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First bike - new vs used

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by Makovitza, Jun 7, 2007.

  1. Hi everyone,

    Apologies if this question has been asked 100 times before...

    I've just gotten my learner's permit and now it's time to get a bike. I'm a complete newbie - never been on a bike before doing the permit course - and not at all mechanically-minded. I originally thought about getting an old bike, possibly only getting 3rd party insurance, and trying to keep costs as low as possible until I'm a bit more experienced (and on an unrestricted licence). But the prospect of trying to sort the junk from the decent second-hand bikes is very daunting. Add to this the spiel I got from my instructor about how buying a new bike is so much better because you know it's in safe working order, and it's covered by a warranty. So now I'm confused. What do you guys think? New or second-hand?

    At the riding school I had a bit of a go on a brand new Yamaha Scorpio Z, which seemed pretty comfy and zippy and nice to ride (retails about $4500 I think). Has anyone tried one of these? What do you think? I also tried a new Arqin RT200, because I'm giving some thought to getting something that can go off-road (my little brother is getting into dirt-bike riding, but who knows how long that will last). The Arqin wasn't as comfy as the Scorpio, but is cheap as hell (about $3K new) and has a good warranty. Any comments?

    So basically I'm looking for a bike that I can use to commute to work every now and then (work in the Melbourne CBD), ride for fun on my days off, and possibly use to mess around on a dirt track with my brother. I'm looking for something cheap to insure. It needs to be cool enough that my brother doesn't disown me, but otherwise I don't care about "sportiness".

    So in summary my questions are: am I better off getting a new or second hand bike? Any suggestions? What do people think of the Scorpio and the RT200?

    Thanks for your help!! :)

  2. Used is definately the best option for a first bike IMO. Keep in mind that advertised prices are just that, you'll still need to add on-road costs like rego etc. so final price will be higher. Plus with a new bike, even a cheapie, you effectively lose a grand or so the moment you leave the showroom - and that's money that could be better spent elsewhere (like on riding gear or fixing/servicing a 2nd hand bike). Your best option might be to try and find a near-new or ex-demo bike, it may still have some factory warranty remaining but your not going to lose out quite so bad on depreciation. And if you're not worried about appearances a near-new bike that has minor cosmetic damage, but no mechanical damage can also make a good buy - especially since there's a fair chance you'll end up dropping it yourself (which with a new bike means you lose even more money come upgrade time).
  3. Well i wouldn't go as far to say its "cool", but its a road/trail, therefore is perfect for....you guessed it, road AND trail riding!
    Its light and nimble, is great fun in the bush and its as reliable as you'll get. Cheap 3rd party insurance too...
  4. get a crappy one, coz of the drops ull probably be doing everywhere mate
  5. I'm with JD.

    I've heard nothing but grief from newbies buying second hand. Buy "near new" or new if you're not handy with the spanners.

    Warranty, or at least some warranty, can really save your neck if you don't do your own mechanicals.

    And as for dropping it...you won't be dropping it much if it doesn't run. Stick with something half decent and buy yourself some peace of mind.

    Old Blue
  6. Lots of good value bikes out there in the 1-3 year old range. For even better value, make sure it has already been optioned up so you're not spending money on extra bits.
  7. Definitely Old

    You wont cry as much when you drop it :)
  8. if you're planning on keeping the bike past the end of your restrictions (and can resist or not afford the temptation to upgrade) then new or near new would be best. Otherwise look for something a few years old.
  9. My bike's 27 years old and cost me $600 (plus about $200 in diesel to get it to Perth). I've had it since the end of January, done about 4000km on it and I've been perfectly happy with it.

    If you're going to replace your bike in a year like me, then definately don't get something expensive, but if you're going to keep it for a while, pick something that'll survive you dropping it, but that you'll be comfortable living with when you're more experienced. Consider things like luggage racks etc too. I thought I'd just have the bike for fun, but after a while I realised I wasn't using my car anymore, so I'm going to sell it.
  10. if u get a 2nd hand bike, get it pre-purhcase checked by a qualified mechanic. that way when you take it to the bike shop after you bought it for a major service, you wont cry when you find out it needs a tune , new chain and sprockets too, for example. i bought a 1999 kawasaki balius and havent had any suprises yet (only done 800kms) cos i paid up $200 for a written report and that was peace of mind, that i knew exactly what i was buying. i actually negotiated the price cheaper as it needed a tune etc. now its been for its service (you should do this asap if u buy a 2nd hand bike so a professional can check things that could be dangerous ) and its all good :) i dropped it the day i brought it home (actually on the way home, at the servo) and also the next day in the back yard... and as it already had scratches from the 2 previous L-Plate owners, I didnt get too upset by another scuff mark or two. i really wouldnt trust myself with my 1st bike being brand new. i am happy to wait until i upgrade and even then with a larger capacity bike.. duno if my first 'big bike' would be new either.. but talk to me again in a few months :p
  11. Even if you do know things about motors and such, its always a good idea to get someone else to check over it. I found out about 3 days after buying my bike, that the fuel tap leaks (ie when turned off, it still runs slowly). I never noticed this when originally going over the bike, because i turned the tank on its side fairly quickly after taking it off (and stuck it on an old tyre), and the small bit of petrol i assumed was from the lines. All the lines were new, new air filter, everything, so i thought it was really well looked after. The bike ran like a dream. The leak causes problems, because it will leak fuel through the reserve outlet when its turned to on. I am currently pursuing a certificate saying the bike isnt roadworthy so they will fix it for me (for nothing, as its an issue with consumer affairs).
  12. the instructors at most training facilities, eg DECA, are affiliated with bike shops. At DECA you get a $250 voucher towards the purchase of a NEW Yamaha.

    coincidental that they are recomending you buy new?? maybe.

    a well looked after 2nd hand motorbike will be no less reliable than a new or near new bike. the truth is, if your bike breaks down, it doesnt matter if it is new or used, you're still on the side of the road without a running bike. if its a mechanical failure due to age/abuse, or a new component that's failed due to faulty design, you're still stuck!

    i'm a mechanical engineer, and know a thing or two about motors, gearboxes, etc. i always buy 2nd hand because 1) it saves money 2) the losses in buying new are crazy, and you do loose out, riding out the showroom you've lost somthing like 10-15% of its new price. a long time ago, you lost 22% the minute you left the dealer.

    buying 2nd hand can net you a real bargin, or for the same money, you can buy a used bike thats in perfect condition cosmetically and mechanically, but it may already be optioned with parts you would have fitted later on when u recovered from the "new +ORC" purchase price of a new bike.

    your decision mate, but i'd say buy a well looked after 2nd hand bike, get an inspection done independent of the seller by a reputable company, and you'll almost always be right.

    good luck with the putchase.
  13. I bought 2nd hand (it's only 26 years old) for $1,000 in reasonably good condition......
    ...but it has 6 gears and has taught me a lot about maintenance and has been fun sorting out a few little things.

    I can also really look forward to buying a new bike when I understand what I want - starting out I had no idea of what I want in terms of ride, performance, handling and comfort!

    So I save on my first; learn about how the things tick; and learn about what i will look for in my next one!
  14. Buy new so you can waste all your fuel savings on Dealer Service (ripoff)
  15. Hi guys,

    Thanks heaps for all the advice. I've spent a fair bit of time searching the net this week looking at used bikes. Problem is, I'm not finding anything even relatively recent, let alone near-new, for equal to or less than the purchase price of a new Scorpio. Am I actually better off paying more for a used VTR or similar? What do you mean when you talk about a second-hand bike being "optioned up"? What am I likely to want to have done to it? Also, I was planning to get a naked bike, because I've been told they're cheaper to insure, and I quite like the look. Is this going to really limit my options? Should I be looking at bikes with fairing?

    Anyway, I'm off to look at dealerships this weekend, so hopefully I'll have more of an idea of what is out there after that. Thanks again for your help - it is much appreciated. Keep it coming :)
  16. i dont know a lot , so bare that in mind as you read what i say. but..

    i dont think a naked bike is categorically cheaper than a faired bike. its on a bike model basis of which one has had more claims as far as i know. for example, getting comp quotes for a 22/F/Full bike license/ no prev claims for AAMI i had ....
    • 1998 GPX250R $493 (Faired)
    • 1998 Kawasaki Balius $601 (Naked)
    • 1998 ZZR250 $624 (Faired)
    (hmm it looks as though i had some kind of kawasaki fetish going on here)
    i think servicing may be cheaper on a naked as theres a little bit less labour taking the fairings on and off. also keep in mind dropping the bike, do a search for 'oggy knobs' and also faired vs naked. if u drop a naked bike u cant crack fairing but u can crack bits in the engine (dont quote me on this stuff!) and if u drop a faired bike the fairings can protect the engine or they can crack and be expensive which is where oggy knobs come in only they can sometimes do more harm than good (again dont quote me on this) oh theres also the wind issue to read up on. and fuel capacity, if u care about saving the dolphins.

    Enjoy the dealer this weekend. Sit on all the bikes. Also make sure you put your feet up on the pegs when you're doing this and have someone hold the bike steady (yes i know i'm spelling it out but i got all excited when i was at dealer and jumped on a few bikes but not properly). sit on a few bikes.. take note of seating position.. try faired, naked, big, small.. pink, black.. you might just find the bike that feels "right" .... i did!

    (my bikes a good easy bike to learn on in terms of upright seating position, however i think want a lean-forward fast bike now !..i know when its windy i lean forward and its fun.. dont know how riding for a couple hrs in that position would be. but mine is def. a good starter to learn the basics on.)
  17. Well, if anyone is interested (probably not) I hit a couple of dealers in Elizabeth St today. Seemed to have very little in the way of used bikes, and what they did have were not much cheaper than the new bikes. So I mostly looked at the new stuff. In particular I sat on the VTR250, the CBF250 and the Scorpio. The VTR was probably the most comfortable, followed by the Scorpio then the CBF. The VTR also felt like a higher quality bike than the other two (less "plasticky").

    So at the moment unless I happen to come across a great deal on a relatively recent 2nd hand bike (seems unlikely - they seem to hold their value well) I'm leaning towards either a new VTR or a Scorpio. The way I see it, the VTR feels like a better quality bike, provides better performance, has a 2 year warranty, and might be more comfortable on longer rides (if I do any). On the other hand the Scorpio is at least $3000 cheaper upfront, $200 cheaper per year to insure, probably more economical on fuel (although they're both pretty good), and lighter and zippier for city riding. I'm not sure about its warranty - possibly only 1 year.

    So I'm torn. At the moment I'm thinking about getting the Scorpio, on the theory that the $3000+ I'm saving would go some way towards the cost of upgrading once I'm unrestricted, if I'm not happy with the Scorpio's comfort or performance. What do you think? Is there a flaw in this reasoning?

    The Yamaha dealer I talked to offered to sell me the Scorpio for $5400 ride away, including a helmet to the value of $260 (or if I want a more expensive helmet I just pay the difference). Plus 10% off the cost of any other gear I buy. Does this seem like a reasonable deal?

    Anyway, I guess I'll need to look around a little more before making a final decision. Thanks again for all your help. The advice of more experienced riders really is invaluable to us clueless newbies!! :)
  18. And I've heard horror stories about warranty repairs taking months, dealers/manufacturers refusing to acknowledge problems exist, new bikes being complianced and registered a year earlier than the year they were sold, being no more reliable than an older bike etc etc.
    I find it really hard to understand why a novice would take a 30-40% purchase price hit by buying a new bike that they're going to damage, but hey, maybe that's just me! :grin:
    There's two sides to the argument, and they both have their merits.

    Regards, Andrew.
  19. Not surprising. The VTR is made in Japan, the Scorpio in Indonesia, and the CBF in Brazil. This difference in quality is one reason why a 2nd hand Japanese bike could potentially be a much better buy than a brand new Indonesian/Brazilian/Korean/Thai/Chinese one.
  20. I'm also looking for a first bike, used vs new debate....also never riden a bike at all :p

    I'm probably going to go with the Scorpio Z I think after looking around.
    Its cheap as chips (saving on the cash can go towards gear, or saving for the new bike after 12 months), will get the warranty with it...(I'm not mechanically sound)
    I'm bound to drop it a few times being a new learner, and I doesnt have fairings, so no harm there I guess

    Resale value, who knows, probably lost 1G or so...

    The only thing Im concerned about is the freeway trip to work....
    Its probably about 20-25KM drive on the freeway, roughly a 20 Min trip in the car doing 100KM/H.

    Is the Scorpio Z going to be ok doing 100KM/H on the freeway....I don't want to look like a knob doing 90KM/H on the freeway with cars overtaking me all the time hehe, although if it cant withstand 100Km/H, so be it.