Every year about this time new bikes start appearing in the motorcycle shows, we’ve been seeing and getting tips on the latest offerings, a new GSXR1000, some quick photos of the completely new B-King, a new Kawasaki Concours and many more will inevitably follow. If you absolutely must have the latest glimpse there are sites out there all struggling to be first with the most, we’ll cover them in due course, but as you witness the introductions, think outside the box. Instead of looking at the brand new models think buying opportunity, last year’s bikes or any of the previous versions just became a lot more affordable.
To take one example, as news and photos of a new GSXR1000 start to circulate, all of those “old” Gixxers, even brand new showroom leftovers, from one year ago will start to decline in value, sometimes dramatically. After all, who’s going to spend top dollar for an old one when the new model with all of the “must have” improvements can be ordered at the dealer.
Now, most of us enjoy buying a brand new motorcycle and if you take care of it a modern bike can last for a lot of miles and years, but there is a segment of the market that is hypersensitive to the latest thing and the near race literbikes and 600cc models are probably the best example of that. If you race or attend a lot of track days, get the latest thing, but if you are one of the street riders who thinks a literbike or 600 is a good choice, buy a leftover or recent year low mileage bike. You’ll save a lot of money and you won’t take near the financial hit if you decide to sell or trade in a couple of years. Whatever the latest improvements are, you will most likely never see any of them on the street. You’ll know they’re there, the brochure says so and the magazine writers will confirm their existence but you simply will not see it in daily street riding.
If saving money was the only advantage of an older model it would be nice but another advantage of buying something just a tad older is the money saved may be useful in transforming your new purchase into your own special machine. It’s like buying partially finished raw material for a new motorcycle with your name on the tank. You may feel less reluctance to do major surgery on the body, frame or engine, too, and there’s a lot to be said for doing what the factories don’t or won’t. Since it’s your idea, your vision, take the time and effort to see it through. Once you’ve done that, you’ll also feel less need to buy the next big thing, after all, once you already own your perfect customized motorcycle, what can a showroom new model offer?