube flat tires can't be fixed on side of road or at a gas station.

  11. Saddlebags are large and easily removed.  Quick detachable is desired for repair work (see #20 & #21).

  12. Rear axle can be removed to fix or replace tire without removing exhaust system & saddle bags.

  13. Custom exhaust system available part #________________________. $________ (see items 14 & 16).

  14. If custom exhaust prevents removal of axle.  Axle can be reversed so axle nut is on the other side of bike?

  15. Can baffle be easily removed from the custom exhaust without removing exhaust pipes from motorcycle?

  16. Custom air K&N high performance air cleaner part #_______________. $________.

  17. Price to jet carb or fuel map injector for custom air intake and exhaust system $___________.

  18. Foot rests are better than foot pegs for long rides and allows you to relocate feet for comfort.

  19. Seats two riders comfortably.  Are better seats available?  At what cost? $________.

  20. Tall sissy bar and back rest pad will accept a tall T-Bag luggage (see item 21).

  21. Rear fender rack for T-bag to rest on (must not conflict with saddlebags item #11).

  22. Shaft drive is better than belt drive - can't be cut and cheaper to repair, but belt is okay.

  23. Is front or rear fender so low the bike must be lifted dangerously too high to change tires?

  24. Oil change using one oil drain point is faster than using three different drains as a Harley Davidson.

  25. How did the magazines rate this motorcycle?  What do they recommend you buy for the bike?

  26. Obtain a 3 year or more extended warrantee.  Motorcycle parts and labor is too expensive without one.

  27. A maintenance contract is included for $________________. (#26 is most important).

  28. Cost of tire replacement with ____________ tires at this dealer $________. (See #12).

  29. Cost of detailed maintenance manual (not owners manual) for this motorcycle is $________.

  30. Cost of special tools for owner to perform oil change, valve clearance, etc. $________________.

  31. Can customer easily install different light bulbs in turn signals like LED lights, or a power conditioner required?  Some motorcycles like Harley Davidson use alarm systems in turn signal circuits, so only stock light bulbs should be used.

  32. Is there room to mount a tool pouch on front fork or handlebars?  (See #8.  Any conflicts here?).

  33. Annual cost to insure this bike?$________. Insurance premiums can be expensive on some bikes.

  34. Annual cost for registration $________ and license $________.

  35. This dealer is offering $________ in accessories or cash rebates.

  36. This motorcycle will fit in my pick-up truck, RV or automatic ramp system?

  37. Are there any known defects or safety recalls anticipated for this motorcycle?

  38. Are there any dangerous design flaw or other conditions unique to this motorcycle?

  39. Before purchasing I checked magazines and the Internet for reviews on this bike.  Yes? or No?

  40. Brake shoes are easily replaced without removing axle, exhaust pipes or saddle bags (both wheels).

  41. What is the largest size tire that can be installed on this bike?  Front __________.  Rear _________.

  42. Are air deflector wings available for this model? _________. (wind may by-pass windshield).

  43. List any other optional equipment below that you want on your bike the dealer to install.

  44. _____________________________.

  45. _____________________________.

  46. _____________________________.

  47. _____________________________.

  48. _____________________________.

  49. _____________________________.

  50. _______________________________.

  51. What is the cost to replace tires $_______ Brake pads $______.

  52. Can you buy custom mag wheels for this bike?

  53. The wheel base size _______ and total length of bike is __________.

  54. What is the ground clearance _______ and will it destroy any engine or frame part going over a tall bump? 

  55. Can you slip a hydraulic jack under this bike to change tires, etc.?

  56. Are hose clamps used to secure heat shield on exhaust system?  They break from heat & rain shock.

  57. What is not covered in the extended warrantee?
    _____________________________.

  58. I have tried to obtain a better price with the sales manager and I will buy right now if price is right. Y or N.

  59. Price has not changed, but the sales manager gave me accessories I really needed. Y or N.

  60. Dealer's mechanic will give me a walk-through on how to change oils, filters, grease, brakes, etc. Y or N.

  61. What is the color scheme of this bike?  _______________________,  Never buy a bike you do not like. 

  62. Did you get the salesperson's business card?  If not, get it now and staple it to this page.

  63. Is the motorcycle comfortable to sit on?  Is it too big for you?  Too small?  Cramped feeling?

  64. When you sit on the bike are both your feet firmly planted to the ground?  Y or N.

  65. Did the dealer let you test drive the motorcycle?  Y or N. 

  66. Did you consider renting an identical bike for a day to make sure it is right for you?  Y or N.

  67. If you rent from the dealer and decide to buy a new bike, will he credit you the rental fee?  Y or N.

  68. Go back over this list of options and bike model and make sure that each option you purchase can in fact be installed.  Sometimes not all options can be installed due to conflicts.  If so, what items are causing the problem?
    _____________________________..

  69. Did the salesperson check with the service department on item 68 or is it just his opinion?

  70. Are there any hidden fees I should know about that increases the bike's final cost? _________________
    _____________________________.

  71. What if anything included in this purchase will void original manufacturers warrantee?
    _____________________________.

  72. What do other bikers think about the bike you are planning to buy?  You may learn that it is not the right bike for you, or maybe it is.  It is good to obtain multiple opinions.  The final decision should be yours.

  73. If the motorcycle has a belt drive how much will it cost to replace a broken belt?  $___________.  Some bikes require major drive train disassembly and are very expensive to replace.  Belt damage is rare, but it does happen enough to be prepared to pay the bill if a belt fails on you.

  Upon visiting this dealer I found the _______________________ motorcycle at $________ to be the best suited for me, but the price is too high, so I must option for the _______________________ motorcycle at $___________ as the best all around bike-to-price ratio at this time.  I may have to buy optional equipment later as needed to save money on this purchase.

 Upon visiting this dealer the complete out-the-door cost for __________________ motorcycle is $___________. Make sure dealer gives price quote of all fees, delivery / shipping charge, license, registration fees, taxes, etc. for this price, including any accessories and extended warrantees (insurance need not be included).

Complete and total cost of motorcycle with insurance premium paid for one year $______________. 

The VIN number for the bike I want to buy is
_____________________________.
Make sure the bike you finally buy is the bike with this number the salesperson and you agreed upon in your discussions and is written into your sales contract.

Ask for written evidence of proof of any statement a salesperson tells you, especially when it comes to extended warrantee facts and what will void the motorcycle's warrantee.  Even some dealer options can void a warrantee so beware!  Read the manufactures policy, not only the dealership policy!  The manufacturer's policy is the final authority in such affairs.

Call your insurance company and get a quote for cost to insure $_________________ each year.

Delivery Date is ____________.  Note:  Before the motorcycle is delivered to you make sure "all" of the options are installed or do not accept the bike.  Otherwise, you will be constantly coming back to the dealer, waiting for the optional equipment to be installed, piece by piece, day by day.  It can be a nuisance and a waste of your time. 

Get a written statement if the motorcycle is not delivered by the stated delivery date that you will be entitled to a full and complete refund with no fees charged to you.  Some customer's have had to wait a month or three for a model to arrive when some inventory or paperwork error occurred.  The bike you wanted was sold and the salesperson did not realize it at the time, etc. 

Be aware that some aftermarket products may or may not void your new or extended motorcycle warrantee.  Check with the dealer and your owners manual before installing aftermarket accessories.

  Now, with all the information you have above it should be easy to decide which motorcycle you will buy.  Some riders consider cost / value and others deem sheer desire over expense.  This form will serve both purposes.  It will also help prevent making a major mistake like buying a bike with spoke wheels instead of mag wheels (tubeless wheel).  You can be stranded if you get a flat tire and you will need to be towed unless you have a new tube, tools, patch kit and a set of tire irons with you.  In a hot desert, a cold mountain or storm conditions it could cost you your life from exposure trying to get help to arrive.  There are "spoke mag wheels" available that are tubeless in design.  This way you can have the looks and the convenience of tubeless tires, but the cost is high.

Recommended Services:


  Comments



  Add your comments

For more Buying a Motorcycle articles:
  Page Tools

  Related Items






Copyright 2001 - 2016 WhyBike.com. All rights reserved.
Use of this site contitutes an agreement our Terms of Use agreement.