Purchasing a motorcycle can be an exciting experience, but it’s also a big financial decision. That’s why it’s wise to take your time when considering all the motorcycle financing options so you can make a smart choice.
If you’re not paying for your motorcycle with cash, you have plenty of other options available to get the funds you need. So whether you’re using your new bike as your main mode of transportation or taking some weekend joyrides, you can rest easy knowing you’ve found a deal that works for your wallet.
You generally can’t use an auto loan when financing a motorcycle, but you do have several options. Here are the four most common ways to pay for a motorcycle:
- Motorcycle loans – Motorcycle loans are loans offered by some banks, credit unions, and online lenders that are specifically intended for financing a motorcycle.
- Personal loans – Personal loans are unsecured loans that can be used for any major purchase. Some people used them to consolidate debt, others use them for home renovation, but they can also be used to purchase a new motorcycle.
- Dealership financing – Sometimes dealerships will have their own lending partners, or you can even get a motorcycle loan directly through the dealership itself.
- Manufacturer financing – Similar to financing at a dealership, manufacturers also partner with financial institutions to offer motorcycle financing.
Let’s take a quick look at each one to see the differences.
Best Motorcycle Loans Online
To find the best motorcycle loans, we researched some top lenders, including manufacturer and dealer financing options, banks, credit unions, and online lenders.
Some lenders allow you to apply for loans specifically for motorcycles. Financing options are available for all credit types, and a few even offer discounts on your annual percentage rate (APR) if you’re already a member of the financial institution.
LendingTree lets you compare rates and loan terms from multiple lenders online by simply using a single application form. Motorcycle loans are available for cruisers, sports bikes, touring, dual sports, scooters, and mopeds.
Altra Federal Credit Union offers low interest rates and unique discounts for members looking for a motorcycle loan. There are several easy ways to become an Altra FCU member.
Best Personal Loans for Motorcycles
Most unsecured personal loans offer motorcycle financing, even if it’s not specifically branded as a motorcycle loan. Many lenders, consider this kind of loan a “major purchase.” You can use the loan funds just as you would for something like a wedding or a vacation.
One of the benefits of using an unsecured personal loan to buy your motorcycle is that you typically get your funds deposited straight into your bank account. That helps you negotiate with the seller because you’re essentially a cash buyer. It also gives you more options for buying a used motorcycle.
Additionally, you can use the money to finance gear as well. Just be sure to calculate how much you expect to spend on accessories, so you can include them in your loan request amount.
Here are a few of our favorite lenders offering personal loans for motorcycles, as well as a complete listing of all of our recommended online lenders.
Both dealerships and manufacturers typically offer financing for the motorcycles they sell. Just be sure to compare offers in advance of signing on the dotted line to ensure it’s the most competitive loan you qualify for.
There are a few considerations to consider for either dealership or manufacturer financing. Here’s what to think about for each one.
Dealerships typically partner either with a manufacturer or an external lender to finance your motorcycle purchase. While they may have fewer standards than other lenders, their interest rates tend to be higher. Plus, you’re adding a middleman, which generally adds to the price you’ll pay over time because one more person is getting a cut from your deal.
Still, dealerships often run promotions that may work out to your advantage. So, it’s wise to shop around and not rush a purchase, so you can find a good offer.
Manufacturers oftentimes partner with one specific bank or credit union to help customers finance their motorcycles. These rates can be competitive, but you’ll likely find that the lowest motorcycle loan rates are reserved for more expensive bikes and shorter repayment terms.
Again, this is why it’s important to plan ahead and compare your loan options to make sure you get the best interest rate and loan terms for the bike you want.
Here’s a list of motorcycle manufacturers that offer in-house financing:
- Harley-Davidson partners with Eaglemark Savings Bank.
- Kawasaki partners with Citi Retail Services, Synchrony Bank, and Sheffield Financial.
- Ducati uses Ducati Financial Services.
- Triumph partners with FreedomRoad Financial.
- Yamaha partners with WebBank.
- Honda uses Honda Financial Services.
- BMW uses BMW Financial Services.
- Suzuki partners with Sheffield Financial.
- Indian partners with Evergreen Bank Group.
- Aprilia partners with Sheffield Financial.
- KTM partners with FreedomRoad Financial and Synchrony Financial.
Motorcycle Loans vs. Auto Loans: What’s the Difference?
Most lenders do not classify a motorcycle as an eligible type of vehicle for a traditional auto loan. That means you may need to look beyond traditional auto lenders to get a loan for a motorcycle.
Because motorcycles are generally considered recreational vehicles, you may find them eligible under recreational loans—the same kind you’d get for a boat or RV.
Expect to find motorcycle loan rates slightly higher than auto loans, regardless of the type of financing you choose. Depending on the lender you select, the loan term may also vary.
The max for motorcycle loans is typically around 72 months (6 years), while most auto lenders let you finance a car up to 84 months (7 years). The exact details, of course, depend on both your lender and your chosen bike.
Some lenders allow for accessories to be included in the loan, while others do not. If you want any of these add-ons, figure out how you intend to pay for them ahead of time. This may be something you’ll want to consider when selecting a financing option to make sure you can pay for everything you need and get on the road right away.
Bad Credit Motorcycle Loans
A poor credit score will limit your options when it comes to getting a motorcycle loan. You will most likely be dealing with higher interest rates if you’re able to get approved, but you still have options.
Check out our Best Personal Loans for Bad Credit. Some banks and credit unions also offer motorcycle loans for people with bad credit. You may also be able to get a motorcycle loan from one of the loan providers below.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do motorcycle loans work?
Motorcycle loans help you to finance your purchase of a motorcycle when you don’t have the funds available otherwise. Like any kind of loan, interest rates and terms of motorcycle loans varies widely and depends on the lender, the loan amount, your credit score and more.
Secured motorcycle loans are common, but it is also possible to find unsecured loans for motorcycles.
What’s the difference between secured and unsecured motorcycle loans?
Secured motorcycle loans are those which require the vehicle itself to be listed as collateral. This means that if you fail to make the payment terms, and cannot satisfy any of the lender’s refinancing options, the lender will take ownership of the vehicle.
A secured motorcycle loan will usually offer lower interest rates, as the lender is taking on less risk due to the loan being secured by collateral.
Unsecured motorcycle loans are those which don’t require any collateral to be listed, so if you fail to make the payments you won’t also lose the motorcycle. However, interest rates will be higher for an unsecured loan, and you’ll need to have at least a good credit score to find a loan with competitive rates and terms.
Unsecured loans are widely available, and you can also check in with an online lender to prequalify and get an idea of the kind of rates and terms that are available to you, based on your credit history.
Where can I get a motorcycle loan?
Motorcycle loans are available via some banks, motorcycle manufacturers and credit unions, as well as online lenders. Shopping around and taking time to research your options can help you find the best motorcycle loan rates available to you.
Can I get a motorcycle loan with bad credit?
While the minimum credit score for a loan will vary between motorcycle loan lenders, it is possible to get one with bad credit. In fact, there are lenders who offer poor credit loans, but keep in mind that a low credit score will mean your options will all come with high personal loan rates.
It can be helpful to get a report on your credit history from one or more of the three major credit bureaus. This will help you understand your credit and get closer to meeting the minimum credit score for any loan funding.
What are motorcycle loan rates?
Advertised rates for motorcycle loans can vary widely, but current rates generally fall between 5% and 36% for unsecured loans from online lenders. Secured loan rates will often be lower than those available for unsecured loans, and your bank or credit union may allow you to take advantage of lower rates still.
Finding the best loan options for you requires shopping around, so make sure to compare motorcycle loans from multiple lenders.
How long are motorcycle loan terms?
Most motorcycle loans will have repayment terms of around two to six years maximum. In many cases, terms are offered at 36, 48, and 60 months. While it might be tempting to spread out your monthly payments to keep them low, keep in mind that your interest payments will be more costly the longer your terms are.
Do banks give loans for motorcycles?
Yes, it is possible to get a motorcycle loan from your bank. Some banks will offer loan products for motorcycles, as well as rates for a personal loan that can be used to finance a motorcycle purchase.
You can check with your bank and get credit approval for competitive rates quickly, depending on your credit score.
What credit score is needed to buy a motorcycle?
Your loan application will be assessed based on several factors including your credit score, credit history, and your income. Your credit score is especially vital if you’re applying for an unsecured loan, so it might be a good idea to try to improve your score before applying.
To qualify for a loan with competitive interest rates, you will likely need good to excellent credit. Credit score ranges differ slightly between the three major credit bureaus, but good credit typically falls between 670 and 850. However, the lowest-advertised interest rates and most favorable loan terms will be reserved for people with very good to excellent credit.
- 800 to 850: Excellent credit
- 740 to 799: Very good credit
- 670 to 739: Good credit
- 580 to 669: Fair credit
- 300 to 579: Poor credit
If you can’t meet the minimum credit score for a competitive loan, the good news is that there can still be options for you. Some lenders, especially those online, are familiar with providing loans for those with bad credit.
The reality is that those with low credit scores will have to settle for higher rates, and comparatively less choice in terms of lenders and loan terms.
Finding the best motorcycle loan doesn’t need to be a stressful process. There are countless options available to get the right kind of motorcycle financing you need.
So, before you go into the dealership, research some options, so you can go in with as much information as possible. Once you find the best motorcycle loan rates, you’ll be ready to hop on your new motorcycle and enjoy the ride with total peace of mind.