If you’re like a lot of would-be motorcycle enthusiasts, there’s definitely a bit of a discrepancy between the type of bike you’d love to own and the type of bike you can actually afford. The going price of a good beginner’s motorcycle can really vary, but on average you’re going to be shelling out between $5,000 and $10,000 for something brand new. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t score a really amazing bike for cheaper.

Naturally, you’re going to be looking at buying a used bike over something brand spanking new off of a showroom floor, but don’t let that deter you. With a little know-how when it comes to where to look and how to save on used motorcycles, you can score some really killer deals for $3000 or below. If you have the chops to refurbish a promising option in need of a little TLC, you may be able to get an amazing bike for even less. Here’s a closer look at what you need to know to find the best motorcycle under $3000.

Know What You’re Looking For

When you’re looking to own your own bike on a strict budget, it can be all too easy to focus solely on price. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking that a bike being a great deal is the same thing as a bike actually being right for you. Before you start the process of evaluating your options, you’ll need to give some serious thought to what you’re really looking for in a bike. What kind of riding do you actually do (or would you like to do)?

Are you just looking for a sport bike to take offroad over the weekend once in a while, or are you in the market for something you can actually use to commute from Point A to Point B on a regular basis? Are longer road tours something you’re interested in being able to do at any point in the near future? Before investing any amount of money in a bike, it’s important to fully evaluate your needs as a bike enthusiast and be realistic about which bikes will actually help you meet those needs.

Know Where To Look

While there’s definitely nothing wrong with checking out the offerings at an actual dealership that specializes in used motorcycles, that’s not necessarily where you’re the most likely to find a really sick deal on a positively unbelievable previously owned bike. The best way to save money on a used bike, especially if you’re looking to spend $3000 or less, is to let your fingers do the walking and shop online. You can start your search for local options by Googling terms like “motorcycles for sale near me” or looking into the candidates for best motorcyle sales app and spending some time browsing. However, you might also want to go straight to the following places.

  • Craigslist: You’ll run into people here who think their used bike is worth a lot more than it really is. However, you’ll also find the opposite — people who are selling next-level bikes without being aware of their actual value — so it’s well worth taking a look.
  • Facebook Marketplace: Facebook’s marketplace section is becoming increasingly popular for selling lots of things, motorcycles and motorcycle parts included. Plus, it’s easy to filter results to include only what you’re most interested in.
  • Ebay: You probably won’t find the types of crazy deals you’re likely to spot either of the above two places, but enough people have found gems here that it might be worth looking anyway.
  • Local Classifieds: If you do go the “motorcycles for sale near me” search engine route, don’t overlook results from standard classified ads. Since classified ads still cost actual money to post, you can rest easy in the knowledge that listings will come attached to motivated sellers. 

If you are more of an app person, you’ll find plenty of great options to explore via your favorite app store as well. Great choices to check out include Cycle Trader, Cycle Crunch, and Auto Trader.

Check It Out in Person

Although some people don’t necessarily have a problem buying a used bike sight unseen, doing that would be an awful lot like deciding to marry someone you’ve only just met. It’s really better to meet with the owner in person and take the bike for a test ride first if at all possible. When you take it for your test ride, don’t just putt around the block a time or two. Go out of your way to see how it handles on various types of roads, terrain, and so forth. How does it do on tight corners or steep hills? Does it run well on every gear? Try each one multiple times to make absolutely sure.

You’ll also want to inspect the bike closely. If you know a thing or two about how to do this properly yourself, definitely feel free to perform the inspection personally. Look especially closely for leaks, as well as wear and tear in key places like brake pads and tires. You’ll also want to keep an eye out for any evidence that the bike may have been involved in a collision at some point (e.g. very fresh paint). If you don’t know how to perform a thorough inspection, bring along a friend who can or take it to a mechanic for an expert opinion.

Fixing Up a Great Buy

If you’re willing and able to roll up your sleeves a little and do some work personally on your new bike, you can probably score an even better deal. Knowing you can always buy the best motorcycle aftermarket and OEM parts from BikeBandit.com will come in handy here. The right OEM parts can easily help you bring your find up back up to factory standards. Aftermarket parts help you take things to the next level and beyond by customizing your bike and making it better than even the manufacturer probably had in mind. With the right resources and know-how, you can start building your dream bike for a really reasonable price today!

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