Heart set on buying a Harley? Buying one of these iconic bikes can be a considerable investment with models costing anywhere from $7,000 to over $50,000. Luckily, there are several loans specifically designed for purchasing a Harley-Davidson and it’s worth exploring finance brokers that offer these specific loan packages.
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A new Harley can cost anywhere from $7,000 to $50,000+, depending on the type. It can cost even more if you want to customize it.
Used Harleys tend to be cheaper, but you’ll want to do your quality checks to make sure it’s in good condition and well-maintained.
How can I finance a Harley-Davidson?
Although standard car loans work similar to motorcycle loans, some lenders consider motorcycles riskier investments and will be unwilling to issue loans for your Harley-Davidson. You have a few different options when looking to purchase your new Harley.
Harley-Davidson financial services. Harley-Davidson offers financing to buy a bike along with parts and accessories. You can apply online or at an official Harley-Davidson dealer.
Personal loans. Many personal loan providers offer loans of up to $50,000 and allow you to use your funds for any legitimate purpose, including buying a new motorcycle.
Recreational vehicle loans. Some online lenders, banks and credit unions also offer financing for recreational vehicles, including motorcycles.
Your bank. Your bank may offer motorcycle loans, but the eligibility criteria tend to be much higher than if you chose to go through an online lender or a finance broker.
Compare loans to buy a Harley-Davidson
Representative example: Anton buys a Harley
Anton, a B.C. resident, has his eye on a 2020 Harley Davidson Softail Deluxe priced at $25,000.00. After making a 15% down payment of $3,750.00, Anton applies for dealership financing to cover the rest of the cost of the bike. Thanks to his solid credit history, he is approved for a loan to cover the outstanding amount plus 12% GST/PST ($21,250.00 + $3,000.00). Along with the cost of his loan, Anton also pays approximately $50.00 to register his motorcycle with the ICBC (Insurance Corporation of British Columbia).
Cost of new vehicle
$21,250.00 total purchase price ($25,000.00 less $3,750.00 down payment)
Auto loan (term loan)
Interest rate (APR)
4.00% origination fee ($970.00) $0.00 application fee (waived by dealership)
$400.75 monthly or $184.76 biweekly
Total loan cost
$28,854.00 with monthly payments or $28,822.56 with biweekly payments
*The information in this example, including rates, fees and terms, is provided as a representative transaction. The actual cost of the product may vary depending on the retailer, the product specs and other factors.
How should I compare my Harley-Davidson loan options?
You’ll need to consider multiple factors when finding a loan to finance your Harley. Knowing how much you can afford, how you want to make your monthly payments and the fees attached to borrowing will help you narrow down your search.
Whether you’re borrowing directly from Harley-Davidson or choosing a loan from a bank, review the interest rates and terms. How much will the loan cost? Will you be able to tackle the payment plan? Will you be able to afford the maintenance that a motorcycle requires? These questions should factor into your decision.
Like all loans, make sure you find a deal that doesn’t hurt your finances. The best way to do this is to do a side-by-side comparison of interest and fees. Once you’ve found the right loan, contact the lender and see if you qualify.
Looking at a used Harley?
You can use a personal loan if you want to purchase a used motorcycle. Here are some specific tips to keep in mind if you want to buy a preowned bike:
Go to motorcycle rallies where you can test ride different models to see which one suits you. Some of the more popular events include:
The Wharf Rat Rally in Digby, Nova Scotia
The Motorcycle Shows (aptly named) that tour across Canada
The Toronto Motorcycle Show (not part of The Motorcycle Shows mentioned above), which is a great place to check out newest releases and yearly model lineups from top motorcycle manufacturers. It’s also a great place to ask technical questions and look over gear and accessories.
You can contact a Harley-Davidson dealership to arrange a test ride or even rent a bike for a little while to try out its features. Harley-Davidson also hosts special events across Canada throughout the year for members of the H.O.G. (Harley Owners Group), a brand-managed club which you have to pay to be a member of.
Read other bikers’ reviews to get an idea of which features to look for and which features you should avoid
If you’re an inexperienced rider, you might want to look for a bike with a smaller frame because they handle quick turns and short stops more easily. A bigger bike will take more skills to handle in unexpected driving conditions.
Run a VIN check on any motorcycles you’re thinking of buying. It’s crucial to understand the bike’s history in terms of maintenance, accidents and ownership so that you won’t get stuck with a bike that has hidden defects or multiple claims of ownership.VIN checks are offered by a number of companies, including CARFAX. Also, the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) offers a free VIN check service specifically to verify whether a vehicle has been reported as flood-damaged and non-repairable by IBC member insurance companies.
Here are some of the things to consider when shopping for your Harley.
Secured or unsecured. If you’re considering a used Harley, some secured loans won’t accept a bike older than a certain number of years.
The condition of the bike. If you’re buying from an individual, make sure you’re getting what was advertised. Make an appointment to inspect the bike for sale, and if you’re a novice, take along someone with some knowledge about Harley-Davidsons. Ask to see service records and guarantees for parts that need to be replaced before the bike is sold.
Insurance. Whether new or used, a Harley-Davidson is an investment that should be covered with insurance. If your lender doesn’t offer insurance, ask about your options at a Harley-Davidson dealership. You can also look into independent motorcycle insurance policies.
Riding experience. If you’ve never ridden a motorcycle, it might be a good idea to start with something smaller. Take lessons and get some experience riding a bike before making a serious investment.
License restrictions. Your drivers license doesn’t qualify you to drive a motorcycle. You’ll need to apply for a motorcycle license before you take your Harley out for a ride. Make sure you never ride without a valid motorcycle license.
Maintenance. Your Harley-Davidson will need to be serviced regularly. This is especially true of used models. Keep in mind the cost of maintenance when determining your budget.
Frequently asked questions
Once you’ve found the bike you want, submit an application to the lender or financial broker, which either comes back with a loan offer based on what you can afford to repay or ends in a rejection. Just like a home loan or car loan, if you accept, you’ll be expected to make regular monthly payments.
Financial brokers offer customers assistance throughout the process, from filling out the application to finding the right lender and rates to suit your budget. Traditional banks don’t usually approve borrowers with bad credit, but smaller and second-chance lenders have different criteria and loan terms for people with a poor credit history. For convenience, you may prefer working with an online car loan broker from the comfort of your own home.
This is more of a question of what you can afford, but also your riding ability and personal taste. Some riders like the character of a used bike, which is probably also the better option for a beginner due to the reduced cost. In terms of an investment, older bikes may be a riskier choice because they have a lower resale value. If you’re buying used, make sure that the dealer is reputable and approved by Harley-Davidson.
Elizabeth Barry is Finder's global fintech editor. She has written about finance for over six years and has been featured in a range of publications and media including Seven News, the ABC, Mamamia, Dynamic Business and Financy. Elizabeth has a Bachelor of Communications and a Master of Creative Writing from the University of Technology Sydney. In 2017, she received the Highly Commended award for Best New Journalist at the IT Journalism Awards. Elizabeth's passion is writing about innovations in financial services (which has surprised her more than anyone else).
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