American Honda Motor Co., Inc

Motorcycle shoppers have hundreds of options from which to choose. Whether you’re looking for an affordable commuting alternative, a way to get far from the beaten track, an exhilarating ride for the twistiest of roads, or a comfy highway cruiser, there’s a motorcycle for you. The motorcycle market is massive, with models ranging from urban scooters to massive touring models. Riders who want to get off-road can choose from a multitude of dirt bikes and dual-sport options. 

What you choose depends on where you plan to ride, your budget, and your experience behind the handlebars. You’ll also need to find a bike that physically fits your size. 

Before you head to motorcycle dealers and start throwing your leg over the latest models, it's a good idea to learn about your options. By knowing the types of motorcycles for sale in the marketplace and the top companies that sell them, you'll have a head start on your shopping. Motorcycle brands are constantly introducing new models. Whether it's your first bike or your tenth, learning about what’s available can help you find the best motorcycle for your two-wheeled adventures. It's critical you find a bike that fits both your budget and skill level.

Like when you buy a car, there’s more to think about than just the cost of the bike. You’ll also want to consider the extras that riding a motorcycle requires, such as a high-quality helmet and appropriate riding gear. You’ll likely need to finance your purchase, and you should think about that early in the buying process. In most states, you’ll also need a special endorsement on your driver's license and appropriate insurance coverage.

Types of Motorcycles

The first decision you’ll want to make is what type of bike to buy. That choice will be driven by where you want to ride, your riding experience, and your budget. After deciding the type and brand of bike you want, the next decision will be the engine size and power you need. Options range from tiny motors in scooters to massive power plants that give sport bikes supercar-like performance. In general, the larger the engine is, the better the performance, the higher the price, and the higher the cost to insure the bike will be.

Cruisers

Cruiser Motorcycles »
Consumer Research Solutions, Inc.

Cruiser Motorcycles »

Price Range
$4,349-$23,995
Top Models
Honda Rebel 500
Kawasaki Vulcan S
Harley-Davidson Superlow
Engine Size Range
249 cc-1,868 cc

Cruisers are typically lower and longer than standard bikes, with lower seating positions. While their rider posture and leaned-back forks give them a healthy dose of style, they’re best for riders with some experience. The classic examples come from Harley-Davidson, but several manufacturers build bikes that fit into the category. Cruiser designs are available at a wide variety of price points, from just over $4,300 to well over $21,000. The addition of accessories and options to personalize the bikes can push their prices much higher. The $7,600 Harley-Davidson Street 750 and affordable $4,349 Yamaha V Star 250 are examples of cruisers.

This information was pulled from the manufacturer's website as well as from our partner Rollick and was accurate at the time of writing. Check with your local dealership for the latest details. Image copyright: 2004 – 2019 Consumer Research Solutions, Inc (CRS): http://crs-corp.com/

Dirt Bikes

The class known as "dirt bikes" is broken up into several segments. The first question shoppers looking for dirt bikes need to answer is whether they want something dedicated for off-road use or a bike that's street legal. Bikes in this class range from just a few thousand dollars to well over $20,000.

Pure Dirt Bikes

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Dirt Bikes

Price Range
$899-$11,999
Top Models
Yamaha YZ125
Honda CRF250R
Yamaha YZ250
Engine Size Range
79 cc-510 cc

A true dirt bike has aggressive tires, an upright ride, a tall seat, and plenty of suspension travel to soak up bumps and ruts. They’re typically not street legal, as they don’t have lights or other mandatory road-going equipment. Dirt bikes are available from tiny models suitable for kids to powerful competition models. The $6,699 2020 Yamaha YZ125X is an example of a lightweight, maneuverable dirt bike with a simple two-stroke engine. Riding on dirt is an excellent way to learn how to handle a motorcycle, according to many experts. However, the tall seats of many dirt bikes make them ill-suited for shorter riders.

This information was pulled from the manufacturer's website as well as from our partner Rollick and was accurate at the time of writing. Check with your local dealership for the latest details. Image copyright: 2004 – 2019 Consumer Research Solutions, Inc (CRS): http://crs-corp.com/

Dual-Sport Bikes

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Dual-Sport Motorcycles

Price Range
$4,499-$24,395
Top Models
Honda Africa Twin
Royal Enfield Himalayan
Yamaha TW200
Engine Size Range
125 cc-1,301 cc

A dual-sport (or on-off road) bike blends the features of a dirt bike with the equipment necessary to be ridden on the highway, such as lights. They’re motorcycles that you can ride to work Monday through Friday, then carve through trails on the weekend. They tend to be lightweight and easy to handle, while also being extremely tough. The $5,499 2019 Kawasaki Versys-X 300 is an example of a dual-sport bike with a versatile design and optional anti-lock brakes for an additional layer of safety. A subset of the dual-sport class are Supermoto bikes, which are a bit more tuned for the street, but still have substantial off-road credibility.

This information was pulled from the manufacturer's website as well as from our partner Rollick and was accurate at the time of writing. Check with your local dealership for the latest details. Image copyright: 2004 – 2019 Consumer Research Solutions, Inc (CRS): http://crs-corp.com/

 

Adventure/ADV Motorcycles

While most dirt and dual-sport bikes aren't the best choices for road trips, there's a growing class of bikes that blend excellent long-range highway manners with a healthy dose of off-road competence. The adventure bike class includes models such as the 2019 Honda Africa Twin CRF1000L, which has a base price of $13,599. It’s even available with an automatic transmission, which is a rare option in the motorcycle world. 

Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A.

Touring

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Touring Motorcycles

Price Range
$8,999-$43,889
Top Models
Indian Chieftain
Harley-Davidson Street Glide
Harley-Davidson Road King
Engine Size Range
645 cc-1,923 cc

Touring motorcycles are designed for long-distance road trips. Like the luxury cars of the motorcycle market, touring bikes are offered with weather-protected room for luggage, security alarms, comfortable seats, navigation systems, and large windscreens to help shield you from the elements. Large and heavy, touring bikes are best enjoyed by experienced riders. Prices on touring motorcycles range from about $8,400 to nearly $44,000 for limited-edition Harley-Davidson models. Two classic examples of touring bikes are the Honda Gold Wing and Harley-Davidson Road King. The Honda Gold Wing lineup starts at $23,800 and can be equipped with features including Apple CarPlay smartphone connectivity, an automatic transmission, and cruise control. The chrome-laden Harley Road King pricing starts at $19,499. It offers an optional package of advanced electronic rider assistance aids to help you maintain control when you have to react quickly.

This information was pulled from the manufacturer's website as well as from our partner Rollick and was accurate at the time of writing. Check with your local dealership for the latest details. Image copyright: 2004 – 2019 Consumer Research Solutions, Inc (CRS): http://crs-corp.com/

Baggers

A subset of the touring bike class is the bagger. Essentially a lightweight touring bike, baggers have some ability to carry cargo. They typically don’t have the massive weight and high price tags of larger touring bikes, however. The $19,999 Indian Chief Vintage is an example of a bagger. 

In many cases, cruisers can be converted to baggers by adding saddlebags and windscreens, making them more comfortable for weekend road trips. 

Sport Bikes

Sport Bikes »
Consumer Research Solutions, Inc

Sport Bikes »

Price Range
$4,599-$40,000
Top Models
Suzuki Hayabusa
Honda CBR600RR
Kawasaki Ninja 650
Engine Size Range
248 cc-1,441 cc

Looking for the ultimate in two-wheeled performance? You’ll want to be shopping for a sport bike. With potent engines, nimble handling, and high-performance tires, sport bikes are designed to move. They typically feature sleek designs with plenty of aerodynamic sculpting to cut through the wind. If a dirt bike is a Jeep Wrangler, a sport bike is a Porsche 911. With top-end performance that rivals the acceleration of supercars, sport bikes aren’t for everyone. The typical riding position is hunched far forward, making the bikes uncomfortable for long road trips. The extreme performance of high-end models leads to some of the highest motorcycle insurance rates you’ll find. The sport bike is best exemplified by lineups such as the Kawasaki Ninja range and Honda CBR models. Prices range from about $4,700 for a basic Honda CBR300R to more than $32,000 for a Kawasaki Ninja H2 Carbon with a supercharged four-cylinder engine.

This information was pulled from the manufacturer's website as well as from our partner Rollick and was accurate at the time of writing. Check with your local dealership for the latest details. Image copyright: 2004 – 2019 Consumer Research Solutions, Inc (CRS): http://crs-corp.com/

Scooters and Small Bikes

At the small end of the two-wheeled vehicle market are scooters. Perhaps one of the best known of the group is the classic Vespa from Italy. Today, there are a multitude of scooters and small motorcycles available. Some have tiny engines that limit them to urban use and don’t require riders to have motorcycle endorsements on their licenses. At the top end of the scooter range are models that have enough horsepower to keep up with highway traffic. 

Many scooters don't require riders to shift, which makes them easy for novices to operate. The Honda Metropolitan is a retro-styled scooter that's priced at $2,499. For more power, you can choose a scooter such as the $5,599 Suzuki XMAX, which has an automatic transmission, traction control, and anti-lock brakes. 

Small bikes, such as the Honda Grom and Kawasaki Z125 Pro, are affordable introductions to the world of motorcycles. They have enough power for urban commuting but are tiny compared to standard bikes. The Grom has a top speed of 62 mph and a price tag that starts at $3,399.

Niche Segments

Not every motorcycle on the market fits neatly into one of the categories above. Specialized models offer unique capabilities to buyers looking for something different.

Three-Wheelers

There are a number of options in the three-wheel motorcycle market. Harley-Davidson, for example, builds a pair of Trike models, with prices starting from $27,999. The additional stability of the trikes allows riders with physical challenges to enjoy the open-air experience of motorcycling. 

The popular Can-Am Spyder goes a different route, with two wheels upfront and one in the rear. It offers even novice riders excellent stability and confidence. Can-Am offers several three-wheelers, with base prices that range from $8,499 to $23,999. 

Polaris offers the three-wheeled open-air Slingshot with side-by-side seating. In some states, riders need a motorcycle endorsement to drive the Slingshot. In others, a standard driver's license and a helmet are all that are required to operate the Chevy four-cylinder-powered three-wheeler. 

Electric Motorcycles

A growing segment of the motorcycles are battery-electric models, with several niche manufacturers pioneering the market and mainstream bike makers jumping in with both feet. Zero Motorcycles currently has five electric bikes on the market, with a maximum range of 223 for the Zero SR ZF 14.4. Their prices start at about $8,500.

A recent arrival in the market is the 2020 Harley-Davidson LiveWire. The electric Harley can go from zero to 60 mph in just three seconds and has a range of 146 miles. It can be charged to 80% power in 40 minutes using a public DC fast charger. The LiveWire is priced from $29,799

Motorcycle Brands

There are dozens of motorcycle brands available in the U.S., with many being small manufacturers producing a limited number of bikes per year. The majority of motorcycles for sale come from a handful of large bike makers. We’ll describe those popular motorcycle brands in more detail below. 

Indian

Indian Motorcycles »
Consumer Research Solutions, Inc

Indian Motorcycles »

Known for
Cruisers
Top Models
Indian Scout
Indian Scout Bobber
Indian Scout Sixty
Founded
1901

Though it has not been in constant operation, the Indian Motorcycle Company name has been around since 1901, with its iconic Scout and Chief models coming to the market in the 1920s. After several aborted restarts following its 1953 closure, the company was reborn in 2013. It now operates as part of Polaris, a company that builds vehicles ranging from snowmobiles to all-terrain vehicles and boats. Indian builds six basic models, including the Scout and Chief cruisers, the Chieftain, and Roadmaster touring bikes, and the flat-track racing-inspired FTR 1200 (which fits in the standard bike category). Indian Motorcycle prices range from about $9,000 to $37,000. The average cost for an Indian bike is about $20,800, which is the highest average price among major motorcycle companies. Most Indian models will appeal to experienced riders, rather than novices, due to their price, weight, and power. Other bike makers have more extensive lineups than Indian.

This information was pulled from the manufacturer's website as well as from our partner Rollick and was accurate at the time of writing. Check with your local dealership for the latest details. Image copyright: 2004 – 2019 Consumer Research Solutions, Inc (CRS): http://crs-corp.com/

Honda

Honda Motorcycles »
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Honda Motorcycles »

Known for
Cruisers, Dirt Bikes, Sport Bikes, Standard
Top Models
Honda Shadow
Honda Gold Wing
Honda Rebel 500
Founded
1949

Based in Japan, Honda is a multinational manufacturer of everything from lawnmowers to business jets. Now known for its high-quality cars and award-winning SUVs, it was founded as a motorcycle manufacturer in the period following World War II. Today Honda sells a vast array of new motorcycle models. If there’s a category of motorcycle, Honda likely has a product that actively competes in it, from urban scooters to powerful, luxurious touring bikes. Honda motorcycle prices range from around $1,500 for small air-cooled dirt bikes to $31,800 for a loaded 2019 Honda Gold Wing Tour with an airbag and automatic transmission. The average price for a Honda motorcycle is about $9,700. That’s the lowest average base price among major motorcycle companies. Shoppers looking for their first motorcycle have plenty to choose from in the Honda motorcycle lineup. The Honda CB300F has a low starting price of $4,349, a simple “naked bike” design, reliable fuel injection, and a small enough engine to qualify for low insurance rates.

This information was pulled from the manufacturer's website as well as from our partner Rollick and was accurate at the time of writing. Check with your local dealership for the latest details. Image copyright: 2004 – 2019 Consumer Research Solutions, Inc (CRS): http://crs-corp.com/

Yamaha

Yamaha Motorcycles »
Consumer Research Solutions, Inc

Yamaha Motorcycles »

Known for
Sport Bikes, Dirt Bikes
Top Models
Yamaha YZF-R1
Yamaha YZF-R6
Yamaha YZF-R3
Founded
1955

The Yamaha Corporation was formed in 1887 as a producer of reed organs and pianos. Following World War II, the company's surviving wartime industrial machinery was repurposed to produce motorcycles, and the Yamaha Motor Company was split off from the piano maker in 1955. Today, the Yamaha Motor Company builds everything from snow blowers to personal watercraft and, of course, a wide array of motorcycles. Yamaha’s inventory of two-wheeled vehicles ranges from the $2,599 Zuma 50F scooter to the high-tech $24,999 Star Venture touring bike. The Star Venture includes features such as a reverse gear, throttle-by-wire, and an integrated infotainment and communications system. The average base price for Yamaha models is $11,264. One of the brand’s most popular models is the Yamaha YZF-R6, a supersport bike styled after the company’s MotoGP racing bikes. It has a starting price of $12,199.

This information was pulled from the manufacturer's website as well as from our partner Rollick and was accurate at the time of writing. Check with your local dealership for the latest details. Image copyright: 2004 – 2019 Consumer Research Solutions, Inc (CRS): http://crs-corp.com/

Kawasaki

Kawasaki Motorcycles »
Consumer Research Solutions, Inc

Kawasaki Motorcycles »

Known for
Sport Bikes
Top Models
Kawasaki Ninja H2
Kawasaki Vulcan S
Kawasakin Ninja 400
Founded
1969

Kawasaki’s history dates to 1878 when the Japanese company began building ships in Tokyo. The company has grown to be one of Japan's largest conglomerates, producing everything from aircraft and ships to bridges. In 1969, Kawasaki began manufacturing motorcycles. Today, the company builds several lines of leisure vehicles, including Jet Skis, all-terrain vehicles, and motorcycles. Their bike range spans all types, from youth dirt bikes to well-equipped touring motorcycles. Included in the lineup are specialized models, such as the $9,799 retro classic W800, which is one of several Kawasaki bikes styled after café racers. The KLR 650 is a popular dual-sport model, with a price tag of $6,699. Though there are many models in Kawasaki’s lineup that perform well as beginner motorcycles, the brand has built a reputation for their sport, supersport, and hypersport Ninja lineup. They currently offer more than 30 road-legal Ninja models with prices ranging from $4,999 to $32,500. The average price of all models marketed by Kawasaki is a little over $12,000.

This information was pulled from the manufacturer's website as well as from our partner Rollick and was accurate at the time of writing. Check with your local dealership for the latest details. Image copyright: 2004 – 2019 Consumer Research Solutions, Inc (CRS): http://crs-corp.com/

Harley-Davidson

Harley-Davidson Motorcycles »
Harley-Davidson

Harley-Davidson Motorcycles »

Known for
Cruisers
Top Models
Harley-Davidson Iron 883
Harley-Davidson Street Glide
Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 114
Founded
1903

William S. Harley and Arthur Davidson started Harley-Davidson in a Milwaukee, Wis. garage. The year was 1903, and their first design essentially fit a small engine onto a bicycle frame. The company grew quickly into the 1920s, with innovations such as the now-iconic V-Twin engine design driving the company’s growth. Through the years, the company has seen a series of ups and downs, with several bouts of financial hardship. It was sold by conglomerate AMF to company executives in 1981 and remains independent of other companies. Harley is still Milwaukee-based, though the king of American motorcycles also builds bikes in York, Penn., India, Brazil, and Thailand. Bikes for sales in the American market are still manufactured in America. The company is known for its big, brash cruiser and touring models, with plenty of flash, distinctive exhaust notes, and big price tags. Limited edition models are priced as high as $44,000. Traditionally aimed at experienced motorcycle enthusiasts, the company is evolving with new motorcycles, such as the Street 500, with prices and performance that can be managed by customers getting their first two-wheelers. Prices of Harley-Davidson bikes start at $6,899 for the Street 500 and climb to almost $44,000 for a CVO Limited touring bike. The average base price of a new Harley is $20,338. Harley owners frequently add thousands of dollars’ worth of add-ons to their bikes.

This information was pulled from the manufacturer's website as well as from our partner Rollick and was accurate at the time of writing. Check with your local dealership for the latest details.

Triumph

Triumph Motorcycles »
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Triumph Motorcycles »

Known for
Standard
Top Models
Triumph Bonneville
Triumph Rocket 3
Triumph Street Scrambler
Founded
1902

The roots of Triumph motorcycles date back to 1883 when a predecessor to the current company began building bicycles. In 1902, the company built its first Triumph motorcycle. It survived two world wars and emerged as a major exporter of motorcycles to the United States. Facing stiff competition from more reliable Japanese-made bikes, Triumph struggled to stay in business, eventually going into receivership in 1983. It emerged under new ownership, with new models arriving by 1991. The current Triumph lineup includes sport, standard, dual-sport, and cruiser motorcycles. One of their most popular model families is the dual-sport Tiger 800, which starts at $12,000 and blends the company's inline-three-cylinder engine with a host of technologies including multiple electronic riding mode setups and LED lighting. At the pinnacle of the Triumph lineup is the factory custom Rocket 3 TFC, of which only 750 will be made. It has a price tag starting at $29,000. In the core of the Triumph lineup, the least expensive bike is the $9,300 Triumph Street Twin. Looking at all of the bikes available from Triumph – except for the pricey limited-edition models – the average base price is about $14,350.

This information was pulled from the manufacturer's website as well as from our partner Rollick and was accurate at the time of writing. Check with your local dealership for the latest details. Image copyright: 2004 – 2019 Consumer Research Solutions, Inc (CRS): http://crs-corp.com/

Other Manufacturers

Beyond the major manufacturers supplying bikes to the U.S. marketplace, there are a multitude of other motorcycle brands available. Some, such as German bike builder BMW Motorrad have instant name recognition, while others, such as Austria’s KTM, are better known within the riding community. BMW offers a full line of motorcycles in the U.S., ranging from an electric scooter to the $25,595 BMW K 1600 Grand America luxury touring bike. 

Italian bike builder Ducati, which is now part of the Volkswagen AG family, builds a range of bikes from the Ducati Scrambler dual sport to the maximum performance Ducati Panigale. The Panigale is available in models with prices ranging from about $15,500 to more than $40,000. 

Japanese bike-builder Suzuki makes a full line of motorcycle types, ranging from small off-road dirt bikes to touring models, such as the Suzuki Boulevard. They market the Suzuki Hayabusa as a direct competitor to the Kawasaki Ninja sport bike. 

Buying a Motorcycle

Harley-Davidson

In many ways, buying a motorcycle is like buying a car. Once you’ve chosen the right model and figured out how you’re going to pay for it, it’s time to start visiting dealerships. You’ll want to keep the discussion focused on the price of the bike, and not the monthly payment. Different dealerships will likely offer you different prices, so it’s a good idea to visit at least a few. 

The lower the price of the bike, the less profit margin there’s likely to be. That means there’s less negotiating room. Like cars, popular or brand new bikes tend to sell at, near, or even over their sticker prices. Always talk price in terms of the total out-the-door price, with assembly and other required fees included in the price you’re negotiating.

Because you have to buy lots of gear, such as a helmet, jacket, and gloves, you should include those purchases in your negotiations. Perhaps work out a discount on a helmet if you agree to pay full price for the bike. Once you start a relationship with a bike shop, you'll probably keep going back for additional accessories, maintenance, and trade-ins for future rides. It's vital that you feel comfortable with the people you're dealing with. 

Some of the best ways to get a deal are to look for motorcycles at the end of the model year or those with special deals from their manufacturers or dealers. Always look closely at the paperwork before you sign it, to ensure it matches the deal you agreed to. 

It’s a great idea to look at other discounts you may be able to take advantage of. Harley-Davidson, for example, offers financing and ownership benefits to overseas deployed military members.

Leasing a Motorcycle

Unlike automakers, motorcycle manufacturers don’t typically lease bikes. If you want to lease a motorcycle, you’ll have to use an independent leasing company or a leasing firm that works with your dealership. Because you’ll only pay for the expected depreciation plus fees, leasing can be an affordable way to get behind the handlebars a new bike every few years. 

Like any lease versus purchase decision, it's essential to look at all of the numbers before you decide. 

Include Education and Endorsements

First-time motorcycle buyers need to include motorcycle education classes as the cost of adding a motorcycle endorsement into their budget. In many states, new riders have to pay for and graduate classes before they can legally ride. 

Financing a Motorcycle

The time to start figuring out how to pay for a new bike is before you’ve fallen in love with it in a dealer’s showroom. Just like when you finance a new car and get a car loan, you should get pre-approved for financing before you start visiting dealerships. While a dealer may be able to beat any pre-approved financing deal you have, they’ll only have an incentive to do so if they know there’s completion. 

While you probably won't find as many lenders willing to make a loan on a motorcycle as you would for a car, there are plenty of banks, credit unions, and other lenders who will compete for your business. Shopping for financing online at sites that search for several loan offers with just one application is an excellent way to shop for financing efficiently. 

Many motorcycle manufacturers offer special financing offers on slower-selling models. Paying a lower than market interest rate on your motorcycle loan is an easy way to save a significant amount of money on your bike purchase. 

Insuring a Motorcycle

Whether you're looking for basic dual-sport motorcycles for weekend adventures or chrome-laden touring models for long-distance travel, you must have the right insurance to protect yourself in case of a motorcycle crash. Different states have different requirements for motorcycle riders, just as they have for cars, so it's essential to know the requirements and the policies you need to have. 

While the value of motorcycles is typically lower than the price of a car, the risk of damage in a motorcycle accident tends to be higher, as does the risk of serious injuries. For that reason, you’ll want to consider the limits and policy coverages you choose carefully. 

Many of the country’s auto insurance companies also cover motorcycles. Visit our auto insurance hub to learn more about the best insurance companies in the country, the coverages they offer, and discounts you might qualify to receive.

 

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