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4 Ways to Get a Loan for a Motorcycle

While you can get motorcycle loans, personal loans may be a better option if you’re buying a bike.

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By Kat Tretina

Written by

Kat Tretina

Writer

Kat Tretina is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance. Her work has been published in The Wall Street Journal's Buy Side, U.S. News, and Money.com.

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Edited by Jared Hughes

Written by

Jared Hughes

Editor

Jared Hughes is a personal loan editor for Credible and Fox Money, and has been producing digital content for more than six years.

Updated May 2, 2024

Editorial disclosure: Our goal is to give you the tools and confidence you need to improve your finances. Although we receive compensation from our partner lenders, whom we will always identify, all opinions are our own. Credible Operations, Inc. NMLS # 1681276, is referred to here as “Credible.”

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Motorcycles are often touted as a less expensive alternative to cars, but they can still be quite pricey — a used bike might be as little as a few thousand dollars, but new or used can easily be tens of thousands of dollars, as much or more than a car. On top of that, you’ll need money to purchase essentials like a helmet, boots, and other protective gear.

If you don’t have the cash saved, you’ll likely need to find a motorcycle loan or motorcycle financing through a dealership before you can start shopping for a bike.

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Where to find a motorcycle loan

There are several types of lenders that offer loans for motorcycles. Here are a few of your options.

1. Banks and credit unions

Some banks and credit unions offer loans specifically for motorcycles that are secured by the bike you’re purchasing. A down payment may also be required to qualify.

Since the bike serves as collateral, rates tend to be lower relative to unsecured loans (like personal loans, which we discuss below). It can also make it easier to qualify for a motorcycle loan if you have bad credit.  However, if you can’t make your payments, you risk losing your bike. 

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Keep in mind

Some major institutions — such as Bank of America and Capital One — don’t offer motorcycle financing.

Here are a few banks and credit unions that offer motorcycle loans. Note that none of these are Credible partners.

2. Dealership financing

If you’re purchasing a motorcycle from a dealership, you might be able to get financing directly through the dealer. With dealership financing, you can apply for a loan for the exact amount of the bike you select and get an approval decision on the spot.

Keep in mind that dealership loans might require a down payment. You could also end up with a higher APR than if you shopped for a motorcycle loan on your own with a bank or credit union. Arrive at the dealership with your own financing lined up, so you can use it as a negotiating tactic if need be.

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Tip

Ultimately, whether dealership financing is a good idea will depend on whether you can get better loan terms through the dealer or with another lender.

3. Manufacturer financing

Some motorcycle manufacturers — such as BMW, Harley-Davidson, and Suzuki — offer their own financing. These loans are secured by the bike you purchase. Keep in mind that they might also require a down payment.

Manufacturer financing is available for both new and used bikes and might offer lower promotional rates than you’d get from an online lender, bank, or credit union.

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For example

Manufacturer financing APRs sometimes go as low as 1.99% — possibly even lower with special sales or events. Keep in mind that you’ll typically next excellent credit to qualify for the lowest rates.

Like dealership financing, manufacturer financing could be a good idea if you can get better terms through a manufacturer. Make sure to shop around and compare lenders before making your decision.

4. Personal loan lenders

A personal loan may be best if the bike you want isn't eligible for financing by any of the methods above, or if you want cash-in-hand to buy from (and negotiate with) a private seller. Unlike secured loans, most personal loans are unsecured, so they don't require the bike as collateral. This means you can use a personal loan for almost anything. But since the loan isn't secured, rates tend to be higher, especially if you don't have good credit. 

Lenders typically offer loan amounts ranging from $1,000 to $50,000 (some lenders offer more), with repayment terms from one to seven years. Personal loans also tend to have lower APRs than credit cards. The average annual percentage rate (APR) for a 24-month personal loan was 12.49%, while the average credit card APR was 21.59% in February 2024, according to The Federal Reserve. That's why we don't tend to recommend using a credit card to buy a motorcycle, even though it's an option if your limit is high enough.

An online lender is often a faster option for approval decisions and loan funding, which could get you on the road more quickly.

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How to get a personal loan for a motorcycle

If you take out a motorcycle loan through a specialized financier, the loan will typically use the motorcycle as collateral — similar to how an auto loan is secured by your vehicle. However, if you don't want to use your bike as collateral or only need to borrow a small amount, then you might consider an unsecured personal loan instead.

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Tip

Motorcycles can range widely in price depending on the kind of bike you choose as well whether it's used or not — so make sure to consider your budget to see what you can reasonably afford without overextending yourself financially.

Follow these five steps if you're ready to get a motorcycle loan:

  1. Check your credit: When you apply for a loan, the lender will review your credit to determine whether to lend to you based on your credit profile — so it's a good idea to check your credit beforehand to see where you stand. You can use a site like AnnualCreditReport.com to review your credit reports for free. If you find any errors, dispute them with the appropriate credit bureau to potentially boost your credit score.
  2. Decide which type of lender to use: Motorcycle loans are available from a variety of lenders, including online lenders, banks, and credit unions. Many dealerships also offer their own financing. Keep in mind that depending on which lender and loan type you choose, you might have to use your motorcycle as collateral.
  3. Compare lenders and prequalify: Shop around and compare your options from multiple lenders to find the right loan. Consider not only interest rates but also repayment terms, any fees charged by the lender, and eligibility requirements. You can prequalify to see your rates and terms before applying. Prequalification won't impact your credit, but it's not an offer. Your final rate may be different.
  4. Fill out the application: Once you've picked a loan option, you'll need to complete a full application and submit required documentation, such as tax returns or pay stubs. The lender will perform a hard credit pull, which could bring your score down temporarily.
  5. Get your funds: If you're approved, the lender will have you sign for the loan so the funds can be disbursed. The