The Complete Guide to Buying a Used Harley Davidson

Harley Davidson motorcycles have long since had the reputation of being an all-around classic bike, recognizable for their power and attitude. Many kids who grow up wishing to ride a motorcycle inevitably dream of riding one of these motorcycles since it gives them a sense of power and freedom on the road. The first Harley Davidson motorcycle appeared in the early 1900s. And they have had a phenomenal reign. Time has passed for the Harley Davidson, but as the years have passed new generations have added new innovative ideas to the design of the motorcycle, and the current generation of the motorcycle is proof of that. The Harley Davidson is proof positive if you continue working on a brand, then it will last forever.

Alright, granted the motorcycle has had its ups and downs, like everything else – but it has persevered and its won, with style. Celebrities like Elvis and Evel Knievel have also added to the prestige behind this symbol of power. The tradition behind the Harley Davidson is in the engines, but over the years new, stronger and more powerful engines have made their way into the design, along with new designs for the chassis, new tires and brakes.

The idea of owning a Harley Davidson is tempting for many people, but what would you prefer -new or used? For this article, we shall look into buying a used Harley Davidson.

Pros and Cons to owning a Used Harley Davidson

Here are some Pros

  • Fuel efficiency (especially in the United Kingdom) – According to this Green Prophet article about owning a used Harley Davidson, a Harley is good for a decent gas mileage than the average car. Another bonus according to the article is the virtual non-existence of parking prices though this might not happen in cities.
  • Social life – Harley Davidson motorcycles can also open doors for you to find clubs where other people share your passion for the motorcycle. There will be clubs devoted to the Harley, and you can find people willing to give you advice on the motorcycle.
  • Customized – According to this article about Harley Davidson’s accessories, the motorcycle will be well maintained and if the original owner was into buying and paying for accessories then the bike will likely come with added fixtures which will add to the value.
  • Vintage, Rare, and Custom made – Harley Davidson is over a century old, and over those years there have been a number of fashionable designs which are really rare according to this article from Harley Davidsons online, while the custom made models may be more to your liking.
  • Cost – Pre-owned Harley Davidsons are cheaper than the newer ones on the market as the previous owner has already dealt with the fees and the issues with breaking the bike in.

Here are some of the cons:

  • Custom Made jobs – Some people may appreciate models which are custom made or customized, and according to this article some owners may remove components and install their own fittings to suit their tastes.
  • Cost – The best Harley Davidson may be too expensive – this can apply to the new models which come with new design features you want to have, but you may have no alternative but to go for a used Harley Davidson instead.
  • Technical issues – Inexperienced motorcyclists make the mistake of gushing at the thought of buying a used Harley Davidson, and when they find one their awe will not stop – but it’s not until they get the motorcycle home they realize they’ve made few mistakes – some of the components may be worn out, the brakes might not work, the chassis may be damaged and the worst of it is you might not get your money back.

What to look out for when buying a Used Harley Davidson

According to this Youtube video, a Harley Davidson should be checked over; the wheels should be checked to make sure there is three-thirty seconds tread depth. If there isn’t then the tires need to be replaced. The lights of the motorcycle should also be checked, and no fluids should be leaking from the bike.

This Youtube video goes into quite a bit of depth with advice provided on a technical level. It tells buyers to avoid looking for physical blemishes, like scratches to the paintwork; this video goes into so much detail about the need to check the state of the mileage, the condition of the tires – emphasizing on the tread-depth again, so when you look for a used Harley Davidson, check them thoroughly while preparing yourself for the possibility of looking for a new set. Other components which will need to be checked will be the mufflers – if they’re blue, they will need to be replaced. Yes, its most likely a used Harley Davidson will have scratches on it, so it will need to touched up. Used bike dealers will try to replace and repaint parts of the motorcycle, but its a good idea for you to check it over.

The technicalities explained in the previous video go along with the Tips on Buying a Used Motorcycle Youtube video – this video’s motorcycle isn’t the Harley Davidson, but it is still relevant for this article. The experienced used motorcycle buyer in this video explains what to look for technically.

Be clear about what you can handle

It’s one thing to want to buy a used Harley Davidson – according to this article, buying a used Harley Davidson motorcycle is akin to eating an enormous meal and taking a lot of everything available; in the morning you have no idea if you will regret it. Still, the article gives some good advice.

  • First, make sure you’re capable of handling the motorcycle – the Harley Davidson is a powerful vehicle, and motorcycles are not exactly renowned for being one hundred per cent safe. Even for experienced motorcyclists who have a smaller build, its a good idea to consider carefully what you can work with. According to this Wiki how article, when you’re looking for a used Harley Davidson you should be trying to familiarize yourself with the previous models for the past few decades – it helps that the Harleys built twenty-five years ago are probably still on the road, giving you plenty of choices to choose from.
  • Second, do your research – go to the used dealerships, learn about the various models out there, and try them out. All riders – old and new alike – should be aware of what they can handle right from the start. Harley Davidson motorcycles aren’t all massive, there are a few models which are specifically designed for people with a smaller build – don’t sacrifice safety for pride.
  • Third, if you’re able, gain some experience with the Harley by attending bike rallies.
  • Fourth, read comments and take in the advice about riding a used Harley Davidson from other owners.

When you visit a used dealership, especially a private one, definitely inspect the motorcycle. Ask for reports on the maintenance of the used Harley Davidson, speak to the seller. If the seller offers any resistance then you will know if something is wrong, in which case don’t bother with them anymore and look elsewhere.

Speak to people – word of mouth recommendations about where you can find a cost-effective deal might help but also get information about the models available. The article also states buying from private sellers can also be hazardous because you won’t know if you’re buying a dud.

You can also check the advertisements in a newspaper for any used Harley Davidsons available – auto trader magazines are likely to have some advertisements for Harley Davidsons in them, but you had better do some research into the sellers to make sure they can be trusted. When you visit them make sure to ask for details about the history of the bike while checking out the mileage and the history before you negotiate a price.

If you aren’t sure, then look for a Harley Davidson seller for assurance – the article states that that’s what they’re there for. The advantages behind looking for a Harley Davidson dealer are clear – The dealer shoulder, according to this page on Harley Davidson.com be able to conduct a mileage investigation and should see if the previous owner had any financial problems you should be aware of, and from them, you should be able to tell if the used motorcycle of your dreams has either been lost, sold, or stolen. It’s important to know the history of the Harley Davidson.

Once these details have been finalized, according to the article which states clearly you will have a Harley Davidson warranty issued to you and a rescue and recovery policy. Most sellers according to this article from Harley Davidson forums won’t offer a warranty, unlike the Harley Davidson sellers. That’s why it is important for you to check over the history of the motorcycle of your choice.

Be aware – used Harley Davidsons will only have a warranty if they’re purchased within the period of the warranty, and while Harley Davidson does offer a service where the motorcycle – new or old – will be rebuilt, and while it isn’t exactly cheap, it’s cheaper than buying a new Harley.

Buying a Used Harley compared to a new

There are actually very few differences between buying a New Harley Davidson motorcycle as opposed to buying a Used Harley Davidson motorcycle, however – many dealers will give you the same Harley Davidson warranty as this Youtube video goes into detail about, however many of the components could be customized to fit in with the various tastes of the original owner; the video talks about customizations to its bodywork, and this is a fairly new Harley compared to older models. The video also goes over how new buyers will buy the Harley Davidson and they will customize it right there at the dealership, spending hundreds of dollars for the new accessories but sometimes this doesn’t increase the value, though the condition can really make a difference.

In short, many if not most riders believe its more cost effective to buy a pre-owned Harley compared to a new one. In this article from Ultra Cool, new Harley Davidsons come with fees – fees for taxes and fees for the dealership you bought it from, whereas purchasing a pre-used Harley Davidson will allow you to avoid this part of the process. Harley Davidsons are extremely durable – they’re built that way, and while an old Harley might have a few dents, depending on its condition of the used Harley you decide on, they’re usually found reasonably intact. The best pre-owned model would be one which isn’t all that old, really.

Buying a new motorcycle – the make and model don’t really matter in this case since they are all the same – will also require a period where you would need to break it in. This will come when the motorcycle has reached somewhere between five hundred or one thousand miles. New motorcyclists won’t have the experience needed to fully break in a motorcycle and treat it to some loving care, and if they’re not fully broken in then they will terrible mileage and will need frequent repairs. Used Harley Davidsons don’t require these periods, especially if the original owner was an experienced rider and would know what they were doing.

When you buy a used Harley Davidson motorcycle you are likely to be buying one which lives up to the legacy of the manufacturers’ reputation for making high-quality motorcycles. As stated above, the used Harleys are likely to have been upgraded, customized by the previous owners especially if they were enthusiasts for motorcycles. A motorcycle which is brand new won’t have saddlebags or a custom paint job, but a pre-owned one will.


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